LUTHERKIRCHE (Luther Church) is one of four main Protestant Churches in Weisbaden, Germany.  It was built from 1908 — 1910 in JUGENDSTIL (the Art Nouveau style) and in accordance with the WEISBADENER PROGRAMM, on a design by Friedrich Putzer.  With 2 great organ players and good acoustics, it is also a concert venue.

In 1903, because of an increase in population, it was decided to build a 4th Protestant Church in Weisbaden.  The city already had 3 Protestant Churches   ———– the MARKTKIRCHE, the BERGKIRCHE & the RINGKIRCHE.
The LUTHERKIRCHE is located off the GUTENBERGPLATZ.  It has a white plaster façade. The most notable features are the 50m high tower and the expansive roof, 20m high, with a ridge rising to 37m, which is supported by a steel construction of a type that was “unusual” at the time.


The TYMPANUM, above the main entrance, is a “mosaic” of the Cross, which features 2 key lines of Martin Luther’s hymn ——– A Mighty Fortress is our God / The Word they still shall let remain.  On the Cross is the CHI rho and it is flanked by the Alpha & the Omega., symbolising Jesus Christ as the beginning and the end of the world and all creation.


The LUTHERKIRCHE forms a “unified” architectural  complex with 2 Parish houses.  The inner space of the Church has 3 parts of the Church services ——— ALTAR ( for the Eucharist), PULPIT ( for the Sermon) and ORGAN( for the music), arranged next to each other in the centre and the participants, in the service, are arranged around these 3 elements.


The Church has 1.200 seats, spanned by a RIB VAULT, supported by 4 columns.  The interior is shaped like a long oval, sloping down lightly over the altar space.  JUGENDSTIL ornamentation decorates the wood panelling on the walls, the ceiling and the MATRONEUM.  All the windows and paintwork, as well as the “bridal staircase” were made by Otto Linnemann (de) of Frankfurt in 1911.

The Church has 2 great Organs, one behind the altar built by Walcker in 1911 and the other opposite built by Klais in 1970.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday

Dear readers

Today is the birthday of the curator of this blog! We at the backend wish her a very happy birthday and thank her for the wonderful posts that she doles out every single day…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Lastovo island

Historically a PIRATE VILLAGE ——- a slew of conquerors and invaders  ——-The ILLYRIANS, ROMANS, AVARS & VENETIANS, all ruled here at one point, as did Austria, Italy & Yugoslavia.

The town of LASTOVO is spread over a steep bank of a  natural amphitheatre, overlooking a fertile field, facing away from the sea.  This is unusual, compared to other Adriatic islands, which are normally harbour-side.


LASTOVO has a dynamic landscape consisting of 46 hills and 46 KARSTIC fields that often contain layers of red soil and quartz sand.  The highest point is HUM at 1,368ft and there are another 3 hills higher than 1,300ft —— PLESEVO BRDO, GUMANCE & MALI HUM, and another 13 hills higher than 650ft.  Its “dolomitic” valleys are between “limy” hills and mild “calcareous” slopes rich in caves.  There are 5 caves on the island —– RACA (the largest), PUZAVICA, POZALICA, GRAPCEVA & MEDVIDINA.

Lastovo view

Despite major fires in 1971, 1998 and 2003, about 60% of LASTOVO is covered with forest, mostly HOLM OAKS & ALEPPO PINES & Mediterranean underbrush.  There are rich communities of falcon and hawk nests.  These used to be exploited by the DUBROVNIC REPUBLIC for falconry and traded to other kingdoms, especially to the Kingdom of Naples in the Middle Ages.  The underwater life is the richest in the entire Adriatic, featuring lobsters, crayfish, octopus and many high-prized fish such as JOHN DORY & GROUPERS  There are no venomous snakes on the island.

Lastovo night

LASTOVO possesses all the basic characteristics of the Mediterranean climate  ——- mild, moist winters and warm, long and dry summers.  The island receives around 2,700 sun-hours per year, ranking it among one of the sunniest in the Adriatic and it is also pleasant for tourists.  Since there are no “surface streams”, residents rely on bores, dams and wells.

