PIPLANTRI is a village located in RAJSAMAND District in Rajasthan State.
The villagers of Piplantri plant 111 trees every time a girl child is born, and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up. Over the years, people have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons, including neem, sheesham, mango and amla among others.
To ensure financial security, after the birth of a girl child, the villagers contribute 21,000 rupees collectively and take 10,000 rupees from the parents and put the amount in a FD, which can be broken when she is 20 years old. To make sure the child receives proper education, the villagers make the parents sign an affidavit which also restricts them from marrying her off before she attains the legal age for marriage.
Shyam Sundar Palwal, the former Sarpanch (village head) started this initiative in memory of his daughter (Kiran) who died a few years ago. The initiative begun in 2006 has turned Piplantri Village into an oasis. The planting of the trees have raised the water level. IT has also helped the village economy. To keep termites away from the trees, many of which bear fruit, the village has planted more than 2.5million Aloe Vera plants around them. Gradually, the villagers realised that Aloe Vera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So, the community now produces and markets Aloe Vera products like juice and gel, pickle and other items. So, for the last several years, Piplantri is quietly practising its own home-grown eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results. On an average 60 girls are born every year in Piplantri.
People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies. The Village Panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completed banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees. Villagers claim that there has been no police case since the last seven or eight years.
Piplantri is well-known for its marble mining industry. In this Gram Panchayat, the famous R. K. Marbles is located whose name is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Record for maximum production of marbles.
The village was awarded by the Rajasthan Government and included in Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Adarsh Gram Yojna and it is the only village from Rajsamand to get selected for it.
—————- Mahim Pratap Singh for The Hindu.
SAND MANDALA is the Tibetan Art of Intricate Sand Painting. MANDALAS are spiritual and ritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism that represent the Universe.
In Tibetan Buddhism, Mandalas are created with coloured sand, a practice known as DUL-TSON-KYIL-KHOR, which literally means MANDALA OF COLOURED POWDERS. Historically, a Mandala was not created with natural-dyed sand, but granules of crushed coloured stone. Sometimes this included precious and semi-precious gems. So, lapis lazuli would be used for the blues, rubies for the reds and so forth. In modern times, plain white stones are ground down and dyed with opaque inks to achieve the same effect.
The creation of a Sand Mandala begins with an opening ceremony, where monks chant mantras and play flutes, drums and cymbals. Then, they get down to business. First, they carefully measure and draw the outlines of the Mandala on a flat surface with chalk or pencil, assisted by straight-edged rulers and compasses. Once the floor plan is drawn, millions of grains of coloured sand is painstakingly laid into place.
The sand granules are poured onto the Mandala platform with a narrow metal funnel called a CHAKPUR which is scraped by another metal rod to cause sufficient vibration for the grains of sand to trickle out of its end. Traditionally, four monks work on a single Mandala, with each monk assigned to one quadrant of the Mandala. With enormous amount of patience, the monks lay out the sand particles, working from the centre outwards. A Sand Mandala can take several weeks to build, due to the large amount of work involved in laying down the sand in such intricate detail.
Despite the tremendous amount of hard work and time required to build Sand Mandalas, they have a very short life. Shortly after their completion, the monks deliberately destroy the Mandala to symbolize that “nothing lasts forever.” The sand is swept and collected in a jar and then wrapped in silk and transported to a river where it is released back into nature.
ZUTPHEN is a town in the province of GELDERLAND in the Netherlands It lies some 30km northeast of ARNHEM on the eastern bank of the IJSSEL. at the point where it is joined by the BERKEL.
The name ZUTPHEN , 1st mentioned in the 11th century, appears to mean ZUID –VEEN or in English SOUTH –FEN. Zutphen is also twinned with the English town of Shrewsbury, in the Midlands County of SHROPSHIRE.
It is an historic city, and has existed since Roman times, and received its city rights in 1190, making it one of the oldest “medieval cities” in the Netherlands. The city was voted as having the best city-centre of the Netherlands in the category of small cities in 2006. It has an untouched historic city-centre that gives you the feeling of travelling 100s of years back in time. It is also a “car-free” city.
ZUTPHEN is located in a river valley at the River IJSSEL, a side branch of the Rhine known as NEDERRIJN. The city lies at the border of the hilly forested VELUWE region and the more flat and agriculture ACHTERHOEK. The language spoken is Dutch and nearly everyone speaks English and German is widely understood.
Inside the city everything is within walking distance. The railway station is located 200m away from the edge of the old city-centre. Walking from one side of the city-centre to the other side takes about 20 -30 minutes. In order to see the city, it is best to cycle. ——— The Dutch Tourist Promotion slogan, TORENSTAD, means TOWER – CITY, which refers to the large number of towers. The largest is the WALBURGKERK located at the square where the city originated. It is one of the largest Churches in the country. Guided tours are available organised by the VVV located opposite the railway station. These tours will also allow you to visit the visit the medieval “chained library” ————-LIBRIJE ——- here books have been kept secure since the 1600s by chaining them to the desks.
ZUTPHEN is also known as an “alternative city”. There are multiple “alternative grocery stores”, which offer a variety of “organic food”. The most important ones are the GIMSEL, located in the LANGEHOFSTRAAT, half away between the WIJNHUISTOREN and the new city hall on the western side of the street, and the COEHOOM, located in the NIEUWSTAD quarter, between the Catholic St. John’s Church (SINT JANSKERK) and the Synagogue.
