Tourist destinations spoilt by us

Written by Himadri Paul

Tourist places

Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, in some big cities of India, it’s growth is still a major concern. However, as life is creeping slowly towards the new normal, people from affected cities are moving out to countryside and villages solely for tourism increasing the number of tourist visits. Though wearing mask and keeping a safe distance with the locals is kept to stop spreading of the diseases, still, the virus has spread against all odds to such picturesque villages, some of which are now forced to shutdown tourism, sometimes their only way of livelihood.

But this is only for this year, when most of us are very much aware about the spreading of the unknown virus. There are situations when we are completely destroying the environment without even thinking twice about it. Some of the places have been shut only because the tourists have spoiled it to the point of no return. Let’s look at 5 important tourist places which we ourselves have spoiled due to our luxury, or customs, or laziness, or whatever, and try to figure out how we can solve such problems.

  1. Lahaul and Spiti:

This cold desert region of Himachal Pradesh is more like central Asia than typical country side of India. It’s unique eco-system, climate, landscape and culture draws tourists from all over India and abroad. However, to reach here, one has to go through treacherous roads of the Rohtang pass, where huge traffic jams for hours occurred daily, and even not counting the jams, it would still take over 6 hours to cross the pass. Now with the inauguration of the Atal Tunnel, this journey can be covered hassle free in just 30 minutes. After its inauguration on 3rd October, 2020, Lahaul witnessed a huge influx of tourists despite corona pandemic. While the Atal Tunnel was a major boon for the locals, the people of Lahaul witnessed a major challenge related to the tourists – Garbage disposal. The tourists have dumped a huge amount of garbage on the main roads and the tourist attractions wherever they went. The inhospitable, remote, and sparsely populated district did not have much garbage disposing facilities like it’s neighbouring district Kullu, and is facing a huge trouble removing all that the tourists have left behind. As rightly said by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, if the tourists themselves were aware enough, Lahaul and Spiti would have never got so much garbage. The locals are quite aware of their place and they have maintained their place very well. If everyone of us are not aware of the harm we are doing on the environment, then Lahaul may quite as well be a big dumping ground of garbage from all across India and may lose its charm as a serene, picturesque tourist destination. Himachal Government have already started imposing a huge fine on those littering places with garbage, and also there are limited ban and cap on tourist influx in the area, perhaps the only solution to protecting the sensitive environment there. If that meant you are missing out on Lahaul, you should believe the fault is with some of the tourists who toured before you.

2. Sea Beaches of Goa and Tourist:

The problem doesn’t lie just in the sea beaches of Goa, but in the most popular sea beaches of the country (not necessarily the most beautiful ones). Too much tourists crowding in a small place, too much hawkers encroaching the beach, and of course, too many hotels lining up the sea shore, almost touching the sea. Many of the hotels have been put up on illegally encroached beach. The hawkers will never lose a chance to sell anything, just anything in the beaches where tourists roam around. And of course, too much crowd just makes the sea similar to a swimming pool with waves. One of the most important remedy of this problem is the buying of land for hotels. Land may be leased, or sold but in a planned fashion. The state government should keep chalk out a plan with the Environmentalists on real estate, which lands to sell, and which to retain. Standard Operating Procedure and Environmental Impact Assessment must be carefully studied and followed to create minimum disturbance in the environment. In spite of following all this, controlling the crowd at peak season of tourism is quite challenging for which many tourists are now slowly shifting their main destination towards off-beat locations. Connecting the off-beat locations can suppress the growing crowd of the main hotspots.

3. Meghalaya and Tourist:

North-East India has a wide diverse ethnic groups, cultures, customs and religions. There are few practices common to many of the ethnic groups. One of them is jhum cultivation or shifting cultivation. It is very much true that much of north-east India is still very much covered in dense forests, rolling hills, and poor-in-nutrients soil. Hence people who have inhabited these lands have very much difficulty in growing agriculture. A traditional way of cultivation was shifting cultivation, or jhum cultivation, where a part of the forest is burnt to make the soil rich in nutrients, and after few years of cultivation it is shifted to another area. While this was done in old times, this caused a massive loss in forest cover and hence this practice was consequently banned by the Government. A similar problem have crept in current times – Influx of outsiders. Does outsiders means only illegal immigrants of Bangladesh? A visit to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya will reveal that most of the businesses operating in the area are run by the non-locals. Business opportunities have opened flood gates for the people from states as far as Punjab. That has been minimised to some extent by imposing 6th Schedule in the state. Still the business is very much run by the other committees which the locals don’t like much. Anger against the outsiders have only gone worse over years, and violence have just increased with the current scenario, including passage of Citizenship Amendment Act in the Parliament.

