Friday, June 29, 2012

An Altar for the Might of Light - Konark Sun Temple

Konark is a town in Puri district of the state of Odisha, India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometers from the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar. The construction of the temple dates back to the 13th-century during the reign of King Narasimhadeva-I (AD 1236-1264) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. This temple has been built to look like the Chariot of Lord Surya (sun, considered as God by Hindus) and it is heavily decorated with the marbles and precious stones. The whole architecture is designed as a huge chariot of Lord Surya is being drawn by seven horses on twelve pairs of artistically decorated wheels.

Konark Sun Temple is one among the world's famous heritage destinations. The main structure of the temple has the towering height of about 230 feet. The 12 huge wheel on either side of the platform are the must-see one. The entrance of the temple has two huge lion sculptures seem to be guarding the monument crushing the adversary in the form of the elephant, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body.

At the entrance, inside the temple complex is the Natyamandap (dancing hall), adorned with wonderful sculptures showcasing the pose of Odissi dancers, men, warriors, elephants etc. Many places also expresses the poetry and lines inscribed on stone. This dancing hall is believed to be the place where dancers used to perform offering salute and homage to Lord Surya. All around the temple exists range of carves and patterns which intrigues anyone visiting the temple. Some of the Kamsutra poses are sculptured on the walls as the messengers of the history.

After crossing the entrance, a structure which seems partly ruined or not completely constructed starts pulling up in the sight. There are multiple stories associated with this partially built structure and the most believed by historians is that, due to the early death of the king Langula Narasimha Dev, builder of the Konark temple, the construction of the temple had been left in a haphazard state. As a result of this, the incomplete structure eventually collapsed. But this view is unsupported by historical data. The temple Architecture is similar to other temples of Odisha like the Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneshwar and the Sun Temple of Konark. However, due to its proximity to the sea it has been covered with lime plaster to protect it from the saline climate of Jagannath Puri. The design of the inner complex has been designed with utmost care and elegance.

The Annual Rathayatra celebrated every year is most prominent amongst all the festivals celebrated in Puri. It has been attracting lakhs of devotees and pilgrims since time immemorial. During this festival the statues of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and goddess Subhadra are transferred from Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Mandir in a hand pulled cart drawn by the pilgrims, after a stay at Gundicha for 9 days the statues are again brought back to the Jagannath Temple and restored. To see the Lord on the Chariot on the Rathayatra day is a good omen and helps in securing salvation from the cycles of birth and death many Hindus believe.

Fountain Fantasies - Indoor Fountains – The New Trends in Interior Designing

Interior designing is a creative and innovative aspect in which various techniques and ideas are applied to make the interiors of a living space more attractive and unique. Interior decoration of a building or house reflects the lifestyle and class of people. It seems like the trends in home decor are drifting away from heirloom pieces and traditional design, and are moving forward in a more modern direction where the actual design instead speaks for itself. This is great and there is no need to argue with popular demand, but there are many ways to creatively transform some of your favorite memories into extremely innovative interior accents like the indoor fountains.
 

A pre-designed fountain for the interior that mimic commercial copper, tempered and glass wall fountains, can add to the look of your indoors complimented by the tranquility of water flow in a work of art. You can add a touch of serenity to your personal spaces with these exclusive art pieces. You can create a lasting impression on the minds of your friends and relatives with these creative art pieces.

Tabletop fountains are a great way to quell interior design boredom-simply purchase a tabletop style that you like and later, exchange out the bowls or change the rocks. You'll get a whole new look without the sore back that comes from moving furniture. If you make a fountain and tire of looking at water flowing over mementos from your last beach trip, just unplug the fountain, replace the old items with new ones, and you'll have a new fountain up and running in less time than it takes to bake a pan of muffins. Most of the indoor fountains that you purchase are also lightweight enough to move from room to room as your whim dictates.

Wall water cascades are also meant for compact home interiors. Walls embellished with indoor wall fountains and wall mounted water springs give your home a stunning look. Floor water spouts are meant for spacious indoor spaces. You can add life to your personal rooms with exclusive floor water cascades. These fountain models are made from stone, ceramic, copper, aluminum and terracotta.

The rising popularity of indoor fountains is an unexplained phenomenon. Indoor fountains happen to be the natural link between outdoor and indoor spaces, and their popularity is tied to rising interests in gardening. And innovations galore, water is the newest material for sculptural artists and interior designers always in search of the newest trend. Or perhaps tabletop fountains are just our way of celebrating our collec­tive past, of bringing a piece of the grand and the historical into our homes in a very downscaled, man­ageable way. Whatever the reason, tabletop and wall fountains are sure to be­come even more popular as home owners discover the joy of dressing up their living havens with indoor fountains.

