Sunday, 27 November 2016


Mr Devendra kumar on his stall in IITF 2016 
Every state has some special dishes that have become his trademark. So what about Bihar, yes Litti Chokha is to identify Bihar.

But Litti is just has not been that kind of brand in like Dosa of Tamil Nadu or Khamman Dhokla of Gujrat. Over the past few years, the international trade fair held in November in Delhi you can find Litti in food courts. However, the fair became the finale of this dish. But a person associated with Bihar determined that they will sharpen the brand Litti Chokha. Devendra Kumar is one such name. He studied hotel management and catering from a reputed institution. After graduating from IISM Ranchi he worked 14 years  in country's reputed hotel chains. But in his mind Litti Chokha was running. Some years ago he launched brand Mr. Littiwala from East Delhi.

He started with the brand name Mr Littiwala in Laxmi Nagar, east Delhi. Gradually began to recognize the brand. Today, the brand beyond Laxmi Nagar area has reached Indirapuram and Kingajve camp. Today, his brand reached on Zomato and Brp food websites. But the journey is still going on. 

Just INR 20 for two Litti. Chokha made from Potato, onion with brinjal and  tomato. Try with mustard sauce. Litti is sunk in ghee. If you eat two Litti it is brunch, if you eat five it is your lunch. In Laxmi nagar  Littiwala Litti stall is not popular among people of Bihar but rather large number of people from other states have also started to taste.
Amazing Slow flame - The best thing of Litti is that it is baked over charcoal on low flame, so it is not contain all the losses like other oil recipes. It's fantastic for health and a digestible dish.

Should not make too much frills in Litti. Sattu is filled inside of Litti. Makuni made from sattu of gram increases its flavor. It is similar to the Bati of Rajasthan. But Bati has no filling like litti. Besides Delhi now you can find many litti stalls in Noida also.  
Bring it anywhere - Litti's biggest feature is that you can go with Litti in travel also like a fast food. you can simply eat it anytime. It is a great fast food. The big advantage is It is cholesterol free also. 
So next time try something different, try healthy, try Litti Chokha. 
Visit website -


Monday, 7 December 2015


A man who born after 2000 in India has never seen a steam locomotive on railway tracks. Because all trains are now running with diesel or electric locomotive. But you can see some of old locomotives standing alone on some places revealing history of railway in India.

An old steam locomotive of Dehri Rohtas Light Railway (DRLR) now can be seen outside railway station of Muzaffarpur (Bihar).It is a good initiative of East Central Railway a zone of Indian Railway.

The loco RIL-06 is on display from 05 December 2015, as heritage property of East Central Railway of Indian Railways. General Manager Anant Kumar Mittal of ECR inaugurated this Loco for public display.  In its naming RIL stands for Rohtas Industries Limited. This loco was manufactured in 1908 by Vulcan Foundry Limited having 0-6-4 tank. It was originally purchased by East Indian Railway. EIR bought total 10 locomotives from Vulcan. 

This loco served East Indian Railway for a long time. But in 1967 DRLR purchased this old loco from EIR it for its operational needs. Since 1984 after closer of DRLR network this loco was laying in BG shed at Dehri on Sone. But Indian Railway purchased all scrap of DRLR from Rohtas Industries, between the year2005 to 2009. Among these scraps loco RIL 06 become property of ECR.

Actually it was BG locomotive. It was in use till 1984 for transport fo goods wagons of Rohtas Industries. The Vulcan Foundry Limited was a British locomotive builder company at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. Now it is a part of Merseyside. Now this locomotive is showing heritage of Indian railway to the people of north Bihar. You can’t see a running steam loco but you can see here standing with pride.

( All Photo - Santosh Sarang, Muz) 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


Fairs are integral part of Indian lifestyle from the ancient periods of history. Sonpur fair of north Bihar is one of the oldest fair of India. Now Sonpur fair is going on. (24 Nov 2015 to 24 Dec 2015). It is also the biggest cattle fair of Asia.  Fair starts every year from Kartik Poornima (full moon, according to Hindu calendar)  in the month of November.

