Karaweik Palace restaurant: Bona fide Myanmarese supper and culture

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Photo: Wikipedia

By Vishal Gulati

Yangon: At the Karaweik Palace restaurant, built to look like a royal golden teak barge that seems to be floating on the Kandawgyi Lake in the heart of this former capital of Myanmar, a country once considered a pariah under the rule of successive military juntas but which is now coming into its own.

For, just 35,000 kyats ($28/Rs.1,900) you can have snacks, a typical Myanmarese buffet and get a traditional makeup done while enjoying a three-hour-long extravaganza of dance in many forms. Alcohol is extra.

“It’s really a great place to come once you are in Yangon. We really had a royal experience,” remarked US tourist Emma Megan. Her husband Timothy said they also enjoyed romantic sunset on the horizon over the Kandawgyi Lake, also known as Royal Lake.

He said from a distance it was amazing to see the changing colors of the Karaweik’s Pagoda-like rooftop with spires as the sun slowly set.

At night, the barge is lit up and reflects on the calm waters of the lake.

The 400-cover two-storeyed Karaweik Palace, close to the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines strands of the Buddha’s hair and other holy relics, serves the buffet with a live cultural performance for three hours every evening from 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The entertainment includes puppet show, traditional and acrobatic dances and an elephant (costume) dance mainly depict Myanmarese culture and history. There is also an exhibition of traditional arts, handicrafts and costumes.

The restaurant is also open in the afternoons for lunch and serves Myanmarese and Chinese food sans the cultural program.

The restaurant’s staff is dressed in medieval attire and some like Royal Guards to give you a ‘royal’ feel.

The restaurant also offers local makeup, called ‘thanaka’, at the entrance.

“It’s one of my favourite dining places in Yangon that gives a feel of what the country was centuries ago,” Live to Love India chairperson Arjun Pandey told this visiting IANS correspondent.

Live to Love International is a network of non-profit organizations founded by the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of Drukpa Buddhists.

“The food is authentic, nice and reasonably priced for the show and buffet dinner. Besides, it offers free treats on the walkway that gives a feeling of relishing street food,” Pandy added.

The history of Karaweik Palace dates to 1972 when its construction began. The tourism ministry initially operated it. In 1998, the Zaykabar Company, a major conglomerate with interests in telecom and construction, took it over.

Its design is based on the Pyi Gyi Mon Royal Barge, a boat once used by the Burmese kings to travel.

After seeing an end to five decades of a military junta rule in Myanmar (earlier known as Burma) in 2011 and years of isolation, this South East Asian nation is now opening up to tourists.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism says there were more than 4.2 million arrivals at the end of November last year.

Myanmar attracted $2.64 billion foreign investment in 47 projects in the hotels and tourism sector in 2015, up $1.5 billion from $1.14 billion in 36 projects in 2011.

According to the ministry’s master plan (2013-2020), tourist arrivals are estimated to hit 7.49 million in 2020.

A majority of foreign tourists come from China, Thailand, France, Germany and the US. (IANS)

(Vishal Gulati’s visit to Yangon was at the invitation of the India chapter of Live to Love International)

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Some Interesting Facts About The Language Of Gods: Sanskrit

Read some interesting facts about the oldest language, the language of gods: Sanskrit

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Sanskrit
Sanskrit was considered as ‘DEV BHASHA’ or ‘DEVAVANI. Pixabay

BY AAYUSH

Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages known to mankind It is also believed to be the most systematic and technical language of all. It is also referred to as the mother of all languages and is the only language that is used in holy functions and ceremonies of the Hindus, as it has always been regarded as the sacred language of the religion and gods. Sanskrit mantras, when recited in combination with the sound vibrations, have a specific effect on the mind and the psyche of the individual.

Sanskrit is the vehicle through which we have been fortunate to be gifted with the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagvat Gita, and the two great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is the only language that is used in holy functions and ceremonies of the Hindus, as it has always been regarded as the sacred language of the religion. Sanskrit mantras, when recited in combination with the sound vibrations, have a specific effect on the mind and the psyche of the individual.

10 Interesting Facts About the Sanskrit Language

 

Sanskrit language when recited is no less than a beautiful melody is a mystery in itself. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Sanskrit Language.

1. The Language of the Gods

Sanskrit was considered as ‘DEV BHASHA’ or ‘DEVAVANI’, the Language of the Gods by ancient Indians. The script is called DEVNAGARI which means used in the cities of the Gods. It was believed to have been generated by the god Brahma who passed it to the Rishis (sages) living in celestial abodes, who then communicated the same to their earthly disciples from where it spread on earth.

