1) Attukal Ponkala: It is a 10-day long festival celebrated annually in Trivandrum, Kerala, dedicated to Attukal Bhagavathy, also known as Goddess Kannaki or Bhadrakali.
- Pongala, which means ‘to boil over’, is the ritual in which women prepare payasam and offer it to the Goddess or ‘Bhagavathy’. It is one of the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world.
- During the 10-days festivities, a sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam is also included in the religious event.
2) 1300-yr-old Buddhist Stupa: Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered a 1,300-year-old stupa in Odisha at a Khondalite mining site.
- It was found at Parabhadi which is situated near Lalitagiri, a major Buddhist complex, having a large number of stupas and monasteries.
- Lalitgiri Buddhist site is believed to be the most sacred among the three sites (Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri) as it unearthed a massive stupa where a relic of Buddha was discovered inside a stone casket.
3) Khondalite Stones: it is a type of metamorphic rock that is found in the Eastern Ghats region of India, particularly in the state of Odisha. It is named after the Khondalite Group of rocks, which is believed to have formed around 1.6 billion years ago during the Proterozoic era.
- Khondalite is primarily composed of feldspar, quartz, and mica, and has a distinct pinkish-grey coloration. It is commonly used as a decorative stone in construction and is particularly prized for its durability and resistance to weathering.
- Odisha government has come up with an ambitious plan under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture (ABADHA) scheme in three years to transform Puri into a world heritage city.
4) Global Internet Shut-Offs: According to a report by Access Now and the KeepItOn coalition, India enforced 84 internet shutdowns in 2022 and was on top of the list for the fifth year in a row.
- Ukraine (22 shutdowns), Iran and Myanmar occupy the top 4 positions along with India.
- Internet was shut down 49 times in Jammu and Kashmir, the highest of any state in the country.
- At least 187 internet shutdowns across 35 countries were recorded in 2022.
5) Proton Beam Therapy: It is a type of radiation therapy — a treatment that uses high-energy beams to treat tumors.
- Radiation therapy using X-rays has long been used to treat cancers and noncancerous (benign) tumors. It uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells.
- It can also be combined with x-ray radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy. Like x-ray radiation, it is a type of external-beam radiation therapy.
- PBT is able to treat cancers just as effectively but delivers less radiation to other healthy parts of the body which surround the tumour.
- There is currently a significant demand-supply gap of proton beam therapy machines in India, with only a few machines available in the country.