From Pieces to Masterpieces...Mosaic Art

The aesthetic value and creativity can help assess the worth of a house or a structure. To beautify their houses and make them look attractive and alluring, people generally apply vibrant paints and coordinate them with vivid tiles and flooring etc. Nowadays however, people are using Mosaic Art to improve the look and d├ęcor of their house. Mosaic is the art of coordinating colorful glass and beautiful stones to create patterns and pictures which enhance the aesthetic look of the house. Mosaic is an ancient art which was prevalent in the 3rd and 4th Century BC.






The Mesopotamians, Greeks and Macedonians widely used this art. While Greeks used pebble made mosaic to beautify their floors, Macedonians decorated their structures with polychrome pebble mosaic. Mesopotamians baked thin cones of clay and painted their ends with colors to use them as mosaic. The images developed with mosaic art varied with different civilizations. Though the basic technique of mosaic remains unchanged, the art has been refined considerably over the years.


The art of mosaic has been given a new outlook by a third generation company called Phoenician Arts. The company has not only revived and reproduced traditional mosaics of the Greek, Roman and Byzantinian culture but it has also produced rare hand-made marble mosaics. Natural marble and semi precious stones are used to etch out these beautiful mosaic designs. In recent times, the mosaic work used in a structure is considered a measure to augment the structure's aesthetic value.


The mosaics developed by Phoenician Arts are examples of primeval and modern-day existence. Phoenician Arts develops mosaics which easily blend and coordinate with the interiors as well as the exteriors of a structure. These mosaics cover varied themes and range from animals, figures, scenes, religion oriented etc. Depending on the choice of theme, these mosaics can be placed indoors in living rooms, hallways, above fireplaces etc. as well as used outdoors to decorate tabletops, lawns, home and building entrances et cetera.


Mosaic has been used as decorative art since decades. Embellished high quality mosaics art can be seen in museums, old buildings and churches with historic patterns. In recent times mosaics consisted of different materials such as shells, ivory and colored stone which were used to create temples, monuments et cetera but with time the mosaic art has been redefined by giving a modern creative touch. With the use of different styles your kitchen or bath can be transformed from retro to dramatic look. Now accomplished and passionate artists make use of mosaic material with other stones to give a more fascinating appeal to the created designs. Excellently crafted and authentic handmade mosaics are prior option to decor room and buildings.


Mosaic art is being recognized and appreciated since ages and people have special fascination for it. Different innovations have been brought down into the vibrant world of mosaic art where mosaic with colored glass and millefiori, smalti expand your imagination with creativity. Mosaic tiles are tough stuff and can be used for number of purposes ranging from mirrors to poolside tiles, back splashes to jewelry. For creating traditional interiors to contemporary exteriors these are extensively used to redefine wall grace and appeal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A slice of Europe - Made in China

The Chinese have done it again! Attempted something that had never been tried before, that is. They've built themselves their own slice of Europe! 
Hallstatt, Austria



China has cloned the original Austrian village, Hallstatt, a UNESCO protected heritage site. Every last detail of the village has been copied in this replica dubbed Hallstatt See by the China Minmetals Corporation, located in the Guangdong province. The $940 million dollars project was announced by the Corporation in June, 2011 and now, in just about a year, the village is open to visitors. With an acreage of about a million square meters the village is intended to attract home buyers as well as visitors. 
Hallstatt See, China


However, this little slice of Europe in Asia in garnering some mixed responses from people. While the Chinese seem to be enjoying the place a lot, there are others who believe cloning a whole village isn't quite right. Especially since you can't emulate what really makes it unique in the first place. When the project was first announced, Hallstatt's mayor had expressed concerns over this venture of the Chinese too, afraid they'd copy everything including the village's place of worship. In fact, angry Austrians had announced that they'd consider legal action and would consult with the UNESCO about it. 


However, Hallstatt's mayor seems to have, since then changed his views. In fact, he flew in to mark the official opening of the clone and signed documents promising more cultural thoroughfare between the two Hallstatts since they realised the value of the the publicity it's afforded themAccessible only by boat or after trekking through tough Alpine trails, Hallstatt, Austria now sees a lot more visitors than it did earlier thanks to its Chinese counterpart. In fact, as proof of complete acceptance, the original Hallstatt's website now reads: 'The original Hallstatt. Photgraphed a million times. Copied once.' How's that for a sea change!




