6/23/17

Unknown Facts About Uruguay


Uruguay, is a South American country that truly has the whole package. An interesting history, some breathtaking geography, and, of course, its own unique culture. There are many facts about this country that are unknown. Let's get to know it a little better.

Unusual Uruguay
It is against the law to harm dogs in Uruguay. Stray dogs are well-fed, and extremely healthy ones are even shipped to train and become hunting dogs.
Uruguay's struggle for independence, its culture, its importance in Latin America, and other such aspects are truly fascinating. In this article, we have attempted to throw light on some of these facts about Uruguay, which will be a sound addition to your knowledge bank about it.

Geography

First, let us begin with some basic information about Uruguay, which will help you to understand the fundamentals of the country better. So, here are some geography related facts that you might like to know.

  • Area-wise, Uruguay is one of the smallest countries in South America, bigger than only Suriname.
  • Cerro Catedral is the highest point in Uruguay, which lies in Sierra Carapé, a hill range in southern Uruguay.
  • Its area is around 176,220 sq. km., which is even smaller than Washington state.
  • The capital city of Uruguay is Montevideo. Almost 85% of the population of Uruguay resides in its capital city.
  • The Uruguayan Peso is the currency here.
  • The topography of Uruguay includes land forms like plains, and low hills. High mountains are not found much.
  • Uruguay enjoys a temperate climate.
  • A majority of the population thrives on agriculture.
  • The type of government operational in Uruguay, is a Constitutional Republic.
  • Major exports of Uruguay include wool, rice, leather and meat.
  • Industries of petroleum, transport equipment and food processing etc., flourish here.
  • It has a coastline of just 193 km on the Atlantic ocean.
History

After geography, let's move on to the next logical information that you would like to know. Namely, the history of this country. Uruguay has a history filled with violent struggles for freedom. Let's read a little about this history in the following facts.

  • First inhabited by people from different races, Portugal conquered Uruguay in 1680.
  • Spain defeated Portugal, and took over Uruguay in 1778.
  • Uruguay began an uprising against the Spanish colonists, but were defeated by Portuguese, who came from Brazil.
  • Finally, after a prolonged struggle, Uruguay achieved its freedom in 1825, with aid from Argentina.
  • It became a republic in 1828.
  • Even after gaining independence there was a lot of internal conflict in the country.
  • From violent militia, to left-wing terrorist rule, this country has seen it all, in the years succeeding 1973.
  • Then, in 1985, after 12 years of struggle, and revolts, finally a civilian government was elected, and it now is a Constitutional Republic.
Culture

It is the culture of a country that makes it distinct from the others. It is the culture that binds citizens of the same country, even if they happen to meet somewhere far away from home. Let us now see some interesting facts about Uruguay's culture that make it stand apart from the other nations of the world.

  • Even though Uruguay is a small country, it is rich in arts, literature, and traditions.
  • Education is compulsory in Uruguay and is free from the pre-primary level until the university level.
  • Uruguay does not call any religion its official one. The dominant religion (almost 50%) is Christianity, followed by Agnostics (around 18%), and the rest of the population has people who are Jewish or follow African religions like Umbanda.
  • People in Uruguay absolutely love theater, and dance.
  • Though the roots may be European, the people have successfully embedded their own local flavor to them.
  • The gaucho attire, that is, cowboy attire is quite popular among men.
  • Women wear colorful dresses here.
  • Since it is a small country, simple things like owning a car, and being passionate about something as simple as football, are seen as a symbol of high social stature.
  • Sports like rugby, basketball, horse racing etc., are very popular here.
  • Uruguay's flag has 9 blue and white stripes, with a sun on the top left corner. The 9 stripes represent the 9 regions into which Uruguay is politically divided into. The sun with its 16 wavy and straight rays, stand for Uruguay's freedom. The colors and pattern are very similar to the flag of Argentina.
  • Most houses in Uruguay have names.
  • If you harm any dog that roams about, you can be criminally charged for it.
  • Buseca, a rich stew, is one of the most popular foods in Uruguay.
  • Also, an Italian influence, pasta, is served quite often with a sauce called Caruso Sauce, which has cream, mushrooms, onions, and meat in it.
  • One of the majorly popular drinks in Uruguay is a drink called mate. Other drinks are clerico (fresh fruit juice in white wine), medio y medio, tea, etc.
  • Jams, and empanadas (meat wrapped in bread) are the other typical food items in the cuisine of Uruguay.
  • A delicious meat sandwich, called chivito plato is the national dish of Uruguay.
Other Tidbits

Apart from the hard facts about this wonderful nation, there are some more things that you're sure to find interesting. Here they are.
  • Uruguay ranks 33rd on the Global Peace Index as per the data for 2012. This is the lowest it has ever ranked, otherwise always being in the early 20 ranks.
  • In the year 2007, Reader's Digest ranked Uruguay 9th in its list of the cleanest and greenest countries and cities in the world.
  • Homosexuality was decriminalized in the year 1964. Homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, and the freedom of sexual orientation is protected by well-maintained anti-discrimination laws. Civil unions (same-sex or opposite sex) are legal in Uruguay.
  • People from all over the world visit Punta del Este, an upper class resort, along with their dogs. Many people leave their dogs behind while returning. This is the reason for the large number of stray dogs roaming around in the country.

