Beach tans, straw hats, cotton camisoles, lavishly prepared lemon coolers, appetizing and inviting aromas that fill every nook of lovely Indian-French cafes while glasses that clink and laughter that pervades in chic restaurants and discotheques – if only locutions were enough to express how magnificently flamboyant Pondicherry is. (nearly a 4 hours drive from Chennai). Situated in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is a French colonial settlement which is home to a plethora of buildings and accommodations which are great examples of the Franco-Tamil architecture, the casual bustle of tourists from across nations, a place where tongas and cycles ride their way to pretty little destinations, where beaches are not beaches and roads are not roads but pieces of paradise, where barks of trees fall so graciously onto immaculately colored buildings that it creates a scene perfectly picturesque. But above all, it is a place where humans coexist in absolute harmony, where they have nothing to give but warmth and affection. It should be noted how largely it is admired for being the little cocoon of allure and tranquility that it is.
I fulfilled my wish of visiting the much less-talked about Pondicherry earlier this summer. The only bad repercussion the place has is the generous amount of tan that it gives to you but, come to think of it – It is all worth it in the end! Neither did we consult a travel agent nor did we join any local tour services. In that charming little land, we prepared our itineraries and we were our own guides. Here is a list of some of the places that I had been to. Places that have become as dear to me as my books and 2 AM friends.
- Aadhaar Guest House:
Situated in Netaji Nagar and just a few blocks away from the Pondicherry railway station, this place is a number one go-to for souls who have only just arrived from a long,exhausting journey (just like us!). It shows how the host, a lovely French lady, has given her all to the working and maintenance of the place.
Aadhaar although being a guest house, makes one feel perfectly at ease, at home with the traditional Indian lamps and chandeliers in every room, white and blue balconies with chairs and tables of strong, primary colors and a terrace to kill for! The gorgeous stairway of Aadhaar reminded me of Paros and Santorini – places of abundant beauty in Greece.
Aadhaar also has a common pantry which is quite relaxed yet always bustling with the clink and clank of vessels and aromas of packaged, touristy foods.
Its open-to-sky bathroom is yet another phenomenon, where bathing in the open and under the sky never felt so good! And know what the best part is? The free cycles that it offers to its guests to ride around the town and explore as much as one can.
- White Town
The name in itself is enough to rightly intrigue the readers. Situated adjacent to Promenade, the French Colony will make you jittery with happiness and excitement and also flash a preview of how France is, right in front of you. With its exquisite boutiques, local market-like stores, charming constructions, and streets free of any kind of dirt or irregularity, this place has arrested the attention of a hefty amount of people. This country town has elegant pathways, lush green trees and beautiful French mansions that will lure you and charm you, incessantly.
During colonial times, the French had taken over four little pockets of South India and one gorgeous consequence among the four was White Town. The prominent shades the buildings are painted with are yellow, grey and pink. Yellow buildings suggest French departments and activities while the grey ones belong to Sri Aurobindo community/trust
It has a miscellaneous range of stores and boutiques like Geethanjali which is situated on Bussy Street and sells a breathtaking traditional collection of rich Indian heritage and colonial antiques and artefacts. Another store that pleased me was Via Pondicherry on Romain Rolland street. Along with its demure appeal from outside and vibrant interiors, it consists of an eclectic range of bags, textiles, garments, deco, shawls and more. Via Pondicherry in all true sense is a wonderful blend of Indian and French culture.
Yet another appealing feature that touched my heart was the fact that almost every store modestly produced a tiny rangoli with white kolam powder at the entrance. It acts like these that somewhere somehow add up to something marvellous. The one thing that I adore about White Town is the minimal display of doors and windows made from a great mix of vibrant, sometimes pastel hues which are an absolute treat to the eye!
