Daily Archives: 10.02.2014

A Tale of Spicy Dosas and Fried Fishes – South Indian Cuisine

A Tale of Spicy Dosas and Fried Fishes – South Indian Cuisine

Taste of people varies with religion, culture and even states. People living in different states have different tastes. It is a bit obvious that the South Indian Cuisine constitutes the food of the four southern states of India: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The cuisines of these four states are different but they have some ingredients in common also. These ingredients are coconut, dried red chilies, rice and fresh green chilies. The commonly used vegetables are plantain, garlic, tamarind, ginger and snake gourd. Thus, there four cuisines mainly differ in the food’s spiciness. People of North Karnataka use jowar and ragi more than anything else whereas people living in some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka like rice. Rice is very much consumed by the Brahmin communities and Telangana region consumes jowar and bajra more. Thus, in the entire four regions there is a different need of different food.


The spiciest state of all is the Andhra Pradesh. The people use a lot of chili powder in their food and this makes their food a lot more hot and tangy. People of Andhra Pradesh like their dishes to be lentil and vegetable based. But there is a little bit of regional variations in Andhra Padesh. People living in the different regions of Andhra have their own variation in their food. The rotis having jowar and bajra is common in the Telangana region. This is very famous in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra also. The coastal region of Andhra has cuisines with a typical flavor of much sea food. The capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad has its own unique cuisine. Dum ka murgh, achaari subzi, kacche gosht ki biryani and baghara baingan are the famous dishes of Hyderabadi cuisine.


Both the vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes are famous in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes are ‘Tiffins’ which includes lemon, tamarind, pulihora, mung bean pancake and upma; ‘Pickle’ which is made from the pieces of raw mangoes, tomato pachadi, chintakaya, ginger pachadi, gongura pachadi, dosakaya pachadi and maaghaya; ‘Curries’ which includes carrot fry, dondakaya fry, gutti vankaya, cabbage pesara pappu and bendakaya fry; ‘Pulusu’ which has anapakaya pulusu, palakoora pulusu, thotkoora pulusu, sorakaya pulusu and many more stuff;  And ‘Pappu’ which needs a lot of ingredients such as spinach, dal, yellow cucumber, tomato, thotakura pappu, chukkakoora pappu, palakura pappu and menthilkura pappu. Chakkilalu, murukulu, sakinalu, jantikalu and chekkalu are the things that are being served for snacks. Famous Andhra Sweets are nuvvula laddu, pesara laddu, kaaja, sunnundalu, ravva laddu, thokkudu laddu and pootarekulu. Hyderabadu biryani tops the list of the non- vegetarian dishes. Other non- vegetarian dishes includes chicken stew (kodi iguru), fish fry, chicken gravy and prawn curry.


Another very diverse cuisine is the Karnataka Cuisine. Karnataka people are a bit tarnished for their sweet tooth. Palm sugar, jiggery and very little use of chili powder makes their food perfect as per their taste. Most of the people of Karnataka are vegetarians and they enjoy eating lots of vegetarian foods. There are many Udupi restaurants in Karnataka serving the famous Masala Dosa from the Udupi cuisine. People eat masala dosa, vangi baath, uppittu, plain or rave idli, kadabu, avalakki, kesari baath, tomato baath, akki roti, poori, khara baath and menthya baath in breakfast. Lunch dishes are huli (sambar), kootu, pachadi, chitranna, bisi bele baath, mosaru bajji, thili (rasam) and kasambri. The snack items of the people are mangalore bun, kodabale, aamb vade, nippatu, golli bajji, nippatu, chakkali and maddur vade. Dharwad pedha, chiroti, obbattu/holige, pheni and Mysore pak are the famous sweets of Karnataka. It is a tradition in India to make the sweets in milk but this tradition is not followed in Karnataka as many of sweets are not made using milk. One thing that is famous in all parts of Karnataka is the Yogurt. Those people who can afford the Yogurt butter and ghee use these products especially during festivals.


Kerala is the state which is full of Muslims, Hindus and Christians also. Thus, both the vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes are famous in Kerala. The vegetarian dishes include rasam, erucherri, paalpradaman, kichadi, kalan, nendarangai chips, sambar, upperis, olan, kalan, pachady and aviyal. Whereas the non- vegetarian dishes include fish curry, kappa boiled, shells (sea food), duck curry, chicken stew, fish with coconut (meen thoran), fish pickle, kallumekka, thalassery biriyani, jewel fish, mutton stew, squid, malabari fish curry, shrimp masala, chicken fry with shredded coconuts, karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish) and mussels. Kerala people like to have duck roast, fish molee, Appam, egg curry, banana or kadala curry, porotta with chicken curry or mutton curry, pork masala, beef curry, idiyappam, vegetable stew with pickle, dosai with chutney, kanji with dry beans and pappad with coconut in breakfast. For snacks, people may have thira, churuttu, boli, upperi, kozhukkatta, halwas, banan fry, cutlets, etc. it can be seen from the names of the above dishes that each and every dish include coconut as coconut is the main export of Kerala. People who don’t like coconut can’t survive in Kerala.

