Friday, 28 March 2014

5000 years old remains of ancient civilization found!!

The newly discovered mound number nine situated to the west of the Harappan
site of Rakhigarhi in Hisar district, Haryana. Photo: Vasant Shinde

Bigger than Mohenjo-daro, claims expert

The discovery of two more mounds in January at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Hisar district, Haryana, has led to archaeologists establishing it as the biggest Harappan civilisation site. Until now, specialists in the Harappan civilisation had argued that Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan was the largest among the 2,000 Harappan sites known to exist in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The archaeological remains at Mohenjo-daro extend around 300 hectares. Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Ganweriwala (all in Pakistan) and Rakhigarhi and Dholavira (both in India) are ranked as the first to the fifth biggest Harappan sites.
“With the discovery of two additional mounds, the total area of the Rakhigarhi site will be 350 hectares,” asserted Professor Vasant Shinde, Vice-Chancellor/Director, Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute, a deemed-to-be university in Pune. The two mounds are in addition to the seven mounds already discovered at Rakhigarhi, about 160 km from New Delhi. The eighth and ninth mounds, spread over 25 hectares each, are situated to the east and west of the main site. Villagers have destroyed much of these two mounds for cultivation. A team of archaeology teachers and students of the Deccan College discovered them when they surveyed the site in January.
Dr. Shinde, a specialist in Harappan civilisation and Director of the current excavation at Rakhigarhi, called it “an important discovery.” He said: “Our discovery makes Rakhigarhi the biggest Harappan site, bigger than Mohenjo-daro. The two new mounds show that the Rakhigarhi site was quite extensive. They have the same material as the main site. So they are part of the main site. On the surface of mound nine, we noticed some burnt clay clots and circular furnaces, indicating this was the industrial area of the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi.”
Dr. Shinde had earlier led the excavations done by the Deccan College at the Harappan sites of Farmana, Girawad and Mitathal, all in Haryana.
On the surface of mound eight were found terracotta bangles, cakes, and pottery pieces, typical of the Harappan civilisation, said Nilesh P. Jadhav, Research Assistant, Department of Archaeology, Deccan College.
Artefacts found
From January 10, the Deccan College team has excavated five trenches on the slope of the mound four and another trench in the burial mound numbered seven. The excavation in mound four has yielded a cornucopia of artefacts, including a seal and a potsherd, both inscribed with the Harappan script; potsherds painted with concentric circles, fish-net designs, wavy patterns, floral designs and geometric designs; terracotta animal figurines, cakes, hopscotches and shell bangles, all belonging to the Mature Harappan phase of the civilisation. The five trenches have revealed residential rooms, a bathroom with a soak jar, drainages, a hearth, a platform etc … The residential rooms were built with mud bricks. The complex revealed different structural phases, said Kanti Pawar, assistant professor, Department of Archaeology, Deccan College.
Much of the Harappan site at Rakhigarhi lies buried under the present-day village, with several hundreds of houses built on the archaeological remains. The villagers’ main occupation is cultivation of wheat and mustard, and rearing of buffaloes.
Making cow dung cakes is a flourishing industry. There is rampant encroachment on all the mounds despite the Archaeological Survey of India fencing them. Amarendra Nath of the ASI had excavated the Rakhigarhi site from 1997 to 2000.
An important problem about the Harappan civilisation is the origin of its culture, Dr. Shinde said. The Harappan civilisation had three phases: the early Harappan from circa 3,500 BCE to circa 2,600 BCE, the mature Harappan which lasted from circa 2,600 BCE to circa 2000 BCE, and the late Harappan from circa 2000 BCE to 1,600 BCE.
Dr. Shinde said: “It was earlier thought that the origin of the early Harappan phase took place in Sind, in present-day Pakistan, because many sites had not been discovered then. In the last ten years, we have discovered many sites in this part [Haryana] and there are at least five Harappan sites such as Kunal, Bhirrana, Farmana, Girawad and Mitathal, which are producing early dates and where the early Harappan phase could go back to 5000 BCE. We want to confirm it. Rakhigarhi is an ideal candidate to believe that the beginning of the Harappan civilisation took place in the Ghaggar basin in Haryana and it gradually grew from here. If we get the confirmation, it will be interesting because the origin would have taken place in the Ghaggar basin in India and slowly moved to the Indus valley. That is one of the important aims of our current excavation at Rakhigarhi.”

