Archive for April, 2012

Gokarna


Gokarna is a village in Karnataka, in the district of Uttara Kannada of Karnataka state.  Gokarna literally means “Cow’s ear”.  It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow here. Hence it is also known as the temple town and is an important pilgrimage center for the Hindus.  Another probable reason for the name Gokarna could be due to its Geographical location. The area where it is located is the convergence of rivers Gangavali and Agnashini and resembles the shape of a cow’s ear.

The early settlements of this region can be traced back to the Brahmins.  They escaped from Gomantak to avoid forcible conversions by the British and Portuguese and settled in and around Gokarna around the 15th century.  At that time, Gokarna used to be a part of the kingdoms of Vijaynagar and Sodhe.  However, it later came under the Portuguese rule as the Konkan region was vehemently taken over by them.  Gokarna is also an important center for Sanskrit studies. It is the residence of Bhandikeri Math and Togu Math where Sanskrit knowledge is passed down from generations in Brahmin families.  The main language spoken here is Kannada. However, Konkani and Marathi are also widely spoken.

green gokarna

Mahabaleshwara temple is one of the chief temples here. It is a famous Shiva temple. There is a custom that one has to bathe in the sea and pay respect to a Shivalingam, made out of sand.  The famous Atmalinga is housed here. It is preserved in a square called Saligrama Peetha. It is opened for viewing once in forty years.

temple

The other temples are Maha Ganapathi Temple, Uma Maheshwari Temple, Varadraj Temple and many more. Gokarna also has many mythological stories associated with it.

temple 2

Gokarna is not just a temple town.  It is also a popular tourist destination with its endless coconut and palm trees and clear blue seas.  It is a paradise for beach lovers.  Four of the most gorgeous beaches are located in the south of Gokarna.  First is the Kudle beach, a beautiful beach that seems to go on forever and is surrounded by palm trees.

sunset at kudle beach

Next is the Om beach, which is shaped like its name.

om beach

The final two are Half-moon beach and Paradise beach.  These beaches have huts (shacks) on them which are available for rent.

Sunset at Om Beach, Gokarna

half-moon beach

They also have hammocks and guitars which give a hippy feel to the small village. They attract both foreigners and Indians alike.  You can explore this quaint little town by walking through the two main streets which are lined with shops and conventional houses.

shacks

The presence of beaches and temples together create a contrast that few other places in the world possess. The best time to visit Gokarna is from October to March.

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Jaisalmer


Jaisalmer, also known as “The Golden City” is a town in Rajasthan.  It was once known as Jaisalmer state and is the administrative headquarters of the Jaisalmer district.  It’s not a very large town, with a population of about 78,000. However, it has a charm of its own and is a paragon of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions.  Jaisalmer is named after Maharawal Jaisal Singh who founded the city.  He was a Rajput king in 1156 AD. “Jaisalmer” means “The hill fort of Jaisal”.

The entire city is built out of yellow sand and yellow sandstone due to which it came to be known as “the Golden City”. The old city was completely encircled by a wall but much of it has crumbled sadly for want of building material in recent years. Just like all the other cities in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer also has its own glorious past.

jaisalmer city

According to the legends, the then Rajpur ruler of Jaisalmer, Maharawal Jaisal Singh founded the city at the behest of a local hermit named Eesaal, whom he respected a lot. In order to ensure his safety he built the fort on the Trikut hill because its location made it quite inaccessible and he could keep a watch on his surroundings. This helped him to know the movements on his enemies well in advance. The main source of income of the Bhatti Rajput rulers in the past was through the collection of taxes from the passing caravans. Jaisalmer was situated on one of the very important routes which connected India to several counties including Persia, Egypt, Africa and many western countries. Thus, it was a very busy business route and provided ample opportunity for the Bhatti rulers to collect taxes and amass huge wealth.

jaisalmer city 2

Due to its peculiar location, it remained out of bounds of any invaders for a long time. Only when the Bhatti Rajput rulers dared to loot the imperial caravan carrying treasures of Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, they incurred this wrath. He led a siege around Jaisalmer to concur it and the siege lasted for 9 long years. In the final battle for their independence, the then ruler of Jaisalmer, Raja Jaisimha ‘s son Duda died while fighting the forces of the sultan. In the subsequent years, the rulers of Jaisalmer maintained good relations with the Mughal emperors. However, they did not accept the British rule easily. In fact, Jaisalmer rulers were the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British Government.

artificial lake

Besides being a place of historical importance, Jaisalmer is still a living town and a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan. Unlike other forts, a quarter of the town’s population still lives inside the fort. This spectacular fort houses a royal palace (Raj Mahal), Jain temples and many sites worth visiting. The walls of the fort are constructed out of red sandstone which assumes a lovely honey-gold hue as the sun sets.

