Friday, 27 February 2015


गुप्तकाशी रूद्रप्रयाग ज़िले का एक हिस्सा है और लगभग 1320 मीटर की ऊँचाई पर स्थित है। हरिद्वार - रूद्र प्रयाग के रास्ते केदारनाथ जाने वाले यात्रियों का गुप्तकाशी एक पड़ाव है।

गुप्तकाशी का समबन्ध पांडवों से जुड़ा हुआ है। और इस के नाम पर एक कहानी भी प्रचलित है की महाभारत के युद्ध के बाद कृष्ण ने पांडवों से कहा कि वे युद्ध में उनके द्वारा मारे गए परिजनों और ब्राह्मणों की हत्या से मुक्त होने के लिए शिव का ध्यान करें। परन्तु शिव युद्ध मे हुई कई घटनाओं से नाराज़ थे और पांडवों से नहीं मिलना चाहते थे। शिव ने नंदी का रूप धारण कर लिया और पहाड़ों की ओर प्रस्थान कर गए। पर पांडव पीछा करते रहे। एक दिन गुप्तकाशी में भीम ने नंदी को पिछले पैरों और पूँछ से पकड़ लिया। लेकिन नंदी तुरंत अंतरध्यान या गुप्त हो गए। इसी कारण इस जगह को गुप्तकाशी कहा जाता है।

पर बाद में शिव पाँच अलग-अलग रूप में प्रकट हुए - केदारनाथ में कुब या कूबड़, रूद्र प्रयाग में मुख, तुंगनाथ में भुजाएँ, मध्यमहेश्वर में मध्य भाग और कल्पेश्वर में जटाऐं। 

गुप्तकाशी से बर्फ़ से ढका चौखम्बा पर्वत बड़ा ही सुंदर लगता है। यह हिमालय का वह भाग है जहाँ गंगोत्री ग्लेशियर है और जहाँ से से मंदाकिनी का उद्गम होता है। चौखम्बा बद्रीनाथ के पश्चिम में स्थित है। 

होटल की बालकनी से लिए गए कुछ चित्र प्रस्तुत हैं:

बर्फ़ से ढका चौखम्बा पर्वत जो की गंगोत्री ग्लेशियर के ऊपर स्थित है 

नीचे घाटी में बहती मंदाकिनी

चौखम्बा - इसके चार कोनों की ऊँचाई इस तरह से है: 7138, 7070, 6995 और 6854 मीटर

गुप्तकाशी का एक मनोरम दृश्य 

गुप्तकाशी का एक और दृश्य - बढ़ती आबादी और बेतहाशा निर्माण 

घाटी के दूसरी ओर देखिए मूसलाधार बारिश के बाद हुए भूस्खलन के निशान 

नई दिल्ली से हरिद्वार होते हुए गुप्तकाशी का रास्ता 417 किमी

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Leaking documents

Earlier in good old days one had heard of leaking taps or leaking ink pens but now it is the turn of documents -  they have also started leaking!

Newspapers are full of reports about documents being leaked from Petroleum Ministry after office hours. A number of spies entered on one pretext or the other, gathered important papers, copied them & disappeared. But considering overall operations & the fact that a number of them have been caught, I for one did not enjoy this episode. It was not sexy enough. There were no female spies, there was no cash or gold taken out, no lockers were broken but only papers stolen. Only after a couple of arrests, one arrested fellow has shouted that it is a Rs. 10000 cr scam. By saying so he has put some spice in to otherwise dull proceedings.

But this has caused serious tension to me. What if my confidential document leaked? That would have terrible consequences indeed. Let me share about this document in strict confidence. This document is named BFD that is Beer Fixed Deposit. It works like this:

BFD in bank for Rs. 100000.00 bearing interest at  10.75% per annum including higher rate for being a Senior Citizen (0.50 %) and a retired banker ( 1.00 %):
TDS: @10%
Interest per annum: 10750 - 1075 = 9675
Interest per month: 9675 / 12 = 806.25
Average cost of beer + Chakhna: 100
Beers available comfortably for cool 4 weekends per month: 8

That's it. Now if my BFD gets leaked I am done.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

A tale of tea

Most widely consumed drink in the world is water without doubt. Next to water most widely consumed beverage is tea. And as regards India, country is one of the top producers of tea & at the same time one of the top consumers of tea. India consumes 70% of its tea production. Number of consumers in India or China are such that they easily reach in to the record books.

Tea is an evergreen bush or shrub cultivated mainly in north eastern states of India & also in some hilly regions of southern India. The tea plant is indigenous to Assam & other NE states & has been there for thousands of years but its usage is not recorded. Buddhist monks are said to have been using the aromatic tea leaves in first century AD. Local tribes of Assam were also familiar with the use of tea leaves. However commercial production began after arrival of British East India Company.  

Tea from China came to Europe via Portuguese merchants in 16th century. Much later in 1848 Robert Fortune was sent by East India Company to bring tea plants secretly to Britain.

British East India Company attempted large scale production of tea in Assam to break the Chinese monopoly.In 1837 first tea garden was established & in 1840 Assam Tea Company started functioning.

In 1931 William Mckercher introduced a process of CTC tea -  a process involving the leaves to be cut, twist & curl (or crush, tear & curl) on a series of cylindrical rollers. The tea we normally use is produced through this process. It gives more darker colour when these leaves are boiled in water.

Scientific name of the tea bush is 'camellia sinesis' though commonly referred as Cha, Chaha or Chai. Tea can be prepared in many ways. Most popular method of preparation of a cup of tea is to boil the leaves in water, add milk & sugar. Though in many parts of India Kahwa or black tea is also popular. In Kahwa they add nuts in Kashmir & yak milk butter in Ladakh. One can add ginger, tulsi leaves, Dalchini or Saunf for flavour & taste.
Some quotes about tea:

* Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors - Alice Walker

* Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea! - Agatha Christie

* A gentleman is he who never refuses tea - unknown

Hight of the tea bush is kept at waist level to facilitate plucking of leaves

Tea bushes on Munnar Hills, Kerala