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Tharangambadi (formerly Tranquebar): Land of the Singing Waves

Posted on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 12:48 by easytours

Lying on the Coromandel Coast, in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, the small town of Tharangambadi (Tranquebar) is a vestige of Danish heritage in India.

In the 15th century, under the rule of the Thanjavur king Raghunatha Nayak, Tranquebar was an active international trading port attracting Muslim traders, German theologians and Moravian entrepreneurs. When the Danes arrived in Tharangambadi, as it was then known, Arab and Portuguese traders had already been plying the coasts. In 1620 the Dansborg Fort was constructed as part of a treaty between the Kings of Thanjavur and Denmark. The primary purpose of the treaty was pepper exportation from India via the now established Danish East India Company.

By 1777, the Danes had taken complete control of Tranquebar. In 1801, Tranquebar was taken by the British, but restored to the Danes in 1814. Tranquebar remained under Danish control until 1845 when the British purchased it and the other Danish settlements in India.

This pocket of Danish influence gives Tranquebar a unique legacy. The first Protestant missionaries who set foot in India were sent by the Danish King Frederick IV to begin work in Tranquebar. As a result, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Pluetschau translated the New Testament into Tamil for the first time.

Though the architectural journey of Tranquebar can be traced back to the 14th century Masilamaninathar Temple built during the Pandya Regime, by the 18th century the Danish influence was apparent not only in the Dansborg Fort, but also in the churches and colonial houses scattered around Kongensgade (King Street). Homes featuring thick stucco walls, massive pillars supporting classical pediments, second-story verandas and carriage porches remind us of a time when this busy trading center was an outpost of Danish culture. Entry to this town is through an impressive two-hundred-year-old town gate featuring Danish architectural influence.

Sariska reserve gets tiger number 7

Posted on Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:34 by easytours

There is a new addition to her majesty's secret brood at Sariska tiger reserve, tiger number 7. Tigress ST-2, which was found with a cub on August 7, was spotted with yet another cub in the Kalikhoh area of the reserve during the wee hours.

The tiger relocation process at Sariska reserve, which began in 2008, continues to reap rewards and the new cub seems to be the latest result of the experiment. In fact, on August 7, the authorities had anticipated that the number of cubs could be more than one.

The total number of tigers in the reserve is now seven, including five adult tigers, three of which are females. The cubs appear to be six to seven months old. By the age of 1, they will learn hunting from their mother.

Spotting of the first cub in August was the most celebrated moment of the reserve since the tigers began being airlifted from Ranthambore to Sariska in 2008.

ST-2 is the second big cat, and the first tigress, shifted to Sariska from Ranthambore National Park. The first relocated tiger, ST-1, was poisoned to death in November 2010. The villagers, whose cattle graze in reserve, reportedly killed ST-1 after it attacked animals. Thereafter, two more tigresses were introduced — in February 2009 and July 2010.

There are two males in the reserve now.

*Elements of the above excerpted from “Sariska reserve gets tiger number 007” – The Times of India

Tunnel between Jaipur tourist hotspots opens

Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:14 by easytours

An 18th century tunnel connecting the Amber Palace and the Jaigarh Fort, two major attractions in Jaipur, was inaugurated and opened for tourists.

The tunnel was believed to have been constructed as a defense mechanism. In case of an attack on Amber Palace, the royal family, noblemen and others could be evacuated undetected from the palace to the fort, which was well defended by the army.

The path along the tunnel has been modified for motorized transport. To facilitate tourists travel to the Jaigarh Fort, battery-run golf carts will be available. Officials will continue exploring methods of finding or constructing more such tunnels from the City Palace.

*Elements of the above excerpted from “Tunnel between Jaipur tourist hotspots opens” –

Rains boost Agra's green cover

Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:35 by easytours

Heavy showers have come as a big boost to afforestation efforts in the Taj city. The Taj Mahal is now adequately insulated against air pollution by a thick green cover. Behind the Taj, the Mehtab Bagh area is densely green. The Taj Nature Park is equally lush. Work on landscaping and recycling waste drain water is progressing well, officials say.

Saplings planted in June in half-a-dozen stretches in the district have grown. "The most spectacular will be the long stretch along the

Yamuna River in the city until Haathi Ghat near the fort where thousands of saplings are now five to six feet tall," said District Forest Officer N.K. Janoo.

He said the greening work on the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor will begin soon with landscaping and laying of pathways. "The Taj Corridor will be a shining green jewel between two world heritage sites, the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.” Janoo said.

Ten years ago, the green cover in Agra district had fallen to just 7.38 percent. A recent report of the Forest Survey of India says this has risen to 8.25 percent. Estimates suggest the green cover in the city area has gone up 17 percent.

Several NGOs have also planted saplings throughout the area. At St. Peter's College, a vast Neem Vaatika has come up on a wasteland. Harvijay Bahia, a shoe exporter and sportsperson, has planted saplings in blocks and provided managerial backup to ensure the project doesn't die.

The Taj Nature Park Project, 500 yards from the Taj, is now a green buffer. Waste water from drains has been treated and used to irrigate the green cover in the ravines of the Yamuna. This has helped bring down the suspended particulate matter in the eco-sensitive zone around the Taj Mahal. At Mehtab Bagh, a green cushion has insulated the Taj from air pollution.

Delhi's monuments will be lit by solar energy

Posted on Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:17 by easytours

More and more of the Indian capital's best known monuments are going to be illuminated by solar energy.

Building on the experience gained in the last three years and keen on promoting the use of environment-friendly solar energy, the Delhi government plans to light more of the capital's historical sites through cheap, plentiful energy from the sun.

The 13th century Qutub Minar, the 17th century Red Fort and the 16th century Humayun's Tomb, all declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are among the six sites where the Delhi government intends to install solar power plants to replace conventional sources of electricity.

The environment-friendly step is designed to promote solar energy use in the capital.

The Jantar Mantar and Safdarjung's Tomb already feature solar powered lighting set up in 2009. Seeing the success at these sites, authorities thought of replicating it at other sites.

Because sites like Humayun's Tomb, the Red Fort and the Qutub Minar fall under the Archaeological Survey of India, the Delhi government will have to get permission from it.

Other sites the Delhi government intends to light up through solar energy are the Jama Masjid, the Old Fort and the Lotus Temple.

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