Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hikkim - World's Highest Post-office

With 1,55,618 post offices and over 5,66,000 employees, India has the largest postal network in the world. We can also boast of the world's highest post office. This branch post office is located in small town of Hikkim, in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at height of 15500 feet and was opened of nov.5,1983. The pin code for this post office is 172114. There is a motorable road till Hikkim. Hikkim post office is 20 Km (12.5 miles) away from Kaza and serves about 600 people in the village. Around 50 people have a savings account in the Hikkim post office. The post office handles around 15-20 letters everyday.

Read more: World's Highest Helipad, World's Highest Battle-field, World's Highest Motorable Road

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alang - World's Largest Ship-breaking Yard

Alang is a census town in Bhavnagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat, India. It is the leading

centre of the worldwide ship breaking and recycling industry. The facility, located 50 km from Bhavnagar, employs nearly 20,000 people in more than 163 ship-breaking plots. It is known as the graveyard of ships, a place where ageing vessels are torn apart. The shipyards at Alang recycle approximately half of all ships salvaged around the world.

The first vessel – MV KOTA TENJONG was beached at Alang on 13th Feb. 1983. Since then, the yard has witnessed spectacular growth and has emerged as a leading ship Breaking Yard in the world. Tens of thousands of jobs are supported by this activity and millions of tons of steel are recovered.

Current ship-breaking is centered primarily in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China. One of the attractions to the ship owners of having their vessels dismantled here is that the ship breakers in this part of the world receive little of the regulatory oversight that takes place in Europe or the US.

Large supertankers, car ferries, container ships, and a dwindling number of ocean liners are beached during high tide, and as the tide recedes, about 150-200 workers can break down a 10,000-tonne ship in three months, salvaging nearly every part. About 80 percent of a ship’s steel is reusable steel, cheaper than primary steel and used mostly in construction.

The salvage yards at Alang have generated controversy about working conditions, workers' living conditions, and the impact on the environment. One major problem is that despite many serious work-related injuries, the nearest full service hospital is 50 kilometres away in Bhavnagar. Alang itself is served by a small Red Cross hospital that offers only limited services.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tirupati Temple - World's Richest Temple

Tirumala Tirupati Temple is a famous Hindu Temple of Lord Venkateswara and is accredited for being the most visited temple of India and second most visited shrine in the world after Vetican. Considered as the most sacred and the richest temple in the world, Tirupati temple is situated in the town of Tirupati. It is located 67-km away from Chittoor in Chittoor district of southern Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built on the Venkatadri hill having an height of 853m (2,800ft.) above the sea level, one of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence is also known as theTemple of Seven Hills. The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Venkateswara, is also known by other names - Balaji or Srinivasa or Perumal.
It attracts pilgrims from all over the country and it is not unusual for pilgrims to stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it one of the most visited holy place in the world.
According to the legend, the temple has a self-manifested idol murti of Lord Vishnu, with the Lord believed to have resided here for the entire Kali Yuga.
The ancient Tirupati temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. The gopuram of this temple is its highlight. The 'Vimana' or Cupola, named the "the Ananda Nilayam" is placed over the sanctum sanctorum. It completely veiled with gold plate. There are three 'Prakarams' or enclosures in the temple, among them the outermost enclosure boasts of the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post. The image of the temple deity represents both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu is considered as the preserver whereas the Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer in Hindu religion.

Pilgrims to the Tirupathi Temple donate their hair as a form of sacrifice. The 600 barbers employed by the temple shave the pilgrims' heads 24 hours a day and more than $6 million dollars a year is raised through the auction of the hair. The popularity of the temple can be judged by the annual budget which was estimated at Rs 10 billion in 2008 with almost everything coming directly from donations. Devotees give donations which runs into millions.
Depicting the Indian legacy, Tirupati Balaji Temple is really significant from the religious point of view. Every year, the popularity of this temple attracts tourists from all over the world. Sri Venkateswara is a benefactor of boons in the Dark Age and people come here to seek the blessings from the Lord.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kumbh Mela - Largest gathering in the World

Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela (Mela means gathering or meet or simply fare) is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that takes place at the following four locations of India:

- Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati.

- Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas.

- Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river, and

- Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

The Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad, while the Purna (complete) Kumbh always takes place at Allahabad every twelve years.

The Maha Kumbh Mela ('Great' Kumbh Mela) which comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas' which is after every 144 years is also held at Allahabad. The 2001, Maha Kumbh Mela was attended by around 60 million people, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world.

According to Indian astrology, it is celebrated when the planet of Bhaspati (Jupiter) moves into the zodiac sign of Aquarius or Kumbha. Each sites celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter.

The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story: thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the Gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.

A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. A holy dip in the river is considered to wash away all your past sins. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men/women and the poor, and religious assemblies.

