Sun gazing is perhaps one of the most mistaken-for and clouded practices pursued by fanatics across the globe! This is a classic example of the clash between science and spirituality. While spirituality claims that gazing at the sun for long periods of time improves your eyesight as well as decreases your appetite and makes you healthier, it is not seconded by science. On the contrary, science claims that the practice of sun gazing is extremely harmful to our eyes and may even cause permanent blindness.
It was assumed that shortest story ever told was written by Ernest Hemingway when his buddies bet him that he cannot write story with only six words. Hemingway took piece of napkin and wrote: “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” However, this short story dates back to 1917 written by William R. Kane: “Little Shoes, Never Worn.” William wrote this story before Hemingway and it had only four words.
Hexagram is a geometrical figure that looks like a star and has 6 edges and vertices. It is also refereed to as a six-pointed star. The way the hexagram can be formed is with the help of two overlapping triangles which are both equilateral. The unique thing about a hexagram is that one side points upwards and the other one is downwards. The hexagram has such an importance in Judaism and is often referred to as the Star of David.rnrnIn fact, every ancient religion has some or the other mention of this star in its history be it Hinduism which has this symbol on its temples.rnrnThe identity of a Jewish house is symbolized with the use of the Star of David in the form of a Hexagram. This symbol has been in used since times immemorial. There are other eastern religions like Jainism and Buddhism that has also made use of the Hexagram. Most of these symbols of the Hexagram have been used not only by religious heads but by artists as well to depict various things. rnrnThe Hexagram goes on to depict the connection between man and the universe and how a harmony needs to be formed between the two in order for man to survive. Array
Roger Williams found the Rhode Island and established the first Baptist church in America in 1638. It occupies the land area of 1045 square miles. Though it is the smallest state in America in size but it still attracts number of tourists due to its extensive shoreline and pleasant weather. Rhode Island is the smallest island with the longest name The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Rhode Island entered the list of the union on 29th of May, 1790 and became the 13th and the last state to do so. Rhode Island has no interference of government only 39 municipalities exercise their control. It got its name from the Greek Island of Rhodes and was nicknamed the Ocean State. The state has 15 state parks and 10 state beaches. It has a very less land area, dense population but still 60% of it is covered with forests. It is the main jewelry making center of the America that makes fine silver jewelry and wares. The Rhode Island is well known for its shoreline and moderate climate; making it a point of tourist attraction. It was here that Polo was played for the first time near Newport in 1876 and year 1774 witnessed the first circus of the United States in Newport. In 1899 it hosted the Lawn Tennis played at National level for the first time. The population of the state is a combination of the Italian, the Irish, the English, the French and the Portuguese and the religions practiced here are mainly Christianity and the Jewish.
Meteora, an area that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year is situated in Greece. Meteora is famous for its monasteries that are built on eroded rocks. The name itself means “suspended in the air”. The monks built these monasteries on the top of the rocks. Earlier there were many monasteries but now only six are left. Meteora was inhabited by hermit monks first. The climate here varies with sweating summers to chilly winters. The area experiences rain all through the year. The rocks on which these monasteries stand are believed to be almost sixty million years old and their weathering and evolving makes the place perfect for hiking. Tourists here enjoy visiting monasteries, hiking and exploring caves. The best way to reach the place is by taking a bus from Athens. There are good hotels to stay in a village of Kastraki. The nearby places worth visiting are Mount Olympus, Athens, Santorini and many more.
Mount Pelee is a volcano located on the French island of Martinique in the Caribbean. It is well known for his destructive past. It was the early morning, may 8th in 1902, when eruption started destroying everything in its path. Killing in one day more than 30000 people. Completely destroying the city of Saint-Pierre, leaving only two survivors. One them was 25 year old Louis Auguste Cyparis a convicted felon who injured his friend with a glass during the bar fight. Interestingly, Louis escaped the jail night before the eruption, but he reported himself to the jail the very next morning. He survived because his dungeon cell had poor ventilation. Later he became a local celebrity. Second survivor was a young girl called Havivra Da Ifrile. She escaped in the the small boat towards the cave where she played with her brother. This is supposedly her statement from 1902: “Just as I got to the main street I saw this boiling stuff burst from the top of the Corkscrew and run down the side of the hill. It followed the road first, but then as the stream got bigger, it ate up the houses on both sides of the road. Then I saw that a boiling red river was coming from another part of the hill and cutting off the escape of the people who were running from their houses. But before I got there I looked back — and the whole side of the mountain which was near the town seemed to open and boil down on the screaming people. I was burned a good deal by the stones and ashes that came flying about the boat, but I got to the cave.”