Friday, June 22, 2012

Fountain Fantasies - Indoor Fountains – The New Trends in Interior Designing

Interior designing is a creative and innovative aspect in which various techniques and ideas are applied to make the interiors of a living space more attractive and unique. Interior decoration of a building or house reflects the lifestyle and class of people. It seems like the trends in home decor are drifting away from heirloom pieces and traditional design, and are moving forward in a more modern direction where the actual design instead speaks for itself. This is great and there is no need to argue with popular demand, but there are many ways to creatively transform some of your favorite memories into extremely innovative interior accents like the indoor fountains. 

A pre-designed fountain for the interior that mimic commercial copper, tempered and glass wall fountains, can add to the look of your indoors complimented by the tranquility of water flow in a work of art. You can add a touch of serenity to your personal spaces with these exclusive art pieces. You can create a lasting impression on the minds of your friends and relatives with these creative art pieces.

Tabletop fountains are a great way to quell interior design boredom-simply purchase a tabletop style that you like and later, exchange out the bowls or change the rocks. You'll get a whole new look without the sore back that comes from moving furniture. If you make a fountain and tire of looking at water flowing over mementos from your last beach trip, just unplug the fountain, replace the old items with new ones, and you'll have a new fountain up and running in less time than it takes to bake a pan of muffins. Most of the indoor fountains that you purchase are also lightweight enough to move from room to room as your whim dictates.

Wall water cascades are also meant for compact home interiors. Walls embellished with indoor wall fountains and wall mounted water springs give your home a stunning look. Floor water spouts are meant for spacious indoor spaces. You can add life to your personal rooms with exclusive floor water cascades. These fountain models are made from stone, ceramic, copper, aluminum and terracotta.

The rising popularity of indoor fountains is an unexplained phenomenon. Indoor fountains happen to be the natural link between outdoor and indoor spaces, and their popularity is tied to rising interests in gardening. And innovations galore, water is the newest material for sculptural artists and interior designers always in search of the newest trend. Or perhaps tabletop fountains are just our way of celebrating our collec­tive past, of bringing a piece of the grand and the historical into our homes in a very downscaled, man­ageable way. Whatever the reason, tabletop and wall fountains are sure to be­come even more popular as home owners discover the joy of dressing up their living havens with indoor fountains.

Make a Home or Pick One? Choosing a Home

Having a home is the biggest wish of everyone. A home is something for which everyone works for years and after saving each day, they get to by a new home. Getting a home of choice is something which matters the most. Many a times, people get confuse in what they should be choosing between building a new home and buying an existing home. There are benefits of both of them. If one plans on building a new home, they can start from scratch and they know that everything will be done as per them, they can design their home so nicely that they really will get what they want, what they always wanted – a customized home that is made by taking views of each member of the family. When ever people chooses on building a new home, they know that the new home will be as per the requirements and as per the design which is not common and which does not match with the other available homes.


When people chooses to buy an existing one, they do this because of many reasons, maybe they need a home to shift immediately, they cannot spare a lot on time in building a new home, they think that why to make a new home, if you can buy something alike. People have different opinion and that is what makes the different decisions. There are few things that a person should keep in mind before choosing one among the two available options. One must see that how old the home is, if it is newly built by the owner, then there is no problem, but if it is too old, then renovating it completely would be a better option, it will be just like making a new home.


One more thing which people should consider is the cost in making the new home and buying the new home and comparing it with the final product. The one which gives the better product with a little more investment or may be less should be preferred. Always see that how much is the difference between the work location and your home location. This will not only save the traveling time, but also will help you in many ways. Check out for the nearby quality schools, the distance between home and home, the other medical facilities and necessities. Everything is important and should be considered.


Layout is the main things. When people get the home as per their desire, they buy that one, even if it is costly, because they know that they don’t have to spend a lot of time in building a new one and when someone wants something exactly as per their planned layout and then building up a new home is a better option.


Neighborhood is one factor which everyone keeps in mind. People are social animal and they need to interact. This is why the neighbors are something to lay emphasis on. Know the neighbors, lifestyle, see if that is matching else find something else. People should see the people with whom they will be living. Choosing between building a new home and buying an existing home is not difficult, one just have to weigh both and see which side is heavy, which side is better.

Chirp! Chirp! - Design A Birdhouse For Your Lawn

A lawn in your compound would be pretty bland without a few features added to it. Adding features like a rock garden or a bird house would add beauty to the garden and also attract colorful birds to your garden. Many homeowners find them to be a charming ornament for their gardens. Some people even collect antique bird houses that they put up in secret corners of their garden. These are remarkable conversation pieces for guests. Even children find them quite delightful. For them, birdhouses are like surprises hidden among the leaves and branches in the garden.

