Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water on moon

Five minutes before midnight on August 20, India’s Moon mission; Chandrayaan-1 crossed an important milestone when it teamed up with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in search of water ice.

Both the spacecraft moved simultaneously picking up data. It was a brief flight leading to an exchange of information and there was a combined analysis of both the data. Both the spacecraft flew at a velocity of about 1.6km per second and surveyed an area on the Moon’s North Pole which is 18 km across.

The historic combined flight was tracked by ISRO’s deep space network at Byalalu, Bangalore and NASA’s deep space network and Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, US.

Both spacecraft were equipped with radar instruments—Mini-Sar (Synthetic Aperture Radar) on Chandrayaan-1 and Mini-Rf on LRO. The two instruments targeted the same spot on the Moon from different angles, with Chandrayaan-1’s radar transmitting a signal which was reflected off interior of Erlanger Crater. This was picked up by LRO.

Chandrayaan-I was launched on October 22, 2008. It had to be called off due to snapping of radio link.

Lady Army officers scale Siachen peak

A team comprising only lady officers of the Indian Army scaled the Siachen glacier on 15 August 2009, making it the first ladies team to have reached the highest battlefield in the world. Located in north-eastern J&K, Saichen glacier is totally snow- bound throughout the year and is one of the treacherous stretches of land with deep crevices and steep walls of ice.

The lady officers, led by Major Meghna Aktadikar, are from the corps of engineers. The expedition comprised the following officers: Major Neha Bhatnagar, Major Pradiya Kulkarni, Major Meghna R, Capt Shalini Datta, Capt Pushpa Kumari, Capt RP Parashar, Lt Namrata Rathore, Lt Girija Mohalkar, Lt Vijay Laxmi Thakur, Lt Garima Pal and Lt Neelam Rathore.

The hardest language

People often ask which is the most difficult language to learn, and it is not easy to answer because there are many factors to take into consideration. Firstly, in a first language the differences are unimportant as people learn their mother tongue naturally, so the question of how hard a language is to learn is only relevant when learning a second language.

A native speaker of Spanish, for example, will find Portuguese much easier to learn than a native speaker of Chinese, for example, because Portuguese is very similar to Spanish, while Chinese is very different, so first language can affect learning a second language. The greater the differences between the second language and our first, the harder it will be for most people to learn. Many people answer that Chinese is the hardest language to learn, possibly influenced by the thought of learning the Chinese writing system, and the pronunciation of Chinese does appear to be very difficult for many foreign learners. However, for Japanese speakers, who already use Chinese characters in their own language, learning writing will be less difficult than for speakers of languages using the Roman alphabet.

Some people seem to learn languages readily, while others find it very difficult. Teachers and the circumstances in which the language is learned also play an important role, as well as each learner's motivation for learning. If people learn a language because they need to use it professionally, they often learn it faster than people studying a language that has no direct use in their day to day life.
Apparently, British diplomats and other embassy staff have found that the second hardest language is Japanese, which will probably come as no surprise to many, but the language that they have found to be the most problematic is Hungarian, which has 35 cases (forms of a nouns according to whether it is subject, object, genitive, etc). This does not mean that Hungarian is the hardest language to learn for everyone, but it causes British diplomatic personnel, who are generally used to learning languages, the most difficulty. However, Tabassaran, a Caucasian language has 48 cases, so it might cause more difficulty if British diplomats had to learn it.

Different cultures and individuals from those cultures will find different languages more difficult. In the case of Hungarian for British learners, it is not a question of the writing system, which uses a similar alphabet, but the grammatical complexity, though native speakers of related languages may find it easier, while struggling with languages that the British find relatively easy.
No language is easy to learn well, though languages which are related to our first language are easier. Learning a completely different writing system is a huge challenge, but that does not necessarily make a language more difficult than another. In the end, it is impossible to say that there is one language that is the most difficult language in the world.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hogenakkal waterfalls