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Living on love and fresh air

Author(s): Aparna Pallavi
Mar 31, 2009 | From the print edition
A family that has little use for cash
The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does not usually do--milk one of her cows. It was a special day the Meshrams were having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."
There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old husband Pandurang Meshram do not need electricity, piped water, security, a weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part, even money.
For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on their seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in living a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like to," Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was married.Now we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.
Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and driver and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy. "We were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own food so that we could live without worries," he said.
Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven acres, and food crops--jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds and spices on the rest.
The cotton--an indigenious variety--earns them around Rs 40,000 annually, which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and a few necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in the family, and save a little.
"We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol, or on visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.
For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough, because apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never need to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees on their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements, leaving the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that they have never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the crops they grow.
Down to Earth 
Our animals don't let us feel lonely, Pandurang said
"This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to a plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded more than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the roadside for whoever wanted them."
Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes, butloche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple. Why don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford? Why don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine cows? Why don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their money in a bank? The answer is the same always.
It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the complications "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra to pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our extra produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my land and animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."
So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have something to give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take vegetables and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."
Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the couple.Down to Earth
Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild animals find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in their farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a non-profit which works in the area of organic farming.
"It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."
But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops and keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.
This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the Meshrams zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever needs them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour bunding have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have no need for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to a point where the need for labour is minimal.
"We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more than three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.
"Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost, vermiwash, organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying their animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal dung, urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the best fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.
The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to bank, but most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.
Down to Earth 
Indigeneous seeds, the secret of good harvests
For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It does not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to living in the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay us."
They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them knows exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a careless wave of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."
The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and founder of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and started living on his own one hectare.
The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love the land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they love you in return. What else do you need to live?"
What else, indeed.

Cow dung on your walls!

Here are some customs which are followed in India from ancient time and people are following them because their ancestors asked them to do so. It may sound disgusting to many but people in Indian villages implant cow-dung in their homes.
Cow dung Gobar
Cow is considered very sacred in Hinduism and it is called Gow Maata (Cow, The mother). Cow dung and cow urine is considered holy in India. 

Applying Cow Dung is part of cleaning process in Indian villages. In festivals also, after cleaning their houses, rural people implant cow-dung paste on walls and floors for making their houses pure just like urban people make their houses painted for getting the festive feel. 
Cow Dung On Wall 
Cow Dung On Floor 

Benefits Of Applying Cow Dung

The recent researches have proved that Cow dung has the power to kill bacteria which are harmful for humans. Cow Dung is considered good for health. It is very rich in minerals and a great factor of anti-bacterial. It prevents people from various diseases and health issues. 

Small insects like scorpions, centipedes etc don't come near to the places which are coated with the paste of Cow dung. 

Cow Dung acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes stay away from such places. 

The floor which is coated with cow Dung remains warm in winters and cold in summers. 

In rural areas, people apply cow-dung on outer walls of their homes and let them dry. Villagers use these dry cow dung cakes as fuel. 
Cow Dung On Outer Wall 
Even in many parts of the developing world, and in the past in mountain regions of Europe, caked and dried cow dung is used as fuel. 
Cow Dung as fuel 
Cow-dung is also used as raw material for bio-gas plant. 

It is said that if we follow vedic techniques and live vedic way then our lives can be disease-free. - See more at:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Chappan bhog

