Lonar – A unique tourist destination

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Crater and Lake

Lonar is a small town located about 140 kms from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. About 50000 years ago it was stuck by a meteorite with tremendous force. The impact was such that not only the meteorite was completely vaporized but it also created a huge crater which today measures about 1.8 Km in diameter and about 150 mt in depth. This is only the third such crater in the world and hence this site is extremely important for Geologists and experts who visit from all over the world to study rock formations and  to collect samples to understand what could have happened 50000 years back when the impact took place. Today this crater is filled with highly saline water of alkaline nature. The water is not suitable for any living things either plants or any other type of living creatures. Only a special kind of algae survives these conditions giving the water a blue-green color. Lot of information about this place is available on the internet and hence instead of repeating it here I would like to share experiences of my recent trip which may be of help to others who want to plan a visit to this place.

Last week I joined a group of 50 enthusiasts from Pune on the trip to Lonar. What made this trip special was presence of a senior scientist from ‘Geological Survey of India’, who provided important information about this event and explained various signs in rock formation around the crater which helped us to understand this unique phenomenon.IMG_2487c

We started at around 0630 in the morning in a large bus and reached Lonar at about 0530 pm via Ahemadnagar and Aurangabad. Road from Pune to Ahemadnagar was very good, from Ahemandnagar to Aurangabad was okay and from Aurangabad to Lonar was extremely bad. This last stretch of the trip rattled every bone in the body as well as every bolt in the bus.

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Daitya Sudan Temple

We stayed at MTDC resort at Lonar. The resort was fairly okay, of quality one can expect from MTDC. Food was simple but good.

Next day we took a tour around the crater first from top of the rim on bus and then after climbing down, from the lake surface level through the dense forest. In this forest there are a no. of old temples of Lord Ram and Hanuman. IMG_2491cSome on them have intricate carvings and some are just cave like structures. There was however no maintenance and no sign of any regular religious activity. On reaching the lake we tested the water using ‘litmus paper’ which changed it’s color immediately on dipping in water. This water also emits foul smell in summer due to sulfurous content and decomposition of algae. We again climbed up the slope and visited ‘Gomukh’ which is a steady stream of normal water supposed to have medicinal and spiritual value. After a good lunch at MTDC resort we went to visit ‘Daitya-Sudan’ temple, which is an very old Load Vishu temple with intricate carvings. After this last stop we started on our long way back to Pune.

Lonar is not a ‘normal’ tourist site. It is definitely not worth visiting as a lone destination as we did but without doubt is a place to cover with other popular tourist places like Aurangabad. Considering road condition, taking your vehicle will be strenuous both to you and your vehicle.

In-spite of limited entertainment options, one must visit this place which is famous all over the world and gets visits from tourist and scientist from different parts of the world. So much so that even small kids of the town have learned to say some English words like ‘Welcome’, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Thank you’.

Keep your expectations in tune with the specialty of this place and you will not be disappointed.

How to use technology to preserve your important documents

With easy availability of internet and a plethora of free to use softwares and other net based technologies it is possible and hence highly advisable to preserve your important documents. The other goal is to have them available any time, any where as long as you have access to internet.

Some of the documents which are commonly required are PAN card, Election card, Driving license, Adhaar Card, Insurance Policies, Birth / Death / Domiciliary certificates etc.

The idea is to scan these documents and convert them to either image files or PDF files. These files are then uploaded on free net based cloud services like Google drive or Drop box. Once this is accomplished you can access these documents with an internet connection, download them or print them.

Cloud based services give you free storage space on their servers. The size of free space is between 5 and 7 GB which is more than sufficient to store a whole lot of your documents.

Storing documents on cloud services could pose security issue as theoretically anyone who has access to the cloud gets access to your documents (access to cloud itself is restricted by password protection). To take care of this aspect we add a second layer of  security to our documents. Prior to uploading to cloud, we encrypt our scanned documents with encryption software, again freely available on the web. The encrypted files cannot be accessed without the password which you have assigned to them at the time of creation.

Once this is done your documents will remain in the cloud storage as long as you want and will be available to you 24×7 with an internet connection.

