India and the World: A History In Nine Stories

India and the World: A History in Nine Stories

India and the World: A History in Nine Stories

The story of India spanning millions of years in 210 objects

It was a pleasant Saturday morning, perfect for a day out at the CSMVS Museum in Mumbai. The CSMVS Mumbai launched its biggest exhibit perhaps based on valuable objects in India’s history and its connection to the world. This exhibit will be on display till February, 2018.

The exhibit is titled India and the World: A History In Nine Stories. The Museum in association with the National Museum, New Delhi and the British Museum, London has attempted to tell the story of India in 9 episodes. It starts at the very beginning of mankind 1.7 million years ago and goes on till 2015. That’s a huge transition. I must hand it to them, they’ve done a rather marvellous job.

India and the World: A History In Nine Stories

 

It is awe-inspiring to actually see the impact globalisation had over the world when humans learnt the art of trade. We are indeed social animals who connected not only with trade but with value systems and traditions much like today.

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7 Really Astonishing Architectural Facts about The Taj Mahal

7 Really Astonishing Architectural Facts about The Taj Mahal

7 Really Astonishing Architectural Facts about The Taj Mahal

Shah Jahan moved heaven and earth to create a Paradise for the final resting place of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In this feat, he created not just a wonder for the world but also 7 beautiful architectural breakthroughs

 

Rabindranath Tagore famously described the Taj Mahal as A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time and rightly so. When Shah Jahan’s most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal breathed her last during the birth of their 14th child he was devastated. Helpless and lonely he slipped into deep mourning. He kept to himself in solitary confinement. When he returned, his youthfulness had vanished leaving behind an old man with grey hair.

7 Really Astonishing Architectural Facts about The Taj Mahal
Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal

That’s when he decided to leave a sign of his eternal love for Mumtaz Mahal. It would be a symbol of love no other. And wasn’t he successful?

The Taj Mahal is visited by approximately 8 million people each year. It is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Even the best of camera lenses cannot hope to capture its true beauty.

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Rajabai Tower, Mumbai

Rajabai Tower

Postcard Perfect

The Story of Mumbai’s Rajabai Tower

 

South Mumbai’s Fort area hasn’t lost its British aura yet. The buildings, wide roads, the Flora Fountain and the Asiatic Library surely aren’t boasting an Indian look.

Sir Bartle Frere came to Bombay as the Governor of the Bombay Presidency. When he landed here in 1864, he knew that the Bombay skyline was an empty canvas to paint on. The chief wealthy businessmen at the time like Sir Jamshedjee Jeejebhoy, Jagannath Sunkersett, David Sasson and Sir Premchand Roychund had made a lot of money in the metropolis owing to the heavy trade between India and Britain which was conducted chiefly in Bombay. They readily joined in to Sir Frere’s idea to craft Bombay into mini London.

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St. Cajetan Church

St. Cajetan Church

The Most Beautiful Church I’ve Ever Seen

The St. Cajetan Church shows us ‘Elegance in Simplicity’

 

If one decides to leave the crowded beaches alone and venture into the quaint narrow lanes of Goa, there is so much to discover. Personally I am not a big fan of the beaches and when in Goa, I am mostly hunting for Portuguese food. After binging on a Balchao or a Xacuti, it is time to go church hunting.

Old Goa is famous for the White and Red Churches that stand on opposite sides of the road. These churches are often swamped with tourists. They are magnificent, no doubt but take a road less travelled. From where these churches stand, slide down one of the lanes towards the Mandovi River. As you drive further with the help of a GPS, you’ll know exactly what you are searching for- the St. Cajetan Church. This Church might look like a white structure at first but as you park your vehicle and advance towards it amidst a wonderfully maintained garden, you’ll notice the beauty on the whitewashed walls. Read more about St. Cajetan Church

Viceroy's Arch

The Arch of the Viceroys

Enter Goa Like A Royal Viceroy

Most People Have Never Heard of This Celebrated Arch

When in Goa, take a detour. There are a handful of things that a city girl like me finds impressive in this state. One of those is the ferry that takes not only people on board but also real life cars. In a time when we are so used to flyovers and bridges, a boat to cross over holds a wonder like a newborn looking at a balloon. So there I sat overlooking the Mandovi river crossing. The entire river crossing took over 2 minutes. They were working in a very efficient manner.

Calling it a day, we decided to go back the way we came unfortunately it was not via the ferry. Heading towards Old Goa, we were about to pass an old yet neglected looking archway. Since the road was pretty much quaint, we decided to halt and look around. After peeping here and there, we realised what we were looking at was the Viceroy’s Arch. I took a few snaps.

