David Scott trail – A trail through Meghalaya’s colonial past

Once lovingly called the Scotland of the east by homesick British officers during the East India Company rule, Meghalaya still retains the crown. With misty hills, dominating rainforests and expansive meadows, the region is full of pristine beauty. There are breathtaking nature trails, innumerable waterfalls, countless living root bridges and sacred forests waiting to be discovered. One such hidden gem is the David Scott trail in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya – a charming hike…

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Matinees at Matterden

Matterden - Deepak Talkies - Mumbai

I’ve just returned after watching the 1975 classic – One flew over the cuckoo’s nest on a 70mm screen. Matterden Carnival Cinemas (also Deepak Talkies), a single screen theatre in Mumbai’s Parel area is a place of gathering for movie buffs. Every Sunday they play a vintage film at a matinee show time. These are classics from around the world. Think Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, Roshomon, Roman Holiday, Annie Hall, Citizen Kane, Pather…

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A quick itinerary for Hampi-Hospet

Hampi is an ancient town in Karnataka with a population of a few thousands. The focal point of your visit here is the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire, once a flourishing kingdom dating 1 CE. It has been pronounced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spread over 11 km, the ruins can take up to 2 to 3 days to explore by yourself. But if one is pressed for time, here is an option to do…

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Offbeat Goa: Reis Magos Fort restored to charm

It’s unlikely to find Reis Magos Fort on a tourist’s wish-list of things to do in Goa. This partially works because you have the beautifully restored fort to yourself. Originally built in 1497 by Adil Shah of Bijapur, the Reis Magos Fort was later captured by the Portuguese in 1543. By the 1900s the fort was no more used as a defensive structure but a prison. It remained in a state of abandon for over a…

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A lesson in history in Maheshwar

When I landed at the Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar airport in Indore, I was curious to know who Devi Ahilya Bai was. Why has an airport been named after her? I got my answer in Maheshwar! We took a detour to Maheshwar on our two nights and three days trip to Indore, Ujjain, Mandu and Omkareshwar. Maheshwar is popular with pilgrims as much as it is with tourists. I am hardly a religious person. So Maheshwar…

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When Bhopal died a million deaths

To quote Ruskin Bond from ‘Strange men strange places’ – History is best experienced by visiting the actual place of the events and allowing one’s imagination to roam backwards and forward in time. Ever since I saw a Natgeo documentary on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy couple of years back, I have wanted to visit Bhopal. The intention has been to see what remains of the city that saw the world’s worst industrial disaster. Revisiting 1984…

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Jodhpur: Mehrangarh Fort inside out

I was on a solo trip to Agra and Jodhpur, when I found myself at the Agra Cantt railway station reading Monisha Rajesh’s Around India in 80 Trains. My own train to Jodhpur was delayed by four hours. By midnight, I had boarded the Howrah-Jodhpur Express and reached Jodhpur the following morning. One cannot visit Jodhpur and leave without checking the Mehrangarh fort. The monumental structure is Jodhpur’s identity and the highlight of your trip. Rao Jodha, founder…

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Three ‘monument’al moments in Agra

places to visit in agra

Somewhere in the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, I was sitting outside my tent and chatting with fellow campers about our travel experiences in India. We mutually agreed that Agra left us spellbound and went on to discuss our experience in this city at length. Agra, the capital of the Mughal Empire once upon a time, is every history buff’s delight. The Mughals gave us three UNESCO heritage monuments in Agra alone…apart from several other finely…

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The unfinished Bhojpur temple, Bhopal

I kept my expectations low from this 11th century Hindu temple in Bhojpur on the outskirts of Bhopal. I’ve visited many Hindu temples in the past but none offered anything different from the other in terms of architecture. The otherwise nondescript town of Bhojpur is famous for the Bhojeshwar temple built by Raja Bhoj of the Paramara dynasty in Central India. Remember that famous Hindi phrase “Kaha Raja Bhoj, aur kaha Gangu Telli”? Yes, the same…

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Rajput practice of Jauhar among women at Chittorgarh

[Last updated: 20 January 2018] On a morning in January 2016, a friend and I were touring one of India’s largest forts, Chittorgarh. Ambalal, our guide along with Mainuddin, our rickshaw wala toured us from point to point within the fort that consumed the entire day. We saw the Meera Bai temple, Bhimkund, Rana Kumbha’s Palace, Karni Mata temple, Kirti Stambh, Vijay Stambh and other prominent ruins. But the story we took home from this…

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Safa Masjid is Goa’s Oldest Mosque

“This is also a monument. Do you want to check, Edwina?” On the way back to the hotel from a wonderful trip to the Sahakari Spice Plantation in Ponda, my colleague casually pointed towards the Safa Masjid. A rather unknown-unheard of structure, the Safa Masjid stood lone and proud among plentiful greenery, accompanied by a masonry tank with turquoise waters. How could I have not got off to check the place? I told my colleague,…

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Everything you need to know about Exploring Aurangabad in 3 Days

It was a long weekend when Holi coincided on a Friday. I quickly planned a trip to Aurangabad. Three days is all I had and it was sufficient time to explore Aurangabad (strictly from a corporate slave perspective). Aurangabad is great for history lovers. There are caves, forts, Mughal architecture and traces of Buddhism. The best part about Aurangabad is that it’s conveniently accessible from major metros like Mumbai and Pune. I’m sharing my itinerary…

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History connects itself at Vajreshwari Temple

I visited Vajreshwari temple a couple of days back and was surprised to learn that the temple shares its history with Bassein Fort, a structure I visited earlier this year. Located on a hillock on the outskirts of Vasai, Vajreshwari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Vajreshwari – An incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Vajreshwari Temple on a bright sunny day It is believed, Maratha ruler – Chimaji Appa ordered construction of Vajreshwari temple as a promise on conquering…

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Photo Essay: Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lakulisa Temple in Champaner-Pavagad Archaelogical Park - road trips from mumbai

50 km from Vadodara is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has not received its due. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is disappointingly overshadowed by popular Hindu pilgrim site – Kalika Mata Temple. Champaner was ruled by Mahmud Begada, Sultan of Gujarat around 1484. He fondly named the city Mahmudabad and made it the capital of Gujarat. But Champaner’s glory was short lived. Mughal emperor Humayun attacked this flourishing city in 1535 and brought it to ruins.…

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