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Palava City

Step Out To Stay Fit

September 11, 2016
5 tips to have a healthy life

Pick a hobby; it will help you uplift your spirit!

Do you like to stroll in the mall? Do Bollywood beats make you tap your feet? Does nature make you strap on your hiking boots? Are you a religious yoga buff?

If yes, you may be unknowingly doing a lot of good for your health, says Dr. Kavita Nikam, physician at the Healthspring Clinic at Palava. Read on the find out the how your hobbies are keeping you fit! Take that time out for them, they are doing you good!

Hike to build a robust heart

Trekking is a good exercise to keep the heart healthy and agile. As one engages in cardio exercise while trekking the heart pumps blood vigorously and helps in strengthening the cardiac muscles,” says Dr. Nikam. It may not be such a bad idea after all to take a holiday every quarter for a quick trip to the hills.

 Shop to burn off sugar

A visit to the mall does more than simply elevate your mood, says Dr. Nikam, and adds “Regular walking for 30 minutes helps cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%.” Now block your calendar for a stroll every day; remember you can choose the location or the store of your choice!

Dance away your stress

Any high intensity dance form with upbeat moves helps release mood-improving endorphins,” explains Dr. Nikam. Zumba, Kathak, Bhangda, take your pick and step into the groove. It is time to let the music play!

Swim to beat insomnia blues

Swimming is the best exercise for peaceful sleep at night,” advises Dr. Nikam, “and it was reiterated by the findings of a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.” After all a few laps followed by a plenty of refreshing dips isn’t really exercise, it is more of unwinding in bliss.

Flex to boost immunity

Study has shown that regular practice of yoga helps build the immune system and fight off infections,” reveals Dr. Nikam. A recent Norwegian study revealed that yoga helps in changing gene expression that positively impacts the cellular composition. Hurry! Grab your yoga mat today!

The art of making the perfect modak

September 5, 2016
modak recipe

Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of a 10-day long festival to celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday. During these ten days people of all caste and creed come together to celebrate enthusiastically, it truly is one of the most revered Indian festivals, which brings people together.

Over the next ten days people install Ganesha idols in their homes, pray to the lord and hold get-togethers where they sing songs of praise of the deity and eat his favourite food, which are modaks.

During this festive period one cannot get enough of the traditional sweet dish, a plate of these translucent dumplings filled with coconut and jaggery are devoured within minutes and we’re going to tell you how to make the perfect modak.

Modak recipe:

For the outer modak covering:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ tsp oil or ghee
  • a pinch of salt

For the inner sweet filling:

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ¾ cup powdered or grated jaggery, for a more sweeter taste, you can add up to 1 cup of powdered jaggery
  • 3 to 4 cardamoms, powdered in a mortar-pestle, about ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp ghee or oil
  • ½ tsp rice flour (optional)

To make the filling:

  • Heat ghee in a pan and to that add poppy seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Sauté the same for a minute.
  • Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered/grated jaggery.
  • Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame. The jaggery will melt first.
  • Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame and don’t overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. On cooling, the mixture will thicken more.
  • You can also add a bit of rice flour to this mixture. This is an optional step. The rice flour helps to absorb moisture, if any from the filling.
  • Keep the filling aside to cool.

To make the modak:

  • In a pan or dekchi add the water, oil and salt. Keep it on the stove-top.
  • Let this mixture come to a boil.
  • Reduce the flame and add the rice flour gradually. Quickly stir and mix the flour with the water.
  • Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water.
  • Switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the stove-top and then cover this pan with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Now take all the dough in a plate/thali or in a bowl. Gather the dough together and begin to knead it.
  • The dough will be hot when, you begin to knead, so apply some water on your palms and knead the dough. Remember to knead the dough very well.
  • If you feel the dough looks dense or hard or dry, then just add a few teaspoons of warm water and continue to knead.
  • Make small balls from the dough. Roll the balls till they become smooth in your palms.
  • You can also apply some water on your palms, while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel. The balls should be smooth in appearance and should not have any cracks.

To assemble and shape the modak:

  • Before you start shaping the modaks, keep water for steaming in a pan.
  • Grease the steamer lightly with oil or ghee.
  • Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape. You can apply ghee/oil in your palms, while flattening.
  • Place the modak filling in the center.
  • Press on the edges.
  • Bring together all the edges and join them. Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers.
  • Make all the modaks this way. Keep them in a steamer pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame.
  • Once the modaks are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on the modaks.

