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ONGC and Unesco Join Hands to get India’s Largest Coastal Lagoon ‘Chilika Lake’ the World Heritage Site Tag

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  • Efforts can finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site
  • Shigeru Aoyagi assured that he would put in his best efforts to enable the declaration of Chilika Lake as a Unesco World Heritage Site
  • ONGC Director D.D. Misra said the company would carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area

Bhubaneswar, June 21, 2017: A joint team of the ONGC and Unesco has carried out a preliminary survey for the conservation of Chilika Lake to help the country’s largest coastal lagoon secure the world heritage site tag, said an official on Wednesday.

“With the objective to declare Chilika Lake as a Unesco World Heritage Site, both Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) will work together,” said Shigeru Aoyagi, Unesco Chief Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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“In order to get world heritage site recognition, it should have outstanding global value in terms of biodiversity and eco-system. The state government has assured us to provide full support to conserve the lake,” he added.

During their visit to the periphery areas of the lake, they interacted with various stakeholders in the village and local officials, where certain focal areas were identified to begin with, so that the efforts could finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site.

ALSO READ: Preah Vihear: Here is Why this UNESCO World Heritage site in Cambodia is popular among Tourists!

They also met Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who appreciated the ONGC-Unesco efforts for the comprehensive development of the eco-system of the lake, particularly the wetlands of Mangalajodi, which is intrinsically linked to the conservation of migratory and endemic birds.

Shigeru Aoyagi assured that he would put in his best efforts to enable the declaration of Chilika Lake as an Unesco World Heritage Site.

He said a comprehensive dossier with a detailed development plan of the ecosystem, including that of the inhabitants, by involving various central and state government ministries would be prepared.

ONGC Director D.D. Misra said the company would carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area.

He said the Unesco had also proposed to set up a world class conservation centre with a climate change observatory with state-of-the-art data and monitoring facilities. (IANS)

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Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

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Angkor Wat: World’s Largest Hindu Temple


In this article, we will discuss about the “History behind Angkor Wat Hindu Temple“, which is the world’s largest Hindu temple located in “Cambodia” – southeast asian nation.


 

Angkor Wat: Lost in the woods for over 400 years, the discovery of Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu monument literally shocked the world. Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s famous temple is a place full of still unexplored history, myth and legend.

Discovery & History of Angkor Wat – World’s Largest Hindu Temple

  • Angkor wat denotes Cambodia’s unwrapped mystery of civilization that for centuries looked like it never existed. The hidden temple was a stuff of legend until 1860 when a French naturalist, “Henri Mohout”  accidently came to that place during his expedition. He saw the ruins of Angkor Wat. But why did the civilization collapse? How did they make this sophisticated temple with no modern technologies? What must have happened?  It’s the high time to uncover these hidden secrets.
  • Angkor, the capital of last Cambodian empire was home to millions of people over 800 years ago. The powerful empire covered South East Asia including Vietnam, Bay of Bengal and North West China. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is among the wonders of the world. Even today, this world’s largest hundu temple or religious monument has a huge complex stretched at about 200 hectares of land. While entering the main temple a vast gate gives an impression that you have reached the temple, however, you realize that the main temple still is 400 yards away. The expansive nature of temple is seen to be believed.
  • Angkor Wat is also known as the city temple as it was surrounded by urban areas (long back before disappearing). When built,  it was dedicated to representing Hindu god, “Lord Vishnu”. There is a 213 feet high central tower(temple) encircled by 4 small towers representing Mount Meru, a celestial home of god based on Hindu mythology. It took 50,000 workers to build this extraordinary temple, that was completed in the year 1145.
  • This huge temple can be compared to Egyptian pyramids in the context of the strength. Compared to the construction of modern European temples which require almost 300 to 400 years, Angkor Wat was completed in only 32 years. How did they do? The answer to this question lies inside the temple. There is a carving in the main temple which gives clues to the mystery of building this huge temple without any modern technology. The story carved in the stones speaks: a lever used to push big stone blocks one over another to assemble it perfectly. This shows Angkor Wat was planned, assembled and then carved.
  • The surface of this masterpiece is covered with carvings that display the Hindu mythological stories originated in India. But how did the stories from India arrive in Cambodia? The answer is “Indian Traders”. The Indian traders travelling towards south-east Asia passed their religion, art and architecture to the local people of Cambodia. This way the traders were an important part of spreading Hindu culture in Cambodian Empire.
  • Archaeologists have used sophisticated aerial imaging techniques to look into the past of Cambodia. In 1994, NASA took the first image which shows Angkor Wat was huge and another recent satellite image show collection of hundreds of temples in the area. The modern technology has also thrown light on the extensive water management system of the Cambodian empire which existed those times. This shows the engineering marvels of Cambodians. They constructed rectangular reservoirs and water systems in such a way that the water from Kulen Mountain irrigates the farms resulting in a good harvest. It could have been the work of only advanced and skilled people.
History behind Cambodian Hindu temple
Wikimedia

How did the civilization collapse? Hard evidence points towards the failure of Water management system. But the debate is still going on. Surprisingly the temple was never abandoned, a group of Buddhist monks stayed there and aggressively worked to save the religious place for over centuries. This also gradually resulted in the transformation of a Hindu Temple into a Buddhist temple.

