Cochin Harbour

Cochin Harbour

Port lights at night

Cochin was a traditional gateway to India with traders coming from Europe and Middle East to participate in a huge trade of spices and other products. It was this gateway which opened its hearts to Jews more than 2000 years ago and also to the first Christians the world had ever known. It is still an important trading post of India.

Remembering my recent visit to heaven, Conoor, Tamil Nadu

Remembering my recent visit to heaven, Conoor, Tamil Nadu

A small school a the top of a hill .... dreamland!!!

All the colours of nature play with each other in unison in a massive painting painted by the greatest artist in the universe.

The clouds playing hide and seek over the gardens.

The enchanting evenings and the `machan' over the boulder.

The gardens and the mountains ...

The mist and the silence.

The sun spreads its rays like a shower of golden light.

In this sweltering humid heat of North India, Conoor was like a distant dreamland. The company of some of the best friends on earth that I have ever had made the `Heaven' feeling all the more stronger :)

A visit to Hastinapur, Dist. Meerut.

A visit to Hastinapur, Dist. Meerut.

A beautiful small terracota horse figurine.

A beautiful terracota figurine, we can still see the expressions on this ancient face.

A wonderful stone artifact from Hastinapur. It has statues of 80 Tirthakars carved over a single piece of stone.

Ancient iron arrowheads of Hastinapur. Mahabharata seems so close to us..... maybe they were used by some relatives of the Pandavas.

Ancients seals and coins from Hastinapur with the elephant symbol - Hasti.

Babaji at the Gurudwara telling us about the stories of the rise of the Khalsa and the war between good and evil, oppressor and the revolutionary....

Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary has both wetlands as well as forested areas. It is a breat place for migratory birds. Here a Bluebull looks back at us.

he beatutful Jain Temple at Hastinapur. This is about 250 years old and is one of the most beautiful heritage buildings of Meerut region.

Our group of travellers on the way back from Hastinapur stopping at Saini Village, with of course our sarthi or driver Sachin who took this photograph.

Photo taken at a site of an ancient temple near Meerut along the road leading to Hastinpur.

Remains of an ancient broken temple lying within the depths of the Hastinapur forest.

The beautiful new Mount Meru built at Hastinapur. We visited it after the breakfast.

The best place to have tea and pakoras for breakfast at Hastinapur - Jainsaab ka dhaba

The mound at Hastinapur. Under it is burried more then 5000 years of Indian history. The only scientific exploration was done in 1952.

Travelling through Marwar

Travelling through Marwar.

A `Rahat' bringing water out of a well for the parched fields. This ecofriendly system of irrigation is lost in our part of the country but is very common throughout Mewar

Bangles and colourful ethnicity contrasting with the drab modernity of India

Beautiful hills

Birds going home as evening descends

Camels and the caravan

Early morning mist rising over beautiful fields

Its dry but beautiful

Loads to be carried, miles to be crossed.

Making products out of rose petals. A wonderful contrast - the dry sand gives out the fragrance of rose - through rose water and gulkand etc.

Moutains coloured orange with the fading sunlight

Nature in full bloom over beautiful valleys of the Aravalis

On old elegant couple

The beautiful Aravalis - green fields in the valleys of dry mountains

The forests of Kumbalgarh wildlife sanctuary are dry in April, but will become green with the onset of rains.

The night is here, the stars are about to rise...

The sun rising over the Aravalis

Tough Mewari people but with a soft inner core

United Colours of Marwar

India Sea Shell Museum at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. A must see for everyone actually. It has on display an amazing private collection of nearly 40000 sea shells of nearly all types and species, a collection of a single gentleman Mr. Raja Mohammad. It is both informative as well as a treat for the eyes.

Traveling through Western Uttar Pradesh, Dist. Buraut

Traveling through Western Uttar Pradesh, Dist. Buraut.

An ancient vishnu idol is being worshiped here in the temple at village Ravan.

An image of Ganesha on the central stone piece of an ancient doorway.

Being able to hold ancient manuscripts in hand was itself a wonderful experience.

Chaudhary Surendra Singh. His ancestor, Chaudhary Sheosingh, who was the chaudhary of Des Khap in 1857, led the farmers of the region in the uprising.

Discussing history at the site of an ancient battle. Dr. K K Sharma, Col. Sandeep, Mr Amit Rai Jain, Col. Sandeep's father and Master Sattar.

Erotic figurines on the pillar pieces which must have adorned an ancient temple at this site.

From Ravan we went to my adapted village - Busodh. We are standing here at the stone marker we presented in 2008.