This recipe first appeared on Veg Recipes Of India

Hope you get to try this recipe and if you do, don’t forget to share your photos of your perfect modak in the comments section below.

Picture Courtesy: Himanshu Jagtap

Where There Is A Will, You Will Figure A Way

August 5, 2016
Swimming through the english channel

India’s long distance swimmer and Palava citizen Rupali Repale shares her adventures with the high seas.

At the age of 12, she featured on the front page of the prestigious London Times. At the age of 13, she was conferred with the National Youth Award by the then President of India. At the age of 16, she was awarded the title of ‘Dolphin Queen’ by the Government of New Zealand. Meet Rupali Repale, India’s open water long distance swimmer, who at the age of 12 became the youngest, Indian, to successfully swim the English Channel in August 1994. Repale then went on to conquer seven straits and break several records in her illustrious swimming career. Lean and petite, she greets us with an unassuming smile as we meet at Palava’s golf club to hear of her adventures that began in the pool and crossed several seas and oceans.

‘My father enrolled me for swimming as he believed some exercise is essential, I was only three years old then and had little choice,” says Rupali, who for a year and a half thereafter tried to hide in the ladies’ locker rooms to avoid coaching. Encouraged by friends, she slowly befriended the pool and just like school, coaching became a routine. An average swimmer known for good stamina, she graduated to the competitive batch at the age of 6 and had her first tryst with long distance swimming when she became the youngest swimmer to successfully swim from Alibaug to Mumbai’s Gateway of India in November 1993.  “My coach was reluctant to allow me to participate as I was underage, yet my father persisted and gave parental consent,” she reminisces. Little did she know back then that with that consent her journey with the deep blue had just begun!

“A family friend mentioned to my father about the English Channel and suggested that I participate in it as I was good with long distance swimming,” she says, when asked on how she decided to swim the English Channel. “My family comes from a very modest background and no one had heard of the English Channel and the training needed for it or perils associated with it. My father said no harm in trying and went ahead and applied,” adds Rupali. The application was delivered to a wrong address and she didn’t hear from the committee until late June 1994. While the family assumed it was rejected, the committee wrote back stating that she could swim that August, not knowing that Rupali’s father has stated her weight as 38 kilos while she weighed only 28 kilos as of June that year. “Back then to participate in the English Channel the minimum required age was 12 years and weight was 38 kilos,” she says, “I had one month to put on 10 kilos. My doctor put me on a high fat diet with eggs, milk and meat and barred me from swimming more than once a week.” While Rupali focused on her weight gain, family and friends came together to raise funds for the expedition. “My school friends contributed with their pocket money,” she remembers fondly. On board to London in July 1994, Rupali weighed an exact 38 kilos and the rest as we know is history. On 15th of August, 1994, after continuously swimming a distance of 34 kms from England to France, in 16 hours and 7 minutes, she became the youngest swimmer for that year, and second youngest ever, to successfully swim the English Channel. She missed being the youngest swimmer ever to achieve this feat by just a day.

Overnight, Rupali Repale became the talk of the town. She was felicitated mid-air by the crew while returning home, awarded several accolades by the Indian government, and had sponsors queuing up to associate with her challenges. Amidst all this fury of attention, she remembers her father having a candid chat with her, “He asked me if I enjoyed swimming and wanted to pursue it further. He assured me that there was no compulsion to do so,” she remembers. Spending her childhood shuttling between school and the pool, Rupali didn’t know much beyond her friends and swimming and naively decided to pursue it further. Did she ever dream of scaling such great heights and achieving fame? “My father and my family didn’t know what one could achieve in this sport so we had no expectations. We simply kept taking a step at a time,” she says. As well said by someone, ignorance is bliss indeed.

Rupali went on to successfully swim across the Gibraltar Strait, Bass Strait, Cook Strait, Palk Strait and others until 2000 and often was the first woman to achieve such feats. And with each swim came a new challenge and adventure. “While swimming across the Palk Strait at midnight, I lost my way and found myself stranded near a lighthouse surrounded by fish,” she narrates with gooseflesh, “Being a LTTE endangered zone, I was found by a Navy ship after 30 minutes.”  During her swim from Gateway of India to Alibaug and back she had her stomach bitten by a poisonous fish! On completion of the shark infested Bass Strait she had lost her toe-nails. The body ached many times, but her mind did not quiver and she successfully completed each challenge.

