The Legend of Annapurna

The Legend of Annapurna

Follow the legend of Parvati, the Hindu mother of the natural world, as she disappears from Earth and reemerges as Annapurna, the goddess of food.

Historically, the union between Shiva and Parvati was a glorious one: a sacred combination which brought fertility and connection to all living things. Yet a rift had grown between these two forces. Setting out to prove the importance of her work, Parvati withdrew from the world and sent the Earth into darkness. Antara Raychaudhuri and Iseult Gillespie tell the story of the goddess Annapurna.

Lesson by Antara Raychaudhuri and Iseult Gillespie, directed by Roxane Campoy, music by Stéphane Gassot.

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It is not surprising that along with a few other places, Delhi too did its bit to pay homage to the musical genius Annapurna Devi, who died some time ago. She had been living in Mumbai for years, and her demise revived memories of her illustrious father, Ustad Allauddin Khan. She had followed in his footsteps, though she had become a recluse, singing seldom but still making delicious fish curry for those close to her. She and her father’s influence was felt in Delhi too, where her husband Pandit Ravi Shankar’s musical performances bore testimony to his ustad’s guidance, as also the Pandit’s interaction with the Beatles in Delhi and Rishikesh, where John Lennon had earlier led them to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Ustad Allauddin Khan became Indian classical music’s greatest legend in the 20th century – the mausiqui maestro, who left behind such marvels as Ali Akbar, Ravi Shankar, his daughter Annapurna Devi Shankar, and Pannalal Ghosh, to name a few. Annapurna’s marriage to Ravi Shankar ended disastrously and left her a tragic figure, cut-off from the world of mainstream music, which is a heart-breaking story in itself. She had visited Jaipur during her honeymoon and had been fascinated by the city of hills, lakes and Rajput palaces, though she spent only a night at the now-demolished Kaiser-e-Hind hotel, near Jaipur station. Mark Twain had also stayed here in the late 19th century.

One of Baba Allauddin Khan’s pupils, Jotin Bhattacharya aptly observed: “Our great names in music have mostly been vocalists. Swami Hari Das, Baiju, Tansen, Gopal Nayak were all vocalists. Only in Ustad Allauddin Khan [do] we find the same height and the same depth as well as the same versatile achievements and yet he was essentially an instrumentalist and a host of other stalwarts sprang from this fountain head.”

Jotin Bhattacharya is one of those stalwarts who has probed the life and times of Baba with praiseworthy doggedness. His work gives intimate glimpses of the man who, born in 1881 in a small village in Tripura State where his Hindu forebears who had dwelt for 500 years, had by the time of his death in 1972, become a household name all over the country.

Alam, as he was known in his childhood, was a strange child, who manifested the things in store for him by acts and deeds which surprised his elders. His father, Sadhu Khan was himself a musician of note — he was coached by the great Kashim Ali Khan of the Tansen Gharana, whose wizardry of the sitar is still a byword for excellence in Eastern India. His mother, Harasundari Khatoon divulged to her husband the secret that when Alam was yet an infant, he played the tabla on her breasts, being inspired by the rhythmical sound of the sitar played by his father.

When Alam was five years old, he became the whipping-boy of his brother Aftabuddin (a noted musician in his own right) who forced him to fill his hookah every day, and thus tempted the boy to pick up the habit of hookah-smoking in his childhood. Aftab dodged school and the young Alam followed suit. But he had a different reason for doing so. There was a Shiva temple in his native Shivapur village where the music had inspired the young Alam to attend service and accept the “prasad”. As his time for going to school clashed with puja, bhajan, and aarti at the temple, he decided to cut classes and instead spend his time imbibing the devotional music played in the temple by saints visiting from all over the country. After six months of absence from school, the headmaster lodged a complaint with his father and young Alam’s activities came into the limelight. The next morning, unknown to him, his father followed Alam and found him engrossed in temple music. Perplexed, his father came back home but did not take much notice of the boy’s misdeed. His mother, however, took a stricter view and he was kept in solitary confinement, without food, for several days.

