Melancholia in Majuli

“O Kai” (Hey brother!)… shouted Mr. Payeng as he noticed a stranger pedalling a pink bicycle. I was busy clicking photographs of the emerald green plot of freshly planted paddy.  The shout startled me at first and I looked up. He was sitting on the verandah by the side of the small plot of land…

Traversing the Ganges, from Old Times to New – Part I

A lifeline that has defined human civilisation. A river that holds a cosmos in itself,  a fascinating  world of flora and fauna, unseen from above, yet pulsating below, under tranquil waters. (Pic – Yamuna in Agra. Yamuna is the largest tributary of the river Ganges) In a land where infrequent monsoons are held as the main season,…

Betwa – Flowing in the Heart of India

In the annals of Indian history, rivers occupy a special place. Revered as deities by Hindus, rivers mobilized resources, ideas and agricultural wealth. If there is something that strongly characterizes the idea of India, it is her endless river system. The very name ‘India’ or ‘Hind’ has been derived from the river Indus, first cited…

Nirankaranchi Rai – The Mysterious Myristica Swamp

It was a short flight of stairs that descended into a runnel. Minutes before I took the stairs, I was delighted to see three beautiful Blue Mormons playfully chasing each other. Its iridescent blue dots on velvety black wings are hard to miss though one could easily mistake it for a small blue bird due…

Karez System of Bidar – A Persian Oasis in Deccan

Water is very important for survival and in arid regions, it is more precious than gold. In 6th century BCE, when India was heralding a spiritual renaissance, the inhabitants of arid Iran were busy building Qanat or Karez system to tap deep alluvial aquifers and channel the water along an underground tunnel often over many…

Sacred Tanks of Ekamra Kshetra

According to ancient scriptures, deities reside near a clean water body. A temple therefore should be built, where there is a pond on the left, or in the front, not otherwise. In Vedic Period, a water body was compared to a cow, the symbol of wealth, fertility and prosperity. It was believed that water goddesses…

HiStory – Make Way for HerStory

There is no such thing as the voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard Arundhati Roy Gargi, the Brahmavadini, as the female seers those who had the Brahmagyaan were called, was not just heard but had an intellectual debate with Sage Yajnavalkya, the outstanding scholar and teacher in expounding the nature…

Kaziranga – Hydra of Conservation

‘Kaziranga excites the senses, arrests the soul. It beckons a visit’. The inviting tag line of Assam Tourism captures the essence of a National Park that is the pride of Assam and a celebrated success story of wildlife conservation in India in a lilting tone. And why not. After all, Kaziranga, is where the heavyweights…

Deeg Palace – A Synthesis of Persian and Indian Aesthetics

Early Muslims were pioneers in establishing gardens and fountains. With miles and miles of barren land and desert sand in sight, they envisaged their gardens as the proverbial oasis, a cool place to relax and reflect. This is how the concept of Charbagh or Chaharbagh gardens came into existence in the Islamic world and can…