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    One of the two major waterfalls at Pachamalai hills near Tiruchi./ Photo: R. V. Moorthy / The Hindu

    One of the two major waterfalls at Pachamalai hills near Tiruchi./ Photo: R. V. Moorthy / The Hindu

    New guest houses and tree houses to be set up in the picturesque hills

    Situated 80 km from Tiruchi, at 1,200 metres above the sea level, Pachamalai will soon become an ideal weekend destination.

    Blessed with a pleasant climate with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and home to rare plant species, the hills presents a picturesque landscape with natural forests, agricultural lands, hill tops, ridges, and valleys.

    The hills are also home to the ‘Malayali’ tribe, a Tamil-speaking community with a population of 7,000. Periapakkalam and Korayaru waterfalls, along with some viewpoints, are a major attraction.

    Chief Minister Jayalalithaa recently announced a Rs. 2.30-crore the community based eco-tourism development project in the hills. It is aimed at socio-economic uplift of local communities by creating community assets and facilities and group entrepreneurship programmes through the funds generated from eco-tourism.

    According to N. Sathish, District Forest Officer, development would be at two levels — infrastructure and culture-based tourism. Plans are on to improve accommodation and catering and also improve facilities at the places of interest.

    The Forest Department will set up new guest houses and tree houses, beautify natural walking trails, promote traditional therukoothu by Malayali tribe, and establish an eco medicinal park. Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs), instead of private tour operators, would be formed for running the project by employing interested people from 54 villages in three Panchayats — Thenparanadu, Vallanadu, and Kombainadu.

    Eco-tourism is targeted at nature and wildlife enthusiasts, who look for a break from the hustle and bustle of a city. They can enjoy natural walking trails which will have boards explaining the significance of trees, birds, and other existent biodiversity.

    Foreign tourists will be allowed to take bullock cart rides.

    “Unlike usual tourism, eco-tourism will cause zero to minimal damage to forest areas.

    “Some people have protested against this project by saying that this will affect the tradition and habitat of local people, but they are mistaken.

    “This project is aimed at improving the living standard of the local people,” said Mr. Sathish.

    Nodal officers and range officers would only supervise and the local people would maintain the area. Bookings would be done online through a separate website, giving no chance for private operators to enter the scene, said Mr. Sathish.

    “It has been planned to complete the eco-tourism package by March 2014, so as to facilitate full-fledged tourism from May 2014,” he added.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by Deepak Muralidharan / Tiruchi – September 26th, 2013

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    Beatrix D'Souza, former MP (second from right) releases ‘The Anglo-Indians: A 500-Year History’, written by S. Muthiah and Harry MacLure. Others in the picture, (from left) Jennifer McIntyre, US Consul General; David Holly, Consul General, Australia; Geoffrey K. Francis, former MLA and writer S. Muthiah — Photo: S.R. Raghunathan / The Hindu

    Beatrix D’Souza, former MP (second from right) releases ‘The Anglo-Indians: A 500-Year History’, written by S. Muthiah and Harry MacLure. Others in the picture, (from left) Jennifer McIntyre, US Consul General; David Holly, Consul General, Australia; Geoffrey K. Francis, former MLA and writer S. Muthiah — Photo: S.R. Raghunathan / The Hindu

    It is easy to write off a community by stereotyping its members. But to learn about them – and their contributions to the country they have made their home, is a difficult but rewarding job.

    S. Muthiah decided to do the latter and thus brought forth a book tracing the origin and developments of the Anglo-Indian community, which has a 500-year-old history in India.

    Mr. Muthiah and Harry MacLure, have jointly co-authored the book ‘The Anglo-Indians: A 500-Year History’, which was released on Tuesday.

    Richard O’Connor, a customs officer has also contributed to the book. At a function organised by publisher Niyogi Books and The Madras Book Club, the book was launched by Beatrix D’Souza, former member of Parliament. It was received by Geoffrey K. Francis, former MLA.

    Mr. Muthaiah, who introduced the book, said his association with the community began 80 years ago, when he was three years old. Since then, he had made friends, had had colleagues at work and that had prompted him to consider writing a book on Anglo-Indians.

    By definition a person born of male European descent who has made India his or her home is an Anglo-Indian. The Indian Constitution has also accepted this definition. At the time of Independence, there were 5 lakh Anglo-Indians, but two thirds migrated to Australia, UK, Canada and US. Today, the community is 1.5 lakh strong in India.

