mangoes in india – sweet and succulent; raw and sour

mangoes festival.jpg

sweet and succulent with history

I have eaten mangoes from the time I remember as a young kid in Hyderabad, India. Three were the interests of the summer holidays – mangoes, detective stories, and cricket. I’ll talk about mangoes.

for pickling

The season is in full swing in India. Right from the middle of April to June. My mom pickles the fresh raw green ones. As big as a pear. They have a awesome tangy flavor. It is a ritual in every household in south India that you gather with your relatives and pickle them. My mom’s eldest sister – my mom is the youngest child born to my granddad. The age difference is around 15 years, would come over and it is a day long process. At last at the end of the day the dishes with the reminder of masalas and ohhh heavenly, would be wiped clean with white rice. God bless them.

Now, I have always dreamt of a food vacation – and the Hindu business line has one such village. In Rataul village in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district.


Pic : source

“What is known, however, is that when Sheikh Mohd Afaq Faridi returned to the village after completing his inter college in 1905, he noticed this mango tree in its infancy near one of the farms. He asked a gardener to graft the plant, and in a year’s time, four mango trees sprouted. Thus began the young boy’s love affair with mangoes.”

“Years later, Afaq Faridi resigned from his job and devoted his life to this ‘sweet mission’.

After his marriage, he set up a mango nursery christened Shohra-e-afaq in 1928 and got it registered in 1935. He named this mango variety Anwar Rataul, now popularly known simply as the Rataul mango.”

And here is Mr.. Steve Parle’s article in the telegraph.

Early in the season (which starts in mid-March), alphonso mangoes are prohibitively expensive. I stretch them out by serving only half a mango, with a glass of chilled, spiced, sweetened milk: a beautiful combination

Source for the top picture is here



Kerala, houseboats and crabs

Kerala is the Venice of the east.

It has a fantastic coastline. It is over 525 miles long. (845 km).

During Ming China’s treasure voyages in the early-15th century, Admiral Zheng He’s fleet often landed at the Malabar Coast. Soon after Vasco da Gama (Portuguese explorer : He was the first European to reach India by sea, linking Europe and Asia for the first time by an ocean route, as well as connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, and in this way, the West and the Orient.) landed near Calicut in 1498, proving a sea route between India and Europe, Portugal became the first of several European maritime empires to grow rich from the spice trade with this area.


wiki link 1, wiki link 2, Photos, Budget traveler mag







Wildlife tours in india


These are pictures taken on wildlife tours in India. These from Vinit Arora


Sudhir Shivaram has been photographing around the country. His next tour is to Kaziranga National Park (Indian Rhinos)

Sudhir sivaram

cost less than 500 USD for Indian nationals

Cost Includes :
– 5 days and 4 nights stay in IORA-Retreat resort on double occupancy basis with all Meals.
– The accommodation will be in Luxary AC Rooms.
– 7 Jungle safaris with 4 People in a Gypsy.
– All Meals, National Park Entry, Mandatory guide fees.

Indian railways

I always encourage others to go on an adventure travelling in trains in India.

The Indian Railways operates on a massive scale, running over 12,000 trains daily and managing a network running for 115,000 kilometres. Despite these impressive figures, it remains financially impoverished due to its high passenger subsidies

source of pic

source of text Indian railways pic

4350 Miles on

INDIA TRI-NATION HIGHWAYthis is a great story

Bengaluru to Bangkok on a 110cc ride

With the tri-nation highway connecting India with Thailand through Myanmar, which opened last September, emerging as the latest test of endurance and grit, a 28-year-old Bengaluru-based IIT graduate recently took up this arduous challenge to complete the solo journey across 6,786 km in 25 days.

Quitting his lucrative job at Cognizant here, Arunabh Majumdar also chose an unconventional TVS Star City Plus, a 110 cc motorcycle associated with an office ride.

“I got all the paperwork ready and on last Christmas day, I throttled on into my biggest road trip from Bengaluru,” said the youngster, who rode through Tirupati, Visakhapatnam, Konark and reached Kolkata for his first rest period of the trip.

“During the second part, I passed through Guwahati, Silchar and Imphal to reach Moreh,” said Mr. Majumdar, who crossed the iconic white and yellow bridge (yellow falls on Myanmar side) from Moreh to enter the Burmese territory and encounter his first border check at Tamu town.

However, Mr. Majumdar’s journey to the border was not easy. A minor collision with a car at Raiganj, West Bengal, forced him on detour to Darjeeling, where he fixed his motorcycle before starting up again.

“I always had a passion for long rides on any vehicle I could get my hands on. During my IIT-Bombay days, I just took off one day on my mother’s Honda Activa through the scenic Western Ghats to reach home at BEL Circle in Bengaluru,” he told The Hindu .

