Saturday, August 29, 2009

Deepest "Step Well" of the world - Chand Baori

In the village Abhaneri near Jaipur in Rajasthan, state of India you can find Chand Baori, a famous step well of the world. Chand Baori was built in 9th century by the King Raja Chand . This main features of the Chand Baori step well are

  • 35 m wide each side 
  • steps follows from the top to the bottom making it possible to draw water from the well from any height. 
  • CandChand Baori has 13 stories, 3500 narrow steps and is 100 feet deep. 
  • This step well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and 
  • deepest and largest "step well" of the world.

Abhaneri is a small town village, situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Agra road. The place is popular for the amazing 'Baoris' (step wells) and Harshat Mata Temple. Originally Abhaneri was named as Abha Nagri, which means the city of brightness, but due to mispronunciation of the term, it is changed to the present name.The village Abhaneri is believed to be built by the King Raja Chand and at present this city has many ruins of past. Temple of goddess is also present adjacent to the Chand Baori step well and is one of the attraction for tourists visiting Rajasthan.

Abhaneri is prominent for 'Baoris', which are the unique invention of the natives for harvesting rain water. Amongst the other step wells, Chand Baori is the most popular one. The huge tank with delicate carvings is certainly delightful to the eyes. 

These big tanks were used as cool places of resort and water reservoir in parched days. It was a ritual to wash hands and feet before visiting the temple. Adjoining the Chand Baori, there is a temple, dedicated to Harshat Mata. This temple serves as the other tourist attraction of Abhaneri. Raised during the 10th century, the wrecks of the temple still boast of the architectural and sculptural styles of ancient India. 

Harshat Mata is considered to be the goddess of joy and happiness. As per the beliefs, the goddess is always cheerful, who imparts her joy and happiness to the whole village. 

Legends say that ghosts build it in one night and that it has so many steps to make it impossible for someone to retrieve a coin once it’s been dropped in the well.

More articles to read - 

Varanasi - oldest city of the world

Akshardham - World's Largest Hindu Temple

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and Jantar Mantar

Sunday, August 16, 2009

World's oldest dam - Grand Anicut Dam

The Grand Anicut, also known as the Kallanai, is an ancient dam built on the Kaveri River near Tirchi in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It was built by the Chola king Karikalan around the 2nd Century BC and is considered one of the oldest water-diversion or water-regulator structures in the world, still in use.

The Kallanai is a massive dam of unhewn stone, 329 metres (1,080 ft) long and 20 metres (60 ft) wide, across the main stream of the Kaveri. The purpose of the dam was to divert the waters of the Kaveri across the fertile Delta region for irrigation via canals. So well built was the Anicut that Arthur Cotton, arguably the most famous civil engineer in the history of the British raj, admitted that he used its design for 19th century irrigation works on the same river system. Cotton’s improvement to the dam makes the Grand Anicut the oldest functioning irrigation works in the world.

The area irrigated by the ancient irrigation network of which the dam was the centrepiece was 69,000 acres (280 square kilometres). By the early 20th century the irrigated area had been increased to about 1,000,000 acres (4,000 square kilometres).

The Cauvery river branch here into the Kollidam and this is perhaps the beginning of the Cauvery delta. A visit to this place puts in perspective the great engineering feats by the ancients still standing testimony to a glorious tradition. That a structure can last a full 1000 years and be still performing is amazing. When the gates are opened the fishermen gather in a collective and spread their nets for a harvest. Curious onlookers watch the proceedings.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

World's Highest Helipad

The helipad is a helicopter landing pad, a landing area for helicopters. Though helicopters can usually land anywhere preferably flat (they can land on quite a slope), a fabricated helipad provides a clearly marked hard surface away from obstacles where a helicopter can land. Helipads are usually constructed out of concrete and are marked with a circle and/or a letter "H", so as to be visible from the air. Landing pads may also be constructed in extreme conditions like on frozen ice. The world's highest helipad, built by India, is located in the Siachen Glacier at a height of 21,000 feet (6400 m) above the sea level.

At 6,300 meters (20,700 feet) India controls these breathless heights at an estimated cost of up to $1 million a day and is reluctant to back off for fear Pakistan might walk in.

Yet there is no doubt the logistical and physical challenge of supplying troops at sub-zero conditions beggars belief.

The cost of supplies is a hundred times more expensive than on a normal battlefield, and India’s paying platinum rates to airlift human feces. Instead it could have bought fourteen Russian aircraft carriers. Supplying troops with a loaf of bread costs India two rupees (four U.S. cents) in the plains and 200 rupees on Siachen because it has to be taken by helicopter.

Not any ordinary helicopter but India's Indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) that can generate lift in the extremely thin air at this altitude. The rotor blade and gearbox operate at maximum speed and pitch-angle. The engine’s maximum jet pipe temperature limits the available power. Sudden & sharp high altitude mountain gust put extreme stress on the rotor blade, lack of depth perception due to whiteout condition. Oxygen required in non-pressurized pilot cabin.

Toothpaste freezes in its tube, speech can be blurred, frostbite and chilblains are common and plummeting temperatures can leave scores dead. At these dizzying heights, breathing can also be a huge effort and many soldiers suffer from high-altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema, headaches and hypertension.

Related Article: World's Highest Battle-field

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mawsynram-Wettest Place in the World

Mawsynram is a village in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya state in north-eastern India, 56 kilometers from Shillong. It is reportedly the wettest place on Earth, with an annual rainfall of 11,872 mm (about 39 feet), but since it has no meteorological department in the area, Cherrapunji is still officially considered the place recording world’s highest rainfall.

Based on the data of a recent few decades, Mawsynram located about 9 km west of Cherrapunji in the state of Meghalaya (India) appears to be the wettest place in the world or the place with the highest average annual rainfall. Mawsynram, receives nearly 12 m of rain in an average year, and a vast majority of it falls during the monsoon months (June to September).

Three reasons can be cited for high rainfall at Mawsynram:

1. The warm moist winds of the northward-moving air from the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon, which cover an extensive area but are forced to converge into the narrower zone over the Khasi Hills, thus concentrating their moisture.

2. The alignment of the Khasi Hills (east to west) places them directly in the path of the airflow from the Bay of Bengal, producing a significant uplift (plus cooling, further condensation and thus more rain).

3. Finally, uplift over the Khasi Hills is virtually continuous in the monsoon period because the lifted air is constantly being pulled up by vigorous winds in the upper atmosphere, hence the rainfall is more or less continuous.

Being one of the well known spots of Meghalaya, Mawsynram is frequented by nature lovers enjoying a walk by its steep and down sliding slopes, breathing in the fresh air, loving the clear blue sky, the wind that brushes their face, catching glimpses of the mountain birds and the nearly deafening sound of the roaring waterfalls.

One of the known caves of Mawsynram is the Mawjymbuin cave. Years of weathering due to dripping of mineralized solutions and deposition of calcium carbonate has given rise to some spectacular stalagmites, which are study of great interest for the geologists.

This beautiful land of abundant natural beauty has immense tourist attraction. The ethnic tribes, their habitat, arts and handicrafts that form their culture attract many.

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