Monday October 23, 2017

NGT tells Himachal Govt to take steps to reduce noise pollution

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Shimla: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Himachal Pradesh government to take a slew of steps aimed at reducing air and noise pollution in the state capital.

The state has been ordered to impose Rs.500 as “green tax” on each vehicle emitting pollution on Shimla’s restricted roads, including the Mall Road.

The tribunal asked the government to consider implementing one-way traffic on the Cart Road, the circular road in the state capital.

“Definite steps are required to be taken at the earliest. If not taken now, the day is not far when ambient air quality of Shimla would deteriorate to an undesirable level, causing health hazards,” the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar observed.

“It’s a matter of common knowledge that air and noise pollution, particularly in Shimla, is increasing by the day. Traffic congestion is one of the major contributors to such excessive pollution,” the bench said.

The state was ordered to declare “silence zones” and display sign boards at conspicuous places in Shimla and ensure that no noise was produced by any process, including horns, in such zones.

The tribunal also directed to ensure no parking was allowed on the sealed roads, besides smooth traffic movement on the Cart Road.

The NGT asked the Himachal government to revisit all vehicle permits for sealed and restricted roads within three months, completely prohibiting or restricting vehicular traffic on such roads.

The 13-page order asked that the state government take immediate steps to strictly comply with the directions.

It said authorities had not complied with its earlier orders.

Favouring the practice of automobile-free zones, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had also sought status reports from the state as to how many vehicles were allowed to ply on the sealed roads of Shimla.

It also sought replies on the steps taken to implement the Shimla Road Users and Pedestrians (Public Safety and Convenience) Act of 2007.

Shimla has several automobile-free zones to facilitate unrestricted movement of pedestrians.(IANS)

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Home is Where Mountains Are ! Rundown of 7 Mountains in India

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Beautiful mountains in India
Manali in India. Pixabay

Sep 20, 2017: Mountains are simply attractive, but the blooms and lush greenery creates a lovely shading which makes them appear even more alluring. India is blessed with such splendid sights and eye soothing mountain ranges.

Take a look at these 7 magnificent mountains in India

Valley of Flowers, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Valley of flowers, Garhwal Uttarakhand India. Wikimedia

Valley of flower is situated in Uttarakhand, also Known as God’s own land. The impressive panoramas of the mountains and valleys of the downtown ought to be exceptionally noted. This place is brimmed with distinction.

Chandratal Lake, Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful mountains in India
Different colors of Chandratal lake. Wikimedia

Its magnificence is conceived by its snow-clad mountains, waterways, and lakes. There befall peace and solace by seeing them.

Beautiful mountains in India

Rohtang Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful mountains in India
Rohtang Pass, Manali. Wikimedia

The wonderful valley of Rohtang Pass here gives a feeling of paradise on earth. In the meantime, the magnificence of the Solang valley adds four moons to the perfection of Rohtang.

Kanchenjunga Mountain, Sikkim

Beautiful mountains in India
This is the view of the great Kanchenjunga Mountain range in Sikkim taken in the morning at a freezing temperature. Wikimedia

Every scene of Kanchenjunga situated in Sikkim is unmatched and wonderful in itself. The mountains secured with snow, streams ascending through the mountains heighten the magnificence of this place.

Beautiful mountains in India

Pithoragarh, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Aesculus indica, Horse Chestnut, Pithoragarh, Himalayas. Wikimedia

This area is the easternmost Himalayan region in Uttarakhand, also known as the little Kashmir. High Himalayan mountains topped with snow, emerald grasslands and meadows is a sight full of astonishment.

Ranikhet, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Ranikhet (Beauty of Himalaya valley). Wikimedia

Located in the Kumaon mountain, the Ranikhet slope is arranged amongst Nainital and Almora. It is encompassed by woods from all sides, the name of the slope of Ranikhet, which is named after Rani Padmini. The excellence of this place are the fundamental focuses of fascination.

Beautiful mountains in India

Rishikesh, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Monsoon in Rishikesh. Wikimedia

The bright slopes and valleys spread over the city makes the place even more alluring.