Moving on, if you ever wonder what to eat and at the same time looking for something exotic and artsy, White Town is the place to be. Cafe des Arts and La Maison Rose are two of the many cafes that have captured my heart (and stomach as well!) On Suffren Street, Cafe des Arts is a 19th-century construction which is a striking mix of colonial art and a lavish menu screaming French classics. There is a stunning mini library (with books on art, architecture, history etc.) housed inside the bungalow-like French cafe. With an ambience as gorgeous as this place, one is sure to step out of it only after an eternity.
La Maison Rose on Romain Rolland street is yet another cafe with a grand boutique with an outdoor seating laughing lovely shades of pink. With a captivating kitchen and table decor, La Maison Rose should be on (almost) everyone’s bucket list!
While exploring the town and merrily walking our way through its beautiful streets, we came across St. John’s Church.Situated inside a school, the church expelled a clement aura and the lovely architecture is just a bonus!
Speaking of pinks and architecture, I can not miss out on the magnificent Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges, also known as Our Lady of Angels Church. The construction of the church is filled with grandeur for it is in shades of pastel pink,with a little garden, a polygonal dome, and two square towers.
The interiors of the church are both luminous and serene, with bright aisles and seatings apt for contemplation and concentration. Our Lady of Angels is a church where mass is celebrated in Tamil, English as well as French.
- Chambre De Commerce
Situated on Suffren Street, Chambre De Commerce is a centre for commercial activities and developments to promote the economic interest and progress of the society. I was fortunate enough to witness a grand book sale at the place which housed books from almost all genres and categories.
- Pondicherry Museum
It is a government museum on Rue Romain Rolland which is home to sculpture from Chola and various dynasties and periods. It displays an elaborate range of bronzes, bead, arms and ammunitions, a printing press from Gutenberg’s era dated 1820 and more. The museum houses antiques like cutlery, crockery, lampshades, furniture and paintings from the French era. The iconic findings from the Arikamedu settlement can be found here. Bronze sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, handicrafts and an ample of vehicles used for transportation from the Victorian era are present in the museum. The museum also has an exciting Geology department upstairs.
- Basilica of The Sacred Heart
The Basilica of The Sacred Heart is located on Subbaiah Salai road. It is well known for its gothic architectural style as well as bright, enchanting interiors. Both English and Tamil mass are celebrated at the Basilica.
- Manakula Vinayagar Temple
A majestic Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha and his several forms. Outside are many shops selling products to be offered to the deity. The ceiling at the entrance of the temple displays a huge painting of Ganesha, Shiva and other Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Outside the temple is the much-celebrated elephant Laxmi. It’s been 20 years since Laxmi has been in Pondicherry. The very sight of her draws huge crowds of people every day. Her majestic body and benevolent eyes overwhelmed me, making me realise how much I love elephants for their massive physique yet an eternally humble aura.
Peacefully standing there for hours, Laxmi blesses every passerby, tourist, local or who-so-ever for that matter with her gorgeous long trunk. She is selfless, an epitome of greatness.
Also, she goes on a vacation just like us! May she live for a millennium, forever making people happy by her soulful vibe for, she is nothing less than the Goddess herself.
Here comes the end of the first segment of my journey. Stay tuned to know how exciting the second segment was!
Ram Mandir Opening For “Darshan” In 2023
The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is expected to allow visitors by December 2023, with the completion of construction only in 2025.
Sources in the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra have revealed that the colossal project of building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will be opening for devotees towards the end of 2023. In contrast, the project’s entire construction completion is expected towards the end of 2025. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha), along with the mandir’s first floor, will be ready by December 2023. Devotees will be allowed to visit the long-awaited mandir soon after the construction is completed.
An ANI report said, “The grand Ram Mandir being constructed in Ayodhya will be opened for devotees from December 2023. Sources told ANI that Garbhagriha, all five mandaps and the first floor will be ready by December 2023 and the mandir will be opened for devotees”.