“Long distance swimming makes one discover their will power. Stamina or endurance facilitates one towards their goal, but the strength in those final moments comes from the mind,” she says, emphasizing on the power of one’s mind, “The ocean is dark, quiet and endless. The body is hungry, sleepy and exhausted. It is here that the sheer power of thoughts makes one win or lose the challenge.” When asked what kept her motivated each time and where she drew her mental strength from, she simply states, “My father, Ramesh Repale. He believes nothing is impossible and I believed in him. He spent 15 years with me, supporting me through every challenge and I never wanted to disappoint him. My coaches trained me, but my father mentored me.” While Rupali credits her father for her success, she admires her mother for silently supporting her through it all. “My mother silently sacrificed a lot but always stood by me. My family kept me grounded irrespective of my achievements,” she says. She chose to consciously step away from swimming and pursue triathlons before starting her own swimming academy. When asked if she misses the spotlight, she matter-of-factly states, “I did whatever there was to do back then, thereafter had nothing more left to do.”

A resident of Palava, Rupali runs her own swimming academy at the clubhouses for all citizens and trains a chosen few for competitive swimming. Mother to a 4 year old, she divides her time between the academy and family business and effortlessly balances both. On the verge of concluding an inspiring afternoon, when asked what she learnt from swimming, she replies with a glint in the eye, “Life! Swimming taught me the meaning of passion, self-belief, determination and focus. It disciplined me and most importantly taught me to work hard with no expectations, as there is no calculated formula for success. Give your best and let go of the rest.”

While signing off she advises, “Remember, only you can guarantee your success.” Like father, like daughter one would say. A little-known fact is that post her swim, the English Channel revised the minimum age required for the challenge to 16 years and it continues to stand till date.

Designing An Eco-Friendly City

August 5, 2016
Palava's eco-friendly design

Professor Aniket Bhagwat is a third generation landscape architect practising in Ahmedabad with m/s Prabhaker B Bhagwat and manages the landscaping for Palava. A stimulating writer, thinker and academician, he co-edits and writes for SPADE, a chronicle on design research.

(inputs for the article given by Prof. Aniket Bhagwat)

Cities have always been, and are even today, engines of growth. They attract a rising tide of people that hope for a better life for themselves and their future generations.

Palava, the Greenfield smart city, has been envisioned to be amongst the 50 most livable places in the world by 2025.

The success of smart cities lies in their sustainability and thus Palava endeavours to be a ‘sustainable’ city and have its characteristics designed in accordance to achieve that vision. A ‘sustainable city’ is also known as an ‘eco-city’, which means it is designed in consideration of environmental impact to ensure that with its high-density, walkable urban fabric, focus on public transport, significant recycling and significant amounts of landscaping, it has the lowest levels of per capita carbon emission globally.

Palava has been carefully planned to incorporate the essential principles of eco-friendly liveability.

The city’s green landscape has been designed to preserve the indigenous flora and create a balance of all strata’s of vegetation that contribute to the diversity of the aesthetics of the city. Preserving the mandate of building a city without disrupting its natural surroundings, the developments have been planned such that they do not disturb the natural surface hydrology, there is no cutting of the rock strata nor is there any disturbance to the natural gradient. The topography of the city’s green spaces focuses on environmental improvement and enhancement of natural resources such as bettering the topsoil quality, preserving existing trees and valuing the natural river, lake and swale that form natural landmarks along with the grasslands and rocky outcrops.

Palava’s land was always dotted with trees and the planning strategy ensured that all those trees were untouched or transplanted, as best suited, to fulfill design requirements of the open greens within the master plan. The plantation palette was carefully chosen after taking into consideration the land topography and its soil.

Understanding that planting new saplings would need several years to grow and provide the much-needed benefits, we set up a nursery at Posari, a village close to Palava, well in advance, to grow trees that are presently being used across the city.

The trees are procured and nurtured for their growth and health and thereafter planted around the city to enhance its green cover.

Phase I presently has over 21,000 trees while Phase II is planned to have over 1,00,000 trees.

While designing the open green space, the focus remains to strengthen the existing greens and nurturing the present environs to create a healthy experience for the citizens. And the recently held Go Green initiative, undertaken by the Palava City Management Association with support from the citizens reaffirmed our line of thought, as they came together to plant over 5,000 saplings across different neighbourhoods.