Later, Alam’s elder sister, Madhumalti Khatoon who lived nearby took him home with her. Being the youngest in the family, was her favourite. Here, Alam not only skipped school but also had days of peace and harmony. These ended when his mother fell ill and he had to go back home. However, Alam had tasted the joy of freedom. One day while his mother lay sleeping on her sick bed, he opened the almirah and took away a portion of the family treasure.

With this, at the dead of night, Alam left home at the age of 10 and travelled to Manik Nagar on foot from where he boarded the Narayanganj-bound steamer. Next morning, he caught a train from Narayanganj to Sealdah. Here, the rush puzzled him and he drifted the whole day amidst strange sights and sounds, a village boy lost in a metropolitan town. It had became dark and the lights dazzled him, his body ached from the blows rained on him earlier in the day by street urchins and his stomach longed for food as he stood on the banks of the Ganga, longing for the comforts of his house and the love of his mother and sister.

Young Alam later became the pupil of Gopal Chand Bhattacharya, State musician of the Maharaja of Pathuriaghat and was on his way to success. He made his final abode in Maihar, where he was patronised by the Raja and besides others, trained Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar and Annapurna Devi too. It was she who eventually maintained her father’s legacy. Her influence was felt as far as Delhi, where some of her disciples not only performed but also settled down and established an association with each other.


The festive sweets are culinary delicacies that define Newa food culture and their significance is deeply embedded in their cultural identity. Elite Joshi/TKP
Prashanta Khanal

In December, on the day when the moon is at its fullest, the Newas celebrate Yomari Punhi, essentially a rice harvest festival. Also known as Dhanya Purnima (in Sanskrit), the festival is observed by offering rice to the goddess of grain, ‘Annapurna’, and making a sweet delicacy ‘yomari’—a steamed rice flour dumpling filled with chaku (jaggery taffy) and sesame seeds or with khuwa (evaporated milk solids) and shredded coconut.

On this day, families get together to make yomari, and young people go around the neighbourhood singing, asking for yomari—an act known as ‘yomari phonegu' or ‘tyachim tya phonegu’. People make various shapes of yomari, including shapes of gods and goddesses such as Laxmi, Ganesh, Kubera, and Saraswati, and place it in the bhakari—a large grain basket used for storing—as an offering to the gods, thanking them for a good harvest. In the town of Sankhu, locals also take out a procession for god Ganesh and in Harisiddhi, locals perform a masked dance.

Locals have different versions regarding the origin of the yomari. One legend has it that a couple in Panchal (today’s Panauti) prepared this form of confection and distributed it to their neighbours. The neighbours loved the confection and hence named it yomari—the Newa word ‘ya’ translates ‘to like’ and ‘mari’ to ‘roti or flatbread’. The legend goes that Kubera, the god of wealth, who had come to the village disguised as a beggar was also given yomari. He was very happy with the couple’s generosity and blessed them with wealth and prosperity. He told the couple that anyone who prepares yomari with the shapes of gods and goddesses on the full moon day will be blessed with wealth and prosperity. Since then, it is believed that the Newa community started celebrating the festival.

But historians have different stories to tell. According to the book ‘Social History of Nepal’, the Bhasa Vamsavali found in Kathmandu Valley mentions that the people of Kathmandu started making yomaris from the time of Amshuverma, from 6th CE.

The authors of the book—Tulasi Ram Vaidya, Tri Ratna Manandhar and Shankar Lal Joshi—suggest that Newas might have adopted the culture from the Tibetans and even further north, Korean, which also prepare yomari-like sweets.

But it is more likely that yomari has its roots in the modaka, a similar Indian sweet—rice flour dumplings filled with jaggery and coconut. Modaka is considered one of the most ancient sweets in India. According to Indian food historian KT Acharya, the sweet may date back to 200 BCE. In the Indian plains, the sweet is prepared annually during Hindu festival Ganesha Chaturthi as an offering to god Ganesha, the god of prosperity and well-being. The teardrop-shaped modaka is believed to be beloved sweets of Ganesha.

