Ancient wisdom: Learn more about Chanakya, Vidur and Indian culture at Banaras Hindu University

BHU’s  Bharat Adhyayan Kendra  will invite students of various departments in batches to spread awareness of ancient art and knowledge by holding a series of lectures and seminars.

Do you know what Chanakya Neeti is, or for that matter Vidur Neeti or sage Kamandak’s treatise on military techniques and warfare management?

If not, enrol at Bharat Adhyayan Kendra (BAK) of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi to learn more about ancient Indian streams of knowledge.

BAK aims to promote Sanskrit as well as ‘sanskriti’ (culture) and will initiate professors and students into Chanakya Neeti, Vidur Neeti and Vedic sciences and other skills and techniques.

The centre will invite students of various departments in batches to spread awareness about ancient art and knowledge by holding a series of lectures and seminars.

The initiative has been taken to preserve ancient Indian knowledge by giving an idea to students, professors and research scholars of polity and state management as mentioned in Vidur Neeti and Chanakya Neeti. The ancient texts are mainly in Sanskrit.

“Vidur Neeti and Chanakya Neeti can be utilised in the management of state administration. In the present scenario, a large number of students haven’t even heard about these texts, let alone studying them. Therefore, scholars at the centre started working on these texts to find out its relevance in present times,” he added.

The subjects to be covered in the programmes include 64 ‘kalas’ (art forms), 18 ‘vidyas’ (techniques or skills), Vedic studies, Vedanga (including Jyotish, Dharmashastra and Puranas), and schools of Indian philosophy.

It will also focus on research on rajshastra (polity), ayurveda (ancient medical science) and arthshashtra (economics).

Foreign students at various faculties of the BHU will also be invited to the seminars and lectures by scholars and professors who have indepth knowledge on these topics.

Only one topic will be covered in a lecture.

Five centenary research fellows and three centenary chair professors –including Prof Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi, Prof Yugal Kishore Mishra and Prof Rakesh Upadhyaya – have been roped in to carry out research in ancient disciplines. Foreign scholars will also be involved in research work in future.

“Research on 64 ‘kalas’ (art forms) and 18 ‘vidyas’ (techniques or streams) has already been completed. We will inform the students and professors about its importance in present times by holding a conference in the near future,” said coordinator, BAK, Prof Sadashiv Dwivedi.

The scholars will prepare papers on these subjects and discuss these in detail.

“Our students should be aware of ancient Indian knowledge widely discussed in classical texts,” he added.

“Professors and students of political science, management, Vedic sciences, military science and management will be invited to the programmes to discuss ancient topics. We will inform them why Sanskrit and ‘Bharatiya sanskriti’ are equally important and complementary to each other. One who knows Sanskrit will understand the essence of ancient texts,” Prof Dwivedi said.

In ancient times, sage Kamandak gave ‘Kamandak Neeti’ on warfare management and techniques. “Not many know about sage Kamandak today,” Prof Dwivedi he said, adding regular programmes and efforts would help in generating interest among students and teachers.

“Students may start learning Sanskrit. Scholars at BAK are trying to study and preserve ancient Indian texts and promote Sanskrit. If the language flourishes, Indian culture will be further consolidated,” he said.

BAK was founded about one and a half years ago on the initiative of BHU vice-chancellor Prof Girish Chandra Tripathi to study, preserve and promote ancient knowledge.

HT Spotlight | For Kashmiri research scholars, Mohali’s NIPER opens doors to Indian diversity

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali.

“Look at it through my eyes and you will realise that NIPER is a great organisation that is not only the best in the country for pharmaceutical research, but treats all without any religious or social discrimination,” says 26-year-old Mir Asrar, who topped in the Joint Entrance Test of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).

A bright Kashmiri boy, Asrar is pursuing his PhD in pharmaceutical. He belongs to Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir. He adds that this premier institute purely promotes scientific temperament, but also opens a window into a diverse India.

“When I was in Kashmir University, I read that Kerala has the highest literacy in the country. There was a desire in me to know how people from the state were. This institute has fulfilled my desire to interact with them.”

Researchers here come from all over the country: Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Northeast, Gujarat and Maharashtra, among others.

