Connect with us

City Lifestyle

This Shimla-based miniature gardening artist has taken initiative to impart creative skills to prisoners



miniature gardening workshop in shimla 1

She has limited slots for this workshop where the gardening enthusiasts of Shimla are invited for a meet-up over creative gardening, food & beverage, candid photography along with supporting a cause.

SHIMLA-In a city like Shimla, unplanned, haphazard, and even illegal construction has made it almost impractical to nurture a habit like gardening, which is indeed a saddening state. However, there is some possibility with miniature gardening. Shimla based Miniature Haven had recently introduced the capital city to the art of miniature gardening through its first workshop. The organizer, Shilpa (30). received a tremendous response, and has decided to hold another special workshop in Shimla.

This time, as an admirable initiative, inmates of the Kaithu Jail in Shimla will get a chance to contribute to the preparation of the workshop kits and will also learn creative gardening skills & techniques and other crafts. miniature haven workshop 3

The psychologists, doctors and occupational therapists have always debated the health benefits of building, planting, and harvesting a garden that brings constructive changes on emotional and behavioral level. Even the theme of this year’s World Environment Day was “Connecting to the Nature”. Shilpa has created this opportunity to re-establish this connection for both the prison inmates as well as residents of urbanized and highly congested city.

himachal prison

Shilpa with IPS Somesh Goel, Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services, Himachal Pradesh

For this, Miniature Haven, her firm, is collaborating with Himachal Prisons under the guidance of IPS Somesh Goel, Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services, Himachal Pradesh to impart creative skills to the friendly inmates of prisons. Shilpa will be training the inmates and even share part of the earning from the workshop with them for helping her in the preparation of the kits.

Under this project I will spend time with them demonstrating and teaching creative gardening techniques and other crafts like distress painting, decoupaging objects etc.,

Shilpa told Himachal Watcher.

The inmates will help me prepare kits for the workshop and will be paid wages out of the proceeds I generate from the workshop,

she further said.

This is an initiative to engage prisoners in creative art based activities along with giving them opportunity to start a dialogue with outer world in a way that is productive and constructive in manner. Another thought is to enable them to be able to earn a livelihood from handcrafting such products which can be commercially sold to the public.

I will document my interaction with the prisoners’ their daily stories, life behind a prison and feedback in the form of pictures and share it on my Facebook page Miniature Haven; some stories that remains behind the bars and are never really known to us in the free world,

said Shilpa.

Under her concept Miniature Haven she is looking at collaborating with many social service organisations that are working on the upliftment and empowerment of underprivileged sections of our society.

She is expecting the Shimla public to come forward and be a part of this event where a group of 15-20 strangers would come together for a meet-up over creative gardening, food & beverage, candid photography which supports a cause.

The cost of workshop (2000 INR) inclusive of material, food & beverage (prepared by prison inmates) and photography. The workshop is scheduled to be held on June 18, 2017 at the Shimla Book Café from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM. All details regarding the workshop can be found on the official website of Miniature Haven or the Facebook Page. Interested people should hurry for registration as there are limited slots.

View Gallery

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

City Lifestyle

Self-taught local artist to exhibit ’17 Paintings’ oil painting works at Gaiety, Shimla



Shimla: For the art lovers and critics in Himachal Pradesh, a self-taught local artist will showcase his collection of oil paintings titled “17 Paintings” on a two-days exhibition at the historic Gaiety Theater, Shimla on December 9 and 10 from 11.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Surya Ranjan Shandil (31), who hails from Solan district, works in Bengaluru as a computer programmer in the field of education technology. After his schooling from Shimla, he obtained a B.Tech Degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

Himachal's cutlural paintings

Courtesy: Surya Ranjan Shandil

However, he did not ignore his love for the painting and continued it at evenings after college, work, on weekends, and Sundays.

Later, Ranjan realized he has a collection of his own. His first solo exhibition was held in November 2016 at the Gaiety Theater.

The appreciation he received at the first exhibition encouraged him to present his second collection of oil paintings that he painted during 2017.

He received his education upto Class 12 from Shimla’s St. Edwards and Dayanand Public School.

He is best known for his captivating genre paintings.

I started drawing at the age of 3-4 years. At that time, I used to sign the drawings with incorrect spellings of my name,

Ranjan told Himachal Watcher

His father, Dr R G Shandil, who is now retired, was a professor of mathematics at the H.P. University, Shimla. His mother Dr. Sandhya Shandil was a teacher at the St. Edward’s School, Shimla.