Summary of these simple steps is:

a)  Storing document on cloud
Identify document -> Scan to PDF or image file -> Encrypt the scanned file -> Upload encrypted document to the cloud service.

b) Accessing document on cloud
Open your cloud service account -> open the required document using your password

Some of the free resources available on internet are:

Cloud storage providers:
1) Dropbox – http://www.dropbox.com
2) Google drive – https://tools.google.com/dlpage/drive
Encryption software – Axcrypt download from http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/

Our PM…….. a village woman?

It was reported in media that Nawaz Sharif, Prime minister of Pakistan was insulted by USA during his recent visit to that country. Whether this story is true or fiction one does not know but if it is true, then in return for this humiliation he got from USA billions of dollar in assistance for his country.

Our Prime minister Manmohan Singh was too humiliated by Vice President of his own party over the issue of granting cover to corrupt politicians. He too caved in but what has he got in return? A big zero. This kind of spinelessness, lack of moral power is the hallmark of Indian politicians and bureaucrats and reflects in our dismal global standing.

Pakistanis have time and again proved to be suave political strategists and have extracted best price for their country from USA and the world. (How much of this has gone into coffers of their politicians, military and intelligence organisations is an open secret.) India with it’s false notion of a great democracy, with a so called non-aligned status and with it’s hollow moral standing has repeatedly fallen flat on it’s face as far as world politics is concerned. It has no real friends and has managed to ring itself with hostile neighbors. Even countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka which were our friends in past do not trust us and respect us.

Why to talk about a global role when the country cannot play a regional role effectively? Even with our enhanced status as a better economy, we are unable to make any mark on the world politics. USA sidelines us in Afghanistan, small countries like Norway play important role in Sri Lanka and Myanmar and Bangladesh and even Nepal have been attracted by China.

No wonder that PM of a failed state like Pakistan ridicules our PM as a village woman. Leaving aside the ridicule part of it what Sharif meant was that our politicians are naive, illiterate and pushovers in world politics. His remark was directed towards our PM but was meant for the entire Indian political class in general.

What we need is an entire generation of new political and administrative leadership to start a new beginning. We need people who are nationalist to a fault and go to any extent to protect our country and enhance it’s standing in the world. During this process they may have to use an iron hand for bringing in a change in the culture of laziness, indiscipline and selfishness set in all levels in our society. There is no other soft option to set right the rotten state of affair in our country.

Do we see such an option, who has proven record, available to us?  And if we do, do we have courage to embrace it?

Has USA become a killing machine for Pakistan?

USA has recently killed the head of Pakistani Taliban in a drone attack. They earlier had killed Osama Bin Laden in the heart of Pakistan. It is a brilliant game played by Pakistan. They have engaged USA as their contract killer to eliminate characters who become a liability. Pakistanis then sheds crocodile tears to gain sympathy from domestic public and prevent wrath of other terrorists rampantly operating in their country. They also curse USA for abusing their sovereign rights etc which helps them maintain pressure on USA for continuous supply of money and arms. USA on the other hand keeps on gloating about having killed some terrorists but at the same time looses it’s popularity with Pakistani population and takes all the blame from the remaining terrorists which helps Pakistan to continue with this game.

This plan devised by Pakistan ensure them continuous supply of US dollars and arms and sympathies of other liberal countries of Europe. It is a  brilliant  but risky strategy in which Pakistan has become an expert.

There is little doubt that Pakistan provides vital inputs about terrorists to USA to get them killed. Pakistan has managed to play this double game for a very long time and has so far got away with it. They even do not mind killing of innocent civilians in the process as it gives Pakistani military and intelligence forces an opportunity to extract some more US dollars in the name of ‘blood money’. The home grown terrorists are a kind of money making machine for Pakistan. By posing a threat to USA, they become US targets and at appropriate time Pakistan reveals their locations to USA to get them killed and score brownie points with USA.

Successive US governments have allowed this game to go on unabetted. What kind of blackmailing or corrupting power does Pakistan has over US government officials is not clear but what is clear that without it, it will not be possible to manipulate world’s only superpower for this long.

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