Monday, August 30, 2010

Corals and deep-sea flora and fauna

Corals and undersea flora and fauna including colourful ornamental fishes

Seen above are some of the wonderful photos of corals and undersea flora and fauna including colorful ornamental fishes, photographed by Dr. P. K. Roy, a professional physician-turned-gifted-photographer. Click on any of the photos above to visit Dr. Roy's collection of works on the photo-sharing site

Corals are saltwater organisms in the class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria, and they live in colonies of many identical individual polyps. This group of corals includes the reef-building corals typically found in oceans in the tropics. They secrete calcium carbonate (CaCo3) to form a hard skeleton, and it is these skeletons that we see most of the time, because, the dead corals form a permanent hard structure and new organisms stick to them further and grow.

Corals are major contributors to coral reefs such as the enormous Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia, and corals found off the coast of Washington State and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. A coral head, which looks like a single organism, is actually a colony of myriad genetically identical polyps, each measuring only a few millimeters in diameter. Over several generations the colony secretes a skeleton. Corals also breed sexually as well as asexually.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hindu temples outside India

Hindu Temple--Mauritius

This is a Hindu Temple, the site of a popular annual pilgrimage in Mauritius.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir - Hindu Temple - Neasden - London

Photo: Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Hindu Temple, Neasden, London

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the focal point of the temple complex, designed according to the Stapatya-Shastra, a Vedic text that develops Hindu architecture to metaphorically represent the different attributes of God. It is constructed mostly from Indian marble, Italian marble and Bulgarian limestone. The marbles and stones were shipped to India where they were sculpted by over 1,500 skilled craftsmen of temple architecture. They were then shipped back to London where the temple was assembled. The Mandir facility contains no iron or steel, a unique feature for a modern building construction in the U.K. Temple is specially noted for its profusely carved cantilevered dome, believed to be the only one in Britain that does not use steel or lead. The Mandir was inaugurated on 20 August 1995 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS, the organization behind the temple.

The Mandir serves as a centre of worship. Directly beneath each of the seven pinnacles seen from the outside is a shrine. Each of these seven shrines houses murtis (idols) within golden altars. Each idol is treated like the incarnation of Godhead and therefore each deity is bathed, clothed, fed, and attended to each day by the sadhus (monks) who live in the temple complex.

Beneath the Mandir, there is the permanent exhibition named 'Understanding Hinduism'. Spread over 3000 square feet, the exhibition deals with the origin, beliefs, glory and contribution of Hindu seers and scholars in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, education and religion. The messages and information are presented through visual effects, paintings, tableaux, traditional art and craft, and 3-D dioramas.

Text extracted from The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir sources.

Hindu Temple at Penang

Photo above: Hindu Temple at Penang, Malaysia

Hindu Temple - Benalmadena

Hindu Temple, Benalmadena, Spain

Hindu Temple, Benalmádena, Costa del Sol, Málaga, Andalusia, South of Spain, Address: Avda. de Gandhi, s/n 29639 Benalmádena (Málaga), Spain.

The temple, located at the Parque de la Paloma (Park of the Dove), has a total area of 1,993 square meters and is single story with five domes. It is a new Hindu temple built probably just before 2006. The deities in the temple are: Laxmi Narayan in the center, Radha and Krishna, Sita, Rama, Laksman and Hanuman, Durga and some others. It is a temple built by ISKCON.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bright Red Rose Flower

Red Rose flower photo taken from Karimanoor, Thodupuzha

Red Rose flower, photo by Bimal K C taken from Karimanoor, Thodupuzha, Kerala, India.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miss Universe 2010: Ushoshi Sengupta fails to make to the top 15

Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta/

Photo: Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta at Miss Universe 2010 contest

Here are the top 15:

Puerto Rico (Mariana Vicente, 21 years, 173 cm/ 5'8" tall)

Ukraine (Anna Poslavska, 23 years, 180 cm/ 5'11" tall)

Mexico (Jimena Navarrete, 22 years, 174 cm/ 5'8" tall)

Belgium (Cilou Annys, 19 years, 178 cm/ 5'10" tall)

Ireland (Rozanna Purcell, 19 years, 175 cm/ 5'9" tall)

South Africa (Nicole Flint, 22 years, 173 cm/ 5'8" tall)

France (Malika Ménard, 23 years, 176 cm/ 5'9" tall)

Australia (Jesinta Campbell, 19 years, 178 cm/ 5'10" tall)

Jamaica (Yendi Phillipps, 24 years, 178 cm/ 5'10" tall)

Russia (Irina Antonenko, 18 years, 178 cm/ 5'10" tall)

Albania (Angela Martini, 24 years, 175 cm/ 5'9" tall)