1 ) Ukhuda ( Sugar coated puffed rice)
2 ) Nadia kora(Coconut ladu)
3 ) Khua (condensed milk)
4 ) Dahi (Yoghurt)
5 ) Pachila kadali (Ripe Banana)
6 ) Kanika (Flavoured Rice)
7 ) Tata  Khechudi (Dry Khechudi)
8 ) Mendha Mundia (A kind of cake)
9 ) Bada Kanti (Fried Cake)
10) Matha Puli (A kind of Pan cake)
11) Hamsa Keli (Sweet cake)
12) Jhili  ( Thin pan cake like Dosa)
13) Enduri ( Idli)
14) Adapachedi (Ginger Paste)
15) Saga Bhaja (Fried spinach)
16) Kadali Bhaja (Fried Plantain)
17) Maric Ladu (Chilli Ladu)
18) San Pitha ( Small size Cake)
19) Bara/Vada (Donalds)
20) Arisha (Sweet fried cake made by rice flour)
21) Bundia ( Sweet granules made of Chick pea flour)
22) Pakhal oriya(Water rice)
23) Khiri (Milk Rice)
24) Kadamba( A kind of sweet)
25) Pat Manohar (Name of a sweet)
26) Takuaa(Sweets shaped like tongue)
27) Bhaga Pitha (A kind of cake )
28) Gotai(A kind of salty cake)
29) Dalma(Dal with vegetables)
30) Bada Kakara(Large Fried sweet cake)
31) Luni Khuruma (Salty Biscuits)
32) Amalu ( Malpua, Sweet Puri)
33) Suar Pitha (Poda Pitha, Baked Cake)
34) Biri Buha(Black gram cake )
35) Jhadai Nadaa(a cluster of small ball shaped cakes)
36) Khasta Puri(Strong fried cakes)
37) Kadali Bara(Fried Plantain)
38) Sana Arisha (Small fried cakes)
39) Sakar(Chatni)
40) Podo Pitha(Panned Cake)
41) Kanji(Sour Rice)
42) Dahi Pakhal(Curd rice )
43) Bada Arisha(Large size Fried cake)
44) Tipuri(Three stage fillings)
45) Sakara(Sugar candy)
46) Suji Khir(Milk with samolina)
47) Muga Sijha(Boiled green gram)
48) Manohar(a kind of sweet)
49) Magaja Ladu(A kind of sweet like simply wonderful)
50) Pana(Sweet Drink)
51) Anna(Rice)
53) Ghia Anna(Ghee rice)
54) Sweet Dal
55) Besar(Curry)
56) Sag(Spinach)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Indraprastha discovered!

The ASI's excavation that is underway at Purana Quila. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

If the ASI is successful in finding painted grey wares from the Mahabharata period, it will prove the existence of the city of Pandavas

The Archaeological Survey of India is on an expedition to discover painted grey wares of the Mahabharat period, which will conclusively prove the existence of Indraprastha.
The ongoing excavation at the Purana Quila site might lead to discovery of concrete evidence that will help in studying the culture and art patronised by the Pandavas. It is also expected to give a fillip to tourism.
In the first excavation in 1954, mounted under the supervision of renowned archaeologist B.B. Lal, who retired as ASI Director General, painted grey wares were discovered.
“However, the wares were not found in stratified deposit. If they were found in stratified deposit, we could support that there were traces of the Mahabharat period,” said Vasant Swarnkar, superintending archaeologist of ASI’s Delhi Circle. Under his supervision, around 60 labourers have been working six days a week at the project site.
To make things easier for Dr. Swarnkar, nearly 20 post-graduate diploma students of archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology have been assisting him. They have been guiding the labour force where exactly to dig, how to unearth crucial discoveries without damaging them and how to carefully hand them over to the authorities to preserve the artefacts for posterity.
Emphasising the site’s significance, Dr. Swarnkar said: “ This site has had continuous cultural deposit from the Mauryan to the Mughal period. The discoveries over the past month have reiterated the fact that there has always been habitation here during the Gupta and Kushan period.”
On Monday, a couple of enterprising students from the Institute of Archaeology discovered a terracotta miniature bull.
“This bull is of the Gupta period, which was a glorious period as it saw patronisation of art,” said Dr. Swarnkar as he cleaned the mud-filled artefact with a brush.
Pottery of the Gupta and Kushan period, semi-precious stones, ear-stud made of terracotta, bowls, miniature pots and sprinklers were also discovered.
According to Neelima Vasudevan, one of the students working at the site, the excavation is part of her field training and it gives her satisfaction if after a hard day’s work some artefacts are discovered.
Hage Sonia, another student, was delicately arranging bones on a plate. “These bones certainly are not of animals but indicate left over meals. I have also discovered iron pieces. This exercise is teaching us the art of supervising digging and identifying the discoveries,” she said.


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