Monday, December 5, 2011

Volunteering at Mothers House & Missionaries of Charities

If you want to do voluntary work at Mother Teresa's missionary (78 A.J.C. Bose Road, Kolkata – 700016) and ideally would like to walk to work, so here are some information , which might be of some help to you.

First of all the Mothers HouseMissionaries of Charities are two different buildings, they are nearby on the same road but little distant apart and metro/unerground/tube train connectivity won't help you.

Mothers House is located at 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd (commonly known as AJC Bose Rd or Lower Circular Road), Kolkata - 700016.

Missionaries of Charities is located at (also known as Nirmala Shishu Bhavan),78 A.J.C. Bose Road, Kolkata - 700016

website :

If you intend to stay real close the closest accommodations would be at

-Monica House on A.J.C Bose Rd, opposite Shishu Bhavan, and at
-Mr. Gomes house behind Sishu Bhavan.
-Bely Guest House – right next door to Mother house, above the WEB Internet café. There is no need to book rooms in advance. Dorm beds should cost around 100-150 rupees a night.

" Monica House " is not a Hotel , its an accommodation service provided by St.James Church exclusively for the volunteers for the Mother's House"

The contact number of St. James Church is +91 33 22847483 . I suppose they will be able to communicated better about the accommodation availability.

Also do look at the map link below it will give you a better idea of Missionaires of Charities, Mothers House & Sudder St.

Sudder St. do have lots of budget hotels, specially for backpackers but it would be little far of, though there are advantages and disadvantages of the place.

Advantages being its nxt door to Market Area, its open till late and the underground metro train connectivity is just next door.

Disadvantages being the connectivity to AJC Bose Road would b a little tricky apart from if you choose to walk you can cover it in 20-25 mins.

PS : Informations are mostly given by a CS Kuntal Das, which I thought is useful.

Socrates the legend - there will be only one Socrates

In the history of football there will be only one Socrates. Socrates was like no other on and off the field.
He is a footballer,doctor of medicine: a rare achievement for a professional footballer (he was a graduate of the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto. Even rarer is the fact that he earned the degree while concurrently playing professional football), painter, football coach,TV commentator, columnist for a number of newspapers and magazines, writing not only about sports, but also politics and economics, involved in Brazil’s pro-democracy movement during the time of military dictatorship that ruled Brazilian politics (spoke at street protests in the 1980s calling for an end to authoritarian rule) and made forays into writing fiction and acting on the stage. After retiring as a player he practised medicine at Ribeirão Preto.
He was also noted for being an intellectual, a heavy drinker and smoker, and for his height (193 cm, 6 ft 4 in). His brother Raí (not my favourite) was a member of the Brazilian national team that won the World Cup in1994. When he died on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was 57.The cause was septic shock from an intestinal infection, according to a statement from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, where he was admitted on Saturday.

But above all Socrates treated football as a game, to be enjoyed. “Is that why you have come all this way? To discover whether it is more important to win or to play beautiful football?” he recently asked a British journalist who had travelled to Brazil to meet him. “Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.”

The understanding he developed with the other celebrated names of Brazil’s 1982 World Cup team – Junior (king of beach soccer - my personal favourite), Falcao, Zico, Eder, Serginho – appeared telepathic. Passes were played without looking, and unerringly found their target. Socrates was so adept at the back-heel that Pele once remarked that he could play better going backwards than most players could going forwards.
Socrates, the captain of Brazil’s team in the 1982 World Cup (regarded by many as the best team ever not to win football's showcase tournament), had been hospitalised three times in the last four months. I liked the team of 1982 sometimes better than 1970 team of Pele. I would request everybody to see the game played by team of 1982. It was simply poetry in motion. See this video , to understand the magic of 1982 ( see Socrates in the 4.00 seconds to 4.10 seconds)
Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira was born on February 19, 1954, in the Amazonian city of Belem do Para, Brazil. His upbringing was more privileged than that of many Brazilian professional soccer players, who often rise from abject poverty. His father enjoyed reading Greek literature and named the boy after the philosopher. “Just to show that there could be no confusion he insisted on adding Brasileiro (Brazilian),” the footballer recalled later.

