Tag Archives: PM Narendra Modi

Election Bugle 2024


March 2, 2023, was another such day when people were hooked to news channels as results for NE states – Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland were to be declared. For the first time, I noticed such hysteria and anxiety over NE results when the entire nation wanted to know.

Northeast India (officially the North Eastern Region (NER)) is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political-administrative division of the country. It comprises eight states—Arunachal Pradesh, AssamManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagaland and Tripura (commonly known as the “Seven Sisters”), and the “brother” state Sikkim.

Results did not deviate much as anticipated, Congress went downhill in these hilly states, and BJPs rise & shine as per guesstimate, owing to the infrastructure development done in this challenging terrain. Moreover, bringing NE into the mainstream, which the Centre has been striving for, has been well recognized and rewarded with this massive win.

BJP, which was a non-entity in NE for so long, made inroads in the hearts of the people of NE with PM crossing half a century through his visits to these neglected states. Modi blew the 2024 election bugle with his address yesterday after the result from BJP Headquarters in New Delhi amidst the huge presence of karyakartas from all over. His address was full of josh! Through his address, PM Modi delivered one of the best punch lines: Now, North East is neither far from Dilli nor Dil…

PM Modi’s magic worked in this tough terrain for the party. He praised the hard work put in by all Karyakartas and particularly of the Northeast. BJPs victory in Tripura for the second time marks the popularity of the Government’s beneficial schemes which helped BJP win supporters even among those who did not support it then.

Winning the three NE states reinforces BJPs continuing ascendancy and marks another boost for its efforts to emerge as a party with a countrywide presence. Now, with Karnataka and Rajasthan elections on the scene, BJP is again busy strategizing, masterminding, and delivering!

Attributing the win to Triveni which drives BJPs success, the PM said:

  1. The work of BJP Governments
  2. The working style of the BJP
  3. The Karyakartas of the Saffron Party

Quite upbeat with the results, where BJP scored 3/3 by keeping Nagaland, Tripura and reuniting with Meghalaya ally, BJP’s Josh is High!  

The stage has been set, still, Dilli is door for all political parties as no one knows which voter will swing in which direction. The opposition, not only needs to unite but also strategize well to counter BJP in the 2024 elections.


In the final count:

NDPP won 25 seats, BJP won 12

Putting the only pre-poll alliance in the state in a position to comfortably form the next government. This also marks an improvement in the alliance’s performance since the last election, when the two parties jointly won 29 constituencies.

Follow my blog for such updates!

Modhera’s Sun Temple shines bright!

This Sunday, October 9, 2022, news channels were agog with 3-D light & sound show at Modhera’s Sun Temple in the Mehsana district of Gujarat. It was a real pleasure to watch TV channels for once.

Earlier during the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji performed Darshan and Pooja at the Modheshwari Mata Temple, then went to Surya Mandir. The Mandir premises came alive with vibrant lighting and sound show interspersed with a cultural program, making the whole atmosphere radiant.

The exclusively carved temple complex and the magnificently sculpted kund are jewels in the art of masonry of the Solanki period apparently which was also known as the Golden Age of Gujarat. You can savour your voyage through time to the magnificent aeons of the Golden period as you get welcomed personally by the life-like icons, narrating stories and legends of Modhera.

The Sun Temple of Modhera is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukyas dynasty. No worship is offered now and is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The temple complex has three components: hamanapa, the shrine hall; Sabhamanapa, the assembly hall, and Kuna, the reservoir. The halls have intricately carved exteriors and pillars. The reservoir has steps to reach the bottom and numerous small shrines.

A bit more about Modhera Sun Temple: As one traverses the length and breadth of Gujarat, one constantly stumbles across architectural legacies of the ‘Solanki’ rule. You keep coming across, living spaces and monuments of another time, offering an eclectic glimpse of the artistic and ingenious beauty that makes this state exotically vibrant.

A soothing drive amidst green farmlands just 25 km away from Mehsana on the way to the temples of goddess Bahucharaji reposes the village of Modhera. Set along the backdrop of River Pushpavati, surrounded by a terra-formed garden of flowering trees and songs of birds, rests the famed Sun temple of Modhera.