After graduating in 2010, I started with oil painting during the evenings and weekends. Gradually I built up a collection and in November 2016, I held my first solo exhibition of 29 oil paintings at gaiety,

he said.

local himachali painting artist

Ranjan’s paintings reflect people. The upcoming exhibition opens with simple themes like the joy of shopping, local festivities, celebration, dance and music. Most works painted on these themes are in the context of Himachal.

Surya Ranjan Shandil

Following these are mellow paintings ‘Seaside Nap’ and ‘Personal Sunrise’ – more subtle takes on human thought. The artist also takes a step towards satire in comically interesting works ‘Monkeys’ and ‘Chimpanzees’.

Slowly moving towards expressionism ‘Kayal’ takes the viewer to the realm of subjectless painting while in ‘Frenzy’ the artist dispenses with form.

Ending on a light hearted note, the paintings ‘Bonfire’ and ‘A Silent Conversation’ recreate the magic of Gabbar Singh and Rajesh Khanna on canvas.

About his love for painting, he said,

I believe art is a journey of constant improvisation.  

It would be his second solo exhibition. Earlier, he has participated and won prizes in several painting competitions throughout his schooling and B.Tech.


Continue Reading

City Lifestyle

Bollywood film-maker Onir conducting auditions in Shimla for his next film



Teenage Shimla girl actors

Shimla: Shimla-based production house ‘Secret Corridor Pictures’, run by award-winning filmmaker Siddharth Chauhan, is looking for new faces for Onir’s upcoming film “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz”. The film will be shot in Shimla.

Onir is a National award-winning director and producer. He needs a young girl in the age group of 14-18 from Shimla to cast in his film.

Onir has directed films like: My Brother Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal, Sorry Bhai, I AM, and Shab. His ‘Chauranga’ had won him multiple awards last year.

The Secret Corridor is looking after the casting & production process for this film. The production house is currently scrutinizing applications and organizing auditions.

In the first round of the auditions was conducted online and five finalists were selected out of over 50 applicants. These five candidates were invited for an interview with Onir on October 8, 2017.

The production house is also looking for actors in all age groups for other projects.

Onir’s films are known for the unique content that works as a trailblazer for the Indian film industry.

He is the man behind ‘My Brother Nikhil’ – the first Bollywood film that addressed the sensitive topic of homosexuality and AIDS.

His other film ‘I AM’ had won him the prestigious National Award & many other awards at various international film festivals.

The interested candidates can apply for auditions alongwith their pictures and other details. The candidates can either apply through e-mail at [email protected]” or through Facebook.

Continue Reading

City Lifestyle

Himachal gets a ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala as reminder of martyrs



dharamsala war museum

Dharamsala – The ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. He also laid the foundation stone of the Freedom Fighters Memorial at Dari.

The War Museum, he said was a reminder of the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh, right from recipients of Victoria Cross to Parmveer Chakra. The Museum would offer a flashback to learn more about the Nations first Param Vir Chakra recipient, the highest gallantry awardee, Major Somnath Sharma to late Captain Bikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia, and others who laid their lives for the sake of the Nation.

Recalling the Kargil war, he said that 54 brave soldiers from the soil of Himachal had laid their lives. These sacrifices will find mention in this War Museum.

The Museum is spread over a total area of 2190 square meters and built at a cost of Rs. 9.85 crores. Outside the Museum, the statue of General Zorawar Singh and murals of heroic deeds are on display.

The inner Hall houses busts of Vir Chakra awardees, Jamedar Bhandan Ram and Jamedar Lala small description of their legend on the wall against a golden background.

The busts of Param Vir and Vir Chakras include those of Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, Captain Vikram Batra, Major Sudhir Walia, Hony. Captain Sanjay Kumar.

The Museum also houses photo gallery of all PVC recipients of the country besides the medals of various gallantry award recipients including Victoria Cross, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra etc.

war museum himachal

Photo: Divya Himachal

There is also a 5×2 foot Ashoka Pillar beside a Pakistan captured flag, regimental flags, Medium Machine Guns etc.

The State government has requested the Government of India for MIG-21 and display of other warfare machinery, said representatives of ‘State Martyrs Memorial Service and Development Society’.

The inauguration of the Museum was timed with the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the quit India movement also known as ‘August Kranti’.

Continue Reading