Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Food for the Mind & Body

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Good food or healthy food is good for the mind and body. It enhances your thinking process, memory and keeps your body fit, supple and active. And this article tells you all about it. This was published a few years ago in  Asian Food Information Centre. It makes interesting reading.

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Have you ever wondered if what you eat affects your mood? Or of your mother’s advice to eat fish because it’s a ‘brain food’ was just a way to get you to clean your plate? With the growing incidence of depression and aging of the’ baby  boomer’ generation, scientists are now looking into the area of diet and brain function.

B Vitamins

A study by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia in women aged 20 to 92 years, found that supplementation with folate and vitamin B 12 improved memory and mental performance in women in their 20s and in those over 65 years of age. Vitamin B 6 (found in soybeans, chicken and bananas) improved word finding ability in women of all ages. The researchers noted that the normal diets of women were low in some of these nutrients. Folate can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, fruits and vegetables while good sources of vitamin B 12 are meat, fish, dairy products and eggs.

It is thought that the B – vitamins may help chemicals involved in thinking and improve blood flow to the brain.

Iron to the rescue

Teenage girls who are having trouble with their schoolwork, are irritable or constantly tired, may find that iron deficiency is their problem. A recent study in the Lancet of 76 teenage girls found that those who took iron supplements for eight weeks did significantly better on verbal and memory  tests than the group that took the placebo. The researchers concluded that even in the absence of anaemia, iron deficiency might impair learning in adolescent females.

Dr. Helman says ‘teenage girls are particularly prone to iron deficiency because they are losing iron rich blood through menstruation, they are losing iron rich blood through menstruation, they are growing fast, and they often don’t eat enough food rich in iron. “Red meat, chicken and fish are all  good sources of iron. “Breads, cereals, vegetables, nuts and eggs contain iron in a less available form but absorption can be boosted by combining them with vitamin C- rich foods such as broccoli or orange juice,” said Dr Helman. Iron  is important in other age groups too; In infants, iron  deficiency is  associated with intellectual and psychomotor impairment such as poor eye-hand coordination. This may  not always be completely reversed when iron status  is corrected.

Iron deficiency in adults can lead to an inability to concentrate, which in turn can hinder verbal learning, memory, mood and energy levels. Tiredness and irritability are both symptoms of iron deficiency. 

Nature’s gift

Benefits of sprouts :  #Sprouts contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against diseases such as pancreatic, colon and leukaemia cancers #Sprouts help increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis #They are helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breast tumours #They help lower bad cholesterol #They contain highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction.

Benefits of tomatoes #Tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and iron #The red pigment in tomatoes called lycopene acts as an antioxidant, neutralising free radicals that can damage cells in the body. Research has also indicated that lycopene can help older people stay active longer #Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes -- coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid also help prevent lung cancer. #While choosing tomatoes, make sure you pick the very red ones as they contain the highest amounts of beta carotene and lycopene #Interestingly, tomatoes hardly loose their nutritional.

Also read: Taste of South India   *  All About Food

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Saturday, 23 January 2021

A journey to Sringeri Mutt

 

Sri Sharadamba Temple, Sringeri

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Sri Sharadamba Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Saraswati in the holy town of Sringeri in Karnataka, India. The Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri (Shringa giri in Sanskrit) is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It housed a sandalwood statue of Shardamba in a standing posture, which was installed by Adi Shankarachaya until the Vijayanagara rulers and Sri Vidyaranya (12th Jagadguru) installed a seated gold statue of Sri Shardamba in the 14th century.

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Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the four mutts established by Adi Shankara in different parts of the country.  The Sringeri Sharada Peetha or Mutt is located South of the Sri Sharadamba temple, across the Tunga river, in Narasimha Vana. A foot bridge, called Vidyatheertha Setu connects the two sides.

Adi Shankaracharya was an Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.

Sri Sharadamba Temple is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi, located in the temple town of Sringeri on the banks of River Tunga. The word Sringeri is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Shrunga giri’ where Shrunga means the apex, peak or summit. It is an 8th-century temple, founded by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. Shankara on his way to propagate Dharma across the country, established four mutts in the four corners of India. They are Badrikasham Jyotirpeetha in North, Dwaraka’s Sharada Peetha in the West, Puri’s Govardhan Peetha in East, and Sringeri Sharada Peetha in South.

The ancient temple of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of Sringeri has a glorious history that begins with the setting up of the Dakshinamnaya Peetham by Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. Originally it was an unpretentious shrine with the statue of Sharada made of sandalwood, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya had a temple built in the Kerala style, with timber and tiled roof. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present gold statue of seated Sri Sharadamba.

Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati raised the present structure in granite with polished granite wall round the sanctum and Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati consecrated the new temple in May 1916. Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha made several improvements in the temple. The Mahamandapam has huge stone pillars exquisitely carved with deities like Durga, Raja Rajeshwari, Dwarapalakas and Devis which are all sculpted according to the Shilpa Sastras practised in Tamilnadu.

The legend of this temple says that Sringeri is a place where Shankara saw a snake cowled as an umbrella to protect a pregnant frog from the hot sun. As a piece of evidence to this, today, one can see a sculpture called Kappe Shankara on the footsteps to the river Tunga.

It is believed that Lord Shiva gave a crystal Chandramouleshwara Linga to Shri Adi Shankaracharya in the form of a blessing. Even today, Chandramouleshwara Pooja is performed to the linga, every night at 8:30. The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Sharadambika who is believed to be an incarnation of Saraswathi, also worshipped as Ubhaya Bharathi. The faith here says that by worshipping Ubhaya Bharathi, one can receive the blessings of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.

The temple is also famous for Aksharabhyasa. It is a sacred ritual followed here where a kids in the age of 2-5 years are initiated to learning.The parents of kids in the age of 2-5years are given a slate and chalk or alternatively, a plate of rice on which they pray to Goddess Saraswati and the Guru to impart good knowledge and education to their children.

Another major attraction of Sringeri temple is its sacred Sringeri Mutt, also referred to as Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham. The mutt follows the practices of Smartha tradition and the head over here is known as Jagadguru. A person who sits in the divine Peetha of Mutt carries the name Shankaracharya as a title.

In the year 1999, the present Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, dedicated to Goddess Sharada a Golden chariot worth Rupees one crore. On the event of golden jubilee Vardhanthi (Birthday) of the Jagadguru, golden doors were installed and inaugurated at the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Sharada temple. The gold covering to the door worth rupees twenty four lakh is a marvelous piece of art. The eight panels have the figures of Ashta Lakshmi inscribed on them.

Sringeri also hosts over 40 temples. The important ones are Stambha Ganapathi, Sri Vidyashankara temple, Janardhan temple, Harihara temple, and Kalabhairava temple to the East. The Vidyashankra temple located next to Sharada temple is a perfect example of architectural marvel. One can see 12 Zodiac pillars inside of it, called as Rishi Stambhas where 12 divisions of the Zodiac are engraved.

The Shringeri Sharada Suprabhatha was adopted by the Shringeri matha in the late 1970s by Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha swamiji. The very famous Sree Sharada Suprabhata Stotram was composed by Veda Brahma. Turuvekere Subrahmanya Vishweshwara Dikshith (also known as Sri. T. S. Vishweshwara Dikshith) for the divine Shringeri Sharada maata (God Mother).

Veda Brahma. T. S. Vishweshwara Dikshith was born in Turuvekere, a small town in Tumkur district, and was the Sanskrit professor in Maharaja College in the Royal kingdom of Mysore and resided at Mysore. He was the Aasthana Vidwan of Alankaara Shasthra of King Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur. Dikshith was a learned Sanskrit scholar in several Vedas (Yajur Veda in particular) and specialised in Ghana Krama — the essence of the Vedas. He composed the Sree Srikanteshwara Suprabhata and Sree Chandramoulishwara Suprabhata of Lord Srikanteshwara of Nanjangud and Sri Chandramoulishwara temple in V. V. Mohalla, Mysore respectively along with Sree Sharada Suprabhatha of Sringeri Sharada Peetham. He was a Ghana Pathi and had mastered several shastras such as Alankara Shastra, Jyothishya Shastra (astrology), Tarka, and Vyakarana (grammar) to name a few. He received several awards and accolades from the Maharaja of Mysore and the pontiffs of Sringeri Sharada Peetham and Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam respectively for his contributions to Sanskrit literature.

Since Sringeri is situated in the heart of Chikmagalur district, it is naturally blessed with rich flora, greenry and water bodies. The nearby attractions are Sirimane falls and Hanumanagundi Falls, a tourist spot. Mangalore is the prominent city close to Sringeri.  Deevotees can easily travel from Mangalore to Sringeri. Distance between Mangalore and Sringeri by road is about 108 km. The nearest airport is Bajpe in Mangalore. Tourist taxis are available and it takes about two-three hours to reach this place.

