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Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha is better known as ‘PT Usha’. She is the one who showed the citizens of India that there are sports other than cricket and Indian sportsmen have the potential to represent the nation at the international level and bring glory to the country. Indian athlete PT Usha is a sporting legend who inspired thousands of Indian women to take up sports and especially athletics as their career, and the progress Indian sportspersons have made in the past few decades speaks volumes of the growth of sporting culture in India.
PT Usha remains one of the most iconic athletes that the country has ever produced. She is fondly called as the ‘Queen of Indian track and field’. Due to her exceptional sprinting skills in the early 80s and 90s, PT Usha brought India to the International sports radar. She has over 100’s of international medals to her credit. She has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. Currently, Indian athlete PT Usha runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy near Kozhikode in Kerala.She has dedicated all her time towards grooming young sporting talents. Till date, she continues to inspire not just the sporting fraternity but every single one of us, an amazing year ahead.
PT Usha’s Life
The ace sprinter was born on 27th of June, 1964, in Payyoli, Kerala. PT Usha was born to a poor family which did not permit Usha to have a privileged life. Although the family could not make ends meet but still Usha had an incredible passion for athletics and sports. Her passion for sports helped her earn the nickname ‘Payyoli Express’ and ‘Golden Girl.’
Payyoli Express Career
In 1976, PT Usha got the much-needed recognition when the Kerala Government awarded her with an Rs. 250 scholarship. This boosted her to represent her district after the government started a sports school exclusively for women in Cannore. Eventually, her talent was noticed by athletics coach O M Nambiar during the National School Games award ceremony, and he was impressed by Usha’s “lean shape and fast walking style.” Under the guidance of Nambiar, PT Usha won winning several medals in various athletic meets that she had participated
In 1985, PT Usha bagged five gold medals at the Jakarta Asian Meet and turned into the Queen of Indian Track and Field. The recognition that any sportsperson crave for came to her career in the year 1986 at the Seoul Asian Games when she notched four gold medals and one silver medal- and then she felt like Cleopatra. She is also accomplished as the youngest Indian sprinter to compete in an Olympic event at a young age of 16. After her marriage with V. Srinivasan, she took off of four years from athletics. Soon, she made her comeback with a bang by clinching the silver medal in Hiroshima Asian Games held in the year 1994.
PT Usha’s Awards and Honours
- Arjuna Award, 1984
- Padma Shri, 1984
- Greatest woman athlete, 1985 Jakarta Asian Athletic Meet
- Best Athlete in Asia Award, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989
- World Trophy for best Athlete, 1985, 1986
- Adidas Golden Shoe award for the best athlete, 1986 Seoul Asian Games
- D.Litt. (Honoris causa) conferred by University of Calicut, 2018
PT Usha’s Achievements
- PT Usha has set a national record at the state athletic meet at Kottayam, 1977.
- PT Usha grasped the attention of many as a junior athlete in the National inter-state meet at Kollam, 1978.
- PT Usha participated in the Moscow Olympics, 1980.
- PT Usha became the first Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event.
- In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, PT Usha became the youngest Indian sprinter at the age of 16 to compete
- PT Usha participated in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.
Here are some of the illustrious highlights of the Indian athlete PT Usha career that makes her the ‘Golden Girl’ of India:
- PT Usha was one among 40 athletes part of the newly launched state government sports division in 1976 for women in Kannur where she started practising under the guidance of coach O.M Nambiar.
- PT Usha garnered limelight as a junior athlete in the National inter-state meet at Kollam, 1978 when she set a national record at the state athletic meet at Kottayam in 1977
- PT Usha got national recognition when she won the individual championship in 1979 National School Games
- PT Usha made her international debut when she made her debut at the 1980 Moscow Games at the age of 16. She was the youngest Indian sprinter to enter the Olympic foray at the time.
- In 1980, she made a mark by winning 4 gold medals in the 1980 Pakistan Open National Meet at Karachi.
- PT Usha won a gold medal in 200m race and bronze medal in 100m race in the world junior invitation meet at Seoul in 1982.
- PT Usha’s luck brightened up during the 1984 leg of Olympics in Los Angeles, where she won the 400m hurdles heats. During this race, she set an Asian record of at 55.42 seconds, which still stands today as the Indian National Record.
- In 1998, PT Usha astonished the country by winning 2 bronze medals at the Asian Track Field meet in Japan and set a new national record for the 200m race, surpassing on her own previous record.
- PT Usha was honoured with sportsperson of the century and the sportswoman of the millennium by the Indian Olympic Association
- The 400 meters hurdle in Los Angeles was the moment when she finished 4th and came closest any Indian female athlete has ever come to win an Olympic medal. But unfortunately, she lost the bronze medal by just 1/100th of a second.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City