4. Sundarbans:

The world’s largest mangrove forest, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans of West Bengal are also wiping out thick and fast from the face of the Earth. Sundarbans, comprising of a large number of islands at the active delta region of the mighty Ganga, contains a unique biosphere in saline and alkaline soil. Home to a large tiger population, a large salt water crocodile population, and not to forget the sundari trees, which gives the forest it’s name. Over years, Sundarbans have protected Kolkata, the largest metropolitan in eastern India, from the fury of devastating cyclones of Bay of Bengal. How long will it protect is a matter of concern as the forests are disappearing faster than anticipated. The first and foremost cause is the encroachment. This is one of the most populated forests on Earth, and slowly people have started clearing the forests to build places of habitation, and small industries. This encroachment is now leading to frequent man-tiger conflicts in the Sundarbans region, as man have reached the home of the tigers. Hotels have sprung in places of buffer area of the forest. But apart from this, there is another major reason for the destruction of Sundarbans over years – the rise in sea level. The whole area lies not more than 1-2 metres above sea level, and hence even a slight rise in sea level will make a huge chunk of it to drown in the sea. This is what is actually driving the tigers away from the core area of the forest. Also the inhabited islands like Ghoramara, Mousuni, Patharpratima are being engulfed slowly but steadily by the rising sea-level. Not to forget the devastating cyclones of Aila in 2009, and Amphan in 2020 have left a trail of severe destruction in the islands of the Sundarbans.

5. Delhi and Tourist: It is not a surprise that the capital of India is on the list. Delhi has been ranked as one of the most severely polluted cities of India. Every year just after Diwali, due to bursting of so many firecrackers, dense smog engulfs the entire city and its suburbs. This has been so severe in recent times that people have aptly referred it to as Delhi smog. The Diwali firecrackers, coupled with burning of crop residues at the autumn in neighbouring states cause this dangerous smog. Air pollution in Delhi persists throughout the year with less severity due to high number of private vehicles, pollution from the nearby Badarpur power plant, smoke from surrounding industrial cities, and construction around the city. The atmosphere degrades so much in autumn that tourists have started avoiding Delhi for tourism, and the residents are suffering badly from various diseases caused directly by air pollution. Delhi, being the capital of India, and one of India’s ancient cities, have a huge chunk of income from tourism. Most importantly, Delhi has one of the highest death rates in the world due to asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases related to its pollution. Some of the steps taken by the Delhi Government are closing of the age-old Badarpur thermal power plant, closing of diesel generators in various unauthorised localities, avoiding any construction in autumn, and vacuum cleaning and water sprinkling in the roads. Other measures that we can take are minimizing fireworks in Diwali, using public transport like the Delhi metro and avoiding private vehicles as much as possible, cleaning the roads around the area, and wearing masks when outside (which has become quite a norm due to Covid-19 pandemic).

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Men’s Day

Written by Anjana Bhadra

19th November is considered as a international men’s day! All over the world celebrate this day as an occasion to celebrate boy’s and men’s achievements’ ,in particular for their contribution in their marriage, society, work field  nation etc. Total 44 countries in the world (include India ) celebrate men’s day in this day.

Men are beautiful creature!


In India, Jerome Teelucksingh  revived the event and chose this day to honor his father’s birthday. On this he didn’t want to address this day as not just a gendered day but a day to promote the basic humanitarian values, where all the issues affecting a man can be addressed.


They say, you should be grateful to all the men and boys ,who play a great role in your life, starting from your father, who raise you ,appreciate youeveryday , take your all the responsibilities, give you freedom to grow up independently ,the brother who supports you in every steps of your life, the partner who are meant to you, give strength and support , the son who will be your strength in your old-age , the son of the nations ,who sacrifice their sleep so that we can sleep peacefully in every night and  all the son of the mother who will protect you in your daily life. In our life we can’t return how they sacrifice for us in one day, men’s day is not about celebrating in one day according to me. In your mind, you should celebrate and be happy that  you have got those men who are the pillars of your life. Celebration about what?insulting them 364 days and greet them for 1 days? It’s should be not considered about the controversy, how can we judge all the men for the brutality and crime which are raising day by day in India , the person who are rapist, who assaults the women can’t be a Man!