As you relax and soothe your nerves, become one with nature and open your mind to the poetry in stone, dedicated to the sun god, living glimpses of the era far elapsed emerge out of the intricacies of narrative sculptures. The remains of the Sun Temples at Modhera are relics of times gone by when reverence of the natural elements fire, air, earth, water, and sky were at their peak sharing space with myriad manifestations of Vedic gods.

The ancient philosophy venerating natural elements and their association with humans was considered the prime force and energy of the life cycle. A walk around the serene temple campus makes you aware of the positively strong aura of energy that the place radiates and through it brings one closer to the environs.

Modhera, India’s first village with continuous solar power, embodies PM’s ambition for solarizing the town of sun temples. The project comprises establishing a ground-mounted solar power facility as well as more than 1300 rooftop solar systems on homes and government structures, all of which are connected to battery energy storage devices.

The project will showcase how India’s expertise in renewable energy can empower people at the grassroots.

“We won’t be paying for power anymore; instead, we’ll sell it and make money off of it,” declared Prime Minister Modi speaking on the occasion. Residents used to get power from the government; however, with the installation of solar panels, people will now be able to generate their electricity.

This empowering move made by the Prime Minister further instils India’s ability to grow and develop the nation in accordance with sustainable and future alternatives to power which not only helps the people but also aids in environmental causes for the future generations to seek an example out of.

Certainly, it will be another feather in the tourism cap of Gujarat and Gujarat Tourism has added attraction to attract tourists to the state.

Courtesy: India Today

From “Dressing Up” to “Writing Down” – Hail the power of “HAND” Looms!


“We need to make our handloom tradition the centrepiece of fashion for India and the world” – PM Narendra Modi

Circa 2015, Date August 7: For the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first National Handloom Day, a day marked to honour and revive the roots of handlooms. The objective was to stay connected with our roots we must help revive and give a boost to the skills of those who are part of the handloom industry. National Handloom Day is one of the ways to facilitate the same, which also helps in promoting the socio-economic development of the country.

August 7 was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government.

How can I not celebrate this “special day” as a handloom/ handicraft buff? My love for handlooms is well-known. It is difficult to recollect, how & why I got attached to handlooms, that I made it ‘the’ wear as daily wear and even a special occasion choice for so many years. Still, after stressing my brain quite a bit, I could recollect that as a little girl, I accompanied my mother to CoOptex showroom in Tagore Garden (ND) for her saree choices. Even then, my mummy used to ask for my choice, which is practice till now. The showroom was quite big, spacious with a very beautiful & courteous sales girl who gave me a toffee (Chocolate – not in my vocabulary then) whenever I visited.

My mother, her mother (Naaniji) had a huge collection of handloom sarees not only for special occasions but also for daily wear – handwoven Khadi and crisp cottons for summers and smooth hand-woven silks for winters. While growing up, this was the pattern we followed for our wardrobes, till I moved to Mumbai, where this classification was almost non-existent. More so, ladies hardly knew about Chanderi Sarees, Bhagalpuri Sarees, Baluchari Sarees, Tussar Silk, Kosa Silks, Jamadani, Mekhla, Dhakai, Ikats, Sambhalpuri, Kanjeeverams or Bengal taant. What to say of different weaves, warp and weft, vegetable dyes, looms etc.

Their knowledge was restricted to Benarasi Shalu, Paithani and Bandhani…

It was quite difficult to find Khadi Kurtas of my choice until I discovered Khadi Gramodyog in Fort area, though it doesn’t have a great collection. On my regular trips to Delhi, I always make it a point to visit Khadi Gramodyog in Connaught Place and Dilli Haat for my fill. For saree shopping for mummy especially, it was Emporia at Baba Kharag Singh Marg. Oh yes, the showroom of UP Handlooms and Sewa were other favourite places to shop for sarees. My love for handloom sarees merits another story…probably some other time!