A Ganesh temple at Ticchugalli, Patan, has a statue of tichhu (shrew), the vehicle of God Ganesha, holding modaka—its master’s favourite delicacy. And maybe the word yomari is coined for the very reason of being God Ganesh’s beloved sweets.

It is well known that culture doesn’t thrive in isolation. And it wouldn’t be wrong in surmising that some Newa sweets are adopted or influenced by sweets found in the southern neighbour, India. Some other Newa sweets such as jeri and halwa have roots to Persian sweets that travelled via India.

While the origin of the yomari might be linked to the modaka, the way the yomari is shaped and its filling make it unique to Newa culture. Newas use chaku (pulled jaggery taffy) instead of jaggery, and artfully mould the delicacy into a unique teardrop shape without the pleats as in the Indian modaka.

People also have different hypotheses on the yomari’s shape—some refer to it as a fish and others as gajur or shrine of a temple. It has also been linked to a citrus fruit Jambhara (in Sanskrit), known as tahsi in Newa and bimiro in Nepali language, which bears a similar shape. This citrus fruit, Citrus medica, is considered an old and original citrus species from which other varieties of citrus cultivar arose.

In Newa culture, tahsi is worshipped as a deity during Mha puja—a festival for worshipping of the self, which earlier was the ‘worship of fetus’, according to Sanskritist and Scholar Gautam V Vajracharya. Newas also worship tahsi during Mohani Nakha or Dashain. This yellow autumnal fruit represents longevity, wealth, prosperity, and fertility.

While yomari epitomises the rich Newa culture, the chaku is the culture’s soul. Chaku is jaggery taffy, an essential item eaten during the first day of the month Magh (December-January), known as Ghya Chaku Sanhlu in Kathmandu. Yomari Punhi occurs around winter solstice and Ghya Chaku Sanhlu marks the end of extreme winter. During the peak of winter, chaku gives energy and keeps the body warm.

To make the chakku, sugarcane jaggery is boiled until caramelised. Then the warm sticky mass is pulled and stretched laboriously hundreds of times which then becomes the smooth, glossy chaku. The stretching and pulling changes the colour of the jaggery from dark to brown, makes it glossy, and aerates to make it light, brittle and chewy. Caramelisation helps in creating this light bitterness that balances the sweetness of jaggery.

Jaggery is one of the oldest forms of sweeteners and was produced in the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years, likely before 600 BCE. Even the word ‘sugar’ and ‘candy’ has etymological roots to its Sanskrit word ‘sakkara’ and ‘khand’. Historical narrative suggests the existence of sugarcane plantation fields in Kathmandu—the Kathmandu’s location ‘Tukucha besi’ came from the Newa word for sugarcane, and its other name ‘Icchumati’ too, in which icchu is sanskrit word for sugarcane. Tokha, a Newa settlement north of Kathmandu city, is popular for making chaku its name ‘tu-khya’ means sugarcane-field in Newa language.

There aren’t many historical accounts that track when and how the culture of chaku was developed or introduced in Kathmandu Valley. But the culture of making jaggery and crystallised form of sugar might have come from India, and the know-how of making taffy (fanid in) probably originally came from Iran. If so, how did the Newas adopt the culture? Is the tradition of making yomari with chaku and khuwa and nuts originally of Newa origin? We don’t know, yet.

What we do know is that yomari and chaku are culinary delicacies that define Newa food culture. And they are more than just festive sweets. Such food items are linked to people’s religion, culture, beliefs, way of life, history, and even their identity. There is so much more to Nepali food’s history, and its connection to people and places—all waiting to be explored.

Prashanta Khanal

Khanal works on issues related to urban transportation, air quality management and sustainable cities. He is also a food writer, and is currently working on a book on Nepali recipes, food culture, and history. He writes on Nepali food culture and recipes on his food blog 'Gundruk’.


