Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Walled City, Delhi

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, is the most well known Urdu poet of the Indian sub-continent. His ghazals and poems reflected the difficult times he lived in-the 1857 revolution, the transition of power from Mughal empire to the British empire.

He was one of the celebrated residents of the walled city.

The heritage walk, led by Ms. Surekha Narayan began at the Town Hall in Chandni Chowk and the first stop was Ghalib's haveli, acquired by the Delhi Government in 1999 and restored as a museum to Ghalib.

Street where Ghalib lived during the 19th century.

The walkers passed through Ballimaran bazaar and witnessed Mahal Sara, the haveli belonging to Umrao Begum, Ghalib's wife. It has now been converted into Rabea Girls' School.

The walk culminated at Rabea Girls' School where the students enacted a "mushaira" in the "durbar" of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Watch a slide show of photographs taken during the walk, by clicking on the picture below.


Watch a short movie clip from the mushaira by clicking below

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kashmir-August 2006

I visited Kashmir for the first time in August 2006. The tender beauty of Dal lake in the morning, the cheerful Lidder river en route to Pahalgam and the majestic fir trees in Gulmarg- add to it a very hospitable people, and one wonders if Kashmir is cursed for possessing too much beauty. The presence of army at every 100 meters or so in Srinagar, too many restricted areas and the dead silence of the roads after nine pm or so, tells you things are not normal in Srinagar.

Our tour organizer, http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/EcoTourism/Discovery-Journeys.aspx made sure that we could make the most of our trip by organizing stay in the elegant but grand houseboat called “ Lotus Retreat” and arranging for all transport in and around Srinagar, taking care of all permissions etc.

Seeing how silk is extracted from silk worms in a traditional factory, catching rainbow trout in a government sponsored center at Pahalgam, seeing the grey langurs in Dachigam, the laughter of the Lidder-these are memories I will cherish for ever.

See a side show of my stills at


A trip report on our visit to Dachigam National Park has been posted at


and here is a short video of me rowing the shikara in Dal Lake

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture. This marble edifice is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Building of the Taj began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen.

"The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory."

-Emperor Shah Jahan

Click below for a slideshow on the Taj Mahal