Every year in month of November and December I miss the colors of Sonpur fair, because I am far away from that temple town called Harihar Kshetra. From 1987 to 2008 my family use to live very near to sonpur. We were living at SDO road, Hajipur. Our house was just half kilometers from mela ground. So we enjoy much during mela period.

On the day of Kartika Purnima people from different locations comes for holy bath in river Narayani and Ganga. Actually at Sonpur river Naryani (Gandak) meets to Ganga. Hindu epic Vishnu Purana tells about importance of this place. Here a fight for survival held between Gaj (Elephant) and Grah (Crocodile). Gaj called lord Vishnu to save his life and lord came to help him. The place of sangam of Gandak and ganga called Konhara Ghat. More than three lakh of people takes holy bath in river on the day of Kartika Purnima. One this day all banks of river looks filled with devotees. Sidhi Ghat, Janani Ghat, Hajuri Math, Kaushlya Ghat, Konhara Ghat every where you can see the huge gathering. Journalist and Historian Late Tej Pratap Chauhan says, Konhara ghat area of Hajipur was a great center of Hindu saints in Gupta period. There are so many Maths and ashram situated in Hajipur. Still we see here Hajuri Math, Ramchaura and Baithak of Mahaprbhu Vallabhachara, a great saint of 15th century.

History of Sonpur fair starts from Mauryan period, 3rd century BC. Mauryan kings bought elephants and horses from this fair. Historically fair was held on Hajipur are, on east banks of Gandak. We still see names like Nakhas, Hela bazaar, Magarhatta, Katra, Pandariba like names in old city area of Hajipur. Actually these are mela grounds. But during the period of mughal king Aurnganjeb mela sifted to west bank of Gnadak river in Sonpur.

In Sonpur there is a great Hindu temple, called Hariharnath temple. It is a temple of lord Vishnu and lord Shiva both the Gods. After taking holy bath in river people use to go for worship of Hariharnath.

Now come to the fair.  It is not only a cattle fair, but you can buy everything of your need from mela, wooden furniture, agriculture goods, spices, woolen clothes, shoes, garments, cosmetic products, religious books etc. Shopkeepers and sellers from all over India comes to Sonpur fair. The Sonpur Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia

Sonpur fair is also filled with entertainment, dance shows, theaters; cultural programs are attraction of fair. Nautanki show of fair is very famous. Now Bihar tourism and public relation department of state government use to organize cultural program daily. Famous folk singers use to entertain here. Are you asking about timing of fair?  Don’t worry. Entertainment never ends, fair is open 24*7.

No sell or purchase but donation -  Although Sonpur fair is famous as a cattle fair. You can find here elephant, horse, camel, ass, ox, cow, buffalo and also so many types of birds. On part of mela is known as Chidia bazaar. ( Market of birds). It is said that Hero of Indian freedom movement Veer Kunwar Singh also bought horses for his need from Sonpur mela. Now rules changed and government of India banned selling of elephants. But every year more than 40 elephants come to Sonpur fair. Noted journalist of Sonpur Mr. Surendra Manpuri tells, Now no sell or purchase of elephants done in fair, but it goes with process with donation. You can see here elephants bathing in river Gandak. Mahawat of elephant make colorful designs on back of elephant to attract people.

Urbanization of rural India has changed the picture of traditional fairs, Sonpur fair has also witnessed so many changes, but it is still one of the largest fair of India. The official duration of fair is 30 days.

How to reach – From state capital Patna sonpur is just 25 kilometers. You may book hotel in Patna and visit sonpur fair, or you can choose to live in Hajipur. From Hajipur (HJP) railway station fair is just four Km and from Sonpur railway station distance in two kilometers. Do come to enjoy colors of real India.

Hotel Vaishali, Cinema Road, Hajipur-844101 (Bihar) 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


If you can’t move around India, must come to India international trade fair in Delhi. You can see here all states of India in on campus. Here you can visit pavilions of remote states of India like, Tripura, Meghalya, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Andman Nicobar etc.