6/18/17

28 Extremely Remarkable Facts About the Republic of Turkey

Sources:penpaland.com
              buzzle.com

The Republic of Turkey is an incredible nation with a history that is rich and turbulent in equal measure. Buzzle brings you some incredible and interesting facts about Turkey.




Quick Facts at a Glance

Capital: Ankara
Languages Spoken: Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Major Religion: Islam
Currency: Turkish Lira
Population: 76,667,864 (2013 census)

The nation of Turkey bridges the continents of Asia and Europe. Although just a small part of Turkey is considered European, its biggest city, Istanbul is located right here. The country has been a deserving candidate for the title of 'the world's melting pot'―you'll see shards of Greece in their cuisine, a hint of India in their language, a touch of Persia in their designs, all of which amalgamate into a gorgeous fusion that is Turkish culture.
Listing facts about a nation as historically significant as Turkey can indeed go on forever. Therefore, we're giving you a basic insight into the most interesting aspects pertaining to their history, culture, and lifestyle.
Geography and History
The nation of Turkey resembles a transcontinental bridge; the one that connects Asia and Europe. 97% of the landmass made up mostly of Anatolia is Asian, with the Bosphorus River separating it from the European Balkans.
The country is roughly rectangular in shape, bordered by eight nations―Greece to the west; Iran, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to the east; Iraq and Syria to the south; Georgia to the northeast; and Bulgaria to the northwest.
The Mediterranean Sea lies in the south, with the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea towards the west and the north, respectively.

Map of Turkey
Map of the Republic of Turkey

Human inhabitation in Turkey goes back to the Paleolithic age, which included the Ionian Greeks, Thracians, and the Anatolians.
Alexander the Great's conquest left a distinct Greek impression on the country's culture. This was followed by centuries of Roman rule, and finally, the transformation into the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottomans rulers created a massive empire in the region since the 13th century. The Ottomans sided the Central Powers during WWI―a time which also witnessed major atrocities being committed by the Turks against Armenians (the infamous Armenian Genocide), Assyrians, and Greeks.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk rose to prominence during the decade following WWI. He led the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) which resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Atatürk became the first president of the Republic of Turkey―his name, bestowed by the citizens translates to "Father of the Turks". His leadership brought about a sea change in the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the nation.

Portrait of Ataturk on Turkish Lira
Portrait of Atatürk on Turkish Lira

He is commemorated by several memorials throughout Turkey, including the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, the Atatürk Bridge over the Golden Horn (Haliç), and the Atatürk Dam. His portrait can be seen in all public buildings, educational institutions, on the local currency, and even in the homes of many Turkish families.
Historical Landmarks
The site of the Trojan Wars―the ancient city of Troy is located in West Turkey. It is regarded as the most famous archaeological site in the world, being associated with literary works of Homer (The Iliad) and Virgil (The Aeneid).
Several scientists and scholars harbor the belief that the landing place of Noah's ark is situated in present-day Turkey. It is determined that the specific location of the ark's landing is in the Mountains of Ararat.

St Peters church in Antakya
St. Peter's Church in Antakya

It is believed that the first Christian church was built in Turkey. The structure is located in Antakya, and is known as Saint Peter's Church.
The Virgin Mary was known to have spent her last days in Ephesus, western Turkey. Ephesus is also home to the Basilica of St. John, understood to be the burial site of John the Apostle.

Mount Nemrut
Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut, located in southwestern Turkey is another oft-visited archaeological site, home to the mausoleum of Antiochus I (69-34 B.C.). It is considered to be a landmark construction of the Hellenistic period. Found here is a rather unique pantheon, depicting the assimilation of Zeus with Oromasdes (the Iranian god Ahuramazda), and Heracles with Artagnes (the Iranian god Verathragna)―a fine confluence of Greek, Persian, and Anatolian aesthetics.
Urban Turkey
Many mistakenly assume Istanbul to be the capital of the Republic of Turkey. The actual honor goes to Ankara, which has been the seat of the Turkish government ever since the Turkish War of Independence (1923). The Anatolian city is a bustling metropolis with historical sites, shopping arenas, along with some rather colorful nightlife.

