Friday photo: Madurai

I was in Madurai last weekend on week, when I stayed at the lovely Heritage (more on it soon), went on food walks and explored the streets around the temple. This was possibly my tenth visit to this city and I enjoyed it as much as I did my first. The only thing that has…

The crafts of Kutch

With the Rann Utsav on, I thought it was time to look back on my holiday in Kutch in the winter of 2012 – and what a long time ago it feels. We stayed at the lovely Devpur homestay and travelled around Kutch. And the highlight of the holiday for me was the time I…

Why Abu Simbel inspires awe

Abu Simbel, yet another icon of the utter stunningness that is Egypt… After the great pyramids of Giza, perhaps these imposing temples grace the most number of postcards from Egypt. We visited Abu Simbel on the last day of our five day Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan, stopping at various temples along the way….

The Chalukya kings and the cradle of temple architecture

The cradle of Indian temple architecture. Before I leave for the Chalukya temples of north Karnataka, I come across this phrase in all the guidebooks I read. And once there, I find that this phrase rolls off the tongues of tourist guides with a practiced smoothness. And not just cradle; other well-worn metaphors like abacus…

Once upon a time

When Scotsman Peter Orr moved to Chennai (then Madras Presidency) in the mid 19th century, he must have had no idea that he would become an official timekeeper of the city. The chronometer maker joined George Gordon & Co. and in 1849, after Gordon’s death, took over the watches business and turned P Orr and…

Storied Mansions

For those of you who wanted more information on Chettinad, here is a complete guide… This appeared in the January issue of National Geographic Traveller… Over a century ago, everyday life in the villages of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu would have been very different. The sounds of women’s anklets, the laughter of children, the aroma…

A morning at Ranakpur

A couple of years ago, I was in Udaipur during winter, staying with an extremely warm and friendly family at their homestay. My host was perplexed when I wanted to see the Ranakpur temple, and suggested other “sightseeing” options around the area, and if I must see temples, then why not these and those Hindu…