In Mumbai, handlooms and handicrafts took a break from my life…however, everybody in office marvelled for my Khadi love, they use to tease me: Are you from a family of Netas? I always took pride in my choice of wearing khadi/handloom and I could see ladies turning green even in their most expensive outfits. This is the might and pride of Khadi in my life! Gifting Khadi kurta is another aspect of my life…

Rajasthani Crinkled Skirt

Tussar Silk from Utkalika

Not only here, but I have also picked up handicrafts from every country I have visited, as a memoir, not wasting my money on watches, gold, lipsticks, jewellery, gadgets etc. (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, London, Toronto etc.) In India, Jaipur and Bhuj are my favourite destinations to shop for handicrafts.

My interest got revived when accidentally I visited a Handloom/ Handicraft exhibition close to my place in Borivali (Sahara Handicraft Fair) and I was like: OMG such wonderful handicraft under a single roof! I remember shopping to my heart’s content of my favourite things like: Benarasi Stoles, Dupattas, Lucknowi Chikan Kurtas, Mirror Work Jackets, Jamdani Sarees, Leather wallets, Jholas and other nitty-gritty. More so, I loved watching them making stuff by hand there and spent considerable time. (My folks think I am mad).

Since then it became a regular feature to visit the exhibition which was a bi-annual feature. I think it is in my DNA to appreciate anything made by hand, so most of the things in the house were handmade like chairs from Saharanpur and usage of Khurja Potteries in the kitchen.

Time passed and my focus shifted from “Dressing Up” to “Writing Down” …it was then I started reading about Indian Handlooms / Handicrafts. This is the first piece on handlooms though. Hope I have done justice to the same.

Here I would like to mention about Manjula Jagatramka ji who is doing a great job of the revival of Indian Handicrafts through Vaitarna.

So, coming back, Handlooms in India have emerged as the largest cottage industry in the country. The weavers create products by using natural fibres such as cotton, silk and wool and a quarter of the country’s population is involved in keeping this unique and indigenous practice alive.

Handloom / Handicrafts is one of the most vibrant aspects of the Indian cultural heritage and they are known for flexibility, versatility and innovativeness. Every design is unique, treated and produced differently, there cannot be a replica of one another as we see on machines. The skill here is passed from one generation to another but now with the Government’s emphasis there are many centres and institutions which teach about handicrafts and these are quite popular amongst youngsters.

It is heartening to note that 95% of the handlooms to the world are catered to by India but there is a lot more which needs to be done, though the road is rough and the journey is arduous.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”  – Robert Frost

Mirror Work Duppatta from Law Garden Ahmadabad

National Handloom Day is the right step in the direction.

PM Modi features in Man Vs Wild on Discovery Channel, one of its kind adventure travails!

A few days ago, a video suddenly caught my fancy, especially as a travel – blogger and the one who watches Modiji’s activities closely, where he was shown with Bear Grylls, do I know about him?  I thought he was the one who shot one such documentary with the U.S. President Barack Obama, and all of us thought to wish we had such a cool head of state. Indeed, today we have one!  He is the one who thinks innovatively to serve the cause of the nation be it of environment conservation or education of girl child. He has his plate full. I noticed PM Modi in a never seen before avatar in this highly viral documentary. Like you all, my curiosity also grew and tried to find more on this!

So for the first time, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be featured on the popular TV show Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls, the show’s host.

He posted a teaser clip and wrote, “People across 180 countries will get to see the unknown side of PM @narendramodi as he ventures into Indian wilderness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change.

Mark your calendar to Catch Man Vs Wild with PM Modi @DiscoveryIN on August 12 @ 9 PM. 

Modiji is known for being media savvy and using new avenues to reach out to the younger generation. This video can be seen as his latest gesture in this regard. The video shows dark forests, unexplored flora and fauna and tigers in all its wilderness!

As per a statement released by the makers of the show, Modi said, “For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it.”

He added, “For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India’s rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. It was a great experience spending time in the jungle once again, this time with Bear, who is blessed with indefatigable energy and quest to experience nature at its purest.”

