Friday, 27 July 2012

Indian Independence Day.

How does a nation such as Britain whose indigenous written language which developed only in the 9th Century control a country such as India whose written history dates back 4000 years….. or even dream of ruling India’s 200 million population with its meager 16 million in 1850?

How did the British East India Company (which was owned by wealthy merchants and not the British Government) who first landed on Indian shores in Surat in 1608 for trade, manage to take over the entire country for centuries?

Imagine how India would have been if the British with their superior weaponry and obsessive profit-motive had not come to India or had not got the imperial patronage of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for a commercial treaty which infact gave the British a territorial foothold in mainland India for centuries!
Well for one, we would not have had Independence Day which we now celebrate every year on 15th August since 1947!
It was one thing to be subjected to subjugation by foreign traders-turned-tyrants for hundreds of years and it was totally another to volunteer to disintegrate as a nation – partitioning the country of India into three
Since we’ve gotten used to saying ‘past is past’….well past….is past and we commemorate the biggest part of our country’s past in all our futures – the Independence Day.
And while we hoist our flag and raise a toast, we also remember those who gave us this reason to celebrate – our soldiers – our freedom fighters, who were not afraid to bite the bullet.
The 15th of August each year should mean more than just saluting the Indian Flag and singing the National Anthem. It should mean offering condolences to those who have sustained injuries or lost their loved ones to wars. It should mean acknowledging their bravery and sacrifice. It should mean visiting their families who’re left wondering if it was worth the sacrifice. It should mean paying respects to our soldiers.
21 Gun Salute to our Heroes!

Some of the War Memorials that you could visit:
1.    The India Gate – New Delhi – commemorates 90,000 soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Raj in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

2.    Chandigarh War Memorial – Chandigarh, Punjab - commemorates the thousands of Martyrs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

3.    Dras War Memorial – Kargil District, J&K – commemorates 1200 soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil War (Operation Vijay) as well as 1000 soldiers who were wounded and 1000 permanently incapacitated.

4.    Tawang War Memorial – Arunachal Pradesh – commemorates soldiers who lost their lives in 1962 Sino-Indian War.

5.    Anglo-Sikh War Memorial – Firozpur, Punjab – commemorates the hundreds of Punjabi soldiers who lost their lives fighting against the British troops.
6.    Darjeeling War Memorial – Batasia Loop, Darjeeling, WB – commemorates 76 Gorkha soldiers who lost their lives in Operation Pawan; Operation Meghdoot and Operation Rakshak.
7.    Victory War Memorial – Chennai, TN – commemorates soldiers of Chennai presidency who lost their lives in World War II.
8.    Jammu War Memorial – Jammu, J&K.

9.    Dharamshala War Memorial – Himachal Pradesh.

10. AP War Memorial, Parade Grounds, Hyderabad, AP.

11. War Memorial - Brigade Road, Bangalore, Karnataka.

12. Kottayam War Memorial – Kottayam, Kerala.

13. National War Memorial – Pune, Maharashtra.
Some unusual photos of Indian Independence:
Pandit Nehru with Lord Mountbatten on Independence Day in 1947.

The First Prime Minister of India - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gives his first speech holding an Indian Flag on 15 August 1947.

Pix courtesy: indology, post.jagran, sikhphilosophy, freevisuals4u, lazydesis, wikipedia, warbirds, punjabilokvirsa, timescontent, mobile.scrapu, ataworld.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Onam - best time to visit Kerala!

Kerala’s biggest festival – Onam brings 10 solid days of carnivals and celebrations this august. The water channels of Kerala come alive with high-spirited boat races and the main lands with royal marches of caparisoned elephants, music, dance, elaborate ‘onasadya’ meals brightly decorated temples and streets with serial-lights and flowers.

Onam is an ancient harvest festival which also celebrates the monsoons as well as the annual visit of Asura King Mahabali – during whose reign it is said that Kerala flourished. Onam is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-Septermber) and lasts 10 days.
Vallamkali’ or the snake-boat-race is the high-point of Onam where the main boat races are held in a 40-kms stretch on River Pamba – the third longest river of Kerala. Lengthy snake-boats (chundans) which hold fifty oarsmen each participate in ferocious races on all 10 days. These oarsmen not only paddle swiftly in perfect coordination, they also sing in perfect rhythm while they race to win. Each of these race-boats has 150 people aboard of which 125 are oarsmen; 4 are helmsmen and 25 are singers. Vallamkali epitomizes perfect team play and all it takes is one mistake of one oarsman to overturn the boat.