This is their day.

A man is a very beautiful creature created by god, like women and children. If there is goodness in the world then there Is bad also, and a man doesn’t occupy all the bad the potentials in our life , and everyone can’t be a man in this complex world.

 Being a man is not so easy, society aware a boy from childhood not to be weak and emotional, otherwise they will not able to accept by society. This day you will found so many posts in social media from those also who criticize them for their mistakes. Sometimes we forget they are also human being, not the god. They don’t show emotions in front of us doesn’t mean that they have no feelings. I think from when we will start think in their point of view also, value them then it’ll be the real day to appreciate in our life.

Show some efforts and make them special also, like they do.

To the ones who never get appreciated for those who they’re ,Thanks For being the most perfect man each and every day! Happy International Men’s Day.


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Ayurveda to beat out pandemic

Written by Himadri Paul

Little do we realise the use of Ayurveda can act as an aid to this worry of ours regarding immunity. Come, let us read this article and learn how. Come 2020, come Covid-19 pandemic, and all of a sudden, people have gone crazy over immunity boosters. While this was partially driven by the pandemic situation we are in, panic has made several useful and immunity boosting medicines disappear from medical shops.

Most of the time, we forget that most of these medicines are absorbed only when it is needed. An example being vitamin C, which is absorbed by human body in limited amounts. Excessive vitamin C will just be ignore and is a waste if ii is the chemical itself. However, the same vitamin C sourced from a natural source usually have much higher rate of absorption in the body, and is less likely to cause any serious side effects.

While the world is suffering from Covid-19 pandemic, and the scientists racing against time to successfully find its cure, people have turned to age-old practices of Ayurveda, and other folk medical treatments. Let us take a quick look at the top 5 immunity-boosting Ayurvedic plants and herbs, that may help to develop our immunity against unknown viruses.

1) Ashwagandha in Ayurveda:

This is voted to be the best Ayurvedic herb to kill corona virus. Yes, you have read that right! Scientists from Japan’s AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) and IIT-Delhi have claimed ashwagandha to be effective for treating Covid-19. Better known in the western world as winter cherry, or Indian ginseng, ashwagandha tops the list of recommended herbs by Ministry of AYUSH that can be used as remedy of Covid-19. Now how to take ashwagandha? The medicinal properties of ashwagandha lies in its roots. Root powder is available in Indian market in the form of ashwagandha churna by branded companies. If you come across ashwagandha plant, you can dry it in the sun and powder it directly. Not just the roots, even the leaves have strong antioxidant and analgesic properties, and can be used as a cure for treatment of cough and cold and pain.

2) Tulsi Leaves :

Always regarded as age-old wonder in curing diseases, tulsi or holy basil is a plant that is considered to be available at every Indian homes. Known for its treatment against cough and cold, and against viral fevers, this is a plant that one can take daily without any noticeable side effects. Tulsi leaves can be boiled in water for few minutes to make tulsi tea, an effective concoction for any viral fever related disease. Tulsi tea, is also a great herbal tea, which is packed with antioxidants, and is an effective detoxifying drink. Basil is used in most Italian and Continental food due to its taste and medicinal properties. Tulsi may not be similar in taste, but can be a good substitute to sweet basil.

3) Amla in Ayurveda :

Want a Vitamin C packed food, amlaki or amla can be a good choice. Just 1 amlaki a day is enough to meet daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C from natural sources has shown great potential to minimize symptoms of cough and cold, fever, and related viral diseases. Use of amlaki is versatile in Indian cooking and it has great recipes of chutney, pickle, morabba, and it can also be paired well with other food items.

4) Turmeric :

Turmeric is one of those superfoods which are eaten daily and at several recipes. India has been gifted with origin of so many spices, and it is the spices which makes Indian food so healthy, apart from being tasty. Turmeric is no exception. Power-packed with antioxidants, the medicinal effect of turmeric is due to presence of curcumin. Curcumin makes turmeric anti-inflammatory, reduces cholesterol and chance of heart disease, may prevent cancer, and relieves stress, depression, and what not. So if you were thinking to avoid spicy food, change your mind and make sure to add adequate turmeric to your foods. Not to forget, raw turmeric paste is beneficial for the skin, and can cure several skin diseases. One of the tastiest drinks is turmeric milk, also called golden milk in other countries. Here milk is boiled with turmeric and plays a vital role in boosting immunity at times of fever.