Emerging in the 1970s as a promising young player in Ribeirao Preto, in the interior of Sao Paulo State, he studied medicine while playing for provincial teams before attaining his medical degree at age 24. After that, he moved up to Corinthians, the famous Sao Paulo club with a big following among Brazil’s poor. I am also a fan of Corinthians and have an original jersey of that club.
When Socrates was a child his family moved to Ribeirao Preto in the state of Sao Paulo, where in 1974 he eventually joined the local club, Botafogo (Garrincha also played for this club). As if to underscore his unusually casual attitude to the game that dominates so many lives in Brazil, he refused to commit himself full-time to the club until he had completed his degree in Medicine at the local university. Such was his talent, however, that Botafogo allowed him to skip training sessions to finish his studies, and soon he became both a qualified doctor and the team’s star player, notching up 24 goals in 57 appearances.
By 1978 he had turned professional and joined Corinthians, the club in Sao Paulo which – along with Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo – dominates football in Brazil. At the time the country was ruled by a military dictatorship, and Corinthians had a reputation as a centre of democratic opposition, acquiring influence and significance that stretched well beyond the pitch. This manifested itself in the movement known as Democracia Corinthiana, in which the club’s directors, staff and players all had a vote to settle any decision of significance.It was an obviously political organisation, and Socrates (a self-confessed idealist who named one of his six children Fidel) was at its heart. He played for Corinthians for six years, until 1984, making 297 appearances and scoring 172 goals during a spell in which the club was champions three times.
With his long, flowing locks, headband and wispy beard, backed up by outrageous skill on the ball, Socrates was an embodiment of rebel . But his rebelliousness also took a toll on his health, and he demonstrated as significant a commitment to beer and cigarettes as he did to his political ideals.
It is a testament to his physical power that such indulgence had no discernible impact on his performances on the pitch. He started playing for the national team in 1979, making his debut in a 6-0 win against Paraguay, and by 1982 was captain of a group of players considered as worthy of pulling on the golden shirt as the constellation of stars which had gathered around Pele in 1970.
It was a devil-may-care attitude that almost saw the side lose its first game, against the USSR. After going behind in the first half, however, Brazil came back to win the game with two of the goals of the tournament. With 15 minutes remaining, Socrates collected a Soviet clearance 40 yards from goal. Skipping over one potentially leg-breaking challenge, he feinted past another defender before unleashing a right-footed shot from 25 yards into the top left-hand corner.
Then, with two minutes of the game remaining, Eder flicked up a cross field pass and volleyed the ball into the net from a similar distance; in neither case did the Soviet keeper move.It was a win which established the Brazilian players’ credentials as the showmen of the competition.
Some players, like Falcao, were devastated not to have gone on and won the competition. But, outwardly at least, Socrates was unconcerned. “At least we lost fighting for our ideals,” he noted. “And you can compare that to society today. We have lost touch with humanity, people are driven by results. They used to go to football to see a spectacle. Now, with very few exceptions, they go to watch a war and what matters is who wins. That is why I value the squad for this World Cup – it might just be a team with ideals.”

Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, an outspoken fan of Corinthians, the club where Socrates thrived in the 1980s praised Socrates in a statement on Sunday. “Dr. Socrates was a star on the field and a great friend,..he was an example of citizenship, intelligence and political consciousness......Socrates' generous contribution to Corinthians, to football and to the Brazilian society will never be forgotten,"

Socrates seemed like a player from another era," former Italy forward Paolo Rossi told the ANSA news agency. "You couldn't place him in any category - on the pitch and even more so off it. Everyone knew about his degree in medicine and he had a lot of cultural and social interests as well. He was unique from every point of view."

On the field, Socrates was known as a wily strategist who could elegantly employ his signature move, a back-heel pass.Socrates was included in FIFA's list of the best 125 living soccer players in the world, a list compiled by countryman Pele
Socrates, born February 19 1954, died December 4 2011.

According to me, only person who can remotely match versatility of Socrates is Rick Charlesworth of Australia. There won't be another Socrates for sure.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Best time to prepay your home loan

Teaser rates are passé. It's the turn of prepayment penalty to take the centre stage. Though prompted by regulatory persuasion and directives, some leading banks are using the abolition of prepayment charges to entice home loan borrowers.
Last week, State Bank of India waived off prepayment charges for all customers — new or old, fixed or floating — and irrespective of whether they are paying from their pockets or switching to another lender. Almost immediately,ICICI Bank, too, removed prepayment charges for floating rate loans.
The National Housing Bank, taking a cue from Banking Ombudsmen's recommendations, had barred housing finance companies from charging a pre-payment penalty to floating rate borrowers, even in case of loan transfers to other lending institutions....