Annapurna Devi and the legend of Ustad Allauddin Khan

The musical legacy of Ustad Allauddin Khan ended with the death of her daughter Annapurna Devi, who was cremated in keeping with her father’s inter-faith beliefs.

RV Smith | November 29, 2018 1:29 pm

Annapurna Devi(L) and Ustad Allauddin Khan(R). (Photo: YouTube Screen grab)

It is not surprising that along with some other places North India too did its bit to play homage to the unfortunate musical genius Annapurna Devi, who died some time ago. She had been living in erstwhile Bangalore for years and her demise revived memories of her illustrious father, Ustad Allauddin Khan, in whose footsteps she had followed, though she had become a recluse, singing seldom but still making delicious fish curry for those close to her. She and her father’s influence was felt in Delhi too, where her husband, Pandit Ravi Shankar’s musical performances bore testimony to his Ustad’s genius.

Ustad Allauddin Khan became Indian classical music’s greatest legend in the 20th century

the mosiqui maestro, who left behind such marvels as Ali Akbar, Ravi Shankar, his daughter Annapurna Devi Shankar and Pannalal Ghosh to name a few.

Annapurna’s marriage to Ravi Shankar ended disastrously and left her a tragic figure, cut off from the mainstream of the world of music, which is a heart-breaking story in itself. She had come to Jaipur during her honeymoon and had been fascinated by the city of hills, lakes and Rajput palaces, though she spent only a night at the now demolished Kaiser-eHind hotel, near Jaipur station, where Mark Twain also stayed in the late 19th century.

One of Baba Allauddin Khan’s pupils, Jotin Bhattacharya, aptly observed: “Our great names in music have mostly been vocalists. Swami Hari Das, Baiju, Tansen, Gopal Nayak were all vocalists. Only in Ustad Allauddin Khan we find the same height and the same depth as well as the same versatile achievements and yet he was essentially an instrumentalist and a host of other stalwarts sprang from this fountainhead.”

Jotin Bhattacharya is one of those stalwarts, who has probed the life and times of Baba with praiseworthy doggedness. His work gives intimate glimpses of the man who, born in 1881 in a small village in Tripura State, where his Hindu forebears had dwelt for 500 years, had by the time of his death in 1972 become a household word all over the country. And perhaps more than anything else, why did a Brahmin like Jotin sit at his feet to learn the finer nuances of music?

Alam, as he was known in childhood, was a strange child, who gave a manifestation of the things in store for him by acts and deeds, which surprised his elders. His father, Sadhu Khan, was himself a musician of note, having been coached by the great Kashim Ali Khan of the Tansen Gharana, whose wizardry of the Sitar is still a byword for excellence in Eastern India. His mother, Harasundari Khatoon divulged to her husband the secret that when Alam was yet an infant he played the tabla on her breasts, being inspired by the rhythmical sound of the Sitar played by his father.

When Alam was five-years-old he became the whipping-boy of his brother Aftabuddin (a noted musician in his own right), who forced him to fill his hookah every day and thus tempted the boy to pick up the habit of hookah smoking in his childhood. Aftab dodged school and the young Alam followed suit. But he had a different reason for doing so. There was a Shiva temple in his native Shivapur village where the music inspired the young Alam to attend the service and accept prasad.

As his time for going to school synchronised with puja, bhajan and aarti at the temple, he decided to cut classes and instead devote his time to imbibing the devotional music played in the temple by many visiting saints from all over the country. After six months of absence from school the headmaster lodged a complaint with his father and young Alam’s activities came into the limelight. The next morning, unknown to him, his father followed Alam and found him engrossed in temple music.

Perplexed, his father came back home but did not take much notice of the boy’s misdeed. His mother, however, took a strict view and he was kept in solitary confinement for several days without food. Later his elder sister Madhumalti Khatoon, who lived nearby, took him home with her as, being the youngest in the family, he was a favourite of hers. Here Alam not only missed school but also had days of peace and harmony. But these ended when his mother fell ill and he had to go back home.