Also read: Mangaladevi Temple  *   Dharmashtala

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Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Beach destinations in West Coast of India

When you think of popular beaches in India, immediately Goa comes to your mind. When it comes to the west coast of India, or for that matter, India itself, the first beach destination most people or tourists think of is Goa! Though very well-developed and extremely popular, Goa is not the only beach destination along the Arabian Sea. Here, we present a few amazing beaches you need to plan a visit, which are as good as, if not better than Goa. And some tourists have already discovered  the beauty of some of these beaches, especially Gokarn and other beachs in Kerala. It has already started attacting local and foreign tourists who have heard or read about them in different states on the west coast of India.

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No doubt Goa is famous for its popular beaches - Calangute Beach, Baga Beach, Colvabeach, Candolim, Arambol, Anjuna Beach, Palolem, Vagator beach and many more. When you think of Goa, you think of sandy beaches, amazing parties, beautiful little villages, delicious food, and a magical holiday experience. Yes, Goa is rightfully known as the most popular tourist destination on the west coast of India, and not just because of its scenic beaches, but also because of its tropical climate and its rich Portuguese heritage, which you can still find lingering on in some parts of the town. Nestled in the Konkan coastal belt, Goa has a coastline stretching for over a 100 kilometres, and attracts millions of visitors both from within and outside the country all year round. Best time to visit Goa is: October to March.

But apart from Goa there are many more beautiful beaches on the west coast of India, right from Gujarat coast down to Maharastra, Karnataka up to Kerala coast. Some are stretches of clean  virgin beaches yet to be fully developed and explored. Listed below are some of the beautiful beaches which many people are not aware but would love to spend the holidays there.

Gujarat:

Somnath Beach

Many people know about Somanath, but not th other attractions. Somnath is famous for its Jyotirlinga temple and is located on the western coast of Gujarat. The beach is very pleasant and beautiful. The water here is stormy but clear and the whole beach is devoid of shade. Nonetheless, you will always find it pleasant here, owing to the breezy air. At low tides, there are some natural Shiva lingas that can be spotted amidst the waves. Sit back and enjoy a different moods of the sea! Head to the famed Somnath Mandir and enjoy the sights of the waves hitting this gorgeous temple.

Dwarka Beach

Near Dwarka in Gujarat is Dwarka beach.Though a pilgrimage center, Dwarka offers a beautiful, scenic beach for its travellers. The water here is generally quite calm and the beach is frequented by beautiful white birds! The beach is highly popular not only for its beauty but also for the Jagat Mandir or Dwarkadheesh temple that is located closely. This beach gains major popularity among tourists due to its mesmerizing marine life. It is extremely usual to spot octopus, urchins, sea turtles, jelly fishes and dolphins on your tour around the beach. Apart from these, you can indulge in an adventurous fun time by enjoying activities such as scuba diving and swimming at Dwarka beach.

Visitors can tour around the beach and visit temples such as Dwarkadhish temple, Rukmini temple and others. Head to the little island here, full of coral reefs. Try some dolphin spotting here. It’s also known for water sports, relaxation, scenic beauty and tourist spots.

Ghogla Beach – Golden Sand Beach

This is popularly referred to as Golden sand beach on th Arabian sea. If you talk about beauty, this is one of the most attractive beaches. Located in the north of Diu town, it easily manages to catch the attention of many people. It specially caters to the crowd who prefers to stay aloof from the bustling crowd. The beach is a complete package with eatery places located nearby for the convenience of the tourists. In addition to these, water sports too make way for an exciting attraction in Ghogla Beach.

Porbandar Beach

The beach, also known as Willingdon Marina Beach is a popular beach in Gujarat. Nestled between Veraval and Dwarka, this is an ideal place to relax and watch the waves swing by. This beach is also one of the most favourite spots in the morning and evening among the locals. While visiting the place, do not forget to visit Huzur Palace, which is one of the most eminent tourist sports located on Porbandar beach. The ancient seawall majestically remains one of the most impressive backdrops for the beach. Visit Sudama, Lord Krishna’s best friend’s childhood place.

Kutch – Mandvi

Mandvi beach is situated in the Kutch district and is also a widely popular beach among tourists. This beach comprises of beautiful golden yellow sand which presents a striking colour and looks wonderful in contrast to the emerald waters that lash out at the shores. Earlier a ship-building hub, it is now a well developed tourist place with lots of beach activities and spa facilities. Enjoy a relaxed picnic here, while watching the windmills and sipping a cup of tea. Apart from experiencing its beauty, you can also indulge in a wide range of water sports such as speed boating, surfing, skiing, water scooting, parasailing and paragliding. This ample water sports opportunity is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your partner or close friends .Visit the private beach of the ex-ruler of Mandvi, the Maharao (king) of Kutch and get a taste of this new beach destination. Visit Vijay Vilas Palace nearby and take camel rides on the beach. Moreover, the beach lies near to city centre hence can be reached easily with the help of an auto, cab or rickshaw.