Ankara skyline
Ankara's skyline

With all the talk revolving around urban Turkey, Istanbul can't remain out of the picture for too long. Constantinople, as it was once known as, was named after the Roman emperor, Constantine. As Rome began to fall, he chose to shift the base of power to Istanbul.
A trip to the Republic of Turkey is never complete without a visit to Istanbul. This is one of the oldest cities in the world, and its inherent charm is sure to leave you mesmerized long after you've left.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Istanbul's highlights include the Galata Bridge, Maiden's Tower, the museums at Topkapi Palace and Aya Sofya, and the beautiful Blue Mosque known for its six minarets.

The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is an experience of a lifetime. Hailed as one of the oldest markets in the world, this massive shopping complex is estimated to have approximately 64 streets and 4000 shops, with 25,000 people working here.
Turkish Nom Noms
The 'melting pot' aspect we mentioned before is clearly evident in Turkish cuisine. The universally-loved baklava (layered filo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios, cinnamon, and sugar, covered in honey syrup) is a decadent indulgence, but you've got to try the lokum, also known as Turkish Delight. This delightful dessert comes in the form of a flavored gelatinous cubes dusted with powdered sugar or desiccated coconut.

Lokum or Turkish Delight
Lokum or Turkish Delight

Turkish main course dishes mostly center around meat, cooked in an infusion of local spices. Popular grub includes doner kebabs, hünkar beğendi (lamb stew with eggplant curry), and yes, lots of yogurt-based soups and gravies.

Turkish tea
Turkish tea served in a tulip-shaped glass

The Turkish may have single-handedly popularized coffee in Europe, but they are also a nation of dedicated tea drinkers. Turkish tea is locally produced (unlike coffee), and is consumed without milk. It is served in those delightful tulip-shaped glasses, accompanied with lots of sugar cubes.
Random Facts About Turkey
Aesop, Homer, and St. Paul the Apostle were born in Turkey, along with St. Nicholas, known to many as Santa Claus.
Think tulips, and what springs to mind is the Keukenhof Garden in Holland. However, Turkish traders introduced these beautiful flowers to Europe in the 16th century.

Turkish Van

Turkish Van cat

All Turkish cities and towns are awash in cats. Turkey's love affair with felines is in line with Islamic lore which mentions the Prophet's affinity towards cats. The Turkish Angora and Turkish Van are cat breeds which originated in the region.
The famed Orient Express was a luxury passenger train on the Paris-Istanbul route. The express was instrumental in pioneering rail travel, coupled with unmatched opulence. Agatha Christie even based a Hercule Poirot novel on the journey―Murder on the Orient Express.
The Republic of Turkey has a little something for every kind of traveler―be it history, food, adventure sports, archeology, shopping, and even the nightlife. So what are you waiting for? Plan a trip, and plan it NOW.

6/11/17

Spelling Bee: Words That are Difficult to Spell But Worth Learning

Sources:penpaland.com
              buzzle.com

The English language has thousands of words including plenty of hard words to spell that we tend to overlook. Some of these words may seem easy at first, but sometimes you might end up misspelling them.

Separate is one of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. This is because most people write it as 'Separate' misplacing the 'A' following the 'P' with an 'E'. The second most commonly misspelled word is Definitely. This is because people normally mix up the second 'I' with an 'A' and sometimes completely forgetting to add the final 'E'.
Some words may seem easy while pronouncing them, but when you actually get down to writing them, they tend to be hard to spell. Due to the clashing nature of American English and British English, misunderstandings relating to the spellings of words are usually experienced. Therefore, giving the right guidance to those who have a problem with spellings is very important.

List of Difficult Words to Spell

difficult words with a

Abandon | Abscond | Absorbent | Abstinence | Abundance | Abysmal | Academy | Accessible |Accidentally | Accommodate | Acknowledgment | Acoustic | Acquiesce | Acquit | Adjacent |Amphitheater | Anarchistic | Ancillary | Anecdote | Aneurysm | Annihilate | Anniversary | Annoyance | Anomalous | Anonymous | Antecedent | Anxious | Apostrophe | Appalled | Apparently | Aqueous |Arachnid | Archaeological | Arithmetic | Armageddon | Armament | Asbestos | Asphalt | Assimilate | Asymptote | Autoimmune

difficult words with b

Baccalaureate | Bachelor | Background | Balaclava | Bacterium | Bankruptcy | Banquet | Bamboozle | Bayonet | Beautician | Bedazzling | Befuddle | Behavioral | Beige | Belief | Belligerent | Bellybutton | Belligerence | Benign | Beret | Bespectacled | Bequeath | Besotted | Bibliographically | Biased |Bicycle | Billion | Biscuit | Biodegradation | Bioengineering | Bifurcate | Bittersweet | Bivouacking | Bizarre | Blasphemy | Boggle | Bohemian | Bologna | Boisterousness | Bougainvillea