Kumbha Mela has gained international fame as "the world's most massive act of faith." Pilgrims come to this holy event with such tremendous faith and in such overwhelming numbers that it boggles the mind. Faith is the most important thing for the pilgrims at Kumbha Mela.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar has ruled over the hearts of millions of her listeners throughout the world for the last forty years by the magic of her melodious voice. Her voice is specially noted for its remarkable freshness and sonority. She has sung songs based on classical Indian music and ragas, bhajans or devotional songs, romantic songs, melancholic songs and so on. Mangeshkar's career started in 1942 and has spanned over six and a half decades.

Lata’s name has come in the Guiness Book of World Records as the singer of the highest number of songs. The claim was that she had recorded no less than 25,000 solo, duet, and chorus-backed songs in 20 Indian languages between 1948 to 1974 (30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987, edition). She has already sung over 28000 songs.she has sung in almost all the main Indian languages. It is due to the melodious voice of Lata Mangeshkar that many lyric writers and music directors became successful. She is the recipient of many awards and honours both within the country and abroad. The Government of India has conferred on her the title of Padma Shri. The Government of Madhya Pradesh has instituted an annual award of Rs. 1 Lakh in her name. she has also received the prestigious “Filmfare Award’ for best singer in many a times. Dadasaheb Falke Award conferred upon her in the year 1989. Lata is the second vocalist ever to have received the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

She was born on 29th September 1928, in Indore (M.P.). she learnt her early music lesson from her father. She is unmarried and is deeply religious in her personal life.

Though, it is difficult to enumerate all those films which have hit songs of Lata but the following films are worth mentioning: Anarkali, Mughal-E-Azam, Bees Saal Baad, Amar Prem, Guide, Khamoshi, Mehbooba, Zheel Ke Us Paar, Asha, Prem Rog, Sargam, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Arpan, Ek Duje Ke Liye, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, 1942-a Love Story, Chandni, Lamhe, Darr etc. The songs sung by Lata in the recent films – Mohabbatein, Dil to Pagal Hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Veer Zara became enormously popular and shows that Lata’s voice has improved further inspite of her age factors. She is one of the best-known playback singers in the Hindi film industry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Major Dhyan Chand - Hockey Wizard

Major Dhyan 'Chand' Singh was an Indian hockey player, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. As a hockey player, Dhyan Chand made great contribution in enhancing the prestige of Indian hockey in the eyes of the world. By his superior play, Dhyan Chand was held in high esteem both within the country as well as abroad. Dhyan Chand helped his country in winning gold medals in hockey in three successive Olympic Games. He was also the captain of the gold medal winner Indian Hockey Team in the historic 1936 Berlin Olympics. Because of his brilliant performance, Dhayn Chand became a great attraction in Berlin Olympiad. Dhyan Chand scored 101 goals at the Olympic Games and 300 goals in other international matches and his record is still unbroken. Donald Bradman the great cricketer once remarked, ‘It appears that Indian hockey players score goals like cricket runs”. Dhyan Chand had, in fact, a wonderful command in wielding the hockey stick and this earned him the title of the “Hockey Wizard”. Dhyan Chand became a legend in his own lifetime.

Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August 1905, in Allahabad (U.P.). He joined army at the age of sixteen. He started playing Hockey in army and soon turned into a very good hockey player. He was included in the Indian hockey team for the 1928 Amesterdom Olympics. Indian won gold medal in hockey at Amesterdom Olympics and out pf a total of 28 goals scored by Indian hockey, 11 were scored by Dhayn Chand alone. Thereafter, Dhyan Chand’s career in hockey was a story of continuous success. After the attainment of independence, Dhyan Chand was promoted to Major. The Government of India also honoured him with ‘Padma Bhushan’. Dhyan Chand received honours in foreign countries also. In 1936 Berlin Olympics, he was honoured with ‘Olive Crown’ and in the 19968 Mexico Olympics; he was honoured as ‘Distinguished Guest’. Dhyan Chand also ran an institute for the coaching of young hockey players. He died on 3 December 1979.

August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day when the national sporting awards are handed out by the President of India at Rashtrapathi Bhavan. Dhyan Chand's imposing statue at the entrance of the National Stadium (main venue of the inaugural Asian Games in 1951) is a reminder of the all-time legend of hockey who brought so much glory to both the game and the nation. In 2002, the union sports ministry of India introduced a Lifetime Achievement Award in sports in the name of Dhyan Chand.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Indian Railways - World's Largest Employer

Indian Railways, abbreviated as IR, is the state-owned railway company of India, which owns and operates most of the country's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India.

