Indians Swallow Raw Fish to Cure Asthma

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India is known for the wide variety of folk remedies for various ailments, and one of the most popular right now is the raw-fish-swallowing therapy practiced by the Goud family, in Hyderabad.

Asthma is one of the most serious respiratory conditions a person can have, and since conventional medicine doesn’t offer a permanent cure, many are willing to try any kinds of treatment, no matter how bizarre. One of these is the fish swallowing cure offered by the Goud family, for the last 166 years. Every year, during the month of June, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Hyderabad to try this unusual remedy, on the day of Mrigashira Karthi. Around 500 volunteers administer the miracle cure: live 2-inch to 3-inch long murrel fish which have been fed a drop of the secret herbal formula the Goud’s claim cures asthma within three years.

Ingredients for the medicine are collected two-three months before the big day, mixed the day before using water from the Goud family’s well, and administered to asthma sufferers free of charge. The patient is advised not to eat or drink anything four hours before swallowing the raw fish and two hours after. Also, he must be aware that he must come back for the cure three consecutive years, if he wants to get rid of the asthma permanently.

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India’s Ram Ram Bank Gives Whole New Meaning to Banking

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It has no guards, no locks, offers no interest or credit schemes, and doesn’t event deal in money. Still, India’s unusual Ram Ram Bank, in New Delhi, serves over 5,000 happy customers, with more signing up every day.

Ram Ram Bank was established 25 years ago, by Tewari, a retired school teacher from Sitapur, who quit his job in 1983, after his guru advised him to devote his life to Lord Ram. He got the idea of opening a bank where people could deposit their “Ram naam” (pieces of paper with the Lord’s name scribbled hundreds of times). He didn’t need any security, since the writings were of no use to mere mortals, and all he had to do was deposit them and ocasionally take them to be displayed at a temple in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram.

Scribbling Ram naam notes has always been very popular in India. Some people say it helps them connect with God, others say the faith helps them work harder to achieve their goals, but all of them claim that writing Ram’s name just makes them feel better. In the past, everyone who wrote these holy notes traveled to Ayodhya themselves and deposited them at the temple, but in this day and age fewer people find the time to do it anymore. That’s where the Ram Ram Bank comes into play. All a person has to do is write his Ram naams every day and send them straight to the bank, or hand them over to one of the many volunteers around the city, at their own convenience.The pieces of paper are deposited in a small room, and taken to Ayodhya every six months.

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This Is What I Call a Smoking Car

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In celebration of the World Anti-Tobacco Day, campaigners in Mumbai, India, have created an impressive life-size car model from 200,000 cigarettes. The smokable installation was placed on display in a Mumbai shopping mall, where it attracted the attention of everyone who passed by. But it was the message in the background that really caught my eye; apparently an average smoker will make short work of the 200,000 cigarettes in just a few years…

India is currently the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco, after China. At least one fifth of India’s population (roughly 241 million people) consume tobacco in some form.

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Indian Sadhu Has Kept His Right Hand Up for the Last 38 Years

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Sadhu Amar Bharati is an Indian holy man who claims he has kept his right hand raised in the air since 1973. Now, 38 years later, his hand is just a useless piece of skin and bone, but has become a symbol for Shiva worshipers around India.

Until 1970, Amar Bharati was an average middle-class man who lived a normal life. He had a job, a home, a wife and three children, but none of that mattered when he woke up one morning and decided to leave everything behind and dedicate his life to serving the Hindu god Shiva. He began wandering the roads of India dressed in his simple Sadhu clothes and carrying only his trusty Trishula (a metal trident). After three years, in 1973, Amar realized he was still too connected to the fading luxury and pleasures of mortal life, and decided to separate himself from them by raising his right arm and keeping it raised. 38 years later, his arm is still up and he couldn’t use it, even if he wanted to.