Anonymous in the West, temporary marriage is, basically, a contractual deal between a man and a woman who decide to be married for an agreed period of time varying from one hour to 99 years. This custom is practiced among the Shiites of Iran and Iraq, although not a part of Quranic teachings. In Iran, a man – bachelor or married, and a woman – virgin, divorced, or widowed, can, at any time enter into a temporary marriage contract, commonly known as sigheh or nekah-e-monghate’e. rnrnIn a temporary marriage contract, no registration or witness is required. As per the proponents of this arrangement, it is considered as a means of curbing free sex and control prostitution. Also, the arrangement allows a man to have ‘sigheh’ wives to an extent that is affordable by him. But a woman, on the other hand, is allowed to enter only one such relationship at a point of time. Moreover, the woman is also paid the compensation amount before entering the contract.rnrnHowever, no couple can enter another contract before completing a waiting period of three months or an elapse of two menstrual cycles. This waiting period is referred as ‘edda’. The trend of temporary marriage is, conversely, not liked by the educated middle class families. Also, some women are predisposed to think it as legal prostitution and, therefore, oppose the trend. This trend is, therefore, practiced more commonly by women who are either divorced or widowed. Additionally, the trend is also popular among theological seminaries and the clergy.rn
Known as Qazvin in the ancient times, the Caspian sea is surrounded by southern Russia, Turkmenistan, Northern Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Its surface area is 371,000 square kilometers and the volume is 78200 cubic kilometers. World\’s 40-44% of the lake water is accounted for by the Caspian Sea. Around 130 rivers are a source of water inflow for the sea and it is due to this inflow that the northern region of the sea acts like a fresh water lake. The Northern region comprises of a couple of islands accounting for a total land area of around 2000 square kilometers. Caspian Sea is often listed as the world\’s largest lake since it is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. Caspian Sea is rich in oil fields and natural gases which results in great pollution from toxic wastes by countries like Russia and Azerbaijan.
Pancakes are eaten all around the world throughout the year but in some countries special days are reserved such as Shrove Tuesdays, Easter and lot more. Pancakes are thin cakes made of batter of milk, flour, sugar, butter and eggs baked in a griddle or fried in a pan. At times buttermilk is used in place of milk to make the cake more fluffy and soft. rnrnDifferent places carry different tales with the pancakes. In Newfoundland people add items to the batter and use them to tell future of the family members before cooking the pancake. In France people make a wish, touching the handle of the pan keeping a coin in one hand while tossing the cake. One man was so fond of the pancakes that he ran a race, tossing the pancakes.rnrnPancakes are served with variety of syrups at different place. Some countries serve it with maple syrup made of sap collected from maple trees; some serve it with jellies and still others with jams. Ready mix for the pancakes is also available in the market.rnrnSome facts recorded about the pancakes tell that Buchinghamshire was the first to celebrate the Pancake Day in 1445. The least amount of time taken for tossing the pancakes for the maximum time was in U. K. when the pancakes were tossed 349 times in 2 seconds. It was in 1994 that the biggest pancake was cooked which weighed three tons and was of 15 meters width in Rochdale. World�s Largest Pancake Breakfast was held in 1986 to celebrate 350th anniversary of Massachusetts and since then this is practiced every year and many people volunteer their help for the same.rn
The continent largest in landmass and population is Asia. Asia has the world’s 60% of population that accounts to almost 4 billion people. The statistics prove that two countries hold half of Asia’s population; one being India and other is China. It is believed that in another 20 years India will have the highest population and will surpass China. The boundaries of Asia are made of Suez Canal and Ural Mountains in the west, the Caucasus Mountain and the Caspian and the Black Seas to the south. The south also extends to the Indian Ocean, to the north the Arctic Ocean and to the far- east the Pacific Ocean. Further Asia is divided into six sub- continents; Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia, India Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia. The western most point of Asia is Cape Baba in the Northwestern Turkey. Its eastern most point is Cape Chelyuskin in Siberia. The width of the continent is 5300 miles. Asia enfolds the world’s top three leading economies- India, China and Japan. China has shown massive growth in economy in last ten years and it has become the second largest economy in the world after the United States of America. The three main financial centers of Asia are Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. The main religions practiced in the continent are- Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. The highest and the lowest point on the Earth both lie in Asia, the highest point is the Mount Everest and the lowest is the Dead Sea. The top ten highest mountains are also located in Asia. A home of wide variety of religion, caste, culture and creed Asia is a colorful continent.
The Eternal flame in Iraq is the name lent to flames coming out of the natural gas vents since thousands of years at ‘Baba Gurgur’ oilfield in Kirkuk, which lies two hundred and fifty kilometers to the north-east of Baghdad. This was discovered for the first time in Northern Iraq in 1927. The name in Kurdish means ‘father of flames’. Before the discovery of the ‘Ghawar fields’ in Saudi Arabia in 1950s, the ‘Baba Gurgur’ oilfield was the largest oilfield. Numerous poems have been since then written on these ever burning flames. The Eternal Fire was first described by Herodotus and ancient Greek author Plutarch.