jaisalmer fort

jaisalmer fort 2

gadi sagar temple

The people of Jaisalmer are very hospitable and are gifted with a lot of folk music, dance and art forms. The main means of transport in this part of the country are camels. One can enjoy a camel ride during a visit to this place.

camel safari

Jaisalmer has also got a rich cultural heritage and to display its rich past, the place has got a museum dedicated to the many artifacts used in the by-gone era. People interested in history would definitely enjoy a visit to this Government museum. In addition, there are mansions known as Havelis which used to the abodes of the rich, famous and powerful people belonging to the Raj Darbar of the rulers. These beautiful havelis were very well-crafted and are a piece of art and architecture of that time. Some of the most famous havelis are Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salman Sigh-ki-Haveli, Nathmalhi-ki-Haveli and Haveli Shreenath. A visit to these havelis will give you an idea of how lavishly the rich and powerful of that era lived.

havelis

havelis 2

People of Rajasthan are mostly vegetarian but they do prepare, serve and enjoy a variety of delicacies in their everyday life. A visit to Jaisalmer will definitely be satisfying to your culinary appetite besides capturing you with its magnificent sites and architecture. A visit to Jaisalmer will definitely prove memorable in all respects.

Leh Ladakh


If you’re a fan of adventure, then Ladakh is the place for you. One of the most exciting ways to explore the landscape wonders as well as the remote areas of Ladakh. Crossing the Khardungla pass, considered to be one of the highest motor able roads in the world is a high like never before. Moreover, Ladakh is also a paradise for trekking and mountaineering due to its high peaks and mountains. You can also take part in and enjoy a number of fairs and festivals like the Losar festival, Hemis, Ladakh festival and tak-tok festival.

Ladakh is a part of Jammu & Kashmir in the north of India. It consists of two districts Leh and Kargil.

 

The district headquarters is based in Leh. Leh district consists of Leh town and 112 inhabited villages and one un-inhabited village. The total population of Leh district is 1.17 lacs. It is the second least populated district of Jammu and Kashmir, after Kargil.

 

mountains covered with snow

leh-ladakh

amidst mountains

There are several ways of reaching Leh but it depends on the route that would be open. Srinagar and Manali are the two major gateways to Leh Ladakh. Ladakh was under the administration of Leh until the 1st of July, 1979, when the Kargil and Ladakh administrative districts were created. Religion had been the cause of a lot of distress between Buddhists and Muslims since the late 20th century and was one of the main contributors of this division. Tibetan and Buddhist cultures have prevailed for centuries now in these two places of India. A lot of Buddhist monasteries are prominent pilgrimage centers in the country. Its colorful gompas have attracted devout Buddhists from all over the world.

Buddhist Monastery

 

 

camp

 

Travelers flock to this beautiful destination from all over the globe. It has plenty to experience and explore. The most impressive is the royal palace known as Leh Palace. The palace, which overlooks Leh, has a certain mystery to it. It was constructed by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. According to history, it was later abandoned as the Kashmiri armies surrounded in the mid 19th century and the royal family that was residing here earlier moved to Stok Palace on the southern bank of the Indus. The palace comprises of nine stories of which the upper floors are meant for the royal families whereas the lower floors function as stables and store rooms. Exploring the palace from the inside will make you reminiscent of the days gone by.

 

mountains with sea

near the lake

clouds reflecting on the lake

Leh is the second largest district in the country with an area of 45, 100 square kilometers. It is at an altitude of 3524 meters. The district is constrained by Pakistan occupying Kashmir in the west and Ghanche district, China in the north. Aksai Chin and Tibet are to the east, Kargil district to the west and Lahul and Spiti of Himachal Pradesh to the south.

 

trekking

jeep tour

Leh-Ladakh is truly a voyage into the most magnificent peak and religious zone of the world. The best time to visit Lakadh is from the months of June to September which are its summer months.

