Photo of the day – Sun sets at Marina

Setting sun tries to create an impact on whatever man has created in its way! Beautiful shades at Marina Bay, Singapore.

Marina Bay


Gourmet festival embellished by the best Bordeaux wines

eat! Brussels Photo: ©E.Danhier
eat! Brussels Photo: ©E.Danhier

The Brussels gourmet festival embellished by the best Bordeaux wines

From 11 to 14 September 2014 and for the third consecutive year, the eat! BRUSSELS festival will show off the entirely international nature of Brussels gastronomy. Around 20 restaurant owners from the Brussels-Capital region, and from 10 provinces and partner towns, will come together at the Bois de la Cambre for four days of gustatory passion. In addition, this year, VISITBRUSSELS and the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux [Interprofessional Council for Bordeaux Wine] have decided to get together to create a joint event: eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX. Brussels will therefore become the first European city and the third international destination, after Hong Kong and Quebec, to welcome around sixty winegrowers to its festival dedicated to gastronomy.

Asian, Moroccan, Italian, Lebanese or Greek – the identity of Brussels gastronomy is far from being limited to Belgian mussels and fries. Brussels is at the crossroads of all nations and its gastronomic reputation is well renowned. With its eighteen award-winning restaurants, the city has more stars than cities like Berlin, Rome or Milan. And if fine dining is blossoming without any doubt in the European capital, eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX is one more opportunity to recall this by bringing together some of the best brands in the city.

eat! Brussels - Photo:  ©E.Danhier
eat! Brussels – Photo: ©E.Danhier

For its third reincarnation, the gourmet festival has the privilege of hosting the Bordeaux winemaking tourist event, “Bordeaux Fête le Vin” [Bordeaux Celebrates Wine]. The event has been renamed “eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX” for the occasion. Thanks to the “Wine Pass”, a tasting passport, a visitor will be able to go into various pavilions where Bordeaux winemakers will show them the numerous wines from their region. Great wine lovers (or novice) will be able to refine their oenological knowledge through entertaining and educational workshops.

eat! Brussels - Photo: ©E.Danhier
eat! Brussels – Photo: ©E.Danhier

For gourmands and gourmets, tasting portions will be offered by chefs at low prices (from € 4) so that visitors can do a culinary tour of the world in a single meal. The tastings will be prepared on site at each booth. Food lovers will also have a whale of a time taking part in culinary workshops organised on the spot by the Mmmmh! cookery school. Local, regional and national crafts will also be featured in the Crafts Village. Spices, salted meats, ice cream, honeys, meats, cheeses, coffees, jams, truffles, teas, oils, smoked salmon and artisan sweets will tickle visitors’ taste buds.

As they do every year, several of the best Brussels restaurants attend the festival by taking a stand. Each will offer one or more tastings to visitors who will therefore be able to take advantage of the diversity of culinary nationalities that are present.

Nanda Devi on its way to Homkund

Rajjaat Yatra is underway with much enthusiasm

Celebrations at Nauti village
Celebrations at Nauti village

Nanda Devi Rajjaat has completed its first circuit on way to Homkund in Himalayas for its once in 12 years visit.  After starting from Nauti on 18th morning, Yatra reached Ira Badhani in the evening for the first halt. Second day it came back from Ira Badhani to Nauti. Today on the third day of its journey it is coming to Kansuwa again, thus completing a full circle of its initial journey before leaving for tougher part ahead.

Welcome at Kansuwa village
Welcome at Kansuwa village

Kansuwa is the village of descendants of the erstwhile royal family of Garhwal. The tradition of yatra believed to be started by King Shalipal in 7th century is still followed by his representatives in Kansuwa, currently being Dr. Rakesh Kunwar, who also heads the Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra organizing committee. Nauti, as the name suggests is the village of Nautial Brahmins. They used to be traditional priests for the royal family. People say that last two Yatras in 1987 and last one in 2000 actually started from Kansuwa. This time though, it started from Nauti. It’s not clear, why so. As we told earlier, the four horned sheep (called ‘Khadu’) and the Nanda Devi’s palanquin were brought from Adi Badri temple to Kansuwa and 16th and then they were ceremonially taken to Nauti on 17th evening. Thus it completes the full circle of visit to all related spots. Ira Badhani is not on the route, but traditionally and mythically Nanda Devi has said to have promised to visit here every time she goes back to her in-laws i.e. Shiva’s abode.