    Dr. D’Souza and Dr. Francis urged the community to take pride in its achievements and contributions to India. Consul Generals of the UK, the United States and Australia who commended the book said the community had assimilated the culture of the host land they inhabited and had richly contributed to it.

    source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – August 08th, 2013

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    Durga in Tribanga - Adi Varaha Cave. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Durga in Tribanga – Adi Varaha Cave. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    The ancient port town of Mamallai may be synonymous with stone sculpting but there are places that have masterpieces. The continuous quest to bring out such stunning works of art spread across our land, unfolds the seventh CE cave shrine of Sri Ranganatha Perumal in Singavaram, situated four km to the North of Senji in Villupuram district.

    A unique tall Mandapa greets visitors to the site while the actual shrine is atop a small hillock and is serviced by a long flight of steps. As one passes into the main shine, one can see a set of matched pillars and pilasters hewn into the rock to form the entrance hall or the artha mandapam. Only then does one realise that the structural temple has built over the cave shrine complete with its own door guardians.

    A fantastic Sayana perumal (the reclining Vishnu), all of 24 ft, has been fashioned from the mother rock and is a sight to behold.

    TREASURE HOUSE

    The scant visitors that the shrine receives however do not realise that there is another treasure just nearby. The Thayar shrine, which has been added later, has a small window to its side from where visitors can get a glimpse of a spectacular relief sculpture of Durga or Kotravai as her form was known in those times.

    Kotravai in Tribanga - Singavaram. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Kotravai in Tribanga – Singavaram. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    In classic sculpting tradition the composition achieves an aesthetic grace with increased flexion, as compared to a school class group photo attention pose. The sculptor has artistically slanted Durga’s body at three places – the Tribanga and superbly offset the shift of the legs by having her place her right leg on the severed buffalo head – called Urdhvajanu in iconographic texts – and counter balanced the same with the lower left hand slightly raised and resting above the hip. The early date confirmed with the Prayoga chakra on the upper right hand and her Conch on the upper left. The kneeling devotee to the right is thankfully not offering his head but only cutting his hand (symbolic bloodletting) while his companion’s pose mimics that of holding a flower for her.

    Durga in Sama Banga - Draupadi Ratha. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Durga in Sama Banga – Draupadi Ratha. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    It would be an interesting exercise to arrange the similar compositions in stylistic order – all executed within a span of 100 years. One can see the superior effect of the Tribanga over the Sama Banga postures of the ones in the Draupadi ratham and the Varaha mandapam and also how the left hand rests lower on the hip, the classical Kati Hasta, giving Singavaram a slightly later date than them.

    Durga in Sama Banga - Varaha mandapam / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Durga in Sama Banga – Varaha mandapam / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    In contrast, the multiple armed Adivaraha cave Kotravai has the sculptor striving for more aesthetics, using his artistic license in sculpting her with slightly exaggerated (elongated) legs, standing on the severed head of Mahisha, with the right leg coming entirely behind the left giving the entire compositon an aesthetic grace. Hence one would give it a date post-Singavaram.

    Surely Singavaram must find its place in the ‘must visit’ list of the tourist and the pious alike.

    All photos are courtesy of Ashok Krishnaswamy, Arvind Venkataraman and  http://puratattva.in/

    (Vijay is a sculpture enthusiast and blogs about temple art at www.poetryinstone.in)

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Feature> Friday Review> History & Culture / by S. Vijay Kumar / Chennai – September 19th, 2013

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    September 28th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy

    Coimbatore : 

    As part of its expansion strategy, tyre and rubber manufacturer Bridgestone has conceived the concept store model. “This initiative will add a new dimension to the retailing of tyres in the region,” said Vaibhav Saraf, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Bridgestone India Private Ltd, after inaugurating the concept store – Puma Tyres in Tirupur.

    The effort is aimed to revolutionise the tyre buying experience with focus on safety, reliability and eco-friendliness, he added.

    The store will offer specially designed tyre check-up programme for cars to check tyres, and batteries and oil. The company plans to leverage this idea by opening up many such stores across markets in the country.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> News> National / by The Hindu Bureau / Coimbatore – September 26th, 2013

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    Two terracotta ring wells found at Oma Kulam in Chidambaram.