Other sources claim Amar Bharati felt disillusioned by all the fighting going on in the world, and decided to raise his right arm for peace. A respected Sadhu at the Kumbh Mela, in Haridwar, Amar has inspired other Sadhus to raise their arms for peace and harmony, and some of them have kept them raised for the last seven, thirteen, even 25 years. But doing something like this doesn’t just mean giving up the functionality of an important body part, it also implies dealing with a lot of pain. Bharati himself says he went through excruciating pain for a long time, but not anymore. That’s because his arm is completely atrophied and stuck in a bizarre, semi-vertical position, a useless bony structure ending in thick, twisted nails that he never clips.

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Indian Woodcarvers Give the Skateboard an Oriental Twist

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What do you get if you combine the old fashioned skateboard with the talent of a dozen Indian woodcarvers? The answer can be admired in the photos below.

All commercially-available skateboards are artistically designed, but companies usually opt for spray paint, abstract graphics and prints to personalize the board. German curator Tobias Megerle teamed up with a dozen traditional woodcarvers from Mumbai to give the skateboard a brand new make-over inspired by traditional Indian patterns.

Megerle remembers “The very first time I drove past I was magically attracted to the carved wooden objects in Mahim, all the open workshops, the woodcarvers sitting on the floor with their traditional tools, working on their items, the whole atmosphere”. As an artist he wanted to do something with their work, and after several visits studying their craft, he picked the good old skateboard to undergo the carvers’ artistic treatment.

Tobias Megerle’s art project was named Final Cut, and its main goal was to keep the skateboards functional even after Mumbai’s carvers were done with them. The results are truly amazing, and the German curator hopes his project will lift India’s woodcarvers from the state of craftsmen to that of artists.

These traditionally carved Indian skateboards are currently on exhibit at The LOFT at Lower Parel, in Mumbai, where they will remain until April 12.

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The Incredible Story of Nek Chand’s Rock Garden

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The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is a 40-acre park full of plazas, waterfalls and thousands of unique creatures made from recycled materials. It’s a truly impressive sight, but even more so is the story of how Nek Chand spent four decades creating it and how he kept it a secret, for years.

In 1958, Nek Chand was a road inspector for the Public Works Department, and was making rafts and boats to be sail upon the recently created Sukhna Lake, but peddle boats were soon made available for rent by authorities, and his craft was banned. This allowed Nek to devote more time to his passion for rocks and stones, and he began gathering them from the nearby Shivalik Hills, and the Sukhna Cho, Patiala Rao and Ghaggar rivers. It was around this time that the Swiss architect Le Corbusier was asked to design the city of Chandigarh, the first planned city of India, and the small villages around the area were demolished. This provided Nek Chand with plenty of material for his increasing collection of rocks.

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At 94, Indian Ramjit Raghav Is World’s Oldest Father

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94-year-old Ramajit Raghav proudly claims the title of world’s oldest father, after his 54-year-old wife Shakuntala Devi gave birth to their first baby.

Both Ramajit and Shakuntala are equally happy and excited, considering baby Vikaramjeet as “God’s gift” and planning a second child for next year, although their ages are  past the normal fertility period.

Former wrestler, Ramajit strongly believes that he’s health will keep him around for many years, to see his soon grow up: “I will die only if a black snake bites me and that is very unlikely. Visit me after ten years and you will find me in the same appearance. My daily diet comprises three litres of milk, half a kilo of almonds and half a kilo of ghee [clarified butter].”

Mr. Raghav actually claims he is over 100 years old, but pension records state he is “only” 94. Still, doctors say that, although it can’t be ruled out, having a baby at this age is a very remote possibility. 

The former record holder was also an Indian man, Nanu Ram Jogi, who became a father for his 21st soon at the age of 90 in 2007.

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6-Year-Old Girl Is World’s Youngest Yoga Instructor

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Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and the benefits it has for the mind and body are unquestionable, so its ever-growing popularity is not surprising . But what is very surprising is  6-year-old Shruti Pandey, who has been a successful Yoga teacher for two years now.

Interestingly enough, she is not the only “miracle” in her family, as her older brother, Harsh Kumar, mastered all 84 yoga positions by the age of five, making it into the Limca Book of Records and becoming a source of inspiration and motivation for Shruti. But he has never been interested in becoming a teacher.