But the best part of fair is handicraft items by artists of various states. You can go to handicraft pavilion or visit to SARAS MELA. Saras Mela organized by ministry of rural development ( Govt of India). Here more than 300 stalls offering specialities from different parts of the country.

You can get here Phulkari from Punjab. cotton apparels from Bengal, Silks from South India, 'Banjara work' accessories from Rajasthan and also designer footwear from Punjab, Pochampally cloths from Telangna and many more. Here sellers are artists so you can interact with them and enjoy handmade art of real India.

You can find here not only cloths but so many food materials also. Saras Mela offers a pan-Indian handicraft and handloom. The mela is a haven for silk lovers. art silk, Kanchipuram (Kanjivaram) and other variants of the fabric available here. You can find here leather handbags, clutches, beads necklaces, trinkets, bracelets etc. More than 20 states participate in SARAS Mela. It is a Sale of Articles of Rural Artisans Society. It is a window to the Indian culture and heritage.

You can enjoy cultural programmes here daily. You can see here folk dances of UP, HP, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttrakhand and Punjab.

Remember Saras mela is an initiative of the Union Rural Development Ministry. Ministry organizes Saras Mela every month around the year in so many parts of India to promote rural artists. Fairs like SARAS also provide rural entrepreneurs opportunity for direct sale, without involvement of middlemen. The consumers also get benefited by buying products at much lower cost.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Gol means round so it is GOLGHAR, means round house. It was attraction of my childhood days and also now when I am growing old. Now my child also likes it. Not only people like me but so many persons always been fascinated by this piece of colonial architecture. Golghar built in architectural Style of Buddha Stupa.

It is on of the wonders of Bihar. It is  located to the west of the Gandhi Maidan in Patna. It was built by Captain John Garstin in 1786 to store grains for the British Army. It was served as a storehouse during the times of famines.  it has a storage capacity of nearly 140000 tonnes.  In this Golghar there are no pillars to support the building with a spiral staircase. There are two separate staircase for going up and coming down.

In 1770, a huge famine had killed millions of people and hence the British decided to make a building where they could simply store grains. On 20 jan 1784 construction work was started and it took two years to complete. Since 1999 it was used as stockyard.  Now it serves as a picnic spot.

I remember the year 1979, when I was a student of class third. It was great day for me when I reached on top of Golghar with my father. Again in 2013 It was great day for my son Anadi when he was on the top of Golgahr. You can see backdrop of Golghar in so many Bhojpuri films also. Patna, capital of Bihar has a identity with Golghar.

Some year ago cracks on the internal  walls of Golghar was found.  In 2010, Bihar state archaeological directorate, the custodian of Golghar, had asked the ASI's Patna circle to carry out restoration work on the outer and inner walls of the iconic structure. After this request archaeological survey of India started restoration work of the colossal granary.

Now you can enjoy laser light show in the campus of Golghar. You can see a short audio-visual clip depicting the history of Golghar completed the show package. It is a  half-an-hour show for visitors. It costs Rs 30 only. This is an innovative effort by Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC).

Written on Stone of GOLGHAR
  In part of a general Plan
Ordered by the GOVERNOR GENERAL and Council
20th of January , 1784
For the perputual prevention of Famine
In thefe Provinces
Was erected by CAPTAIN  JOHN GARSTINE Engineer
Completed on the 20th of July , 1786
Firft filled and publickly clofed by.


1786 AD year of construction
146 stairs total.
29 meter total hight.
125 meter diameter.
3.6 Meter  thick wall 
1,40,000 tonnes storage
04 entrance gate at the base.

A View of Patna city from the top of GOLGHAR- Photo- VIDYUT


Sunday, 22 November 2015


Ara Sasaram Light Rail (ASLR)  was a narrow gauge single track network. The width between track was 762 mm ( 30 inch) Narrow gauge was a popular technology in 19th century as it is cheaper regarding running cost so it was adopted for ASLR. Rail track of ASLR runs along with road between Arrah and Sasaram. There was rail bridge on Kaw river at Bikramganj and some bridges  made on Sone canal. Only unreserved passenger trains was running on this route. Goods trains was also running on ASLR route. Some of its big stations also had stock yards. One industrialist filed a case against station master of Bikramganj railway station in 1951 when his bale of cotton looted from railway station  godown. It was matter of  loss of the insured goods. 