When considering to buy a birdhouse, to give a bird a new home, we need to decide on two factors. The first is what bird frequents our garden the most. Smaller birds like sparrows or wrens would prefer smaller birdhouses in which they feel secure from predators. These birdhouses can be freestanding or hung from a tree. There are many designs of birdhouses available. They can be single or double storied. Birdhouses are designed come in different shapes, sizes, colors and materials and generally made of wood, metal, glass and even ceramic.

Wooden birdhouses are crafted in various designs like Victorian houses, log cabins, churches, diners, fishing cabins, lighthouses etc. Practically, any design of building that comes to mind can be made into a birdhouse. Ceramic ones come in animal shapes, bird shapes and even shapes like flowers, hats etc. They are painted with all sorts of colors from rustic to the eye-popping pink. But keep in consideration that birds may not like too bright colors as they tend to attract predators very easily.

Secondly, before getting a new birdhouse for your garden, decide on what type of birdhouse would suit your garden decor. Interior decor for a house is important. But the exterior decor of your house, like your garden and the landscaping is what your neighbors see every day and therefore would show your taste for decoration and your personality. Also, the size of the birdhouse should be a match for the size of your house.

People who are good at woodwork and designing can even make their own birdhouse. It could even be a fun project with kids. Finally, make sure to keep the birdhouse cleaned after the nesting season is over. There is also a certain tranquility that bird houses can bring. While relaxing in your garden, you can spend hours watching the different kinds of birds resting in your bird houses. Some will stay for only a few minutes, and others may stay longer.

It doesn't matter whether the birdhouse is big or small, or whether it is intricately designed by a professional craftsman, or nailed together by a child. A well placed birdhouse in your garden can serve as a beautiful accessory for your outdoors, besides providing an essential space for birds to nest in. This is a good approach to bring life to your garden and make it more cheerful. Bird houses, no matter what they look like, are symbols of man's kindheartedness to birds and beasts.

Fishing for plastic



If you were to be wandering around the Botafogo Beach in Rio around now, don't be surprised to see two giant fish rearing out of the sand and seemingly aiming for the sky.Glittering with the reflection of the sun's rays or if it's a little later in the evening, glowing a warm blue and red (thanks to little LED lights), juxtaposed against the scenic backdrop of Rio's mountains, they might look like something your beauty-drunk brain made up on its own. But they're real, alright. Well, not real fish but real enough otherwise. 


Image by Ascom Riotur
Made out of plastic bottles, these gorgeous fish are not only a spectacular tourist attraction for the duration of the  United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development or the Rio +20. They are also intended to remind us, not least of all, thanks to their sheer size, of the threat of over-consumption of plastic bottles to the planet. Each day human beings around the world use millions of these disposable plastic bottles that are ironically, not disposed of correctly, ending up at land fills instead of being recycled. Unsurprisingly our rivers and oceans are also victims of this over-consumption, directly affecting the marine life which is choking under all this plastic. 

The giant sculptures are meant to impress people, in many ways, of the the threat plastic and our careless attitudes towards its use pose to the ecosystem, and more specifically to marine life. And the bottles used for this are barely an infinitesimal portion of the real problem facing us. 




Friday, June 15, 2012

Inuit Art - Toronto, An Architectural Destination

Modern architecture grew out of the Thule people's tradition of decorating utilitarian objects. Although the earlier Pre-Dorset, Dorset and Ipiutak cultures also produced artistic objects, these items are much more rare. Contact between the Inuit people and Western whalers and missionaries in the 1500s led to the expansion of Inuit architecture. Over time, sculptures carved in whale ivory, stone and other available materials were created for use in trade rather than for personal or ritual use.


Once previously nomadic groups settled into villages after World War II, the Inuit art movement flourished. Sculptors and other artists were encouraged by the Canadian government to produce small sculptures and other items to sell as a means to self-sufficiency. Although these items originally reflected traditional themes, processes and materials, a separate modern style of architecture gradually developed.


Along with a continuation of the traditional art of carving animals and people in stone, a vibrant printmaking craft began in the post-war period. Unlike in most other regions globally, stone was the preferred medium for use in creating print blocks. Typical stones used include slate, talc and soapstone.


Along with numerous galleries, several of which are clustered along the shore of Lake Ontario, there is a museum devoted exclusively to Inuit art and sculpture. Located on Queen's Quay Terminal, the Museum of Inuit Art opened in 2007. In addition to its regular collection, the Museum also hosts temporary exhibits focused on aspects of traditional and modern Inuit art and crafts.


