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…

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…

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…

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….

Raghurajpur – An Open Air Museum

Can anyone ever think of ‘Odisha’ without thinking of Lord Jagannath. No way!! Rhythms of Odiya life deeply revolve around scores of rituals related to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subadhra throughout the year. The trinity that resides in Puri celebrates festivals as any of us do. In the month of June, when the…

Hill Forts of Jaipur – Jewels of Aravali

‘The duality in the Rajput character was really astonishing. On the one hand he was a grim warrior, forever ready to draw his sword taking the cruelty, horror and pain of war in his stride. On the other hand he was gentle, warm in his hospitality, a lover of music and dance, and kind to…

Ajanta – India’s First Renaissance

One of the most famous disciples of Gautama Buddha during his lifetime was King Bimbisara. He invited Gautama Buddha and his Sangha members for a meal at his royal court – the Rajagriha. While having dinner, sitting next to Gautama Buddha, the King wondered: ‘Where could I find a place for the Blessed One to…

Hunting and its Depiction in Indian Art – A Journey through Time

  Rama would not have had to go to the forest if King Dasharatha had not killed Shravankumar accidentally while hunting and cursed by his blind parents to die of Putrashoka. Mahabharatha probably would have been narrated differently if Pandu had not killed Rishi Kindama while hunting. He was cursed and so had to step down…

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…

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…

Bundi Paintings from an Artist’s Perspective

Between 16th and 19th centuries AD, the Rajput courts in Rajasthan and Central India had patronized miniature paintings and wall murals of mythological and court themes in an epic scale. Though many of them have faded with the ravage of time, yet whatever are left constitute an integral aspect of South Asia’s visual history and…