In 1992, Angkor Wat was listed as World Heritage site in danger. Subsequently, it was removed from the endangered list, to be included as a World Heritage site. France, Japan and China have helped  in temple restoration project. India’s archaeological department had also chipped in the 1980s. Currently,  German Apsara Conservation project is in place to save the sculptures carved on the stones. Due to the continuous efforts of UNESCO and other nations Angkor Wat has become a major tourist spot with over 2 million people visiting this place every year. (Inputs from Aakash Sinha)(image-Unesco)

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UNICEF Calls for Action : 16 Million Children Continue to Suffer as Floods in South Asia Claim More than 1,300 Lives

According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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floods in south asia
India army soldiers carry children rescued from flood affected villages near Thara in Banaskantha district, Gujarat, India (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (VOA)
  • Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have claimed more than 1,300 lives in the last two months
  • According to UNICEF, over 16 million children in the three countries are in urgent need of life-saving support
  • Persistent rainfall has damaged school infrastructure, apart from depriving children of safe places to stay at, and necessities like drinking water and food

New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Hurricane Harvey created havoc in Houston in August, claiming 15 lives and displacing tens of thousands of people. The event was largely covered by national and international media alike, keeping people abreast with the latest updates. However, the floods in South Asia, which are equally devastating, are yet to receive due coverage from international media. According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

In its entirety, over 45 million people have suffered the direct impact of the rains and its resulting floods.

Floods in South Asia

For over two months, incessant rains have submerged numerous villages thereby forcing vast numbers of people into evacuation centers and relief camps.

According to a UN Agency report, over 16 million children residing in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are in dire need of life-saving support due to weeks of torrential monsoons that have given rise to ‘catastrophic’ floods in the three South Asian countries.

UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Jean Gough noted that millions of children have already been affected by these devastating floods as incessant rains continue to pose potential threat.  “Children have lost their homes, schools, and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south,” she added, according to a report by PTI.

According to official figures, at least 1,288 deaths have been reported since mid-August.

Gough believes the persistent rainfall and the resulting water accumulation have damaged school infrastructure among other things which will hamper children from attending classes for weeks, or even months. According to her, “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down”

Among other urgent needs of these children are clean drinking water, sufficient food supplies, hygiene supplies to control and combat the spread of potential diseases and safe evacuation places for the children to stay at, study and play.

ALSO READ Thousands displaced in Myanmar due to floods

Devastation from floods in India

According to a report by PTI, in the northern part of the country, over 31 million people have been affected in four states due to the extensive flooding. Out of this, 12.33 million sufferers are believed to be children.

The tally of houses damaged by the floods has reached 805,183 while 15,455 schools have been damaged, that has disrupted the education of children.

Additionally, the heavy downpour in Mumbai has already claimed five deaths due to drowning while twelve people, including two children have died due to the collapse of a building.

ALSO READ Why do buildings collapse?

Rescue operations are being undertaken in these states by their respective state governments, which include carrying out relief, recovery and rehabilitation operations.

Furthermore, the state governments have also sought multi-sectoral planning and coordination support from UNICEF in the three worst affected states. These include Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh.

Devastation from floods in Bangladesh

According to Oxfam, with the rising water levels, the flooding is believed to be the worst since 1988 with nearly two-thirds of the country currently submerged under water.

More than 8 million people are reported to have been hit by the floods in Bangladesh, out of which 3 million are allegedly children. Primary and community educational institutions across the country have been terribly hit with as many as 2,292 schools reportedly damaged by the high water.

The country has also reported over 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases.

Devastation from floods in Nepal

Floods in Nepal have displaced 352,738 people from their homes, thus, affecting over 1.7 million people. The water has reportedly surfaced to dangerous levels, to escape which people are making use of makeshift rafts and elephants for rescue operations.

According to a report by PTI, damage to nearly 1,958 schools has affected the education of over 253,605 children.

Major media giants across the world are pledging their support to help combat the scale of  destruction.

In a blog post, Google Vice-President of South East Asia and India wrote, “We are committing $1 million from Google.org and Google employees to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts.”

The NGO, Goonj aims to offer assistance to over 75,000 affected families across India and provide them with basic needs like food, blankets and hygiene supply while on the other hand, Save the Children is focused on setting up child-friendly public spaces for the children to have access to educational material.

Similar organizations have taken up an active role to help rebuild infrastructure for the community like roads, bridges and physical infrastructures.

What causes floods in South Asia?

Apart from the high magnitude of rainfall received this year, the floods in south Asia are believed to have been aggravated by human actions such as reckless construction on floodplains and in the coastal areas, waterways clogged by garbage and a faulty drainage system

According to a report published by VOA, experts have pointed out the inefficiency of the governments of the three countries and have said that is has become increasingly evident that the South Asian governments were unprepared for the annual monsoon showers.