5) Neelkanth Flower and its use in Ayurveda:

This may come as a surprise for many but neelkanth flower, also known as butterfly pea flower, Asian pigeonwings, is by far the best when it comes to keeping the symptoms away. Apart from relieving stress, butterfly pea tea acts natural paracetamol that lowers body temperature and relieves pain. To make butterfly pea tea, simply boil 2-3 neelkanth flower, cool it, add honey and/or lemon, and it’s done. It is also claimed to be antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal. Also people with high blood pressure can take it as it lowers blood pressure. Butterfly pea tea is bright blue in colour which changes to violet on addition of lemon juice.  In India, and other countries of South-East Asia like Thailand and Vietnam, it is a popular drink served as a refreshment, or an after-dinner drink.

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5 Unique Places to celebrate Diwali in Kolkata

Written by Himadri Paul

Diwali, the festival of lights.

Who does not know about Diwali? It is not only celebrated all across India, but also in many countries around the world, and is very famous with the Indian Diaspora. In India, Diwali has wide variety of forms due to local cultures and philosophical leaders. In the eastern part of India, where Durga puja is the dominant festival among the Bengalis, Diwali takes the form of Kali pujo. And with it, comes many unique features that only Kolkata has. Let us look at those important places in and near Kolkata, where unique celebrations of Diwali are seen with unique stories.

1)Kalighat Temple:

Though there are many theories regarding the origin of the city Kolkata, the most widely supported one is that it was previously called Kalikshetra meaning the Abode of Kali. The pronunciation gradually changed to Kalikata as in Ain-i-Akhbari and Calcutta during the British. The Kali temple of Kalighat area in Kolkata has been a one of the 51 Sakti Peeths around the world and is a very old place of worship. The Diwali is a special festival here, even today it has unique celebration where lamb is sacrificed to serve the Goddess. The temple draws a large crowd of Sakti followers from around the world during Diwali for centuries, and even today it is a pride of all Kolkatans.

Kalighat Temple

2)Dakshineshwar Temple:

Rani Rashmoni, wife of a wealthy zamindar and an important personality in the history of reformation in India, sailed a fleet from Kolkata port to reach Varanasi, the most sacred city in Hinduism. That night in a dream, she heard Goddess Kali telling her to drop the anchor at dawn and set up a temple there. So Rani set up a temple at Dakshineshwar, which is the northern suburbs of the city. Even today, it is the most popular place of worship in Kolkata, being situated beside the scenic Hugli river. Ma Kali here is worshipped here as Ma Bhabatarini, and one look at the temple will suggest how beautiful it is.

Dakshineshwar Temple

3)Belur Math and its famous Diwali celebration:

Swami Vivekananda, after becoming a prime devotee of Shri Ramkrishna, who was also the first head-priest at Dakshineshwar temple, founded the Ramkrishna Mission for carrying out philanthropic activities, and training young men for the charity works. Although located in the neighbouring district of Howrah, it is very near to Kolkata, on the opposite bank of Dakshineshwar temple. Diwali is the time when the temple is nicely decorated with special arati performed in the evening. Belur Math preserves the ideals of unity among all religions, as evident in the unique architecture of the monastery. It is also an important place of pilgrimage for devotees all around the world specially at the time of Diwali.

Belur Math


Not far from Kolkata in the Hooghly district are the villages Kamarpukur and Joyrambati situated side by side. Kamarpukur is the birthplace of Shri Ramkrishna, the first head-priest of Dakshineshwar Kali temple and an important religious reformer during the 19th century socio-cultural reforms in Bengal. Joyrambati is the birthplace of Ma Sarada, Shri Ramkrishna’s mother, who is looked upon by the devotees of Shri Ramkrishna as the Holy Mother. The twin pilgrimage hotspots near Kolkata can be covered in a single day.


5)Barasat and Diwali celebration:

Want to have Durga puja like pandal-hopping experience during Diwali? Head to Barasat! The north-eastern corner of the city is set alive during the Kali puja with some amazingly crafted puja pandals. Barasat is well connected by rail and road and is also a very old locality of the city. Localities of Madhyamgram and Dum Dum too boasts of some really good puja parikrama experiences.