However, Alam had tasted the joy of freedom and one day while his mother lay sleeping on her sick bed, he opened the almirah and took away a portion of the family treasure. In the dead of night he left home at the age of 10 and travelled to Manik Nagar on foot, from where he boarded the Narayanganj-bound steamer.

Next morning he caught a train from Narayanganj to Sealdah. Here the rush puzzled him and he drifted the whole day amid strange sights and sounds, a village boy lost in a metropolitan town. It became dark and the lights dazzled him, his body ached from the blows rained on him earlier in the day by street urchins and his stomach longed for food as he stood on the banks of the Ganga longing for the comforts of his house and the love of his mother and sister.

A constable came along and instead of helping the poor lost boy, cursed and swore at him. So poor Alam drifted along the banks until he came to a group of sadhus sitting near the Calcutta cremation ground, preparing bhang. They heard the child’s tale of woe. The hermits made him take a holy dip in the Ganga, then offered him a pinch of ash to swallow with Ganga water.

He was then directed to Nimtalla street, where Alam saw a host of destitutes being fed. He got his share too and excited the pity of the man in-charge, who took him to the dispensary of a well-known local physician, Kedar Doctor, and prevailed upon the Doctor to allow the boy to stay there until such time as some other arrangement could be made for him.

At the dispensary one day came a young man, who was impressed by the little boy and took him home to his mother. The good woman heard his story and, a musician herself, decided to keep him at her house. “But I’m a Mohammedan!” exclaimed Alam. “It does not matter,” said the Hindu foster mother. “All children are divine.” She then pleaded his cause with her husband, Bireswar Babu, who was just as impressed with the boy as his wife.

Bireswar Babu took Alam to his guru Gopal Chandra Bhattacharya, alias Nulo Gopal, the famous state musician of Maharaja Jotindra Mohan Tagore of Pathuriaghats, and young Alam was on his way to success. Among those who heard him sing as a guest of Jotindra Tagore was Maharaja Madho Singh II of Jaipur, himself a lover of music and a great patron of classical artistes.

Baba had many other teachers besides Nulo Gopal after that and, of course, made his indelible mark in Indian music. Besides this, Baba’s contribution to music included many ragas and inventions. His mode of training, talas and gats, the history of the sarod, the life of Tansen and the similaries between that great musician and Baba and of how both left their musical heritage to their daughters is amazing.

That legacy ended with the death of Annapurna Devi, who was cremated in keeping with her father’s inter-faith beliefs. Would it surprise you to know that while staying most of his later life in Madhya Pradesh’s Malihar, Allauddin Khan also visited Jaipur and reluctantly declined Maharaja Man Singh II’s invitation to settle down in Rajputana’s most progressive pre-Partition State as his heart and soul had become deeply linked to Madhya Pradesh (then Central Province)?


Impeccable presentation

The concluding recital of the first evening was by Maihar sarod player, Pt. Partho Sarothy, disciple of Ustad Dhyanesh Khan and Pt. Ravi Shankar. Appropriately, he played completely in the dhrupad style, a characteristic feature of his gharana, displaying his prodigious taalim (training). The raag he chose to portray expansively, Kaunsi Kanhra, was a favourite of Ma Annapurna. A combination of Darbari Kanhra and Malkauns, Partho treated it with magnificent gravity. The nearly one-hour ‘aalap jor jhala’ included pakhawaj-style accompaniment on the tabla by Sanjay Adhikari, reminiscent of sarod recitals of yore. Surprisingly, and laudably, Partho Sarothy concluded with raag Malkauns, an unusual choice given that he had just played a detailed Kaunsi Kanhra . Again, his treatment of the raag was impeccable, as one expects from a musician of his stature, with the same mellow, straight meends without needing to impart a lighter feel to the notes.

