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God’s Own Country Turns 61!

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Here are 61 fun and interesting facts on Kerala

Text Credits : Alisha Moosa 

1.As the myth goes, it was Parasurama behind the origin of our God’s very own country – Kerala .

2.He apparently threw his battle axe into the sea and thus the land (that is: Kerala) arose from the sea. (Cue the dramatic music)

3.Kerala is derived from the word ‘Kera’ meaning coconut (stop giggling!) Hence Kerala translates to be ‘Land of Coconuts’ – What a surprise!

4.People in Kerala are known as Malayalis , which has been shortened to Mallus (only we get to call each other that)

5.We don’t speak ‘Malayalee’ we speak Malayalam.

6.Did you know the Hornbill is the state bird of Kerala? (I thought it was the CROW)

Image source

7.The Elephant is the state animal as this animal has been an integral part of Kerala’s culture since ancient.

8.The state fish – Karimeen – is one of the most eaten fishes in the land.

9.Jackfruit is apparently the state fruit of Kerala. Oh boy! A jack fruit a day will surely not keep a doctor away (especially if one falls on your head)

10.Cassia Fistula is the state flower also known as the Indian laburnum, also known as rain tree or golden tree . It simple terms ‘ Kanikonna ‘.

11.Kerala is a land of Coconut trees ergo the state tree is… (no points for guessing this one)

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12.The first state in india to hit the highest rate in literacy. [ proud moment ]

13.Us Malayalis are expected to have the highest life expectancy rate.

14.Who run the world ,Girls. Kerala is the highest in the female to male ratio.

15.Ayurveda is the cure to all diseases is Kerala. It is still followed as the medical treatment of choice.

16.Kerala is considered to be the cleanest state in India .

17.Every village is Kerala has a hospital and banking facility .

18.Kerala is the most baby friendly state as the infant mortality rates are the least.

19.And the ‘ Spice Coast of India ‘ awards goes to Kerala

20.When it comes to a party, Kerala is the best state to surely host it. as you know we are state with highest consumption of booze (twice the national average)

21.We also have got our first female lady appointed in a Bevco in Kerala (last week)

22.We have newspapers published in 9 languages across the state

23.The world’s first teak plantation was created in Kerala by the British.

24.Kerala is declared as one of the 10 paradises of the world by National Geographic

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25.The richest temple in the world is situated in Trivandrum , Kerala. The Paddmanabhaswamy temple.

26.The Kerala Tourism website is the number one tourism website in India (hoot hoot)

27.It is said we are one amongst those cities who celebrate the highest number of festivals.

28.Kochi Muzris Biennele is India first ever International art exhibition to be held in Kochi, Kerala (and also one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art in this part of the world)

29.The only drive- in – beach is India is located in Kannur, Kerala .

30.India is the 4th largest rubber producing in the country, Kerala has to major hand in it by contributing more than 91%

31.The first mosque in India was built in Kerala , The Cheraman Juma Masjid ,Thrissur.

32.Kerala had the first ever church in india built in Thrissur

33.The first ever technology park in India was built in the capital of Kerala

34.A.R Rahmans first film score is in Malayalam

35.“My dear Kutichathan” produced in Kerala, was the first 3D film EVER made

36.Moustache among malayali men is an all time in vogue in Kerala

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37.One of the most googled tourist spots in India

38.Kochi, Kerala is the only two tier city to have a metro rail

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39.A State that knows how to enjoy licking their hands after a meal

40.Miss India 2008 was a malayali – Parvathy Omanakuttan

41.One of the most celebrated hairstylist Ambika Pillai is a Malayalli

42.Jacqueline Fernandes favourite makeup artist is a malayali, Shaan

43.Rasool Pookuty the only malayali to win an Oscar

44.Jimmiki Kammal is the first malayalam song to get over 40 million views on youtube

45.Some of the most popular Stand up comedians in India today are Malayalis – Kenny Sebastian, Abhish Mathew and Naveen Richards

46.Onam is the most popular festival in the state

onam

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47.We celebrate the visit of Mahabali from the netherworld (? Underworld? Purgatory? – someone please tell us what Paathalam is. And no, we don’t mean that place in Eloor)

48.A woman adorned with an ethnic Kerala saree is referred as a Malayalee Manga

49.Pulimurgan is Kerala’s first Malayali movie to cross Rs.100crores collection

50.Beef and Parotta unites every politician in the state to stand as one

Beef and Parotta

Image source

51.Never before has the world seen a mass migration of people from on geographical location to another location – We’re referring to the Malayali’s exodus to the Gulf (also known as Gelf)

52.The state is known for some of the best ‘troll groups ‘ on social media.

53.Rice is the staple food of all Malayalis – but also kappa and meen curry – and puttu kadala.

