Kaman Pandigai

Lovely blossoming mango flowers are his lovely arrows,                                Kinsuka is the bow and black bees its string.                                Bright moon is his imperial canopy,                                And the spring breeze is mighty elephant.                                Cuckoos sing like minstrels,                                Behold !…

Bikaner – Town Of A Thousand Splendid Mansions

 Way back in 1990s, when I first heard about the magnificence of Havelis or traditional Indian mansions of Bikaner  I  nourished a subtle desire to visit in person and appreciate the impressive architecture of the Havelis. The newspaper feature articles that used to appear in the intervening period until my first visit to Bikaner circa 2000…

Dundlod in Shekawati – A Timeless Heritage

A short distance from Nawalgarh, one of the largest painted towns of Shekawati in Rajasthan takes you to Dundlod, a picture postcard Rajasthani village famous for its Goenka havelis and chhatris. In the 18th Century, East India Company had a strong establishment in Calcutta. The backbone of their trade was produce that came from hinterland….

Travel Shot – Cheriyal Art of Telangana

It was that time of the evening when all had gathered to listen to stories. The stories of ancestors beyond what granny knew or could remember, stories of heroes that made them proud, stories that they would sleep with and dream about. Today, the Kunapulis were coming to perform Markandeya Puranam for the Padmasalis and…

Kalighat Patachitra – A Journey

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” as Plato had once said and it holds true for Kalighat patachitra. With their lack of symmetry in human figures and sense of proportions, they often fail to impress the eyes of a realist. However, these paintings appeal to many art lovers with their bright colours, bold…

Gol Gumbaz – The Triumph of Deccani Architecture

If Taj Mahal is India’s most admired artistic tomb, then the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur that houses the grave of Muhammad Adil Shah is technologically the most advanced tomb of Medieval India. I have been to Gol Gumbaz twice before and each time there was something to be surprised about. The View of Gol Gumbaz…

Badshahi Ashurkhana – A Qutb Shahi Salute to Imam Hussain

The Persian Blue has held me in fascination from long. There is no single reason I can attribute to it yet the genesis of this interest goes back to the mid- 1990s when I was a PhD student working on a medieval port site on Odisha coast. In a trial pit we had unearthed a…

Travel Shot – Benazir Palace

Bhopal, the burgeoning cosmopolitan capital city of Madhya Pradesh is also referred to as the City of Nawabs. Among her erstwhile rulers was Shahjehan Begum, a prolific builder who is credited with the construction of the imposing Taj – Ul – Masjid, the largest mosque in India. She named her capital, Shahjehanabad which was counted…

Dhar – History in Layers

Chandragupta Vikramaditya, the king of Ujjain, was well-known for his bravery, intelligence and his keen sense of judgement. One day, Indra, the king of Gods arranged a dance competition between two of his favourite apsaras, Urvashi and Rambha and invited Vikramaditya to judge the event. Vikramaditya gave a bunch of flowers each to both Urvashi…

Bengali Sarees – A Brief History

Modernity and urbanization has led to the decline of traditional form of clothing, however the saree continues to remain an eternal favourite. While means of production, style of draping, and designs, may have changed markedly over times, one factor remains unchanged: the love for sarees among Indian women. From a fragment of cotton found on a…

Burhanpur – A Medieval Water Oasis

How did India manage its water resources in the medieval times is a question that has haunted me for quite some time now.  The quest to answer this question began a couple of years ago when I went to Bidar, the Bahamani capital in northeast Karnataka where thanks to Mr. Valliyil Govindakutty, an expert on…

Datia Palace – Of Friendship, Mystery and Inspiration

The Delhi Durbar of 1911 was a major turning point in Indian urban history as it was during this event that the decision to shift the capital of Imperial India was taken. With Delhi now being crowned the capital, it was decided that a ‘New’ Delhi would be developed with sprawling avenues and majestic buildings….