Deepa N.

 Articles by this Author

Abode of the Gods - Puri

There were 4 deeply revered monasteries instituted by the venerated sage Shankaracharya in the 7th century, one in every cardinal point of the country - Joshimath in the north, Sringeri in the south, Dwarka in the west, and Puri in the east. Among these, Puri is arguably the one which has the most to offer by way of pilgrimage, architecture, culture as well as stunning physical beauty.

Situated along the coast, and naturally beautiful, Puri has a recorded history that dates back right up to the third century BC. Grand edifices, monuments, ancient places of worship, and antique remnants from eras past make Puri worth visiting for more than mere devotional offering. Even avid bird watchers throng to the breathtaking Chilkha lake for a sighting of migratory birds. You’d be mesmerized by an Odissi dance performance, a traditional temple dance born of the Devadasi tradition. There are patta paintings and appliqué mementos to be shopped for, and millions of pictures to be taken.

Jodhpur - The Exotic Blue City

The majestic city of Jodhpur is located at the edge of the shimmering Thar Desert in western Rajasthan. It was built in 1459 A.D by Rao Jodha, chief of the Suryavanshi Rajputs and remained the capital of the kingdom of Marwar for several years. The glory and ambience of the medieval period is well preserved in the magnificent palaces, rugged forts, age old temples and the bustle and color of bazaars. The historic city is full of stories that date back several centuries and speak of battles, court intrigues, brave kings, ferocious warriors, chivalry and romance. While the elegant art deco style Umaid Bhawan Palace, the imperial Mehrangarh fort and the many temples that are scattered throughout the city showcase the rich history and cultural grandeur of the city, it is the stunning handicrafts, melodious folk music and the hospitality of the brightly dressed people that is Jodhpur’s piece de resistance.
Hampi is a town with a glorious past located in the Indian state of Karnataka. In recent years foreign and domestic tourists have flocked to Hampi to explore the magnificent ruins of the capital of the Vijaynagara Empire which are spread over 26 sq kilometers and include approximately 550 individual monuments. The terrain where these ruins are located is characterized by rocky hills as well as the river Tungabadhra which flows through this ancient capital.

Cochin - The Queen of the Arabian Sea

Cochin is the commercial capital of Kerala and is often referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Kerala is the state in Southern India described in most travel journals now as ‘Gods own country’. Cochin has a safe deep natural harbor and was the epicenter of trade in Black pepper, spices, cardamom with the Dutch, Portuguese, Jews, Chinese and Phoenicians.

Today Cochin is composed of Ernakulam City, Fort Kochi, Willingdon Island, a man made island created by the British due to dredging in the 1920s to deepen the port, Mattancherry and Kumbalangi and other islands which are connected by ferries and bridges. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Kerala having had European influence right from the early 1500s. Vasco de gama the great Portuguese explorer was buried in the St. Francis church in Kochi until his body was taken to Lisbon fourteen years ago.

Kanha – Wild and free!

Kanha is beautiful - endowed with open meadows that dip into valleys and stretch over plateau; cool breeze over meandering streams; and jungles dense with the lush green canopy of Sal and the long grass elegance of bamboo. It is the land where the Gaur, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer and four horned antelope roam. It is the offering of an exhilarating sighting of the hardground Barasingha - so rare you must tuck the mental image and the momentary quickening of your senses into mind recesses for posterity. This is also above all the land of Kipling’s Shere Khan - who needs no introduction - immortal, symbolic of feral perfection - the tiger. Sighting wildlife is what you bargained for on your long journey to get here- and you will have a lot of that in Kanha. The land that Kipling describes is vibrant with the unbridled energy of a jungle –Bhagheera the panther, Nagina the snake, Tabaqui the jackal, Baloo the bear and the Bandar - log or monkey people, Rikki-tikki the tortoise and Hathi the elephant to name a few. This abundance of flora and fauna is what the jungles of Kanha unleash on you.

Agra - Chaotic Colourful Agra

Seeking a vision of the sublime Taj Mahal, you find yourself in chaotic, colourful Agra. One of the seven wonders of the world, the last bastion of the Moghuls, Agra is a manifestation of their passion for beauty and hungering to immortalise it. Here mausoleums are symbols of love, gardens are pockets of heaven, and architecture is poetry in cool stone. Old world splendour will seduce you, packaged in the most efficient, time tested understanding of one basic impulse - ‘To India I shall go! The Taj I must see!’ This is obvious from the estimated 2.2 million visitors to India every year hungering to see the Taj, hence visiting Agra.
Sariska in Rajasthan is a picture perfect destination in spring. Nestling in the Aravalli hills Sariska is a National Park and a Tiger reserve second to Ranthambhore as a special interest travel destination for wild life enthusiasts. Visit during spring when the hills are clothed in colour and the trees filled with bird song and burgeoning blossoms. A hunting reserve of the Maharajahs of Alwar it assures the sighting of rare wild life apart from the elusive mysterious Tiger; a list that includes the Leopard, Panther, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Hyena, Gaur, Four-horned Antelope and Porcupine and Fox among animals and among birds, you will find Peafowl, Grey Partridge, Bush Quail, Sand Grouse, Tree Pie, Golden-backed Woodpecker, Crested Serpent Eagle, and the Great Indian Horned Owl among many other rare species.

Two Syllables, Myriad Thrills - Ooty

Ooty like many hill stations has earned itself some criticism - a loss of identity due to tourism, over commercialization stealing its quaint simple soul, large thronging crowds eating away at the solitude and allure of the honeymoon hill station – but that’s only when it’s compared to an Ooty that once was, because what it still is, is nothing short of magical. It remains a place that imbibes peace in your system, invites a long stretch of the limbs and several walks that rejuvenate your body-mind-soul.

Ajmer - Scene of Many a Battle

Ajmer was found in 7th century AD by Ajay Pal Chauhan and remained with the Chauhans until it was lost by Prithviraj Chauhan to the invading Mohammed Ghauri in 1193 AD. Though it was lost to the Mughal emperor who established the sultanate in Delhi the internal government continued to be handled by the Chauhan dynasty by way of payment of a heavy tribute until 1365 when it was captured by the ruler of Mewar. It changed hands many times after that as the Mewars, Marwars, the Mughals and the Marathas fought for control of Ajmer. The British got control of Ajmer in 1818 and peace reigned thereafter.