History & Culture

Aug 32020
Rakshabandhan or 'Rakhi' is a festival considered sacred among Hindus. Celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan, this festival is also known as 'Shravan' in North India.
As the earth cools in the rain, humans must also be prepared to face that cold and the coming climate change. Cancer is the best time for this. The changes in the human body during each season have been observed and analyzed in the Ayurvedic text Ashtanga Hridayam. During the winter, spring and summer seasons, the body's immune system is weakened. The monsoon season and the accompanying Cancer season are also a time to keep fit.
The Ministry of Culture has taken up the project of reprinting of 108 volumes of Mongolian Kanjur under the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM). The first set of five volumes of Mongolian Kanjur published under the NMM was presented to the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of Guru Purnima, also known as Dharma Chakra Day, on 4th July 2020. A set was then handed over to  His Excellency Mr. Gonching Ganbold, Ambassador of Mongolia to India by the Minister of State. It is expected that all the 108 volumes of the Mongolian Kanjur will be published by March, 2022. 
The famous Aranmula snake boat regatta in Kerala will not be a competitive race in the Pampa river waters at this year's Onam festival, and will instead return to its roots as a spectacle of color and song. The ruling in favor of regalia, the Pallioda Seva Sanghom(PSS) which conducts the show, has decided to do away with the race format during the Uthrattadhi Vallamkali in August. What caused concern was the influence of competitive sport on the legacy of style and color. 
In the mid-1700s, a relatively unknown prince made the audacious plan to become the ruler of all of south Kerala.  His name was Marthanda Varma.  At the time of Marthanda Varma, south Kerala was a collection of warring clans controlled by the strong and powerful Nair community. Nairs were the Kshatriyas and supplied soldiers to their “Kings”. The Kings were only in name. The real power was vested with the Nairs (the names “Ettu Veettil Pillamaar” and the likes comes to mind).
The 300+ years old Kilimanoor Palace complex is spread across an area of around 18 acres. Though the area is not as vast today when compared to its heyday, the Kilimanoor Palace complex is still quite imposing.  The estate of Kilimanoor Palace estate comprising several villages was handed over to the family of the father of the King who had come south from Parappanad in Malabar around 1718.
Raja Ravi Varma was mostly a self-taught artist. But he did receive instruction from Arumugham Pillai at the court of Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal. In 1868, Theodore Jensen, a Dutch artist came to the Travancore Palace. Raja Ravi Varma picked up the rudiments of European style of painting and Oil Painting through his power of observation, from Jensen. Eventually, he mastered the subtle technique of mixing colours through a process of trial and error. 
In 1904, Raja Ravi Varma's brother Raja Raja Varma passed away suddenly. Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma were known as the Rama-Lakshman duo of Indian Painting.  Raja Raja Varma's death was a major blow to Raja Ravi Varma. Ravi Varma considered his brother more like a son due to the age difference between them (around 12 years).  After the death of Raja Raja Varma, Ravi Varma's health began deteriorating. 
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At around the time when Raja Ravi Varma won some of the world painting competitions, Sir T. Madhvarao, who had earlier been the Dewan of Travancore took up office as the British Regent of the State of Baroda.  Sir T. Madhvarao was a great admirer and also familiar with the Raja Ravi Varma's works and informed the Gaekwad of Baroda about him. The Gaekwad of Baroda, Sayajirao III, decided to invite Ravi Varma to have him paint his ceremonial portrait. 
Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian Philosopher who adopted a foreign language and mesmerised the world stage at Chicago with his famous "Sisters and Brothers of America" speech. Raja Ravi Varma, the great Indian Painter who adopted a foreign art style and mesmerised the world through his paintings and depictions of Indian philosophy. Both were contemporaries and lived during the same period. Both were geniuses in their own fields and preached the same concepts through different media.

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Food & Entertainment

Aug 22020
ചേരുവകൾ 1. തൊലികളഞ്ഞ എല്ലില്ലാത്ത ചിക്കന്‍ (കഷണങ്ങളാക്കിയത്‌) - അര കിലോ  2. കുരുമുളക്‌- അര ടീസ്‌പൂണ്‍  3. പഞ്ചസാര- രണ്ട്‌ ടീസ്‌പൂണ്‍