Villagers waiting at Heluri village near Ira Badhnai
Villagers waiting at Heluri village near Ira Badhnai

Well, yatra reaches today to Kansuwa and will move for its onward journey. Tomorrow it will go to Sem from Kansuwa and on the way will pass through Chandpur Garhi which was erstwhile first capital of Garhwal Kings. There traditionally Tehri king himself or any of his representatives will be worshipping the Nanda Devi. The remains of fort can still be seen there. There is also a temple of goddess there. When in 14th century capital was shifted from Chandpur Garhi to Dewalgarh, then the responsibility of worshipping the goddess was assigned to Kunwars of Kansuwa and Nautiyals of Nauti. Hence the tradition continues.

After Sem on day 4, Koti on day 5 and Bhagoti on day 6, Yatra will reach at Kulsari on 7th day, which will be a new moon night. There goddess Kali will be worshipped whole night. From here onwards daily uptil Waan, different goddess palanquins from different parts of the hills will be joining the Rajjaat Yatra.

Photo of the day – Sun setting at Lodi’s

Setting sun with Bada Gumbad tomb of the Lodi garden in the foreground. One of the favorite place for morning and evening walkers in New Delhi, this garden is also  a testimony to Delhi’s  historical past. Of times when sun was actually setting on Lodi dynasty and rising for Mughals. A beautiful place to  be… a romantic one  for Delhi’s loving couples!!

Lodi Garden

Photo of the day – Here lies a great king

One of the greatest mughal kings Akbar was buried in Sikandra at Agra. He chose the place when he was alive and also the design that would be. The inner hall, where Akbar was buried is simple with plain walls and no decorations and carvings, simplest of all kings of the era. No doubt, Sikandra receives less than one-tenth of tourists what great Taj Mahal gets. Many a times, you enjoy the peace and calmness of Sikandra more relaxing then anywhere else in Agra.


Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra festivities begin

ChowsinghaWith rains relenting a bit on Saturday (16th August 2014), the festivities of Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra took off with a religious fervor when mythical four-horned sheep and the Raj Chantoli (a small palanquin with Nanda Devi’s small decorated idol) of Nanda Devi reached Kansuwa village near Nauti in Uttarakhand. Kansuwa is village of descendants of erstwhile royal family (raj kunwars) who have been traditionally organizing the Nanda Devi Rajjaat. Earlier both the sheep and the Chantoli were brought to the Adi Badri temple where they were received by the Kunwars of Kansuwa represented by Dr. Rakesh Kunwar who is also the president of Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra organizing committee. After traditional rituals and offerings, they were taken to Nauti.

NandaDevi1Traditionally the four horned sheep leads the Yatra followed by Raj Chantoli till Homkund, where it is released towards the Kailash Mountain mythically considered to be abode of Lord Shiva. Homkund is reached after passing through Bedini Bugyal, mysterious Roopkund and a very tough Jyura Gali pass (termed as street of death). Its also believed that this sheep is borned after special prayers by Kansuwa family. Its birth anywhere in the region is considered to be the permission to hold Yatra.


Four horned sheep and Raj Chantoli reach Kansuwa

The Raj Chantoli is built by Rudis of Chimta village near Kansuwa.  It is brought to Adi Badri by the Rajrudia and handed over to Kunwars of Kansuwa. They take it to their village Kansuwa. On the way at a place called Madho Ghat the sheep encounters Raj Chantoli and then they go together to Kansuwa.  A gold idol of Nanda Devi is kept in the palanquin (Raj Chantoli). After being decorated whole day on Sunday, the sheep and the Raj Chantoli will be reaching Nauti on Sunday night from where Yatra will finally leave for Homkund on Monday morning at 10.45 am with hundreds of followers in tow. As per information of now, Governor of Uttarakhand Dr. Aziz Kureshi will be inaugurating the Nanda Devi Rajjaat on Monday. He will be flying to Gauchar airstrip from Dehradun and after an overnight stay will travel to Nauti by road.