This is also what brings thousands of non-resident Keralites and other tourists to Kerala each year. You will find countless photographers and media perched on the banks of river Pamba struggling to get a clear shot of the racing snake-boats – standing amidst thousands of onlookers who themselves behave boisterously –cheering for the boats.

The rich Kerala cuisine cooked during the Onam days – the ‘Onasadya’ - comprises a lavish 9-course meal of 13 primary dishes - a veritable rainbow of colourful vegetables cooked in fresh and flavourful locally grown ingredients and served in fresh banana leaves. Onasadya is not only a convergence of culinary and cultural influences of centuries; it is also one of the most colourful and attractive displays of food in the world.
‘Onakalikal’ are games played on Onam with great fervor. This is one of the rare occasions where you would get to witness the martial arts of archery (ambeyyal); combat games (kayyankali); kabaddi (kutukutu); mask dances (kummattikali); dancing in tiger-like body-paints (pulikali); folk dances of women (thumbithullal & kayikottikali); and rugged ball games (talappanthukali) among other festivities.

‘Pookalam’ or traditional flower arrangements made on each morning in front of each house during the Onam days is another colourful representation of festivities in Kerala. Comprising 6-10 varieties of flower petals, the pookalam activity is a joyous event among the Kerala women folk all over the state. You would get to see some of the most creative and arty patterns and designs of flowers during Onam.

The dazzling parade of caparisoned elephants amidst incessant fireworks, music and drum roll all day is worth all the struggle of earning one spot among the thousands in the crowd alongside the parade route. More than 100 elephants parade the main streets of all the major towns of Kerala.
The Onam week has also been declared as the Tourism Week by the Kerala government so that other people can visit and enjoy the true essence of Kerala at the right time. And certainly, Onam is the best time of the year to visit Kerala!

Pix courtesy: Indianexpress, timesofindia, keralapix, loadtr, yahoogroups, fanimages, prinjuprasad.blogspot.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Hyderabadi Haleem

After reading my blog ‘A Real Taste of Hyderabad’, I assume your mouth may be watering and you are tempted to try out those dishes. But to try out those authentic delicacies of Hyderabad, you need to visit the city of Nizam’s in this month of Ramadan, which starts from July 20th and will last for a month.

The true flavor of Hyderabad can be experienced in the evenings of this month, when the Muslims break their day long fast with Iftar, which becomes a reason for get together of relatives and friends and if you get an invite for any Iftar, do not miss it, as this is the place where you can savour different delicacies of Hyderabad free of cost. Otherwise do not feel bad, because you will get all these delicacies in different restaurants of Hyderabad and some are world renown for some particular variant.

There are various dishes in Hyderabad which can be relished by the foodies, but this being the holy month of Ramadan, let me give you some information about the dish which is synonymous with Ramadan and that is world famous Hyderabadi Haleem.

Haleem is usually consumed in this month during Iftar, as it is highly nutritious, tasty and above all instant energy giver. The dish is rich in protein and it contains anti-aging ingredients as it is made of meat, lentil, pounded wheat, ghee and different spices. This is usually cooked on a low flame of firewood for nearly 12 hours to make into a thick paste. It is served hot with fried onions, chopped coriander, cashew nuts discs of lemon and slices of boiled egg.

Hyderabadi Haleem was rewarded with Geographical Indication Status in 2010 and this is the first non-vegetarian dish of India to get this status. 

There are innumerable joints in Hyderabad where you can savour this dish in the month Ramadan, but some possess very good ranking among foodies like Pista House, Survy, Hotel Shah Ghouse, Madina Hotel etc.

                            Haleem Joint

Pista House is an ISO 9002 company, which has various outlets in different parts of the city. It has the facility of home delivery to different parts of India as well as to some places of Europe and USA.

Mouth watering! Feeling hungry! So why don't you join me to relish Hyderabadi Haleem here in Hyderabad ? 

Waiting for U!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hyderabad Delicacies

A Real Taste of Hyderabad

Hyderabad, the city of Nizams, comes alive in the month of Ramadan. This year that is 2012, Ramadan will start from July 20th, which will continue for a month. 