He adds, “I can say they are all my best friends. If I go to any of these states in future, I will not have to stay in a hotel; they will invite me to stay with them at their homes.”

He is not the only Kashmiri here. Ishfaq Rasheed and Firdous share the same sentiments.

ONLY FOR THE BEST

The institute does not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that its students have a promising career in the pharmaceutical sector. There are six other branches of NIPER in Hajipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli.

“Only the best get admission here,” says 29-year-old Kuljeet Singh, who is working on a project after finishing his PhD. Moreover, NIPER has the best campus placement system and students do not face any job hassle later, he adds.

“The institute has facilities for research, starting from the source of a drug up to its marketing. The national toxicology laboratory, the only one in the public sector in the country, is located in this institute,” says professor Raghu Ram Rao, director of NIPER.

Some faculty members are on expert panels of World Health Organisation (WHO).

48 PATENTS, 180 TO GO

With 48 patents in its kitty and applications filed for 180 more, this institute has established its name not only in the country but across the globe.

Rao claims, “Seven technologies developed here and patented in the name of our institute have been out-licensed for production and marketing of drugs.”

He adds that NIPER is not only a place for research but also supports the industry. Research activities of the institute are defined by national requirements.

Rao further says, “We focus on tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, kala-azar (black fever), diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and many other diseases,” adding, “over the past 12 years, the institute has executed extramural projects worth Rs 64 crore.”

The institute has won several awards, including the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology. This science award is given annually by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for outstanding research in various scientific fields.

Established on February 23, 2009, the institute has a small and medium pharmaceutical industries centre (SMPIC) to cater to small and medium enterprises. With 110 industry members, it is dedicated to solving the problems of the sector and fuel its growth. In addition, the institute analyses samples received from small and medium pharmaceutical industries at a 50% subsidy.

CAMPUS PLACEMENT

Companies prefer students on campus as they are involved in consultancy projects being conducted inside the institute’s laboratories.

Dr Arvind Bansal, professor of pharmaceutical, says, “The industry sector prefers students with an experience in research projects of companies and it assures their placement in a good reputed company.”

Postgraduate students at NIPER get an average package starting from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 6.5 lakh per annum, while PhD students get an average package ranging between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 8.5 lakh. The placement cell has national and international companies such as Abbott, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Mankind Pharma, Lupin Limited, Evalueserve, Bristol-Myers Squibb, BBRC, Fresenius Kabi India Pvt Ltd, Biocon, Nitin Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Blue Ocean Pharma, BresMed Health Solutions, Biological E, Natural Remedies, Bioxcel and Reckitt Benckiser, among others.

Bansal said consultancy projects should be taken up on a priority basis. “There is a need to realign our ongoing research mechanism, keeping in view the current needs of pharmaceutical. The focus should be on consultancy projects. Students get an insight into how the industry works and brings in money and helps in building its name.”

DENTED IMAGE

However, the high-profile institute is not without its black marks. In 2016, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked nine officials, including its then officiating director professor KK Bhutani, and a Pune-based firm under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly bungling funds in the purchase of database software, SciFinder.

A senior official of the institute said, “We suffered heavily in the last few years due to the ad hoc appointments at the top positions. There was a lot of negativity in the public domain about our image.”

HT Spotlight | For Kashmiri research scholars, Mohali’s NIPER opens doors to Indian diversity

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali.

“Look at it through my eyes and you will realise that NIPER is a great organisation that is not only the best in the country for pharmaceutical research, but treats all without any religious or social discrimination,” says 26-year-old Mir Asrar, who topped in the Joint Entrance Test of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).

A bright Kashmiri boy, Asrar is pursuing his PhD in pharmaceutical. He belongs to Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir. He adds that this premier institute purely promotes scientific temperament, but also opens a window into a diverse India.

“When I was in Kashmir University, I read that Kerala has the highest literacy in the country. There was a desire in me to know how people from the state were. This institute has fulfilled my desire to interact with them.”

Researchers here come from all over the country: Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Northeast, Gujarat and Maharashtra, among others.

He adds, “I can say they are all my best friends. If I go to any of these states in future, I will not have to stay in a hotel; they will invite me to stay with them at their homes.”