The logic for doing away with the penalty is simple. Since the borrower bears the burden of risk in interest rate movements in case of a floating rate loan, there is no reason why the bank should charge a pre-payment fee. For long, borrowers have complained that banks are slow in passing on the benefits of softening interest rates to existing borrowers, while luring new borrowers with much lower rates at the same time.
Despite the discriminatory practice, old borrowers were hesitant to transfer their loans to other institutions for fear of shelling out a huge amount as pre-payment charge. Until now, banks and HFCs have extended the concession only to borrowers who prepay from their own pockets. Borrowers with little funds of their own are, thus, forced to stick with their bank despite other lenders promising lower interest rates.
Now that pre-payment penalty has become extinct, many could be tempted to exercise this option of switching to a cheaper lender. However, there are certain factors you need to keep in mind before deciding on prepaying/switching your loan.

With the barrier for making the switch to another lender having been nearly eliminated, the most pertinent question perhaps in the current context is when to prepay the home loan. For loans being prepaid with own funds, most banks and HFCs already follow the practice of waiving the penalty for fixed as well as floating rate loan borrowers.
Things have never been better for those looking to pre-pay, particularly, if you have just started repaying your home loan. "It is advisable to repay as much as possible during the first five years. For, the interest component in your EMIs is huge in the initial years, while the principal element is miniscule," reasons Vipul Patel, director, Home Loan Advisors, an independent mortgage consultancy firm.
Thus, you will be saving on considerable interest outgo, if you can focus on directing your savings towards prepaying a significant part of the loan during the first five years.

Most home loan borrowers in India strive to pay off their entire loan in 5-7 years, despite the tenure ranging from15-25 years. The reason? They want to call their dream home completely their own as soon as possible and, hence, the hurry to get rid of the debt. And it makes enormous sense, too, as explained above.
However, you also need to factor in the tax benefits that accrue to borrowers repaying their home loan. Under section 80C, you can claim deduction on principal amount repaid, to the extent of Rs 1 lakh, which is the overall cap. The interest amount paid also entitles you to a deduction up to Rs 1.5 lakh, under section 24.If the couples take the loan jointly , then the limit increases to Rs 1.5 X 2 = Rs 3 lakh.
"Given the quantum of tax breaks available, it would be wise to carry out a cost-benefit analysis before deciding on pre-payment. This holds true particularly for those under the age of 35. Others, though, should look at clearing all their debts at the earliest, so that they are in a better position to plan their retirement by the time they 45 or 50," advises VN Kulkarni, chief counsellor with Bank of India-backed Abhay Credit Counselling Centre.
Then, there are those who may not be able to prepay large chunks of the loan during the initial years. "Such borrowers can consider increasing the monthly installment to the extent their affordability permits," suggests Patel of Home Loan Advisors. Typically, when the interest rates go up, it's not the EMI amount but the loan tenure that sees an expansion.
This makes the overall interest load heavier for the borrower. "To minimise the burden, you can look at increasing the EMI by 15-20%. Even a 1 percentage point increase in the interest rate can lengthen your loan tenure substantially.

Home Loan EMI Calculator

How much EMI will you have to pay? 

If the interest rate increases further, the interest amount too will go up, and perhaps the tenure?
What can be done under the given situation?
There are three options:
a) Pre-pay a part of the amount so that the EMI and tenure do not change
b) Shift to a new lender as you will be granted loan at a rate which is applicable to new borrowers and generally at a better rate
c) Try to manage for payment at a higher EMI by cutting down expenses wherever possible so that you save on the interest cost.

How to Calculate Interest Charged on the Principal of a Loan ?


    • 1
      Understand the idea of compound interest. Since most loans require monthly payments, lenders charge interest monthly, not once a year. This means that you pay one-twelfth of the annual interest rate each month. If your loan has an interest rate of 12 percent, you pay 1 percent per month on the outstanding balance, or principal.
    • 2
      Calculate the monthly payment on your loan. Using a financial calculator (available online) or Excel, input the interest rate you expect divided by 12 (for monthly payments), the total number of payments to be made and the purchase price of the house or car. For example, in Excel you would type =PMT(1/12, 360, -100,000). This would calculate the payment of a Rs 100,000 house at 12 percent interest for 30 years (360 months). You show the Rs 100,000 amount as a negative because it is money you owe. The monthly payment in this problem comes to Rs 1200 approx

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Concepts - XBRL, IRFS,Sch VI etc

eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an open technology standard which makes it possible to store business and financial information in a computer-readable format. Many countries and/or financial regulators have approved, or are in the process of implementing, requirements around XBRL as the electronic financial reporting standard. These include the US, Japan, UK, Netherlands, Australia & China to name a few.