Bear Grylls also talked about the episode and said, “It is such a privilege to be taking Prime Minister Modi on an adventure into the Indian wilderness and I feel truly honoured to get to spend time with this remarkable world leader. The wild reminds us that we need each other and that together we are stronger. I am so excited to spend time with the PM and to get to know the man who leads this great nation.”

The show is known for its host Bear Grylls’ survival techniques in extreme conditions and his love for flora and fauna. In the 45-second teaser video, a voiceover introduces Modi as the head of the largest democracy in the world.

It further shows Modi welcoming Grylls in India, and then taking a trip to the interiors of India together. At one point in the video, Grylls gives Modi a jacket to keep him safe.

The video promises a fun ride into the diverse wildlife of India and how to reach there through different means.

Who is Bear Grylls?

Edward Michael Grylls OBE (born 7 June 1974), better known as Bear Grylls, is a British former SAS serviceman, survival instructor, and honorary lieutenant-colonel, and, outside his military career, an adventurer, writer, television presenter and businessman. He is widely known for his television series Man vs. Wild (2006–2011), originally titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls for the United Kingdom release. Grylls is also involved in a number of wilderness survival television series in the UK and US. In July 2009, Grylls was appointed the youngest-ever Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories at age 35, a post he has held for a second term since 2015.

Do I need to write anything about Modiji? Not at all! He is the world’s most talked about, written about and most followed leader on social media & he is our Prime Minister.


On Saturday Modiji launched #MainBhiChowkidar campaign, as soon as I watched the video I was like WOW! And couldn’t stop sharing since. Every Indian must watch. What a way to counter Congress’s narrative on Chowkidar and highly regressive and distasteful – Chowkidar Chor Hai! Looks like it is bound to resonate with Indian public, especially with people who want to see Modiji winning rather sweeping 2019.

PM Modi expressed beautifully in his tweet while sharing the video that every conscious citizen of the country is Chowkidar, we all are Chowkidars in our respective fields. People immediately started responding with their selfies/photographs/ posters and their interests and contributions in respective fields on social media. People are proudly saying #MainBhiChowkidar. After closely watching so many elections, I have never seen such great connection with the concept after “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” which has celebrities (though it was not for elections), whereas this has aam janta.

PM added, every Indian who is fighting corruption, dirt or any other social evil is a Chowkidar. Everyone working hard for the progress of the country is Chowkidar. Which Indian would not say #MainBhiChowkidar.

The campaign also drives the narrative of PM’s strong and decisive image which is coming up as a very strong point in the coming elections.

The video has anthem style which is melodiously rendered, doesn’t shout out loud – Vote for Modiji – rather it effectively conveys – Vote for the country – Vote for yourself – Vote for your children – Vote for your future. What could have been a better way of communicating than this?

Video urges people to join PM on March 31, for a program titled Main Bhi Chowkidar where he will interact with people across the country for the pledge BJP has leveraged, a unique tech innovation called conversation cards. People have started getting a personal message from PM when they take a pledge.

#MainBhiChowkidar has resonated well with the public in no time.

I personally have contributed to the cause of the country without ever making a big noise about it. I have never taken a bribe, never bribed anyone, tagged authorities and made them act for the garbage heaps, distributed saplings to thousands of people in Schools and Colleges. Associated with Dadar Beach clean up the program. Taken a keen interest in activities of the Government in last five years and have used my social media handles to the full potential to support Modiji.

RAGA’s Chowkidar Chor Hai and Rafale Rafale Rafale and Saboot, Saboot, Saboot have fallen flat, nobody seems to be believing him, though he tried very hard.

Look forward that how Congress counters this campaign, probably with #MainBhiPappu (Due apologies to all the Pappus)

Watch Mile Sur Mera Tumhara for sheer nostalgia as it has been a part of our gowing up years…



Kumbh Mela: To witness the world’s biggest congregation of humanity

After the tumultuous year 2018, people are hoping big for peace, harmony & spirituality for the year 2019, as it is starting with the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019, going to be held at Allahabad (Prayag) from January 14th – March 4th, 2019. According to estimates, the Kumbh Mela 2019 would have more than 12 crore pilgrims drawing in for the bathing ritual held in Allahabad.