In the background is the stone marker we presented in 2007. It was put up at this site and a Shaheed Smarak built in 2010.

Next was the town of Buraut. Mr. Amit Rai Jain showing us the beautiful and wonderful collection of ancient manuscripts of the Shahzad Rai Shodh Sansthan, Buraut.

Next was village Bijraul, the village of Baba Shah Mal, the revolutionary farmer leader of 1857.

Remains of an ancient pillar at the temple in village Ravan. This is an image of Ganga. The faces etc have been broken, but the basic structure of the statues can be defined.

The eastern entrance to the temple at village Ravan. The temple is devoted to the worship of Shakti and Vishnu

The Mosque at Busodh. It dates to the Mughal era. The last battle of the village was fought in this mosque where the last of the defenders died fighting.

This ancient tree standing at the site in village Sirsali where Indian revolutionaries used to meet and plan their moves against British coloneal power

This is something very interesting which exists at this temple. This is called a `dhoni'. It is basically a perpetual sacred fire.

This stone marker was presented by us to village Sirsali and this was the last stop of our journey of that day. Part of this village participated in the Great Upsurge

This was our first stop, at village with a surprising name - Ravan.

Every part of Meerut region is full of unexplored history. On 21-11-2011, a Sunday, we re-visited a series of villages in Buraut. Many of these villages had been identified by us a freedom struggle villages during the past 3 years and designated as `Kranti Gram' villages. But a lot more needs to be done in the future regarding the history of Baghpat district.

An important ancient village of this region is Baragaon which is linked to a character of the epic Ramayan - Ravan. The myth here is linked to the ancient epic Ramayana and a relatively recent temple stands at the site of a much more ancient temple. Broken remnants from that ancient temple are also worshiped here, as can be seen in this photo - a beautiful image of devotion and belief. An ancient vishnu idol is being worshiped here in the temple at village Ravan. It is one of the few surviving speciments of statues of Vishnu in Western UP, most have been lost due to the turbulance of the past 1000 years. This statue must have been worshiped in the original temple which stood at this site but was broken hundreds of years ago.

The sights and colours of Udaipur

The sights and colours of Udaipur

Colours of Udaipur

Note the specks of bright red on the white of City Palace Hotel

The beautiful grey pillars

The beautiful lakes of Udaipur

The blue and white.

The cream and white contrasted on brown and black.

The cream and white palace.

The palaces of Udaipur.

The safron and white

The walls of the city palace. Looks like a city from a world of dreams.

The white Udaipur lake palace and the blue - red boat.

This is how the best views of the beautiful city can be taken, travelling on a boat and admiring what one sees

India Sea Shell Museum at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. A must see for everyone actually. It has on display an amazing private collection of nearly 40000 sea shells of nearly all types and species, a collection of a single gentleman Mr. Raja Mohammad. It is both informative as well as a treat for the eyes.



The official icon of Calcutta or Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial, a building built in memory of Queen Victoria. The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales, later King George V on the 4th of January1906. The design of the building was made by Sir. William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architecture. It was completed in 1921.

The designers had the Taj Mahal in their sight and probably wanted this building to be an icon of the British Raj like the Taj is an icon of Mughal rule. The extravagance of such endeavours among millions of people living in poverty will always be debated, but aesthetics, art and design live in the minds of men possessed, disconnected from the realities of what surrounds them!

Like the Taj, the building has a large central dome with minarets on four sides, built in white Makrana marble and having lawns and gardens surrounding it. It houses an interesting museum within it.



Upto the 1950s Calcutta was one of the primary centers of economic activity in India, countering both Bombay and Madras as they were called then. From late 1950s began a process of slow killing of the city of Calcutta which was undertaken by the Indian Communists. Contrary to their counterparts in other parts of the world, this Indian subspecies had the capacity to debate, discuss and mouth words phrases and notions of this grand ideology but their actions on the ground were extremely detrimental to the very people they vouched to protect. Militant trade unionism and hair brained policies of successive communist governments killed the very spirit of Calcutta and Kolkata, as it is presently called, is a ghost of its past.
With the iconic yellow Ambassador taxi of Calcutta or Kolkata. Every city has a symbol, for me the yellow taxi is the real symbol of Calcutta, shining out in its brightness among the humdrum of its busy streets lined by tall colonial era buildings long past their age .... I spent few days there, some of the best of my life, thanks to my friends Prithvi Rathore and Harpreet Singh. Meeting Mr. Sauvik Majumdar was the icing on the cake.