Lastovo houses

This tiny “paradise” is bereft of tourists most of the year and attracts only a sprinkling of them in the summer.  Why ?  Fortunately for the traditional way of life that still reigns here.  It has few beaches, 1 hotel and a healthy 5-hour ferry ride from SPLIT.  But if you do brave the ferry ride, you will be rewarded with thick forests and a dramatically craggy coast and the chance to take long, solitary walks accompanied only by birds and the sound of the splashing sea.  On LASTOVO Island, you can admire the Bay of UBLI when you arrive, and then go on to LASTOVO Village where sleeping cats stretch out on the ancient stone stairs that wind up the hilly streets.  The ancient stone houses ———– Renaissance-Era houses ——- with distinctive high terraces and cylindrical chimneys (known locally as FUMARI) that look like miniature minarets.  These houses are appealingly dilapidated and there is a lovely little Renaissance Church.  Take the stairs in front of the Church and climb up the hill to the meteorological station where you can an unforgettable over the islets scattered in the nearby sea.

Lastovo lighthouse

There is one hotel ———- HOTEL SOLITUDO —– in the village of PASADUR —— that is a new hotel with all comforts and it is right on the beach.  For private accommodation try Apartments BRUNA.  You can also stay in a STRUGA LIGHTHOUSE, situated on the southern side of the island.  It was built in 1839 and contains 4 apartments suitable for 2 — 5 people.  The Lighthouse is at a height of 70metres, at the very edge of a steep cliff that offers a magnificent view  of the open sea.  Easy access to the sea through the pine woods on the northern side of the Lighthouse make the STRUGA LIGHTHOUSE a very popular tourist destination.

LASTOVO is a sparsely inhabited island and due to its distance from the mainland, it seems as though it emerges from the blue sea.  There is a regular JADROLINIJA car-ferry that runs from SPLIT to UBLI stopping at VELA LUKA on KORCULA and there is also a fast catamaran in the summer that makes the trip in less than three hours.     .

My pilot knows

When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to God and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one.

Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track ………. As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has “preceded” you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered, but, be sure that beyond these there is one which He has “left unlocked”.  Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of a river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your wildest dreams.

God guides us, often by circumstances.  At one moment the way may seem utterly blocked, and then, shortly afterward, some trivial incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes.  Sometimes, these thins are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer.
They are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of circumstances in the direction in which we would walk.  And, they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the land by night express.
If you go to Him to be guided, He will guide you, but He will not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you the chart of all His purposes concerning you.  He will show you only into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still farther.

stormy weather ship

As moves my fragile bark across the storm-swept sea
Great waves beat o’er her side, as north wind blows
Deep in the darkness hid lie threatening rocks and shoals
But all of these, and more, MY PILOT KNOWS.
Sometimes when dark the night, and every light gone out
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes
Still though the night be long, and restless all my hours
My distant goal, I’m sure, MY PILOT KNOWS.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Giant wild goose pagoda

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist Pagoda located in southern XI’AN , Shaanxi  Province, China.

It was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had 5 storeys, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick façade was renovated during the Ming Dynasty.  One of the Pagoda’s many functions was to hold SUTRAS & FIGURINES of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveller XUANZANG.

Giant wild goos pagoda China

The original Pagoda stood at a height of 177ft.  However, this construction of “rammed earth” with a stone exterior eventually collapsed five decades later.  The ruling Empress Wu Zetian had the Pagoda rebuilt and added 5 new storeys by the year 704.  However, a massive earthquake in 1556 heavily damaged the Pagoda and reduced by 3 storeys, to its current height of 7 storeys.