With PM Narendra Modi performing the Maha Aarti on Sangam Ghat and announcing the prarambh of Ardh Kumbh along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath, this year Kumbh is unquestionably the most anticipated event of the Year 2019. Massive preparations are underway to provide bhakts with never before experienced. In the words of Yogi Adityanath, “ With Kumbh (Ardha Kumbh) Mela due in Prayag in January 2019, the preparations are afoot to host an expected 12 crore visitors. Inviting one and all to be a part of the Mela. He informed about the world-class arrangements of the Kumbh Mela, and of cleanliness. He added, “I promise, you will not find any dirt in the venue, which we have expanded to 10,000 acres from 5,000 acres. Also, this time, the Kumbh Mela will have more cultural attractions than ever before.”

Going by the arrangements put in by the Yogi Government this Kumbh, it is going to be a big tourist attraction for Indian & Foreign Nationals besides being Spiritual, Cultural and Religious experience which comprises its core. The major attractions being Shahi Snan, Sangam Walk and Laser Show etc. Not only this, the Centre has plans to start airboat service from Varanasi to Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela as per the announcement made by Central Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari recently. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is arranging for a ferry service near Sangam Ghat as well.

Noted film producer Subhash Ghai upheld the Kumbh Mela as an inspiration for all artists. “As artists, we get inspired by history, our epics, our puranic sanskritis and give this punarjivan in our own ways. We consider the age-old Kumbh tradition that was mentioned as early as in the 7th century by Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, as a great pride of India. I hope by taking part in the Kumbh Mela, this unique gathering of humans focused on soul and world peace alone, we will give more power to this wonderful tradition.”

The Royal Bath or the Shahi Snan or the Rajyogi Snan is the first holy bath that is taken by Nagas, followed by saints and sages of different Akharas (religious groups) in the Sangam. Millions of pilgrims follow these saints and sages down onto the river; the Nagas take the lead.

The organisers have left no stone unturned to make Kumbh Mela as women-friendly as possible with sensitisation training and the establishment of separate ghat among other measures. The Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute (GBPSSI) at Prayagraj is training about 8500 police personnel and additional 9000 paramilitaries on gender, cultural and linguistic dialect sensitization. In another first at the Kumbh, women – only ghat is being constructed.

The city of Prayagraj will host its first Kumbh in January 2019 after its recent rechristening. Kumbh Mela 2019 promises to be a grand spiritual event in which millions will throng from around the world at the holy confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.

It is believed that the Kumbh Mela starts when astrological positions of Sun, Moon and Jupiter are fully occupied. This is considered a holy time in the Hindu religion. Prayagraj is connected by air to several domestic destinations. The airport is at Bamrauli and is 12 km away from the city centre. The city has four major railway stations namely Allahabad Junction, Prayag Station, City Station at Rambagh and Daraganj Station. Prayagraj is well connected by road as well.

Millions of people visit Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the city expects 15 crore visitors during Kumbh Mela 2019. Peshwai is one of the attractions of the Kumbh Mela. Peshwai marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela and is a marvellous procession. Holy men and their entourage arrive at the Kumbh on elephants, horses and in carriages.

Uttar Pradesh government is organising Sangam Walk for the tourists visiting the city for Kumbh Mela. A laser-light show will be one of the attractions this year. The show will be held at Allahabad Fort.

Indian, as well as foreign nationals from abroad, are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela. Heads of foreign missions in India were invited by the government to observe the preparations at the site Kumbh Mela.

This is the first time that about 1500 cameras would capture images and videos across the city. This would enable organisers to understand crowd behaviour and pedestrian’s movement which is very critical handle crowds of this scale.

Plan your visit in advance for that unique spiritual experience!

Inputs: News 18 and ET


Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity: The Tallest, The Grandest!