difficult words with c

Cabinet | Caffeine | Calf | Callus | Camouflage | Campaign | Canoe | Cantabile | Cantaloupe |Cantilever | Captain | Carcass | Career | Carousel | Cartilage | Casserole | Caterpillar | Cauliflower | Cease | Cello | Chameleon | Choreograph | Chorus | Chrysanthemum | Circuit | Circumcise |Clairvoyant | Clandestine | Cocoon | Cognac | Cologne | Colonel | Column | Commemorate | Commission | Committed | Conceited | Conscience | Conscientious | Conscious | Consistent

difficult words with d

Daiquiri | Dalmatian | Damn | Dachshund | Dearth | Debauchery | Debilitating | Debris | Debut | Deceit | Decision | Definable | Definitely | Definition | Delirious | Demeanor | Dependency | Depot | Derriere | Desiccation | Dessert | Deterioration | Deterrence | Development | Diamond | Dichotomy | Diesel | Dilemma | Dirigible | Disappointed | Disciple | Disciplinarian | Disguise | Disgusting |Dissection | Dissemination | Dissertation | Dissolve | Dormant | Doubly | Doubt | Dropping | Drought

difficult words with e

Eager | Eavesdrop | Eccentric | Ecstasy | Ecstatic | Editing | Eerie | Egalitarian | Electoral | Elegant | Elementary | Emasculate | Embarrassed | Embedded | Embrace | Empathetic | Encompass | Endeavor | Ennui | Enormous | Enthralled | Entrance | Entrepreneur | Equilibrium | Equivalent | Etiquette | Euphemism | Euthanasia | Exaggerate | Exasperated | Excellent | Excerpt | Executive | Exorbitant | Extension | Extraordinary

difficult words with f

Facetious | Facade | Farce | Fascinate | Fascist | Fashion | Fasten | Fatigue | Feasibility | Feign | Felicitation | Feud | Feudalism | Fiery | Fillet | Finesse | Flabbergasted | Flexible | Flirtatious | Fluorescent | Fluoride | Forbearance | Forehead | Forfeit | Fortuitousness | Frivolous | Fuchsia

difficult words with g

Gadget | Gaelic | Gallivant | Gauge | Geisha | Genealogy | Genuine | Geyser | Ghastly | Ghoul | Gigolo | Giraffe | Glycerin | Goatee | Gourmet | Government | Governor | Grammar | Granary | Grandeur | Grandiose | Grateful | Grotesque | Grudge | Gruesome | Guarantee | Guava | Gubernatorial | Guerrilla | Guess | Guillotine | Guinea | Guitar | Gymnasium | Gymnast | Gaiety

difficult words with h

Harass | Hemorrhage | Heuristic | Hallelujah | Handkerchief | Harbor | Hearth | Heifer | Height | Heinous | Heist | Hemorrhage | Hideous | Hierarchy | Hindrance | Hippopotamus | Histrionics | Hoax | Homogeneity | Horrible | Humongous | Humorous | Hydraulics | Hyena | Hygiene | Hygienic | Hymn

difficult words with i

Idiosyncrasy | Illegitimate | Illustrate | Indispensable | Inoculate | Icicle | Illegal | Immaculate | Immediately | Immigrate | Impede | Impugn | Inception | Inconsistent | Indiscriminate | Individual | Inebriate | Infamous | Infinitesimal | Inflammation | Inheritance | Innocence | Inquisitive | Insatiable | Insinuate | Insolent | Instantiation | Instrument | Intelligible | Interference | Interpretation | Interrupt | Intrigue | Introvert | Intuition | Invocation | Irascible | Irresistible

difficult words with j

Jabbered | Jackal | Jackknives | Jacuzzi | Jargon | Jaywalker | Jazzed | Jealousy | Jeopardize | Jewelry | Jigsaw | Jinxed | Jittery | Journal | Journalize | Jouster | Jovial | Joyously | Jubilant | Judge | Judgment | Judiciary | Juggernaut | Juggler | Jugular | Jurisdictional | Justified | Juvenile | Juxtapose | Juridical

difficult words with k

Kaleidoscope | Kayak | Kernel | Kiosk | Knowledgeable | Kerplunk | Kindergarten | Kindred | Kitchenette | Kleptomania | Klutz | Knapsack | Knead | Knickerbockers | Knotted | Knuckleheads | Kymograph | Kitsch

difficult with l

Labyrinth | Lachrymose | Lackadaisical | Lackluster | Lactogenic | Lairwite | Languid | Lawsuit | Legibility | Legionnaire | Legitimize | Lewd | Liaison | License | Lichee | Lightning | Lingerie | Linguistic | Linoleum | Longevity | Luminescence | Luscious | Lustrous | Luxurious | Lymph | Lymphoid | Lyricist

difficult words with m

Magnanimous | Malevolent | Malicious | Malleable | Maneuver | Manifestation | Matriarchal | Mayonnaise | Mediterranean | Melancholy | Melodramatic | Mementos | Memorabilia | Menstruation | Merchandize | Metamorphism | Minions | Minuscule | Miraculousness | Mischievous | Misfit | Misspell | Monogamy | Monosyllable | Monotonousness | Multitude | Mysterious

