Gateway to India
As the curtain goes up on our own Surajkund mela,
the city is all dressed up…
Parbina Rashid

About a month back when we met artist N.K. Sathi, he promised us our very own Sanchi Stupa. He lived up to his promise and gave us not just Sanchi's Stupa, but a whole beautiful village with mud huts, Madhubani-painted walls, shikharas, floral statues and a beautiful terracotta entrance gate.

Of course, we deserve it. As a city, we are going to have our first-ever national crafts mela, housing as many as 150 craftsmen and 300 performing artistes at Kalagram and mind it, this is only the beginning. If the secretary, Home-cum-Cultural Affairs Ram Niwas's word is anything to go by, this fair would soon grow bigger than Surajkund Crafts Mela. And, knowing that Ram Niwas had been associated with the Surajkund fair for four years in the capacity of the mela administrator while he was the director, Haryana Tourism, and Sathi, the creative head of this Chandigarh National Crafts Mela, with his experience at the Surajkund fair, we indeed have scope to do better.

The stage is all set for the big day. Colourful flags welcome you as soon you hit the Manimajra road. And, as it takes you nearer, beats of drum, dhol, thaal coming out from the venue makes you stop and soak in the festivity.

Jammu and Kashmir is the theme state and its presence is already felt all over the place. And it's not just those colourful Shikaras you will find near the entry points, or the food stall for Wazwan delicacies. Many folk music, dance and drama groups are gearing up for Saturday evening for their big performances. We meet Basheer Ahmed Shah and his troupe, who are representing the Damali Dance Centre in Kashmir. Shah says his troupe will be presenting a dance drama using folk instruments like dhol, thal and an instrument called Alam, which belonged to a famous peer in Kashmir. Another troupe, Abdul Gaffar Dar Kanihari and party, will present folk music and dance. Just one disappointment from the Kashmir side, Omar Abdullah would not be able to make it for the inauguration.

We were told by the authority concerned that about 3 lakh visitors are expected not just from the city and neighbouring states but abroad too, which will indeed give Chandigarh's tourism sector its much-needed boost. And for us visitors, we will be able to interact directly with craftsmen, most of whom are either state or national award holders.

Rough & tiff

What's an event without a little tiff between the authorities and participants? Well, the press conference at Kalagram, held by home secretary Ram Niwas, saw representatives of the Jammu and Kashmir Academy for Arts, Culture and Language accusing the organizers, the Chandigarh Administration and the North Zone Cultural Centre, of forgetting to mention the academy's name in the press briefing and hoardings. They even threatened to pull out!

Height of ecstasy

The fair does have a firang angle to it, which comes in the form of a sky dining experience at a height of 164 feet, courtesy the DITS brought in from Belgium. A team from Begium was also present at the press conference.

Punjabi flavour

The cause is far more important than the effect. It wouldn't change, even if the outcome does, even if the switch has to be made from one art form to another or several artists try to duplicate the original or the art form has no buyers. "Nothing can change the aim. It would always be to popularise the culture of Punjab through elements that are so integral to it," says Abninder Singh Grewal, who, for the Chandigarh National Crafts Mela has created the scene of a Punjab fair. Elephant, horses, bullock cart, youth playing Gatka while sitting on horses, Nihangs exhibiting their warfare skills, everything has been created using fibre glass with utmost perfection that dilutes the difference between the real and the surreal.

"It took my team and me six months to conceptualise and materialise the entire idea. We worked and reworked many times on different figurines till we didn't get the desired shape. The base material used to make sculptures is plaster of paris. Also a part of the scene would be girls doing giddha and boys, bhangra,” adds Abninder, the owner of Gary Arts, Mohali. One can place the orders at the Craftsmela as well for anything that is the part of the concept, eventhe eight feet tall elephant. — Ashima Sehajpal

Khana khazana
Besides karahi paneer and butter chicken, you can even
savour a dosa at this Sher-e-Punjab
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Into the hushed and rushed lane of Mohali, also termed as the food hub, Phase V has almost all the famous eatries of the area. And in the same line of dhabas, grocery and sweet shops stands Sher-e-Punjab, a dhaba known for its variety of non-veg and more famous for its dal makhani, karahi paneer, butter chicken and lachha parantha.