Wild goose pagoda inside

The entire structure leans very perceptibly (several degrees) to the west.  Its related structure, the 8th century SMALL WILD GOOSE PAGODA in XI’AN, only suffered minor damage in the 1556 earthquake (still unrepaired to this day).  The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was extensively repaired during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and renovated again in 1964.  The Pagoda currently stands at a height of 210ft tall and from the top it offers views over the current city of XI’AN.

Wild goose pagoda

Ramagiri Killa

RAMAGIRI KILLA (Fort) is located over a mountain top in the Karimnagar District of the Indian State of Telengana.
The Fort located on the RAMAGIRI HILLS, is near the BEGUMPET Village in KAMANPUR MANDAL.  The Fort was built within a thickly forested area which has a wealth of plant species which includes many medicinal herbs.  The Fort is nestled on the top Ramagiri fortof a picturesque hillock, surrounded by lush green, and provides a magnificent view of the confluence of the MANAIR & GODAVARI Rivers.
The Fort is 65km away from Karimnagar, the district headquarters.  The Karimnagar — Manthan Highway passes close to   Fort.  In the medieval period, RAMAGIRI KILLA was built by the KAKATIYAS of Warangal during the 12th century.  Later, it was controlled by the QUTUB SAHI SULTANATE (1518 — 1687).  In 1656, the Ruler of Golconda, Abdulla Qutb Shah, gifted the fort to his son-in-law who was Aurangzeb’s son.  The fort came under the control of the British Raj in 1791.  It is also said that for Kalidasa, one of the greatest Sanskrit poets, motivation to compose his magnum opus ——- MEGHADUTA ——— a lyrical poem, was Ramagiri Fort.
Built in stone, the fort has many bastions and occupies a large area of a few square kilometres, and the bastions are in octagonal shape.  The fort had been fitted with four forge-welded cannons on the masonry battlements which were built to a height of 39ft. as part of the fort walls.  It has been noted that the mud plaster which covered some of the structures in which layers was a combination of mud, lime, reeds, hair of animals and even blood of animals.
Ramagiri killa 1
The Ramagiri Forest in the area of the Fort is an important is an important source for medicinal plants.  Large numbers of the locals collect the plants and offer them for sale in nearby towns.  Students also visit the area to identify these plants and make herbarium specimens.  In view of the importance for medicinal plants, it has been suggested that the forest of the fort area be declared a Conservation Centre for Medicinal Plants.
This place is also called AARAM – GIRI (Hill of rest or leisure).  There are many important sites on the hill fort right from the mythological places to the recently constructed places by the Kings who ruled the place.
Ramagiri killa
(1) RAMA STHAPITA LINGAM : The Shiva Lingam which was installed by Lord Rama for His prayers.
(2) Foot Prints of Lord Rama & Janaki Mata : On the small hillock, you can see the impressions of the steps, which the local people consider to be those of Lord Rama & Sita.
(3) SITAMMA KOLANU : This is a small pond on the hillock which is considered to be the pond which was built for Sita’s use.
(4) Pits for PASUPU KUMKUMA of Sitamma :  These are the small depressions or shallow pits for storing Sitamma’s saffron and turmeric.
(5) SITA RAMALAYAM :  A Temple dedicated to Lord Rama & Sita.
The recent historical structures which are still present and whose authenticity can be verified are :  Ruined walls, buildings, bastions, mosques, tombs.  PRATAPARUDRUNI KOTA, Horse stable and Elephant shed, the prison, a huge dining hall, secret passages, narrow paths, guns, cannons, cannon balls.  The ruins of CHITRAKOTA, TRATIKOTA, NIMMAKOTA, ammunition rooms.
There are many wells in this place, which have been built by successive Rulers at different times.


COLOCASIA (Hindi : ARBI or ARVI), a “powerhouse vegetable” is one of the oldest vegetables of the Indian Subcontinent.  —————– Much before that nouveau upstart, the POTATO taking over the Subcontinent kitchens in such a comprehensive manner, COLOCASIA was the “preferred tuber.”  In fact, Colocasia is not just indigenous to India, but large parts of Eastern Asia as well.  In the Philippines, it goes under a name similar to our ARBI/ARVI ——– ABI, and is a popular veggie.  Besides, of course, it is most popularly used as TARO everywhere.