Texas also known as “The Lone Star State” with the capital city Austin got its statehood on December 29, 1845. The population of Texas is 20, 044,141. The state has 254 counties with number of largest cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso and Austin in it.rnrnIt is amazing to know that 70% of Texas population stays within 200 miles of Austin and the state comprises of almost 215 cities, each having the population of 10, 000 and more. It has 7.4 % of the nation’s area. The King Ranch is larger than the state of Rhode Island.rnrnTexas has good population of cattle too. It is estimated to be 16 million. The wool that comes from the place is much more than we get from any other U. S. state. The largest sheep growing area in the country is Edwards Plateau situated in west central Texas. It also has the nation’s largest herd of Whitetail deer.rnrnAustin, the capital city of the state, located on the Colorado River in the south- central part, is made from Texas pink granite and is commonly considered as live music capital of the world.rnrnThe name Texas was adapted from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friend and the state has the motto Friendship.rnrnCompared to any other state, Texas is rich in farming too as large area of the land is cultivated here. Almost 10% of its area is covered with farms and forests and includes four national and five state forests. It also experiences variety in the temperature of different areas. It is the leading producer of oil, natural gas, beef, sheep, goats, cotton, wool, rice and watermelon.rn
Cinco de Mayo meaning the fifth day of May is celebrated as equal to independence of the country. Though many people confuse it with the Mexican Independence Day but that is on September 16. Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the famous battle, “Battle of Puebla” that was fought between the Mexicans and the French in 1862.rnrnThe anniversary of this battle is celebrated in the grand way because a small army of poorly equipped 4500 men were able to protect their country from a huge army of 6500 men. The victory helped Mexican develop the feeling of unity.rnrnThe United State observe this day as a holiday, helping to promote Mexican culture. The families go out with children to enjoy Mexican dishes, dance and music and Mexican art forms and buy Mexican products at markets called “Mercado”. rnrnLos Angeles, California holds the biggest Cinco de Mayo event where almost 600,000 people celebrate the day with Mexican food and music. This is called Festival de Fiesta, Broadway. Two other places away from Mexico enjoy this festival; Denver, Colorado and St. Paul’s, Minnesota.rnrnThe same festival in Arizona is known for Chihuahuas, here parade and races form the part of celebration and a king and a queen of Chihuahuas are crowned.rnrnThe Americans celebrate this fiesta with high zeal because it was the last foreign invasion on North American soil. Thus this is the special day to celebrate pride, independence and freedom.rnrnIf you want to be the part of this celebration, you just have to invite friends, prepare Mexican dishes like burritos and salsa, add few decorations, mix some margaritas and enjoy Cinco de Mayo. rn
Vampires are generally associated with bats, dragons and beautiful woman. The word vampire is believed to have been derived from either Hungarian vampire (witch) or Turkish upior (witch) or from Greek nosophorus (plague – carrier). A group of vampires is termed as clutch, coven, or a clan.rnrnSome common ways people follow to keep the vampires away are: they put mustard seeds on the threshold or hang fishing net on their window to keep the vampires busy counting the seeds or the fishing net’s holes till the sun rise. In ancient times in the Europe, stone monuments were commonly called dolmens were built on the graves to stop vampires from coming back. rnrnVampires are not always dead; they are live people suffering from a type of disease. This disease is called porphyria or in common words as “vampire disease” or “Dracula disease”. The general symptoms of this disease are discomfort in sunlight or hair in large quantity all over the body. In severe cases the patient might have reddish brown stains on the teeth and finally goes mad. This medical disorder is generally due to haematodipsia, hemeralopia or sensitivity to sunlight termed as day blindness.rnrnThe famous vampires known of are Count Dracula, Muppet Vampires etc. The true vampire known for its beauty and attraction was Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Vampires have different tastes and habits. They are fond of blood, skin, flesh, nails and bones. Some grow white hair; change appearances and can even fly. rnrnBefore Christianity evolved garlic, bells, iron, seeds, spades, rowan trees, hawthorn branches, salt, peppermint, running water etc. were used to keep the vampires away but after the advent of Christianity the vampires’ repellent included holy water, crucifixes and Eucharist wafers.rnrnLiterature in form of folk tales, short stories, comics using mermaids all talk of vampires including movies and serials. SOME VAMPIRE FACTS IN THIS TEXT ARE MARKED AS FICTIONAL!rn
A unique festival in Karachi is the “Crocodile Festival.” This is a festival held by the ethnic group called Sheedis in Pakistan. It is believed that Sheedis came as slaves from Africa. This festival is held at a shrine in Manghopir, a dry and humid part of Karachi, which dates back to the thirteenth century.rnrnThe festival works in that the people feed crocodiles and dance and sing. However, it is the dangling part of the festival that makes this stand out. A father will take his baby son and dangle it above the jaws of a crocodile. This is done to find blessings for the child.rnrnDuring this festival the people will also make pledges to the shrine. These pledges are given to the crocodiles. The pledges consist of fresh goat meat. When the crocodiles accept the meat it will be seen as a sign of luck. They suggests that the crocodiles will not attack because they are disciples of the saint known as Khwaja Hasan.