    Two terracotta ring wells found at Oma Kulam in Chidambaram.

    “These stand testimony to the fact that Chola culture was quite predominant in Chidambaram”

    Voluntary efforts being made by the people of Chidambaram town to desilt and revive the Oma Kulam have brought out the historic significance of the ancient waterbody.

    After the five-foot high siltation was removed, the place has now revealed the existence of two terracotta ring wells dating back to the 12th Century AD. This was vouchsafed by J.R. Sivaramakrishnan and P. Kalaiselvan, assistant professors of History Department at Annamalai University.

    Mr. Sivaramakrishnan told The Hindu that terracotta ring wells were very common structures prevalent during the Chola period. These two wells found on the now defunct waterbody stood testimony to the fact that the Chola culture was quite predominant in the temple town of Chidambaram.

    “Each terracotta ring measures 4 cm in thickness, 12 cm in height and 65 cm in diameter. These rings are usually placed in a well sunk in a sandy soil. Besides these two terracotta structures, four wells constructed with brick walls too have been detected in the Oma Kulam,” he said.

    The waterbodies were known by two different names in Tamil: ‘Keni’ and ‘Kinaru.’ The ‘keni’ was the one dug in sandy soil and happened to be the perennial source of water supply whereas, ‘kinaru,’ surrounded by brick structure, used to yield water seasonally.

    The term ‘keni’ also found place in a couplet in the Tirukkural where it is stated that the deeper the ‘keni’ is dug, more abundant would be water availability. Similarly, one’s horizon of knowledge would be broadened with constant study, the couplet describes.

    Mr. Sivaramakrishnan also noted that traces of Chola period could be found at Kondareddipalayam and Kanisapakkam near Panruti, at Vada Hari Rajapuram near Bhuvanagiri, Maruvai near Vadalur and Vada Rangam near the Kollidam.

    These were thickly-populated places during the Chola rule. He also said that other brick wells too must be at least 250-year-old. “Therefore, it could be safely assumed that Oma Kulam played a vital role in the spiritual and social life of the people of Chidambaram.”

    The legend has it that Thiru Naalai Povar Nayanar alias Nandanar used to make his ablutions in the wells and offered prayers to Lord Nataraja from there. As he constantly put off his visit to the hallowed precincts of the temple ‘the next day’ (which earned him the nick name Thiru Naalai Povar — one who would go tomorrow), he replied stoically that he would do so in different form.

    It was stated that Nandanar entered into the flames of yagna, performed at the Oma Kulam, and came out unscathed. Thus, the waterbody had come to be known as Oma Kulam.

    People from all walks of life have been taking active role in the desilting operation that began on August 1 under the aegis of the Hindu Temple Protection Committee.

    Social activists, nature lovers and believers want encroachments on the southern side of Oma Kulam to be cleared and sewage lines diverted to preserve the sanctity of the place and restore its past glory.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Tamil Nadu / by A. V. Raghunathan / Chidambaram – September 26th, 2013

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    September 27th, 2013adminEducation, Records, All, Science & Technologies

    NikitaCF27sept2013

    The story of Nikita Hari from Pazhankavu in Vadakara is an inspiration to many. Nikita, born to a small-scale industrialist, aspired big and reached there with hard work and determination. On Thursday, she will fly to London to take up her chosen calling.

    Ms. Nikita is the only Indian candidate who has qualified for research in Cambridge University, U.K. this year. An electronics and instrumentation engineer from CUSAT who completed her postgraduation from the SRM University in Chennai, Nikita was working as a lecturer at the National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode, when she applied for research abroad. Her brilliant academic background got her admission into Harvard and Oxford Universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology besides Cambridge. But she chose the latter for the better functioning department of Electronics there along with the chance to work under the Head of the Department. To top it all, the university granted her a scholarship of Rs.50 lakh, which would cover half her fee.

    The research topic Nikita had selected was to develop instruments that would reduce transmission loss while connecting non-conventional energy sources to electric grids. She aspires to become a scientist and in future help, inspire, and promote girls who are bright, but economically backward, to take up scientific research.