To know more about the background history of the areas around, then one must pay a visit to the birthplace of Toronto, Canada. Hiking holiday adventurers are among those who will appreciate being able to trample over the grounds where the Battle of York reached a climax in 1813, during the war of 1812, when the 'urban centre' of the city was born. Today, you can wander around Canada's largest collection of War of 1812 buildings and watch musket drills and musical demonstrations from the War.


Located in Thomson Memorial Park, Scarborough Museum is a shrine to the olden years of Canada. Hiking holiday visitors may like to see how the people who came before them lived and worked, and Scarborough Museum is a perfect example of that. This museum reflects the area's heritage dating from 1796 when it was a simple rural community, and it depicts the lives of those early settlers. The site is home to four buildings and they are the McCowan Log House, the original Cornell House (built in 1858), the Hough Carriage Works, and the Kennedy Display Annex.


The Museum of Inuit Art is Southern Canada's only museum dedicated to the display of art made by the native Inuit people, who are often referred to as 'Eskimos'. The museum opened in 2007 and curates exhibits that vary in content, but each elucidate an important facet of Inuit life, history, and culture. The building itself has been awarded two prestigious design awards, for its use of a white background and interesting architecture to relate the space in the building to the frozen vistas of the arctic from the time the Inuits hail.


Toronto is also blessed with public installations of many sculptures, including some by Inuit artists. Hunter with Seal, the first example of an Inuit sculpture displayed in a public location, was installed in 1968 in the courtyard of MacDonald Block. With numerous galleries devoted to Inuit art, and a world-class museum with hundreds of examples, Toronto is, indeed, the epicenter of admiration for this grand architectural tradition.

Just Use it...One More Time...! Save Environment and its Resources

Environmentally friendly options for your home may seem too expensive. However, there are a lot of little things you can change that are not only better for the environment, but they are better for your family's health as well. Use these tips to inexpensively make small changes around your home that will eventually make a big difference for the environment, your family's health, and your wallet. Recycle, reuse, and utilize old items around your home. Use that old toy box into storage for blankets, pillows and more.


Turn old chairs into planters for your yard. Before you throw something away, figure out how you can utilize the item for something else. When you do buy new items, opt for ones that don't have to be thrown away. Disposable items add so much bulk to landfills and they cost you more and more every time you have to buy more. Start small by using a cloth napkin instead of paper napkins or paper towels. Use reusable containers that can be washed instead of plastic bags. Small changes like this will add up to huge savings over time. Plant your own garden and can your vegetables. Not only is gardening rewarding, but you can add nutrients to your soil.


You can control which, if any, chemicals go into your family's bodies. You could even grow enough to sell at local farmers' markets to make back the money that your spent on your garden. Grow the items that you use the most often that are likely to save you the most money. Tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, strawberries, watermelon and zucchini top the list of the most money saving fruits and veggies to plant. When buying new furniture, flooring, and clothes hangers for your home, choose bamboo over wood.


Bamboo hangers and furniture are not stained or varnished with harsh chemicals, they are usually heat treated to achieve their color. Bamboo is cheap, completely renewable, and has the tensile strength of steel. The top decorating trends at present use recycled and re-purposed furniture. Plantation and reclaimed woods are another green option growing in popularity when furnishing your home. Interestingly, people from all social classes are purchasing and recycling used materials. The process of going green can be budget friendly, but that does not mean it cannot be classy.


Greenery in lifestyle of man has been building momentum for quite sometime now. From individuals to corporations, going green is the responsible thing to do. The statistics on the state of mother earth have caused us to look at the decisions we are making very closely. Going green is about more than just environmentally safe products. It is also about energy conservation, air quality, reducing material waste, and conserving resources.

Aquapetz! - Designing A Fish Pond For Your Garden

Some property owners will consider adding a pond or some form of electric waterfall feature to increase the value of their property. Some keen fish lovers may also do this to extend their hobbies into the outside air. When you decide to set up a pond in your garden, the first thing to consider is to choose a proper location. Before you begin any digging, take some measurements, and make sure that you will have enough room for the pond that you intend to use. Good planning is essential during fish pond design. Unlike lawns and borders which are more easily moved or altered, a pond is less easy to change once installed.


When designing, there are several important things to take into account. One of the most important things to consider is choosing a location for the pond. Some people like a pond to be near to the house for viewing from indoors, while others prefer it to be a separate entity which they can visit when the mood takes them. If it can be viewed from inside the home then you can benefit from its beauty all year round. Site it too far from the house and feeding and maintenance can become a chore and missed out during bad weather.


Too near to the house or garden walls and it can cause problems with deep excavations interfering with drains or foundations. Do try to position the pond so that it is sheltered from cold winds and receives sunlight for at least 12 hours a day. This will also benefit plants in and around the pond. You will also want to make certain that you are near enough to an electrical outlet, in order to operate your pond's pump. This will save a great deal of money in having one installed. You will need to decide if you will purchase a preformed pond, or build it yourself. You will want to make sure that your pond is at least three feet deep.