However, disaster management officials also assert that it will be unfair to criticize the governments in view of the magnitude of the floods this year.


 

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Here are 6 Popular Places in Madhya Pradesh for Perfect Temple Wedding!

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Sri Meenakshi temple
Wedding of goddess Meenakshi stucco work in Amman Sannathi of Sri Meenakshi temple ; Madurai. Pixabay
July 14, 2017: Weddings are said to be one of the most sacred occasions in India and the temples have served as the divine venues for the wedding, irrespective of any region, religion or culture. This is due to the holiness associated with temples and many people believe it that doing so will lead to a successful marriage. Another reason why people prefer such venues is to keep the wedding simple, surrounded by close relatives.
The loud trumpet, high pitched songs and the bustling of crackers in ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ celebrations add to the pollution and noise and today’s smart generation understands the cons attached with the ‘band baja baraat’ concept.
Couples have started opting out for temple weddings, not only to keep it short and simple but also to avoid the excess noise and pollution as in the case of former. They want it to be the perfect venue for their big day to make it a mesmerizing affair. We bring you some of the best destinations in Madhya Pradesh for a temple wedding.
Madhya Pradesh is one the state which is quite famous for its many historic temples and shrines. The sanctity and the epic view of these temples offer the perfect setting required in a Hindu wedding. It instigates in you a sacred feeling of starting a relationship that binds you and your partner forever.
Khajuraho Temple
Khajuraho. Wikimedia Commons
The temples of Khajuraho are considered to be a commemoration of the wedding of Lord Shiva & Parvati. Undoubtedly the city of Khajuraho tops the list of temple weddings in Madhya Pradesh. Adorned by the ancient heritage it is the city with temples signifying love and erotism. These destinations offer the perfect backdrop essential for an intimate union of a couple who are closely attached to the divine plan of creation. Khajuraho, the perfect example of excellence, prestige and erotic sculptures, is an ideal venue for temple wedding in India. Also, it has been declared as world heritage site by UNESCO.
Matangesvara temple among the temples of Khajuraho is the most suitable venue for temple weddings. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is known to have the world’s largest shivlings that stand about 8 ft tall and are made up of yellow limestone.
According to Hindu Mythology,  a sage named Matanga highly thought of as Lord Shiva, controlled the God of love by demonstrating himself in the form of a lingam. The temple which carries such a great importance in the history would be a perfect location for making the wedding an unforgettable affair.
Bhojeshwar Temple
Lingam of Bhojeshwar Temple. Wikimedia
Bhojpur is a historical town on the outskirts of Bhopal known for its greenery and the tranquility of the Betwa river. The town has been named after the acclaimed ruler of Paramara dynasty- King Bhoja. The Bhojeshwar temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is surrounded by lush greenery. This makes it an attractive place for the wedding.
The Archaeological Survey of India is responsible for the maintenance of this architectural wonder and the most amazing fact about the temple is that the linga inside the temple has been crafted out of a single rock. Apart from the clean surrounding, the crystal clear water of the Betwa river flowing next to the temple provides the perfect ambiance required for a temple wedding in this state.

 

Ahilyeshwar Temple. Wikimedia Commons
Ahilyeshwar Temple
Maheshwar, also known as the temple town, is one of the best wedding destinations due to the historical glory and authenticity of the place. The city has some historical sites which provide the solemn environment suitable for a wedding setup.
The Ahilyeshwar temple is one such place demonstrating the architectural skills of the Marathas. The softness of the Narmada waves adds to the serenity around the temple and makes it one of the desired location for wedding ceremonies.
Chintamann GaneshTemple, Ujjain. Wikimedia
Chintamann Ganesh Temple
The Chintamann Ganesh Temple is an ancient temple situated in Ujjain. Constructed on the Shipra River, it is the largest temple in the area devoted to Lord Ganesha. The simplicity and the soothing environment around makes It is an ideal place to conduct a ritual of the heavenly alliance called marriage.
Raja Ram Mandir. Wikimedia
Raja Ram Mandir
Raja Ram Mandir, also known as the palace temple is located opposite to the Orchha Fort. With the magnificent backdrop of the fort, the temple is the perfect setting for an auspicious day like the wedding.
Veiw of Gwalior city from Gwalior Fort. Wikimedia Commons
Gwalior
Also known as the fort city, Gwalior was founded by a ruler named Maharaja Suraj Sen. The panoramic view of the fort at the top of the hill and the spectacular palaces rule the whole city in terms of attractive sites. It is the host of the pearl of all Indian fortresses and so deserves to stand out as one of the epic locations for getting hitched in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
So, choose these perfect wedding destinations for your big day to make it a mesmerizing affair and a moment to cherish to forever.

by Sabnam Mangla of NewsGram, Twitter: @sabnam_mangla