A glorious past

The caves must have been the ideal location to support a dying religion. A refuge for the human spirit, and a testimony to its grand design. The coming 21st century with all its advances in technology is a continuation of this spirit, and the biggest proof of the legitimacy of its aims. ...
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Little souls In Buddha’s garden – A picture story

Shravasti – Where Buddha walked in person Sravasti, or shravasti is where Buddha is said to have spent many rainy seasons. The monastery where he lived is in the centre of a garden donated by a rich man of his times. The two young girls climbed down from the trees when they saw me, and lured me to their village with a sweet local accent – “Follow us to the village; Mother Ganges has come to visit us.” They were referring to the flood in the local river that had submerged most of this district. To the faithful, a river flood is a visit by the goddess herself.  I followed them to join a group of shepherds led by an old man the girls were travelling with. The remains of the fort seen in the background were probably the palace of the king of this rich and vibrant trading city. Nothing remains of it now, and only grass and trees grow over the...
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A walk in time

It was Dr Vasudevan of the city college who discovered the old settlement of Balagarh near Tikri, locally known as “the mound of the ancestors”, while doing community service in the neighbouring villages. Taking a walk over the hilly terrain, he had spotted narrow, finely carved stone blades that indicated man’s presence in the old times. A team from the University, led by its chief archaeologist, was quick to arrive and digging began in earnest. The yield so far had been siginifcant. It included three skeletons, bronze knives, daggers and arrows, pieces of pottery, beads and metal jewellery, burnt bones, and earthen pots for the dead containing small bones and ashes. From deep underneath came a large amount of burnt cowdung and cereals, a discovery that had confounded the experts. With the onset of winter the University announced its field trip, and most of the second semester students reached the base camp, except Arth Malhotra. Deciding to make the trip alone, he...
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The Historical Indian Cities – that Continue to Be in 21c

Travelling in North India can be tough. One has to battle against heat, dust, the crowds, and agents and touts. Moreover, these are not cities famous for scenic beauty, though historical monuments like the Taj Mahal do provide occasional relief. If travelling in cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Allahabad is to be enjoyed, one must know their history and culture, much of which is shrouded in the dark. Varanasi, the oldest of the old cites of the world, sits adoring the Ganga river. Its mornings are famous, and the betel nut (paan). The narrow streets might be filthy, but on the other side of the river stands the Ramnagar fort and museum. Religion is life here, and the burning of the dead on the ghats. Near Kanpur lies Brahmavarta. Legend says saint Valmiki lived here, and so did Sita after she renounced Rama. Many legends of the Hindu myth find home in this hilly terrain adjoining the Ganga. Shravasti is where the...
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