The second evening started with a tribute by Senia Shahjahanpur’s Pt. Prattyush Banerji, disciple of Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta. An innovative composer in addition to being one of the torchbearers of his gharana, Prattyush’s recital was exceedingly lyrical. Despite his mastery of rare raags, Prattyush chose to play the oft-heard Puriya Dhanashri, proving that you can impress even with a common raag. During the ‘aalap jor jhala’ one was frequently moved his gharana’s trademark ‘ladant’ before the jhala was vigorous and crystal clear. The 11-beat composition was another departure from his gharana’s usual teen taal gats, and Pt. Abhijit Banerji lent expert tabla accompaniment. . Incidentally, this versatile musician is a disciple of Annapurna Devi. Prattyush concluded with raag Hameer again with a individualistic but totally authentic vision of the raag. While retaining the stamp of his training, Prattyush showed how the best musicians are not mere copyists.


Goddess Annapurna Temples

The most famous temple of Annapurna devi is located in the city of Varanasi. It is situated in Visheshwarganj, 15 meters North-West of the famous Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, 350 meters West of Manikarnika Ghat, 5 kilometres South-East of Varanasi Junction railway station and 4.5 kilometres North-East of Banaras Hindu University. This temple was the place she appeared and offered food to the hungry people. It was constructed in the 18 th century by Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao. Annapurna Devi Mandir is constructed in Nagara architecture and has sanctum with large pillared porch which houses the picture of the image of Goddess Annapurna Devi. The temple houses two idols of Goddess Annapurna Devi- one made of gold and other of brass. The brass idol is available for the daily darshana whereas the darshana of the golden idol can only be done once a year i.e. the day before Diwali.

Everyone who visits the Annapurna temple is provided with a three course vegetarian meal (excluding a dessert made from Dhal or Lentils) irrespective of their religion, language, caste, or creed. Male visitors to the temple have to remove their shirts and preferably cover their shoulders with a towel or a shawl as a symbol of respect and humility in front of god. A person who visits the temple and worships the goddess with complete faith and devotion, feels a sense of fulfilment and gets the blessings of the goddess, so he would never feel a scarcity of food ever in his life.

Other Important Annapurneshwari Temple

The Annapoorneshwari Temple is located at Horanadu India 100 km from Chikmagalur in the thick forests and valleys of the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Also called “Sri Kshethra Horanadu”, it is situated on the banks of river Bhadra in a remote corner of Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, surrounded by the natural vegetation, forest, green lands, and natural beauty of the Western Ghats. The Goddess Annapoorneshwari is shown as standing on a peeta with Shanku, Chakra, Sri Chakra and Devi Gayathri in her four hands. Every devotee who visits the temple is provided with free food and shelter. They are given breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as shelter in the temple premises.

Annapurneshwari Temple is a famous Parvati temple situated in Kannur, Kerala. The deity is worshipped as Annapurneshwari- the mother who makes all hunger disappear.

At this temple, Goddess Shri Annapurneswari is shown along with Shri Krishna. It is believed that Shri Annapurneswari has visited the shrine which was under the sea, centuries ago.

The temple was originally a shrine of Krishan. Later on, Avittam thirunal Raja Rja Verma of Chirakkal Kovilakam installed the shrine for Goddess Annapurneshwari. The local folklore says Annapurneshwari Devi came from Kashi with two other Devis- Sree Chamundeswari amma (Kalarivathukkal Bhagavathy) and Tiruvarkadu Bhagavathy and a boatman in a golden ship. She got down at Azhi Theeram which is now known as Aazhiteeramthangi. She asked the boat man to stay back, so that he could take her back to Kashi when she wanted, due to which the boat man stayed back and built a mosque which is now famous as the Olliangera Juma Masjid.


The Villain: The Life of Don Whillans

A fascinating, thought-provoking biography of a climbing legend.

Don Whillans has been an icon for generations of climbers. His first ascent of Annapurna’s South Face with Dougal Haston in 1970, remains one of the most impressive climbs ever made – a standard to which all contemporary Himalayan climbers aspire. But Perrin examines the tough reality behind Whillans’ formidab A fascinating, thought-provoking biography of a climbing legend.

