Witnessing the spectacular Ganga aarti at the Dashaswamedha Ghat, Varanasi

Dashaswamedha Ghat, Varanasi

Banaras me toh Ganga bhi ulti behti hai‘, a colloquial adage meaning here in Banaras, even the mighty Ganges flows in reverse. In Banaras or Varanasi, as it is presently called, river Ganga takes a crescent-shaped turn towards the north, an aberration in the southward flow of the river which originates in the laps of the mighty Himalayas and traverses the Gangetic plain before flowing into Bangladesh and eventually into the Bay of Bengal. Long ago, on the banks of this turn, a legendary city was established; a city that epitomized spirituality and survived long enough to be regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Read more

Manikarnika & Harishchandra: My experience of the cremation ghats in Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat is among the oldest and most revered ghats of Varanasi. This is one of the two cremation ghats in Varanasi and is believed to be the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated which leads to attainment moksha. Legends mention that Lord Vishnu meditated at this ghat and also established a kunda where Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati is believed to have taken bath. Daily, over 300 bodies are cremated here round the clock and the fire of Manikarnika has never extinguished in thousands of years. So those who are cremated here are essentially cremated from the same fire that cremated their ancestors through generations. Read more

Prayagraj #2 – History lessons and a spiritual dip at the Sangam

Khusru Bagh, Prayagraj

Prayagraj, earlier known as Allahabad is a town in north India situated at the confluence of there revered rivers of Hinduism – the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati. This is also one of the four sites where Kumbh Mela, the largest religious congregation is organized once in every 12 years which witnesses millions of Hindu devotees and ascetics visit the town and take a dip at the holy confluence called the Sangam. The strategic location of the town between two gigantic rivers prompted Mughal emperor Akbar to build his fort here in the banks of river Yamuna close to the Sangam. Read more

VLOG: Day trip to the Isha Foundation and the Adiyogi statue at Coimbatore

VLOG: Day trip to the Isha Foundation and the Adiyogi statue at Coimbatore

Isha Foundation is a non-profit, spiritual organization founded in 1992 near Coimbatore, India, by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudevji. The organization under the leadership of Sadhguru consecrated a mammoth bust statue of Lord Shiva in his customary meditation posture which holds the Guinness Book of World record for being the largest bust statue. I visited the Isha foundation and attempted to create my first video blog. Please watch the video and share your feedback in the comments section below.

Prayagraj #1 – My first impression of the town, its people and culture

Prayagraj

Year-end trips are always tricky to plan. Once you join the corporate world, the biggest hurdle in planning a trip is to get the requisite number of leaves. Not only that, all the effort and money you put in to plan a trip can fall apart with two dreaded words – “business requirement”; those who have been a part of Indian corporates need no explanation to this and those not a part of it – don’t bother. Read more

The Coorg chronicle – 2 days in the ‘Scotland of India’

The Coorg chronicle – 2 days in the ‘Scotland of India’

Coorg also called the ‘Scotland of India’ is a popular hill station in Karnataka. Apart from the delightful natural scenes, Coorg, officially called Kodagu, is known for its coffee, wine and the vibrant, exotic lifestyle of the Kodavas. Read more

7 postcards from the ruins of irresistible Hampi

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. I present 7 postcards from these irresistible ruins:

I wrote a post on Hampi after my 1st visit in 2015, read it here: Hampi: The forgotten capital of Vijayanagara

Tosh & Kalga: Wandering in the remote hamlets of Kasol

tosh village

A narrow brown trail meandered its way through the white snow just to disappear behind a morose looking apple orchid bereft of its greenery. The footmarks on the trodden path offered the only glimpse of any human existence. The dark clouds had started to wreath the snowcapped peaks and the wind was getting cold. I and my friend Vishank stood at the base of the hill juggling between taking the risk to trek the deserted path in the face of a possible downpour or to head to Kasol where the life was definitely more comfortable than these inhospitable hills. Read more

Exploring Fatehpur Sikri, the abandoned fort of Akbar the Great

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is a desolate fort complex, originally built to serve as the residence and seat of power of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Unfortunately, a shortage of water forced the Mughals to shift their capital to Agra only after 14 years of completion of this fabulous fort. A desolate Akbar, in quest for an heir to the Mughal throne, undertook an arduous pilgrimage and walked barefooted to the revered Sufi saint Khwaja Moinnuddin Chishti of Ajmer. Read more

Walking on Krishna’s trail: Mathura and Vrindavan

Prem Mandir

Krishna, the supreme lord is seen, understood and experienced in different ways and emotions by different people. He is an irrepressible child, a terrible prankster, an enchanting flute player, a graceful dancer, an irresistible lover, a truly valiant warrior, a ruthless vanquisher of his foes, an astute statesman and kingmaker, a yogi of the highest order and the most colourful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Read more