Colombia (Natalia Navarro, 23 years, 179 cm/ 5'10" tall)

Guatemala (Jessica Scheel, 20 years, 170 cm/ 5'7" tall)

Czech Republic (Jitka Válková, 18 years, 169 cm/ 5'6" tall)

Philippines (Venus Raj, 22 years, 175 cm/ 5'9" tall)

The Top 10 are:







Puerto Rico

South Africa



Top 5 are:

1. Mexico

2. Australia

3. Jamaica

4. Ukraine

5. Philippines

Special awards

Miss Congeniality: Australia - Jesinta Campbell

Miss Photogenic: Thailand - Fonthip Watcharatrakul

Best National Costume: Thailand - Fonthip Watcharatrakul

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Victory Tower at Chittorgarh Fort

Victory Tower or Vijay Stambha at Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan

The Tower of Victory (aka Victory Tower or Vijay Stambha) is an imposing structure located in Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan, India, constructed by King Rana Kumbha, a Rajput belonging to the Sisodia clan, who ruled Mewar in western India between AD 1433 and 1468. Rana Kumbha constructed the Victory Tower between 1442 AD and 1449 AD to commemorate Mewar’s victory over the allied armies of Malwa and Gujarat.

There are about 157 steps leading to the terrace from where one can have a view of Chittorgarh Town and the Chittorgarh Fort. Vijay Stambha, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is 37.19 meters high with 9 stories, built of red sand stone and white marble, is enriched with numerous sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Suchindram Temple, Kanyakumari

Suchindram Temple, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

Suchindram, an important pilgrim centre and the site of the famous Thanumalayan Temple, is situated in Kanniyakumari District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is 11 km from Kanyakumari City, 7 km from Nagarcoil town, 70 km from Tirunelveli and about 85 km from Trivandrum City (Thiruvananthapuram) in Kerala.

An annual 10-day chariot festival is celebrated in Suchindram Temple to commemorate the three deities Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, whose images in their own chariots are taken in procession. The temple is believed to have been constructed between the 17th and 18th centuries, no authentic records show the precise date/period of construction.

Fishing village at Kanya Kumari

A small fishing village at Kanya Kumari, India, with fishermen's catamarans lined up on the beach

This image titled 'A little fishing village at Kanyakumari by Chenresig on Flickr' shows that part of the beach probably not much visited by tourists. Also known as Cape Comerin, it is the southern most tip of peninsular contiguous India, a hot favourite with tourists. Kanyakumari offers the only opportunity in the world to view the sun rising from one sea (The Bay of Bengal) and setting in another sea (The Arabian Sea), and the mighty Indian Ocean in the south of the two seas.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Miss Universe 2010: Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta in swimsuit

Miss Universe 2010: Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta in swimsuit

Ushoshi Sengupta, Miss India 2010, performs in her swimsuit by Dar Be Dar Swimwear during the Presentation Show for the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant at Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday, August 19, 2010. The Miss Universe 2010 competition will air live on the NBC Television Network at 9 PM ET, August 23, 2010. ho/Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP

Munnar Hill Station, Kerala

Munnar Hill Station photo

The note added by the author of this beautiful photo says: "Taken from Munnar, Kerala: One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar (Kerala) is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 M above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar is essentially a tea town."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yash Pal Ghai

Yash Pal Ghai, scholar in constitutional lawYash Pal Ghai born in Nairobi, Kenya (1938) is a scholar in constitutional law. As of 2007 he is the head of the Constitution Advisory Support Unit of the United Nations Development Program in Nepal and a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cambodia on human rights. He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2005. In September 2008, he resigned his post in Cambodia, following bitter arguments with the Government of Cambodia.

He was the Sir YK Pao Professor of Public Law at the University of Hong Kong starting in 1989. He has been an Honorary Professor there since his retirement in 1995. Prior to that, Ghai taught and did research in law at the University of Warwick, Uppsala University in Sweden, the International Legal Center in New York, and Yale Law School. He has also taught courses at the University Of Wisconsin Law School, as part of an exchange program. He was the Chairman of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (which attempted to write a modern constitution for Kenya) from 2000 to 2004.

Ghai has also advised and assisted NGOs in human rights law related work. He drafted the Asian Human Rights Charter - A People's Charter, a project of the Asian Human Rights Commission.

His grandparents came from North India, being parts of the waves of migration sponsored by the British Empire. His earliest memories of Kenya are about racial discrimination and hatred. His father sent Ghai to Oxford to study.

Ghai has written several books on law in Africa, the Pacific islands, and elsewhere.