ColacasiaCOLOCASIA was always the go-to-veggie in homes.  The aloo-meat curry, one of the most basic ways of combining goat meat and potatoes in a spicy thin gravy in Northern India may be deemed “home-style” today, but it was quite likely to have been preceded by ARBI-MEAT curry as the original starch-protein combination.  Fried Colocasia fingers make for an interesting textural counterpoint in this style of gravy dish, popular in U.P., primarily in Muslim but also KAYASTHA homes.
The favoured way to cook the tuber is, of course, to FRY IT.  Since Colocasia is also a “monsoon ingredient”, this makes sense given the fact that the Indian kitchen, whose functioning was based in AYURVEDA, preferred a switch to “heat-inducing” foods gradually as the monsoon cooled the Subcontinent and to fried foods to keep diseases at bay.
That is also perhaps why ARBI & AJWAIN make for such a perfect marriage.  AJWAIN (carom) is known for its digestive properties, and a perfect recipe to use the “monsoon spice” (carom), warding off stomach infection, common this time of the year, to coat fried Colocasia.
Even the leaves are fashioned out into PATODE in UP, Bihar & Gujarat use a sprinkling of carom in the masala spiking gram flour (BESAN).  PATODE is a recipe for the rainy day : The leaves of the Colocasia need to be cleaned and washed, spread out and then coated with a thin batter of spiced gram flour.  They can be layered, folded and then rolled (like a Swiss Roll), before being steamed.  Cut into rounds and deep fry for a tea-time snack.  You may not find more exotic PAKORA anywhere.
Arbi Masala FryColocasia is an invaluable source of dietary fibre.  The CORMS have more calories than potatoes, and these come primarily from “complex carbs”, which are slow-digestive”, will thus help fill you up more and also help elevate blood sugar levels gradually —–unlike simple, easy-to-break- down carbs.
The leaves, on the other hand, have antioxidants beta-carotenes and a significant amount of Vitamin A that is good for your eye-sight amongst other things.  And the CORM has some essential minerals as well —- zinc, magnesium and potassium that help regulate heart rate and BP.  So, Colocasia is actually a “powerhouse of nutrients” ——- a “super food”  —– in its own right.
Colocasia is trending as an ingredient, especially at “modern” Indian establishments.  ARBI TUK, for instance, has suddenly made an appearance on many menus, including at “The Bombay Canteen” in Mumbai, pegged on local gastronomy and a re-invention of forgotten regional recipes.
Arbi dishesTUK is a Sindhi term, essentially for deep frying vegetables and then tossing them in dry masala.  For ARBI TUK, all you need is boil the Colocasia, flatten it and the deep fry till it is crisp and golden.  Then toss in a masala of dry coriander powder, red chilly powder and dry mango (AMCHOOR) powder.  This recipe is essentially the same as followed in many parts of UP as well, where, one other spice is added to the crispy ARBI / ARVI, and that is AJWAIN (carom).  It elevates the dish to another level.
In Punjabi-influenced cooking, ARBI may of course be cooked in a generic onion-tomato masala.  But its charm can be better appreciated if you use the spices discerningly and selectively.  Dried fenugreek (METHI) is another ingredient that goes well with Colocasia.  Pan-roast the tuber and then coat it with a masala that includes a whiff of KASOORI METHI.  You won’t forget the flavour.
———–Anoothi Vishal.    

