Halawet El-Jibn | A Delectable Arabic Dessert

The New Year has to start with some sweets for round-the-year sweet experiences. Halawet el-jibn is made from rolls of soft, sweet semolina and cheese dough that gets stuffed with clotted cream and crowned with pistachios. A drizzle of syrup puts the final seal of perfection. The origin of halawat el-jibn dish is not clear. Some recipes for this dessert give credit to Homs in Syria as its birthplace. Continue reading Halawet El-Jibn | A Delectable Arabic Dessert

Somen Debnath | Cycling around the world for AIDS awareness

Somen Debnath has been travelling across the world on a bicycle to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Starting from his home at Basanti Village in South 24 Paragana district of West Bengal at the age of 21 on 27 May 2004, Debnath has been on the road and travelled over 185,400 km and visited 170 countries. During his journey, he was in Baghdad, Iraq for a few days in 2013. I then met him and interacted with him during his stay in Baghdad. Continue reading Somen Debnath | Cycling around the world for AIDS awareness

In Search of Guru Nanak’s Shrine in Baghdad

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, spent three months in Baghdad with his associates Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala on his return to India from Mecca. The holy site is in the backyard of Baghdad railway station surrounded by graveyards. War, insurgents or looters have wiped any trace of a historical footnote that had preserved the memory of the Sikh Guru’s 16th-century journey through Arabia and his stay in Baghdad. There is no trace of anything Sikh on the site now. Continue reading In Search of Guru Nanak’s Shrine in Baghdad

Golden Lyre of Ur | Mesopotamia

It is unknown which culture was the first to create music, but a set of beautiful Sumerian instruments from the city of Ur provide us with some insight into the world of ancient music. The famous Lyres of Ur, which are somewhat similar to modern harps, are the oldest stringed instruments unearthed to date. The Golden Lyre, found in the Great Death Pit at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (in southern Iraq), got its name because the whole head of the bull is made of gold. The eyes are made of inlaid mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli. Research has shown that the bull played a key role in the religious imagination of the Sumerians: it could serve as the deity’s divine animal or the god himself could take on the form of a bull. Continue reading Golden Lyre of Ur | Mesopotamia

Agatha Christie Lived in Baghdad

Agatha Christie doesn’t need any introduction. We grew up reading the detective novels of the British writer, who authored 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. According to UNESCO’s Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author. After a devastating divorce, she took a trip to Baghdad in 1928 and lost her heart — to the ancient sites of Iraq and archaeologist Max Mallowan. Continue reading Agatha Christie Lived in Baghdad

World Humanitarian Day | 19 August

Each year, World Humanitarian Day (August 19) focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers. This year, the highlight is on the immediate human cost of the climate crisis by pressuring world leaders to take meaningful climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people. Continue reading World Humanitarian Day | 19 August

Gold Helmet of Meskalamdug | Mesopotamia

Elaborate hairstyles became important for both men and women in Mesopotamia. The kings began to wear a full beard and long braided hair tied in a large bun at the nape of his neck. Women continued to wear their hair long, twisting it into large buns that covered the top of the head to the base of the neck and adorning it with ribbons and pins. The wealthiest people decorated their elaborate hairstyles with beautifully made jewelry of gold and silver. The gold of the helmet of Meskalamdug was expertly formed to resemble the hairstyle popular for men of the time: waves around the face with a bun tied in the back. Continue reading Gold Helmet of Meskalamdug | Mesopotamia

Woke up to yet another fierce dust storm in Baghdad | Climate Crisis

Dust storms are common in Iraq, but some experts believe they are becoming more frequent due to climate change. The storms are expected to become more frequent due to drought, desertification and declining rainfall. Iraq is classified as one of the world’s five countries most vulnerable to climate change and desertification. Continue reading Woke up to yet another fierce dust storm in Baghdad | Climate Crisis

Celebration | Holi Festival, Baghdad

Holi is considered one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of the country. It is also sometimes called the “festival of love” as on this day people get to unite together forgetting all resentments and all types of bad feelings towards each other. Holi was celebrated in Baghdad this year at the Embassy of India with colours, food, and game. Continue reading Celebration | Holi Festival, Baghdad