Run by Jagjit Singh, this dhaba made its humble beginning a decade ago. Says Jagjit, “We began the dhaba with limited resources and few men, but today we stand with a group of men and a host of guests.” Ask him why the name Sher-e-Punjab, when we can find many others with the same name in the city and on the highway too.

In a philosophical answer he says, “Makki di roti is available everywhere, but the taste is not the same, there may be many other Sher-e-Punjab’s but what we serve is peculiar to us and taste unmatching.”

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner here you can find youngsters and families trying out a variety of victuals and an interesting thing in the menu here is, amongst all the Punjabi fare here you can find a mention of dosa. Yes, they serve dosa and only dosa amongst other things better known to Punjabi kitchens. Ask him why not anything else and he says, “Dosa is one thing that is healthy and most people like the taste. Though Chinese is quite popular, but it’s not necessary that everyone would like it, so we have included dosa, instead of any other snack.”

Into the business of food from quite a time now, he says apart from the right mix of ingredients, shopping of raw material is very important.

“Before any other thing quality is on our mind. We prepare limited quantity of food so that every day, the dishes are freshly prepared. Our customers also know our way of working, we wouldn’t compromise on quality to increase our sales by few plates.” He further adds, “I make sure to go myself and shop for the raw material.”

With a constant trickle of customers the secret of their tasty food is, recipes from their forefathers and cooking control in their hands. “Though we have cooks to help us, but we cook ourselves also,” says Jagjit.

Though choices are galore, you can try rogan josh, butter chicken, lachha parantha, dal makhini or karahi paneer.

Bon Appetit
Yoghurt yo-ho
Kandla Nijhowne

Govinda aala re....aalaa, zara matki sambhaal brij-baala... is the buzz of town on Gokul Ashtmi when the dahi-handi is to be smashed by groups of young men and boys forming a human pyramid! The ceremony actually re-enacts with great fervour, the childhood pranks of Lord Krishna, who had a special affinity towards milk, dahi and butter. They were prized food, even then and remain so today, though butter won’t come in our list of healthy foods anymore! Well! Can you read the writing on the handi? Yogurt rates high among WHS-The World's Healthiest Foods, being immensely beneficial for good health, so long as it is prepared from low-fat milk. In fact, yogurt is one step ahead of milk because its active cultures help digest the lactose in milk that can cause bloating or an upset stomach in some people. By and large, yogurt is consumed in the form of raita, lassi, or on its own, but it can be transformed into some magical dishes, which bring out its creamy texture.


750 gm plain yogurt
¾ -1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp rose water (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Dash of ground nutmeg
Few threads of saffron

Bundle up the yogurt in a clean muslin cloth and tie a knot. Hang from a kitchen hook with a bowl placed underneath to collect the dripping whey. In 5-6 hours you will be left with a thick, creamy quantity of curds. (The whey is full of nutrients, so don't throw it away! It can be used for cooking a daal or kneading chappati dough) Beat the residual yogurt with the sugar and all the other ingredients. Chill for 2-3 hours and spoon into individual glass or silver bowls, Garnish with glace cherries or slivers of pistachio.

Garlic-herb yogurt dip

600 gm plain, non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper

Drain some whey out of the yogurt, though not so thoroughly as in the previous recipe. Mix the yogurt, parsley, garlic, herbs, salt and black pepper together in a medium-sized bowl. Chill until ready to serve. This is a perfect, healthy accompaniment to strips of coloured bell-peppers, cucumber, baby carrots, broccoli, snowpeas, spring onions and wedges of pita bread.

