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Black Rice cultivation? How a local farmer makes it a success story in Assam

According to experts, black rice used to be known as forbidden rice in ancient China

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If you presume that rice comes in shades of white, you are definitely wrong! In the Goalpara district of Assam, black rice farming is not uncommon and over 200 farmers are opting for black rice over the other varieties of rice.

The black rice farming was started by a single farmer about four years ago, later it became fancy and more farmers are turning to it instead of the traditional white rice.

Young farmer Upendra Rabha of Aamguripara village near Dudhnoi in the district started cultivating black rice in 2011 as an experiment with guidance from the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). Although the people of the area, mostly belonging to the Rabha community, did not believe in Upendra, the experiment turned out to be a grand success in the very first year. The number of cultivators now stands at over 200 as black rice fetches more returns for its nutritional value.

“In 2011, a scientist of KVK, Dr. Uttam Kumar Baruah, gave me the seeds of a black rice variety called Oryza Sativa. I planted the sole seedling in a corner of my paddy field, which gave me 15 panicles from which I harvested 150 gram seed in 2011,” Upendra, who harvested about 48 kg of paddy from the 150 gram seeds the next year, told this correspondent.

“The farmers in our area have been cultivating only traditional white rice and they have never heard about black rice. The people of the area did not believe that the black rice could change their fate. However, my efforts brought results in 2012 when I could get 48 kg of black rice.

600px-Kalbhat
Crop. Image source: Wikipedia

“I took my produce to agri-horticulture fairs organized by the government of Assam and other parts of the state and only then could I realize the huge demand for the black rice,” said a happy Upendra. The next year he cultivated black rice in five bighas of land which resulted in nearly 1,500 kg of paddy.
Black rice is known for its high nutritional value and is a source of iron, vitamin E, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and zinc. According to experts, black rice used to be known as forbidden rice in ancient China. Forbidden not because it looked poisonous because of its black colour, but because of its high nutritional value, which meant it could only be eaten by the emperor and other nobles.

Sticky in nature, black rice is also suitable for making porridge and can also be used in preparing sweet dishes.

“In 2014, 50 farmers of my village came together for community farming of black rice. We have cultivated in about 100 bighas of land and the yields were eight maunds (300 kg) of rice per bigha of land. We sold it at Rs.100 per kg till last year (for a total earning of Rs.300,000),” he said adding that last year about 100 farmers of Dudhnoi area had cultivated black rice in 500 bighas of land and got a good yield.

“What is more important is the price factor. With the traditional white rice, we had a small market; we have a bigger market for black rice. The existing price of Rs.100 per kg is also another factor which is encouraging more farmers to take up black rice cultivation here. Last year an organization came from Mumbai to see our paddy field and they bought 100 quintals (10,000 kg) of black rice from us to be exported to different European countries,” Upendra said.

“We are also getting queries from different organizations in the US, Japan and Korea who want to buy the black rice from us,” he said, adding that he has been urging farmers in Assam and Meghalaya to grow black rice to bring prosperity to them

With the initial success, the Assam government’s agriculture department is now planning to promote the cultivation of organic black rice in larger parts of Assam.

The agriculture officer of the Dudhnoi sub-division, Manoranjan Das, said that what the farmers here are growing is basically the semi-organic variety.

“We are encouraging the farmers to grow organic variety which will further increase the demand. While the non-organic variety of black rice fetches Rs.200 to Rs.250 per kg in foreign countries, the organic variety sells at Rs.500 per kg,” Das said, adding that according to a study by the Louisiana State University, a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants, which are capable of fighting cancer and heart disease. (IANS)

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Work It Out : Follow These 8 Easy Steps Before and After your Gym Workout Routine for Better Results

Here are a few steps that can help you maximize the benefits of a good work out!

