Tuesday October 17, 2017
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Himachal people celebrate Diwali in unusual way

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Dhami: This Himachal Pradesh town, once a hunter’s paradise of British India, is known for a unique cultural life – a virtual shower of stones to appease Hindu goddess, Kali.

A day after Diwali, the festival of lights, male adults of the town in their colourful best gather in the former princely state of Dhami, some 25 km from state capital Shimla, and pelt one another with small stones.

At least, six people were injured on Thursday and the pelting lasted for more than 15 minutes. It was subsequently stopped as one of the participants started bleeding profusely, a government official told IANS.

In local parlance, the ritual is known as ‘pattharon ka mela’ (fair of stones).

The pelting of stones is between two groups – one representing the royal family of the erstwhile princely state of Dhami and the others comprising the commoners – over a circular structure, where a rani or queen had committed ‘sati’ or the former practice of a widow throwing herself onto her husband’s funeral pyre.

Old-timers say it was a bloody affair in the past.

“The practice was introduced centuries ago to shun the tradition of ‘narbali’ (human sacrifice) that was prevalent here also like other parts in the state,” octogenarian Dhyan Chand told IANS.

Earlier, there used to be a bloody affair at the stone pelting ritual, he said. “Nowadays with the intervention of human rights groups and the deployment of adequate police, it has become more a ritual exercise and the participation is getting lesser each year.”

A local committee, mainly comprising descendants of the erstwhile royal family, is the ritual organiser.

To avoid a bloody clash, the government deployed adequate police and medical teams.

The ‘battle’ of stones commences after the deity of the Narsingh temple in over 250-year old Halog, the crumbling palace, arrives at the Kali temple also located in the town.

The stone pelting exercise takes place between the residents of Halog, the erstwhile capital of Dhami estate, and neighbouring village Jamog.

As per the belief, a devotee who gets injuries in stone-pelting is considered a devout of goddess Kali. The oozing blood is applied as a ’tilak’ to the goddess.

The one-day fair was attended by locals and tourists in good strength.

On this day, the locals buy farm implements to ensure prosperity and protection from natural calamities.

“We normally buy implements on this auspicious occasion,” farmer Bhim Sen said.

Goddess Kali personifies ‘shakti’ or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change and is widely worshipped in Hinduism.

(IANS)

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Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali!

Do you wish to celebrate a celebrate guilt-free Diwali? Read on!

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Diwali
Diwali does not mean you will have to compromise on your health, Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 17, 2017 : Saying no to sweets becomes near impossible around Diwali, making many conscious of their weight, calories and sugar level going up. Be active and restrict to two drinks to enjoy festivities with full fervor.

Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali! Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal and Preeti Kakkar, nutritional expert at Credihealth, have listed what people can do to celebrate guilt-free Diwali:

  • Plan your day: If one meal goes for a toss, make sure the rest of the meals are on track. For instance, if you’ve reserved a table for dinner, then make sure your breakfast, lunch and snacks are balanced and healthier.
  • Festival and alcohol: Just restrict to two drinks. Alcohol dehydrates your body. Avoid taking cocktails and aerated drinks too as they give you just extra calories.
  • Be active: Physical activity will keep your metabolism active too. No matter what, engage in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day. It can be in the form of dance, walk, jogging or yoga. You may find it hard to believe, but Surya Namaskar is the best way to fight exhaustion.
  • Don’t give up on sweets: It would be a crime to cut out the sweets entirely during this season. So, choose the healthier options and watch your portion size. Go for dry fruit, phirni, kheer, dark chocolate and date mithai instead of other sugar-loaded sweets.
  • Hydrate well: Don’t wait for the thirst to strike. Keep hydrating yourself at short intervals. Moreover, it will keep you stay full and energized in the rush of all preparation. (IANS)

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How to Ensure Your Pet Safe This Diwali?

Make this Diwali special for animals too by keeping your pet safe from unbearable sensitisation through bursting of crackers

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Pet Safe
Keep your pet Hydrated During Diwali. Pixabay.

Diwali being the auspicious festival of peace and prosperity is meant to spread happiness among all. Nevertheless, it should not become someone’s misery and disregard animals out of the scenario. According to PETA, Diwali appears to be more like a ‘terrorist attack than a festive celebration to dogs, donkeys, and other animals’. This Diwali these tips will keep your pet safe in the festivities and ensure animal safety all the while you enjoy the celebration Diwali.

Pet Safe
Stay around with your pet indoors during firebursts outside. Pixabay.

Symptoms you should watch out for in your pet:

  • Any excessive trembling, panting or salivation
  • Untimely urinating or defecation
  • Excessive barking, fear or aggressiveness, crying
  • Loss of appetite or not eating for more than two days

Animals are very sensitive to noise and the sound of bursting crackers create unbearable sensitization among them. Use pet earmuffs to avoid stress and assure safety to your pet during Diwali.

Pet Safe
Avoid any sparkles near your pet that would annoy it. Pixabay.

Few aspects to be noted by Pet owners for keeping their pet safe in Diwali:

  • During any fireburst in your neighbourhood, protect your pet indoors and stay with them, if possible
  • Play some soothing music in the room where the pet is kept, to keep it calm and divert it’s attention.
  • Draw down the windows and curtains and turn on the TV or radio to obstruct the outside noise.
  • Keep your pet hydrated as the noise causes a lot of anxiety in the animal.
  • Check out for unrestrained behavior by unkind people who tie firecrackers to the dog’s tails and, if required, report them to the police.
  • Visit a veterinarian and get an anti-anxiety shot or homeopathic medicines for your pet to keep him undisturbed.
  • To maintain that your pet dog is not lost to you forever, make him wear an updated pet tag describing your contact information on it.
  • Keep a watch on animals wearing collars and tags who seem to be lost. Take them to your local animal shelter, or look after them until their home can be found.
  • Desist and discourage people from saying NO to noisy firecrackers.