67 year-old Hari Chetan, Shruti’s instructor, who set up the Swami Brahmachand Saraswati Kaivalya Dham Ashram 35 years ago, is simply amazed not only with her flexibility, which many may find normal for a child this age, but also with her talent and determination. She proved to be e vary quick learner and as she mastered this art for herself, it didn’t come as a surprise when she started teaching others, in classes of around 30 adults that start at 5:30am. Everyone is amazed with her talent and the patience she puts in for everything and every one.

“The best thing about Shruti is she tries to provide an alternative position for the complicated ones that are difficult for an older person like me to do. She’s very patient,” says 90-year-old retired teacher Swami Bhanu.

After only three months of attending Shruti’s classes, 48-year-old businessman Lokendra Pal Singh says: “I have noticed a positive change in my life. I used to be short-tempered, but now I’m able to control my anger to quite an extent and it’s all thanks to a little six-year old.”

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India Displays Most Impressive Cake Ever, in Bangalore

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I’ve always been a big fan of cool cakes, but the one Indian chefs have just created, in Bangalore city, really takes the cake.

Showcased during the 36th Annual Cake Exhibition, the sweet replica of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is definitely this year’s star of the show. It’s made out of approximately five tons of sugar, and at 22 feet long and 14 feet wide, it’s about to enter the record books as the biggest cake ever made in India. A team of chefs and food artists have been working around the clock to get this perfect replica of the iconic Mumbai hotel ready in time for Christmas, as a tribute to the landmark attacked by terrorists, in 2008.

The impressive-looking cake can be admired between December 17 – 27, during the cake show, in Bangalore.

 

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Twinkle Dwivedi – The Girl Who Cries Blood

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For the last three years, doctors have been trying to figure out what makes Twinkle Dwivedi‘s body ooze blood through her eyes, feet and even her head, but she remains a medical mystery.

When Twinkle’s case first appeared in the international media, many hurried to call her a fake, but after countless tests and procedures, including blood transfusions, doctors are still baffled by her strange bleeding. A group of medical specialists, led by dr. George Buchanan, recently traveled to North India to investigate the 14-year-old Twinkle, but all they have been able to say was that “she really suffers from a condition we have never seen before.”

The young teen remembers her disorder first appeared when she was just 11, and her classmates started mocking her and calling her disgusting. Although her bleeding didn’t hurt at all, she felt scared and alone, because no one would come near her. At first she would cry when she saw her clothes soaked with blood, but now she just keeps quiet, and prays she will eventually get better.

Despite her parents efforts, who took her to see the best doctors, Twinkle Dwivedi still bleeds from her eyes and pores, up to 14 times a day.

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Indian Toddler Plays with Deadly Snakes instead of Toys

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It’s not everyday that you get to see a six-months-old girl playing with full frown pythons, but for Sidhi Siddharth Sinune this kind of snakes are everyday toys.

Because he can’t afford to buy his young daughter any toys, Sidhi’s farmer father, who tries to make ends meet as a snake catcher, admits he brings the dangerous reptiles home and lets her play with them. So while he and his wife are working in the fields, Sidhi spends her days in the lovely company of a creature that could kill her by constriction, or by swallowing her whole.

Sidhi’s father says she develops an unusual bond with the snakes, and that the reptiles love to play with her just as much as she loves playing with them. They let her squeeze them and even bithe on their tails with her gums .

While I completely understand how costly children’s toys can be, couldn’t this man carve or make something for his young daughter, instead of leaving her with a deadly python?

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Woman Claims She Spent 78 Years without Drinking Water

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Narasamma, a 92-year-old woman from Bangalore, India, says he hasn’t had a drink of water since she was 14-years old.

Narasamma is completely aware of how bizarre her claim may be for some people, and that is precisely why she never told anyone, but her closest family members, about her non-existent water drinking habits. The 92-year-old told Mid Day she just never feels the need to drink water, and that her body works well enough with the two cups of coffee she drinks every day.