 Daman & Diu

 Devka Beach  

Mirasol Lake Garden  Lighthouse, Daman - This beach is a pure sight of sheer beauty. Similar to other beaches in Daman, this too is a beauty and un-spoilt. This place has clean blue waters along with well maintained shores offering all. A special Amusement park located nearby is a major attraction among tourists that comprises of a play area for kids along with fountains. The cool beaches, greenery, scenic natural beauty and most of all, the easy availability of cheap liquor makes Daman a popular destination among youths and even as a getaway for those in Gujarat. Best time to visit: October to April.

Nagoa Beach

This is a marvellous beach in the little town of Diu. Fringed by palm trees and surrounded by white sand, the beach offers water sports and is safe for sea bathing. Located near the port of Veraval, Diu is a small island which was earlier a Portuguese colony, and is now guarded by beaches all around. Attracts tourists from India and abroad. Best time to visit: July to March. Camel rides on this beach are quite popular!

Maharastra

Manori Beach  

Popular for Global Vippasanna Pagoda and  beach parties, Manori beach, located near Mumbai, along with Gorai beach is a growing favourite among back packers and people who just want to cross over to th island to exprience the peace and calm of the country side for a while and relaxing th mind, body and soul. One can visit this place throughout the year. Stressed with city life, this place provides peace of mind and helps one to recharge.

Tarkarli, Malvan & Devbag Beach 

Tarkarli is famous for its long and narrow stretch of beach, with its pristine water, white sand, and of course Singhudurg, Maharashtra's popular sea fort. If you're prepared to travel the distance, you'll be amply rewarded when you visit these beaches. The area is reminiscent of Goa decades ago before development set in. Its narrow, palm-fringed roads are lined with village homes, and locals can often be seen unhurriedly cycling or walking to get around. The many beachfront homestays and guesthouses make it an appealing and inexpensive area to stay. Plus, the opulent new all-villa Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg provides a luxury accommodation option. The serenity of the beaches is preserved by the fact that water sports take place on a nearby island. Sindhudurg Fort is an attraction, along with the best snorkeling and scuba diving off the Indian mainland. Best time to visit: October to March. Distance from Mumbai is pproximately 500 kilometers.

Harihareshwar Beach 

Surrounded by four hills and with river Savitri flowing through the town, Harihareshwar is famous for its temple of Lord Harihareshwar and is a popular weekend beach destination especially for people in Mumbai and Pune. Many people head to Harihareshwar, neighboring Shrivardhan, to visit its Shiva temple that houses an ancient Shiva linga. There's a pradakshina route around the temple, along the seashore. A rocky surface, accessible only during low tide, makes the beach particularly distinctive. The beach is actually split into two parts, north and south of the temple. Best time to visit: October to March. Distance from Mumbai is approximately 210 kilometers.

Alibaug

A popular beach get-away for people in Mumbai and Pune, this is possibly one of the most developed beach in this area. There are plenty of restaurants, resorts and hotels on the beach. The peculiarity as well as highlight of this beach is the black sand that lines its shores. Alibaug (also spelled Alibag) is a sought-after weekend destination for Mumbai residents. Many of the city's rich and famous own bungalows there. The town was established in the 17th century and has quite an extensive history. There are numerous old forts, churches, synagogues, and temples all waiting to be explored. The main beach at Alibaug isn't very appealing though, so most people head to the surrounding beaches. There are all kinds of accommodations ranging from resorts to simple guesthouses.

A little coastal town tucked away in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Alibaug is a very popular weekend getaway holiday destination and has earned itself the name of 'mini-Goa', owing to the high tourist footfall all year round. Steeped in colonial history, Alibaug is a quaint little town located about 110 kilometres from Mumbai, and is replete with sandy beaches, clean unpolluted air and plenty of forts and temples, ensuring that despite being a small town, you never run out of activities to do. Best time to visit: November to March.

Kashid

Kashid beach on the Konkan stretch, is around 50 kms from Alibaug. This is a clean and pristine beach that is safe for sea bathing. There are quite a few stay options around the beach and plenty of tourist attractions like the Nawab’s Palace and Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary nearby. A Beach town, popular for its white sand and blue seas situated in Konkan region of Maharashtra, Kashid is the perfect destination for a quiet weekend getaway from Mumbai. Best time to visit: October to March. Don’t miss to see the Murud-Janjira sea fort , a few kilometers, away from the beach. You can go right upto and inside the fort!