Source/ for updates go to: Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vel Kavady during Thaipusam festval


94-year-old woman ascends Batu Caves temple steps

A 94-year-old woman ascends the final stairs in the 272-step ascent in the Batu Caves
Hindu Ascent, originally uploaded by Stuck in Customs.

The note added by the author says 'A 94-year-old woman ascends the final stairs in the 272-step ascent in the Batu Caves, a pilgrimage site in Malaysia... Her hair is 3 meters long (about 9 feet). She has never cut it her entire life. It is so long, she has to fold it back and forth a few times and wrap it to keep it from dragging behind.'

Batu Caves Lord Murugan Temple - video

Lord Muruga devotee at Batu Caves

A Lord Muruga devotee at Batu caves shows his bare back where several lemons are hooked on to his skin
P1010171, originally uploaded by tajai.

The photo shows a Lord Muruga devotee at Batu caves, Malaysia, where Thaipusam was celebrated in the temple of Lord Muruga. Watch his bare back where several fruits/vegetables, probably lemons are hung from hooks dug into his body. The Lord Muruga idol here is the tallest Muruga idol in the world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Neptune with a trident


Photo: Neptune (God of the Seas, patron god of Atlantis and fishermen) located at Habana in Cuba

Neptune, the god of water and the sea, in Roman mythology, is a brother of Jupiter and Pluto. Often he is described as God of the seas, storms and earthquakes, symbols of destruction, and he is shown holding a trident.

He is described as analogous with but not identical to God Poseidon of Greek mythology, often imaged according to Hellenistic canons in the Roman mosaics of north Africa (The Roman empire at its golden times covered the whole of North African Mediterranean coastal countries and almost the entire Middle East, including Turkey, Egypt and Israel). Often he was paired with Salacia, the Goddess of the salt water.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chili pepper: Bhut Jolokia?

Photo of a heap of red hot chillies, possibly the Bhut Jolokia or Naga Pepper
pep squad, originally uploaded by lilymox.

From the look of these chili peppers, especially the chocolate-colored ones, it seems these are the hottest chilies in the world, the Bhut Jolokia, often called Naga Jolokia (possibly erroneously) or the ghost chili by the Western media.

The chili pepper (aka Nahuatl chilli, chillie, chili, chile, etc.), a fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, although botanically are berries, peppers are considered vegetables or spices.

In February 2007, Guinness World Records published that the Bhut Jolokia was the hottest chili pepper ever submitted for judgment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snake Charmers in Morocco

Snake charming, a typical performance in which snakes are made to sway or dance, is commonly attributed to India, but it has practiced for several centuries in Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as North African countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Ancient Egypt was home to a kind of snake charming, but the current practice is believed to have originated in India and then spread throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The popular species of snakes are the common snakes found locally, though various varieties of cobras are preferred by snake charmers and their audiences.

In India, the Indian cobra is commonly seen with snake charmers, though some charmers may also use Russell's vipers, Indian and Burmese pythons and some other local species of snakes. In African countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, Egyptian cobras, puff adders, carpet vipers and horned desert vipers are commonly featured in snake charming performances.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kailash Kora: Mount Kailash shining in the morning sun

Mount Kailash (also known as Kailasa Parvata, Kangri Rinpoche, Tise mountain, Gangs Rinpoche, etc.) is a peak in the Gangdise Mountains, a part of the Himalayas in Tibet. The peak is located near Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal in Tibet.

Some of the longest rivers in Asia such as Indus River, Sutlej River (a tributary of Indus River), Brahmaputra River, and Karnali River (a tributary of Ganges River) all originate in Mount Kailash-Lake Manasarovar region.

Mount Kailash is considered a sacred place for pilgrimage by religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the Bon faith. Every year, thousands pilgrims travel to Kailash, a pilgrimage tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of many religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 miles) long.

Mount Kailash is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, restaurants etc. exist there for the pilgrims.

According to Hinduism Lord Shiva resides at the summit of the legendary Kailasa, where he meditates along with his wife Goddess Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya.

Tantric Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash is the home of the Buddha Demchok (Demchog or Chakrasamvara) who represents supreme bliss. There are many sacred sites in the region associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) whose Tantric practices in holy sites around Tibet are credited with establishing Buddhism as the main religion of Tibet in the 7th-8th century AD.

The Bon, a religion and the oldest still-extant spiritual tradition which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintains that the entire mystical region and the nine-story Swastika Mountain are the seat of all spiritual powers.

Following the Chinese army entering Tibet in 1950 and the Sino-Indian War of 1962, pilgrimage to Mount Kailash was stopped from 1954 to 1978. After that, a limited number of Indian pilgrims have been allowed to visit Mount Kailash, under the supervision of the Chinese and Indian governments.