Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hymenocallis, Spider Lily Flower

PD Photo: A Hymenocallis flower showing six spokes, as pattern for the three-lobed design of the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE.

Hymenocallis, a bulbous perennial herb, is a genus of plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, having 63 species native to tropical and subtropical America. The plants have large spectacular flowers, and some of the species are known as varieties of Spider Lilies.

Majida El-Roumi, Lebanese singer and soprano

PD Photo: Majida El-Roumi, Lebanese singer and soprano, photo by Yasmine Al-Samahy, taken on February 20, 2008.

Majida El-Roumi (also spelled Magida Al-Roumi), 53, a Lebanese singer and soprano, is one of the most successful and respected singers of the Arab world as well as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

Victory Square and Victory Monument in Minsk, Belarus

PD Photo: Victory Square and the Victory Monument in Minsk, built in 1954 in honour of the soldiers of the Soviet Army and partisans of Belarus. A 3-meter replica of the Order of Victory crowns a 38-meter tall granite column. The Sacred Sword of Victory is at the base of the monument. The text over the buildings reads ‘Подвиг народа – бессмертен’ (The Feat of the People is Immortal).

Victory Square, the key landmark of Minsk, is located in the historic center of the city with the museum of the 1st Congress of RSDRP, Main offices of National State TV and Radio, and the City House of Marriages, where newly married couples traditionally take their photos.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Maha Peinne, Burmese Ganesha on his mount the rat

PD Photo: A 1906 Burmese portrayal of Ganesha (Maha Peinne) on his mount (Vahana), the rat - The Thirty Seven Nats, from Southeast Asia Digital Library.

Lord Ganesha (Ganesa or Ganesh), popularly and mainly known also as Ganapati, Vinayaka or Pillaiyar, is one of the most widely worshipped Gods in Hinduism. Ganesha worship also extends to Jainism, Buddhism, some other religions and sects, and beyond India, including Burma (Myanmar), Southeast Asia and Malay Archipelago. Gifts of silver and gold coins with images of Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi during Diwali (Festival of Lights) celebrations are very popular in North India.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The CN Tower, Toronto

PD Photo: The CN Tower, the world's fourth tallest manmade structure, Toronto's most visible landmark and its most celebrated tourist destination

PD Photo: The CN Tower as seen from its base

The CN Tower, constructed in 1973-1976 for use as observation tower, telecommunications tower and a major tourist attraction, is in Downtown Toronto, Canada. The CN Tower, standing 553.33 meters (1,815.4 feet) tall, is now the fourth tallest in the list of tallest buildings and structures in the world. It attracts over two million international visitors annually.

In 1995, the CN Tower was declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The architects of the CN Tower are John Andrews Architects and WZMH Architects (formerly known as the Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership).

Buildings and structures in the world, taller than the CN Tower are:

1. Skyscraper (all categories): Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, 828 meters (2,717 feet) tall, officially opened on 4 January 2010.

2. Guyed Mast: The KVLY-TV mast (formerly the KTHI-TV mast), Blanchard, Traill County, North Dakota, United States, 628.8 meters ( 2,063 feet) tall, completed in 1963.

3. Concrete Tower (Topped out): Canton Tower (also known as Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower), near Chigang Pagoda, Haizhu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 610 meters (2,001 feet) tall, topped-out in 2009 and became operational on September 29, 2010.

4. Concrete Tower: CN Tower, Toronto, Canada, 553.3 meters/ 1,815 feet tall, opened to the public on June 26, 1976.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hanuman Murti and Divali Nagar in Trinidad and Tobago

PD Photo: The 26 meter (85 feet) tall Hanuman Murti (statue) and Hindu Temple in Central Trinidad. This statue is the tallest Hanuman Murti outside India.

PD Photo: Divali Nagar (City of Lights) located in the town of Chaguanas: an annual exposition of the Hindu and Indo-Trinidadian culture, associated with the celebration of Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The home where Marilyn Monroe was found dead

PD Photos: The home at Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, where Marilyn Monroe was found dead in 1962.