Anger is not your enemy

“Don’t try to destroy your anger, transform it into constructive energy,” says THICH NHAT HANH. 
To sit is not enough.  We have ‘to be’ at the same time.  To be what ?  To be is to be a something, you cannot be a nothing.  To eat, you have to eat something, you just cannot nothing.  To be aware is to be aware of something.  To be angry is to be angry at something.  So, to be is to be something, and that something is what is going on : in your body, in your mind, in your feelings and in the world.
THICH NHAT HANHWhile sitting, you sit and you are.  You are what ?  You are the breathing.  It is like a television set of 1 million channels.  When you turn the breathing on, you are the breathing.  When you turn the irritation on, you are the irritation.  You are one with it.  Irritation and breathing are not things outside of you.  You contemplate them in them, because you are one with them.
If I have a feeling of anger, how would I meditate on that ?  How would I deal with it ?  I have to deal with my anger, with love and tenderness, with non-violence.  In Buddhism, we do not consider anger, hate, greed as enemies we have to fight, to destroy, to annihilate.  If we annihilate anger, we annihilate ourselves.  If we deal with anger in that way, we would be like transforming ourselves into a battlefield, tearing ourselves into parts, one part taking the side of Buddha and the other part taking the side of Mara.  If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others.  When we get angry, we have to produce awareness.
THICH NHAT HANH imageIn the case of a minor irritation, the recognition of the presence of the irritation, along with a smile and a few breaths will usually be enough to transform the irritation into something more positive, like forgiveness, understanding and love. Irritation is a destructive energy.  We cannot destroy the energy, we can only convert it into a more constructive energy.  Forgiveness is a constructive energy.  Understanding is a constructive energy.  Suppose you are in a desert, and you only have one glass of muddy water.  You have to transform the muddy water into clear water to drink, you cannot just throw it away.  So you let it settle for a while, and clear water will appear.  In the same way, we to convert anger into some kind of energy that is more constructive, because anger is you.  Without anger, you have nothing left.  That is the work of meditation.
Here is an example : A big brother gets angry at his little sister at first, and later finds that se has a fever and he becomes concerned, and he tries to help her.  So the destructive energy of anger is transformed into the energy of love.  Meditation on your anger is first of all to produce awareness of anger, I AM THE ANGER, and then to look deeply into the nature of anger.  Anger is born from ignorance, and is a strong ally of ignorance.


Iriomote island trip

IRIOMOTEJIMA is a remote island located approximately 31km (40mins. by regular ferry) from ISHIGAKIJIMA, and is the 2nd largest island in OKINAWA Prefecture, after the main island of Okinawa.

About 90% of the island is covered with sub-tropical, highly primeval forests that exude an atmosphere of unspoiled wilderness.  Endemic species of animals, including the IRIOMOTE WILDCAT and Crested Serpent Eagle inhabit this island.


Visitors are invited to participate in one of many eco-tours that are organized here, in order to savour the natural environment of IRIOMOTEJIMA.  Traffic accidents are one of the main factors behind the threat posed to the survival of the IRIOMOTE WILDCAT and other examples of valuable wildlife on the island.  Please observe posted speed limits and drive carefully I consideration of the welfare of wild animals on IRIOMOTEJIMA.

Iriomote Jima

The URAUCHI RIVER : The region in which the headwaters of the URAUCHI River, the largest river in Okinawa Prefecture, is located remains one of the finest, unspoiled, sub-tropical, broad-leaved evergreen forests in Japan, and the views to be obtained here are some of the best IRIOMOTEJIMA — ISHIGAKI National Park has to offer.  The forest zone largely consists of CASTANOPSIS SIEBOLDII trees.  QUERCUS MIYAGII KOIDZ trees grow along low-lying river valley areas, while FICUS BENGUTENSIS & MACHILUS JAPONICA trees inhabit river valley areas further upstream.


As this region is one in which wild animals and plants endemic to the YAEYAMA ISLANDS live and breed, it is also very valuable in an academic sense.  Persons wishing to pass through the headwaters region to traverse IRIOMOTEJIMA will need to submit a notification of forest entry in advance to the forestry office and to the police.  In recent years, there have been a number of cases involving mishaps attributed to rashly formulated and executed mountaineering plans. There is a mangrove forest by the mouth of the river that can be explored from a pleasure boat or a canoe.  Trek for one hour to reach MARIYUDU FALLS, the only waterfall in Okinawa Prefecture to be selected one of the 100 finest waterfalls in Japan.

