Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interesting Webistes

1. I-Banks eye startups with crowd funding 15 FEB, 2011,ET

When Bollywood director Onir found it difficult to find traditional film financiers to fund his off-beat cinema, he decided to raise money from the ‘crowd’. Onir posted a request on Facebook and Twitter, and in a year’s time, he collected over Rs 1 crore which was used to part-fund his upcoming film ‘I Am...’

Short film-maker Harish Iyer also collected money from the masses to fund his 20-minute film on human rights, ‘Amen’. He collected around Rs 1.5 lakh in a few months’ time to fund his Rs 3 lakh project. Actor-director Rajat Kapoor funded his 2003 movie ‘Raghu Romeo’ by collecting money from the public.

He is said to have used postcards to communicate with potential investors. The success of these ventures has prompted mid-sized merchant bankers to structure similar funding options for business startups in the country. Newly-established fund arrangers, like Kennis Group and Springboard Ventures, are planning to arrange ‘crowd funding’ options for companies needing growth capital. Onir and his friends are also planning to launch a firm that will arrange ‘capital from friends and strangers’.

“Directors always find it difficult to raise money for making off-beat films. The best option for them is to raise money from people who are like-minded or believe in a cause which the film discusses,” said Onir, who raised over Rs 1 crore from more than 400 people residing in 45 world cities.

“We’re planning to give ‘crowd funding’ a formal structure. This route can be adopted for funding films made by upcoming directors who do not have financier backing,” Onir said.

Crowd finance is simply a process where small amounts are raised for definite purpose. Without intermediaries, crowd finance brings social media technologies to work for financing transaction from something as small as microfinance transaction or a venture capital transaction. With technology already in place and proven, this feels like an evolution or an idea waiting to happen.

“We are almost ready with our crowd-funding platform. We’ll help startups raise money through the crowd-funding route,” said Saurabh Agarwal, director, Kennis Group, which partially owns crowd-funding website ‘’.
According to Mr Agarwal, ‘’ has listed numerous business proposals (and startups) that are on the lookout for funds. People looking for investment options can pay ‘’ a subscription fees (starting at Rs 1,000 per month) and look at business proposals.

“Around 75% of the subscription money paid to is kept aside by us to invest in a startup of investor’s choice. Once enough funds get accumulated for a particular project, we fund the startup and take a board seat in the company,” Mr Agarwal said.

Investments in business startups usually generate profits after three - five years. ‘’ will return 75% of the profits generated to investors on the basis of their investments. Investors, on their part, will have subscription receipts with names of companies where money is invested as investment proof. Crowd funding is a very new concept and is not regulated even in foreign countries. However, investors in such schemes can approach courts for legal recourse.

“Crowd funding works more like online donations,” said Abhishek Khare , senior partner, Khare Legal Chambers. “As long as these schemes don’t guarantee returns or coerce people to invest in them, things should be fine legally. Profits by investing in these schemes will be taxed just like any other income,” Mr Khare said.

According to him, investors will get a legal recourse since such online schemes have a well-covered legal contracts for participants. “Based on these legal contracts, signed before joining the scheme, investors can approach courts for legal support,” Mr Khare added. Crowd-funding recipient Onir already has plans to return the money he borrowed from friends and strangers.

“If my movie does well, I’ll return money the borrowed money to our investors. I also plan to give a percentage of my profits to them,” Onir said.

2) Homestay at Nagaland

3) Tour OF North East

4) One of my friends (Colin Christopher) contribute to this Islamic site

5) Meditation in India

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation.It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills.

It's a 10-day complete residential program where the technique is taught step-by-step each day.
(No fee for the program.
All expenses are met by donations from those who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the same opportunity.
Neither the Teacher nor the assistant teachers receive remuneration; they and those who serve the courses volunteer their time. Thus Vipassana is offered free from commercialization.)

In North India you can do at picturesque Dharamshala or in Laddakh.

To register for the program check this site -

For Meditation (Buddism) Bangalore Vipassana Centre

Calcutta Vipassana Centre 

There is a centre at Panihati, Sodepur,Kolkata (West Bengal) and has beautiful natural scenery

The schedules are there for 3 days and weekend courses but for beginner a residential (free) 10 days course is best . 

The daily schedule is tough and consists of keeping silence and sitting on meditation for almost 8-10 hours a day with some breaks for lunch and breakfast and evening tea and snacks. Each one hour meditation has 5 min break. Full silence and celibacy and one hour discourse in the evening are the main features. 
There are other courses of 45 days and so on.
(source CS Kolkata)

6) Study Yoga in India -
According to inputs from different members of my group :
Some good yoga places:

1. Ashtanga yoga, mysore
2. Vivekananda yoga, bangalore
3. Iyengar yoga, pune ( Bihar school of yoga,Munger,Bihar
5. Sivananda yoga centers,Kerala etc.

These Courses range from 1 month to few years depending on how deep you want to go.
However you can do the 4 month "Yogic Study Course" from Bihar School of Yoga (World's first Yoga University).
Course period: October to January (in English)
Contact Bihar Yoga Bharati, Ganga Darshan for further information.
Bihar Yoga Bharati
Ganga Darshan, Fort,
Munger, Bihar 811201,
Tel: 00 91 (0)6344 222430
00 91 (0) 9304799615


According to one fellow member of my group , "you can go to Dharamshala - where you will get lots of ashrams there.Its a hub for Meditation and yoga.There is also Mcleodganj (Bhagsu); there is a meditation centres, lots of foreigners goes there...."


If funds are very limited then in south you can contact Yoga school in Saraswathipuram, near kamakshi hospital, Mysore,Tamilnadu.

Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh

Santacruz Yoga Institute, Mumbai

Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), Pune

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala

Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, Mysore

Kaivalyadhama Yoga Center, Lonavala (Pune)

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai

Central Council of Research in Yoga & Naturopathy, New Delhi

Yog Vidya Gurukul, Nasik

7) Yoga vacations

Give your life a boost, develop positive thinking, radiant health and inner peace through the practice of ancient yogic techniques for balanced living. The yoga vacation is based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. It is designed to help you develop a strong practice which can be incorporated back into your daily life at home.
Living in the ashram following a simple, structured daily schedule, allows you to focus on yourself for two weeks (or more!!). The term vacation usually implies doing nothing, perhaps lying on a beach. Swami Vishnudevananda adopted the term 'Yoga Vacation' because the structured schedule allows you to relax completely in a way a beach or travel holiday doesn't. All you have to do is be here, relax and participate

7a) Yoga vacationsRishikesh is a great place for learning Yoga - serene and compelling. As to learning yoga, the place is replete with institutions that flaunt 200 hour yoga courses for 800 USD to 1100 USD with food and stay etc. Some charge 1500 USD.
These are all high end courses meant for regular yoga practicioners.

For beginners and seekers of instant nirvana, introductory courses in various retreats will set you back by about 300-500 USD for 1-2 week course. Here is one called Rishikesh yoga peeth  -  running every month on 1st and 15th.

So much for Yoga. In my humble opinion these are all tailored by commercial practicioners to lure unsuspecting lovers of yoga , preferably from foreign destinations.

(CS Anoop Negi)

8)Travelling stories by a biker

9) Homestays in India

11) Homestays in Kolkata

This is run by an ex-CS. I have not met him, but talked to him number of times. It seems to be very interesting and has one of the best reviews. Just see it and very cheap also.They have meditation,yoga courses and voluntary services with slum children and stray dogs and also have interesting tours.
It was highly rated by Tripadvisor too.


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