This will ensure that your koi will stay healthy, and safe from predators. If small children live nearby, you will probably want to consider fencing in this garden area. You may want to consider making this garden and organic one. Any chemicals which are used can cause harm to your koi. Even the smallest amount can become fatal. Make sure that your pond is not located near any garden equipment, which may have chemicals on them. If you decide to have plants in your koi pond, you must choose very wisely. Koi notoriously will dig up most plants which are in their area. A good choice would be lilies. This will offer your koi fish shade, and a place to hide from potential predators. Installing a koi pond in your garden is a perfect way to make your yard more attractive. This will make a beautiful focal point, with the relaxing sound of the moving water.


Small ponds are becoming quite popular, as they do not take up a great deal of room, are not extremely expensive, and make any yard look even more beautiful. Finally you need to decide on the method of construction, whether to install a liner pond, a pre-cast fibre glass style or a concrete or brick constructed pond. All of this might sound like a lot of work, but it's not as bad as it sounds. With a little forethought you will make the job ahead that much easier and save yourself time and money.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chill Out In The Land Of Deserts - Ancient Methods of Cooling Down

The ancient way of cooling the building in India was by digging a pond into the ground and surrounding the ground with walls to evaporate the water. This method was developed more than 1,500 years ago. This method was used mainly to escape the harsh desert heat in Rajasthan area by a series of water bodies with descending steps right into the bowel of the earth. The natural evaporation of the water into the spaces kept the entire building cool even without the use of power consumption. These were popularly knows as baolis.


Such a simple but clever technology is now being studied and used by modern architects to cool buildings. Many ancient Indian buildings particularly in Rajasthan were given the Jaali design not so much for decoration but for cooling the interior of the buildings. This is a very passive form of cooling device and worked efficiently in ancient times. The major palaces in Rajasthan have all been built with the Jaali design system which accounts for a cooler temperature within.


Modern architects are now drawing upon this device in building to allow for natural cooling within the interior of a building. The Jaali design is created by keeping a four feet space between the outer and inner walls for natural air circulation and cooling effect. The Jaali allows natural daylight to be diffused through for illumination and amply shades the interior spaces from overheating. The Jaali or latticed screens gave a decorative effect while filtering light into the palaces while being an efficient outer cooling skin for the entire building.

Pray in Peace - Designing A Praying Room For Your Home

In almost every Indian home, a separate room is allotted to perform 'Pooja' or prayer. Whatever a person's religion is, every household has a 'Pooja' or prayer room. This room is where generally people keep the deities and God's Idols. 'Pooja' rooms are decorated with these idols in silver or chrome frames, with lots of flowers and miniature jewelry or simply idols are painted in beautiful colors and are made of clay. In addition to the idols, there are many items kept for worshiping in the 'Pooja' room. The 'Pooja' room is also used by some for meditation. Even if there a space constraint in the house in any Indian Home, a small space, anywhere in the house is reserved to perform all kind of traditional rituals and pooja.


A typical 'Pooja' room is decorated with pure simplicity. So allocating to set up a 'Pooja' or prayer room is your home needs certain constraints to be followed when setting up. Situate the room in accordance with tradition. If possible, a 'Pooja' room should not adjoin rooms that see frequent everyday use, such as kitchens, wash and bathrooms. A prayer room should feel tranquil and remote, so try to place it in a quiet part of your home. The northeast corner of the home is associated with good fortune and prosperity. So it is suggested this part of the home be used for the purpose.


Painting the room in pleasant neutral shades like soft white, pale yellow and barely blue would create a meditative atmosphere. Display statues and images of icons and deities in the 'Pooja' room. Most people use pedestals, altars, shelves or stools, covering the surface with a swatch of cloth, velvet or an Indian textile. You can invest in a carved wooden shrine, or an elaborate brass shrine for a more formal 'Pooja' display. Ideally, the idols should be lightweight, unbroken and under six inches tall. Indian religious tradition warns against displaying more than one image of the same deity.


Adorn the icons, taking care not to cover representations of their faces. Instead, scatter flowers, flower petals, beads and shells on the cloth around the icon. You can hang miniature garlands of flowers, pearls and beads around the bases of statues. Place small bowls, plates, incense burners and silver containers near the images of deities. You can burn candles, oil lamps and incense sticks or cones while in the 'Pooja' room. Use the bowls and plates to place water and sweets in front of the deities. Keep your containers stocked with sandalwood, camphor, candles and water.


