The Mausoleum Of Akbar The Great

It is ironic that of the millions of visitors who flock to the grave of Mumtaz Mahal in Agra, few spare time to pay respects to her grand father-in-law, the third and greatest emperor of the Mughal empire in India: Jalaludin Mohammed Akbar (The Great).  Akbar’s story is as remarkable as the man. Born in 1542 of Shia and…

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Postcards From Kabini

The Indian safari model prohibits the entry of private vehicles into national game parks. Even highways cutting through the large parks are sealed from 6pm to 6am. While we spied several vehicles piled up at the barricades across the main road through Nagarhole National Park well past six, and are certain that a few of the drivers huddled around the rangers…

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The Tomb Of Safdarjung

The site is deserted, even at midday. The Re.5/- entrance fee ($2/- or Rs.100/- for non SAARC foreigners!) is almost an apology, even without the elevated status of a royal tomb. This “last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture” is the final resting place of the erstwhile Nawab of Avadh, Mirza Muqim Abul Mansur…

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The Magnificent Karst Bridges Of Wulong

The stunning Three Natural Bridges in Wulong National Geology Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site, and setting for key scenes in “Transformers 4: Age  of Extinction” & “Curse of the Golden Flower” – was the highlight of our China trip along with Laitan ancient town. I featured both in some of my earliest posts. Here is a recap in photos,…

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A Sharqi Pit Stop

“This better be worth it!” R muttered under his breath, as we turned into the pockmarked highway leading to Jaunpur. Great clouds of dust obscured the size of the potholes and our heads hit the roof of our vehicle more times than I cared to count. “Is the Allahabad highway any better?” he asked our equally tense driver, Sanjay. …

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The Presence Of Absence

The Armenian church is in Georgetown, the chaotic trading quarter of Chennai that I don’t ordinarily frequent. The last time I ventured into the area was in search of a particular shade and texture of hand made paper for invites to my stone furniture sale! That, I am ashamed to admit, was over a decade ago. An exhibition to commemorate the Armenian…

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Lucknow – A Walk In The Chowk

Chowk, the heart of the city of Lucknow, is a smaller and considerably less intense version of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. A quintessential Indian ‘old town’ with its maze of narrow alleys. Where once glorious haveli’s rub shoulders with hastily nailed together hovels. Where the smells and sounds evoke romantic fantasies, engendered by long forgotten travelogues, of oriental markets,…

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The Chinese Zigzag Bridge

The zigzag bridge is a common feature in classical Chinese gardens. According to local lore (and tourist guides!) zigzag bridges and paths are said to confound evil spirits that can only walk straight lines for whatever reason! But in actual fact, these bridges are mainly decorative features based on the the Zen principle of mindfulness. Their non linear construction forcing one’s attention…

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