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Exercise alone is not enough to keep you in shape. You will have to do a few more extra things before and after your workout to stay fit! Pixabay

New Delhi, October 16, 2017 : Maybe you have just begun working out at a gym, or maybe you have been an active gym member for months. Maybe you have recently lost a lot of weight, or you may have bulked up and gained fuller body proportions. Whatever it may be, the credit for your fit and fabulous avatar is always given to the time you spend working out and exercising- and that’s where we are wrong.

While work out at the gym is crucial, it is not the only trick at work that makes you look your best! 

Your workout does not end with your last exercise or the last rep. Instead, it had already begun even before you entered the gym, and a complete workout lasts beyond all that you do at the gym.

Exercise alone is not enough to keep you in shape. The body demands proper rest and nutrition to be able to perform better at the gym and maximize benefits. For that, there are a few things that must be done before and after your gym workout.

Here are a few steps that can help you maximize the benefits of a good work out! Follow our best pre workout and post workout tips to maximize and experience the benefits of working out like never before.

PRE-WORKOUT TIPS

1. Don’t Compromise On The Sleep

After strenuous hours at the gym, who wouldn’t want to sleep? A sound sleep is key to being rewarded for the controlled diet and fitness efforts. It is one of the most important components of a healthy workout. When you sleep, your body is at complete rest. This allows your muscles to relax, recover and prepare for another day of workout at the gym.

According to a research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it was proven that insufficient sleep – less than seven hours of sleep every night- can reduce and completely undo the benefits of dieting and workout.

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Being well rested not only energizes the body to exercise in the gym, but it also keeps the hunger hormones under check. Pixabay

But a common question is, do you need to sleep more when you exercise? 

The answer is a big yes.

After workout, when bodies receive adequate rest, they tend to lose half of the weight of body fat.

Being well rested not only energizes the body to exercise in the gym, but it also keeps the hunger hormones under check, thus saving you from consuming unnecessary food. This is because when we don’t sleep enough, the cortisol levels in our body rise, which activates regions in our brain that make us crave food.

ALSO READ Do You Wish to Stay Healthy but are Scared of the word ‘Diet’? If so, then these Ayurvedic Diet Tips are for you!

Brazilian researchers have previously proved that inadequate sleep hampers the body’s ability to make muscles, causes muscle loss and can also lead to an increased chance of sustaining injuries.

2. Consume Pre-workout Snacks

A simple mantra should be to not keep yourself starving, but also not make yourself feel full. Food means energy; if your body lacks basic energy, pulling yourself from the bed and walking all the way to the gym can be a hard, long walk.

While a full stomach will impede a successful workout, studies suggest that one can benefit from better results by consuming the right pre workout food. Lean proteins and carbohydrate rich foods make for the best pre-workout food.

Health experts suggest consuming low-fat pre workout food – these can include Greek yoghurt, fish, sweet potato and beans.

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Do not ignore a healthy pre-workout snack. Pixabay

3. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Working out is synonymous with sweating profusely. Hence, you must make sure you are well-hydrated as the body is losing water. Proper hydration levels also ensure required energy levels for the body for a successful workout.

Make sure you are sipping water before, in the middle of, and after your workout.

Although there is no standard for the quantity of water required, but you must aim to consume water worth half of your body weight in ounces every day.  Experts suggest drinking two to three cups of water a few hours before working out, in order to maintain hydration levels during workout.

4. Prepare Your Body With A Warm-Up

Would you prefer if somebody just pushed you off your bed, in an attempt to wake you up? You might get hurt and would be jostled, wouldn’t you?

Well, that is what a workout without warm up exercises feels like to the body.

Workout without a warm-up session is a complete no no.

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It is best to begin your gym workout with a dynamic warm-up routine. Pixabay

Warm-up gradually increases the heart rate and blood circulation; this loosens the joints and increases the blood supply to the muscles thus, preparing them for strenuous physical activity and also helping them prevent injuries.

The warm-up session is also a good opportunity to help prepare yourself mentally for a gym workout.

ALSO READ 7 ways to Stay Healthy during this Festive Season: Here is a List!

