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Chittorgarh, Meerabai and jauhar

When I was five, I heard a record of the divine M S Subbalakshmi singing Meera bhajans on my uncle’s gramophone. I was hooked on both MS and Meerabai for life. While in college, I came across James Tod’s classic “Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan,” which perhaps inspired Abanindranath Tagore’s “Raj Kahini.” In a sense, my … Continue reading

The white city of Udaipur

Called the most romantic city in India, the first thing that struck me while driving in was not romance, not even in the Bollywood sense, but the colour white. The Lake Palace, the City Palace, the Garden Palace, the big and small havelis – all white, shining in the bright summer sun, inlaid with lakes which … Continue reading

Step-wells in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Over the last few months, I’ve been stricken with step-well fever, after seeing my first one in Adalaj, near Ahmedabad. That deserves a post in itself, and hopefully soon, I’ll be able to write something on it and put up some pics as well. Quite by accident, I ‘discovered’ three more step-wells in the city. … Continue reading

In the land of the Ocean Monk

Google tells me that ‘Dalai Lama’ means the Ocean of Compassion, literally the ‘Ocean Monk.’ The only person I believe to be a true living saint, the opportunity to visit his seat could not be passed up. In my mind, Dharamshala is totally equated with the Dalai Lama, so when the wife booked tickets and … Continue reading

The Queen of Step-wells at Patan

During my trips to Adalaj and the step wells in Ahmedabad, I’d become fascinated with these marvelous creations. A few short hours from Ahmedabad, in the city of Patan, lies the Queen of them all. Called Rani ki Vav, this is possibly the most famous, and certainly the most beautiful of all the step wells that I’ve … Continue reading

The Sun Temple at Modhera, Gujarat

On the eastern coast of our peninsula, at N 19.53 and E 86.5, lies one of the wonders of the world, the Konark Sun Temple. One the western side of the peninsula, some 160 km from the Gulf of Khambhat as the crow flies, at N 23.42 and E 72.37, lies another wonder of the world, the Modhera … Continue reading

The Step-wells of Delhi

In Ahmedabad and Patan, I’d visited step-wells in Ahmedabad, Adalaj and Patan. Known locally as ‘vav’s, there were architectural wonders, with beautiful and intricate carvings very much like what we see in old temples. Quite by chance, I discovered that there are about a dozen step-wells in Delhi, and I was quite surprised that none … Continue reading

The monuments of Delhi

The great historical landmarks of Delhi are being cleaned up and they look really beautiful, like the Sistine Chapel murals after their long cleaning up, like Botticelli’s Venus emerging from the sea. I just had enough time to visit the Qutub Minar and the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. The monuments in the first area have been … Continue reading

A short trip to Amritsar

Reached Amritsar at about 9 o’clock at night – the sky was clear, the hotel was really nice and just round the corner from Harmandir Sahib. We went to the Temple at 10 o’clock for a couple of hours. The peace was almost palpable – thousands of devotees, no noise, no shouting, just a murmur … Continue reading

The caves at Aurangabad

We didn’t know that there were cave temples at Aurangabad. It is only when we reached Ajanta that a fellow visitor told us about the twelve artificial rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill near Aurangabad. “Sculptural carvings of Aurangabad Caves reached are among the highest achievements of Indian classical art and can be compared to … Continue reading

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