For the diehard biker, Myanmar was a surprising paradise with good roads, welcoming people and pristine locations. “I had a guide and an agent from the Tourism Department who escorted me for nine days of riding through the country where I visited many spots, including the historically significant city of Bagan,” he said.

Mr. Majumdar crossed into Thailand on January 16 through the last Burmese town of Myawaddy and entered the Thai district of Mae Sot. He rode on for another 600 km to reach Bangkok and end his expedition on January 18. “It was one hell of a ride and I think every biker must take that route and go through the experience,” said the Bengaluru youth, who has shipped his bike.

Source : The hindu newspaper – here

Former Headhunters of of Northeast India

the last tribeThe Konyak are a Naga people, and are recognized among other Naga by their tattoos, which they have all over their face and hands; facial tattoos were earned for taking an enemy’s head. They are called the land of Angh’s. They have the largest population among the Nagas.

The remote village of Longwa, with Myanmar’s dense forests on one side and India’s rich agricultural lands on the other, is home to the fierce Konyak Naga tribe. The largest of 16 tribes living in the remote northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, the Konyaks were warriors with brutal pasts, using inter-village fights to accede land and ascertain power. As such, Konyak villages are situated on ridge tops, so they can easily monitor and identify an enemy attack

640px-Ceremonial_basket_Konyak_NagaKnown as head hunters of North East India. In the recent past, they were known as war loving and often attacked nearby villages of other tribes taking the heads of opposing warriors as trophies to hang in the Morong (a communal house). The number of heads indicated the power of a warrior and the tribe and becomes a collective totem. With the exception of these behaviors, the tribal members maintain a very disciplined community life with strict duties and responsibilities for every individual.

tattooed face

From the tribe’s conception centuries ago, until the gruesome practice was banned in 1940s, the Konyaks were fierce headhunters. Killing and severing an enemy’s head was considered a rite of passage for young boys, and success was rewarded with a prestigious facial tattoo. With the last headhunting case in Nagaland reported in 1969, older tribesmen like Pangshong (pictured) belong to the last generation with these striking facial tattoos. (Neelima Vallangi)

skullsThe source of this article is here.

Happy Traveling

Free Diving

Ever since I saw Jacques-Yves Cousteau on TV, when I was really young, and when I had a lot of time and little money, I have had this fascination with oceans. It was not even passing fad. It never diminished.

freediving book-qa-deep-james-nestor-01_82455_990x742James Nestor came up with a new book called ‘Deep’. This is what he says “the final unseen, untouched, and undiscovered wilderness.” It is also a frontier extremely difficult to explore. The pressure is so intense, at 30 feet down our “lungs collapse to half their normal size.”

It’s a book about Free-diving, Renegade Science, and what the oceans tell us about ourselves.

Interestingly the Emiratis (the natives of UAE) have also getting onto it for the world championships of freediving.

Ahmed Khoori, the UAE National Champion says this – “In 2015 we want to send the first UAE national freediving team to the AIDA Team World Championships. To achieve this goal we need to train 6 Emiratis to reach 60 metres in 6 months,” said Alex Boulting, owner and co-founder of Freediving UAE, which is behind the initiative.”

Here is the excerpt of Interview with James Nestor at National Geographic

Describe what happens to the human body when you go that deep.

Something amazing happens the second we put our faces into water. Our heart rates lower about 25 percent. Blood begins rushing from our extremities into the core. The mind enters a meditative state. At around 250 to 300 feet the heart rate of some of these free divers has been recorded to be about 14 beats per minute. That’s about a third of a coma patient’s. It shouldn’t support consciousness, according to physiologists. And yet deep in the ocean it does. But no one knows exactly how.

Your research took you all over the world. Tell us about the Ama people of Japan.

The Ama have been free diving for about 3,000 years. These are women divers, who live off the coast of Japan. In the 1700s and 1800s, there were thousands of them. Since fishing technologies developed, their numbers dwindled. But I heard that they were still out there, so I went to Japan and found a little enclave of them. They were in their 60s and 70s. One lady was pushing 80! They’d been diving since they were teenagers.


Englisman, William Trubridge holds the world record in the premier unassisted free-diving category. this is what he has to say about it

What is the free diving attraction?
The peace. All sensations, even light, are muted. It allows you to go inside yourself more which is a very profound experience. I didn’t hear about free diving until I was in my early 20s but was hooked when I gave it a go. There is a freedom to move in three dimensions. You shut down rational thinking because it consumes oxygen. The pressure causes a narcosis which slows the mind even more. You get in that woozy state.

Happy Diving!