He is not the only Kashmiri here. Ishfaq Rasheed and Firdous share the same sentiments.

ONLY FOR THE BEST

The institute does not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that its students have a promising career in the pharmaceutical sector. There are six other branches of NIPER in Hajipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli.

“Only the best get admission here,” says 29-year-old Kuljeet Singh, who is working on a project after finishing his PhD. Moreover, NIPER has the best campus placement system and students do not face any job hassle later, he adds.

“The institute has facilities for research, starting from the source of a drug up to its marketing. The national toxicology laboratory, the only one in the public sector in the country, is located in this institute,” says professor Raghu Ram Rao, director of NIPER.

Some faculty members are on expert panels of World Health Organisation (WHO).

48 PATENTS, 180 TO GO

With 48 patents in its kitty and applications filed for 180 more, this institute has established its name not only in the country but across the globe.

Rao claims, “Seven technologies developed here and patented in the name of our institute have been out-licensed for production and marketing of drugs.”

He adds that NIPER is not only a place for research but also supports the industry. Research activities of the institute are defined by national requirements.

Rao further says, “We focus on tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, kala-azar (black fever), diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and many other diseases,” adding, “over the past 12 years, the institute has executed extramural projects worth Rs 64 crore.”

The institute has won several awards, including the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology. This science award is given annually by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for outstanding research in various scientific fields.

Established on February 23, 2009, the institute has a small and medium pharmaceutical industries centre (SMPIC) to cater to small and medium enterprises. With 110 industry members, it is dedicated to solving the problems of the sector and fuel its growth. In addition, the institute analyses samples received from small and medium pharmaceutical industries at a 50% subsidy.

CAMPUS PLACEMENT

Companies prefer students on campus as they are involved in consultancy projects being conducted inside the institute’s laboratories.

Dr Arvind Bansal, professor of pharmaceutical, says, “The industry sector prefers students with an experience in research projects of companies and it assures their placement in a good reputed company.”

Postgraduate students at NIPER get an average package starting from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 6.5 lakh per annum, while PhD students get an average package ranging between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 8.5 lakh. The placement cell has national and international companies such as Abbott, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Mankind Pharma, Lupin Limited, Evalueserve, Bristol-Myers Squibb, BBRC, Fresenius Kabi India Pvt Ltd, Biocon, Nitin Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Blue Ocean Pharma, BresMed Health Solutions, Biological E, Natural Remedies, Bioxcel and Reckitt Benckiser, among others.

Bansal said consultancy projects should be taken up on a priority basis. “There is a need to realign our ongoing research mechanism, keeping in view the current needs of pharmaceutical. The focus should be on consultancy projects. Students get an insight into how the industry works and brings in money and helps in building its name.”

DENTED IMAGE

However, the high-profile institute is not without its black marks. In 2016, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked nine officials, including its then officiating director professor KK Bhutani, and a Pune-based firm under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly bungling funds in the purchase of database software, SciFinder.

A senior official of the institute said, “We suffered heavily in the last few years due to the ad hoc appointments at the top positions. There was a lot of negativity in the public domain about our image.”

How to make the ultimate Indian Masala Omelette

Indian masala omelette sandwich_759_MyWeekendKitchen

This is the Indian take on the basic omelette, spiced up and complete with tempering of cumin and chillies. With a little green chutney and ketchup, the Indian masala omelette makes for a great sandwich filling as well. In fact, the late night road side food joints in India are famous for this indigenous “omelette sandwich”.

Ingredients
2 – Large eggs
1 knob – Butter
1/2 tsp – Cumin
Salt – To taste
Red chilli flakes – To taste
1 tbsp – Milk
1/4 cup – Onion, chopped
1 – Green chilli, chopped

For the omelette sandwich 
4 slices – Wholewheat bread
2 – Cheddar cheese slices
2 tbsp – Tomato ketchup
2 tbsp – Green chutney