About 300AD, a Germanic settlement was the 1st permanent town on a complex of low river dunes. Whereas many such settlements were abandoned in the early Middle Ages, ZUTPHEN on the strategic confluence of IJSSEL & BERKEL stayed, and became a local centre of governance under a Count. The Normans raided and ravaged it in 882. Afterwards, a circular fortress was built to protect the “budding” town against Viking attacks.
In the 11th century ZUTPHEN was a Royal residence for a number of years : a PFALZ was built, together with a large CHAPTER CHURCH, the predecessor of the present ST. WALBURGIS. The Counts of ZUTPHEN acquired a lot of power until the line of Counts became extinct in the 12th century The settlement received town rights between 1191 & 1196. This allowed it to self-govern and have a judicial court. Thus, ZUTPHEN became the “mother-town” of several other towns. It also became part of the HANSEATIC LEAGUE, a group of towns with great wealth and this league was the economic centre in that part of Europe.
The largest and oldest Church is ST. WALBURGIS, which originally dates back to the 11th century. The present Gothic building contains monuments of the former Counts of Zutphen, a 14th century candelabrum, an elaborate copper font (1527) and a monument to the VAN HEECKEREN family (1700). The Chapter House of the LIBRIJE contains a pre-Reformation library which includes some valuable manuscripts and INCUNABULA. It is considered one of the only 5 surviving Chained Libraries in Europe. (the other 4 being in England and Italy).
If the 20th century was the century of the Skyscraper, then the 21st century is shaping up as the century of the PLYSCRAPER —– a tower block made entirely from wood.
Despite the historical reputation of wood for great city fires —— London in 1666, the Great Chicago fire of 1871 and San Francisco in 1960 ——- WOOD is making a comeback as “construction material” and how. Vancouver-based architects MGA recently completed a 97ft wooden building. Next year, in Vienna, construction will begin on a 275ft PLYSCRAPER, and Stockholm may build a 34-storey wooden apartment by 2023. Others in the pipeline are from Canada to Australia to Europe. Vancouver-based architect Michael Green, says the momentum is gaining as new engineered-woods allow for greater strength and heights in buildings. Moreover, faster construction times and a softer environmental impact, could the building material of the past be the future of construction ? But, he said, news of taller wooden structures is sprouting up all the time. “There seems to be a new announcement every 2 or 3 weeks. We’ve got one in Vancouver for 18 storeys, and in Vienna there’s one for more than 20 storeys. We’ve done research in high earthquake zones, that show 30 storeys is FEASIBLE. We certainly think we can go up to 40 and higher.”
Michael Green said that new developments in engineered-woods —— small wood components that are glued together to make large panels for a building —— are a “game-changer” for construction. Mass timber panels, in particular, cross-laminated-timber (CLT) are becoming established as a quicker, greener and, eventually, cheaper alternative to concrete and steel. One great bonus of the material is the “speed of construction” —— panels can be made to measure, in the factory, with openings, windows and doors. While the main advantage of working in wood are manifold —— it is flexible, robust and easily worked, Green says that wood may be the only material to address the growing problems of urbanization. Wood has not been looked as “urban material”, so we looked at how it could be the contributor to urban environments. There are a whole host of advantages. Steel and Concrete have huge “carbon footprints”. Concrete accounts for about 6-8% of man’s greenhouse gas emissions, whereas Wood “sequesters” carbon dioxide and gives us a vehicle to create “carbon-neutral buildings.
In terms of “carbon footprints”, a 20-storey PLYSCRAPER put against its counterpart in Concrete and Steel, is equivalent to taking 900 cars off the road for a year. But the established nature of concrete and steel means that CLT will not replace urban building materials overnight. Concerns over fire and inherent problems with its acoustic qualities (apartments need additional acoustic measures to keep noise from travelling) have meant that the construction establishment has been slow to come to the party. In Vienna, for example, the Austrian Fire Services are working with architects to test their plans. —– “The main factor is that everyone wants to build higher and higher buildings An 84-metre-high building, in Europe, is not usual and there are a lot of necessities that have to be realized,” fire service spokesman Christian Wegner told The Guardian newspaper, “a few of us were upset because it was crazy to present an idea like this that has not been discussed with everyone yet. They have to carry special tests on the correct combination of concrete and wood. We also want to develop a more “fail-safe” sprinkler system. I expect they will pass the tests, but if they develop the buildings, as they say they will, it will be a serious project.”
Super firm SOM —– the architects behind the One World Trade Centre and the Burj Khalifa —- are considering using wood for high-rise constructions. Wooden Skyscrapers, or should we say PLYSCRAPERS are “smoking hot.” —COULD YOU, WOOD YOU ????????
A sleepy, isolated island community in Nicaragua, nestled at the foot of one of Central America’s most active volcanoes, faces an uncertain future. But the danger doesn’t come from the perpetual risk of geological disaster. The threat is man-made.
Many travellers climb OMETEPE’s volcanoes, but weather conditions often turn the hike into a “walk in the clouds”. SAN RAMON is the island’s 50m-high waterfall, it’s cold mist is refreshing after the drenching humidity of the jungle.