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The majestic forts of central and north Tumakuru

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I was blessed to be born in Old Mysore region of Karnataka. This part of India is lucky to have been ruled by some of the most progressive regimes. The geographical landscape ranges from the dry eastern plains to the moist forests in Western Ghats. In between these two is the Closepet granite hill range, a chain of broken hills that run roughly north from Ramnagara near Bengaluru up to Hospet. Until the British subdued the biggest of threats to its existence in Indian sub-continent in 1799- the defeat and destruction of Tipu Sultan's 'Sultanat e Khudadad', most of these hills had garrisons of troops that depended on the fresh water streams that originated from the trapped granite and the steep cliffs that formed a natural defense against enemy attacks. Over the centuries many local chieftains built forts atop these hills, improvised by later rulers. The last layer of work on each of these fort was the handiwork of the father-son rulers of Mysore Kingdom Haidar Ali and Tip…

Delicious Mutton Biryani from Old Mysore region

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Biryani is a dish that is supposed to have come to south Asia from Persia.  Old Mysore region of Karnataka (erstwhile princely state of Mysore/ Mysore Kingdom) has its own version of this amazingly delicious dish.

Here is recipe for the region's mutton Biryani as prepared by my Begum (spouse). She has learnt it from her mother to whom this knowledge was passed on from her earlier generations.

INGREDIENTS
Mutton: 1 kg
Rice: Basmati 1.25 kg
Oil: 1.5 standard cups (apx. 350 ml)
Raw Garam Masala/ Spices: Strong flavoured,
    - Cloves: 10 no.
    - Cinnamon- 1 stick of 2 inch length
    - Cardamom: 5 no.
Salt: According to taste
Onion: Medium sized, 4, sliced fine
Tomatoes: Medium sized, 5, sliced fine
Green chillies: Medium sized, 4
Red chilly powder: 2 tea spoons, Prefer Everest Thika as it gives colour to the Biryani
Ginger garlic paste: 9 table spoons
Lemon juice: Squeezed out from 1 medium sized lemon
Coriander: 1 handful
Mint: 20 leaves

COOKING METHOD
Container 1
Step 1: Wash rice, soak it in a…