Calcutta- The Colonial City

Calcutta, once the city of palaces, so beloved of the British, has various  interesting theories regarding its name and origin. The name Kolikata first appeared in the 15th century writings of the Bengali poet, Bipradas Pipilai, and later in the 16th century, on the payroll list maintained by Akbar’s court. Some contend that it is this name…

The History of Bengali Sarees

Modernity and urbanisation has led to the decline of traditional form of clothing, however the saree continues to remain an eternal favourite. While means of production, style of draping, and designs, may have changed markedly over times, one factor remains unchanged: the love for sarees among Indian women. From a fragment of cotton found on a…

Himalayan temples in Naggar, Himachal Pradesh

Growing up in Darjeeling and Kolkata, and being a regular visitor to the neighbouring state of Sikkim, as a child I invariably associated the Himalayas with gaily painted Buddhist monasteries or gompas, fluttering colourful flags that kept away evil spirits, and maroon robed monks. It was much later when I travelled to Uttarakhand and Himachal…

Finding Shravasti (Savatthi)

In my growing up years I had often heard recitations of the poem Bonolota Sen, written by Jibonananda Das in 1942. In this poem the poet beautifully describes his muse, painting her with various attributes from ancient India. One of the most enigmatic poems that I have read, the words cut deep into the reader’s…

Turtuk – Living On The Edge

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page-” thus spake the Augustine of Hippo; and since I am a voracious reader, I decided to read a few more pages this year. This reading took me up the long, winding roads of the greater Himalayas, and I found myself wandering in the ‘land…