Hunting and its Depiction in Indian Art – A Journey through Time

  Rama would not have had to go to the forest if King Dasharatha had not killed Shravankumar accidentally while hunting and cursed by his blind parents to die of Putrashoka. Mahabharatha probably would have been narrated differently if Pandu had not killed Rishi Kindama while hunting. He was cursed and so had to step down…

Glimpses of Calcutta (Kolkata) heritage

Calcutta, once the city of palaces, so beloved of the British, has various  interesting theories regarding its name and origin. The name Kolikata first appeared in the 15th century writings of the Bengali poet, Bipradas Pipilai, and later in the 16th century, on the payroll list maintained by Akbar’s court. Some contend that it is this name…

Patan’s Patola – A Weaver’s Perspective

There is an old Gujarati proverb on the Patola that goes something like this – “PADI PATOLE BHAT, FAATE PAN FITE NAHI”. This roughly translates to ‘ The design laid down in patola shall never fade even when the cloth is torn.’ With a guarantee of lasting close to 100 years and a design that…

The Dutch Connection – Katargam Cemetery and Hortus Malabaricus

Remember your Class 8 History textbooks ? One of the most interesting chapters is on the Age of Exploration or the Age of Discovery that dominated the world history between the 16th and the 18th centuries CE. During this era, seafaring traditions proliferated and so did the trading of goods. This led the Europeans to…

Step – Wells of Gujarat – a Timeless Journey

In 1990s when I was a doctoral student in Pune’s Deccan College, I did not know much about step-wells or vavs (in Gujarati), Gujarat’s incredible subterranean structures that were created for rainwater harvesting. I only knew briefly about Rani ni Vav at Patan, a uniquely embellished and ornamental underground structure for water conservation in the…

Tale of Three Baolis

Baolis, or baoris, or vavs, or step-wells, are underground water sources that have been popular in India for a long time, especially in the dry areas of this subcontinent. These step-wells generally consisted of two parts, a rectangular tank or kund, and a circular well that extended down to reach the water table. The well provided…

Sketch of a Sleeping Beauty, Udvada

Originally posted on theunexploredworld:
On my recent trip to Vapi, I decided to take a day’s tour to the nearby Parsi coastal village called Udvada. The most important Zoroastrian religious center with lot of heritage value to it, Udvada is frequented by Parsis and Iranis from all over the world. However, not many non-Parsis visit…

Surat’s Dutch Legacy – Dotivala Bakery

On 2nd August 1616, a Dutch merchant named Pieter Venden Broecke arrived on the shore of Surat looking for prospects of trade. He was well received by the local Mughal governor but failed to make any business agreement as the governor did not have the power to give license for a factory establishment. Broecke sailed…