 

India trending topic today, tags, tweets, person


Delhi Daredevils

Delhi Daredevils (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indian Premier League

Indian Premier League (Photo credit: Ashwin John)

2010 Indian Premier League

2010 Indian Premier League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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INDIA POPULAR WORDS TODAY

Government budgets: a sexy topic


Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

It’s that time of year again: budget time. For most people, when the topic of government budgeting comes up, their eyes glaze over and they become disinterested. Not me, I find government budgets fascinating documents as they show us what a particular government values (and what it doesn`t value for that matter).
Budgeting is about setting priorities and allocating the necessary dollars to meet those priorities. By analysing government budgets, we can tell if government is putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak.
A logical first step in setting government priorities would be to understand the population’s needs and how different investment scenarios will impact different segments of the population. Government should make sure that the investment it makes achieves the goals that it sets out for itself. For example, if on one hand a stated goal is to increase the literacy rates in the province but on the other hand the budget cuts the funds allocated to education, it is unlikely that this government will achieve its goal of improving literacy rates in the province.
The provincial government does make an effort to consult with the population every year before making budgetary decisions. I have participated in a number of these consultations over the years as an engaged citizen. This process is important. There are other measures that governments can use to better understand the impact of its budgetary decisions. One of these tools is gender based analysis.
I, for one, wish that the New Brunswick government (and the Canadian government for that matter) would sex-up its budget process. By this I mean include elements of gender based analysis (or as it is sometimes called GBA) into its budget process.
In March 2008, the UN Commission on the Status of Women passed a resolution calling on all governments to do gender analyses of their budgets. Some governments have delivered on their international commitment to improve gender equality by incorporating gender based analysis in their budget process.
Austria, Morocco, and Australia are among the over 60 jurisdictions to have used Gender-Based Analysis in their budget processes. In each case, the use of this analysis has led to sound investments. For example, in Australia, where a Gender-Based Analysis initiative was used in the budget process from 1984 to 1996, the number of daycare spaces increased fivefold (UNPAC). This is a very wise investment, as we are well aware of the return on investment in childcare services. In fact, here in Canada, every dollar invested in childcare services yields a return of $2.30 in short-term GDP (Robert Fairholm, Centre for Spatial Economics).
All the while, in Canada, we seem to be falling further and further behind on this international measurement. The equality gap between men and women is widening over time, not receding. Out of the 157 countries evaluated under the United Nations Gender-Related Development Index, Canada ranks 83rd. Other countries such as Cuba and Mexico are leaping ahead of Canada when it comes to gender equality.
All levels of government in Canada – federal, provincial and municipal – could stand to sex-up their budgets a bit.
Some elected officials are nevertheless confused by what gender based analysis means. Some think that it means doing two budgets, with different tax rates, one for women and one for men. This is not true. Others think that it simply means getting the female perspective on the budget (seeking input from female Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and women who participated in the pre-budget consultation process). Although seeking input into the budget-making process is important, this is not gender based analysis.
Gender budgeting is not a complicated concept though. It simply means analyzing how money is allocated and asking how that allocation of money impacts men and women differently.
In its January 30th edition, the Telegraph Journal reported the remarks of New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs about this year’s budget process:  “The challenge we have is not having money continually poured down black holes. We’ve said from the very beginning that we want to have a more efficient use of our tax dollars.” I agree. Perhaps conducting gender based analysis of budget decisions as well as other evidence-based analysis of the budget will help to make sure that we stop “pouring money down a black hole.”
For anyone interested in learning more about gender budgeting, the Regroupement féministe (francophone feminist organization) is hosting Women and Budget Day on February 15th. I plan to attend to learn more about this important topic. Their keynote speaker is a Canadian expert on gender based analysis, named Charlotte Thibault. She will be speaking on why governments must take the needs of women and men into account in the budget process. I hope to see many politicians and policy-makers in attendance there too. For anyone interested in learning more about this event contact: info@rfnb.ca .
I can hardly wait to budget day in New Brunswick. Like many other women, I will be looking for evidence of gender budgeting. Let’s hope that it will be easy to find.

Conversation Topics That Lead To Sex


People engaging in casual conversation on a si...

People engaging in casual conversation on a sidewalk in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Conversation Piece

Last Conversation Piece (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conversation

Conversation (Photo credit: Bright Meadow)

dinner then sex?

dinner then sex? (Photo credit: the|G|™)

Most will argue that the most difficult step in securing a lovely vixen for the evening is the approach, but veterans realize the ensuing discussion is just as — if not more — intimidating. The obstacle in question is a logical one, but one that typically goes unnoticed by the untrained: as she is indeed a perfect stranger, her likes and dislikes remain a mystery. Feeling around in the dark for her favorite topics of conversation can be both challenging and risky, especially if your goal for the night centers on the loss of that hot cocktail dress. Conversation topics that lead to sex are launching platforms and work toward altering her mindset to match yours. If executed correctly, she’ll want to finish the discussion early and move on to more physical relations.