Masala dosa with different types of chutney and sambar

A large variety of spicy and non-spicy food can be found in Tamil. People of Tamil eat non- vegetarian food except some people who are Brahmins. Rice is the staple food of Tamil. Each and every Tamil dish is mixed with rice before eating by people. Kootu, kari, papads, paruppu, kuzhambu, kadaiyals, poriyal, rasam and even pickles are mixed with rice to make a perfect Tamil dish. Some standalone snacks are bonda, thayir pachadi, soups, vadai and various chutneys. For deserts there are some Indian sweets such as payasam, kesari and kheer. Tiffin, dosai, uppma, parotta, poori, paniyaram, pongal, adai, etc comes under the category of fast foods in Tamil. Thus, we can say that the Tamil cuisine serves people with a heavy breakfast, not so heavy lunch, good evening snacks with tea or coffee and light dinner. These four South Indian states offer different cuisine according to their culture and taste. Even people can make their dishes by adding more ingredients according to their taste.

A Mixture of Old and New – The Exotic Prague

A Mixture of Old and New – The Exotic Prague

Prague, also known as Parah in Czech, is the largest city of Czech Republic and is the capital city also. The city is ten centuries old, founded in the late 9th century and it is located in Central Europe. Initially, Prague was the capital city of Bohemia for many centuries. Current population of the city is more than 1.3 million people which reach upto 2 million if you include the urban zone around the city. The city has bridges, church domes, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers, and midst all these Vltava River flows. Historically, this city was the capital of Holy Roman Empire. It is fully vibrant city having energy, music, art, culture, events and festivals and hence, is one of the most beautiful and charming cities of Europe. That is why it is ranked 6th in Europe in ‘the list of most famous tourist destinations’. The historical architecture are preserved in the city and there was very less loss during the World War II as compared to the other cities.


The most amazing piece of architecture in the city full of wonderful buildings is the Prague Castle. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the biggest ancient castle on this earth. It is a building that rises above the city and you can have beautiful view of the city below the castle. Old Royal Palace in this Castle is one of the original buildings of the complex. There is an All Saints Chapel which is now called the All Saints Church. In the complex, you will find St. Vitus Cathedral, Castle Picture Gallery, palaces, museums, Royal Garden and a lookout tower. You may like to watch the traditional way of changeover of the on-duty guards and the Presidential Guard. It is a grand view and royal atmosphere. There is a street in the castle complex named the Golden Lane. This ancient street has 11 historic houses in a row, inside which they conduct a display of ancient armory, textiles, other attractions, etc.


Another structure of the city that stands as a pride of the city is the Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge connects the Lesser town with the Old Town. This place is a centre of trade and entertainment during the day as there are musicians, artists selling their art, paintings and jewelry. This bridge was originally made of wood but due a strong flood, it was washed away. It was then replaced by the stone structure and was called Judith Bridge which was later changed to Charles Bridge to honor King Charles IV. The bridge has 15 statues of saints on each side, that is, total 30 statues and every single statue has a history behind it.


Another major tourist place in Prague is the Old Town. The Old Town was built in the 14th century. It is the historic centre of the city which has numerous monuments and buildings of the ancient times. Most of the parts of the place are only allowed to see from outside. The most famous ones among them are the Astronomical Clock, the Tyn Church built in the pure Gothic architecture, the Storch Building, the Jan Hush Monument, etc. There is Calendarium where they open all the windows on the hour of the day so that everyone can see the whole procession of apostles. There is an Estate Theatre right nearby this old town. Also, there are many historical churches in the Old Town such as St. James Chruch. And there are so many historical buildings but most famous of them is the Old Town Hall.


After the Old Town, we have New Town as an extension of the old one and was also established in 14th century. Most of the place is now re-constructed and restored. There is Wenceslas Square, National Museum, discos and Art hotels, parks, arcades, Henry Tower and many other wonderful places each with a different of their own. Prague also has the Lesser Town which is across the river Vltava. There are very beautiful and attractive streets in this town. The place also has many churches; St. Nicholas Church is the most visited church. It has the Lennon Wall near the Charles Bridge and close to the canal with water-wheels.


Another very important place to visit is the Josefov. It is a Jewish Ghetto and is famous for the preserved synagogues. The oldest active synagogue in the entire Europe is the Old New Synagogue which was the resting house of Prague Golem as per the local rumors. Don’t assume that it is a part of the Jewish Museum, because it is not. Another one is Spanish Synagogue which is highly decorated and ornamental built in Moorish style. You can also visit the oldest cemetery located on the continent of Europe – the Old Jewish Cemetery. Other places to go are Kafta’s House, Jewish museum (having more than 40 thousand exhibit items, a hundred thousand books, collection of Judaic art), Jewish Quarter, etc.

