Through the lens of ancient mariners: the emergence of Poduke


Think of Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Khmer, Champa and Eastern Indian dynasties. What connects them? Not just the fact that they were colossal empires, but ones that specialised in maritime trade. The secrets to unlocking the history behind any region is often linked to its description in ancient literature and based on accounts of sea faring traders and merchants.

Tamil Nadu has numerous entries for ports of commercial trade dating back centuries ago mentioned frequently in Sangam literature as well as that famous book for seafarers, Periplus of Erythrean Sea. Mylapore, Mamalla/Poonjeri, Kaveripumpattinam, Nagapattinam, Korkai and Kumari were important maritime trade centres. Continue reading


The City of Victory we call our own; the City of Hampi


Our trip to Hampi will always be close to my heart for numerous reasons. First, this was our first official historical getaway. Second, I didn’t know I was so fascinated by ancient art and architecture. Third, I didn’t know I’d walk 35 kms over a period of 4 days to see the ruins around the city of Hampi, and finally, I realized that there is more to life than work and the same old routine.

This is probably when it all began; the love for travel, history, mythology and possibly, the urge to do more of this.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the trip but believe you me, I remember every minute of it. Yes, it was about 3 1/2 year ago, but I guess that’s what a canvas of ruins can do to your mind and soul.

Here’s a little something of what we experienced while at this famous UNESCO Site and one our most favorite architectural historian Dr. George Michell’s home ground, I would call it 🙂

In our words, here’s the complete guide to Hampi: Continue reading

And this is how India’s tryst with culture began


Here’s the last five of the 32 World Heritage Sites found in India. It’s been a crazy week with a plethora of information that we have unearthed for this blog series and it’s just inspired us to travel a lot more and share our stories with you.

The below five are sites that prove one thing: India is a land of extremes and when it comes to art & culture, it is no different. In this post we will be looking at the cultural progress that the country has seen since the dawn of humankind in South Asia, to hill forts that nurtured the fabric of culture from within – this is the most ideal definition of our land. Continue reading


“Faith does not teach us to harbour grudges between us”



“Sare jahan se accha hindustan hamara”

Co-existing in this world today seems to be quite a task. When we look around, all that we can see is intolerance and the usual love-hate relationship that’s probably going to be never-ending. However, what we forget to do these days is look around and realize that India is a standing example of co-existence. While we did have most of it damaged during invasions and wars, we still seem to have some of the best and the most magnificent structures around the world.

Co-existence not only in terms of religion, cultures and beliefs but also styles of architecture that were used to erect each of these structures. To add to that, nature seems to have played an important role in amplifying the idea of co-existence in India – the Mountain Railways of India and Rani-ki-Vav are shining examples.

As a continuation to our World Heritage Week Series, here’s our next 5 World Heritage Sites that stand tall and proud: Continue reading


The Jewel of the Coromandel Coast – through the eyes of the Indian rulers


One thing that fascinates us whenever we travel to a place is the history behind it. The Good Friday weekend worked out well for us when we decided to head to the Coromandel Coast of The Bay of Bengal – Mamallapuram.

We decided to dig deep and look at how Mamallapuram came into being to what it is today through the annals avaiable. In this post, we look at Mamallapuram through the eyes of the Indian rulers.

One of the earliest references comes in a piece of early Tamil literature: Perumban-Arruppadai that talks highly of a local chieftain named Tondaiman Ilamtiraiyan (1st Century CE) as the ruler of Tondaimandalam with Kanchipuram as his capital. There is mention of a port with a lighthouse. With praises heaped on Mamalla from the 5th century onwards, it is likely that it was indeed the port mentioned in this text. Continue reading


Of Othaikalmund, Hoysalas, Droogs & Ootacamund


It is common knowledge that any place in India goes through a variety of names through the centuries. Ooty & Nilgiris are no different.

It was originally a tribal land belonging to the Todas, Kotas, Badagas & Kurumbas. Most of Old Ooty and its surroundings were occupied by the Todas. The Todas revere a sacred single stone which translates to Othai-kal in tamil (Othai for single, Kal for stone) and mund is the tamil word for a Toda village. Perhaps this is where “Othaikalmund” and later Ootacamund was born.

The first known reference of the Nilgiris is through Punisa, the army-general of Vishnuvardhan I (ruler from 1104-1141 AD) whose Hoysala armies seized Wayanad as well as the Nilgiri plateau. In a record from from 1117 AD, Punisa and his men frightened the local tribes (Todas primarily) and entered the sacred Nilgiri range. As of 1120 AD, Vishnuvardhan had even turned the Nila mountain to a city and there were fortifications though none of them have lasted the test of time. The single stone rocks are perhaps the evidence of this past. The Nilgiris were considered to be holy hills and a sight of the mountain peaks were believed to wash away one’s sins. Continue reading