Dahi ke Kebab

1 litre yoghurt
100 gm cottage cheese, grated
1 medium chopped onion
1 ½ tbsp chopped ginger
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Cornflour to dust
1 tbsp green chillies, minced
2 tbsp chopped raisins
½ tsp cardamom powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

Hang yoghurt, preferably overnight. Saute the onion and ginger in minimum oil till it sweats. Cool and mix all the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning and shape into tikkis. Shallow fry and serve them as a starter with chutney. You may even shape the mixture into walnut-sized round koftas, fry and submerge them gently into a prepared gravy for a main dish.


For people who love chocolate and love travel, what could be better than a chocolate museum? The members and editors of have compiled a list of the world's top 10 best chocolate museums.

w The Cologne Chocolate Museum, Cologne, Germany: Located on the banks of Rhine River, this futuristic building gives visitors three floors of chocolate history to ponder, but the real centre of attention here is the famous chocolate fountain. Museum staff dip waffles in the hot liquid for salivating guests.

w Musee les Secrets du Chocolat, Geispolsheim, France: Complete with theatre, tea room and a gift shop that sells chocolate pasta, chocolate vinegar, chocolate beer and decorative antique chocolate molds, this museum is every bit as elegant as the country it represents.

w Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate, Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, Victoria, Australia:This facility houses such tongue-in-cheek exhibits asstatue of David replicas, a Dame Edna mural and an entire chocolate town. Aside from the eye candy, visitors are treated to real candy with a chocolate sample upon arrival.

w Choco-Story Chocolate Museum, Bruges, Belgium: In addition to dedicating a section of the museum to the health benefits of chocolate, this museum also houses a quirky collection of chocolate tins that pay tribute to the Royal family. w Museu de la Xocolata; Barcelona, Spain: The sculptures at this museum are so impressive you'll forget you're looking at chocolate. Subjects range from copies of serious religious works to whimsical cartoon characters.

w The Chocolate Museum (Musee du Chocolat), St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada: This museum pays tribute to the Ganong Bros who were candy makers in the area and who have the distinction of introducing the world to the iconic heart-shaped chocolate box, many of which, not surprisingly, are on display here.

w Choco-Story Chocolate Museum, Prague, Czech Republic: Chocolate may be a feast for the palate, but this museum is truly a feast for the eyes. With collections of stunning antique chocolate wrappers and demonstrations of the chocolate making process, it's hard to know what to look at first.

w Candy Americana Museum, Wilbur Chocolate; Lititz,Pennsylvania: Started when the wife of the company president began collecting chocolate memorabilia at flea markets and antique shows. This over-30-year-old-museum still admits visitors for free.

w Chocolate Museum, Jeju-do Island, South Korea: While the chocolate workshop, Bean to Bar showroom, and art gallery are all impressive, perhaps this museum's biggest draw is their working San Francisco-style trolley car.

w Nestle Chocolate Museum, Mexico City, Mexico: Known more for its modern design and the speed with which it was built (by most estimates 75 days from start to finish), this futuristic building is an exhibit in itself. — Reuters

How green is your food?

With dishes rolling out from the kitchens of one of the leading cordon bleus of the capital and 'Green Food' as the special attraction, the 6th Gourmet Specialty Week will be a delight for Delhiites.

Touted to be a mouth watering treat for the foodies in the Capital, the six-day culinary event which started on October 22 will conclude on October 27."Indian cuisines and healthy organic food would be the special attraction in the gourmet week as they are in vogue. This is a great platform for chefs to come in open and interact with people in general. This is the 6th year and more chefs have come forward this year to participate," said chef Vivek Saggar from Food Art. The event will include culinary demonstrations by executive chefs from leading hotels of the capital for the public, which will compete with one another for the top honours.The event will culminate in a multi-cuisine Green Dinner celebrating the International Chef's Day on October 30, where on the platter would be organic, trendy and healthy cuisine.