Apart from firecrackers, lighting diyas and candles, drawing rangolis, or we Bengalis call it aplonas, and worshipping the advent of Ma Lakshmi or Ma Kali, these were some unique features about Diwali in Kolkata. This year, say no to fireworks, maintain social distancing, and have a happy and safe Diwali.

Barasat station

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Changes we need in our Society!

A few days back, I was reminiscing about my school days and swiping through old pictures on my laptop. I came up with a folder filled with farewell pictures. But that ecstasy disturbed me by a guilt ride from the iniquity of the past. I scrutinized the image to know what made me feel so embarrassed, so I started meandering through my thoughts. After speculation hours, I remember the incident where my other classmates bullied a girl from my class; she was disabled and used a wheelchair for better mobility. My contribution to this sinful act was that I kept quiet and never protested against the bullies; this act of doing nothing still haunts me. I never tried to talk to that bullied girl or be her friend because I didn’t want to get excommunicated from my class groups and friends. This incident took place almost six to seven years ago when I was a teenager. Since I didn’t want to get frozen out by my friends, I used the bandwagon strategy and kept quiet against the bullies. Till today I repent of my actions of doing nothing. There I learned a lesson of being together

learn together and live together

Now that I am a grown-up woman, I have learned and experienced that this culture of bullying the minor is not confined to school. But the culture of discrimination and bullying is very much a part of our patriarchal society. The small episode discussed above happened in school, and we choose to pay no attention to such atrocities because we think it’s kids’ stuff. And that’s where we go completely wrong. We forget that school is a miniature of society; whatever happens in school will continue outside the school. Women getting raped, Dalits being beaten up, or PWD (Person With Disability) not getting the necessary facilities are all the product of our ignorance.

Why such nefarious actions against minorities?

We see such barbaric and monstrous actions against minorities because it is a part of our culture. Such activities are not novel to the contemporary world because such horror took place in the past. Historical records show shocking episodes of villainous crimes against the minority because they were not a conventional society. They were different from the mainstream group or were less in numbers! They are different in gender, caste, class, religion, race, or having some deformities in the body due to which they are considered the subordinate of the mainstream society.

In ancient times women were asked to take care of family and complete all the household work. If any woman who became a widow at an early age were either sold off or were asked to become sati. People who belonged to the lower caste were forced to do menial and odd jobs like manual scavenging or corpses cremation. The basic human necessities like water and food were also denied. Other than this, the most vulnerable section of society was the disabled people. In the medieval era, disability was considered a punishment from God for one’s sin or misbehavior or that one’s ancestors. Disability was viewed as a work of the devil. As a result of myths about disability, people with disabilities were feared and often stigmatized, abused, and shunned. People with a visible disability were often used for entertainment. Children and adults with severe disabilities were kept at home isolated and hidden from public view as they were an object of embarrassment. They were denied what others were getting like education, employment, and place in family and society. They were considered as different, and their differences are counted as unfavorable! Adults and children were forced to beg on the streets. Most women, lower caste people, and the disabled were powerless people and could not change their conditions.

How to stop such atrocities?

As I mentioned, such an enormity against the minority is not a novel concept to the contemporary world. It happened in ancient times, and its repercussion is visible in the 21st century. Maybe the severity of enormity has reduced, but it is extensively present in the current world. We have to understand that these minor communities are a part of society. We should accept and include them in all the critical decisions. That’s why we need more institutions that promote inclusive education. Unless and until children won’t learn together, they won’t live together. Schools and colleges should welcome students from diverse cultures. Schoolteacher should teach that it includes all genders, religions, and castes; for example, a history teacher can give more women-oriented examples. An English teacher should narrate motivating stories of great personalities who were differently-able. They should infuse inclusivity in their teaching subject! There should be weekly lectures on morals and values. And if a teacher recognizes a child who’s a bit different from other students and stays aloof, the teacher should take necessary measures like peer tutoring and the Buddy system to promote friendship. Children who witness the bullying culture should straight away complain to teachers or school counselors. Parents, too, are the stakeholders in inclusive education, so they should teach their children about helping others be friends and report others’ wrong actions! People from the minor community should stay aware of the rights and provisions granted to them by The Constitution of India. As I mentioned before, school is a miniature of society. So that’s why we should work at the grassroots level. We should make our schools more inclusive because they are the future of India. They should learn to live together peacefully without any prejudices!

by Kumkum Jairam