Other attractions are Holy Infant of Prague (a statue of Christ), Loreta (Baroque convent in Lesser Town), Strahov Monastery (located on the mountain having a beautiful picture gallery and renaissance library), Prague Dancing House (a fascinating modern architectural building), castle Vysehrad, Petrinska Rozhledna (a.k.a. small Eiffel Tower located on Petrin Hill), many other churches, museums, and a lot of beautiful architectures.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPS: Home Of World’s Giant Trees

Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPS: Home Of World’s Giant Trees


If you’re an admirer of giant trees, wildlife and enjoy hiking in the dense forests along valleys, meandering rivers and waterfalls with a vast patch of fresh green meadows, diverse landscapes then you are looking at the right place! You can enjoy the beauty of nature in its every form in this national park system. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two national parks that are situated in the southern Sierra Nevada, California in the United States, combined and administered together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park System. 

Among the two, Sequoia National Park is the oldest and is the home for the world’s largest known living tree– The General Sherman Tree. The Kings Canyon is the home for the world’s largest natural Giant Sequoia Groves – The Redwood Mountain Grove and the General Grant Grove. The General Grant Grove is the home to the General Grant Tree- world’s third largest tree. 84% of the national park system does not have roads; it is purely designated for wilderness and is accessible either by horseback or by foot. The Sequoia covers over an area of 404,063 acres in the east of Visalia, while Kings Canyon covers an area of over 461,901 acres in the east of Fresno. The wide range of this ecosystem in the NPS consists of foothills, chaparral, yucca plants, blue oak woodlands, grasslands, river valleys etc.

kearsarge lake and pinnacles

The Sequoia park’s best attractions are the Sherman Tree trail, Tunnel tree, Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, Tokopah falls, the Giant Forest Museum, Campgrounds, while those of Kings Canyon include the Kearsarge Pinnacles and lakes, Giant Forest hike trails, beautiful canyons of the major rivers of California, the Kings River and San Joaquin River which gives the park the name – Kings Canyon. These canyons are carved out of granite by the glaciers.  The Sequoia National park has over 240 caves and the longest being the Lilburn cave which is over 20 miles. The second longest cave (3.4 miles) is open to public is the Crystal cave which is in the giant forest region. It is always better to go around in these caves with an experienced guide to prevent from getting lost in the caves. The King Canyon has the most beautiful rivers and lakes. The one that makes your heart skip a beat is the scenic beauty of the Kearsarge Pinnacles and the Kearsarge Lake of the Kings Canyon National Park that is seen in the image.

sherman trail

The national park system significantly covers most of the longest mountain range, The Sierra Nevada. It has abundant and wide range of fauna and flora. The animals that can be commonly found here would include foxes, ground rattlesnakes, mule deer and bobcats and sometimes mountain lions can also be seen, but they are quite rare. The Hume Lake is an artificial lake situated in Sequoia National Park and is also not far from the Kings Canyon. Variety of beach activities and other recreations are available in this lake like fishing, swimming, boating. There are campgrounds and also cabins, private cabins for rental etc. You can reach this lake through the Generals highway from the Sequoia NP or by the Highway 180 from Kings Canyon.  The Giant Forest situated within the Sequoia National Park houses five of the 10 world’s largest trees. It is connected by the Generals Highway to the Kings Canyon National Park. This forest has over 40 miles of hiking trails which makes it the most accessible among all the other groves in the national park system. The Sherman Tree trail is a round trip that goes around the giant trees from the parking lot till the General Sherman Tree. The trail is about 0.8 miles only.


Coming to the best attractions of Sequoia NP, the first one would be the Tunnel Tree. In the year 1937, a giant sequoia tree which was over 275 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter, fell across the park road due to natural causes. To clear the blocked road, they carved a tunnel out of the tree which is about 8 feet tall and 17 feet wide. This adds fun to the visitors also paving a chance to admire their beauty too. There is also a museum called the Giant Forest Museum. It provides information and fun facts about the Giant Sequoia trees and the history of humans that lived there like the Native Americans. Tokopah falls is one of the most beautiful sights in the Park and is 1200 feet high. It looks amazing and wonderful especially during the summer.


The Crescent meadow is a beautiful Sequoia tree rimmed one, which is at the end of the Generals Highway near the Giant Forest Museum. The last but not the least is the Moro Rock. It is located in between the Giant Forest and the Crescent meadow. It almost marks the center of the park. It is a granite dome with over 400 step stairway which was built in the 1930’s. It has an elevation of about 6,725 feet and the stairway helps public people, visitors to climb till the top of the rock. It is strongly recommended to avoid hiking in this trail during winter, especially while it snows and during thunder storms. From the top of this rock, almost the entire park can be seen including the Great Western Divide.