Sanskrit
The Sanskrit language is the oldest language and many other languages are taken from it. Vedicfeed

2. The oldest language in the world

Sanskrit is believed to be one of the oldest languages in the world. The Vedas, the oldest extant texts in any language, were written in Sanskrit.  The earliest form of Sanskrit language was Vedic Sanskrit that came approximately around 1500B.C, a period when knowledge was imparted orally through generations.

3. An innovative language

An old, yet, a highly technical, systematic language of the world. Following research, a report given by the NASA scientist, Rick Briggs, Sanskrit is one of the most suitable languages for computers. It is considered to be very efficient in making algorithms.

4. A language without a default script

Sanskrit did not have a “default” script (like Devanagari- Hindi) until very recently, i.e. less than 200 years back. It was written by everyone in the regional script of their region, in over two dozen scripts. This may make it the language that has been written in the most number of scripts.

Sanskrit culture had a great reluctance towards writing, and this continued for at least a millennium before the first texts were penned. Yet there are as many as 30 million Sanskrit manuscripts with around 7 million manuscripts preserved in India itself. This precisely means that the magnitude of work in Sanskrit surpasses that of Greek and Latin put together!

5. Sanskrit Newspapers and Radios

Sanskrit daily news and newspapers exist even today. It is the language of more than 90 weeklies, fortnightlies, and quarterlies published across India. Gujarat started publishing Vartman Patram and Vishwasya Vrittantam five years back and an all India Radio has been broadcasting daily news in Sanskrit once a day since the year 1974. ‘Sudharma’, the newspaper is published out of Mysore, a historic city in Karnataka, India. It has been running since 1970 and is now available online as an e-paper.

Sanskrit
Even though Sanskrit is old, yet, it is highly technical and systematic. Pixabay

6. Sanskrit speaking hamlets

There are still many villages in India where Sanskrit is still the primary language of communication. The villagers also insist the visitors converse in Sanskrit with them. Banter, greetings, quarrels on the streets, teaching – it’s all in Sanskrit here.

7. A Spiritual Language

The word “Sanskrit’ is a combination of two words – “Sanskar’ and “Krit’; “Krit’ meaning “Inculcating’ and “Sanskar’ meaning “Essence of Moral Values’. Thus Sanskrit means a language that has the capacity to indoctrinate higher values in an individual, the self.

8. A highly versatile language

Sanskrit has the power to say something using the minimum amount of words. There are numerous synonyms for each word each with specific meaning in the language of Sanskrit. For instance, a simple word like the elephant has about a hundred synonyms. English has only one word for love, Sanskrit has 96.

Sanskrit has an amazing wealth of words and synonyms to give great versatility. It has in fact over 70 words for water where English has just got one. Amazingly the Sanskrit language has over 122 words for the action to go each with the specific meaning.

9. The master of Phonetics

Sanskrit is perhaps one of the most accurate languages in pronunciation. It makes use of 49 types of sounds that make pronunciations of different kinds of words very distinct. The attention devoted to the grammar, phonetics, and linguistics in Sanskrit is believed to have been unprecedented until the 20th century.

10. Increases brain power

Sanskrit has also been proven to help in speech therapy. Research suggests that learning the language improves brain functioning and students improve academically; they get better marks in subjects like Mathematics and Science which some people find difficult. It is because Sanskrit enhances memory power and concentration.

Also Read: Revival Of Indian Economy: PM Modi Is Doing His Job, What About Others ?

James Junior School in London has made Sanskrit compulsory. Students of this school are among the toppers in various fields and worldwide exams year after year. Some schools in Ireland also have made Sanskrit compulsory. (VedicFeed)

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Restaurants to Ensure Contactless Dining Post COVID-19 Era

Restaurants may need to adapt to the 'new normal' in dining

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Restaurants
Restaurants need to be extra carefull once the lockdown is lifted. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

In addition to its fatal effects on human lives and livelihoods, the pandemic has instilled fear in people. This will create a grim future for the restaurants industry in a post COVID-19 era.

The emphasis is on maintaining social distancing and hygiene, and restaurants may have to undergo restoration processes to ensure contactless dining to bring back diner confidence as they resume operations.

Dining out and restaurant tech platform, Dineout launched a eWhitepaper’ that lists down restoration guidelines for the industry on staff management, staff health and safety, restaurant space sanitisation, food safety, social distancing, inventory management and measures for takeaway and delivery business models.