Indian Railways has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. It is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.4 million employees. The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country, covering 6,909 stations over a to

tal route length of more than 63,327 kilometres (39,350 mi). As to rolling stock, IR owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives.

The first railway on Indian sub-continent ran over a stretch of 21 miles from Bombay to Thane.

The formal inauguration ceremony was performed on 16th April 1853, when 14 railway carriages carrying about 400 guests left Bori Bunder at 3.30 pm "amidst the loud applause of a vast multitude and to the salute of 21 guns."

The first passenger train steamed out of Howrah station destined for Hooghly, a distance of 24 miles, on 15th August, 1854. Thus the first section of the East Indian Railway was opened to public traffic, inaugurating the beginning of railway transport on the Eastern side of the sub-continent.

In south the first line was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Veyasarpandy and Walajah Road (Arcot), a distance of 63 miles. In the North a length of 119 miles of line was laid from Allahabad to Kanpur on 3rd March 1859. The first sec

tion from Hathras Road to Mathura Cantonment was opened to traffic on 19th October, 1875.

These were the small beginnings which is due course developed into a network of railway lines all over the country. By 1880 the Indian Railway system had a route mileage of about 9000 miles.

In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world.

Indian Railways operates about 9,000 passenger trains and tranports 18 million passengers daily across twenty-eight states and two union territories. Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya are the only states not connected by rail.

The total length of track used by Indian Railways is about 111,599 km (69,344 mi) while the total route length of the network is 63,465 km (39,435 mi). About 28% of the route-kilometre and 40% of the total track kilometre is electrified.

Indian Railways is divided into zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from six to eight in 1951, nine in 1952, and finally 16 in 2003. Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions, each having a divisional headquarters. There are a total of sixty-seven divisions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Incredible Journey of Incredible India

Global downturn, loss making airline brands, a wallet-watching traveler – not exactly the best of times for the tourism business. Nation Branding too would be impacted in such times. On Indian TV channels, Korea is advertising with their ‘Korea, Sparkling!’ campaign. Apparently, the slogan is not too popular back home in Korea and may be dropped soon. Advertising for a nation as a brand does play a role in creating perceptions. But that is not the only trigger for creating ‘strong country brands‘. In light of this, the impact of our Incredible India campaign is truly commendable.

Amitabh Kant, former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India recently released his book Branding India – An Incredible Story recently. He, along with V Sunil (then Creative Director at O&M, Delhi) conceptualized the Incredible India campaign. Prior to this project, Mr. Kant was also instrumental in the Kerala Tourism’s ‘God’s Own Country’ campaign. Herewith tracing the key phases of the Incredible India campaign:

Thanks to the 26/11 attacks, global tourism was on a decline. Several countries had cut down their advertising budgets. India’s promotion abroad was left to the tourism offices with each one of them coining their own tag lines – from Spiritual India to Unbelievable India. The visuals promoted the cliched imagery of India: saffron-clad sadhus and snake charmers. All this attracted high volumes, but low value. It was then decided to position India as a ‘premier holiday destination for high-yielding tourists’.

One of the early campaigns simply focused on highlighting the Incredible India logo. The exclamation mark that formed the ‘I” of India was used creatively across several visuals.

In the second year, the campaign focused on spiritual tourism. The content and execution were designed to appeal to the upmarket individual traveler – a far cry from the low-spending charsi jholi type tourist.
Buoyed by the encouraging response of the first campaigns, the 2006-07 campaign went beyond showcasing the logo. It showcased the diversity of India alright but did so in a tone & manner that was full of wry wit.
There was also a quiet confidence on display – almost the ‘we are like this only’ tone – in the 2007 India Now campaign in London. Some of my favourite ones:
The Incredible India experience was also brought alive in several exhibitions and events: Internationale Tourismus Bourse in Berlin, India@60 campaign in New York to mark India’s 60th year of Independence among others. The 2007-08 campaign continued with the jaw-dropping diversity of India, featuring breathtaking images and a clever pun as headline. The 2008-09 print campaign features portraits of people who came in as tourists but stayed back to make India their home. It conveys how strong an impact India can have on an individual motivating a foreigner to make it his or her motherland.
new TVC also made its way into the Indian television, showcasing the experiences of a foreigner in India, prompting him to describe it as ‘Incredible India’.