On 1 April 2011, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in India posted a circular on its website requiring certain class of companies (Phase 1) to file balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the year 2010-11 onwards by using XBRL. The financial statements required to be filed in XBRL format will be based upon the taxonomy or terminlogy on XBRL developed for the existing Schedule VI and non-converged accounting standards notified under the Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2006.

As per the circular, the following class of companies will be considered as Phase 1 and will have to file their Financial Statements in XBRL from the year 2010-11:-

i.        All companies listed in India and their subsidiaries, including overseas subsidiaries
ii.       All companies having a paid up capital of Rs. 5 Crore and above or a turnover of Rs.  100 crore or above

Ministry of corporate affairs , the regulators of corporate entities in India has mandated filing of financial returns in XBRL format except banking, insurance, NBFCs and power sector companies. 

This represents a significant change in the manner in which companies are required to share financial information with regulatory authorities. XBRL will facilitate the transmission of data in electronic form between companies and different regulatory agencies in India, and has the potential to increase comparability and transparency of financial information.

Phase 1 companies have a short time-frame to prepare for XBRL filing of 201011 financial statements

The basis for XBRL is a “tagging” process where each value, item, descriptor, etc., in the exchanged information can be given a unique set of tags to describe it.

XBRL is being positioned as the vocabulary of business and financial reporting. It is a way to “bar code” business information contained in general ledgers, income and cash flow statements, balance sheets, as well as text information included within the footnotes and other requirements of business reporting. Tagging financial data in XBRL is similar to the use of bar codes. The bar code was created to electronically identify different products. Similar to a bar code, applications that utilize XBRL data can automatically identify each piece of data and specific information about it, such as value, type, currency, date, source and its relationships with other data.

source : 

Changes in Schedule VI – Old vs New (Revised)

Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had revised Schedule VI of Companies Act, 1956 and notified the same on 1st March 2011.  The refreshed Schedule VI shall apply to all companies from 1st April 2011 onwards.
The revised Schedule VI introduces many new concepts and disclosure requirements and does away with several statutory disclosure requirements of the existing Schedule VI. The New Schedule VI is as per the currently in use non-converged accounting standards as under Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2006.
For your ready reference on how to present the P&L and Balance Sheet – refer our Article on Format of Schedule VI
The following article highlights the major changes brought in by the New Schedule VI

Changes in Revised Sch VI

Schedule VI Changes in Schedule VI – Old vs New (Revised)
The changes brought in revised format have been segregated in the following manner: -
  1. Balance Sheet
  2. Profit & Loss A/c

General Changes

1. While both Vertical and horizontal forms of presentation were allowed under old schedule VI, only vertical form is allowed under revised Schedule VI.
2. Once a unit measurement is used, it should be used uniformly in the Financial Statements.

Changes in Balance Sheet


1. Change in nomenclature – “Sources of Funds” has been replaced with “Equity & Liabilities”
2. Share Capital – Company would need to show in sub-head à Shares held more than 5% in company along with number of shares
3. Debit Balance of P&L A/c shall now be shown as negative figure under head Surplus
4. Liabilities will now broadly be classified as
  • Current Liabilities &
  • Non Current Liabilities
5. Deferred payment liabilities and loans & advances from related parties to be shown separately under head “Long term Borrowings”.
6. Provisions to be classified as Short Term Provisions & Long Term Provisions


1. Change in nomenclature – “Application Of Funds” has been replaced with “Assets”
2. Fixed Assets to be further classified as
  • Tangible
  • Non-Tangible
4. Current Assets are to be shown under separate head.
5. “Sundry Debtors” have now been named “Trade Receivables”
6. “Cash and Bank Balances” have now been termed as “Cash and Cash Equivalents”. Classification under this head has been completely revamped.
7. Inventories – Goods in transit shall be disclosed under the relevant sub-head of inventories
8. Misc expenditure (to the extent not written off or adjusted) shall now not be shown separately under head “Other Current Assets”
9. The amount of dividend proposed to be distributed to shareholders (equity and preference) for the period and amount per share to be disclosed separately

