Thursday October 19, 2017
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Go green: Himachal government to tap wind, solar energy in Spiti

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Kaza: Terming Spiti Valley ideal for solar and wind energy generation, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday said that more such projects would be developed in the area.

Speaking at a public rally at Kaza, the headquarters of Spitia, the chief minister announced that ‘nautor’ or right to utilize the waste land owned by the government would be given to those persons who are landless or having a small landholding with them.

The chief minister said the bridge over the Keer rivulet would be soon constructed and its approach road would be completed soon.Welcome_to_Spiti_Valley

The bridge was washed away last year in flash-floods.

“The government is always considerate towards the demands of the tribal people and today Lahaul-Spiti district is fast developing and all the villages of the valley would be connected with roads,” the chief minister said.

Regarding construction of the Mudh-Bhaba road connecting the Spiti Valley with Kinnaur district, he said the state has taken up the case relating to forest clearance for the project with the central government.

He said the road network in the Spiti Valley would be completed on priority. The roads included Losar to Kyomo, Rangreek to Kwang, Kaza to Langcha and Shithling to Mane to Siluk.

A part of the remote but picturesque Lahaul-Spiti district, the Spiti Valley, a cold desert dotted by tiny hamlets spread over the Himalayan peaks, adjoining Tibet, is a land of Buddhism and virgin nature. (IANS)

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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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It’s more than flying this weekend in Himachal’s Dhauladhars

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Shimla: Nestled amidst quaint mountains with the mighty Dhauladhars range in its backdrop adding to its glory, the Bir-Billing area in Himachal Pradesh this weekend will have more to offer than just India’s first AAI Paragliding World Cup 2015.

Tourists and adventure lovers to the picturesque towns of Bir and Billing, where 130 paragliders from 35 countries will converge during October 23-31, will also savour a taste of Tibetan culture and get a chance to angle for fish, camp, trek and, of course, paraglide as a free-flyer.

“After seeing the inaugural flights, we will devote time for searching out Tibetan spiritual sustenance,” Abhishek Nayyar, a Chandigarh-based senior executive with a multinational company, told IANS.

He said after the opening day of the World Cup, he and his friends would spend time in nearby Tibetan monasteries and shop for handicrafts.

Mona Dhingra, a Delhi-based entrepreneur whose husband is a free-flyer, said it’s more than flying this weekend.

“We are planning to mix the long Dussehra weekend with leisure, flying and spiritualism,” she said.

Bir, the landing site that is also home to Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monasteries, and the take-off point of Billing are separated by 14 km in Kangra district, some 275 km from Chandigarh.

A French contingent with 13 pilots, including many who have won World Cups and Super Cups and have been ranked World No 1, will figure in the event, Sudhir Sharma, president of the Billing Paragliding Association, the club organising the event, told IANS. The French team also includes the current World No 1.

The paragliders also include about 12 women, including former World No 1 Klaudia Bulgakow of Poland, who also won the 2013 Pre-World Cup at Bir and Billing.

While the state government and the Billing Paragliding Association would jointly organise the event, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) would be the title sponsors.

Members of the hospitality industry are expecting record footfalls during the long weekend coinciding with the Paragliding World Cup.

But they admit that the spectators might face problems in getting suitable accommodation.

An extended weekend – Thursday (Dussehra), Saturday (Muharram) and Sunday of course – should see thousands of the tourists coming to watch the event and holiday in the nearby hills.

“Most of the guests coming for the paragliding event are showing interest in nearby tourist destinations like tea estates and temples, Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan establishments,” Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) officiating general manager Vijay Sharma told IANS.

Besides, tea estates of Palampur town, Kangra, Baijnath and Jwalaji are known for the prominent Hindu shrines. Most of these towns are within a 40-km radius of the World Cup.

McLeodganj, the uphill quaint town, has already gained prominence for attracting a steady stream of Tibet enthusiasts, Buddhist scholars, back-packers and even Hollywood stars like Richard Gere.

Also known as Little Lhasa, located just 50 kilometres from the World Cup spot, McLeodganj is known for its Tibetan artifacts and traditional recipes like Tibetan dumplings.

“We are expecting a good rush of tourists this weekend after T-20 between India and South Africa in Dharamsala on October 2,” said Pankaj Chadha, owner of the McLio restaurant in McLeodganj.

Organiser Sudhir Sharma said over 20,000 spectators and adventure lovers are expected to witness the World Cup.

According to him, accommodation for the pilots and visitors is at Bir and at Chowgan village, where there are hotels, besides which special luxury tents have also been put up.

Bir is a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation.

Sharma said the visitors could also opt for home stay units.

FAQs:

How to travel to Bir-Billing: One of the best ways to reach Kangra is by a flight to the Gaggal airport. There are daily flights to Kangra, which is 40 km from Bir.

Other modes to reach the venue are by road and train. The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Pathankot, about 90 km from Kangra town.

Barot in Mandi district is a two-hour drive from Bir. It’s known for trout angling.

Palampur is 29 km from Bir and Baijnath is 13 km from Bir.

Bir-Billing is 499 km from Delhi.

Where to stay: Small hotels, guest houses, and even home stays with local people.

(By Vishal Gulati, IANS)

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Three trapped for two days in Himachal tunnel

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source: ANI news

source: ANI news
source: ANI news

By Newsgram Staff Writer

Shimla: Rescue workers failed to reach the three labourers trapped since Saturday in an under-construction tunnel in the town of Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, officials said.

The Border Roads Organisation, which operates under the defence ministry that has been involved in the construction of the Rohtang tunnel, was deployed for the rescue operation.

“The continuous rolling down of debris from the hilltop is hampering the rescue operation,” National Highways Authority of India project director Satish Kaul told reporters.

“We are trying to insert a pipe into the debris so that the struck workers could be safely evacuated,” Kaul said.

Rescue workers are hopeful that the trapped workers are alive as machines have been deployed to pump oxygen into the tunnel.

The tunnel, which is part of the under-construction four-laning of the Kiratpur-Manali national highway, is located at Tihra, 13 km from district headquarters Bilaspur and 100 km from the state capital.

Workers involved in the construction work blamed the Himalayan Construction Company for lack of safety measures. All the trapped workers belonged to the hill state.

“For the past few days, huge cracks and fissures surfaced in a rock inside the tunnel. The company had been ignoring it and it is due to its negligence that the accident occurred,” one of the survivors told police.

The cave-in took place around 8.30 pm on Saturday when the night shift workers were coming to work. The first shift was over at 8 pm, said officials.

(With inputs from IANS)