These pages are about my travels in India in search of architecture and history.
It started with an unplanned weekend trip in 2002. On a rickety bus from Bangalore to the small north Karnataka town of Bijapur (inspired by George Michell’s superb 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 bus back to Bangalore, I got off on an impulse at the town of Hospet and cycled 10 miles from Hospet to see the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire at Hampi. Sitting on the banks of the Tungabhadra at sunset, I looked at the stunning expanse of the Hampi ruins in front of me, and realised how grand this empire once was.
Since then, I have traveled to more than a hundred towns and villages across India, photographing and studying ancient and medieval architecture. The beauty and diversity of architectural styles across India, and the similarities that unite them, has fascinated me. In very few other places in the world is it still possible to experience the Indiana-Jones like thrill of architectural discovery: of stunningly ornate ancient monuments that are unknown, desolate and rarely visited.
Over the last 10 years, I have spent most of my time studying the architecture, art, and history of just one region: Bengal. More than 3000 brick temples, mosques, and tombs were built in Bengal between the 16th and 19th centuries, in a dizzying variety of architectural styles. These monuments were surveyed and studied extensively in the 1970s but since then have been ignored, and many now urgently need preservation. To me they are fascinating structures and they deserve much more research attention, conservation effort, protection, and many more visitors.
Through these pages I hope to share some of the excitement of traveling in search of architecture and history in India. I write also to highlight the need to protect, preserve, and, in some cases, restore India’s ancient and medieval architecture.
Thanks for stopping by.