A palace complex which may have belonged to the sons of the Nawab of Lucknow was given over for the use of the British Resident of Lucknow in 1800. The buildings are made of lakhauri brick and lime mortar, and still show signs of external decoration. In 1856 the last Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali… Continue reading The Lucknow Residency
Most of the great heritage structures in India are made of stone and some of them have an iron frame within. But in Avadhi architecture, brick and mortar has been shaped into impressive structures. —Vipul Varshney Lucknow is full of grand architecture: the Rumi darwaza, once the entrance to the city, Chhattar Manzil, initially built… Continue reading The architecture of Awadh
The building now known as General Kothi was constructed in Nawab Saadat Ali Khan’s time (1798 to 1814). The first resident was Shas-ud-Daulah, the Nawab’s eldest son and the general of his army. It seems to have got its present name during the time of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1847 to 1856). His chief of… Continue reading Meditation in a Lucknowi Kothi
Awadhi cuisine refers to the style of cooking which developed in the Awadh region after the capital of the kingdom shifted to Lucknow and until Wazir Ali Shah was overthrown by the British East India Company in 1857. But is there really an Awadhi cuisine, or is it the product of a marketing campaign? Between… Continue reading What is Awadhi cuisine really?
About 4 years ago I took this photo in the Peace Memorial museum in Hiroshima. A ceramic roof tile had melted and flowed in the heat generated by the nuclear bomb. The number of civilians killed in this bombing, 70 years ago today, was three to seven times the number of soldiers killed.
आतिश-ऐ-गम में दिल भुना शायद देर से बू कबाब की सी है Aatish-e-gam me dil bhuna shayad der se boo kabab ki si hai The heart burnt in the fire of loss Smells like barbeque. — Mir Taqi Mir Classic Urdu poetry flowered in the eighty years of the ascendancy of Lucknow: from 1775 when… Continue reading Humour in classic Urdu poetry
This statue in the Lama temple in Beijing reminded me of the Tibetan statuary I grew up with. One of my grand-aunts was an artist and a keen traveler, who collected, among other things, statuary, masks and paintings from the Himalayan, mainly Tibetan, Vajrayana buddhism. Her collection was large enough that it spilled over to… Continue reading An initiation into Tibetan history
Himeji Castle is one of the most spectacular castles in Japan. I was specially lucky to be there so soon after the end of a five-year period of renovation. I first saw this castle in Akira Kurosawa’s movies Kagemusha and Ran. For years I seemed to remember Toshiro Mifune in Ran walk up to the… Continue reading Himeji castle
The Meiji Emperor, Mutsuhito, ruled from 1867 to 1912. The emperor’s shrine is one of the major sights in Tokyo. I arrived at the Meiji Jingu late in the afternoon. The approach roads were flanked by tall trees which filtered the golden light of the sun and gave the place a gloomy serenity which perfectly… Continue reading Historic Tokyo: Meiji Jingu
In various places I’ve seen the Buddhist temple Senso Ji called Tokyo’s Statue of Liberty or its Eiffel Tower. These comparisons hide more than they reveal. Tokyo gives a visitor so many options that Senso Ji is not on everybody’s map, quite unlike the Eiffel Tower. Nor is the Buddhist goddess Kannon‘s statue in Senso… Continue reading Historical Tokyo: Senso Ji