difficult words with n

Naïve | Nanosecond | Napped | Narcissism | Naughty | Nauseous | Necessary | Necromantic | Negligible | Neighbor | Neurotic | Neurotic | Nibble | Niche | Nocturnal | Nonsympathizer | Noticeable | Notorious | Nougat | Nuance | Nuisance | Nullify | Nunnery | Nurture | Nutrition | Nylon | Nymph

difficult words with o

Obey | Objection | Oblique | Obliterate | Oblong | Obnoxious | Obscene | Obscure | Obstinate | Occurrence | Octopus | Omitted | Omniscience | Onomatopoeia | Ophthalmologist | Optimizer | Orbit | Ordeal | Oscillate | Ostentatious | Ostracize | Overrun | Oxymoron | Occasionally

difficult words with p

Pandemonium | Panicky | Paradox | Parsimonious | Particularly | Patriarchal | Peculiar | Perpetual | Perseverance | Personnel | Pipit | Plagiarism | Plaque | Playwright | Pledge | Prioritize | Privilege | Profanity | Pronunciation | Proposition | Prosthetic | Protruding | Proximity | Pseudo | Pulmonary | Pummel | Punctuation

difficult words with q

Quadratic | Quadrilateral | Quadruplets | Qualify | Qualm | Queasy | Quench | Query | Questionnaire | Queue | Quickie | Quiescent | Quiet | Quill | Quintessential | Quipped | Quota | Quotient

difficult words with r

Ramification | Reassuming | Reconciliation | Reconnaissance | Redeem | Redundant | Relinquish | Reminiscent | Reminiscing | Remunerate | Rendezvous | Renegade | Renegotiate | Repertoire | Restaurant | Rhetorical | Ruckus | Ruffian

difficult words with s

Sacrilegious | Sadistic | Savvy | Scaffolding | Schedule | Scrabble | Scrumptious | Sepulchral | Sequential | Serendipity | Sergeant | Session | Severance | Sewer | Skeptical | Sledge | Sobriety | Spendthrift | Sporadic | Steroids | Subliminal | Succession | Succulent | Summon | Superstitious | Susceptible | Suspiciously

difficult words with t

Tantalizing | Tarantula | Temperamental | Temporarily | Tentatively | Terrain | Teutonic | Theoretical | Threshold | Thwart | Torrential | Torrid | Totalitarian | Trigonometric | Turbulence | Turquoise | Typographical | Tyranny

difficult words with u

Ubiquitous | Umbilicus | Umpteenth | Unaccompanied | Unambiguous | Unanimous | Unappreciated | Unbridled | Uncanny | Uncouth | Undulating | Unduly | Unequivocal | Ungrudging | Unimaginable | Unmanning | Unnerved | Unnoticeable | Unorthodox | Unparalleled | Upbeat | Urchin | Utilitarian | Uxorious

difficult words with v

Vacuum | Vagabond | Valedictorian | Vaporization | Vasectomy | Vaudeville | Vehemently | Vendetta | Ventriloquist | Vernacular | Veterinarian | Vignette | Villain | Vinaigrette | Vindictiveness | Viscosity | Vivacious | Vociferous | Voluminously | Voluntarily | Voluptuous | Voyageur | Voyeuristic | Vulnerable

difficult words with w

Walloping | Wanderlust | Weather | Weightlessly | Weird | Wherewithal | Whet | Whether | Whimsical | Whirlpool | Withdrawal | Woe | Woebegone | Wondrous | Wreath | Wrestle | Wretched | Wringing

difficult words with x y z

Xenophobia | Xerographic | Xylem | Yacht | Yak | Yarmulke | Yawn | Yearn | Yeast | Yellow | Yelp | Yeoman | Yesteryear | Yolk | Yummier | Zapped | Zealot | Zealous | Zephyr | Zigamorph | Zillion | Zingier | Zirconium | Zoological | Zoologist | Zucchini | Zygomorphous

6/6/17

A Hoard of Things You Can Do While Vacationing in Tibet

Sources:penpaland.com
              buzzle.com

There are some sights and attractions unique to a country or region. Like how you can't visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or how you must see Big Ben if you are on a tour of London or visit the Colosseum in Italy. What about the mysterious spiritual land of Tibet? Scroll below for a guide on what should you see and do in Tibet.

The Land of Ice and Snow. The Roof of the World. Nestled high in the mountains, with deep vast lakes and rivers and wide rolling plains, the land of Tibet is a large pocket of Asia, known for its mysticism and beauty. With the encroachment of the Chinese in 1951, Tibet faced and still faces political strife and turmoil, as its native people and its religious leaders, most notably the Dalai Lama, are in exile. But the land itself is undisturbed and serene, making Tibet, a mysterious and exotic destination, the likes of which you will never see elsewhere. Elaborated below are the top things to do in Tibet.