Completion of entire Ram Temple complex in Ayodhya is expected by the year 2025; A museum, digital archives and a research centre also to come up in the temple complex: Sources
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 4, 2021
The sanctum sanctorum will be as high as 161 feet and built using Rajasthani marble and stones. Engineers and architects are taking all measures to ensure the longevity of this enormous project. The second stage of construction is expected to begin in December this year. Currently, the structure is at a standstill as a result of monsoons. Another reason for the delay is the coronavirus pandemic that depleted the force with which the mandir’s construction was expected to go on.
Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be ready in a year or two. Delhi government has decided to take senior citizens to Ayodhya for Ram Lalla's darshan with travel, accommodation, and food expenses to be borne by us: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pic.twitter.com/MDGeP0k613
— ANI (@ANI) March 14, 2021
The announcement of the mandir being opened to visitors in 2023 has brought up questions about the political agenda. It is believed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to use the mandir to catapult themselves into a position of advantage during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Opening the mandir to devotees in December 2023 will give the BJP an easy 6-month gap to the general elections in 2024.
The opening of the long-awaited Ram Mandir in Ayodhya could be the factor that diverts the public, at least the Hindu’s in favour of BJP. Thus, securing them a vote bank based on religious sentiments upheld by the party in their previous tenure as the ruling party.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir will be 360 feet long, 235 feet wide, and 20 feet high mandir will be completely ready by the end of 2025. The project will include amenities and structures like museums, archives, research centre, Sant Niwas, gau and Yagya shala, Etc. The main attraction is the Ram Mandir.
How SEBI’s New Margin Rule Is Affecting Retail Traders?
Securities and Exchange Board of India has introduced new margin rules for traders. Traders and Brokers are not happy with the new regulations because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trade.
SEBI had introduced the new margin rule in the year 2020 for intraday traders. It is being implemented in a phased manner. Traders were supposed to maintain 25 per cent of the peak margin in the first phase; the margin was raised by 50 per cent in the second phase. In the third phase, as per the new margin rule, intraday traders will have to pay a 100 per cent upfront margin. According to new norms, the margin requirements will be calculated four times during every trading session because the money margin must be greater than the need.
As per the new rule, brokers must collect margin from investors for any purchase or sale, and if they fail to do so, they will have to pay the penalty. Thus, brokers will not receive power of attorney. Brokers cannot use power of attorney for pledging anymore.
Those investors who want to make use of margin will have to create margin pledges separately. As per the new rule, investors will have to pay at least a 30 per cent margin upfront to avail a margin loan. Shares brought today cannot be sold tomorrow. Funds from shares sold today cannot be used for new trades on the same day.
The market experts said that there must be proper adjustments for implementing new rules, or it may create chaos, trouble and disturbance to the market participants. The CEO and founder of Zerodha broking firm, Nithin Kamath tweeted that, “the day when the new rules came into effect was the dreaded day for brokers, exchanges, intraday traders”.
Traders Are Not Happy:
Changes in rules have evoked strong reactions from traders because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trades as per new margin rules. Even the trading in futures and options will become more expensive. Traders are disappointed because they will have to pay up more money to bet in stock markets. As per new margin rules, Traders are also liable for the penalty if the rules are not followed during the trading session. If a trader wants to buy Nifty worth Rs 10 lakh, he will have to pay a 20 per cent margin of around 2 lakh. If the margin of the trader does not meet the need, he will be penalized. Traders will have to pay the minimum amount for opening the Multilateral Trading facility account, and they have to maintain a minor balance at all times.
Why Gas SEBI Introduced A New Margin Rule?
SEBI has introduced new rules to protect retail investors from purchasing difficulty. The intended goal of SEBI behind new margin rules is to bring down the difficult market situation and avoid huge fluctuation in stock markets during extreme stress. The new margin rules are likely to bring transparency to the market; it is expected to strengthen the market’s safety.
Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe
The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.
Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.
After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.
The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.
High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.
In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.
This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.
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