History, Travel

Kanheri Caves (Part I)

A group of saffron-clad monks climbed up the sides of a hill that stood prominently over the forested island. At the top, they were greeted by a massive outcrop of black rock from which the rest of the island could be seen. A seasonal rivulet gushed down the slopes during the rainy season. As far as the eye could see,…

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History, Travel

Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. By that measure, this post is going to be verbose! On my last trip to India, I visited Karkala and Mangalore. I set aside an afternoon to visit a heritage village called Hasta Shilpa at Manipal. Manipal is well known for its educational institutions and is approximately 40 miles by road…

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History, Travel

Pillars of Faith

When I returned from my visit to India earlier this year, a colleague requested me to compile a slideshow of my trip and present it at work before a meeting. “Five minutes should be good”, he said. That was a challenge. I can usually speak on a single slide for five minutes, so compressing the many places I visited and…

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Family & Friends, Travel

Roots

“I would like to visit the temple at Karkala,” said my dad when I told him that I had booked my tickets home. He was turning ninety and I wouldn’t miss that milestone for anything.  Karkala is where my dad grew up and spent seventeen years of his life.  He wanted to visit the Sri Venkataramana temple there. My high school…

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History, Travel

Elephanta Caves

My first trip to Mumbai (then known as Bombay) was in 1972 to attend my aunt’s wedding and I still retain hazy memories of that trip.  Since then, I have made several trips to Mumbai, but these have all been social visits, primarily to meet the family.  In fact, I’ve seen very little of Mumbai from a tourist’s perspective and…

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Sport, Travel

Lord’s

The world of sport has given us some iconic images that remain indelibly etched in our minds.  Kapil Dev, captain of the victorious Indian cricket team, holding aloft the Prudential Cup on June 25th, 1983 is one such image.  India had won just one match previously in the last two editions of the world cup and not even their most…

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History, Travel

Eating Humble Pie

Sir Issac Newton’s remains are buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.  I was on a walking tour and our guide Tom, pointed out  Charles Darwin’s grave, also in the nave.  Two outstanding scientists with towering intellects who have had a remarkable influence on our understanding of Science.  Fittingly, in between their graves, is a plaque marking the spot where…

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History, Travel

Jallianwala Bagh

It’s April 13, 1919. It is the festival of Baisakhi, a harvest festival in Punjab celebrated by people of all faiths. You are perhaps a Sikh farmer from the hinterlands of Punjab and you have come to Amritsar to visit the Harmandar Sahib. Your visit to the holy site completed, you eat at the Langar (community kitchen) and then plan…

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Travel

A Heritage Walk Through Amritsar

“This walk will focus on the humble dwellings of Amritsar but it will showcase its heritage and culture,” said our guide, Gurinder Singh Johal.  We were standing in front of the imposing Town Hall, a Colonial building designed to project the might of the British Empire.  “Look at me, I’m strong, says this building,” said Mr. Johal and continued “however it is…

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History, Travel

Pul Kanjri

What would you do if you were an all-powerful ruler and your favorite dancer was upset that she lost one of her silver slippers while fording a canal? You would build a bridge of course!  The ruler was the Lion of Punjab – Ranjit Singh, the dancer was called Moran and the place where the bridge was built is Pul Kanjari,…

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