Top 5 Things to do in Tibet

1. Visit a Tibetan Monastery

For a unique glimpse into the world of Buddhism and how the ancient religion is kept alive today, you should visit a Tibetan monastery. Visiting a monastery is a three-fold experience. Firstly, most monasteries are on the outskirts of a city or town, on the edge of civilization, far away from the reach of modernity. Journeying to such a place of worship offers a beautiful scenic route, through the Tibetan countryside. For example, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, located at the foot of Drolmari Mountain, in the city of Shigatse, can be seen from miles away, due to its distinct golden tops. It is the Panchen Lama's seat. The Ganden Monastery in Lhasa, is another scenic treat, offering a breathtaking view of the Kyi Chu valley. Then there is the Rongbuk monastery, located at 5,800 meters above the sea level. It is the highest monastery in the world and is situated picturesquely at the base of Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

Secondly, the way of life in a monastery is a lesson on self-discipline and living in the way of God. Witness the austere and disciplined way of life practiced by Tibetan monks. These monks are scholars in various arts and fields of knowledge as well as being well-versed in their religion. If you visit the Sera Monastery at Lhasa, you can watch the monks debate in the courtyard, over various Buddhist doctrines and practices. The monks will argue and debate either passively or by exhibiting traditional body language actions, such as hand-claps and acting their point out.

Thirdly, Tibetan monasteries are a study in Tibetan architecture at its finest. Each monastery offers distinct and enthralling examples of Tibetan design and craftsmanship. The Tashilhunpo Monastery has the world's largest Buddha statue, the Maitreya (Future Buddha), which is approximately 26.2 m tall and 11.5 m wide. The Trandruk Monastery has an image of Compassion Buddha rendered entirely out of pearls (at least 30,000) and other stones.

2. Visit a Local Architectural Attraction

Aside from monasteries, Tibet does have other architectural wonders, in the form of palaces, ruins, museums, gardens and temples. The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, is the heart of Tibetan Buddhism and is visited by millions of pilgrims, being the holiest of all Buddhist sites in Tibet. It houses the Sakyamuni, the oldest known and most sacred statue of Buddha, made of gold and nearly 1,300 years old. Each part of this four story temple represents a facet of Tibetan Buddhism and history, from the treaty stone to its ornate golden roofs and beams.

One must visit the visually astounding Potala Palace in Lhasa. This is the former home of the Dalai Lama and is easily one of Tibet's most captivating constructions. It is a treasure house for Tibetan relics and artifacts, such as statues and sculptures, ancient jewelry and ornaments, murals and paintings, in short, cultural items of significance. The palace itself is an architectural gem. It has over 1000 rooms and is a 13-story building. It is divided into the Red Palace and the White Palace.

Other sites of attraction are:
  • Yongbulakang Castle
  • The Norbulingka Palace (the Summer Palace)
  • Guge Kingdom
  • The Ramoche Temple
  • Tengye Ling
3. Explore the Countryside

Tibet is one of the most beautiful and untouched places in the world. It is a country where a scenic tapestry of mountains, lakes or rivers and rolling earth are enveloped artistically by a vast endless sky. It is also a land yet untouched by the harshness of concrete and buildings and modernity. Grab at a chance to enjoy something so natural and simple. Take a tour of the natural countryside of Tibet, by visiting one of its many lakes and rivers. The deep blue waters, surrounded by miles of green pastures and valleys and enclosed by a hill or a mountain range, no picture can capture the beauty of such a landscape. Lake Namtso, the largest lake in Tibet, is one such spot. A more sacred and holy spot which is the highest freshwater lake in the world is Lake Manasarovar.

Another facet of the Tibetan landscape is the mountains and hills. Mt. Kailash is a very famous distinct peak with a great religious significance for Buddhism and Hinduism. Pilgrims take revolutions around the mountains to atone for their sins. Then you can visit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. While climbing the mountain is a feat reserved for the best of mountain climbers, you can visit the base camp or view the mountain from the Rongbuk Monastery. A great way to enjoy the landscape is to take a train ride or tour. This allows you to view the lush and rich scenery and journey into the mountainside as well as enjoy the plains and flatlands.

4. Soak Up the Tibetan Culture

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Similarly no trip to Tibet is complete without experiencing the rich and unique culture and lifestyle of the Tibetan people. The best way to soak up culture is to indulge in the local cuisine. Enjoy exotic yet authentic Tibetan dishes like thukpa, different shaped noodles cooked with vegetables and meat in a thick soup or momos in all shapes and flavors. You should try dumplings made from zanba, a staple Tibetan flour, made from roasted qingke barley and yak butter. Other foods to enjoy include gyurma (blood sausage), balep and shemdre. Eat such foods in the traditional way using bamboo chopsticks. Beverages include yak butter tea, barley beer and rice wine. To really get the taste and feel of such food, visit a small tea-house or restaurant around town.