Hogenakkal means smoking rocks in Tamil language. The river Cauvery (Kavery) forms the falls. It is a spot with a number of waterfalls cascading into River Cauvery. It comprises of several small waterfalls that make up the beauty of the place. Hogenakkal town is located in Dharmapuri district and is about 180 Kms from Bengaluru (Bangalore). Route: Bangalore – Sarjapur – Attibelle - Hosur- Krishnagiri – Dharmapuri - Hogenakkal. Shorter route is via Hosur, Denkanikottai and Pennagaram. The popular activity in Hogenakkal is the full body massage in hot oil for very cheap charges in quick time. One feels complete relaxation after the massage. It is a great pleasure to have a shower under the waterfalls after the massage. Jolly ride on a small circular boat like floating vessel called parisal or theppam is also pleasurable. South Indian food varieties like appam, paniyaram, are worth to eat there. Tasty fish also easily available. For comfortable stay during holidays, advance booking is a good option. Accommodation can be had at Dharmapuri, which is about 50 km away.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu since 1920

Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu since 1920
1. Thiru A Subbarayalu: 17-12-1920 to 11-07-1921
2. Thiru Panagal Raja: 11-07-1921 to 03-12-1926
3. Dr. P Subbarayan: 04-12-1926 to 27-10-1930
4. Thiru P Munuswamy Naidu: 27-10-1930 to 04-11-1932
5. Thiru Ramakrishna Ranga Rao,Raja of Bobbili: 05-11-1932 to 04-04-1936
6. Thiru P T Rajan: 04-04-1936 to 24-08-1936
7. Thiru Ramakrishna Ranga Rao,Raja of Bobbili: 24-08-1936 to 01-04-1937
8. Thiru Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu: 01-04-1937 to 14-07-1937
9. Thiru C Rajagopalachari: 14-07-1937 to 29-10-1939
10. Thiru Tanguturi Prakasam: 30-04-1946 to 23-03-1947
11. Thiru O P Ramaswamy Reddiyar: 23-03-1947 to 06-04-1949
12. Thiru P S Kumaraswamy Raja: 06-04-1949 to 09-04-1952
13. Thiru C Rajagopalachari: 10-04-1952 to 13-04-1954
14. Thiru K Kamaraj: 13-04-1954 to 02-10-1963
15. Thiru M Bakthavatsalam: 02-10-1963 to 06-03-1967
16. Dr. C.N. Annadurai: 06-03-1967 to 03-02-1969
17. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi: 10-02-1969 to 04-01-197115-03-1971 to 31-01-1976
18. Dr. M G Ramachandran: 30-06-1977 to 17-02-1980, 09-06-1980 to 15-11-1984, 10-02-1985 to 24-12-1987
19. Thirumathi Janaki Ramachandran: 07-01-1988 to 30-01-1988
20. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi: 27-01-1989 to 30-01-1991
21. Dr. Selvi J Jayalalithaa: 24-06-1991 to 12-05-1996
22. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi: 13-05-1996 to 13-05-2001
23. Dr. Selvi J Jayalalithaa: 14-05-2001 to 21-09-2001
24. Thiru O. Panneerselvam: 21-09-2001 to 01-03-2002
25. Dr. Selvi J Jayalalithaa: 02-03-2002 to 12-05-2006
26. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi: 13-05-2006 onwards

Sunday, July 5, 2009


This famous place for waterfalls is in Tirunelveli district, Tamilnadu, India and is also called kutralam or the spa in the south. Other names of this health resort are

  • Pithur KandaTheerthapuram
  • Mukthiveli
  • Thirunagaram
  • Nannagaram
  • Vasanthaperur

It is not only a romantic place but also a suitable place for meditation. It is best to be visited from June to September.

It is a great pleasure to enjoy the drizzle here. We feel neither wet nor dry.
There are several water falls namely Main falls, Chittaruvi, chitraruvi or Small falls, Shenbagadevi falls or shenbaga aruvi, Honey falls (Thenaruvi), Five falls (Aindaruvi),Tiger falls (Puliaruvi), New falls and Old falls.

The water falls on us with great force and tones up the muscles and nerves. It is believed that the falling water from the hills contain medicines to cure diseases.

Massage centers for both men and women are available and the experience of getting massaged before taking a bath under the falls is so nice which can’t be explained simply.