    A big fan of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, Nikita is the daughter of Haridas, who own Intec Industries in Vadakara and Geetha. Nikita was accorded a warm send-off and felicitation by the local people of Pazhankavu as well as many organisations recently.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Kerala / by Aabha Anoop / September 19th, 2013

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    Chennai : 

    Ammi’s Biriyani, the flagship brand of Bangalore-based TMA Hospitality Services Pvt Ltd, will make its Chennai debut on Thursday with the opening of three outlets in the city.

    TMA’s Chairman and Managing Director N. Sharief says its unique selling proposition is food packaging – separate pouches for spoons and trays to discard bones.

    “We try and emulate the packaging and delivery methods of the pizza players, who are running a merry business. But, in the traditional food space, there aren’t many deliverers.”

    About 55 per cent of the revenue for the company comes from food delivery. Set up in Koramangala in November 2008, it runs around 36 outlets in Bangalore, most of them about 500-600 sq. ft. It will enter Delhi by the beginning of the next financial year.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Companies / by The Hindu Bureau / Chennai – August 13th, 2013

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    Chennai-based iEnergy Wind Farms (Theni) has submitted a fresh proposal to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) seeking post-facto approval for issue of 4,500 shares to Mauritian company Indian Energy (Mauritius) Ltd one day before receipt of inward remittances.

    According to the existing policy, equity shares are to be issued only after receipt of remittance. Since, in this case, shares were issued one day before receipt of remittance, the RBI advised the company to obtain ex-post-facto approval for it.

    The FIPB had earlier deferred a decision on the proposal as the applicant had sought time to furnish details regarding beneficial ownership demanded by the Department of Revenue.

    In 2009, Indian Energy (Mauritius) Ltd had become the holding company by investing in 4,500 equity shares of Rs 10 each with a premium of Rs 19,990 a share.

    It also acquired 9,999 equity shares of Rs 10 each held by Santany Bagchi in 2010. The holding company has been investing in the equity and preference shares of the company.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Companies / The Hindu Bureau / New Delhi – September 19th, 2013

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    September 26th, 2013adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    From jhatkas and matkas to mimicry to some soulful singing, the Clean and Clear Chennai Times Fresh Face 2013’s auditions at the MOP Vaishnav College for Women witnessed it all.

    Impressing the judges, racer Alisha Abdullah and Radio Mirchi RJ Vaidhi, with their restless energy and amazing confidence, the girls showcased a variety of talent .

    Anuja’s dance moves to Kalasala Kalasala left the audience awestruck and helped her bag the winner’s crown in the last round of the prelims of Clean & Clean Chennai Times Fresh Face 2013. Anaina Kaudvikar’s hilarious mimicry of yesteryear and contemporary actresses had the onlookers in splits and she walked away with the runners-up title.

    Kaudvikar shared the place with dancers Chandini Suresh and Ashna Duggal. Classical singer Anahita Ravichandran was adjudged the second runner-up along with Vishna and S Manieesha who grooved to the tunes of Pritam Pyare and Radha On the dance floor, respectively.

    source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Life & Style> Parties> Chennai / TNN / September 24th, 2013

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    CRMIT Solutions today announced a MoU with Anna University of Technology, a leading educational university for participating in an industrial consortium.

    Bangalore :

    CRMIT Solutions, a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions, today announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Anna University of Technology to participate in their initiative for industrial consortium. The consortium is comprised of companies that are engaged with the University in collaborating on various industrial and manufacturing projects and programs. The MoU enables the University to study and understand CRMIT Solutions’ innovative concepts, technological development and expertise in Cloud based solution.

    The consortium will primarily focus on Industrial collaboration to support significant joint research programs

    Support development of new technology programs, academic courses

    Organize thematic seminars & conferences with specific industry focus

    Provide well trained faculty members & well equipped laboratories

    This industrial consortium is a noble initiative by Anna University of Technology as a means of continuing education for professionals as a part of the human resource development programmers of specific organizations. Programmes for promoting Industry-Institute interactions, regional get-together of industries, government-funding agencies, R&D and Educational institutions, etc., are organised at regular intervals for cross pollination of industrial / academic ideas.

    “We are privileged to be a part of this industrial consortium and thankful to Anna University of Technology. Our participation in this consortium is our testimony and commitment to build industrial readiness, professional competencies, and also to improve soft skills with the various programs under the MoU” – said P S Reddy, General Manager , CRMIT Solutions.

    source: http://www.free-press-release-center.info / Free Press Release Center -FPRC / September 03rd, 2013

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