18 April: World Heritage Day 🌎 – Forts of South India

Celebrated on 18 April, it started off as “International Day for Monuments and Sites” and after approval from UNESCO in 1983, it was made popular as World Heritage Day. 2021 World Heritage Day theme is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures” This would be the apt title for our Indian heritage – it’s complex! The history text…

Hampi chronicles: Hemakuta Hill – the Granite abode of Gods 🌅

We are on a trail covering the sacred centre of Vijayanagar and after starting with the Virupaksha temple 👉Hampi chronicles: Charmed by the colonettes at Virupaksha temple 🛕, the next destination is the Hemakuta hill situated right next to and above the Virupaksha temple complex. The entrance to the Hemakuta hill is a majestic quadrilateral…

Hampi chronicles: Charmed by the colonettes at Virupaksha temple 🛕

It’s good to have a view of the Virupaksha temple complex in it’s entirety before entering it. It gives you a sense of direction and you are able to place the towering gopurams above the entrances better! The tallest gopuram marks the eastern entrance from the Hampi bazaar and the second tallest marks the northern…

Hampi chronicles: The curse that saved a temple ⚔️

There are many stories leading to the origins of the Vijayanagar empire, too many in fact; but they all have some converging points. A broad outline of these narratives is aptly outlined by Srinivas Reddy in his book Raya stating ” It is a tale of two brothers, a sacred geography and one legendary sage.”…

Jain dedication in Badami 🙏

The fourth cave temple in Badami is a Jain temple and this was a total surprise. I know very little about the Jain religion. It’s my ignorance, but Karnataka has a rich history with respect to the Jain religion; Sravanabelagola in Karnataka is one of the most important centres of Jain religion being the home…

Stone compositions in Badami 👑

Cave 3 in Badami is the largest and the most elaborate among the four cave temples. An inscription on the wall of the cave details that the cave was created under the auspicious of the king’s (Kirttivarman I) brother Mangalesha Chalukya in 578 CE. The cave is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the sculptures and…

Shiva stories from Badami 🔱

Cave 1 in Badami is dedicated to Lord Shiva; it consists of a an open verandah, a pillared hall and an inner sanctuary. Our tour of Cave 1 in Badami began with the above spectacular sculpture of Shiva, the Lord of dance, in a cosmic dance pose. Shiva here is depicted with 18 arms, nine…

Good reads for the monsoon 2020 #3 🕌

Time travel does not require a time machine, a good book will suffice. One such read is Istanbul by Thomas F Madden. This engrossing  saga spans the conquest of this port city by the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Arabs, all the way to the making of the modern Turkey, weaving a tapestry of history, myth and legend….

Hyd after dusk 🌃

Hyderabad is probably the only city so far where we have ventured out in the evening for sight-seeing. The city felt safe even after dusk; Ola and Uber were available to ferry us to and fro. On the evening of the first day, we were at the famous Golconda fort, just in time to see it’s…

Magical monuments of Mahabalipuram✨

Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu is unique in having a display of the four sculpture forms – Cave Temples, Carved Monoliths, Sculptured Scenes and Masonry Temples. They were built during the rule of the Pallava kings between 6th to 8th century AD. Kanchipuram was the capital city of the Pallavas and Mahabalipuram was their seaport. We…

Shore temple in Mahabalipuram🐚… shrouded in sand and stories

Standing on the sea shore of Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu district of India is the famous Shore temple; seen from far as two pagoda style towers rising to the sky. Why is it so famous? It’s now merely an archeological site and as per our guide Mr. Ali, the government has…

Portuguese Sentinels : Forts of Goa

It’s the only thing I remember, maybe there was more but I can’t seem to recollect; the only mention of Portuguese in India in the school history textbooks I remember was about Vasco da Gama, credited with discovering the sea route to the Indian subcontinent. There is very scant mention about the Portuguese rule in…

Rome of the Orient : Churches of Velha Goa

The second Portuguese Viceroy in India, Afonso de Albuquerque was called the Caesar of the East and he built the Rome of the Orient or the present Old Goa or Velha Goa (Velha meaning old in Portuguese). In the 15th century, Goa was part of the Adil Shahi dynasty or the Sultanate of Bijapur; the land of Hindu…