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Sardar Patel Statue TODAY   (31st October 2018) – The Statue of Unity, the one to have laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013 as Gujarat CM. Besides PM Modi, Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states are expected to attend the gala event. Gujarat has the rare honour of possessing the competitor to Global Icon (The Statue of Liberty) – The Statue of Unity! This will attract reverse tourism as Gujaratis based in the U.S. will visit as tourists whereas till now Gujaratis loved to visit the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. – their favourite. Owing to its unique features, it is certain to attract tourist from all over the world.

Sardar Patel is renowned as the architect of independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one great Republic of India. Shri Narendra Modi decided to pay the honourable tribute which will be cherished for centuries by the whole world and it will become a matter of pride for every Indian for this great man. Built in less than five years, it is the world’s tallest, grandest and giant statue. It is a tribute to the man who united India, Sardar Patel.

The Statue of Unity is a monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Vallabhbhai Patel located in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft).  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Government of Gujarat for its construction and the outreach programme was carried out across India starting December 2013.

Initially, the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹3,001 crore (US$420 million) by the Government of India. Later Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. The construction was started on 31 October 2013 and completed in mid-October 2018. It will be inaugurated on 31 October 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The monument statue represents the Indian independence movement leader and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is constructed facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet. The total height of the statue from its base will be 240-metre consisting base level of 58 metres and statue of 182 metres. It is constructed with steel framing, reinforced cement concrete and bronze cladding.  The statue needed 75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 tonnes of steel structure, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel rods, 22,500 tonnes of bronze sheets for construction. In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes is being constructed.

The Statue of Unity is designed as a naturalistic and historically accurate representation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing characteristic garments, in a walking stance.

The project includes:

  • Bronze cladding on the Statue.
  • Fast elevators to reduce transit time for visitors.
  • The three-level base of the Statue: exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof – will contain a Memorial Garden and a large continuous museum/exhibition hall, comprising exhibits that focus on the life and contributions of Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from the river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors with a panoramic view, enabling them to see the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir.
  • Access to the Statue via a 5 km boat ride.
  • A large canopied public plaza, overlooking the Narmada River and the Statue, comprising food stalls, gift shops, retail kiosks and other amenities.
  • The Gujarat government has plans to build a Shreshtha Bharat Complex near the Statue of Unity which will house Bhavans of different states. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has approached all state governments for setting up their respective Bhavans at the site.

Indeed Statue of Unity has much more to offer than meets the eye. The closest station and airport would be Vadodara which is some 90 Km away and travel time by road would be 2.5 hours followed by a boat ride of 5 Kms.

I am all set to visit, are you?

I would be visiting both most loved statues – The Statue of Liberty & The Statue of Unity in the same year – 2019! Isn’t it something unique!!

Swacch Ghar Abhiyan with Royale Atmos by Asian Paints!

I have always believed in the dictum: Cleanliness is next to Godliness!

As a true Blue Mumbaikar, I always wondered why Mumbai is so polluted, so dirty, ugly sights, garbage dumps, dirty platforms, railway tracks, iconic Gateway of India, lovely Juhu beach full of trash…what not which are immensely contributing to the pollution in our lives. Ironically, we lived with them since, but kept our own houses clean (Really?). Truly inspired by PM Narendra Modi’s campaign, Swacch Bharat, Shrestha Bharat, I started contributing towards cleanliness of the aamchi Mumbai, by taking on social media with élan and tagging MCGM and Govt. of Maharashtra, who promptly acted on my tweets and made those places garbage free.

Going by that, I have always kept my house and surroundings spic and span, which as a writer have immensely contributed to my blogging and other creative sojourns, till…hold on…

I always believed that my house is almost pollution free as it is cleaned and dusted every day properly and I was quite happy about it, till I saw…

…Beautiful Deepika Padukone in a mask in Asian Paints Royale Atmos commercial tip-toeing us in her celebrity life, but making a shocking revelation – – Indoors are 5X more polluted than outdoors!