Indian masala omelette sandwich LR

Method
* Place a pan over low heat and let it get hot.
* Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add in all the spices and a tbsp of milk. I always add a little milk to my eggs, it make the omelette fluffier and also takes away the smell.
* Beat well with a fork.
* Once the pan is hot, add the butter.
* When the butter has melted, add the cumin seeds. Add onions, and chillies. Fry and toss them around for about 1 minute.
* Now add the beaten eggs. As soon as you put the eggs in, stir them quickly with the spatula.
* This is a flip-over omelette where there is no soft, runny centre. When the omelette firms up from bottom, ease the sides with a spatula and flip over. Cook the other side until it is golden brown.
* Remove from heat and slide over a serving plate.
* To make the omelette sandwich, cut the omelette in quarters.
* Take two bread slices and spread tomato ketchup on one and green chutney on another.
* Put two omelette quarters on of the slices. Top with cheese slice and close with the second bread slice.
* Lightly cook on both side on the same pan used for making the omelette.
* Remove on a serving plate, cut into two triangles and serve hot.

UPSC Indian Forest Service IFoS prelims result 2017 declared, check it here

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Thursday declared the Preliminary exam results of Indian Forest Service, 2017 examinations.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Thursday declared the Preliminary exam results of Indian Forest Service, 2017 examinations on its official website. The preliminary examination was held on June 18, 2017.

Candidates can click here to check their Indian Forest Service prelims results. A pdf file containing roll number of candidates who have qualified for the main examination will appear on the screen. If the UPSC website is running slow check the results at the bottom of the story.

All the qualified candidates will have to apply again in the Detailed Application Form (DAF) for IFoS (Main) Examination, 2017 which would be available on the official website of the Union Public Service Commission from September 7 to September 20, 2017 till 6pm.

Candidates should submit their DAF online within the above said closing date ( until 6pm on September 20) failing which their candidature will be cancelled and they will not be issued admit cards for the main examination.

The Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination, 2017 is scheduled to be held from December 3, 2017.

Note: Visit official website of UPSC for regular updates.

 

 

Scared to go to US: Indian students worry about physical safety, says survey

Washington Indian students have a “high level of concern” about potential study in the US and a large number of them worry about their physical safety and about the feeling of being welcomed, says a new survey.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) suggested that the final outcome of the US Supreme Court order in June that temporarily upheld President Donald Trump’s executive order to restrict entry of nationals from six Muslim majority countries to America weighs on their mind.

With over a million international students pursuing higher education in the US and contributing more than $36 billion to the American economy, the stakes are high, it said.

Image result for Scared to go to US: Indian students worry about physical safety, says survey

Founded in 1919, the IIE is a US-based not-for-profit working to build peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. It focuses on International student exchange and aid, foreign affairs, and international peace and security.

The IIE said that the survey results indicate the highest level of institutional concern regarding enrolment of students from the Middle East, followed by India.

Thirty-one per cent of institutions are very concerned that Middle Eastern students who have accepted offers of admissions may not arrive on campus in the fall, and 20% are very concerned that Indian students may not arrive on campus, it said.

“This uncertainty raises valid concerns as to whether students from the Middle East may be deterred from US study,” it said.

“Securing and maintaining a visa is reported as the top concern among these students and was reported by 46 % of institutions, while feeling welcome in the United States was an almost equal concern, with 41% of institutions noting so from their conversations with students,” it added.

According to the IIE, survey findings suggest that Indian students “have a high level of concern about potential study in the United States, 80% of institutions responded that physical safety was the most pronounced concern for Indian students, while 31% of institutions indicated that feeling welcome was also a concern.”

“Although application totals appear to largely remain stable, yield rates and a concern about personal safety suggest the possibility that Indian students may not continue to grow as the second largest international group in US higher education,” IIE said.

“Their concerns may lead some Indian students to accept admissions offers from other leading host countries, especially from those that issue student visas more quickly.”

The IIE, however, said despite widespread concerns that international student interest in the US might be flagging, the evidence from this survey suggests that “this is not the case.”

It said that interest among international students in the US remains steady overall despite the current environment.

According to the study, modest drops in yield – the percentage of students that attend a college or university after having been offered admission – at some institutions may be offset by steady or increased yield at other schools.

Among the 112 colleges that provided data there was a 2% decline in the expected yield rate this year compared to last year.

Overall, international undergraduate yield has dipped slightly from 26 to 24% from fall 2016 to fall 2017.