Changes in Profit & Loss A/c

1. Under head “Other Income” -  Net gain/loss on foreign currency translation and transaction (other than finance cost) shall be disclosed separately.
2. Employee benefit expense shall disclose additionally expense on account of Employee stock option scheme (ESOP)
3. Following shall now be disclosed separately –
  • Provision for loss of Subsidiary companies
  • Net loss on sale of Investments
  • Details of exceptional and extraordinary items
  • Prior Period items
  • Adjustment to carrying amount of investments
4. A new format has been issued for face reporting of Profit & Loss A/c.

Impact of Revision in Schedule VI

1. The revised schedule VI intends to familiarize companies with Ind-AS/IFRS by using certain concepts such as current/non-current classification.
2. The revised Schedule VI has eliminated the concept of schedules and such information will now be provided in the notes to accounts. This is as done when applying IFRS.
3. From now on, the compliance requirements of Act and/or Accounting standards will prevail over schedule VI.
4. Better presentation, disclosure is intended to facilitate better organised data for users of financial statement.


FAQ :As per the roadmap for convergence given my MCA, Companies whether listed or not and having Net Worth > 1000 Cr were required to convert their opening Balance sheet to comply with the requirements of IFRS. My question is that whether this convergence has actually been applied or is it still in the it still a roadmap only?

This roadmap was issued in 2009-10 but as per the press release issued by MCA in Feb 11, IFRS (in India called IndAS) although IndAS have been issued but implementation have been deferred till further notification. Till date no further notification issued by MCA and the roadmap issued earlier has no relevance now.  In stead, the revised schedule VI is trying to make the indian companies "IFRS Compliant"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Business Line : Markets News : India's exposure ‘to stocks one of the lowest in the world'

The nation with 75 cr mobile connections, but less than 1.5 cr depository accounts.
Mr Akshay Agrawal, Managing Director, Acumen Capital Market India Ltd, has stressed the need to create more awareness among the public to invest in capital markets, as India's exposure to stocks in only a meagre 1.25 per cent against 35-40 per cent in developed economies.
“This is one of the lowest in the world as far as a developing economy like India is concerned,” he told students at the Sreenarayana Guru Institute of Science and Technology, North Paravur near here as part of delivering the Business Line Club lecture. “The stigma of scams and the general perception that investing in stocks is risky has kept Indians away from the capital markets,” he said.
He lamented that while India has over 75 crore mobile connections, the country has less than 1.5 crore depository accounts. This reflected the poor participation in the stock markets, and also reflected the tremendous growth potential the markets have.
According to Mr Agrawal, India has got the highest savings in the world with about 36 per cent. About 64 per cent of the savings in India goes to banks in fixed deposits while 6 per cent goes to capital markets. The ideal way to grow wealth is to invest in fixed assets such as properties and in other paper assets such as fixed income deposits, gold ETFs, equities and so on, he said.
The Managing Director of Acumen suggested that a young person, by virtue of youth and the prospects of a bright career ahead, has a higher risk taking capacity, and so can afford to invest a larger amount in assets that carry higher risk but also much better returns.
The presentation also gave students and the faculty members insights on the various factors that govern the movement of the stock markets and also how to avoid pitfalls and maximise returns.
He pointed out that the stock market witnessed five times growth from 2003-04 to 2008-09 as the Sensex went up from 3,500 to 21,000. In the last 30 years, the market was positive for 22 years and negative for eight years. It provided 60 per cent returns in five times, 40-60 per cent in five times, 20-40 per cent in four times and 0-20 per cent in 8 times.
Comparing the returns delivered by various assets like bank deposits, company deposits, equities, he said over the long terms equities have consistently delivered higher returns than all other assets.
Earlier Mr K.P. Narayanan, Assistant Regional General Manager, The Hindu, spoke about Business Line Club and its activities.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sonepur Ka Mela, Bodh Gaya and Nalanda - a study in contrast

We left for Patna on 25/11/2011 to see Sonepur Mela by Himigiri Express at 11.55 PM. We are six people – Gobindo, Ashis-da, Subir-da and Ashit-da and his wife with diverse background - all of us, hardcore traveller and suffer from wanderlust.....a great combination.

