TheTwin Fishes Of Ayodhya

This story begins with a legend. From a 13th century Korean chronicle – Karak Sam Kuk Yusa – of the emergence of six princes from a clutch of golden eggs, descended from the heavens in a gilded casket wrapped in red silk. The princes miraculously attain adulthood within twelve days. Suro – the eldest – is crowned first king of the Kara dynasty and ruler of Geumgwan […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

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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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Sarnath – Where The Wheel Of Dharma Was Set In Motion

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath

She sat motionless facing the stupa, dwarfed by its gigantic proportions. The scaffolding encircling the sacred structure providing a symbolic barrier against the world outside its perimeter. Her stillness and focus was fascinating. It magnified the contrast between this tranquil, spiritual retreat and the seething drama of life and death on the ghats of Varanasi, […]

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Varanasi – Three Picture Story

I take you back to Kashi with these visuals. You can view the entire series (sound effects and all!) here. Happy travels……… mater where life takes you.

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Surviving Kashi

Boat ride, Varanasi

I tried hard to like Varanasi. There is no doubt that the city – alternately referred to as Benaras or Kashi – is remarkable. In its geography, arrayed against the left bank of the sacred Ganges, as well as its fascinating history, woven with fantastic legends*. I am not sure how its claim to being […]

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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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Framed Stories

There are times when a passing glimpse through a window or on a street corner, that I didn’t pay much attention to at the time, sticks with me longer than any travel memory. A poignant scene, a mysterious face, those fleeting fragments of life, that register in my subconscious and return to haunt me. And […]

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Holy Cow!

Cow - Varanasi, India

While we do have cows on our roads in Chennai, the numbers in the smaller towns in North India seem to exceed their human population! Mathura and Vrindavan, not surprisingly, being the towns associated with the cow herd God, Krishna, were over run by cattle. I had to leave my camera in the car when […]

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