It was released by the Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Rupinder Brar over a digital press conference on Monday.

Ankit Mehrotra, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dineout said: “As the world negotiates the enduring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our interaction with the outside world will reorient in both the short and long term for the sake of personal hygiene and public health. These post-COVID sensibilities are likely to have an enduring impact in how the country’s food and beverages industry is expected to operate, and the eReinventing The Wheel: Dining Out In A Post-COVID Era’ Whitepaper is our way to help Indian restaurateurs comprehend and adapt to this enew normal’ and the rapidly evolving demands of Indian diners. We aspire to empower restaurateurs with our tech innovations to help fight this crisis, and reassure them that the human desire for good food & good time with loved ones will never go out of vogue.”

restaurant
Dineout launched a eWhitepaper’ that lists down restoration guidelines for the industry on staff management. Pixabay

Brar said: “In the past, humanity stands witness to the opportunities created out of the challenges people have faced. And this is another one from them, a situation which we are facing all over the world. As rightly said by Dineout, technology can always be used in a big way in such situations. I am glad to see through your initiative that technology can be used to create a safe environment for everyone, and hence re-assuring that basic protocols while dining out are in place.”

Here is a summary of recommended practices for the restaurant industry:

Staff Management

Be masked at all times, regular temperature monitoring, advisory for staff, advise diners

Staff Health & Safety

Allowing unwell staff to rest, regularly monitoring staff health, training your staff with best practices, keeping safety kit handy for staff, monitor restaurant premises.

Kitchen operations

No entry for un-sanitised material and staff, sanitise all surfaces, sanitise all equipment, separate are for used dishes, separate window for delivery and takeaways, social distancing inside the kitchen.

India restaurant
Restaurants will have to be extra careful with hygeine. Pixabay

Inventory handling

Understand your supply chain, separate sanitisation zone, designate staff member for raw materials.

Dining area and bar

Modified seating plan, sanitisers for diners, eSanitised for you’ labels, fine air quality index, optimum water quality values, maintain proper indoor environmental condition, consider a reservations-only business, limit staff in the area.

Tableware

Thorough silverware cleansing, clean hand-towel and table cloth, serving platters must be fumigated, use UV sterilisers, viewable washing areas, eliminate unwanted table decor.

restaurant
Extra care should be taken in the kitchens. Pixabay

Delivery and pick-up orders

Sanitised and temperature control delivery, avoid cross – contamination, enable “no touch” deliveries, designate pick-up zones, increase cleaning frequency and disinfect high-touch surfaces, adopt plexiglass for area separation.

Read More: Visit Switzerland Virtually This Summer Vacation

Re-building customers’ confidence

Stay relevant and connected, build trust through transparency, introduce new concepts, let your staff be your ambassador, spread the word.

Contactless dining

Booking a table, pre-ordering meals, takeaway, digital ordering, digital payment, contactless check in, contactless feedback. (IANS)

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Culture Builds Bridges, Not Walls: Shashi Tharoor

Renowned author Shashi Tharoor said that culture builds bridges, not walls.

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Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor believes Culture Builds Bridges, Not Walls. Pixabay

By Siddhi Jain

A strong believer of the uniting power of the arts and culture, parliamentarian and renowned author Shashi Tharoor has said that culture builds bridges, not walls.

Having recently lent his voice to a short music video that features an emotional rendition of the Indian National Anthem, Tharoor is strong in his recital of another of Rabindranath Tagore works, “Where The Mind Is Without Fear” which appears towards the end. The anthem has been sung by playwright and Tagore fusion singer Isheeta Ganguly.

According to Tharoor, “our minds are currently gripped by fear of the unknown, of possible attack by the virus; fear has led to the demonisation of certain of our own citizens, either because of their appearance or their religion. The Tagore verse speaks of India transcending such fears and narrow divisions to a broader self-realisation.”

tagore
He recently lent his voice in a version of national anthem written by Rabindranath Tagore. Tharoor also recites other works of Tagore. Wikimedia

Read More: Keto Diet Can Increase Bad Cholesterol

Asked how the arts and culture act as unifying forces in difficult times, Tharoor told IANSlife: “Arts and culture build bridges, not walls. They help us to realise what unites us rather than divides us. They expand our minds beyond petty concerns to larger aspirations. Great art is always universal; it does not discriminate or demonize.”

Tharoor also underlined the need to utilise the nation’s symbols – like the National Anthem – to unite in. “It’s important to remind everyone that India, indeed, belongs to everyone,” he said. (IANS)