Viceroy's Arch
The Viceroy’s Arch facing the river

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Berthillion, Paris

Exploring Paris

Paris Is More Than Just The Eiffel Tower Exploring the family run Ice Cream Shop in the city of lights  Artists flanking the Seine, l’amour in the air, croissants, crepes and baguettes savouring everyone’s stomaches, fashion and perfume maniacs meandering around Champs Elysees- that’s the Paris we see and know. Let me show you a […]

Ancient Pergamon Library

Library of Pergamum

The Forgotten Library of Pergamum

The Library of Pergamum was the second largest library after the Library of Alexandria. Laura Rodríguez explains why it is missing from our history textbooks today and her opinion about how these old libraries revolutionised our world

Pergamum, now the modern Turkish city of Bergama, was one of the most important cities of Hellenistic Greece. Hellenistic Greece is the time period after the death of Alexander the Great till Greece’s downfall against the Roman empire. There was a culturally rich, extensive library founded by King Eunemes II in the city of Pergamum. This city had gained popularity as an administrative centre. The library of Pergamum was located on the northern end of this fortified city.

Bergama Ancient Pergamon Library
Pergamum was located in the present day Bergama in Turkey (Google Maps)

Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, wrote that the library had a total of 200,000 volumes. There is no catalogue to ascertain the number of books that survives from that period. But it it is believed that Plutarch’s account is indeed true. Due to its 200,000 books, this library was the second most important after Alexandria and rivalled the latter, as Pliny the Elder, Roman author and natural philosopher, pointed out in his “Natural History”. It had a grammar school, but unlike Alexandria, where they specialised in the literary and critical texts, in Pergamun they leaned towards philosophy, especially the stoic Philosophy.

There was such a rivalry between both these libraries, tradition tells us that the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt stopped the shipment of papyrus to Pergamum in the hope of putting the growth of the library to an end. But it didn’t help; the city turned parchment into substitute for papyrus and also became the centre for the production of parchment. Parchment is derived form the Pergamum which comes from Latin word pergamenum and the French word parchemin. Read more about Library of Pergamum

Statue of Liberty, New York

New York

Ever Since Franklin Roosevelt visited New York

New York might be the city that is ever changing but some mysteries linger on

 

State of New York, 1800
State of New York, 1800

New York provides the stimulus of change in the world. Nothing remains in one place but constantly keeps changing into something newer and more livelier in this city. That’s just how New York is.

New York was named after the Duke of York by the British. Most surprisingly, it also served as the capital of the US for just a year till they moved on to Washington DC.

The huge neon hoardings on Times Square, skyscrapers that almost touch the sky, scores of people rushing past, yellow taxis on the road are what symbolise this metropolis.

Statue of Liberty, New York
Statue of Liberty, New York

But can you find a spec of history and mystery here? Read more about New York

Hackney Carriage, London

London

Hidden In Plain Sight: London

Millions of tourists visit this city every year yet some things remain hidden

 

Big Ben, London Eye, London
The view of Big Ben from the Westminster Pier

When I say London, these are the pictures that come before most eyes. The ‘Big Ben’ and London’s black cab.

London Black Cab
London’s Black Cab

The ‘Big Ben’ as it is so famously called is not the accurate name of the tower. The tower is christened Elizabeth Tower and the bell that chimes inside the tower is called the Big Ben. Now, the Elizabeth Tower is a part of the Houses of Westminster. The House of Westminster is where the parliament of the UK meet and conduct sessions. The House of Lords and House of Commons meets here.

Just opposite the Houses of Westminster is the Portcullis Building that has the offices of the minsters since the old parliament has little space to fit all MPs.

Portcullis House, Westminster, Big Ben, London Eye, London
Portcullis House where the MPs offices are located

Now for the head turner trivia.

Did you know that the Portcullis building sits on an underground train station called Westminster? If you get out of the station and turn around, the building will be right over your head!

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Flora Fountain- Mumbai

Mumbai

Gone With The Times

To make Mumbai, we have wiped out the old Bombay leaving behind only the names

 

Flora Fountain- Mumbai
The Flora Fountain in Mumbai

Hello Mumbaikar, how long have you been staying in Mumbai? If you are a former habitant of this city, or wether you just left it behind, few names like Churchgate, Marine Lines, Jacob Circle, Elphinstone Circle are always at the tip of your tongue.

You definitely must have visited these places several times. Yet have you any clue about what these names mean?  Read more about Mumbai