We reached Patna around 10.15 am. From Patna we hired/reserved an auto to go Sonepur (Rs 200 – which is little less than normal rate). Alternately one can go to Hajipur (@ Rs 20 per head) and reach Sonepur by taking another auto. There is a direct train to Sonepur station also from Kolkata, but the length of the journey is more – more than 14 hours. Our contact person is Mr. Ajay, System Administrator, (0 9430 828 188); he is with Bihar tourism. We booked 3 Tents on 26/11/2011 – the location of the tent is 2 minutes walk from the Sonepur Mela (near Sonepur Hospital) for 1 day @ Rs 525 per Tent. The location of the tent is very secured and convenient.

When the Mela started in November 10, 2011 (up to 9.12.2011) the rent was Rs 999. As the mela progresses the rent falls. There are some cottages also too at Rs 1100, which were initially around Rs 3000. I thought it is too pricey considering the facilities provided. (Bihar Tourism office is at 26 B Camac Street – few buildings away from Pantaloon,22 Camac Street,Kolkata. There is no infrastructure there, but Mr. Tapan Sinha (9830 04 52 35) gave some valuable information i.e. contact no. of Mr. Ajay.)

The Sonepur Cattle Fair or Sonepur Mela is held on Kartik Poornima (the full moon day) in the month of November in Sonepur, Bihar, on the confluence of river Ganges and River Gandak. It is also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela and it attracts visitors from all over Asia; till date, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia and stretches on from fifteen days to one month. It has its origins during ancient times. Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. The Sonepur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia. Originally, the venue of the fair was Hajipur and only the performance of the Puja used to take place at the Harihar Nath temple of Sonepur.

However, under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the venue of the fair got shifted to Sonepur. The temple of Harihar Nath is believed to have been originally built by Lord Rama, on his way to the court of King Janak to win the hand of Mata Sita. It is further said that Raja Man Singh later got the temple repaired. The Harihar Nath temple, as it stands today, was built by Raja Ram Narain, an influential person during the late Mughal period.
Billed as the world’s largest cattle fair, the Sonepur Mela in Bihar draws in farmers from across the country vying for top prizes for their animals. The Sonepur Mela is one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia where cows, sheep, elephants, camels, cats, dogs, pigs, monkeys. But over the years, the fair has become much larger to include several attractions, including motorcycle wall of death shows and dancer girls.
There are plenty of other attractions and entertainments on offer at this pulsating festival; visitors can simply browse through the stalls or regional food and drink specialties. You will find the variety of stalls selling almost everything under the sun from garments to weapons, furniture to toys, utensils and agricultural equipments to jewelry and handicrafts etc. You may also taste varieties of famous local delicacies such as Papdi, Khazoor, Halwa and much more. However it was no way different from any other village fair and loud music.
But when we went there, it is bit late and by that time elephants and camels have left. A huge disappointment for us. So it is better to go within 1st week. We rode the giant wheel and saw some magic shows.

However we saw horse, cow, rabbit, dog, birds. We were told the cost of a good horse is Rs 1 lakh. The jersey cows were sold at Rs 50,000 and ordinary cows were sold at Rs 20,000.We are told that jersey cows give 20 litres of milk per day and local cows give 8 litres per day ( and hence the difference).

When asked about the dancing girls we were told that “nautanki iska jaan hai. Yeh chala jaiga to mela bhi khatam ho jaiga!”
In the evening we went to beside the Gandak River and after spending some time we came back to our tent and left for dinner.


Today we left early in the morning to see the fair and went to the Gandak River and hired a boat (Rs 100) to go the other side and saw a Nepali temple on the other side of the river. There is a crematorium on the other side of the river. After spending some time in the boat, we decided to come back to hotel and left for Patna.


By train

The nearest Railway station is Gaya (16 km). From there you can take a bus or a three wheel taxi to Bodh Gaya. Three-wheel taxi price is extremely variable, depending on time of day, but should be between 80-120 Rs. You should bargain considerably, there is rarely a shortage of service.
The express train from Patna takes about two hours. One can also go to Gaya from Kolkata.