Mahabalipuram - the Shore Temple. Built between 700 and 728 AD by Pallav king Narsimhaverman I it is today a world heritage site. It consists of three shrines, two to Shiva and a central shrine having a reclining Vishnu made out a single rock. The sun rays enter the east and west facing shrines at sunrise and sunset. It is accepted that in ancient times there was a group of 7 such temples at this site which acted as landmarks for ships sailing in from East Asia as well as Europe for trade at ports all along this part of the coast. READ MORE...


Mehrauli Monument 1 Adam Khan

Photos again of 22nd May visit. Adham Khan was a general in the army of Akbar and was also the son of his wet nurse, Maham Anga. In 1561 he fell out with another noble of Akbar named Ataga Khan who was also the son of another of his wet nurse. Adham Khan killed Ataga Khan and for this act Akbar punished him with death by having him thrown down the walls of Agra Fort. Maham Aga also shortly died of grief after the 40 day mourning period and Akber had this monument built for them where they were buried.

Unlike traditional Mughal design, the monument has an octagonal shape. In about 1830 a British officer converted the monument into his residence but removing the structure of the two graves. Subsequently the building functioned as a guest house, a police station as well as a post office. The tomb was finally restored on the orders of Lord Curzon, but only one was built, that of Maham Anga was not rebuilt within the monument. Read More...



At Pondicheery ... Auroville and the sea

At the Ashram (hermitage) of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo was a freedom fighter imprisoned by the colonialists and subsequently after being released became a sage. Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekanand were the fountain-heads of the spiritual bases of the Indian Freedom Struggle as well as of the modern Indian nation. Wanted to visit this Ashram all my life ... got this opportunity today!Read More...



It was awsome, it was as if we have been transported into a lost city by magic while reading a fairytale... Orcha was built by the Bundela Rajputs who gave their name to the Bundelkhand region. This region, which today lies divided between UP and MP, has a unique language, culture and is extremely rich in visual arts. Sadly, due to many reasons, it also is one of the poorest in the country during our times. Orcha was the second capital of the Bundelas and their velor during medieval battles is the stuff legends are made of.



The saga of the Jhansi fort and its residents are itched in the collective identity of India.


The Old European Cemetery at Kanpur

One of the biggest surprises for me was a visit of this cemetery within the heart of Kanpur city (Civil Lines) which has graves dating to a time before Delhi and Meerut were even taken by the East India Company, many dating to the late 1700s.

The excellent maintenance of the graves and the surrounding area - a beautiful boundary wall, no encroachers and an excellent `walking pathway’ under construction were a treat for the eyes. The reason was unbelievably scientific preservation and maintenance of this cemetery by the Lucknow circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. I had a long conversation with the officer in charge of Kanpur region, Mr. Manoj Kumar Verma, and congratulated him for his excellent endeavour (he is primarily responsible for this work).

The ASI used a book written by a European lady of Kanpur who died in 1985 to mark out each and every grave they could. Then they put up metal plates in front of these graves to mark them. A scientific method was used to reconstruct the graves using a mixture which was originally used for their construction. The stone markers were cleaned and preserved beautifully, including some in black stone.


Bithur, important site of Uprising of 1957

Bithur is one of the most important sites for the history of the Great Uprising of 1857. It was here that important leaders like Nana Sahab, Tatya Tope and Rani Luxmibai spent their childhood years. This was the primary station of Nana Sahab who in association with Azimullah Khan (his Dewan and close associate) planned the intricacies of the Uprising.

After the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Maratha War, the East India Company exiled Peshwa Baji Rao II to this town on the banks of river Ganges, about 24 km from Kanpur. Baji Rao II held his court here and adopted Nana Sahab has his heir.

Though most buildings associated with Nana Sahab at Bithur were destroyed by the colonial army after his defeat, on our visit here we found many broken old buildings and monuments which from the size and appearance of bricks appeared to be of the time of the Great Uprising.


Sati Chaura Ghat or Massacre Ghat, Kanpur

In 1857, one of the grimmest episode of the Uprising was enacted at this ghat which lies on the banks of river Ganges at Kanpur. Nearly 300 European men women and children were massacred at this ghat while they were trying to escape in boats towards Allahabad.

One old temple on this ghat stands today as it did in 1857. The overall structure of the ghat has also not changed in the past 159 years even with some new construction having come up in recent years.

One of the foremost rules of war from time immemorial is to keep `the moral authority of war’ intact. This is done through many accepted `dos and don’ts’. When unarmed men women and even children are killed by combatants, they tend to lose this very important moral authority and push their forces towards impending doom. This is a lesson which is ingrained within the history of this ghat.