But the old woman claims things weren’t always like this, on the contrary. When she was 14 years old, Narasamma developed a weird condition that caused her throat to get extremely dry, and she would drink up to 10 liters of water a day. That, in turn caused her body to swell up to the point where she had no more control over her limbs. Scared, her parents took her to Ayurvedic doctors, who suggested a 48-day-long steam therapy that would help her eliminate excess water through sweat. She got better, but after her ailment returned, she vowed never to drink water again.

Asked how she lives her life without water, Narasamma said she relies only on Ayurvedic medicine (because pills require her to drink water), and wears wet clothes, during the summer, to survive the heat and regulate her body’s water level. She only eats rice, dry fruits and nuts,  spends five hours a day praying, and fasts at least 10 days a month.

In the year 2000, Narasamma went on a 36-day tour of northern and southern India, with no food and water. She claims she sipped just 3 cups of coffee throughout her entire journey. Doctors say water is indispensable to the human body, but in rare cases our organism finds different ways of getting the water it needs. To prove her claim, the old woman would have to be thoroughly tested.

Narasamma’s claim may seem preposterous, but a few months ago,  Indian Yogi Prahlad Jani startled scientists when he proved he can survive without eating or drinking water.

 

The Weird Nose Plugs of the Apatani Women

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Women of the Apatani Tribe, in India’s Apatani plateau, are famous for the bizarre nose plugs they’ve been wearing since times long passed.

The Apatani, or Tani, are a tribal group of about 60,000 members, often praised for their extremely efficient agriculture, performed without animals or machinery. They have no written record of their history, and traditions are passed down orally, from generation to generation.

One tradition that is quickly fading into the mist of time is the traditional Apatani nose plugs, worn by most of the elder women in the tribe. There was once a time when every woman had to wear these bizarre accessories, but since the middle of the 20th century, the custom began to die. According to the Apatani, the nose plug was born as a way of protecting the women of the tribe. Apparently, Apatani women have always been considered the most beautiful among the Arunachal tribes, their villages were constantly raided by neighboring tribes, and the women kidnapped.

To make themselves unattractive to the other tribes, Apatani women began wearing these hideous nose plugs and tattooing their faces with a horizontal line from the forehead to the tip of the nose, and five lines on their chins. Let’s face it, that turns off any raider in search of beautiful women to have his way with.

But the tradition of the Apatani nose plug hasn’t been practiced by any woman born after 1970, and as time passes, this custom will probably soon be forgotten. Well, at least we still have the Ethiopian lip plug.

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Indian Yogi Proves He Can Survive on Air Alone

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Prahlad Jani, the amazing Yogi who claims he hasn’t eaten or drunk and fluids, for the last 70 years, was put to the test, by Indian specialists, and proved his claims were honest.

82-year-old Prahlad Jani, who says he has survived the last seven decades on heavenly nectar, poured through a hole in his palette, by a goddess, is now a confirmed unique phenomenon. Prahlad, who was first tested, by scientists, in 2003, has now returned to the same hospital, to undergo a new series of investigations.

Between April 28 and May 6, the incredible Yogi was supervized by 30 video cameras and a team of Indian scientists. During this time he didn’t eat a thing, and only used water to shower and clean his mouth. He also never passed any urine or other waste. Though studies showed urine in his blatter, at one point, it mysteriously disappeared.

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Jallikattu – India’s Answer to Spanish Bullfighting

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In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, people don’t need red capes and sharp swords to tame bulls, they do it with their bare hands, in a sport called Jallikkattu.

The ancient sport of Jallikattu pits crowds of brave young men against angry bulls who will tear anyone apart, if they get in the way. The name of the sport comes from the words “salli”, which translates as “coin”, and “kadu”, which means tying the coin to the horns of the raging bull. The goal of Jallikattu players is to tame the bull long enough to claim the prize.

But that’s is a lot harder than it sounds, especially since the bulls used for Jallikattu are extremely aggressive, and the players aren’t allowed to defend themselves with anything else but their bare hands. The bravest of the young men will try to grab the hump of the bull, and hang on, while the beast will most often grab him with its long horns and plunge him into the ground.

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