This Diwali celebrate peace with your loved ones and also give a chance to the animals to reside peacefully. Animals are also living beings and have sentiments similar to us. We must educate children to be empathetic towards animals and take specific care during Diwali for keeping their pet safe. This festive season illuminate your home with diyas, candles and other ornamental artifacts that are friendly to all.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Wondering What to Serve Your Guests This Diwali? Try These Easy Snacks Recipes By Sanjeev Kapoor

Sanjeev Kapoor's recipes are not just easy to make, but also come handy to treat all your guests to the best food ever!

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recipes
With Diwali right around the corner, are you planning to experiment with some new recipes? Pixabay

New Delhi, October 11, 2017 : Traditional sweets and snacks are of the essence when it comes to Diwali and the celebrations are simply incomplete without home-cooked food. This time celebrate the festival by indulging in some sweet as well as tangy treats.

If you have even the slightest interest in culinary arts, you would have heard the name of India’s culinary expert, chef Sanjeev Kapoor! His recipes are not just easy to make, but also come handy to treat all your guests to the best food ever!

recipes
India’s culinary expert Sanjeev Kapoor. IANS

Here are some easy snacks recipes by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

1. Bhajanee chakli

Ingredients :

  • 2 tablespoons Nutralite
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Bhajanee flour
  • 4 cups rice
  • 1 cup skinless split black gram (urad dal)

How to make Bhajanee chakli :

recipes
Chakli. Wikimedia

  • For the bhajanee flour, dry-roast the rice and black gram separately. Cool completely and grind separately to a powder. Sift both the flours and mix.
  • Put bhajanee flour in a bowl. Add Nutralite, salt, cumin powder and chilli powder, and mix well. Divide the mixture in half. Take one half and knead into a soft dough with ½ cup water. When the dough is used up, make a dough of the remaining flour.
  • Put small portions of the mixture into a chakli mould and press out several chakli onto a plastic sheet. Heat sufficient oil in a non-stick kadai till moderately hot.
  • Deep-fry the chakli till light golden brown and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside to cool. Store in an airtight container.

ALSO READ Diwali Sweet Dish: Now Make Desserts for Diwali in Less Than 10 Minutes

2. Methi mathri

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups refined flour (maida)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 5 tablespoons Nutralite
  • Oil for deep-frying

recipes
Mathri infused with kasoori methi. Wikimedia

How to make methi mathri :

  • Take flour in a bowl, add salt, carom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves and mix well.
  • Add Nutralite and mix well. Add sufficient chilled water and knead into a hard dough. Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes.
  • Divide into 24 equal balls and flatten them slightly. Roll them out thinly into small puris and fold in half and then fold again to make a triangle. Stick a clove at one corner making it appear like a paan. Lightly prick them with a fork so that the mathris do not rise like puris.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a kadai.
  • Slide in the mathris and deep-fry on medium heat till golden brown and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and cool completely. Serve or store in air tight tins.

recipes
Treat your guests to a combination of Indian sweets and snacks. Pixabay

3. Chocolate and nut karanji

Ingredients 

  • 1½ cups refined flour (maida)
  • 3 tablespoons pure ghee
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Stuffing
  • ½ cup grated dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup grated mawa/khoya
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar Free

recipes
Karanji filled with chocolate and nuts. Wikimedia commons

Method of preparation:

  • Put the flour in a deep bowl. Add ghee and add 2-3 tablespoons of chilled water or chilled milk. Knead into a medium-soft dough, adding more chilled water or milk as you go along. Divide into small balls and let them rest, covered with a damp cloth.
  • To make the stuffing, mix the khoya/mawa, Sugar Free, walnuts, almonds and chocolate in a bowl. Chill it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Roll out the dough balls into small round puri. Place a puri on the worktop; moisten its edges.
  • Place some stuffing in the centre and fold one side of the puri over the other. Press the edges to seal and further twist the edges with your finger tips in a decorative manner. Or cut the edges with a serrated cutter. You can also make the karanji using a mould.
  • Keep the karanji in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a kadai. Deep-fry the karanjis, a few at a time, till light brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot or allow them to cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.

4. Banana halwa burfi

Ingredients: 

  • cup chopped ripe Nendrabale bananas
  • 1 cup grated khoya/mawa
  • ½ cup Sugar Free
  • ½ cup coarsely ground cashew nuts
  • Ghee for greasing
  • ¼ cup milk

Method of preparation:

  • Grease a straight-sided shallow tray with a little ghee. Heat a non-stick pan, add bananas and khoya/mawa and cook on medium heat, stirring at regular intervals to prevent the mixture from scorching.
  • Cook till the ghee begins to ooze from the mixture. Add the Sugar Free and cashew nut powder, and mix. Continue to cook, stirring continuously, till the mixture turns a rich brown.
  • Add milk and cook till it starts leaving the sides of the pan. Pour the mixture into the greased tray, level the surface and set aside to cool.
  • Cut into desired shapes and serve.

recipes
Lip-smacking banana barfi. Wikimedia

In case you liked these recipes, dont forget to share your views with us. We would also like to hear how you modified these recipes to make something unique. Share your own recipes with us! (IANS)