Rogan Art – A journey from the Sindh to White House

Roughly 400 years back an art was introduced to Kutch from Sindh, thanks to the Raos of Kutch who deeply appreciated art. Called ‘Rogan’, the art however declined due to the lack of patronage with the passage of time. Only a few local Ahir and Rabari women would buy bridal skirts filled with Rogan art…

Ajrakh – A Journey with Dr. Ismail Mohammad Khatri

For an archaeologist from South Asia such as me, what could be a more precious discovery than the Priest King of Mohenjo-Daro! Archaeologists have been debating on his role and position in Indus Valley society, but for those who are inclined towards aesthetics and art they are fascinated with his shawl depicting trefoil patterns interspersed…

The Port of Ghogha – Where India met Arabs

Gulf of Khambhat previously known as the Gulf of Cambay had been India’s magnet to pull ideas and resources throughout the history. Situated between the Saurashstra Peninsula and the mainland of Gujarat, it receives drainage from a number of rivers, the prominent ones being  Narmada, Tapi and Mahi Sagar and has the highest known tidal…

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…

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…

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…

Bhils of Aravali – A Socio-Anthropological Journey

The civilisation of India has been of complex order throughout its history. Most of its geographical regions are known to have played as corridors for exchanging ideas and adopting to new faiths. While some of these corridors changed forever for urbanisation and centres of power, the rest remained slightly aloof, mainly because of their difficult…

Sayla Murals – A Lost Heritage

Murals or frescoes have been valuable creations of humankind world over for thousands of years. India though has long roots of mural tradition tracing as far as to the Upper Paleolithic era, it was Ajanta in the 5th century AD, where the classical tradition began.  In the 16th century, a new chapter in Indian murals…

Bead Craft of Khambhat – A 5000 Year Old Legacy of Indian Civilisation

About 5000 years before, the region of Indian Subcontinent entered through the 1st step of civilization that simultaneously occurred in Egypt, Sumer and China. The human society became complex with rapid rise of urbanism. Status became an important factor to segregate people from one class to another. A specialized craft made out of various semiprecious…