Roaming amidst the Chapaner ruins – a day full of struggles

Chapaner, Gujarat

I was standing in the aisle of a crowded bus continuously wiping sweat off my face and tracking myself on the google map. A middle aged man taps me from the back and asks “Where are you going?”; “Where are you going?”-  a typical go to questions that we Indians ask to break ice and strike conversation with any stranger we meet while travelling. “Chapaner”, I said. The man grew more curious, “Which village?”. I didn’t have an answer to that. I replied “I am traveling to explore the ruins of Chapaner”. “Khandar !!!”, he replied Read more

Walking through Ahmedabad, India’s 1st UNESCO World Heritage City

Teen Darwaza, Ahmedabad

It had been two months in Ahmedabad, and I had been travelling extensively across Gujarat in these two months but somehow kept postponing my plans to explore Ahmedabad itself. In these 2 months apart from malls and restaurants, the only other place I had been is the Sabarmati Ashram. Ahmedabad is the first UNESCO World Heritage city of India and there is no dearth of places and legends in this city to keep a history lover like me intrigued. But things got busy and it came down to my last day at Ahmedabad before I could explore the old city. Read more

Sabarmati Ashram: The place where MK Gandhi became Mahatma Gandhi

Sabarmati Ashram

Sabarmati Ashram was the residence of Mahatma Gandhi who stayed here along with his wife for 12 years. It is from this place that the Gandhiji started his famous Dandi march on 12 March 1930 to break the atrocious salt law imposed by the British. In the story of our independence, there are very few places more iconic than the Sabarmati ashram. Owing to its extraordinary historical significance, Sabarmati Ashram was declared a national monument by the Government of India. Read more

The ancient group of monuments at Mamallapuram

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Mamallapuram, earlier known as Mahabalipuram, is an ancient coastal town about 60 km off Chennai along the Coromandel coast. Mahabalipuram is famous for its group of monuments and features in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The monuments were built during the Pallava dynasty around the 7th and 8th century. Read more

The Excavation site of ancient Nalanda University

Nalanda University ruins

In India lotus is often associated with knowledge and the word Nalanda translates to “Giver of Lotus stalks“.  At its prime Nalanda University was one of the best centres of excellence and attracted students from as far as China, Mongolia and Persia. Nalanda University was established in 5th century by the Gupta dynasty rulers with subsequent additions by the rulers of Kanauj and the Pala dynasty of Bengal. Read more

Konark: The Black Pagoda in Odisha

Konark temple (DND)

I am back with my first post of 2017. I  wish you had a great start to the new year and welcomed it by enjoying to the fullest. My first destination of 2017 is a ruined 12th century temple in Puri district of Odisha – The sun temple of Konark.

Konark Temple is an eerie place to visit. For some, its nothing more than a ruined temple while for those with an artistic insight, its a thing of beauty, a subtle combination of science, art and spirituality. Built in 1255 by the Ganga dynasty rulers, the temple had stood firm at its place for about eight centuries and what remains today is only a glimpse of the magnificent workmanship of the sculptures of the bygone years. No one has appreciated its beauty; neither the Europeans who desecrated it nor the democratic governments that followed. Read more

Taj Mahal : An elegy in white marble

Taj Mahal

A broken heart is an inexplicable dingus. An oojah that has propelled people to conquer what seemed unfathomable. From the broken heart of an emperor emanated a desire – a desire to built a final resting place for his love. A desire to construct a monument of unparalleled beauty in annals the history. Taj Mahal is the outcome of that desire; a tomb of profound love, a testimony to the mere existence of love. Read more

Hampi: The forgotten capital of Vijayanagara

Vithala Temple, Hampi

Hampi, located on the banks of River Tungabhadra was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire from 1343 to 1565. With river Tungabhadra on one side and hills on the other sides, Hampi proved to be an excellent strategic location to serve as the capital. During its prime, Hampi was the second largest and one of the richest cities in the world. Today all that glory lies in ruins and Hampi is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more

Belur and Halebidu: The antic temples of Hoysala empire

Belur & Halebidu

I had a believe that the carvings and sculptures of the Sun temple at Konark, Odisha is the zenith of a sculptor’s expertise. But now, after visiting Halebidu and Belur, I am certain to have discovered a higher summit. Although it hits my pride of being an Odia, I must accept that the sculptors of Hoysala empire were more proficient than ours.

These rich temples built in the 12th century (started in 1121) were plundered and destroyed by Ala-ud-Din Khilji, Islamic ruler of Delhi Sultanate as evident from the hundreds of mutilated sculptures of the temples. Most of the sculptures are without heads and hands, yet what remains is enough to testify the expert craftsmanship of the artists of that time. Read more

Lepakshi: A Legacy of Vijayanagara Art

Lepakshi

Lepakshi is a quaint little place about 120 km from Bangalore in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. According to the legends the mythical bird Jatayu fought with Ravana while he was abducting Sita and died here just after informing Lord Ram about the incident. The word ” Le Pakshi” means “Rise bird” in Telugu which Sri Ram compassionately uttered at that time. Read more