Don Whillans has been an icon for generations of climbers. His first ascent of Annapurna’s South Face with Dougal Haston in 1970, remains one of the most impressive climbs ever made – a standard to which all contemporary Himalayan climbers aspire. But Perrin examines the tough reality behind Whillans’ formidable achievements – the character of the man himself. Despite his skill and daring, Whillans was a savage-tongued, hell-raising scrapper – turned down for a Queen’s Birthday honour, because of a violent fracas with the police. Coming out of a world miles away from the environment of the upper class climbers who dominated the sport, Whillans’ forceful, uncompromising personality gave him superstar status – the flawed heroism of a Best, a McEnroe, or an Ali.


About

Half Mermaid is a video game production company based in Brooklyn, New York.

We were founded in 2017 by triple Bafta winning writer-director Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story.

In 2019, our first title, Telling Lies, was published by Annapurna Interactive. This intimate investigative thriller received rave reviews and was heralded for the depth of its story and the performances of its cast.

In 2020, we began production on our next title.

Who We Are

Sam BarlowCEO

The stories that shaped me:

One Thousand and One Nights
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
The Story of the Eye

Natalie WatsonAssociate Producer

The stories that shaped me:

A Wizard of Earthsea
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
To the Lighthouse

Jeff PetrielloProducer

The stories that shaped me:

Moby Dick
Moonshadow
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Connor CarsonProgrammer

The stories that shaped me:

The Lord of the Rings
Aliens
The Phantom of the Opera

Our Values

As the founding members of Half Mermaid, we worked together to establish the following values for our studio. For an in-depth explanation behind each of these pillars, please visit our Brand Value Deck.

Community

Our studio was founded in Brooklyn, outside the central hub of the game industry and surrounded by the deep history of storytelling, art, and culture in New York City. We have the opportunity to enrich the development of games around our home, and the responsibility to include and amplify new and underrepresented voices in our scene.

Innovation

We are driven to create new game genres and push the boundaries of how game mechanics are utilized to tell stories. As popular entertainment continues to become more interactive, we aim to shape its future.

Integrity

We believe in a proactive approach to ensuring the quality of our work and how we go about making it. We value and nurture the voices of our creators. When mistakes are made, we listen, learn, and take action.

Inclusivity

We are the change we want to see in the gaming industry. That means we center narratives around a diverse set of individuals. It also means we are and work with a diverse set of individuals, providing a multiplicity of perspectives on our methods and projects.


  • OFFICIAL NAME: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
  • FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal democratic republic
  • CAPITAL: Kathmandu
  • POPULATION: 29,717,587
  • OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Nepali, English
  • MONEY: Nepalese rupee
  • AREA: 54,363 square miles (140,800 square kilometers)
  • MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Himalaya, Annapurna
  • MAJOR RIVERS: Karnali, Koshi

GEOGRAPHY

Nepal lies between China and India in South Asia. The country is slightly larger than the state of Arkansas. Nepal has the greatest altitude change of any location on Earth. The lowlands are at sea level and the mountains of the Himalaya are the tallest in the world. Mount Everest rises to 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) and is the world’s highest peak.

The Himalaya formed 10–15 million years ago when India collided with the continent of Asia and pushed the land into high mountains. Eight of the world’s ten highest mountain peaks are in Nepal.

Map created by National Geographic Maps

PEOPLE & CULTURE

Most people practice Hinduism, but some people practice both Hinduism and Buddhism. The caste system has been outlawed by the government but it still makes up the social structure of everyday lives.

Nepalese are from four main groups: the Hindu caste, the Bhotes, the hill tribes, and the Newar. The Hindus originally came from India and continue to follow the caste system. Hill people include the Sherpas and other tribes.

Sherpas are born way up in the mountains at elevations above 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) and are known for their ability to guide tourists in high altitude climbs. They teach visitors about Sherpa culture and Buddhism's love of the land.

