These pages are about my travels in India in search of architecture and history.
My first journey was an unplanned weekend trip back in 2002: on a rickety bus from Bangalore to the small north Karnataka town of Bijapur (inspired by George Michell’s book: The Blue Guide to South India). I spent the day cycling through Bijapur’s dusty lanes, turning corners to chance upon many majestic Adil Shahi monuments.
On the way back to Bangalore, I got off (on an impulse) at the town of Hospet and cycled the 10 miles from Hospet to see the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire at Hampi. As I sat on the banks of the Tungabhadra at sunset, I started to realise the true scale and grandeur of these empires (only briefly described in Indian school history books). And I realised that this was going to be the first of many trips.
Since 2002, I have traveled to more than a hundred towns and villages across India: photographing ancient and medieval architecture. I have been fascinated by the beauty and diversity of architectural styles across India. To understand how and why these remarkably varied styles evolved, I have delved into Indian history, art, iconography, painting, and religion. I’m still learning.
In 2008, after I moved to London I decided to focus on just one region and style: The Terracotta Architecture of Bengal. More than 2000 brick temples, mosques, and tombs were built in a dizzying variety of architectural styles, across Bengal between the 16th and 19th centuries. These monuments were surveyed and studied extensively in the 1970s but since then have been ignored, and many now urgently need preservation.
Through these pages I hope to share some of the excitement of traveling in search of architecture and history in India. The less well-known towns and villages in India are still places where it is possible to experience the thrill of architectural discovery.
I write also to highlight the need to protect, preserve, and (in some cases) restore India’s ancient and medieval architecture. There is so much to preserve that the only way is local interest and initiative. And the starting point for local initiative is an awareness of local history, art, folklore and architectural traditions.
Thanks for stopping by.