POST WORKOUT TIPS

 

5. Cool Down and Stretch

Your body is continuously in motion while you are working out in the gym. After you are done with the exercises, abruptly bringing the body to rest will do more harm than benefit. Stretching proves a healthy option in such a scenario.

Stretching exercises are aimed to gradually bring the body to rest.

Stretching eases and primarily benefits the pumped muscles, and helps the nervous system relax and recover. It decreases muscle soreness and helps accelerate the recovery process.

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Stretching exercises are important. Period. Pixabay

6. Re-hydrate Your Body

As you work out and burn calories, the body sweats to cool itself down. If you do not hydrate yourself, you will end up losing unhealthy amounts of water from your body in the form of sweat and urine.

Proper hydration keeps the body temperature under check, and lubricates the joints, which further prevents injury.

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You must keep yourself well-hydrated at all times. Pixabay

7. Refuel Your Body With A Post-Workout Snack

When you work out, you do not only burn calories and lose carbohydrates, but also tear and work (sometimes over work) your muscles. Hence, it is important to repair the torn muscles and boost energy levels.

The anabolic window of the body lasts for over 30 to 45 minutes after a workout.  It is during this time that the body looks for proteins and carbohydrates to replenish and recover glycogen in the body and build muscles. This is why it is critical to provide the body with the required nutrition.

A pre-workout snack is optional; however a post-workout snack holds more importance – it gives your body the much needed fuel to recover after a tough workout.

8. Post Workout Shower

Who doesn’t like a hot shower post working out in the gym; the hot water seems to ease the muscles and the body from aches. However, you should instead take a cool post-workout shower.

While working out, the heart rate increases and lactic acid builds in the muscles as they are deprived of oxygen.

Taking a cool shower immediately bring the heart rate and increase blood circulation, which in turn helps to reduce the recovery time for sore muscles.

Working out in the gym can cause small tears to the muscles, thereby causing muscle inflammation. A cold shower relives this soft tissue inflammation and the pain associated with it.

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Health experts recommend you should take a cold shower after working out. Pixabay

Now if you ask us the mantra to maximize the results of hours of working out at the gym?

“Warm up. Sweat it out. And cool down”

That’s all you need to do to make sure your body remains healthy.

– prepared by Soha Kala. Twitter : SohaKala

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7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

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Places to visit in North East India.
Places to visit in North East India. Pixabay

North Eastern India, the home to the ‘Seven Sisters’ is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful regions, yet the most unexplored part of the country. From Shillong’s rainfall to Assam’s beautiful tea gardens, the region is indeed the home to exotic beauty. However, the tourism of the region has gained pace in the recent years. The picturesque views of the streams, hills and farms are breathtaking.

Here is the list of 7 beautiful places to visit in North East India:

1. Kaziranga National Park

places to visit in North East India
Kaziranga National Park. Pixabay.

Kaziranga national park in Assam is famous for its one-horned rhinoceros. It is the most famous tourist spot & one of the beautiful places to visit in North East India. The place has been declared a UNESCO heritage site and attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. Hundreds of migratory birds and around 35 species of mammals fly down every season to the national park. The incredible fauna cannot be found anywhere else in India.

2. Nathula Pass

Places to visit in North East India.
Nathula Pass. Wikimedia.

A trek on the Nathula Pass in Sikkim will give you a memory completely irreplaceable. The beautiful scenic views which you will observe through your trek journey can be found nowhere else in India & makes if one of the beautiful places to visit in North East India. A vacation to this place with your family during the summers is a must. Also the fact that a bearable temperature in the summer season will let you enjoy your trek more. A trek in the Nathula pass should right away be added to your bucket list.

3. Cherrapunji

Places to visit in North East India.
Cherrapunji. Wikimedia.

Cherrapunji in Meghalaya is the world’s wettest place. The place is known for receiving the maximum rainfall in the world. And, the weather of the place adds to its beauty. It is definitely one of the beautiful places to visit in North East India.