To gawk in awe and revel in Tibetan culture as well as carry out some shopping, you must visit Barkhor in Lhasa. This spot surrounds the Jokhang Temple, where spirituality and modern life combine and revolve around the temple in tandem. The monks of the temple make their rounds, amidst a bustling busy market with hawkers and cartsmen selling goods and the local populace idly window shopping or lounging around. For the tourist, there are souvenirs, keepsakes and Tibetan artifacts to buy. For the architect, check out the cobbled streets and traditional shop designs. For the spiritualist, circle around the square in a gesture of piety along with the monks. For a slice of Tibetan life, this corner of the city is a must-see.

5. Experience the Wilderness

Tibet is truly a land of the Great Outdoors, so get out your boots and backpack and get hiking. There are mountain trails and trekking trails and pathways to explore. For the experienced mountain climber, Tibet is full of tough and difficult peaks. But there are even mountain climbs for the less experienced and amateur climbers. If climbing is not your cup of tea, what about trekking? You can go exploring by foot or by yak or mule. There are deep valleys and lakes to explore or the base of various peaks to trek. There are even some locations in Tibet, where you can enjoy rafting and boating. Try to go on an exploration or hiking tour, if you wish to enjoy a Tibetan outdoors experience.

The list of things to do in Tibet is highly varied, with each site offering a unique experience and something new to learn. Whether you are visiting Tibet for pleasure, business or religious reasons, make your visit there an all-round adventure by opening your mind and heart.

6/3/17

Bangladeshi Food and Culture

Sources:penpaland.com
              buzzle.com

Bangladesh is a small country in South Asia, but with some great cuisine and a rich culture. This Buzzle article has put forth a brief introduction to Bangladeshi food and culture.

National Symbols of Bangladesh
National Anthem: Amar Shonar Bangla
Flower: Water Lily (Shapla)
Fruit: Jackfruit
Tree: Mango
Animal: Royal Bengal Tiger
Bird: Magpie Robin
National Monument: Shaheed Minar

The culinary and cultural traditions of Bangladesh have close relations with that of the neighboring Bengal and northeast India, with some unique traits of their own. Rice and fish are traditional favorites with vegetables and lentils also forming a part of their staple diet. The river Brahmaputra, which meets the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh, has a large influence on the culture and cuisine of this small nation. The culture of this country has been shaped by many renowned poets, writers, saints, filmmakers, musicians, and thinkers.

Index
Cuisine

hilsa fry from bangladesh
Ilish fry
machher jhol dish from bangladesh
Machher jhol

mishti doi from bangladesh
Mishti doi

Some food items are popular across entire Bangladesh, while some are regional favorites. In Rajshahi and Rangpur areas, the use of freshwater fish is huge. This region is also famous for its sweets. The town of Comilla is famous for its food culture, most notably the Tehari or Biryani, a rice-based dish. Saltwater fish are commonly found in Barisal and Khulna regions, which are also famous for their heavy use of the spice Piper chaba.
The staples of Bangladeshi cuisine are rice and, to a lesser extent, roti (whole wheat flatbread). These are generally consumed with vegetable, poultry, beef, fish, goat, and mutton curries. Ducks, koel, and pigeons are also eaten in the rural areas. This country also has to offer a host of vegetables, such as a variety of gourds, roots and tubers, leafy green vegetables, succulent stalks, citrons and limes, green and purple eggplants, okra, red onions, banana tree stems and flowers, etc.
Mustard and vegetable oils are primarily used for cooking in Bangladesh, along with sunflower oil. Depending on the type of food, ghee is also sometimes used to enhance the flavor. The food can range from sweet to mild or extremely spicy, and it resembles the cuisine of Northern India and Pakistan. It also has some similarity with the northeast Indian cuisine, most notably in the way fish is cooked. The most common types of fish eaten in Bangladesh are rui, rohu, katla, magur, hilsa, and chingri. The most relished item in this country is the platter of panta ilish, which is a dish made with rice and curried hilsa fish.
The main course comprises rice and flatbreads, like luchi, porota, naan, roti, etc. Curried dishes of chicken, fish, beef, mutton, or daal (lentil soup) are prepared as accompaniments. Certain specialties are gosht bhuna and machher jhol. Biryani, which is a rich rice-based dish, is also served on special occasions as the main course.
Bangladeshi cuisine also has a rich tradition of sweets. Mishti doi, or baked yogurt that is sweetened with charred sugar, is eaten between main course and desserts. The most common sweets and desserts are roshogolla, sandesh, rosh malai, phirni, and malapua. These are typically made during festivals and other special occasions, like weddings. Pitha is also a special Bangladeshi sweet made from rice flour and sugar. They are either pan-fried or boiled.