The Bhotes live in mountains in the north and are originally from Tibet. The Newar are the original native people of the Kathmandu Valley.

Most Nepalese live in the central, hilly region, which embraces the Kathmandu Valley, and in the southern plain known as the Terai. The Ganges River floods this area and makes the land very fertile for growing crops. About 10 percent live in the mountains over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and are traders, farmers, and herders.

NATURE

People in Nepal rely on trees for most of their energy needs. Forests are rapidly being cut down and used as firewood in heating and cooking. The land has become fragile and erodes away when the trees have been removed.

Animal species are also becoming extinct due to population growth and deforestation. The Bengal tiger, the Asian one-horned rhinoceros, the snow leopard, and the Ganges freshwater dolphin are all endangered animals. Many tourists come to Nepal to see the exotic wildlife, so the Nepal economy depends on protecting these animals from extinction.

The yeti (or Abominable Snowman) is said to live in the mountains of Nepal. No conclusive evidence has been documented as to whether the yeti actually exists or not, but several explorers claim to have seen yeti footprints. No one has ever found one so the mystery goes on.


Annapurna Temple Varanasi

Annapurna temple is situated at Dashashwamedh road, Vishwanath gali and close to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. Annapurna temple is dedicated to the Annapurna or Annapoorna Mata, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full), Mata Parvati. There was a golden idol of the Annapurna Mata in the Annapurna temple. Annapurna temple has a huge crowd of pilgrims at the occasion of Annacoot. Annacoot festival is celebrated in India every year after Diwali. On the occasion of Annacoot coins are distributed to all the devotees. It is considered that whoever will worship this coin, he will be blessed by the Annapurna Mata for his successful and prosperous life. Annapurna Mata is the Goddess of the Varanasi city Who always protects the Kashi and fulfill His devotees with the food.

Opening time of the Annapurna temple is: 4:00 am to 11:30 am and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Aarti time is: 4.00 am

History of the Goddess Annapurna

Once, Lord Shiva said to the Goddess Parvati that the whole world is an illusion and the food is the part of that known as ‘Maya’. The Goddess of food (Mata Parvati) became very angry and She had to show the importance of all the material, in order to that She had vanished all things from the world. In the absence of food from the earth, the earth became infertile and everyone had suffered from the deep hunger.

She had to reappear in the world by seeing His devotees suffering from the deep hunger. She, then made a kitchen in the holy city, Varanasi. Lord Shiva too came to Her and said that I understand that the material can never be sent away as an illusion. Mata Parvati became very happy and offered food to the Lord Shiva with her own hands. From that time Mata Parvati is worshiped as an Annapurna means the Goddess of Food.

Another myth about the Annapurna is, Once Mata Parvathi had closed all the eyes of the Lord Shiva (three eyes: Sun, Moon and Fire) and entire world was full of darkness. There was the condition of ‘Pralaya’ and the color of the Mata Parvati became dark also (means She has lost Her Gauri Rupa). She was very sorrow and asked Lord Shiva how to get Gauri Rupa again. Lord Shiva said to Her to make Anna Dan in the Kashi. Mata Parvati took Her Annapurna Rupa with a golden pot and ladle and made Anna Dan in Varanasi. Again She got Her Gauri Rupa. It is considered that Her devotees do Annapurna Pooja by making Anna Dan in Kashi.

There are various names of the Mata Parvati worshipped by Her devotees all over the world. The Annapurna Shatanama Stotram has 108 names and The Annapurna Sahasranam presents one thousand names of the Annapurna Mata.

It is considered that She does not eat a little bit till the time Her devotees have not been fed in Her temple. The Annapurna Vrat Katha has various stories and helps Her devotees to get rid of their problems. Annapurna temple in Varanasi is situated adjacent to the Kashi Viswanath temple. Annapurna Mata is considered as the queen of the Kashi and Lord Shiva is considered as the king of the kashi. In the temple of the Mata Annapurna, in the noon time food as a ‘Prasad’ is offered to all the old, disabled and other devotees daily.