The parks, waterfronts and community greens in the city are designed to provide a diverse experience to the sensory palette. While the lake is 5 times the size of the Banganga Tank, the riverfront stretches up to 2.4 km, which is thrice the distance of Girgaum Chowpatty.

Today, Palava’s ratio of open spaces accounts to 2.5 sq.m./person as compared to 1.1 sq.m./person in Mumbai.

The masterplan is also designed keeping in focus walkability, having basic amenities such as schools, clubs, retail and parks within a 5 minutes walking distance. Therefore, pavements are well shaded and equipped with essential signages, benches and bins. Aiming to encourage a car-free environment and reduce pollution due to gas combustion, the city has dedicated bicycle tracks to ride through its neighbourhoods.

While at the macro level, the present design and proposed development is well aligned with the existing natural elements and planning flexibilities, at a micro level, it focuses on the citizen’s aspirations and needs. In all, the landscape design of the Palava tries to create opportunities with a diverse range of programs within a cohesive master plan that is primarily essential to improve the quality of urban living.

Smart Technology Can Make Or Break A Smart City

July 15, 2016
Smart technology

Smart cities are the need of the hour and they have to adopt and take advantage of information, communication technologies and data analytics to improve the management of traffic, solid waste, energy, water and citizen services.

Nestled in 330 acres of sylvan surroundings and home to over 5,000 residents, India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan is being given an ‘intelligent’ makeover with smart technologies and devices like smart meters and smart security, water and waste-management solutions besides smart citizen services.

To ensure that all these services are connected and work seamlessly but without destroying the iconic institution’s heritage, the self-sustained presidential estate in New Delhi now has an Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) that was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 May.

The IOC system, implemented by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), has been integrated with the electrical billing system to provide data on consumption patterns of consumers, public and common areas within the estate. Given that Rashtrapati Bhavan consumes over 100,000 units of electricity daily, the move will help optimize energy management.

Additionally, newer eco-friendly technology such as solar power, LED lamps for street lighting and other applications to reduce energy consumptions are deployed. IBM has also mapped all water domain assets such as underground water reservoirs, pump locations and tube well assets the entire water distribution pipeline on a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) layer to enable faster diagnostic and resolution of water incidents, and allow residents to track complaints in real-time.

IBM has also mapped waste management from waste bin collections, rickshaw routes, disposals, landfill, and processing onto its IOC system. A mobile app platform assists teams in maintaining a cleaner estate. Besides, a Citizens Mobile App, created by IBM’s IOC allows residents to report issues using the web and mobile. The data will be supplied to city offices which can use the insights to make informed decisions.

“The move to convert the Rashtrapati Bhavan into a smart city is unique not because of the significance of that institution but because we also had to preserve its heritage, which means that we could not simply redo the place and put up a lot of instrumentation that would mar the look of the place,” Prashant Pradhan, director-smarter planet business, IBM India and South Asia, said.

As with the work done in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a poster-boy for the government’s Smart Cities vision, a typical smart city would take advantage of information and communications technologies (ICT) and data analytics to improve the management of traffic, solid waste, energy, water and citizen services. While smart transportation can reduce traffic congestion and air pollution with the help of parking meters and sensors, enhancing surveillance systems can reduce the crime rate and create a smart public safety system. A smart city’s power distribution infrastructure would be built on smart grid technologies and integrated with power demand patterns and grid supply variations.

Cisco Systems Inc. has been collaborating with several state governments in India for Smart City projects across areas like surveillance, smart cities, automation, etc. Cisco recently named Jaipur as the first Smart + Connected Community Lighthouse City in South Asia. The Cisco Lighthouse City status credential is assigned to a select list of cities all over the world.

Cisco has also established a Smart City surveillance system in Lucknow with 280 cameras, 10,000 drones and night-vision mobile vans. Smart surveillance projects that drive citizen safety with round-the-clock monitoring will make digital crime fighting a key focus area.

Vizag Smart City is equipped with the Andhra Pradesh (AP) fibre Net, a state-wide broadband project. Cisco has announced an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation Centre in Vizag and is also deploying technologies like Smart Wi-Fi, Smart Safety and Security, Smart Lighting, Smart Parking, Smart Transport, Smart Bus Stops, Smart Kiosks, a Remote Expert for government Services (REGS) and Smart Education.

