A Royal Retreat: Live Like a King at Jambughoda Palace, Gujarat

I’m sitting on a swing, sipping tea with my host Vikramsinh, Maharana of the former princely state of Jambughoda. We’ve been walking around his gardens, and have settled near a large organic vegetable patch. A Great Dane and a Doberman lie at our feet, while several pups scamper around. Vikramsinh, whose estate is almost self-sufficient…

Five (more) Super Homestays Across India

Anyone whos been following our travels knows that we believe there’s no better way to explore a place than staying in someone’s home. In 2016 we published a list of our favourite homestays in India. This year we’ve added five more. Jambughoda Palace, Jambughoda, Gujarat Named after the jamun trees that are abundant in the region,…

The Sun Temple and the One that came before

Sun temples are fascinating in themselves. Most of them are built in alignment with the light of the sun, such that on specific days (usually the equinox) the rays from the sun create a straight line directly down the centre of the structure. This was true of the temples built by the ancient Pharaohs in Egypt as well as the Kings in the subcontinent, apart from elsewhere in the world. Added to this great feat of science thousands of years ago, is also the beauty and art that surround the temples. Keeping religion aside, sun temples are great places to visit to experience a wonderful coming together of science and art, especially at sunrise.

Gujarat’s Islamic roots

Gujarat, a state rooted in Hindu and Jain mythology and religious history, is home to some of the early forms of Islamic Architecture in India. Like other regions in India, it completely transcends the modern concept of a ‘state,’ reinforcing, once again, that this country is an amazing confluence of cultures and religions. Several buildings…

An unexpected tea stop

On the way we spotted a few men huddled by the side of road, on the outskirts of a tiny village, smoking and gossiping. This is not unusual in Gujarat or really anywhere in India. True to form, Hoshner squeezed the car on to the side of the road and jumped out to take a few photographs. Within seconds he was surrounded by people and it took me a minute to realise that all the village folk had materialised out of nowhere, wanting their picture taken.

Kutch, beyond the Rann

During the dry season the Rann is cracked and hard, caked with a thick layer of salt which shines a brilliant shimmering white, but come monsoon the region is flooded first by sea water and then river water, a unique ecological phenomenon that attracts not only tourists but many a migratory bird species from thousands of kilometres away.

The Stepwells of Gujarat

Water has always held a central role in civilisations, and these magnificent structures make more explicit the ancient concept of the sanctity of water. Built with great thought and reason, these stepwells are akin to inverted temples, where you walk down to the water surrounded by beauty and tranquility.

The Patan Patola

Patola saris have adorned women of royalty for centuries, but today they are a dying art. Difficult to create in this form, Patola saris today are being made by new age looms and in some place even machines; Mr Salvi is rueful as he tells us this. There is some hope though as Mr. Salvi says that his nephew is being mentored to take over the family tradition, and so Patola will survive, in this family at least, for another generation.