Iriomote Island

Walk for a further 5mins. to come to KANPIRE FALLS, a sacred site on the island.  This course will allow you to survey the fauna and flora inhabiting the various environments extending from the mangrove forest to the mountain streams upriver with ease.

Nakama river

NAKAMA RIVER :  In the upstream section of the NAKAMA River, the source of which can be traced back to Mount GOZA-DAKE, visitors can see a sub-tropical, broad-leaved evergreen forest, as well as groves of UBUNDORU YAEYAMA palm trees,, which have been collectively designated a protected natural monument by the National Government.  Japan’s largest mangrove forest consisting primarily of lack mangroves and Yaeyama mangroves, extends along the riverbank from the mouth to the middle reaches of the river and can be explored by boat or canoe..  Travel up to a disembarkation point upstream to see Japan’s largest DRYAND tree, said to be 4 centuries old.  Of particular interest is the fact the “plate-like buttress roots” have been produced to support the trunk of this tree.  The NAKAMAGAWA Observatory has been built along a “walking trail” to afford a fantastic panoramic view of the meandering flow of the NAKAMA River and the mangrove forest that grows here.

Urauchi river

PINAISARA FALLS is situated along the upper reaches of the HINAI River, and is the largest waterfall in the Okinawa Prefecture.  The growing popularity of canoeing and trekking in recent years has led to concerns over the impact that such activities will have on the natural environment.  Visitors are encouraged to conduct themselves appropriately in this area, such as being accompanied by a tour guide.

Design your life

Just start by believing that the obstacle in the path to your life goals can be overcome.  Designing life is about acquiring  a certain skill set that motivates you towards your life goals.  As the late Steve Jobs, had famously said, “Design is a funny word.  Some people think design means how it “looks”.  But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it “works”.  Essentially, it means there’s a lot that you can design about your life.  Whether you are in your 20s, 40s, 60s or 80s —— you can empower yourself to make life changes.
design your lifeIn fact, these days, there’s an entire industry to help you design your life.  You could hire a life coach, join a ‘design your life’ boot-camp or enrol in MIT or Stanford’s ‘Designing Your Life’ course for “bold immediate action”.  ‘Designing Your Life’ teach that passion isn’t an inherent trait, it can be developed.  They believe that instead of thinking you’ll start something when you get to so-and-so point, you can start right now.  And most importantly, no problem can be solved if you think there isn’t any problem.  Be truthful, accept and challenge your fears head on.  It is in this crucial area that most people falter.
Professor David Mindell asks his MIT students to pick an area of life they have difficulty in designing, and start working on it.  “If your desire is to ‘run’ —— go running every week at least three times.  Once you have mastered one challenge, set another”, he says.  Sarod player Amaan Ali Khan says, ” The formula is simple.  Learn to take up challenges, develop personal integrity by keeping the promise and don’t fall into the ‘excuses trap’.  That can be fatal.”
Corporate guru Azim Jamal says,” Your vision is derived from your life purpose.  It is essential to apply a sense of balance in life.  The big stumbling blocks to your life plan can be inconsistency, lack of self-discipline and bad habits.”
For designer Puja Nayyar, designing clothes and designing life require the same skill set.  Be focussed, don’t be confused and you may actually get more than what you desire.  A formatted life can lead to more happiness.
So, how do you make big and small changes in your life plan ?  “We need to ‘doubt our doubts’, live our life with trust and faith.  Don’t be a victim to your self-developed belief system.  Break out of it.  That’s how you can be the designer of your life”, says life coach Warren Stagg.
Without your soul and heart, making a life blueprint will be just another project —– to make it really work, make a diary of your progress.  Says Mana, soul coach,” Life is something new each day.  Allow yourself to receive.  We receive when we hold expansive beliefs, such as, ‘I am improving every day in every way’.  Heart without action is a daydream ; Action without heart is a nightmare”.