The two percentage point decline is comparable to shifts in the domestic (US) student yield reported by institutional respondents, which fell from 30 to 28% over the same time period, it said.

According to the study, there is however little concern about students from Europe and Canada arriving on campus in the fall and only modest concern about students’ arrival from China and Latin America.

Scared to go to US: Indian students worry about physical safety, says survey

Washington Indian students have a “high level of concern” about potential study in the US and a large number of them worry about their physical safety and about the feeling of being welcomed, says a new survey.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) suggested that the final outcome of the US Supreme Court order in June that temporarily upheld President Donald Trump’s executive order to restrict entry of nationals from six Muslim majority countries to America weighs on their mind.

With over a million international students pursuing higher education in the US and contributing more than $36 billion to the American economy, the stakes are high, it said.

Founded in 1919, the IIE is a US-based not-for-profit working to build peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. It focuses on International student exchange and aid, foreign affairs, and international peace and security.

The IIE said that the survey results indicate the highest level of institutional concern regarding enrolment of students from the Middle East, followed by India.

Thirty-one per cent of institutions surveyed in the US are concerned that Middle Eastern students who have accepted offers of admissions may not arrive on campus in the fall, and 20% are very concerned that Indian students may not arrive on campus, a survey has revealed.

Thirty-one per cent of institutions are very concerned that Middle Eastern students who have accepted offers of admissions may not arrive on campus in the fall, and 20% are very concerned that Indian students may not arrive on campus, it said.

“This uncertainty raises valid concerns as to whether students from the Middle East may be deterred from US study,” it said.

“Securing and maintaining a visa is reported as the top concern among these students and was reported by 46 % of institutions, while feeling welcome in the United States was an almost equal concern, with 41% of institutions noting so from their conversations with students,” it added.

According to the IIE, survey findings suggest that Indian students “have a high level of concern about potential study in the United States, 80% of institutions responded that physical safety was the most pronounced concern for Indian students, while 31% of institutions indicated that feeling welcome was also a concern.”

“Although application totals appear to largely remain stable, yield rates and a concern about personal safety suggest the possibility that Indian students may not continue to grow as the second largest international group in US higher education,” IIE said.

“Their concerns may lead some Indian students to accept admissions offers from other leading host countries, especially from those that issue student visas more quickly.”

The IIE, however, said despite widespread concerns that international student interest in the US might be flagging, the evidence from this survey suggests that “this is not the case.”

It said that interest among international students in the US remains steady overall despite the current environment.

According to the study, modest drops in yield – the percentage of students that attend a college or university after having been offered admission – at some institutions may be offset by steady or increased yield at other schools.

Among the 112 colleges that provided data there was a 2% decline in the expected yield rate this year compared to last year.

Overall, international undergraduate yield has dipped slightly from 26 to 24% from fall 2016 to fall 2017.

The two percentage point decline is comparable to shifts in the domestic (US) student yield reported by institutional respondents, which fell from 30 to 28% over the same time period, it said.

According to the study, there is however little concern about students from Europe and Canada arriving on campus in the fall and only modest concern about students’ arrival from China and Latin America.

Indian cuisine needs to be revived: Chef Ajay Chopra

Chef Ajay Chopra, who has explored forgotten recipes and delicacies from different northern states of India for a new season of food show “Northern Flavours”, feels Indians have started valuing international cuisine over their own. He says it’s imperative to revive the love for Indian food. “When ‘Northern Flavours’ was conceived, the makers of the show came to me with the idea and I was completely thrilled. It happened exactly when chef Manjit Singh (alumni chef) and I were talking about the downfall of the Indian cuisine, particularly in India and how it needs to be revived.

“People in India have started to explore much more foreign food than our own food. That’s where this whole thought process came and I was very kicked about the show, and said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Chopra told IANS.

With “Northern Flavours”, which went on air earlier this week on Living Foodz channel, the attempt is “to glorify Indian food”.

“It was to gets it glory a hundred years back but somehow it never happened. I am just being a torchbearer of our own cuisine, which is so great and full of flavour. It just didn’t get the right platform,” Chopra added.