54.Most households will have a subscription for the Magazine ‘Vanitha’ .

55.Kerala is a mixture of different faiths and cultures – we are home to 28 different ethnic communities.

56.Malayalis are open to Hartals for everything and anything

57.Toddy is the regional alcoholic drink if Kerala – apart from Rum.

58.If you ever visit kerala, Mundu is a must have item clothing in your suitcase while returning

59.Kerala is the home of every Varghese, Mathew, Francis and Chacko that you probably know.

60.FWD Life is Kochi,Kerala’s first english luxury premium magazine, subscribe – and we’ll send you a free pazhampozhi – banana fry. (#just)

Image source

61.Kerala celebrates its 61st birthday today

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERALA

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Travel

Pushkar: A kaleidoscope of emotions

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Akash Mehrotra from the blog Hand of Colors recounts his vivid experience of the Pushkar fair

Words and photographs by Akash Mehrotra

Pushkar had been hanging in my thoughts like a dream since long. The very idea of camels and traders journeying across the vast deserts of Rajasthan since time immemorial to meet, socialize, and trade; had aroused an inkling in me to experience it. I wished to wrap myself with such moments, a complete teleportation from the urbane life to a rustic one, from economy that survives on cars to one where camels form an integral part.
Pushkar has a magnetism of its own – it’s very unlike the way one imagines Rajasthan. Fair or not, it will never cease to sweep you off its feet. The antiquity of the town is inspiring. The everyday world of Pushkar does more than inspire and encourage well-being, it makes the routine seem novel.

I was in Pushkar at the most appropriate time. Everywhere I turned, I could hear music, see a riot of colours, feel the exuberance, and sense Pushkar’s ability to engage with tourists pouring in from across the world. And then there were the rustic hues of herders and their camels, trekking athwart the deserts.

The Pushkar fair

In the long evenings of autumn, when the moon starts its journey for the brightest night of the year, tribes from all over Rajasthan stream out onto the arid and stubbly fields of bajra, thickets, scrubs, and deserts, trudging with their beasts. Draped in turbans, they travel in rivulets of kaleidoscopic caravans. The women of the tribes are not far behind, clothed in their gypsy bright skirts swaying in autumn winds like daffodils, bright silver jewellery rivalling the smoldering sun, and sporting a big bright bindi on their forehead. And at a certain distance are scattered groups of travellers, some from different corners of the country and more from abroad. The annual animal fair has transformed into something far bigger, engaging and inviting.
Pushkar has grown, both as a colourful animal fair and an international tourist destination. While traders throng here to trade cattle, sheep, camels and thoroughbred horses; families, separated by miles, find it a common place to exchange greetings; and for tourists, it’s an escape from their urban world with a great deal of craft shopping and café hopping.

Looking forward

The day started early for us. The central area of the fair was crowded with visitors thronging the shops and eateries, while the herders and traders took the plains, focusing on their business. The colonisation of backpackers have made this a model town: a place created by and for the tourists, with multi-cuisine eateries, chic cafes, schools of yoga, massage, Indian music and dance, shops selling herbal cosmetics, perfumes and the clothing that characterises the backpacker diaspora. And it’s all there, shops feasting with colourful textiles, silver jewellery and crafts, town lost in backpacker’s thoughtless party reverie, locals engrossed in their daily chores playfully mixed with spiritual detours, houses with open courtyards with murals to keep you on click frenzy mode, nomads exhibiting their ravishing dreadlocks and loincloths and a gastronomic culture that has evolved due to mixing of myriad of cultures and aspirations. And as you wander in the narrow lanes of the town, these images turn clearer. The rooftops of medieval buildings with exquisite jharokhas have been turned into cafes, offering new vignettes of the lake with its ghats and the sprawl of temples and the town around the sacred lake. Some ancient courtyards have been turned into meditation centres. The key is to have enough time on hand, to pencil in such moments, after all everything in Pushkar moves at its own leisurely pace. From temple to temple, take your time to discover the cultural and spiritual nuances of the place.

The divine in Pushkar

In the evenings, as the sun slips into the valleys, the lake comes alive with the flickering of the lamps during the scenic aarti. The Pushkar Fair ends on a full moon night, and thankfully, I was there to bear witness to his heavenly spectacle. The ambience with lights twinkling in the twilight was ethereal. Drumbeats, clash of cymbals and chiming of bells herald the aarti on the final day i.e. on Purnima (full moon). Lamps are lit and placed all around the Ghat. I had seen its jamboree, its gay abandon, the way it has engaged with all cultures and left a part of it in them, and the way it has shaped itself to be a hot tourist destination.
Apart from all the spiritual, culinary, musical, and shopping adventures, you can hire a bike and go to Ratnagiri Hill for sublime views of the sunset over the lake. Take a one and a half hour hike up to Savitri Devi Temple from where the sky appears a fabulous canvass of delight most times of the year.