  • Thirukootachala Nathar (Shiv Mandir / Sivan Koil) temple or Thirukuttralanathar temple(Amman'sname is Kuzhalal VaiMozhi)
  • Shenbagadevi (Goddess) Temple
  • Sastha Temple
  • Koothar temple
  • Chithira Sabai
  • ThirugnanaSambandar temple
  • Courtalla Nangai temple
  • Nannagaram Pillaiyar temple
  • ThittaiPillaiyar temple
  • Sundaramoorthi temple
  • Pongumam Kadal / Pongumangadal
are worthful to be visited.

The nearest airport is at Madurai. The nearby railway stations are Tenkasi and Sengottai. It is near Tirunelveli.

Courtallam is 58 Km by road fromTirunelveli and 6 Km from Tenkasi Railway Station.
Accommodation is available.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Places and their meanings

It is really enjoyable to know the places with their meanings.

Place Meaning

  • Accra : Ant
  • Addis Ababa : New flower
  • Alaska : Great land
  • Annapurna : Abundant food
  • Australia : Southern land
  • Baghdad : Gift of god
  • Bethlehem : House of bread
  • Bihar : Monastery
  • Canada : Camp
  • Copenhagen : Merchant’s port
  • Costa Rica : Rich coast
  • Dar es Salaam : House of peace
  • Dublin : Black pool
  • Gangtok : Hill summit
  • Hawaii : Place of the gods
  • Kanchenjunga : Five treasures of snow
  • Kuala Lumpur : Mouth of the muddy river
  • Meghalaya : The Abode of clouds
  • Pacific : Calm
  • Sierra Leone : Lion mountains
  • Singapore : Lion city
  • Sri Lanka : Island of the blessed
  • Srinagar : City of happiness
  • Sudan : Land of the blacks
  • Tel Aviv : Hill spring
  • Texas : Friends
  • Thailand : Land of the free people
  • Tripoli : Three towns
  • Zimbabwe : House of stones

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Temples in and around Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu (India) is famous for temples. One can visit all Navagraha temples around this holy place easily. Following are some prominent temples.

  • Kumbeswara Temple
  • Sarangapani Temple
  • Chakrapani Temple
  • Ramaswamy Temple
  • Patteswaram Durga Temple
  • Thiruvidaimarudhur Shiva temple
  • ThirudevanKudi Shiva temple
  • Oppilliappan Vishnu temple
  • Nageswaram Shiva temple
  • Ayyavadi Pratyankara Devi temple
  • Nachiyar Koil Vishnu temple
  • Tirucherai SaranathaSwamy Shiva temple
  • Kabistalam Gajendra Varada Vishu temple
  • Ganapathi Agraharam Vinayaka temple
  • Swamimalai Murugan Temple
  • Darasuram Shiva temple

Mahamaha Kulam is famous for the festival of Mahamaham, celebrated once in twelve years.

Navagraha temples around Kumbakonam

Navagraha Town Presiding Deity

  • Surya (Sun) - Suryanarkovil - Kasi Viswanathar
  • Chandran (Moon) - Thingaloor - Kailasanathar
  • Chevvai (Mars) - Vaitheeswaran Kovil - Vaitheeswarar
  • Budhan (Mercury) - Tiruvenkadu - Swatharanyeswarar
  • Guru (Jupiter) - Alangudi - Aabhatsakayeswarar
  • Sukkran (Venus) - Kanchanoor - Agneeswarar
  • Rahu (North Lunar Node) - Tirunageswaram - Naganathar
  • Kethu (South Lunar Node) - Keezhaperumpallam - Naganathar
  • Sani (Saturn) – Thirunallaru – Tharparaaneswarar

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Temples in and around Tirupati