Keep your 'Pooja' room clean and free of clutter. Do not place photographs of dead people in a 'Pooja' room. Do not hang bells from the ceiling of a 'Pooja' room. Instead, hang miniature bells from shelves or niches inside cabinets. A 'Pooja' or prayer room is the most vital part of every person's home as it is considered as the altar of sanctity, peace and evolution of one's instinctual self. So, when setting up this divine room in your home, make sure to follow all the constraints to give the whole house a divine glow and a pious ambiance.

Nature - The Best Therapist - Horticultural Therapy

Stress is a part of everyday life, and more and more people are looking for ways to reduce daily tension. The demands of work, family life, and community obligations can all add up to create a sense of pressure in our lives. There are many ways to deal with stress and the ways include relaxation, exercise, meditation, and enjoying creative hobbies. For instance, gardening is a fantastic combination of all of these ways to attack stress. And, it has the added benefit of providing healthy foods for you and your family.

Health professionals have recognized the benefits of gardening, and recommended to many patients. The professionals applied horticultural therapy onto their patients, which brought forth remarkable healing in terms of physical, mental and emotional aspects. Having a garden is like having your own private retreat. In your garden, you can escape from the peace intruding nuances and information overload of everyday life, and focus on the serenity of the simplest things.

Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress. Exercising releases endorphins, which are your body's own pain-killers. Endorphins create a sense of happiness and well-being. You can release powerful endorphins while working in your garden, if you plan your garden workouts to provide a steady level of activity. You can create a garden workout by alternating movements while you are in the garden. Rake for about 15 minutes, and then switch to digging, then pruning, and so on. Work through your variety of movements at a steady pace. You can also alternate more strenuous activities with less difficult ones.

It's important to stretch before and after your gardening sessions, which is an excellent stress-buster. Soothe your muscles and your mind as you reach, stretch and breathe deeply. Gardening provides valuable rewards that are sure to lift your mood and reduce stress. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when your garden yields crops of lush red tomatoes or crisp cucumbers. You'll benefit from the power of positive thinking as you watch the progress of your plants and nurture them through the growing season.

Be imaginative in the kitchen with your garden produce. Cooking is a wonderful creative activity that the whole family can enjoy. You can look forward to making delicious meals and trying new things, avoiding the stress of grocery lines and rising food prices. If you're feeling stressed, you might head to the gym or put your feet up in front of the TV. But only gardening can provide you with a full range of stress reducing benefits. Get out in the garden and enjoy the unique combination of exercise, relaxation and rewards that gardening provides.

Nothing can fill in for the feel of fresh sun rays on your body, a generous lease of fresh air to breathe and reconnect yourself with nature and its nurture. Gardening allows your mind to quiet down as you work. The rhythm that is involved in the gardening work promises to bring in a soothing and peaceful affect in your instincts. Concentrating on nurturing your plants and the results it produces is a great way to slow down your mind and live life to the most. Think about your breathing as you work, and stop to enjoy the aspects of serenity in the boulevard of greenery. Head outside and start nurturing your boulevard to reduce stress and live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Architectural Might - Gwalior Fort

Gwalior is an important historical tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh with an array of beautiful monuments, museums and palaces. All these landmarks have been witnessed to numerous ups and downs and have gone through the test of times. These also are rich in history and boast of architectural designs and styles.






Gwalior Fort is well known as most impregnable fortress of North and Central India. It was Raja Man Singh Tomar who constructed this magnificent structure in 15th century. This Fort bounded by solid walls of sandstone, situated in Gopachal is sprawled over an area of 3 square km and stands 35 feet high.


Gwalior Fort consist of two main entrances, North East and South West gates. It has impressive, interesting and historic sites. There are temples, palaces and a number of water tanks housed within the fort. Moreover, the southern path is bounded with intricately curve out rock faces which drawn out inspiration from Jain tirthankars.


The Teli-ka-Mandir Temple in the Gwalior Fort is patterned from Dravidian-style architecture. This 9th century temple has lavishly done-up sculpted exterior which is really a wonder to look at. While the 2 Saas-Bahu Temples that are located adjacent to each other comprised of many pillars. One of these is larger in size. Another 9th century temple housed at the Fort is The Chaturbhuj Mandir which is an example of a Vaishnavite shrine.


The Man Singh Palace located in Gwalior Fort is most prominent 15th century palace built by Man Singh. This amazingly embellished painted palace with vivid pattern and styled tiles comprised of four levels. This palace also served as a prison palace of Murad, the brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and later on killed by Aurangzeb. The rich architecture of the Fort of Gwalior is a marvel to behold.

