Hampi – The Echoes of Glory

Elephant stables, Hampi

The empire is long gone. Its relics scattered across a breathtaking boulder strewn landscape once chosen for its impregnability. Desolate ruins, lacking the antiquity of Egypt, the precision of Inca stonework or the mathematical coding of Angkor Wat. But Hampi’s stones – those chiselled by man into intricate divine forms, as well as those worn smooth by the elements – whisper stories. […]

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Jodhpur – Marwar Meets Andalucia In Mehrangarh…..

Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival 2015

The fusion of traditions at the Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival is a visual and emotive exploration of rhythm! Of the passion and pathos of the Cante, with the joyous, raucous melodies of the Thar desert. The mellow tones of the acoustic guitar, with the shrill keening of the Kamaicha and the Sindhi Sarangi. The power and the poise of the […]

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Zanzibar – The Allure Of The Familiar

Everything, barring the intensely turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, felt startlingly familiar. The sultry weather, the spicy coconut infused curries, the colorful attire, the ornately chiseled doors. Even the traditional game of Bao. My Indianness, and the fact that I had grown up watching monsoon winds billowing the lateen sails of Arab dhows and dreaming of following in the wake of mythical adventurers, […]

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Serengeti – The Gnu & Its Wanderlust

We very nearly missed the river crossings we had come to the Serengeti to witness. Rains arrived early this year. And the wildebeest herds, following some primal genetic coding that propels them on an arduous trek across the Savannah in search of fresh new grass, had already moved to the Northern plains. Perhaps even crossed over to the […]

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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 […]

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Lucknow – An Ode To Urbanity

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Let’s face it, we are not the most considerate or well mannered of people. If there is a rule to be broken, a line to be cut, or a traffic light to be jumped, you will likely find an Indian elbowing his way to pole position. Any indignant readers quick to rush to the defense of fellow citizens, are […]

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Ten Thousand Shades Of Green…..

I had forgotten the smell of the hills. The fresh clean smell of rarefied mountain air mingled with the spicy fragrance of eucalyptus and the aroma of crushed tea leaves. But as we negotiated each tricky hairpin bend on our drive up the Coonoor ghat, it was the colours that opened the flood gates of my memory. The lush verdancy of […]

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Art Inspired By Faith

From dust to dust. Or in this case from the clay dredged from the bottom of the holy Ganges, and back to its murky depths. The journey of Goddess Durga, believed to be her annual sojourn in her maternal home, is a metaphor for impermanence and temporality. Of all life. But also, in the sacred ritual that […]

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The Incredible Destiny Of Mirza Ghiyas Beg!

R & I have had many turning points in our lives. Those serendipitous moments when things could so easily have gone the other way.  And we have often argued over whether these were mere co-incidences or karmic interventions. R believes in hard work and sagacity. I do too. I really do. But I am too much of a romantic to […]

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The Simplicity Of Perfection!

Taj Mahal, - Agra, India

How do I begin to define a structure that is more iconic brand than historic monument? A name that instantly conjures up romance and grandeur even when claimed by a humble tea stall, let alone some of the finest hotels and resorts? And whose Chinese made plastic likenesses outnumber the citizens of this overpopulated land? The Taj […]

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The Magnificent Mausoleum Of Humayun

On the couple of sublimely solitary hours we got to spend revelling in the magnificence of this necropolis and the serene silence of its pink stones.

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The Light Of Faith

Ganga Aarti - Varanasi, India

The crowded, choreographed, almost Bollywoodesque obeisance to the Ganga in Varanasi, is more spectacle than religious ritual. Performed daily at sunrise and sunset, the Ganga aarti was conceived by the savvy pujari (temple priest) Babu Maharaj in 1992, and it’s  popularity has spawned more such spectacles in other cities along the banks of India’s holiest […]

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