How come I never thought about it? But could not restrain for long…

I list here Pollution Causing Culprits inside the home:

  1. Smoker husband, though he keeps exhaust fan on, yes, it is causing pollution
  2. House being on roadside, vehicles emissions quietly enter, without me knowing about it
  3. Chimney in the kitchen, which takes out some and brings in some emissions from outside
  4. Dirty Footwear which we park inside the home
  5. Sanitary Napkins disposal methodology
  6. Painting the walls after a gap of two years which unknowingly accumulates host of dust
  7. Carpets in all the rooms which are vacuum cleaned once a month
  8. Curtains in the rooms which are washed occasionally
  9. Dirt in the corners, which house help avoids
  10. Outside Grills & nets, which accumulate outside dirt

I am very happy that now we have an effective ammunition to fight all this and more…

…Royale Atmos by Asian Paints is a first of its kind paint that not only looks beautiful but also cleans the air making it purer than before. It’s Activated Carbon technology reduces harmful pollutants from the air. Additionally, Royale Atmos also absorbs and reduces select foul smells to make the air fresher. Royale Atmos is the first Asian Paints product to have a fragrance, instead of the normal chemical smell of paints. Thus, it also acts like an air freshener by releasing a mild fragrance week after painting.

Prominent features:

Reduces indoor air pollutant: It reduces a harmful air pollutant, formaldehyde, and makes the indoor air healthier to breathe.

Releases fragrance: It emits a soothing fresh fragrance.

Green assure: The promise of Green Assure from Asian Paints, implies that this product conforms to strict international environmental and safety standards.

Teflon™ surface protector: Fortifies your walls against tough stains, increases durability and reinforces the strength of the paint film. Comparable to the best interior emulsions across the world, it protects your walls against the toughest household and water based stains.

Smooth matt finish: It comes in a rich Matt finish which makes your walls look perfect.

Few tips to ensure clean air inside your homes #CleanAirBeautifulHomes

  1. Festive season is on us, get your walls painted with Asian Paints Royal Atmos as a booster shot for Pollution free home: https://www.indiblogger.in/drive/royale-atmos-paint-purifies-air
  2. https://www.asianpaints.com/product/royale.royale-atmos.html
  3. Wash your bedsheets and upholstery regularly
  4. Vacuum Clean the carpets regularly
  5. Get Sanitary Napkins disposal bins in your washrooms
  6. Wash outside grills, nets etc with piped water once a week
  7. Remove grease oil dirt from fans, ACs, Chimney and exhaust fans
  8. Clean footwear outside homes before parking them inside
  9. Not to smoke, chew tobacco etc. inside the house
  10. Get your gadgets serviced from time to time
  11. Have indoor plants which not only provide fragrance but also add to positively inside your home sweet home

What are you thinking, pick – up the shade card of Asian Paints Royale Atmos and get ready to paint your home which will not only keep you Pollution Free but will add to your HAPPINESS QUOTIENT as well.

Loving the product, loving the commercial – hail this initiative of Asian Paints and thank them for contributing towards our healthy and long life, what else do we want?

Kedarnath: Holy abode of Lord Shiva – The Protector, the Destroyer!

Recently PM Narendra Modi offered prayers at Kedarnath temple, the sacred Himalayan Shrine located on Garhwal Himalayan Range near Mandakini River in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. You must be wondering am I following PM? Ah! Yes, though unintentional. His trips are as exceptional as he himself is. His visits take us to various unthinkable destinations which are great enough to generate big curiosity. I personally like to explore places, but it is not possible most of the times, so the best thing is to follow PM and write and spread awareness about those places. The destination of this is week is Kedarnath – where PM paid obeisance as soon as its doors opened after six-month-long winter break.

Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindus. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector, and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions – love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through various forms. The shrine of Kedarnath is very scenically placed and is surrounded by lofty, snow – covered mountains, and during summer grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Kedar dome peak, which can be sighted from great distances. The sight of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is simply enthralling.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritiya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshiped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kedarnath, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, the historical name of the region.

All of us remember Kedarnath to be the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas, and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any “major” damage, apart from a few cracks on one side of the four walls which was caused by the flowing debris from the higher mountains. A large rock among the debris acted as a barrier, protecting the temple from the flood. The surrounding premises and other buildings in the market area were heavily damaged.

The unstable temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service are available to reach the structure. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram.

Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is one of the four major sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas. This temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.

The presiding image of Kedarnath in the form of lingam is or irregular shape with a pedestal 3.6 m (12 ft) in circumference and 3.6 m (12 ft) in height. There is a small pillared hall in front of the temple, that has images of Parvathi and of the five Pandava princes. There are five temples around namely Badari-year, Madhya Maheswara, Tunganatha, Rudra Nath and Kallesvara. The first hall inside Kedarnath Temple contains statues of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva and Virabhadra, one of the guards of Shiva. Statue of Draupadi and other deities are also installed in the main hall.  An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved in the triangular stone fascia. Such a head is seen carved in another temple nearby constructed on the site where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was held. Adi Shankara was believed to have revived this temple, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand; he is believed to have attained Mahasamadhi at Kedarnath. Behind the temple is the samādhi mandir of Adi Sankara.

The temple, at a height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), 223 km from Rishikesh, on the shores of Mandakini river, a tributary of Ganga, is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date. The structure is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century CE when Adi Shankara visited. The present structure is on a site adjacent to where Pandavas are believed to have built the temple. It has one Garbhagriha and a Mandapa and stands on a plateau surrounded by snow clad mountain and glaciers. In front of the temple, directly opposite to the inner shrine, is a Nandi statue carved out of the rock.

You can reach Kedarnath from Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun which is located 260 Km, whereas nearest railhead is at Rishikesh 243 km. Kedarnath is well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.

The ideal time or peak season to go to Char Dham Yatra is from May – October, except monsoons, this is because all the four sacred sites are parched in Garhwal Himalaya, which is prone to heavy rainfall.


PM’s visit to Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

On Saturday, April 14 almost all the News Channels were running clippings of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The detour of Lingaraja temple by Modiji along with temple priests and his entourage generated my excitement in the temple, though I am not a temple person per se, but Lingaraja temple looked very unique and antique. The architecture is timeless and feeling of being there…just divine!  Honestly, I had never heard about this temple before… but if Modiji is visiting the place, then it must be truly special & indeed it is special!

To curb my curiosity about the temple, I dug deep into it to know more about the Lingraj temple which I would like to share with the readers.

Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and Vishnu and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha. The temple is the most prominent landmark of the Bhubaneswar city and one of the major tourist attractions of the state.

The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft (55 m) tall. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar. The temple is believed to be built by the kings of the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namelyVimana (a structure containing the sanctum), Jagamohana (assembly hall), Natamandira (festival hall) and Boga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor. The temple complex has 50 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.

Bhubaneswar is called the Ekamra Kshetra as the deity of Lingaraj was originally under a mango tree (Ekamra) as noted in Ekamra Purana, a 13th-century Sanskrit treatise. The temple is active in worship practices, unlike most other temples in Bhubaneswar and Shiva is worshiped as Harihara, a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. The temple has images of Vishnu, possibly because of the rising prominence of Jagannath sect emanating from the Ganga rulers who built the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century.

Lingaraja temple is maintained by the Temple Trust Board and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The temple has an average of 6,000 visitors per day and receives lakhs of visitors during festivals. Shivaratri festival is the major festival celebrated in the temple and event during 2012 witnessed 200,000 visitors.

The Lingaraj temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. James Fergusson (1808–86), a noted critic and historian rated the temple as “one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India”. It is enshrined within a spacious compound wall of laterite measuring 520 ft (160 m) by 465 ft (142 m). The wall is 7.5 ft (2.3 m) thick and surmounted by a plain slant coping. Alongside the inner face of the boundary wall, there is a terrace to protect the compound wall against outside aggression. The tower is 45.11 m (148.0 ft) high and the complex has 150 smaller shrines in its spacious courtyard. Each inch of the 55 m (180 ft) tall tower is sculpted. The door at the gate of the entrance porch is made of sandalwood.

PM also visited the temple of Goddess Bhubaneswari and Parbati before interacting with sevayats and asked about the temple’s history, rituals and architecture. The Prime Minister emphasized the need to keep the temple premises clean and ensure ‘swachhata’ all around.