AdiBadriAdi Badri is one of the Panch (five) Badris of Uttarakhand. Located 17 kms from Karnprayag on the Karnprayag-Ranikhet highway, this is actually a cluster of 16 temples believed to be built during the Guptas period.

The 20 days, 290 kms Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra will culminate at Nauti on 7th Septembter. This year a day as been added in the Yatra for an extrra stay at Bedini Bugyal. (Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra from 18th).


Commemorating First world war in Brussels

Brussels capital region will be commemorating the First World War starting this year and for next four years.

War Museum1While Brussels saw no major accomplishments during the First World War it was, as the capital of Belgium, the most fitting place to mark the First World War, on a local, national as well as international level. The first thing people think of in this regard is the Monument for the Unknown Soldier, yet there is much more besides; with no less than six hundred street names, commemorative plaques or monuments dedicated to remembrance. Street names and monuments should remind people for years to come of the honourable fallen, and heroes both national and local; they should keep alive the names of major battle fields, and express collective recognition.

The Brussels Capital Region set the task of identifying and listing these traces in a land registry. This land registry bears witness to Belgium’s war experiences in general and those of Brussels’ citizens in particular, and provides a picture of how the interpretation assigned to the Great War evolves throughout commemorations. The book, based on this land registry, investigates how this multiform commemoration in Brussels’ space came in being, analyses its symbolic extent and evolution, and examines what this special heritage might still mean in the present.

War MuseumTo mark the Commemoration of the First World War, the Brussels Capital Region is launching three new projects:

  • Through the Facebook page dedicated to Paul Max, you can follow day-by-day the events in Brussels during the First World War based on his diary. An authentic way to relive the occupation through the eyes of a citizen. Based on diary fragments and newspaper clippings, you can experience the events that played out in Brussels, both the major global moments and the everyday worries and uncertainties.
  • The book “Brussels, Memory and War (1914-2014)” shows how the memory of the First World War features prominently in the Brussels Capital Region. What is the extent of the 600 street names, commemorative plaques and monuments dedicated to remembrance, and what does this heritage still mean today?
  • Lastly, the mini-map “Commemoration 14-18” in turn brings daily life in occupied Brussels alive. All of the themes at play during the turbulent years of the occupation are touched on over a walking tour of the city: food shortages, refugees, the wounded, resistance, but also leisure and relaxation. This walk gives a view on how the occupation of Brussels manifested itself through, among other things, the requisition of buildings, goods and workforce, through shortages of food and clothing, through German interference in administration, etc. The local resistance is at the same time also followed: the organisation of provisions, caring for injured from the front, espionage activities and the clandestine press. By starting from the upper city where the war began, and moving down to the lower city that forms the backdrop of its symbolic end, we aim to provide a vivid picture of how the citizens of Brussels experienced the First World War.


Come! Drive to the Tintin rally

Tintin RallyOnce again this year, Moulinsart is joining forces with the Comics Festival to whisk visitors away into the world of our favourite little reporter. More than 60 classic cars and bikes featured in the Tintin stories will be on show on Sunday 7 September. The theme will be like last year, the Journal Tintin . The rally will be setting off on a journey around some of the comic book highlights of Brussels, taking in the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve as well. The vehicles will end up in the Place des Palais, where they will stay for the rest of the day so that members of the public can take the opportunity to admire them.

There are still places available so if you own a vehicle that was featured in Tintin’s adventures between 1946 and 1993, you still have time to apply to take part in the rally. Given the huge success of the first rally, this year more than 60 vehicles are due to take part in the event. At the end of the race, a panel of judges from Moulinsart will award the prizes for the cars that best match Hergé’s drawings.

Herge MuseumIf the file is accepted, the car and two people will be invited to participate in this free wonderful adventure! However, if an applicant can demonstrate that his vehicle – which does not appear in the list – has appeared in the newspaper, he will also be entitled to submit an application. It must indicate: the year of publication, the number of the newspaper and the page bearing his car or his bike.

Rally leaves Brussels at 9am (exact location to be confirmed). The rally will follow a route of about 100km from Brussels (D’Ieteren Gallery) in Brussels, and will step Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve. From 2.30pm – 6pm, there would be a car exhibition in the Place des Palais and judging by the panel. Entry to the rally is absolutely free. A must for all die hard TinTin fans.