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Karnataka

Om Beach

Shaped like the om sign, this rocky beach in Gokarna is home to various Yoga practitioners. Along th beach, pretty shacks and resorts are located on the beach that make for a nice and comfortable stay. It’s popular among local and foreign tourists. Now tourists being aware of these virgin beaches and pristine waters are coming to enjoy and explore this quiet place far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Many tourists who visited Goa now come here to be away from the crowds.

Kudlee Beach

This wonderful one km-long sweep of golden-white sand sheltered by a pair of steep-sided promontories is now punctuated by around fifteen restaurants-cum-hut ventures and one proper hotel. This is the longest and broadest of Gokarna’s beaches, and with decent surf too, though the water can be dangerous.  But the view is fantastic with clear water and white sand all along the length of the beach.

Rabindranath Tagore Beach

This is the main beach in Karwar town, 50 kms before Goa. This beach hosts a small Aquarium and a Naval Museum. Safe for some sea bathing, plenty of water sports like Kayaking, Banana Boat rides etc. are available here. Take a trip to the Kurumgad Island, a 45 minutes boat ride from the beach!

Murudeshwar Beach

The beach is a jumping off point for Netrani Islands for scuba diving. But if you’re less adventurous, then the larger than life Shiva statue on the banks, a local market and a temple are the highlights. The Mangalore and Hubli airports are the closest, though overnight buses are available from major towns in Karnataka.Best time to visit: November to February in the cooler months

Kapu Beach

Locally pronounced as Kaapoo, this beach is sandwiched by the Arabian Sea and the bustling Udipi town. A lone lighthouse and a small park below make for a stunning foreground to the sea. Kapu beach is near Udupi and is very popular with the students of Manipal. A virgin beach, this one is ideal for relaxation. Enjoy nature’s bountiful sights here. There are a few restaurants where you can sample local food. Climb up the lighthouse for a beautiful view of the entire beach. Mangalore is the closest airport to Udipi. Overnight trains and buses from major south Indian cities are available. Best time to visit: October to February. Boat rides and dolphin watching is available here.

Ullal, Mangalore

If you’re looking to escape the city for a few hours, then head out to the village of Ullal, where a long sandy beach stretches for kilometres, backed by wispy fir trees. It’s a deservedly popular place for a stroll, particularly in the evening when Mangaloreans come out to watch the sunset, but a strong waves and under currents makes swimming difficult, and at times unsafe. It has a reputation for being dangerous because of th strong, high and wild waves hitting the coastline.

Kerala

Kovalam Beach

If you want action, you'll definitely find it at Kovalam Beach, the most popular and most developed beach in Kerala. Often compared to Goa's Calangute and Baga beaches, Kovalam is located not far from the capital, it’s about 16 kms  Thiruvanthapuram. It's actually made up of two main coves—Hawa (also referred to as Eve's Beach) and Lighthouse Beach. Lighthouse is the biggest and busiest of the two, with its promenade lined with open-air restaurants. Kovalam is a popular surfing destination in India. If you'd prefer somewhere a little more secluded, you'll find nearby Samudra Beach to be a better option. Popular with honeymooners, this beach has quite a few good hotels and resorts to stay in. Plenty of restaurants around the beach ensure you get to sample some delicious Kerala food! Try out the famed Kerala Ayurvedic Massage whilst here.

Varkala Beach

Among all the beachs in Kerala,Varkala Beach is the pick of the beaches in Kerala, in terms of ambiance and facilities. Although more and more tourists are flocking there every year, it's still less crowded than Kovalam. The scenery here is striking. The beach lies at the bottom of a long stretch of cliff that's bordered by beach shacks and shops. You can stay right on the cliff, overlooking the ocean, or set back from it. It's incredibly romantic! Lots of young foreigners and couples enjoy this beach.

Bekal Beach

Bekal Beach, in far North Kerala, approximatly 90-minute drive from Mangalore airport in Karnataka, is a popular beach and also famous for its old fort—one of the largest forts in Kerala. The beaches are clean and unspoiled, but luxury hotels have already started moving into the area, making it the place for a pampered getaway. The most popular resort is the gorgeous Taj Vivanta. The secluded LaLiT Resort and Spa Bekal is located on a private beach with backwaters running through it. However, it's more pricey as compared to other hotels.


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