Rivers are commonly known to be good sources of water for irrigation. Sometimes the rivers also play as very good sites to view. They may be calm or very rough. One of the rivers that play as a good tourist attraction would be the Cano Cristales. This river is found in Colombia’s sierra de la Macarena. The river is known to be the most psychedelic river in the world. It is as moody as it is beautiful.rnrnIn the dry season the river dries up and all one finds is a cracked up river bed. In the wet season the river will be flooded and accessing it is practically impossible. However, when you go there at the beginning of the wet season you will be able to witness a magnificent spectacle. There will be rainbow colors on the river bed. This is the reason that the river has been termed as the most beautiful river in the world.rnrnDue to this features, the river attracts many tourists who come to witness for themselves this amazing site. It’s the only river in the world that will give you this amazing spectacle.rnThe river flows through many wonderful sites too. Thus if you are a tourist coming to see the river you will also have the privilege of getting to see other sites to. The river flows from the plateau of Sierrania de la Macarena. This happens to be a park and a mountain range that is a sanctuary for many plant and animal species.rnThe rugged terrain is coupled up with many archaeological sites and caves that have not been explored. The archaeological sites have pictograms and petroglyphs that date as far back as the pre-Colombian times. The river is the parks central feature.rnrnDuring the wet season the river displays a spectacular array of colors. The colors range from deep red, yellow and pink to blue black and green. These colors can be attributed to the mosses and algae that grow on the river bed during the dry season. During the wet season they get enough moisture to be able to unfold the spectacular array of colors.rnrnHowever, as the wet season progresses, it is not possible to view that many colors. This is because the depth of the river does not allow for the algae to get enough sunlight. For those that love rugged rivers this would be the time to view the river.
The dispute between India and Pakistan regarding the territory of state of Jammu and Kashmir is the oldest and longest surviving dispute on earth. India claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan claims that people of Kashmir are the ones that should determine their own future. Both countries refuse that region should be independent. The dispute has consumed millions of lives on both sides apart from trillions of dollars since 1947. The Kashmir dispute is now registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest militarized territorial dispute currently on the planet.
Did you know the days/dates between 2nd and 14th September in 1752 did NOT exist? This is because this was the year that the calendar changed from the Julian (Julius Caesar) to the Gregorian (Pope Gregory XIII) calendar and because the Julian calendar did not have leap years, they had to cut out dates to make the years correct for the new calendar. So the days went 1, 2, 14, 15, 16….30. But the month still ended with 30 so people worked for 11 days less but got paid for 30 days. This is how paid leave started. England was the last country to adopt this system.
60 km out of the town of Marree in South Australia, there is the figure of a man etched into the ground that is more than 4 km long. This geoglyph, popularly known as the Marree Man, is not only Australia’s but also the world’s biggest geoglyph, and had been created by scouring out the vegetation from the land and exposing the bar earth underneath. The main reason for this being hyped so much is that no one knows who, or why made this astounding drawing on the earth. Although there are only a few clues, a local version says that the eccentric Bardius Goldberg made this using a GPS and a bulldozer.rnrnrnsatellite image of the Marree ManrnrnrnMarree Man: aerial view
Are you aware of the interesting facts about Hollywood, the world renowned name in the motion picture industry? This district of Los Angeles has the well-known Hollywood sign. In reality, this sign was built in 1923 by one of the real estate agents and an investor, Harry Chandler, with a motive of advertisement. He spent around $21, 000 for this and wanted it to stay for 18 months. But at that stage he was not aware that this construction would become a legend in itself. Today, the famous Hollywood sign is more than 80 years old. Initially, the sign used to read “Hollywood Land”. But in 1949, “Land” was removed and only “Hollywood” remained. Today, the sign is taken care of by “Hollywood Sign Trust” which was formed in the year of 1995. On September 18, 1932, Lillian Millicent “Peg” Entwistle after unsuccessful Hollywood carrier, jumped from the letter ‘H’ into her death. She was only 24 years old.