Friday photo: Bikaner

I recently spent a few days in Bikaner as a guest of the lovely team at Narendra Bhawan (more on that soon) – think piping hot kachoris for breakfast, exquisite Jain temples and opulent havelis. This Friday, a vertical shot of the Rampuria haveli, right at the beginning of our heritage trail that provided a…

Agra beyond the classic Taj tour

So you have risen at the crack of dawn and made your sleepy way across the empty streets of Agra to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. You have followed in the glamorous footsteps of international celebrities, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Oprah Winfrey, for that iconic snapshot on the stone bench facing the edifice. And…

Conservation, at what cost?

A quick glimpse at a couple of small temples, to continue my series on the recent Tamil Nadu road trip. Our host at the Swamimalai resort, knowing our interest, had recommended them highly for their architectural details (temple carvings mainly). So that evening, we headed to the Pullamangai temple near Ayyampettai, half an hour’s drive…

Exploring Agra with Padhaaro

A few months ago, I was invited by the people at Padhaaro to enjoy a local experience with them in any of the cities they offer their travel experiences in. Padhaaro is an interesting enterprise, offering customised and offbeat tours in different cities, seen through the eyes of a local (expert). This way, you get…

Monumental Love

The sky is getting darker, as the storm clouds gather, plump and menacing, carrying with them the faint smell of wet earth. Shivering in the cold breeze, I hug my thin shawl closer around my body and look at the tableau on the terrace. Families are sitting together inside the domed alcoves that bookend this…

Friday photo: Fenced

In a recent trip to Agra, we were completely fogged out. At 10 in the morning, from a distance of 20 feet, the Taj was not visible. Our resourceful guide had to use a picture postcard for his spiel. We were lucky the earlier evening though, for we got this glimpse of Taj Mahal from…

Ringing in the new

On any given Friday evening, Mylapore is at its festive best. Men dressed in white dhotis (unstitched cotton garments knotted at the waist and allowed to fall free), with thick lines of sacred ash smeared on their foreheads, stand in groups of twos and threes, catching up over the news of the day. Women swathed…

Film trail in Chettinad

At the ‘Periya Veedu’ (Big House) at Athangudi, the caretaker rubbed his fingers together as soon as he spotted me getting off the car. It took me a moment to understand that he was making the time-honoured gesture for money, the way he did with all visitors. The magnificent – a word that I would…