By bus
There is a main road connecting Bodhgaya and Gaya. The Bihar State Tourist Development Corporation runs daily deluxe bus services to and from Bodh Gaya.
Ashitda and his wife left for Kolkata (they halted some time in Patna at their relative’s house) and left for Bodh Gaya by taking the bus from Mithapur Bus station, Patna – which is 2 km south of Patna railway station. We took our lunch at Welcome restaurant beside the bus station.
The bus goes straight to Bodhgaya. It took around 4 hours to reach there. When we reached there, it is already 8.00 pm. Then we took an auto to reach our hotel – Shanti Guest House – 631- 2200 129 or Mobile 909 717 0075 or 9835 81 80 81 behind Kal-chakra ground. The hotel rent is only Rs 400. In fact we were lucky to see the brother of owner of this hotel in the bus itself! It was very good and highly recommendable. Since the tourist season starts with the coming of Dalai Lama to Bodh Gaya in mid December, we are still good 15 days away from that day and therefore hotels were quite cheap. It is in a very nice, peaceful location. According to the owner of the hotel, the rent can even go up to few thousands during the high season! :
We went to Mahabodhi temple complex – the temple is already closed (at 9 pm) and will open again in the morning at 4 am. We instantly fell in love with the place. It is unlike any touristy area in India, more like Khajuraho and not at all crowded.
Bodh Gaya is a village in the state of Bihar. As the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment, Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites. Bodh Gaya is essentially a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and all of its main attractions are related to this. The subsidiary tourist industry that has grown up around it (shopping, eating, and accommodation) is not really the main attraction. Perhaps unique to Bodh Gaya are the rather cheesy CDs for sale near the temple entrance that purport to be monks chanting Buddhist texts. You will know whether you want to take this home with you!
Whether you're a Buddhist or not, the main thing to do in Bodh Gaya is just to absorb the vibe of the place where the Buddha attained awakening: the vapour trail of that energy is still in the air!

We had our dinner at Green Fuji. The food was very good and price is very reasonable – it is 2.5 minutes walk from Mahabodhi temple. There are some other restaurants also.
Cafe Om. Excellent pastries, great food too. This is the place where everybody meets everybody.

There are some sleeping options too in Bodhgaya. Some of them with whom we had a talk are:
Deep guest house: 200/ 300 (2007) – now 500 / 600 Ph No. 0631- 2200 463
Bodhgaya Road;
Telephone +91 631 2200463

Kirti Guest House P.O Box No.21,Bodh Gaya 824231,Gaya, Bihar, India
            Tel. 91-631-2200 744 / Mobile 91 9431 223 016 /

Kundan Bazar Guest House, Bhagalpur Village, 824231 [], Single rooms to full-service apartments(Near Old Vietnam Temple), ☎ 9106312200049, Single rooms to full-service apartments, bike rentals, internet cafe, book, gift, and clothing shop, snooker bar, self-service kitchen, laundry facility, tour packages, and more

  • ££ Monastery guest houses offer a cheap option to hotels, though guests are expected to adhere to their house rules. They do not charge fixed nightly rates, but instead accept donations (ask other guests for the going rate). There is a whole string of guesthouses just opposite the park from the Mahabodhi Temple. All pretty much the same well maintained with restaurants on the ground floor.


     We hired a car for Rs 1300 to see Bodhgaya (around Rs 300), Rajgir and Nalanda.

The main temple complex houses the famous Mahabodhi temple/ Mahabodhi stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.

Bodhi Tree - it is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakya-muni attained enlightenment, inside the Mahabodhi complex.
There is also a nice lake in the complex. After spending around 1.5 hours inside the complex we bought some souvenirs within the complex and had some good tea. Then we went to some other attractions.

We saw 80-foot Buddha Statue .

There are also temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition. Most temples open from 6AM to sunset and close between noon and 2PM. The best thing is you can see temple architectures of various countries! They are all nearby. One can even cover them by walk or by cycle rickshaw (to save time) or by hiring a bicycle.

§ Japanese temple (Indosan Nippon),
§ Thai Monastery
§ Bhutanese Monastery
§ Tibetan Monastery

    We however did not see Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum, located next to the Mahabodhi Temple, due to scarcity of time. It is open all 7 days of the week. Museum provides the historical and Geographical context for the life of Buddha through a set of Multimedia films and 3D Animation movie.
We also did not see Barabar caves, the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, mostly dating from the Mauryan period (322–185 BCE), and some with Ashokan inscriptions, located in the Jehanabad District, 24 km north of Gaya.

We then went to Fuji green to have our lunch (we had Momo, then-thuk, fried rice and banana and ordinary pan cake. All of them are very good and it is a real value for money. Then we went to our hotel to check out (12 pm) and left for Nalanda and Rajgir. On the way we got down at Myanmar or Burmese temple.