The campaign is a truly concerted effort ensuring that there isn’t a huge gap between expectation and delivery on the ground. It can’t always be controlled since one errant cab driver can undo all the goodwill created by the campaign. It is also a testimony to the power of focus. A single-minded message was brought alive on the Internet, through events and exhibitions, press ads and TV. Public sector advertising is usually seen as dull, boring and offering no scope for creativity. Thanks to individuals like Mr. Kant who had the vision and the wherewithal to see the campaign idea through, that perception too was broken. As Indians we may still be cynical about our poor infrastructure, attitude of many stakeholders in the travel business and the hype around the Incredible India campaign. But what is undeniable is that it put India in the consideration set of international tourists.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days is a collection of short stories by R.K. Narayan that focused on the trial and tribulations of a small Indian town of Malgudi. R. K. Narayan (October 10, 1906 - May 13, 2001), was one of India's greatest English language novelists, known for his works based in the fictional town of Malgudi. According to R.K. Narayan, Malgudi is a town "habited by timeless characters who could be living anywhere in the world" and is located on the banks of river Sarayu and surrounded by the Mempi Hills.


TV series

Created by

R. K. Narayan

Directed by

Shankar Nag

Country of origin




No. of seasons


No. of episodes


Running time

approx. 22 minutes

Original channel

DD National
Sony TV
TV Asia


The series "Malgudi Days" was directed by the late Kannada actor and director, Shankar Nag in 1987, and was shot entirely near Agumbe in Shimoga District, Karnataka. The music was rendered by L. Vaidyanathan and was produced by T.S. Narasimhan of the Padam Rag Films. It included many of Narayan's short stories and novels such as Swami and Friends and The Vendor of Sweets.

“Malgudi – the fictional semi-urban town” was one of Narayan's greatest achievements. R.K. Narayan also got award for this. He created the town in September 1930, on Vijayadashami, an auspicious day to start new efforts and thus chosen for him by his grandmother.  He first saw a railway station, and slowly the name Malgudi came to him. The town of Mysore where R.K. Narayan lived has influenced him a lot to write this stories as we can see the flavour of the city in each story. The town was created with an impeccable historical record, dating to the Ramayana days when it was noted that Lord Rama passed through the town; it was also said that the Buddha visited. While Narayan never created strict physical constraints for the town, he allowed it to form shape with events in the various stories, becoming a reference point for the future. 


Vendor Of Sweets narrated the story of a sweet vendor, Jagan, his business and confrontation with his son who had returned from abroad. The title role was played by Kannada actor, Anant Nag.

Swami and Friends revolves around ten-year old Swaminathan, or Swami as he is known by other characters. Swami portrays the growing pangs of a boy who despises school, as he makes excuses and roams around Malgudi with his friends. Swami's father works in a government office and his mother is a housewife. At home, Swami shares his adventures with his aged granny, who lovingly addresses him as "Chamy." Swami also has two close friends; Mani and the son of the Police Chief Superintendent, Rajam. Swami's character was enacted By Manjunath, a regular feature in many of Shankar Nag directed movies.

The sketches for the serial were done by Narayan's brother and acclaimed cartoonist, R.K. Laxman. Thirty-nine episodes of "Malgudi Days" were telecast on Doordarshan . Subsequently, it was re-telecast on Doordarshan and later on Sony Entertainment Television, and Maa Television in Telugu.

In 2004, the project was revived with film-maker Kavitha Lankesh replacing the late Shankar Nag as director. The new series was telecast from April 26, 2006 on Doordarshan.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Buland Darwaza - Highest Gateway in the World

Buland Darwaza meaning 'high' or 'great' gate in Persian, is the largest of gateways in the world. It is located in Fatehpur Sikri which is located 43 km away from Agra, India. It is also known as the "Gate of Magnificence". The gigantic gateway Buland Darwaza or the Lofty Gate looms over the courtyard of the mosque. It was built by Akbar following his victory in battle in 1573 - when Gujarat fell to him. The walled city of Fatehpur Sikri is dominated by this stupendous structure.

Buland Darwaza erected in 1602 AD as Akbar won over Deccan. The gateway is approached by 42 steps. The Buland Darwaza is 53.63m high and 35 meters wide. Buland Darwaza is the highest gateway in the world and an astounding example of the Mughal architecture. It is built of red sandstone and inlaying of white marble. It is semi octagonal in plan and two smaller triple-storeyed wings on either side. The Buland Darwaza towers above the courtyard of the mosque. There are thirteen smaller domed kiosks on the roof, stylized battlement and small turrets and inlay work of white and black marble. On the outside a long flight of steps sweeps down the hill giving the gateway additional height.

Calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran on its front and pillars and chattris at the top makes the Buland Darwaza a truly impressive sight. Another interesting feature of this magnificent gateway is the inscription etched on it, "The World is but a bridge, pass over but build no houses on it." Attributed to Jesus Christ, this inscription speaks volumes of Emperor Akbar's famed religious tolerance.

This exquisite architectural wonder is really an eye catching view for travelers and tourists, which is visible even from a long distance.

Read More: World's Highest Helipad, World's Highest Battle field, Chail - World's Highest Cricket Ground, Khardung La - World's Highest Motorable Road

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