Favorite foods

It may sound like a ho-hum topic, but like most other seemingly innocuous pieces of advice the Player has at his disposal, it’s an effective means to an end. It’s up to you to broach the conversation, but once it’s going, the direction of the discussion should be clear: you’re in a club or bar, which likely doesn’t feature any of her favorite foods. Perhaps she has a weakness for authentic Chinese food (none of that over-fried meat Americans think is Chinese food)? And yep, you know just where to get some. Clearly, the goal is to separate her from the current location; get her alone and the rest should take care of itself. Better yet, if you’re not a bad cook and she mentions something doable, you could always insist on making it for her. Don’t suggest it for that night (that’s too transparent), but how about next weekend?

If you have a passion, flaunt it

There’s one thing that’s beginning to fall by the wayside, and women seem to be especially in tune to this lacking. For some reason, ambition and motivation appears to be at an all-time low amongst the 20-somethings out there, which means if you have a particular passion, flaunt it. Here’s one universal rule: women find passionate men attractive. If you are passionate about your work or your favorite hobby, there’s a damn good chance you inject that amount of emotional force into other aspects of your life. It doesn’t have to be anything sexy or even remotely feminine in nature; you could be a total gearhead, or maybe your passion is something like camping. Don’t talk her ear off; just get a little animated and get that sparkle in your eye. She’ll take notice, and she’ll want to learn more about you.

More conversation topics that lead to sex after the jump.

Sex

This may seem too forward, but you’ll want to be covert in establishing this particular conversation topic that leads to sex. You don’t want to be detailed or graphic, and you certainly don’t want to get personal too early. These approaches will lead to a collapse of the conversation, which you can easily spot by examining her body language. She’ll start to draw away, her eyes will shift, her answers will be abrupt and clipped, and obviously, she’s seconds from bailing. However, you can avoid this if you have a humorous story that only indirectly ties in with sex, or you can try delving into the more intellectual and societal aspects of the topic. You could talk about the constantly changing night scene, how different women have drastically different viewpoints on the subject and you should do it all without risking the scary, creepy guy label. Just be light and casual, and be ready with an easy laugh.

Something taboo

Depending on the type of woman sitting next to you, you could try something taboo in an effort to seal the deal with no wasted words. However, before trying this, you need to establish a safe base of operations; you have to feel around to see if she’ll be receptive. The wrong woman can send a drink up your nose if you’re not careful, so take a few minutes to make the correct assessment. Once you’ve done this, and you think she’ll respond to your taboo topics with a sly grin and a wink, you can select from any number of sexy subjects. Perhaps it can be something simple, like the concept of “friends with benefits” (always a Player favorite), or you can launch into a more exotic tact that consists of threesomes, role-playing and fantasies. Again, though, do what you can to keep it light. If she latches on, the heat will indefinitely arrive later.

talk to you soon

Conversation topics that lead to sex rely heavily on your ability to begin and carry a discussion, so that’s paramount. Regardless of the chosen topic, you need to be engaging, affable and, in the end, desirable. Obviously, not all women will respond in the same way, but with the preceding ideas, you should be able to spark a conversation that doesn’t officially end until the next morning.

30 Sexy Conversation Starters


Keri Hilson performing at Supafest in Australi...

Keri Hilson performing at Supafest in Australia, April 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cosmo

Cosmo (Photo credit: Alan M Hughes)

Yes, it’s that time of year when the livin’ is easy, but as you know, picking up a guy ain’t always a breeze. There is nothing as hair-pullingly frustrating as being surrounded by a slew of delectable men and not being armed with a great strategy to break the ice and win a stud’s attention — not to mention his heart. Cosmo knows that the biggest hurdle in hooking a new guy is choosing the perfect words or executing an eye-catching stunt that will launch you into a full-on flirtation. So we devised a handy chat-him-up crib sheet filled with sizzling, surprising icebreakers that will make babes eager to banter with you. Use it anytime you see a man you simply must meet.

  • Paddle up to a sexy surfer and say, “I drifted away from where my girlfriends are sitting. Would you mind if I climbed on your board for a second so I can get a better view of the beach?”
  • When the gorgeous guy on the towel near you is smoothing on sunscreen, ask if he wouldn’t mind giving you a dab. Rub it on your shoulders, then strain to reach the middle of your back, look defeated, and ask him for a heavenly hand.
  • Get the gals together and start a rowdy game of Sandbunny. Never heard of it? That’s the point; no guy will have either. Make up any rules you want — as long as they have you running around a lot and cheering loudly. When a circle of intrigued sporty studs forms around you and your bunny-mates, challenge them to a game.
  • If you spy a cutie with a cooler of drinks, saunter over to him and offer a tantalizing trade. Say, “I’ll give you half of this watermelon for a couple of sodas. Pretty sweet deal, huh?”
  • Ask a cute beachcomber to take a picture of you “to send to a friend.” Ask him if he’ll pose in the shot and pretend to be your boyfriend. (Just kidding.)

 

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