This is the home where American actress, singer and model Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 and died on August 5, 1962) was found dead in 1962. Marilyn Monroe bought the Spanish colonial revival home, a 2,624-square-foot, one-story house built in 1929, featuring four bedrooms, three baths and a swimming pool, in 1962 for $90,000 and lived there until her death. In 2010, Monroe's Brentwood home was put up for sale by Prudential California Realty.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lord Krishna battles against Narakasura’s armies

PD Image: Lord Krishna battles against the armies of the Demon Narakasura, painting (1520-30) on Bhagavata Purana (Stories of Lord Vishnu) from Delhi-Agra area of India; the painting currently located in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, New York City, USA.

Kandeels: paper lanterns lighted during Diwali

PD Photos: symbolic Diyas or Kandeel (colorful paper lanterns) as an integral part of Diwali (Festival of Lights) decorations. Diwali is a five-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, celebrated in India, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Fiji, Surinam, and some other countries.

Raja Harishchandra, the first Indian feature film

PD Photos: Scenes from the first Indian feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ (1913), a silent film produced and directed by the legendary film maker Dadasaheb Phalke.

Raja Harishchandra (1913) is a silent film produced and directed by the legendary film maker Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke (1870 - 1944). It is the first full-length Indian feature film (about 40 minutes). The film depicts the legend of the noble and righteous King Harishchandra, taken from the Hindu religious epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The film Raja Harishchandra had an all-male cast and crew of more than 500 people. The roles of female characters in the film were played by men dressed as women, as no woman in India was ready to act in a film, so the men played all the roles.

The film was first released on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema. As the film was very successful, Dada Saheb had to make more prints for exhibition in other areas. The film not only was a grand success establishing Phalke as a producer, but it marked the birth of Indian film industry, the world's largest producer of films.

Following Raja Harishchandra, Dadasaheb Phalke made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career spanning 19 years (till 1937). His most noted works include Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919).

Dadasaheb Phalke is considered as the father of Indian cinema. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the most prestigious and coveted award in Indian Cinema for lifetime contribution to cinema, was constituted in his honour by the Government of India in 1969.

Noor Jehan: actress, singer and music composer

Noor Jehan (or Noorjehan) was the screen/ stage name of Allah Wasai (1926-2000), a celebrated film director, film actress, singer and music composer in British India and Pakistan. In a career spanning seven decades, Noor Jehan became renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers of her time.

Born in a Punjabi family of musicians, Noorjehan holds the envious record of singing 10,000 songs in various languages of India and Pakistan including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi languages, in genres Qawwali, Indian music and Pakistani music. She dominated the earliest Pakistani films with her talented performances, and she became the first female Pakistani film director.

In 1957, Jehan was honored with the President's Award for her acting and singing contributions. Noor Jehan died on December 23, 2000 at the age of 74 at Karachi in Pakistan.

Sana Nawaz: Pakistani model and actress

Pakistani film actress and model Sana Nawaz, commonly known by her screen name Sana, became famous as a successful and talented actress in Lollywood film industry (of Pakistan), after her performance in director Syed Noor’s film Sangam (1997).

Shafique Hussain, an assistant producer of PTV and a relative of her mother, introduced her as a television actress, before she entered films. Noted films of Sana Nawaz include Jannat Ki Talash (1999), Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa (2002), Kyun Tumse Itna Pyar Hai (2005), Kaafila (2007), Ishq Be Parwah (2009) and Haseeno Ka Mela (2010).

Sana Nawaz married film actor Fakhar Imam in Lahore on December 13, 2008.

Actress Babra Sharif of Pakistan

Actress Babra Sharif, 56, is an accomplished actress of Lollywood (Pakistani film industry), who was very active in her career during the 1980s and late 1970s. Initially in her career, she was noted for modeling for commercials such as the 'Jet' washing powder that made her famous as the Jet powder girl, and the 'Lux' soap ads with the catch phrase, 'Aakhir loag hamara chehra he to deiktay hain'. Afterwards, Babra Sharif appeared in television plays telecast from Karachi TV station.

Barbara soon became a household name and as a film actress, she acted in more than 100 movies, enjoying great success in Urdu films in Pakistan.