ASLR was powered by locomotives made by Hunslet. Founded in 1864, Hunslet Engine Company is renowned throughout the world as a designer and producer of the highest quality shunting, industrial, tunnelling and specialised locomotives. Today, the company provides a bespoke design and manufacturing service for the UK and export markets. ASLR had five locomotive made by Hunslet.
Writer Lawrence G Marshall  visited ASLR network in 1970. He visited Arrah railway station on one sunny morning. He writes about loco used in ASLR network. He pictured F class 2-4-2 ( HE 1038-1910)  tank ready for its run towards Sasaram. The loco was made by Hunslet. It was previously running on another network of  Martin and co. but now shifted to ASLR. Marshall writes about chimney of the said loco made on some religious or political faith.  It was modified version of  loco 0-4-2. ASLR has total seven locos made by Hunslet engine co, Leeds (UK). 

The other loco running on ASLR was 0-6-2 type, this was also built by Hunslet between 1947 to 1955.  
Marshall writes about  another loco built by Avonside in 1928. The Avonside Locomotive Works was a locomotive manufacturer of  England. It was situated at Filwood Road, Fishponds, Bristol, England. The company has expertise in small locos and exporting their locomotives all over the world. Its 0-4-0 model was popular.  Loco 15I running on ASLR was previously running on Bakhtiyarpur Bihar light railway network of Martin. This route was converted  to broad gauge in 1962 and loco was shifted to ASLR.

The passenger train runs on this track at maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour. If a train is leaving station you can run fast and catch the train. One passenger train departs at 10.50 morning from Arrah junction was very popular between commuters.  The train was very popular among residents of Bhojpur district  between 1950 to 1970. Some of villagers of Bhojpur made a Bhojpuri song on this tiny train. A London based economist Jagnnath Giri  wrote in his biography about train ride of ASLR. He remembers that he use to go his village by this train in their holydays. (An Autobiography of Lessons Learned  - By Jagannath Giri ) ASLR was a cheaper means of communication so commuters enjoy its ride.  Low-income passengers used to travel by this ligt railway. Years between 1950 to 1970 was glorious time for this rail network. Old people of Rohtas district Round the year train runs with rushed coaches. 
After freedom of India in 1947 some of privately owned rail networks had been taken over by Indian railways. On 4th April, 1951, the chairman of the district Board of Shahabad by a letter to the company and others exercised the option to purchase the light railways with all the plants, buildings, stores, rolling stock, etc. But this was not finalized.
But after 20 years all of narrow gauge lines become loss making business as buses on roads was running fast from trains. Commuters has faster choice now from these trains. 1970 Martin decided to wound up its services voluntarily, as running trains  was loss making now.
Shahdara-Saharanpur line of  Martin's Light Railways closed in 1970. Howrah-Amta, Howrah-Sheokhala sections of Martin's Light Railway closed on Jan 1, 1971.  In 1970 it appears that the company fell into financial difficulties and received financial assistance from the district board of  Bhojpur. Ultimately, on the 18th of December, 1974, the company issued a notice of closure of ASLR network with effect from 15th of  february, 1976.
On the 8th of September, 1975, there was an agreement between the Central Govt. and the company that the company would withdraw the notice and in consideration there of the Central Govt., in addition to the principal agreement dated the 15th of October, 1909, entered into a separate agreement for a period of three years with effect from 1st of April, 1975, whereby the Central Govt. would advance a sum of INR 2,50,000 repayable with interest at the rate of 4% per annum before 31st of March, 1976.
0n the 29th of November, 1977, the Central Govt. directed the company to close its operations prior to the expiry of the agreement dated the 8th of September, 1975. On the 6th of December, 1977, there was a letter from the company to the Railway Board that the company agreed to close down the operations.  Being 15th of February, 1978, the company closed ASLR operations.
On 26 july 1978, the assets, viz., railway track, slippers, rolling stock and plant and machinery, lying in its premises between Arrah and Sasaram, were sold for a total consideration of Rs. 95 lakhs. The assessee opted to adopt the fair market value of these assets as on 1st jan 1964 as the cost of acquisition for the purpose of computation of capital gains. Such market value was determined at Rs. 39,46,000 as per certificate of valuation given by Talbot & Co.
After closer of Arrah Sasaram Light Railway in 1978 dispute of property had been started between Martin and district board of Rohtas and Bhojpur.  Some of private parties were also involved in property dispute with Martin and Company Ltd. Martin and Company Ltd.versus district Board was not resolved since long time. People of  Rohtas and Bhojpur district demanding a new broad gauge railway line between Arrah and Sasaram. Member of parliament raised this issue in parliament.  I would like to make an earnest request to convert the Aarrah-Sasaram narrow gauge line into a broad-gauge one so that the people of that area could be benefited. ( MP Chedi Paswan in Loksabha, 1991-92) But their demand fulfilled after a long gap of thirty years. Arrah ( now Ara) -Sasaram new BG line project is 98 kilometers long and started in 2008.

