Kuldhara in Jaiselmer – A Travel Shot

Today, a deserted land haunted by stories of akal, conflicts and migrations, Jaiselmer, India’s golden city and a major tourism hub was not always like what you hear. The region was located in the middle of flourishing trade routes connecting India with Persia and Arabian Desert cities via land route as well as ports of…

Khichan – A model of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’

‘Unless we live with non-violence and reverence for all living beings in our hearts, all our humaneness and acts of goodness, all our vows, virtues, and knowledge, all our practices to give up greed and acquisitiveness are meaningless and useless. He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin… Those whose minds…

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….

Jawai – Where Leopards are Locals

‘We went to India not only to observe the changes that had occurred since my former visit, 23 years ago, at the conclusion of our Philippine war, but also to visit places of interest, see something of the military air and ground forms, visit some old friends and acquaintances and then have a good tiger…

Water Heritage of Jodhpur – Then and Now

Ranisar, Padamsar Ote, Vyapari Gaya Tote If Ranisar and Padamsar overflow, the market rates will fall as there will be good rainfall and bumper crop and the hoarders and money-lenders will be put to loss  An old saying in Jodhpur Jodhpur, Rajasthan’s second largest city and the cultural capital of Marwar is a jewel in…

Water and Thar Desert – Stories from Indo-Pak Border

Sau sāndiya, saukarahalā, pūt, nipūti hoe Mehadlā to buthān hi bahlā, honi ho so hoe A hundred she camels, a hundred camels, all left childless, What is destined to be will be, even so a few drops of rain would be a blessing. Depiction of drought in one of the folk songs sung in 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…

Deeg Palace – A Synthesis of Persian and Indian Aesthetics

Early Muslims were pioneers in establishing gardens and fountains. With miles and miles of barren land and desert sand in sight, they envisaged their gardens as the proverbial oasis, a cool place to relax and reflect. This is how the concept of Charbagh or Chaharbagh gardens came into existence in the Islamic world and can…

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…