Ranigumpha – Rock-cut Romance

From Mughal-E-Azam to Bajirao Mastani, most of Bollywood’s period movies are romantic sagas replete with tales of unbridled passion and supreme sacrifice. Indian history, especially oral history, is a rich repository of such tales vivid in their description and varied in their situations and contexts. If there is one thread that is common to all … Continue reading Ranigumpha – Rock-cut Romance

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 search … Continue reading The Dutch Connection – Katargam Cemetery and Hortus Malabaricus

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 … Continue reading Step – Wells of Gujarat – a Timeless Journey

Peacock in Indian Art – Depiction in Different Cultures

The idea of India is incomplete without understanding the relationship of its people with the natural world. From time immemorial, in Indian culture and civilization both human and the natural world have co-existed across religions and belief systems. Many of the familiar elements of natural world, such as trees, creepers, birds, mammals and reptiles are … Continue reading Peacock in Indian Art – Depiction in Different Cultures

Splendours of Orchha – Myths and Realities

A popular story goes - In the remote history Virabhadra was the King of Kashi. One of his sons was Jagdas. After being denied a share in Kashi kingdom, Jagadas came to the shrine of Goddess Vindhyavasini and engaged in a long tapasya to seek her blessings. After failing to evoke response, he decided to … Continue reading Splendours of Orchha – Myths and Realities

Mandvi’s Sea Trade – A Pilot’s Story

Imagine Indian Subcontinent, what if there were no coasts! Geographically speaking, the oceans bring in moisture and that get converted into monsoon rains every year sustaining billions of human and wildlife and thus making India as world’s densest region. Likewise historically speaking, the oceans brought in revenue, resources and ideas. The Mughals might have chosen … Continue reading Mandvi’s Sea Trade – A Pilot’s Story

Toranas, Brackets and Mughal-Rajput Arches through Time

Culture is a dynamic process which continuously evolves and changes through interaction with other cultures, climate change and political and economic shifts. However, in most cases we do not appreciate the dynamic nature of culture and instead stick to our own ideas believing that they are supreme and pure. By doing so, we don’t appreciate how other … Continue reading Toranas, Brackets and Mughal-Rajput Arches through Time

Human Adaptation in Satkosia Tiger Reserve – Challenges and Prospects

A fascinating aspect of humanity is its geographical adaptability. There are terrains of all kinds where we have ventured and evolved with cultures in tune with the local geography. Among a range of geographical diversity, the adaptation of forest combined with river ecosystem makes human cultures even more fascinating. These kinds of biodiversity are often fragile … Continue reading Human Adaptation in Satkosia Tiger Reserve – Challenges and Prospects