Start  year  -         1914
15 Oct 2009 - Arrah Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd. Formed
Closing year  -      1978 ( Last journey on 15 Feb 1978)
Total Loco  – 07  ( 5 by Hunslet 2 by Avonside)
Total distance 100 kilometer ( 65miles)
Guage – 762 mm ( 30 inch) Narrow ; Line - Single
Glorious   period  of  route  – 1950 to 1970

Friday, 20 November 2015


Indian Railways, which had a modest beginning in 1853, has since then been an integral part of the nation. British government gave sufficient attention in developing rail and road transport system. Railway is important for economic, political and military front.  The new railway lines tied different parts of  India together. It makes people and palaces more closer than ever before.
There were two light railway network started in old Shahabad district of  Bihar in 20th century. One is Arrah –Sasaram light railway and another is Dehri-Rohtas light railway. Arrah-Sasaram light railway (ASLR)  was a popular narrow gauge rail network for commuters of south Bihar. Started in 1914 which connects two line of  East Indian Railway. ASLR completed its last journey on Rails in 1978.  The ASLR given 64 year continuous service to people of south Bihar. Once upon a time this rail network was part of  Bhojpuri lifestyle. The many villages were also created the songs on this rail.  It was privately owned rail network. Operated by  Martin  and  Burn , ASLR served six decades to people. 1950 to 1970 was glorious time for this rail network.

Every long journey starts from short steps. Narrow gauge in the Indian context means any gauge narrower than 1meter. The two such gauges that survive now are the 2' (610mm) and 2'6" (762mm) gauges.  The first 2 ft 6 inch (762 mm) railway in India was constructed in 1863, the Gaekwad's Baroda State Railway. In 1897 the Barsi Light Railway was opened.
Shahabad district of  Bihar, headquartered at Arrah was a bhojpuri speaking districts in western Bihar, India making western border of  Bihar with Uttar Pradesh. The district is now bifurcated into four districts including Bhojpur,  Rohtas,  Kaimur and Buxar. Shahabad district was paddy growing pocket of Bihar, so it had economic importance in state. Shahabad was bulk exporter of rice to other parts of state.
Though different modes of transport play an important role in trade railways are leading carrier of goods because their capacity of  bulk transport. In Bhojpur district trade centers like Arrah, Bihia, Buxar and Dumraon are on rail network. In Rohtas district  markets like Mohania, Kudra, Sasaram and Dehri are on rail network. So British government felt to connect market places like Garh Noka, Bikramganj, Hasan Bazar, Piro on rail network. 
Distance between Ara and sasaram is 100 kilometers. Ara is on Mugalsarai-Patna borad gauge line and Sasaram is a railway station on grand chord ( Mughal sarai Howrah ) line. There was need to connect Ara and Sasaram for transport of goods like rice and commuters also. Markets like Garh Noka, Bikramganj, Hasan Bazar, and Piro are important for rice trading. So in starting of 20th century need of railway line between Ara and Sasaram was observed by government authorities.
Martin's Light Railways was a private company operating railways in India. The company was already operating narrow gauge rail networks in united province and  Bengal. So he got a opportunity to build and operate rail network between Arrah and Sasaram. 