For the show, the team explored foodie delights like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Delhi. Chopra describes it as a learning experience wherein he discovered new recipes and techniques.

indian cuisine, food and wine news, lifestyle news, indian express news

“In the last 21 years of my career, every day has been a learning one. But during the show, I came across Rawat’s kachoris (from Jaipur). There were spots on the kachoris and ideally, a chef would discard it. I got to know that he (chef there) would sprinkle cold water on them before frying, and that’s what made them special.

“I never knew it. That’s why every single time I travel or go out, my eyes are always open to see and explore new things that our country has to offer,” said Chopra, who has shows like “Hi Tea” and “Chop Chop Chopra” to his credit.

He even co-hosted and judged MasterChef India’s Season 1 and 2.

As a chef who worked as the head of the kitchen brigade for globally recognized hotel chains Marriott and Starwood, was it difficult for him to showcase recipes which had tough and cumbersome techniques behind them?

“If something is cooked on coal for two days, we are not going to replicate that on television, but at the same time we get the essence of it. We try to understand what exactly happens. If a recipe requires slow cooking, we will take that essence… We might not cook it on smoke, but we will cook it for six hours. We do the research and then show it on TV as people need to replicate the same things at home.” Chopra said.

Going forward, the chef said he wants to keep exploring Indian food and also try to bring “Northern Flavours 3”.

 

Indian chefs to meet in Kerala to discuss healing recipes

A group of Indian chefs will come together at a three-day event in Kerala next month to talk about foods and recipes that can contribute towards good health, wellness and healing.

The retreat, Healing Recipes – Back to Roots, is to be held on July 3-6 at Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village, at Palakkad in Kerala. Here, one will get to interact with Ayurvedic doctors and chefs, attend specially-curated masterclasses, explore local cuisine, learn the trick of growing vegetables and spices organically, and master the art of making gourmet meals that are nourishing and indulging.

A preview for the event was held in the capital on Thursday, with Chef Manjit Singh Gill, Chef Vikas Seth and Gita Ramesh, an Ayurveda expert and Joint Managing Director of Kairali Ayurvedic Group, giving a taste of what to expect from the event. They said people will realise how food can be their biggest investment for happiness and wellness.

Gill said: “Every climate has its own taste… just like there are six seasons, so are the tastes which are very important for every human being to experience. Food is like medicine, it heals the body from within. Hence, it is imperative that we revisit our approach to food, ingredients and cooking techniques.

“Healing Recipes – Back to Roots, for me, is a platform that will help you rethink food.”

While discussing about the daily cooking habits, Gill said salt should never be added to curd as it decreases its nutritional value. And with so much of craze of being healthy using olive oil, he said that people do not know the correct way in which olive oil should be used in cooking. It must be cooked at proper temperature and, if possible, one should consume only half a tablespoon of olive oil daily.

Ramesh, who also has a book titled “Healing Recipes – Back to Roots”, said the event is a conscious effort at promoting food sustainability.

“It talks about how age-old philosophy and culinary practices still hold relevance in modern times and how Ayurveda is directly linked with the healing of various diseases — be it through various Ayurvedic practices, medicines or simply food.”

Madhulika Dash, who is curating the experience, commented: “We have all grown up eating homemade food, but never realised that if cooked in a healthy way with farm fresh ingredients, it will lead to more good effect on health. And as far as Ayurveda is concerned, it enhances the quality of ingredients when combined with food.”

‘Indian packages’ let more South Asians opt for destination weddings

When Sabrina Sandhu and her fiancé Kultar Rai first told their families they wanted a destination wedding, their Indian parents didn’t understand the concept.

“Or how we could possibly carry out each event without losing the integrity of the traditions,” Sandhu tells Global News. “Once we explained the benefits, and the fact that would mean less work for everyone, they were fully on board.”

The couple got married in September 2016 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with 150 guests in attendance.

kultar and sabrina

Sabrina and Kultar at their reception.

Courtesy of Sabrina Sandhu

“It was a simple solution to the challenge of hosting a wedding in Toronto where we would have expected over 800 guests,” the 26-year-old continues. “We wanted our parents and immediate family to enjoy the wedding festivities versus spending the week hosting and cooking.”

 

 

But part of the rise can also be linked to the challenges of hosting a wedding at home.

