Saturday, January 29, 2011

Visapur Fort ....... Part 1

The forts of Lohgad and Visapur have played an important role in guarding the ancient trade routes and being the savior of Bhaje and Bedse caves. Among them, Lohgad is related to many significant historical events. Much of it is known. Unlike that, much less is known about Visapur. In spite of being a very big fort, protected by a highly impregnable fortification and presence of a large plateau, less is written about it, or much less records could have added to information about it.

Location: Lonavala
Distance from major cities:
Mumbai - 120 km
Pune - 90 km
Lonavala - 10 km
Villages at Foothills: Patan, Bhaje, Lohagadwadi

Lohgad and Visapur lay in Nane Maval. This region came under Nizamshahi after dissolution of Bahmani rule. It went into the hands of Mughals in the treaty of Mahuli, between Shahajiraje and Mughals. Seeing that the Mughals were not able to keep a control over the region, Shivaji Maharaj captured almost all the forts here till 1660. However, he lost the fort again to Mughals in the treaty of Purandar in 1665. However Aurangzeb broke the treaty. In 1682, Shahbuddin, a Mughal Sardar invaded the region, and killed 60 Marathas in an anguish. However Marathas escaped to Visapur. They were chased, but moved in time to the village of Kusapur. On March 4, 1818 Colonel Prother captured Visapur, and the next day Lohgad fell into his hands. The mountain of Visapur is significant, as Bhaje caves have been carved out in the same mountain. The destruction caused by Mughals and English is clearly evident from the injuries on the Bhaje caves. These beautiful caves could have been bombarded by cannon balls, because much of their part has been broken.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ranthambhore National Park ............ Part 1


Ranthambore is considered as one of the best national parks in the world. Here you can see very famous Bengal tigers, many other wild animals and birds

The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve lies in Rajasthan's eastern districts of Sawai Madhopur and Karauli. Chambal river lies on the eastern side of the tiger reserve, at a distance of a few kilometers and the river Banas flows through the reserve. Even though most of the Ranthambhore tiger reserve is open to visitors, most visitors visit only the Ranthambore national park. This is because the national park is the best tiger habitat in the entire Project Tiger reserve and has some fantastic wildlife viewing to offer. All the tiger safaris in Ranthambore are conducted in the national park because this is the only part of the entire Project Tiger reserve that has a healthy and visible population of wild tigers. The other parts of the reserve are not very rich in wildlife, definitely not as rich as the Ranthambore national park.

During the 19th century there was excellent forest cover almost all over India. The population density was very low and exploitation of forests to fulfill local needs was negligible. During that period the forests of Ranthambhore were the private and exclusive hunting reserves of the Jaipur and Karauli royal family.
By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, the need for conservation of forests and wildlife was being felt all over India. The population was growing rapidly and the forests were coming under pressure. The Rajasthan forest Act. was enacted in 1953, giving these forests some legal protection. In 1955, these forests were declared as "Sawai Madhopur sanctuary" and the practice of sale of forest produce through "royalty permits" came to an end. This was when the forests of Ranthambore received their first "real" protection. However, legal hunting continued unabated till 1973 and by then the tiger population was almost totally decimated.

In 1973 a part of this Sawai Madhopur sanctuary came under Project tiger scheme. At that time there were 16 villages inside the sanctuary but between 1976 and 1979, 12 of these villages were shifted outside the sanctuary. In 1980, in order to give greater protection to the forests, an area of 282.03 sq. k.m. of the inner part of Sawai Madhopur sanctuary was declared as national park. Since then the state Government stopped collection of any forest produce from sanctuary and national parks. During the 1970s, tiger sightings were extremely rare in Ranthambhore but by the mid and late 1980s, as a result of the decade long protection given to the forests, Ranthambhore became the best place in the world to see wild tigers. Ranthambhore tiger reserve attained notoriety for illegal poaching of tigers in the year 1992. Since then the forest authorities became very strict and now, generally speaking, poaching is not a serious threat in these forests. Since 1992, the tiger population has gradually recovered and in 2002 the Park boasted of nearly 40 tigers, a density of nearly 10 tigers per 100 square k.m. - which is one of the highest in the world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AroundThe World: BRAZIL ........ Part 3

The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. According to the Köppen system, Brazil hosts five major climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, temperate, and subtropical. The different climatic conditions produce environments ranging from equatorial rain forests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil. Many regions have starkly different micro-climates.

An equatorial climate characterizes much of northern Brazil. There is no real dry season, but there are some variations in the period of the year when most rain falls. Temperatures average 25 °C (77 °F), with more significant temperature variation between night and day than between seasons.
Over central Brazil rainfall is more seasonal, characteristic of a savanna climate. This region is as extensive as the Amazon basin but has a very different climate as it lies farther south at a higher altitude. In the interior northeast, seasonal rainfall is even more extreme. The semiarid climatic region generally receives less than 800 millimetres of rain, most of which generally falls in a period of three to five months of the year and occasionally less than this, creating long periods of drought. Brazil's 1877–78 Grande Seca (Great Drought), the most severe ever recorded in Brazil, caused approximately half a million deaths. The one from 1915 was devastating too.

South of Bahia, near São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, with rain falling throughout the year. The south enjoys temperate conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); winter frosts are quite common, with occasional snowfall in the higher areas.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beautiful Temples Around the World

Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple , Thiruvannamalai, 
Tamil Nadu

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar ThiruKovil, Madurai , Tamil Nadu

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Dakshineswar (near Kolkata), West Bengal

Ganpatipule, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra

Kedarnath temple, Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

Kunkeshwar, Devgad, Maharashtra

Lord Kalabhairaveshwara Temple , Adichunchanagiri Math (95 Km from Bangalore ), Karnataka

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AroundThe World: BRAZIL ........ Part 2

Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and the United States, and third largest in the America; with a total area of 8,514,876.599 square kilometers, including 55,455 square kilometers of water. It spans three time zones; from UTC-4 in the western states, to UTC-3 in the eastern states (and the official time of Brazil) and UTC-2 in the Atlantic islands.
Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of the terrain lies between 200 metres and 800 metres in elevation. The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country. The northwestern parts of the plateau consist of broad, rolling terrain broken by low, rounded hills.

The southeastern section is more rugged, with a complex mass of ridges and mountain ranges reaching elevations of up to 1,200 metres. These ranges include the Mantiqueira and Espinhaço Mountains and the Serra do Mar. In the north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 2,994 metres, and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean.
Brazil has a dense and complex system of rivers, one of the world's most extensive, with eight major drainage basins, all of which drain into the Atlantic. Major rivers include the Amazon (the world's second-longest river and the largest in terms of volume of water), the Paraná and its major tributary the Iguaçu (which includes the Iguazu Falls), the Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and Tapajós rivers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Around The World: BRAZIL ........... Part 1

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population. It is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the America and the largest lusophone (means someone who speaks the Portuguese language) country in the world.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of over 7,491 kilometers. It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It has borders with all other South American countries apart from Ecuador and Chile.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to United Kingdom with Portugal and Algarves. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese Kingdom was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. The independence from Portugal was achieved in 1822. Initially independent as the Brazilian Empire, the country has been a republic since 1889, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.