Thanjavur – The Forgotten Cenotaphs

Raja Gori, also known as Kailasa Mahal, is a complex of Maratha era funerary temples in Thanjavur. Possibly the only one of its kind in Tamilandu. A place few outsiders visit and that even some local guides are unaware of.

Read More

Thanjavur – Sublime Chola Heritage

I am not a temple goer.  I find the energy and fervour and the attendant din of a crowded temple distracting. Rare visits on special occasions are more nostalgic concessions to tradition, rather than opportunities for communion with God. But the vibe at each of the three temples that constitute the UNESCO inscribed ‘Great Living Chola Temple‘ ensemble was different. And visiting…

Read More

An Amble Through A Storied Park – Lodhi Gardens

If there is one thing I envy Delhi-ites, it is the green oasis of Lodhi Gardens. Over ninety acres of unexpected tranquility to escape the gridlocked delirium of their capital city. The landscaping would be easy enough to replicate elsewhere in India (who am I kidding!). But it is the historic ambience, those omnipresent vestiges of Delhi’s storied past, that make…

Read More

Myanmar – The Shared Destinies Of Two Illfated Kings

This is a riches to rags story. Of the journey of the King of Delhi from his jewel encrusted chambers in the Red Fort to a tiny tenement in the by-lanes of Rangoon. Replicated, just twenty seven years later, by the ouster of the occupant of the exquisite Glass Palace in Mandalay and his exile to modest lodgings in…

Read More

The Extraordinary Renewal Of Rwanda

The shaft of light from a somber stained glass window at the heart of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre is said to symbolise hope.  Designed by Ardyn Halter, the son of Auschwitz survivor Roman Halter, it depicts the descent to genocide and is set atop a series of steps indicating the points where warnings could have been heeded, where turning back was still an option. But…

Read More

Here Fell Le Bon Roi Henri

 “The place where a certain catastrophe occurs becomes a dreadful, inescapable witness of it; and the absence of that silent character would leave the greatest historical scenes incomplete” ~ Victor Hugo in “The essential Victor Hugo” By all accounts Henri of Navarre – King Henri IV of France – was a good king. Revered by his…

Read More

Vanishing Wells!

The unique stepwells of India, called Baoli’s (or Vavs in Gujurat), are ornate, complex structures that are legacies of the subcontinent’s ancient hydraulic engineering systems.  Along the way those vital water harvesting and storing skills were abandoned, and the wells dried up and silted over, and ended up as giant garbage dumps. It is astonishing how…

Read More

Giving Delhi Its Due

Granted my earlier visits had been limited to meetings with modular furniture makers and interior contractors, but charm was still the last thing I expected to find in Delhi! An insidious allure that gets under your skin, even as you wilt in the heat and the pollution smothers your lungs. “Do tourists really get to know…

Read More

Why?

“Why?” a young American ahead of us asked his friend. “Do you get why this happened?” His Cambodian companion started describing the events that led to his country’s descent into hell, but the young man interrupted him. “No, no…..I know what happened. WHY did it happen?” That question haunted us as we filed past the row upon…

Read More