In large South-Asian populated Ontario cites like Brampton and Mississauga, securing a large venue for up to 1,000 guests can take two years, experts say. And instead of hiring planners or caterers, many families pick up the work for the multiple events leading up to the wedding — leaving little time to enjoy them.

Hindu and Sikh weddings also come with several components, for Sikhs in particular, a Sikh Granthi (a Sikh official) and the Guru Granth Sahib (religious scripture) both need to be present at the traditional ceremony.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

But not only are some hotels offering officiants because of high demand, Sandhu says the one who officiated her wedding, Sat Purkh Singh, lives in Mexico City.

 

“We wanted to get married and enjoy the process of planning the wedding, while also doing something that was different, memorable and meaningful to us,” Sandhu says.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

Hotels targeting South Asians

Both the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels and Palace Resorts offer Indian wedding packages for countries like Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Cessie Cerrato, a spokesperson for Palace Resorts, says out of their weddings so far in 2017, 20 per cent are Canadian, and 20 per cent of those couples have Indian ceremonies.

 

“All 10 of our Palace Resorts all-inclusive properties offer Indian weddings, and our most popular among them is Moon Palace Cancun,” she tells Global News. “Brides have been incorporating ‘traditional [Western]’ decor details to their events such as the sweet tables, and many are now doing two ceremonies, the Hindu/Sikh and a symbolic ceremony.”

Moon palace Resorts

A couple getting married at Palace Resorts.

Courtesy of Moon Palace Resorts

The package, which has been offered since 2012, features Indian catering, fireworks, drummers, mendhi (henna) artists, and a mandap (wedding stage).

Frank Maduro, VP of marketing for AIC Hotel Group of all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, says the hotel’s Indian wedding package, “Ishq Rocks,” launched in 2015 for couples who wanted to personalize their traditional matrimonial experiences.

“We have local in-house vendors for decor, entertainment, flowers, make-up, mendhi, and catering,” he tells Global News.

hard rock resorts Indian wedding

Venue space at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana.

Maduro says there are also out-of-the-box things couples are adding to their destination wedding packages, including drone cinematography, acrobatic performances and lavish grand entrances for the groom on either a horse or yacht.

Mixing the old with the new

But the true beauty of destination South Asian weddings is being able to mix both traditional aspects of a religious ceremony with modern wedding trends. Mahal says couples still take part in traditional ceremonies like the sangeet and mehndi night, but have many of their events outdoors.

“All old traditions are kept,” Mahal says. “It comes down to a beach/resort versus local banquet halls.”

 

Ashna Tanna, who tied the knot in May 2016 at the Moon Palace resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, says when it came to the Hindu ceremony, they were able to do all of the components they could’ve done in Toronto.

south Asian destination wedding

Ashna Tanna and her husband, Rikesh Shah, at their Jamaican destination wedding.

Courtesy of Melanie Gillbrand

The 26-year-old, who now resides in London, England, had 120 guests — one-third of the size her wedding in Toronto would’ve been. And with family from Toronto, London and Dubai in attendance, it made sense to choose a location everyone could fly to.

Indian destination weddings

“It was important for my family to have the priest who has married many of my family members be the person who married us, so we decided to fly him out,” she tells Global News. “Everyone was also dressed in Indian attire on three of the ‘Indian events’ and for the wedding lunch, we were able to have Indian food.”

The cultural divide

But for some couples, there’s always the initial hesitation from family members. Preet Kala and Aman Saini got married in January at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun. For their 50-person Sikh wedding, Kala says the couple flew out a priest from Toronto for the ceremony.

Preet Kala And Aman

Preet Kala And Aman Saini

Courtesy of Preet Kala

“Both our families were mainly concerned about the religious aspect of the wedding,” Kala tells Global News. “It was more about having the Guru Granth Sahib Ji present, and to take the four lavaan [four hymns]. Once we introduced our families to the priest and had him explain how the wedding would take place, they were much more comfortable.”

 

She adds that for Canadian South Asians, it’s also about educating older family members about these types of weddings as options. And with so many customs that have been ingrained in families for decades, it’s just as important to start new ones.

Aman Saini and Preet Kala

“The entire family gets to be together. It not like the bride side or the groom side, everyone laughs, stays, and celebrates together.”