Get out
§ Rajgir – The site of Gridha-kuta (Vulture's Peak), where the Buddha stayed and gave teachings on the Mahayana (the second turning of the wheel), and Venu-vana, the first Buddhist monastery. Rajgir is also an area known for its hot springs, which are open to the public. Buses depart from Bodhgaya.
§ Nalanda – This Buddhist University was established in 450 AD. Currently, there are extensive ruins, but no inhabitants. Nalanda Museum is open 10AM-5PM daily except Friday.
$$ If you are coming from Bihar Sharif via Bakh-tiyarpur, then avail shared jeeps plying between Rajgir and Bihar Sharif (make a stop at the turnoff for Nalanda – which is in between these two). Rickshaws and other vehicles are available from there to the main gate of Nalanda; a distance of 2km. PWD operates a guest house near the gate.
§ Deo – Visit this place for a glimpse of Famous Sun Temple.
§ Patna - 130 km by Road, Deluxe Buses for Patna Available from BSTDC : Bodhgaya Hotel (7AM, 2PM daily), you can also go By Train from Gaya Junction

Nalanda is in the Bihar state of India and marks the site of the once famous Buddhist University also known as the Nalanda University. Nalanda was a Buddhist university established in 450 AD, and was the longest running university in Indian history and at its zenith accommodated over 10,000 students and over 2,000 faculties. However, it was destroyed by Bakh-tiyar Khilji, Turkish Muslim invaders in 1193, when the students and teachers were massacred and the massive university library was burnt down, and currently all that remains are extensive ruins that are spread over an area of 14 hectares. Though there was a small stupa constructed by Emperor Ashoke, there was no University there. But it was an important place for Buddhist for that.
Three kings of different era were instrumental in making this University – Guptas of famous Gupta dynasty, Harshavardana and Devpala of Pala dynasty. Hiuen Tsang travelled visited Nalanda first in 637 and then again in 642, spending a total of around two years at the monastery.
By train

The nearest important station is Bihar Sharif (about 15 km) - which is connected to Patna and several other important towns and cities of eastern India.
By car
Shared jeeps plying the route between Rajgir (15km) and Bihar Sharif (35km) make a stop at the turn off for Nalanda. Rickshaws and other vehicles are available from here to the main gate, a distance of 2KM.
By bus
Bus facilities are available from Patna, Gaya, Bihar Sharif and Rajgir.
It took around 3.5 hours to reach Nalanda by our auto. The road and landscape was indeed picturesque. We initially skipped Rajgir (which was on the way) to come back later. However we had some exquisite Khaja at Rajgir. Rajgir is very famous for Khaja. We bought some for our home. Gobindo did not allow me to make the payment for Khaja!
The Great Stupa. The remains of the stupa have terraces and smaller stupas.
We met a very good guide in Nalanda (probably the best I have seen ever). We were there for around 1 hour. We were told at its prime it used a cover an area of around 9 Km. We were late for the museum , as a result could not see the museum.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum. The museum houses a significant collection of Pala and Mauryan statues. 10AM-5PM daily, closed Fridays.
There is nice Garden Restaurant run in the Nalanda Multimedia Museum. However we did not go there.
Then we planned to go to Rajgir to see the hot spring. But it was already late- so we had to skip the idea to go to hotspring.There are many horse carts in Rajgir. There is a railway station near the main bus stand of Rajgir.
Rajgir was a favourite place of Buddha and Mahavir and its original name was Rajgirha. It was the capital of Maurya. Bimbisara was the first one to be converted to Buddhism and transferred the capital from Rajgir to Pataliputra (or Patna of today). Pataliputra was probably the largest city in the world in those days.
Many visitors to Nalanda prefer to stay in Rajgir as there is a greater choice of accommodation

Get out

Bodh Gaya (89km) and Rajgir (15km)

We were informed that train to Bihar Sharif is running late. So we decided to go to Rajgir to catch the bus to Bihar Sharif for a 1 hour journey. From Bihar Sharif (a major junction) we took another bus to Bakh-tiyarpur. Initially we were scared that the train is running very late. But actually it was around 1.15 minutes late. We had our dinner (Ganga Restaurant) at Bakh-tiyarpur railway station. The food was very cheap and good – though quite spicy. There are very few options near the railway station, though.

Chronological order