Prepared by Naina Mishta of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


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Jibhi: Tiny virgin hamlet of Himachal Pradesh in the embrace of Himalayas

Pristine and undisturbed, serenity and calmness linger in the air of Jibhi, a lesser known destination in Himachal Pradesh

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Jibhi , small town in Himachal Pradesh
Mountain peaks in Himachal Pradesh. Wikimedia

Jibhi (Himachal Pradesh), Sep 10, 2017: If you are looking for an escape from the cacophony of maddening city life, head to this tiny village located in the lap of Banjar Valley in Kullu district. Pristine and undisturbed, serenity and calmness linger in the air of Jibhi, a lesser known destination in Himachal Pradesh.

Ever wondered how serene and soothing mornings can be? Imagine waking up to a misty morning and watching a bunch of clouds trapped between high and erect mountain ranges with sudden drizzles! There can certainly be no better way to start a day in this tiny Himalayan hamlet.

This village is not exactly a tourist destination, which is perhaps the best aspect about this place that may appeal to travellers. What this village offers is peace — no sign of commercialisation — it has ability to propel the raw appeal of nature’s beauty and will never fail to offer the solace you are probably seeking. The virgin village, which stands an hour away from the Great Himalayan National Park, is an abode of mother nature’s blessings, a sheer token of beauty, that will hypnotize the very moment you touch down the valley.

Just walk down a few extra miles along the curvy roads where maple leaves pave a carpet and sudden showers frequently lash down. Surrounded by hills on all sides, the tall deodar and pine trees towering on the hills dwarf the tiny surrounding huts. As I proceeded along the path — full of promise and excitement — there was a symphonic harmony in the silence that the valley offered. The constant crackling sound as the Beas river rushes along, as also the rapturous call of the cuckoos and sweet melodies of other little birds, left me enchanted.

Also Read: Gunehar- The Paragliding Zone of India in Himachal Pradesh is home for Emerging Artists 

As the sun settles down behind the hills and the tops blush in a reddish hue, warm yourself over a cup of tea or set up bonfire. With the night’s arrival, the entire valley adorns a different look, especially if it’s full moon time. There is nothing more blissful than watching it shine bright, casting a shimmery silver shadow over the hillsides.

Praising Jibhi only for its scenic charm will be injustice as the place has more in store for travellers. Take a day and trek to the Jalori Pass. And a slightly tedious trek of around five-six kilometres will take you to the Serolsar Lake. What will also enchant you is the walk amidst the path wrapped in a thick blanket of mist and fog while the pine and deodar trees rustle with the passage of chilly winds through them.

Himachal Pradesh is also home to rich architectural structures, most of which usually go unnoticed. The peculiar identity of Himachali monuments lies in their unique craft and woodworks. Go for a stroll across the Chaini village, some four kilometres from Jibhi, and you will encounter a slightly tilted Chaini tower. Opposite to it stands a Krishna temple which has been converted from an almost ruined Chaini Fort.

Trout fishing is another attraction for the travellers over here. Although you need permission, the guest-house authorities will easily be able to help you in procuring it. One can also get the permit from the Fisheries Office near Banjar.

Accommodation in the village is pretty affordable; from luxurious cottages to cheap homestays, there are a lot options for travellers. You can even set up your tent (you’ll have to take your own) near the river bank.

However, don’t hope for a good restaurant. If one is looking for fancy meals then Jibhi is perhaps not the place to be. JD’s Cafe in upper Jibhi and Dolli’s Guest House in lower Jibhi are some exceptions that serve delicacies to the visitors.

Extremely stiff and too many sharp turns make the road from Aut quite an adventurous ride. Although the road is smooth, it is advised to have an experienced local driver at the wheel.

FAQs:

Reaching there: Take the Mandi-Manali route and divert from Aut. If travelling by bus, take any which is till Kullu or Manali and get down at Aut, and take another bus till Jibhi.

Time taken: From Delhi, it takes around 14 hours.