Pampering Snoopy! - Designing Dog Kennels

If you are interested in building a dog kennel from scratch the first thing you are going to need to do is look at the different dog kennels designs to see which one will suit your dog. If you have more than one dog you may want to consider building a duplex dog kennel that is divided into two separate apartments for your dogs if they do not get along with each other well enough to sleep in the same space!








Essentially there are only three main types of dog kennel designs of which the duplex is only one. The other two are the classic peaked roof or "Snoopy" kennel and the flat sloping roof model. Now your dogs are really not going to care which one you build for them as long as it does what a kennel should do which is give them a place to shelter out of the weather good or bad.


When you search online for dog kennel designs you are likely to find a plethora of different designs. The first thing you are likely to notice is that no matter how fancy they look in the picture they still fall into one of these three basic categories. You do not have to spend a fortune on a set of fancy plans when all you really need is a simple kennel design that you can build in a few hours. If you are building a duplex your plans should include a way to remove the partition so that your dogs can provide body warmth when it gets really cold.


When you start looking at kennel designs than the basic shell with a roof, your design should include ways to make sure that your dog or dogs are as comfortable as possible. Your dog is a valued member of your family and deserves to be treated like one. While a basic dog kennel might be fine at keeping the rain at bay you can add a few little extras that will turn his kennel into a home.


Whether you live in a hot climate or a cold one, adding a layer of insulation to the roof, walls and floor will make a big difference. Not only will it help you dog stay warm when the cold winds blow, but like your house the insulation will help keep out the summer heat and help him to stay cooler in the summer.


You can add transparent plastic flaps to help keep out the winds during the winter and if you really want to spoil your dog you can add a small fan to one end of the kennel to keep the fresh air flowing in the summer months. Finding the right design for your kennel is not as hard as you think there are plenty of plans available online, it is what you do with these plans that make the difference.

Postures to Good Health - Yoga Retreats in India

India is rightly known as the World Capital of Yoga and the word yoga is from the Sanskrit language which means to unite or to attach. Yoga is widely believed to be in existence as old as civilization. Yoga poses are known to be found in stone seals from around 3000 B.C, although some believe that yoga was prevalent even before that and another form of body postures 'shamanism' which was similar to Yoga.






Yoga could be classified into four periods namely Vedic period, Pre-Classical Yoga, Classical Yoga and Post-Classical Yoga. Yoga restores balance and peace into our lives and helps in the physical, mental and psychological well being of an individual. India's yoga retreats are very traditional and authentic in their treatment which follows the ancient teachings of 'yoga asanas'. There are many yoga retreats packages that have come into existence through the length and breadth of India.


These yoga retreats emphasize on leading an ashram life and guests are treated very divinely and gracefully. They are instructed to undergo many practices such as meditation lessons, chanting classes, daily yoga etc and they are provided a very soothing environment as it is surrounded by farms and the guests could interact with the local population and get an insight into their lives.


Guests are given practice in various facets of yoga for therapeutic guidance and they are also aided if they want to pursue aesthetic and a spiritual path in their lives. yoga thus has the tenacity to bring a change in our outlook towards life and turn us into more reformed beings. It is really a revelation to know that how the minute changes in the life style and dietary habits could bring a world of change in the overall well being of an individual. These retreats also take special care in the culinary and dietary habits of the guests. It is pure Organic vegetarian food on a very strict time policy and a strict no- alcohol policy.


The guests are even involved in the farming in the gardens with the morning sun and they could offer help in the cooking arena thus making their stay as close to home and warm as possible. The massages are performed in a very meticulous manner as the guest requirements vary from one another. They provide an environment to free all types of stress be it professional or personal and help in rejuvenating and reprising our lives to restart our lives on a refreshed note.

High living!





Talk about living in the clouds. If Tokyo's X- Seed 4000, designed to be the world's tallest tower at a whopping 13,000 ft, were ever to see the light of day that's exactly what its inhabitants would be doing. Seemingly inspired by Mount Fuji in terms of structure the monstrous building would soar even higher than the volcanic mountain.

This Utopian project designed by Taisei Corporation is to be a self-contained high-rise built to eco-friendly norms. However, a building that towers over a mountain is no joke and not only would it have to protect its inhabitants from regular things but all from extreme variance in light, temperature, atmospheric pressure and weather gradations. With a 6-kilometre footprint to anchor it to the ground, the building could house about five hundred thousand to a million people! 
 

However, according to Buildings & Data, the building was never intended to be translated into reality. The idea was to get the company some recognition. And with their design of the tallest building in the world, which would easily leave every other contender eating dust, there’s no doubt the Taisei Corporation has managed it.