Also Read: 5 Inspiring Travel Stories That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust

4. Phodong Monastery

Places to visit in North East India.
Phodong Monastery. Wikimedia.

According to reports, the Phodong monastery in Sikkim is built in the 18th century. It situated 28 kms from Gangtok. It is known to be one of the most religious places for a sect of Buddhists. The place is a residence to around 260 monks. The place is full of positive energy. The people around the monastery are amicable and have some interesting stories in their pockets to tell you. The architecture of the monastery depicts a unique culture and beauty. These characteristics make this monastery, one of the beutiful places to visit in North East India. So grab your tickets soon!

5. Dampa Tiger Reserve

places to visit in North East India
A bird in the Dampa Tiger Reserve. Wikimedia.

Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram & a must visit place in north east india. The Tiger Reserve is a home to leopards, barking deer, sloth bear, langurs, Indian Python and a variety of birds. The fauna and flora of the place will leave you stunned.

6. Majuli Islands

Places to visit in North East India.
Majuli Island. Wikimedia.

A river island situated along the Brahmaputra is a home to many tribes. A variety of birds can be found on the island. The size of the island has been reduced due to river erosion by the Brahmaputra.

7. Shilloi lake

Places to visit in North East India.
Shilloi Lake. Wikimedia.

Shilloi lake, the largest natural lake in Nagaland situated in the state’s Phek district is covered by picturesque views including beautiful mountain peaks and trees. The best time to visit this lake is in the summer season. The beauty of the lake makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in North East India.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.

 Twitter: @ImMeghaacharya. 

 

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Be a farmer on weekends at Citrus County Hoshiarpur

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Wheat field in Phagwara Punjab India. Wikimedia

Hoshiarpur, Oct 2, 2017: Punjab is better known for India’s “green revolution” in agriculture and for contributing the maximum foodgrain to the national kitty. And now a progressive horticulturist and entrepreneur is offering hands-on experience to visitors to try their hand at how farming is actually done.

“Be a farmer on weekends at Citrus County — Hoshiarpur. Get your kids to the farm to give them a unique experience in a typical farm in Punjab. Let then come and indulge in plucking fruit and sowing vegetable seeds in the fields on their own.” This is how Harkirat Ahluwalia, owner of the Citrus County farm resort, puts it.

“We are offering guests, especially children, first-hand experience of doing farming. This is something that people have never tried before. The experience gives them the satisfaction of doing hard work and experiencing what life is like in the countryside,” Harkirat, who along with his wife Jasveen runs the resort, about 140 km from Chandigarh, told IANS.

The guests at the farm can sow seeds, pluck citrus fruit, plough the fields, milk cows, drive a tractor and take a ride to a nearby forest and rivulet in a tractor-trolley.

Fresh home-cooked food, which is prepared on earthen stoves at the ground level, home-grown organic vegetables and warm hospitality add up in equal measure to make the experience a refreshing one.

“Glamping”, or luxury tenting, as Harkirat puts it, is also part of the farm experience.

The nine air-conditioned tents at Citrus County, with attached bathrooms, offer luxury stay with king-sized beds in the midst of the sprawling orchards of kinnow (a citrus fruit) and tall poplar trees.

Also Read: Indian Agriculture status, Importance & Role In Indian Economy 

The farm resort is located in Chaunni Kalan village, five km short of Hoshiarpur on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh highway.

“Cycling enthusiasts are welcome to get their wheels along and we will provide them the best possible tracks,” said Harkirat, who is a post-graduate in Mass Communication from Panjab University and himself a cycling and biking enthusiast.

In the past, the resort has seen couples from other countries going through wedding rituals the Indian way to give them a real-time feel of the country’s culture and marriage ceremonies.

The unique thing in couples opting for the Indian-style wedding is that they are already married and are middle-aged or even older. The couples are accompanied by their friends, relatives and even children and grandchildren for this unique experience. (IANS)