Culture

Bangladeshi culture is similar in many ways to that of neighboring Bengal. This similarity is most prominent in its language, music, literature, and dance forms. Over the centuries, the culture of nation has been influenced by Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. This is also a land rich in folklore, philosophy, and festivals.

Language and Religion

Bengali is the national language of Bangladesh, with over 98% of the population speaking it as their native language. English is also widely spoken by the middle and upper class people, with the legal system and education also making a heavy use of it. The constitution and all the laws of this country are written both in Bengali and English. Some citizens also speak indigenous minority languages, such as Tanchangya, Kurux, Sylheti, Rajbanshi, and Oraon Sadri. There is also a huge population, especially in northern Bangladesh, that speaks Assamese, the official language of the neighboring Indian state of Assam.
Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh, with almost 90% population being Muslim. It has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. It was a Muslim country until 1972, when secularism was added in its constitution following its independence from Pakistan. Hindus make up for about 8% of the population, with Buddhists and Christians making up for about 1% each. The rest of the population is made up of other minority religions. This country also has some people who follow Sufism, as Islam was brought to the country by Sufi saints. Sufi influence in the region goes back centuries, and it can be prominently seen in the musical traditions of this nation.

Arts and Crafts

ektara
Ektara
Bangladesh is home to classical as well as folk dance forms and music. Classical music is closely related to the Hindustani style, while the dance draws influences from other classical dance forms of the Indian subcontinent, especially Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, and Manipuri. This nation also has a rich tradition of folk songs, with the lyrics containing elements of mysticism, spirituality, and devotion.

Folk music also has a recurring theme of love. The Sufi influence on the music of Bangladesh mentioned above can be most prominently seen in Baul, which is a type of folk music. Rabindra sangeet, the songs written and composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is also an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh.

The national anthem of this country is the first 10 lines of a poem written by Tagore in 1905 following the division of Bengal by the British Raj. This country has also given birth to the great Bollywood music composer and singer Sachin Dev Burman, lovingly known as Burman da, who belonged to the royal family of Comilla. Another native of this small city is the great Sarod player Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who was born there, but went on to live in Maihar, a small city in central India.

The instruments most commonly used in the folk as well as classical music are flute, drums, ektara (a single-stringed instrument), dotara (double-stringed instrument), and a pair of metal bawls called mandira.

Bangladesh is also one of the biggest centers of art and crafts in the Indian subcontinent. The nakshi kantha, which is an embroidered quilt, first originated in this country. Handicrafts like pottery works, jute works, metalware, textile, etc., are some of the industries that are flourishing in Bangladesh.

nakshi kantha work from bangladesh
Nakshi kantha work

Festivals

Festivals and celebrations are an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Pohela Boishakh, Eid al-Fitr, and Durga Puja are the most widely celebrated festivals, along with the Independence Day and the Language Movement Day.

Eid al-fitr in bangladesh
Eid al-fitr
durga puja in bangladesh
Durga Puja

Eid al-Fitr is the most important festival for the majority of Muslims and has become an integral part of the culture of this nation. Eid prayers are held all over the country on this day, either out in the open or inside mosques. People visit their relatives on this day and celebrate with them with a grand feast. Different types of games, like kabaddi and boat racing, are also held on Eid al-Fitr in the rural areas.
Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar and is usually celebrated around April 14. It marks the beginning of the harvest season and is celebrated with great enthusiasm all across Bangladesh. People spend their time on this day visiting their relatives, friends, and neighbors. Great fairs are organized in villages and towns, where various agricultural products, handicrafts, toys, sweets and food products, etc., are sold. The fairs also provide entertainment with cockfights, bullfights, bull races, horse races, etc.
Durga Puja is also a festival celebrated widely in Bangladesh. It marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura. As such, it is celebrated for the victory of good over evil. This festival spans over a period of nine days and is the biggest socio-cultural event for the Hindu community. The celebrations span across the country with puja mandaps set up in villages, towns, and cities. The aarti, or the prayers, offered during this festival is a spectacular event. The festival ends with great processions of Goddess Durga's statues held all over the country.

Attire

handloom sarees from bangladesh
Handloom sarees

Bangladeshi people have a unique attire that is meant to keep them cool in the hot and humid weather of this country.

The men wear kurta during festive occasions, like festivals or weddings. Lungi is worn as casual wear, while the formal attire is the same as in western cultures, i.e., shirt and trousers. The lungi is not considered proper to be worn outside the house, except by the farmers and men from low-income families.
Bangladeshi women mostly wear a saree or salwar kameez as both formal and casual attire, while the younger generations have also adopted the western style of jeans and t-shirts. The sarees come in different varieties, such as silk, georgette, cotton, or designer sarees. Hand-woven silk sarees are a specialty of this country.

Social customs like birth of a child, naming ceremony, etc., have their own distinct feel, and different religious groups have their own way of marking these traditions. However, to know the true essence of Bangladesh, you have to actually go there and experience it.