“The Chef Awards are well-known amongst industry professionals. This is a great platform to recognise the culinary excellence of these gourmet professionals," Anil Bhandari, chairman of the organising committee, Chef Awards, said. — PTI

Vegan delight
Tribune News Service

Always wishing to pamper their kids with what they desire; mothers want to make sure their kids eat healthy, nutritious snacks that don’t clash with their values. With this in mind Britannia has introduced vegetarian cakes!

Soft, juicy and filled with real fruit bits, Britannia veg cakes are everything a cake should be; minus the eggs! Additionally the fact they’re packed with nutrition, has zero cholesterol and come with hygienic packaging that boosts it shelf life to three months, so you have a wholesome and healthy snack option, that kids can’t stop asking for and mom’s can’t say no to.

On the launch of Britannia’s veg cakes, Anuradha Narasimhan, category director – Health & Wellness, Britannia Industries Ltd. said, “Over one third of our country is pure vegetarian and our consumer research showed that mothers feel guilty about denying their children cakes. Mothers were looking for a solution where they could fulfill their children’s desire to eat cakes, yet keep their vegetarian family values intact. At Britannia, we are always looking to develop unique products that are both healthy and enjoyable, so we developed these cakes totally without eggs.”

Musical journey
Pak artiste Noor Zehra Kazim talks about Sagar Veena,
classical music and more...
S.D Sharma

Practically there exits no partition or boundaries for the devout musicians and artists of Pakistan with India since they share the common bonds of immortal elements of laya, sur, taal and melodic music which transcend the cross-border political considerations.” opines Lahore-based classical music maestro Noor Zehra Kazim.

Coming from a literary musical family, Noor Zehra excelled as an exponent of Sagar Veena, the musical instrument invented by Raza Kazmi, a philosopher, musicologist and top legal luminary in Lahore. Inspired by the environment at the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts, established by her illustrious abbajaan, Raza Kazmi, she, after competing her senior Cambridge, learnt the rudiments of music and playing Sagar Veena. Noor, at 14, went for advanced training in music at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and later at the Ali Akbar School of Music, California. Somehow, during her long stay there, she failed to reconcile with the environment not conducive to learning the serene, sublime and scared Hindustani classical music.

Back home in Lahore, it was Ustad Shareef Khan Saheb whose blessed tutelage awakened her dormant abilities into fruitful artistic creations. After her maiden Sagar Veena recital for Lahore TV in 1993, she never looked back. She frequently performed at concerts, including abroad. She is married to Ali Kazmi a senior bureaucrat and prolific writer. In the city for a performance at the INT Sangeet Sammelan Saturday, she shared her views on her musical journey.

How do you compare Sagar Veena to Indian Vichitar Veena, sitar or sarod?

Vocal music is close to human voice and with this concept Sagar Veena has been designed and developed by my father Raza Kazmi, who is at it for the past 40 years and still in the process of improving it. It has 10 strings with 4 -5 octaves of swaras against conventional three, besides special resonance box embellishing melody. It is rather challenging for a performer to articulate the richness of emitted sound.

How artistes can contribute to improve relations between our two countries?

The magical power of music can do miracles in bringing art-loving people closer to each other. See in all humility, music stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shanker, Bhimsen Joshi, Jagjit Singh and others are adored like our Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali and others are heart-throbs of many in India. Musical relationships dilon ke muamle hein aur rooh ko shaad karte hain.

How youngsters receive classical music?

Most youngsters are into rock and pop music. You see, I had been practicing classical music for the past 40 years and groomed my sons Ali Noor and Ali Hazoor in this stream but they opted for rock music and their Noori Rock Band is a crowd-puller in Pakistan and their albums are hits. So much so that during Ramzan there is not much band business but they recorded a Naad, my mother Kishwar Raza used to recite and that too proved a hit. Even the radio and TV channels encourage such ventures obviously due commercial considerations. Like your Harivallabh Festival, an annual All-Pakistan Music Conference is held in October at Lahore, where classical music competitions are held and scholarships awarded. The government gives financial help but not the congenial environment for music to grow.

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