Friday 26 February 2016

Why India’s Coir Fiber Is The Best In The World

India is a land of diversity and multitudes of resources. This country has a lot to give whether in the cultural front, or economic sector, it disappoints none. One of the most prominent organic fibers these days are coir fiber derived from the coconut husks. India is also the third largest producer of coconut on the global market, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. No doubt that India produces high quality coir fiber and adds to the benefit of this sector. The tropical climate favors the growth of this tree and hence to the production of coir fiber. This fiber has loads of advantages and innumerous number of products can be extracted from this indigenous component. With the advent of mankind, man has understood the valor of the coconut tree which offers all its composites to good use. The ‘Kalpavriksha’ is cultivated in several parts of the country, especially along the coast lines given the fact that India has such a large indented coastline.

This fruitful fiber stays nestled within the outer realm of the coconut and the husk, which are composed of cellulose. These narrow and hollow fiber cells remain pale in color during the immature period. Once matured, the fiber stiffens and develops a yellowish tinge. The yellow layer is known as lignin which is present on the inside of the walls. There are two kinds of coir available in India, one is the brown coir and the other is the yellow one. The brown coir is derived from the matured coconut which is implemented in producing Coir Rope, coir Pads, Cushions, and many more. The yellow coir is extracted from the young coconut which helps in the manufacturing of ply yarn for making carpets, ropes, coir mats, fishing nets, and many more.

The coir fiber not only has unlimited usages but is very conventional and environment friendly putting no such pressure on Mother Nature. Maybe, that alone stands as the biggest reason for its acceptance. This also helps maintain biological equilibrium by preventing the soil from erosion. In order to make them used as erosion protecting elements, the fiber is woven into permeable fabrics. With the world going gaga over renewable resources, here is one cost-effective resource which can attribute to withstand a problem like soil erosion on a macro scale. The areas which has suffered much erosion hazards must be soaked in these fibers as it has the ability of taking in water and rejuvenating the area altogether. These geotextiles can save the soil from drying and prevents the soil from the heat radiations of the sun. These geotextiles that are produced in India are absolutely durable and heat resistant.  Most importantly, the geotextiles derived from coir is biodegradable and permits germination of seeds.

Yes, India makes use of the by-products as well. Isn’t that magnificent? The wastes accumulated after extracting coir are known as peat which makes a good fertilizer and helps in mulching.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Coconut Brings Aroma To The Harvest Festival

Happy Pongal!

Pongal- the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is renowned for the fervor with which it is celebrated and also the due importance Tamilians give to nature and the farming community. Almost all Indian states have some or the other festival to celebrate the harvest season, but none can compare with the vibrant Pongal festival which is a four day festival commencing on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai.

Tamil Nadu has one of the richest heritages among Indian states and even to this day, they preserve this heritage and culture with much pride. Agriculture and other agrarian activities have always been a vital part in the life of Tamilians, and Pongal gives them the perfect opportunity to celebrate it with much pomp and vigour.

Tamilians worldwide believe that the Thai month brings along with it peace, prosperity and harmony in the life of everyone. Pongal is celebrated to honor the Sun God, as a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. The Sun deity is offered ‘Pongal’, which literally translates into boiling over of rice and milk.

Pongal is celebrated with much fervor by coconut farmers across Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Moreover, coconut forms a major ingredient in all the offerings made to different deities during the four day festival. Most of these coconut farmers offer poojas in specially erected pandals and serve food for the poor during this festival.

First day- Bhogi Pongal

People clean their houses and surroundings on this day and visit their relatives and neighbours to exchange sweets and pleasantries.  Everyone wear new clothes and decorate their houses. Kolams are drawn in front of each house. This day is celebrated to offer thanks to the Lord of Clouds, Indra.

Second day- Perum Pongal / Surya Pongal

This is the most important day of the celebrations when people offer prayers to the Sun god, thanking Him for a year of abundant blessings. This is the day when they offer Pongal to the gods and then distribute it among friends and neighbours.

Third day- Mattu Pongal

Cows are often considered divine in Hinduism and the third day of Pongal is entirely devoted to worshipping these gentle animals. Mattu means cow or bull in Tamil. Cattle play a crucial role in the lives of many farmers and hence they are bathed in sandalwood and turmeric, tilaks are applied on their foreheads and given sumptuous offerings. Their horns are painted in various colours and flower garlands worn around their necks. As an attestation to their importance, the Pongal is first fed to the cows and only then it is consumed by humans.

Fourth day- Kaanum Pongal

This day is dedicated to the divine love of sisters and brothers. Sisters pray for their brothers and offer the leftover Pongal as a token of their love and care for their brothers. This has striking similarities with the Raksha Bhandhan festival that is celebrated in North India.

The fact that Pongal is celebrated lavishly by Tamilians across the globe attests to
the huge importance they place on culture and tradition.