Microsoft Corp. has partnered with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Gujarat to transform Surat; the hub of India’s diamond trade into a smart city. Surat is the fourth-fastest growing city in the world, with a population of 5 million and a business hub that processes 80% of the world’s diamonds and meets 40% of India’s demand for textiles, according to Milind Torawane, Surat’s municipal commissioner. SMC is working with Microsoft and its partners to develop solutions for water management and urban planning (building plan approvals). Surat has already implemented several e-governance and citizen-centric solutions developed on Microsoft technologies, including those for property tax and revenue collections and material management. Microsoft has also created a city dashboard that provides a customized view of key performance indicators for the city.

Palava’s smart technology, for which it has partnered with IBM, also extends to 500 surveillance cameras that capture real-time data and, in future, will support face recognition for entry and have panic alarms every 200 metres. A smart card given to all Palava citizens will allow cashless transactions at retail centres, access to bus service, public Wi-Fi within the city’s premises, buildings and commercial points of entry.

The fact that cities are bursting at the seams is not lost on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which, on 29 April 2015, signed off on a plan to create 100 ‘smart cities’ and the rolling out of a new five-year urban development mission for 500 cities. The combined cost: Rs.1 trillion. This January, the government selected 20 cities, including five state capitals, to launch its larger urban makeover plan—the first phase of the larger plan to set up 100 smart cities. The next round of the competition is to select 40 cities this year.

To be sure, there are major challenges that the government needs to address as it goes about the task of building smart cities. Besides, building a smart city is “not always about IT but is more about smartly designing a city” according to Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner, infrastructure and government services, at consulting firm KPMG.

Bhattacharya pointed out that most of the work that technology companies are doing for the designated smart cities so far has been ‘pro bono’, implying that now tenders will have to be floated to execute the projects. According to Bhattacharya, a “command and control system (referring to the IOC) is important but there is also a need for a common IT architecture for all states, failing which they (the states) will have to retrofit this”.

Another hurdle is that India has a federal democratic structure, so it needs the cooperation and coordination of states, coupled with that of urban local bodies, to build smart cities.

This article first appeared on Live Mint.

Read more to find out how Palava has adopted smart technology for a brighter future on Palava’s website.

Let us know what you think of this article by leaving your comment below.

Tips To Make Your Home Monsoon Ready

July 13, 2016

After being belted by the summer heat, it’s round two for your house! But this time, it is the monsoon season. The rainy season makes you vulnerable to diseases and turns your house into a breeding ground for insects and bugs. It also causes dampness, humidity, leaking walls, followed by fungus build-up etc. But this doesn’t mean you wait for the season to get over and do nothing about it. No sir, you’ve got a job to do, i.e. save your house from the wrath of the monsoon.

Here are some simple tips that can come in handy:

Use dry cloth or special cleaning solutions on your furniture: There must be a reason why companies design special cleaning agents for cleaning your wooden furniture! Clearly, water is not your furniture’s friend. So instead of using water, use special cleaning agents to clean wooden surfaces. These products are readily available online. Well, if you want to avoid using the chemicals, try replacing the water with a dry cloth.



Consider replacing your floor cleaning agent: Monsoon is like a festive season for pests, rodents, bugs and other such creepy crawlies that pose a threat to you and your family’s health. They also damage your precious furniture and other stuff. This season switch your regular cleaning agent for ones that keeps bugs and insects away. Also, try and dry mop the floors as much as possible to prevent dampness in your home.



Make sure the drains are prepared for the rains: Remember to unclog the drains every week, because you don’t want to end up with clogged drains and the water from the drains running all over your house. This one can be a major problem. Apart from the foul smell and dampness, it breeds insects and other bugs that can cause serious health complications.



Do away with loose wires, ASAP!: Fix any unattended or loose wires in the house before it starts raining. However, if you stumble upon a faulty wire then instead of ignoring it, get it repaired without wasting a minute. These faulty wires are tragedies waiting to happen. Water leakage can cause short circuits and eventually start sparks and fires.



Fix any leakages and cracks in the corners: Mostly heavy rains are responsible for leakages which are very annoying and the damage after, a very expensive affair. These leaking spots cause the water to seep into your home and cause dampness. There are different adhesives readily available are apt in stopping any sort of water leakages.



But as the old saying goes, ‘precaution is better than cure’, prevent any water damage and enjoy the monsoon season with your family.


Happy Monsoons!