Land were acquired by the Government for the purpose of the rail network as early as in 1901. By an agreement dated 15th of October, 1909, between the then District Board of Shahabad  and  Martin and Company Ltd., for and on behalf of Arrah Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd., the latter company was to be formed for the construction and erection of tramways or light railways between Arrah and Sasaram.
On the 19th of October, 1909, Arrah Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd. was incorporated as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 1866 having its registered office at No. 12, Mission Road, Kolkata.
The value of company ( ASLR Ltd. a subsidiary of  Martin and co.)  was 22,00,000 in 2010.  The company (ASLR ltd.)  issued shares of  rupees 100 each. It is divided in 22,000 shares of rupees 100 each. The company also sold  some of its shares to general public.
On the 17th of July, 1910, an agreement was entered into between the then District Board of  Shahabad and Martain and Company Ltd., Kolkata, being the promoters of the Ara-Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd. for the construction of tramways or light railways to be worked by steam power from Arrah to Sasaram.
But the road between Arrah and Sasaram under the jurisdiction of the  district board.  On the terms and conditions of the agreement dated the 15th of October, 1909 the company, Arrah Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd. was opened in terms for land acquisition of  construction of rail network.
For purpose of rail route several lands were acquired including the lands of Villages -Salempur, Kuraich, Sharifabad, Rasulpur and Mahadiganj near Sasaram. Whereafter scheme of acquisition of land was published in the Gazette dated 28.9.1910
On the 19th of August, 1936, a supplementary agreement was entered into between the district Board of Shahabad and the Arrah Sasaram Light Railway Company Ltd., whereby the parties agreed to amend a clause in the principal agreement regarding the method of computation of profit or loss.
Arrah-Sasaram light railway ( Bihar)  and Baraset-Basirhat light railway of  Bengal  ( both of  Martin & Co.)  started  in the year 1914.


Rajendra  Nath  Mookerjee was the man behind Martin.  He was remembered for the laying down and operations of  Martin's Light Railways in India. Among his achievements were the construction of  Palta water works and the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.  Along with Sir Acquin Martin, he founded Martin & Co. and contributed to the success of  Bengal Iron at Kulti. Later he joined G.H.Fairhurst in founding the iron works of  The Indian Iron and Steel Company at Burnpur.
He first went to England in 1901 and later several times in connection with his business. In 1908, Mookerjee was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE).  In 1911, he became sheriff of Kolkata. Also in 1911, he was knighted with the KCIE.  In 1922, Mookerjee was further honoured with the dignity of a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). In 1931, the University of  Calcutta honoured him with an honorary D.Sc. (Engineering). He also presided over the 8th session of  Indian Science Congress held at Kolkata in 1921.  Martin and co is also involved in electricity distribution in cities like Agra, Bareilly and Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh. Martin and co was pioneer in running light railway network in India. Martin had its office in Patna for looking after services of  Bihar. 
Other Light rail networks of Martin and Burn
Futwah-Islampur Light Railway  (Bihar)
Howrah Maidan-Amta and Shiakhala light railway ( west Bengal)
Bukhtiarpur Bihar Light Railway ( Bihar)
Barasat-Basirhat Railway ( West Bengal)
Delhi Shahdra to Saharanpur  Light Railway ( Delhi and UP)
STATIONS  OF ASLR – ( Total 15 stations)
Arrah ( Now Ara, first railway station)  Udwant nagar, Kasap, Garahni, Semraon,  Charpokhri, Piro, Nonar, Hasan bazaar,  Ghusia kalan, Bikramganj, Sanjhauli, Garh Nokha, Khairadih, Sasaram

Bikramganj was big station of ASLR network and it has a railway godown also. Newman Indian Bradshaw ( A Guide for Railway Travellers in India) use to publish time table of ASLR. We can see rout of this network on page no 93 of th book . ( Ed 1971)