Best time to visit: Avoid winter as road remains mostly closed owing to snowfall. Summer is pleasant otherwise and the monsoon keeps the place cool. (IANS)

 

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Gunehar: The Paragliding Zone of India in Himachal Pradesh is home for Emerging Artists

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'In The Woods' exhibition
The aim of the 'In The Woods' exhibition was to make art more accessible by taking it out of the restricted and elitist space. VOA

Himachal Pradesh, Jun 16, 2017: Art is not a commodity but an experience, say connoisseurs, and this experience can take an entirely new form when it interacts with its surroundings — walls, lights, music, furniture and other artwork around it — or even moves beyond it.

What if the whole idea of art from its creation to exhibition is transformed? What if the creation of an artist is juxtaposed with the supreme creation — mother nature itself? What if the surrounding walls are replaced by trees and shrubs, artificial lights by the natural play of sunlight and shadows, and recorded music by the sounds of crickets, birds and the wind?

One such experience was showcased in Gunehar, a small village in Himachal Pradesh, which falls between Bir and Billing, famous as the paragliding zone of India.

Every three years, a unique art residency programme called “ShopArt ArtShop” is organised in Gunehar by German-Indian art curator Frank Schlichtmann, where artists break free from rules and restrictions of art galleries and curators, to create art in the foothills of Himalayas while interacting with nature as well as the villagers.

However, Schlichtmann took it a notch higher this June with an exhibition titled “In the Woods” where various artists’ works were displayed in the natural setting of a forest above Gunehar.

The idea was to make art more accessible by taking it out of the restricted and elitist space, he said.

“First, it’s a different way of doing an art exhibition because these usually take place in galleries and only for city people, and that too, for a select few.

“We want to achieve something first for the artist. So here, the artists have a chance to work outside all the restraints put by the galleries and the curators,” Schlichtmann told IANS.

Schlichtmann, who not only curated the exhibition which concluded on June 11 but also displayed a few of his own artworks, said that in India, the art scene starts and ends with painting and sculpture. “That’s all that they consider as art anyway.”

He added that the aim of the exhibition as well as the triennial art residency project is also to bring forward the emerging artists of various art forms.

“The emerging artists, who are actually the interesting ones and are taking the art scene forward, have to fight a lot to even get a spot. For instance, a famous curator whom I know actually charges the artists to curate,” Schlichtmann said.

The exhibition displayed terracotta sculptures of Mudita Bhandari, photographs by Ratika Singh, paintings by Neha Lavingia, as well as a soundscape by Nikhil Narendra, an e-book project by Rohini Kejriwal and a live installation by Gauri Sharma.

Bhandari, who displayed works which seamlessly blended with the forest surroundings, says that it was a completely different experience to first work for “ShopArt ArtShop” and then for “In the Woods”.

“It’s very regular to have an exhibition in a city where you have a gallery, where you have a setup and where you know everything. There you are in your comfort zone.”

“But it is very different when you don’t have a setup at all. I had nothing, not even a table to work on and was working on flat cement space when I came for ShopArt ArtShop,” Bhandari told IANS.

“All our traditional potters are working under these circumstances. We, as city people, have never done it and there is still something that divides their way of doing things and our way of doing things,” she said.

Bhandari, an art graduate from Shantiniketan, prefers terracotta because it’s “very porous and very alive” and it changes with every season.

“When you place terracotta works outdoors, you see some fungus coming in — the green thing. When the rains are gone and the sun is out, the green dries up and it’s all brown,” she said.

“So it’s very evolving and is living in that particular space which is why I relate to terracotta much more.”

About exhibiting her works outside in the forest, Bhandari says it created a link between her process of creating the artwork and the way it is displayed for the audience.

“When I am working, there are so many light elements that come in and go as the sun goes from one direction to another. So I watch the work play with those lights and shadows.”

“It was a fantastic thing to actually bring the work out in the open. This was my way of sharing that play of lights and shadows in real time and with people, because each light or shadow would have its own character and it creates a mood of its own,” she said. (IANS)