 

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Health

Take some tips from the world’s happiest man about happiness

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Learn the art of being happy and how it takes only 15 minutes of your time, from Matthieu Ricard

Text Credit: Shibul Pavithran 

Matthieu Ricard, a 71-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk, has been hailed as the ‘world’s happiest man’ by scientists. Born in France, he grew up in an intellectual atmosphere – his father was a renowned philosopher and his mother a painter. Ricard went on to earn a Ph.D degree in molecular genetics, but left it all to become a monk in the Himalayas. And has been practicing meditation everyday from the age of 20.

He participated in a 12-year-long brain study that was conducted by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin. The study’s focus was on the positive effects of meditation and compassion on the brain, and it was found that when Ricard meditated, his brain felt exceptionally light.

Image Source:

Take out 15 minutes from the day, sit down alone, and think happy thoughts. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Just train your mind to not think of sad or negative thoughts during this time. Consciously, focus on positive thoughts. It might be difficult in the beginning but gradually you can train your mind as you want. Nobody is an expert, when they start.. all good things take time.

This sounds oh-so-simple that we just might be tempted to dismiss it as one of these preachy mantras we all hear often but don’t have the time and patience to. Our mind is so preoccupied with a zillion things that we may find it easy to order a pizza but wouldn’t find 15 minutes for ourselves, so that we can be happy. After running on routines for sometime, our mind becomes fearful of experimentation. That’s the cause and culture of conditioning that we suffer from. Note: It is a self made condition.

 Image Source:

Training the mind is a very easy task, if you really try 

The human mind is a wonderful organ. It has limitless potential and is much stronger than we think it to be. It is possible to train it to do anything, even be happy. Matthieu says, “With mental training, we can always bring our level of happiness to a different level It’s like running. If I train, I might run a marathon. I might not become an Olympic champion, but there is a huge difference between training and not training. So why should that not apply to the mind?… There is a view that benevolence, attention, emotional balance and resilience are skills that can be trained. So if you put them all together, you could say that happiness is a skill that can be trained.”

Have a look at what Matthieu had to say when asked about happiness…

 

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Living

Its time for Pot-Anjali

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Baba Ramdev wants legalization of marijuana. Patanjali Cannabis?

Text Credit: Shibul Pavithran 

 

Never did we imagine we would find the words ‘Patanjali’ and ‘cannabis’ in the same sentence. Until now! In a country like ours where even the mere mention of weed and marijuana is enough to make some people feel awkward, the legalization of it seems way too far-fetched. But strangely, Baba Ramdev’s ‘Patanjali’ is making efforts towards the same and trying to make most of our population’s dreams come true. There have been been many issues which have been bouncing up and down in our country nowadays, like controversial movies, National Anthem, Beef-love/hate and many more. But ‘Pot-Anjali’ is definitely going to have some mixed reactions from the public. With a huge population of youth in the country using marijuana, Baba Ramdev is surely going to hit the market immensely. Patanjali’s is India’s highest selling consumer goods makers and their last year’s turn over was a whooping 10,561 crores.

It was only last year that India handed out the first ever license to grow and study the medicinal properties of cannabis was granted to the Council of Scientific and Medical Research (CSIR), in partnership with Mumbai-based firm, The Bombay Hemp Company. The research aims to study the many purposes medicinal marijuana could serve in the treatment of epilepsy and cancer — a notion often contested globally. Co-founder of The Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), Avnish Pandya, stated specifically, “It won’t be raw cannabis; it will be an actual product in the form of extracts, pills and patches.”

Image Source: Acharya Balkrishna

Now Patanjali is pushing for the same. Acharya Balkrishna, CEO of Patanjali, has voiced his opinion on the matter before, noting that by criminalizing marijuana, the nation was being denied ‘a full-fledged business opportunity’. In an  interview with Quartz,Balkrishna said, “In ayurveda, since ancient times, parts of cannabis (hemp), for instance, have been used for medicinal purposes. So, we are looking at various formulations. We should ponder over the benefits and positive uses of the cannabis plant.” He went on to list how the seeds of the plant were useful, the fibre could be used for clothes and so on; the only issue is with the toxic part known as THC — Tetrahydrocannabinol, the element inducing the high often experienced due to consumption of marijuana.

 

But before you get all excited and hope that you’ll soon be able to get your hands on ‘Patanjali Stash’ in the market, then we hate to break it to you that it won’t really give you the ‘high’ that you crave. ‘Toxic parts’ like THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol will be removed from the cannabis oil to make it fit for medicinal use.

via GIPHY

 

Nevertheles we are happy to see that the country is finally making some efforts to give the positive aspect of cannabis a chance. Who knows, it might even prove to be a boon for the country’s economy.

 

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