Showing posts from December, 2011

A Time Travel Through Incredible India

This and the past few posts, form the complete story of some of the most incredible things I experienced and saw during my week-long tour of Madhya Pradesh. To make it easier for you to go through, I shall index them in this pilot post, and hyperlink each place to its respective post.

A Walk in a Pre-historic ParkA Boat Ride through a Marble PalaceCave Paintings of the Early ManStupas at SanchiMuslim Palaces at Mandu

A Time Travel through Incredible India - 5 : Muslim Palaces at Mandu

This post was later submitted during an internship program for Youth Ki Awaaz, India's leading youth platform. You can read the article here as well.

We are all aware of the monumental standards that the Mughals set when it came to building palaces and pleasure domes for themselves - yeah, we've all seen the Taj Mahal, Humayun's Tomb et al.

Now little known to many, before the Taj Mahal was designed, the architects drew inspiration from another, albeit less grander Muslim piece of architecture. That, and various other exquisite Muslim palaces and pavilions form the fifth and the closing part of my Madhya Pradesh travelogue.

We leave Bhopal and travel by road to Indore. The distance is a little less than 200 kilometers and can be covered in two-and-a-half to three hours, on a usual day.

Our place of interest is not Indore however. It is 100 kilometers south west of Indore, and this place is the ruined city of Mandu. Established in the 10th century by Raja Bhoj, it gained p…

A Time Travel through Incredible India - 4 : Stupas at Sanchi

This post takes us back to Bhopal and then some 60 kilometers to its north west - to Sanchi.

Everyone has heard of Sanchi. We've all read about it in our History books, seen the beautiful Stupas that make Sanchi so important today, in print.

Trust me when I say, the real thing is a totally different deal.

Back in the times of the Maurya Empire (circa 250 BC), when the newly found faith of Buddhism was fragmenting, a few hundred years after the death of founder Gautam Buddha, it was King Ashok who took upon himself the monumental task of propagating the religion and methodically channelising its progress.

And thus the construction of the Stupas was started. Stupas are essentially round, mound like structures, housing significant Buddhist relics; Today they are some of the most iconic historical structures of India, and with good reason. When India won her independence in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru was quick enough to recognise the Ashokan Stupas as a aymbol of the very beginning of the…

A Time Travel through Incredible India - 3 : Cave paintings of the early man

This post was also published for Youth Ki Awaaz here.

After the visual treat that was the Narmada valley, we leave Jabalpur and move on to the capital city of Madhya Pradesh - Bhopal.

Now there isn't really much to see in Bhopal except for a couple of really huge lakes, which have given Bhopal, the name - city of lakes. However Bhopal is close to two extremely important tourist spots, both of which are important enough to have been declared as World Heritage Sites.

The first one is far less known than the second, but is equally as enchanting in a different way, and forms the content for this post. It is only 45 kilometers to the south of Bhopal, but the road conditions are bad enough to make a Humvee think twice before venturing ahead. Which affected our rattly old Chevy rather badly, for the information - resulting in two consecutive punctures.

 This place is known as the Bhimbetka, and it is home to some of the oldest cave paintings known to man. Ten thousand years or more ago,…

A Time Travel through Incredible India - 2 : A Boat Ride through a Marble Palace

Our next stop takes us to Jabalpur - 227 km to the west of Amarkantak and some 70 odd km from the National Fossil Park at Ghughua - which we covered in the previous post.

There is nothing spectacularly historical or archaeological in this city - but what sets this city apart is its proximity to one of the finest river valleys in the country - that of the Narmada. We've all read about the Narmada in our geography books - how it's the traditional boundary between North India and South India, and how it's one of the few peninsular rivers to flow westwards from its source in Amarkantak (which you might recall from my previous post) to the Arabian Sea, through a valley between the Vindhyas (to its north) and the Satpura (to its south) range.

Quite close to the city of Jabalpur, is a place called Bhedaghat in the Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh, where the Narmada carves out a gorge through rocks made out of pure marble. And the breathtaking beauty of this marble-valley is o…

A Time Travel through Incredible India - 1 : A walk in a prehistoric park

This is part one of a three (or more) part tour-de-excellence through Madhya Pradesh, the very heart of the Indian subcontinent.

Indeed, when I set out for this journey, little did I know that this would turn out to be one of the most incredible travelling experiences I've ever been on - which is a significant thing, considering that Jammu-Kashmir and Kerala are the only two states in India that I haven't been to. So, I was both apprehensive yet expectant of the "wonders" that I would behold in the course of ten odd days.

 With this and the next few blog posts, I wish to recount the experiences that I have had in the past few days, and hope to take you, the reader down to the very beginning of life on earth, to the roots of the present day homo sapien and some astonishing milestones of Indian culture - which still affects our day to day life in the 21st century.

Our journey begins on the road, aboard a rattly Chevrolet Tavera, at Amarkantak. Amarkantak, situated in …

Walking into Mordor

I have been pouring over Google Maps for the past few days, for finding routes and more interesting places to visit in Madhya Pradesh. And then this idea propped in my mind - the result of which was rather hilarious.

I love these tiny Easter Eggs Google keeps planting in arbitrary places in their products. <3

Brillaint, ain't it? :)

Also, Merry Christmas to everyone.


I haven't written about Tintin in any of my 140 odd posts on this blog, and I'm dreadfully sorry for that. A great deal of injustice indeed, to what had pretty much been the holy grail of my childhood.

It started out in first standard, with my father and I, together reading Red Rackham's Treasure, and it slowly grew into an obsession that occupied the better part of my 12 years of school life, in which I read, re-read, re-re-read till I knew virtually every single panel on each of the 22 books by heart. From random addresses of the houses of minor characters, to the number on the licence plate of a random car that appeared in some random panel in some book.

When Tintin was announced for the big screen last year, I was to put it mildly, apprehensive. To put it not so mildly, I was waiting for it like this:

Yeah. I scoured the internet for news, for trailers, teasers and the sort, and kept talking about it to my friends and of course, with my father, who is as much of a Tin…