  • Lord Venkateswara temple is located on the Tirumala hill. Tirupati is at the foot steps of the Tirumala hills.
  • Sri Padmavathi Devi temple is at Tiruchanooru / Tiruchanoor, also known as Alamelumangapuram about 5 km from Tirupati. Visit to Tirumala is fruitful only after visiting Sri Padmavathi Devi temple.
  • Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple is at Srinivasa Mangapuram. According to legend, Lord Venkateswara stayed here after His marriage with Sri Padmavathi Devi, before proceeding to Tirumala.
  • Govindarajaswamy temple is in Tirupati next to the railway station Here, Lord Vishnu is in Anantasayanam pose. Saint Ramanujacharya consecrated this temple in 1130 AD. It has an imposing gopuram which can be seen from a distance.The annual Brahmotsavam here is celebrated in the month of Vaisakha. The annual float festival is also celebrated.
  • Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, Tirupati Kapila Teertham is in Tirupati town at the base of Tirumala hills dedicated to Lord Siva. It is situated about 3 km North of Tirupati. The sacred waterfall Kapila Teertham also called Alwar Teertham is here. Annual Brahmotsavams and festivals like Vinayaka Chaturthi, Mahasivaratri, Skanda Shasti and Annabhishekam are performed here.
  • Sri Kodandaramaswami temple, Tirupati was built by Chola kings during the tenth century AD. The presiding deities are Sita, Rama and Lakshmana.
    The temple of Anjaneyaswami is a subshrine of this temple. According to legend, this temple commemorates the visit of Sri Rama to Tirupati. Ugadi and Ramanavami are celebrated grand here. Brahmotsavam is also celebrated every year.
  • Sri Kalahasteeswara temple is at Srikalahasti, 60 kms from Tirupati. The initial structure of this temple was constructed by the great Pallava dynasty. Tamil Chola kings and the Vijayanagara kings also developed this temple.
  • Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami temple at Narayanavanam is 40 kms from Tirupati. Lord Sri Venkateswaraswami and Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru, the daughter of Akasa Maharaja were married here.
  • ISKCON- Krishna Temple is located at the foot of the holy hills. It is a place of peace and tranquility.
  • Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple is located in Nagalapuram, 70 km south-east of Tirupati. It is believed that Lord Sri Maha Vishnu, in the form of Matsya, killed the rakshasa (demon) Somakudu here, and retrieved the Vedas from him. The temple was built by the emperor of vijayanagaram, Sri Krishnadevaraya.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nava Tirupathis / Nav Tirupati

All nine Vaishnavite temples are in Tuticorin district, Tamilnadu, India, about 40 km from Tirunelveli and 25 km from Tiruchendur. They form a cluster around Sri Vaikundam and Alwar Tiru Nagari, which straddle the north and south banks respectively of the River Thamiraparani.

The Nava Tirupathis are:

·        Sri Vaikundam: It is believed to have been so named by Lord Brahma, when He came here to do penance as He found the place similar to Vaikunda.

·        Then Tiru Perai: Tiru Perai in south Pandya Nadu(then means therku, that means south). Bhoomi Devi had taken bath here.

·        Tiru Puliangudi:This is the place, where Lord Brahma helped Lord Indra to obtain redemption.

·        Alwar Tiru Nagari: Alwar Thirunagari houses the Lord "Adi Nathan (moolavar) and "Polindu Nindra Piran" (Utsavar). Its old name was Thiru Nagari. The place got the prefix`Alwar' as the great Vaishnavite saint Nammalwar attained salvation here. Swami Nammalwar did penance inside the trunk of a tamarind tree (it is still available). The railway station of Azhwar Tirunagari is on the Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur line. All the passenger trains stop here. The Temple is about a mile from the Railway station. Buses, boarding and lodging are available. Nava Tirupathis can be visited conveniently from here.

·        Tiru Kulandai (Perungulam): Here Kamalavathi performed penance to marry the Lord and fulfilled her desire.

·        Tiru Kolur: Here Lord Kubera regained the Nava Nidhi, the nine types of wealth, he had lost after being cursed. Regaining lost wealth through a visit here remains an article of faith.

·        Tiru Tholai Villi Mangalam (Irattai Tirupathi):Here pair of scales and a bow were transformed into a young woman named Thulai and a man called Villi. Lord Perumal is worshipped in two forms in two neighbouring temples.

·        Tiru Varagunamangai (Natham): Here the sage Romasa did penance.

·        Two Thaayars in all these Nava Thirupathi Divyadesams is the speciality.