Mandu’s Water Heritage – An Epicurean Delight

Between the years 1469 and 1500 CE, Mandu was being ruled by Ghiyat Shah aka Ghiyasuddin Shah, son of Mohmmed Khalji, the founder of Khalji dynasty at Malwa. Ghiyat had spent his early years in fighting battles to augment his father’s struggle against rulers of Delhi Sultanate and Rana Kumbha of Mewar. According to Adil…

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…

Travel Shot : Dargah E Hakimi

“Bharde jholi meri Ya Mohammad, laut kar main na jaunga khaali” Who can forget the hesitant Bajrangi Bhaijaan going to a dargah as a last resort with a lament that is voiced soulfully by Adnan Sami in the form of the above qawwali. His request is heeded and things fall into place. This is the…

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…

Travel Shot : Mandu – On A Road Less Traveled

Once upon a time there was a king named Baz Bahadur. He was the last independent Sultan of Malwa.  During one of his hunting trips, Baz Bahadur chanced upon Roopmati, a divinely beautiful shepherdess, frolicking and singing with her friends. Being a great lover of music, he was bowled by Roopmati’s melodious voice. It was…

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….

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…

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…

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…

Heritage of Gyraspur – A Forgotten Jewel on Trade Routes

In Indian history, the Guptas were known to have founded India’s classical civilisation. Their rule lasted for two hundred years till the 5th century AD. The seeds sown by the Guptas started wearing fruits from the 7th century onward with the rise of Pratihara power in Central India. It was the time of pre-Islamic India…

Chanderi – Where Weaving meets Sufi Mysticism

‘A dervish is a friend of God And a friend of a friend is a friend So if you don’t know how to be a friend of God, Try to be a friend of a dervish’ Chishtiyya is one of the four main streams of Sufi Islam worldwide. Though Chishtiyya had originated in Afghanistan in…