Monday, April 30, 2007

A pot making unit in the foot hills of 'Nandi Hills'
Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln to induce reactions that lead to permanent changes, including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape.

There are wide regional variations in the properties of clays used by potters and this often helps to produce wares that are unique in character to a locality.
It is common for clays and other minerals to be mixed to produce clay bodies suited to specific purposes; for example, a clay body that remains slightly porous after firing is often used for making earthenware or terra cotta flower-pots.
The potter's most basic tools are the hands, but many additional tools have been developed over the long history of pottery manufacture, including the potter's wheel and turntable, shaping tools (paddles, anvils, ribs), rolling tools (roulettes, slab rollers, rolling pins), cutting/piercing tools (knives, fluting tools, wires) and finishing tools (burnishing stones, rasps, chamois).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Civilization’s oldest profession - Begging

Begging is the practice whereby a person obtains money, food, shelter or other things from people they encounter by request.

In larger cities, it is common to see beggars asking for money, food, or other items.
Typically, beggars often beg for spare change equipped with coffee cups, mugs, small boxes, hats, or other items into which money can be placed and sometimes narrate sob stories as well.
We’re sort of immune to them-
Their faces, their pleas, their sob stories. Yet, beggars generate the most diverse emotions in us: sympathy, pity, scare, sneer, disrespect.
Often quoted as one of civilization’s oldest professions, beggary rarely receives the legislative cover ‘professions’ usually get.

Begging raises questions that peer into the heart of social security and human dignity. While common people, in order to earn Punya, donate generously to one-armed people hiding the other arm in their shirts, the police kick and prick lepers and disabled beggars not even capable of moving an inch.
Only when the laws are diversified to target various forms of begging-related activities differently and work together with NGOs to rehabilitate truly incapacitated persons, significant change will take place.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Take a sneak into where your lovely silk saree or silk shirt comes from...
I grabbed these pictures in a Sericulture unit about 60 kms from Bangalore (Sulatanpet).

The process of drawing silk fiber from the cocoon is called ‘reeling’. The cocoons are allowed to boil in hot water and the silk fiber is unwound from the cocoons. The silk am told consists of two proteins, the inner core of fibroin and an outer cover of gum sericin. During reeling, the cocoons are processed in hot water at 95-97 degrees C for 10-15 minutes. This process is called cooking.
This enables the sericin portion to get softened and make unwinding easy without breaks. The cocoons after cooking are reeled in hot water in different types of machines.
In India, 61% of the silk amounting to 1,320 tonnes is reeled on the country-type charka (spinning-wheel)

In India, the Sericulture unit is critical to rural development because it:
  1. Provides for off-farm employment.
  2. Prevents the migration of rural people.
As per the recent numbers - 60 lakh persons are engaged in various sericulture activities in the country and every 3.07 kg of silk produced and used generates gainful employment of one man year.
This potential is par-excellence and no other industry generates this kind of employment, especially in rural areas, hence, sericulture is used as a tool for rural reconstruction.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Yercaud - Poor man's Ooty

This weekend, if you want to drive out of Bangalore – visit Yercaud.
Yercaud is a hill station near Salem, Tamil Nadu-in the Servarayan range (anglicized as Shevaroys) of hills in the Eastern Ghats. It is at an altitude of 1,500 metres (4,920 feet) from mean sea level.
The town gets its name from the lake located at its center - in Tamil "Yeri" means "lake" and "Kaadu" means "forest".
The drive from Bangalore will not drain your energy – Thanks to the well maintained roads by NHAI between Bangalore and Krishnagiri .The route to reach Yercaud is - Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Yercaud (on road, 250km approx)

Places to see in yercaud:

The Big Lake or Emerald Lake: The first thing one sees as you enter Yercaud is this placid lake in a wonderful surrounding of hills and natural shoals.
Kiliyur Falls: This breathtaking waterfall is 3 km from Yercaud Lake, the surplus water from the Lake reaches the Shevaroys Hills and falls deep into the Kiliyur Valley in a breath taking 300 feet fall.
Lady's Seat, Gents Seat and Childrens Seat: A cluster overlooking the ghat road and the town of Salem to the South. There is a natural rock formation in the form of a seat where reportedly an English Lady of yesteryears spent her evenings viewing the magnificent panorama.
Monfort School: Monfort School named after the founder of the Order of St.Gabriel. St.Louis Marie Grignoin de Monfort. The schools vast campus with attractive buildings, spacious play grounds, well planned and beautiful gardens, and a swimming pool is the envy of all the schools in the South.
Orchidarium-Botanical Survey of India: This is one of two orchidariums run by the Botanical survey of India. It has a large collection of native orchids. Not to mention the rare Ladies Slipper, an insect eating Orchid.
Ornamental Lake: Also known as Small Lake and lies in the heart of the town between the Yercaud Library and Sports Club and the Monfort School.
Shevarayan Temple: A flat-topped hill with a plateau. The view from the temple on all sides is magnificent - the mass of mountains and hills spread out like a map between the Shevaroys and the nearest hills.
Silk Farm & Rose Garden: You can see the cultivation of Mulberries, the growing of silk worms and the method of spinning silk. The Rose Garden – that once had a good collection of colorful Roses is 2 km from Yercaud town.
The Grange: This is one of the oldest buildings in Yercaud, built sometime in the 1820's.
MD Cockburn the then Collector is supposed to have established the first commercial plantation and planted Coffee, Oranges, Apples and other fruit trees brought from South Africa.
Tipperary View Point: One can reach this southern most view point of Yercaud by taking the Tipperary Road. From there one can see the Elephant Tooth Rocks. Which are reportedly said to be the remnants of a meteorite which fell on earth.
Do not miss the famous ‘Black Panther Oil’ sold by Ramesh Singh and Bhavani Singh. This is supposed to be a medicated oil made with the use of over 20 different kinds of herbs.

Why should You Go:
  • To beat the summer heat and relax in a hill station that is not commercialized.
  • It is a quite place not more than 4 hours away from Bangalore.
  • It is not polluted
  • Because you have a long weekend and you are looking to spend some quality time.