In this month of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world fast for the whole day. Before the break of dawn, they have their food and then for the whole day they do not consume anything. They break their day long fast in the evening at sunset mostly with fruits which is followed by dinner known as Iftar, comprising of region’s delicacies.  


Hyderabad is well known for its heritage, hospitality and different delicacies and in the month of Ramadan during iftar, every day these delicacies can be bought from different outlets in the twin city. Or if you become the part of any iftar in the city, you get to taste different dishes free of cost. 

Being in Hyderabad for last 3 years I get to taste these dishes quite often, but these delicacies taste much better during Ramadan. The secret behind this I too don’t know.  So the best time to visit Hyderabad is in the month of Ramadan, when you will get the real flavor of Hyderabad.

Hyderabad is a place of non-vegetarians delight, where you can try different dishes which must not be missed by anyone who visits the city. They are:
1.      Hyderabadi Biryani
2.      Nahari
3.      Haleem
4.      Pathar – Ka – Gosht
5.      Double -  Ka - Meetha
6.      Khubani – Ka – Meetha
7.      Seviyon – Ka – Meetha
8.      Kheer

The most popular and awesome dish of Hyderabad is Hyderabadi Biryani, which is eaten and even taken as a parcel for their dear ones in different parts of India. Cooked in a unique manner, this biryani is a blend of Mughals with a special cooking style of Nizams, which has a very different aroma.

There are many variants of biryani such as Mutton Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Biryani Kham, Biryani Zard and the most exotic one is Joban Malti Biryani, which is made of mutton, partridges and quails with rice.

These biryanis are decoratively garnished with mint leaves, fried onions and boiled eggs. The aroma and appearance of these biryanis will certainly make your mouth water. These are served hot with kuchambar or onion raita( made of curd and onion) and mirchi – ka – salan.

   Hyderabadi Biryani

Another delicacy to be tried is Pathar – Ka – Gosht, which is marinated meat cubes cooked on a hot stone. 

                     Pathar - Ka - Gosht

The most popular and delicious dish of Hyderabad in the month of Ramadan is Haleem, which is a dish made of minced meat cooked with butter and ground wheat. Muslims break their fast with this nutritious and tasty dish. Haleem is so yummy in Hyderabad during Ramadan, that nothing can beat the taste and flavor of this dish.


Another traditional authentic dish of Hyderabad is Nahari also called as Paya. This is a dish made with goat’s foot, which is cooked in a spicy soupy shorba. This is mostly taken with hot parathas or naan in breakfast. Traditionally this dish is served with goat’s tongue and tender part of the head.


After enjoying these hot and tasty delights of Hyderabad, how come one leave the dining space without any desert treat, for which too Hyderabad has got the fame. The deserts like double – ka – meetha, khubani – ka –meetha, seviyan – ka – meetha, and kheer are so deliciously made that without which the Hyderabadi food is incomplete.

Double – Ka – Meetha is prepared with bread, milk, sugar, ghee and nuts.

             Double – Ka - Meetha

Another desert is khubani – ka – meetha, which is made of apricot, sugar and lemon juice. This is garnished with almond and served hot or cold with ice cream or fresh cream.

                     Khubani – Ka – Meetha

The next and very important desert of Muslims, without which no Id is complete, is seviyan – ka – meetha or seviyan. This sweet dish is prepared of fine fried vermicelli, boiled in milk with sugar and garnished with dry fruits.


Being in India, how can I forget to mention about the desert named Kheer, which is considered to be very auspicious in most of the Indian occasions. This dish is prepared with rice, milk, and sugar, flavored with cardamom and garnished with dry fruits.


Feeling hungry? I am sorry I cannot parcel these dishes to you immediately as there is no home delivery facility for the out station people.

But you are missing something which I am enjoying, sitting in one of the restaurants of Hyderabad ….this is so delicious …. yummy yummy.

 For tasting all these delicacies you need to visit Hyderabad, where Nawabi dishes are waiting eagerly for your admiration.

So if you are having little free time, why don’t you join me, to get the real flavor of Hyderabad in this auspicious month of Ramadan?

Bye – Bye!
See you in Hyderabad soon…

 If you want to treat some dear ones with these delicious dishes in Hyderabad, then for more details visit the website   @ Hop Around India