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India

TURTLES FROM THE GANGES

In order to reach Paradise, a deceased Indian must be burned on a log on the Ghats, and his/her ashes be thrown into the Ganges. The cadaver can also be thrown into the sacred river. Many decades ago, the Indian government had trouble with this practice. It greatly harmed the tourism industry. In fact, foreign…

THE QUEEN WHO HAD 92 TEMPLES

In the 17th century, powerful kingdoms appeared in the north-western part of India, arising from the decadence of the Great Moghul Empire. Resourceful men had carved out these states which they governed with great efficiency. And so it was that the Kingdom of Indore came into being. A century later, the ruling Maharajah decided to marry…

Alwar

In the early 19th century, the Maharaja of Alwar, a princely state south of Delhi, was a tall and remarkably handsome man. He was also a rather scandalous character surrounded by a number of strange rumours. The British had little to do with him until he committed what they saw as an unforgivable crime. The…

Maheshwar

Maheshwar is one of the most enchanting places in India, not far from the city of Indore and others built not by a king but by a queen. At the end of the 18th century, the Maharani of Indore, Ahilya, was a widow and the regent of her young son. Over the years, she exercised…

The Tragic Dream of Cawnpore

In the middle of the 19th century, a young English bride was haunted by a recurring nightmare. She found herself in an unknown city, it what appeared to be a foreign land. Riots were breaking out everywhere; a hateful and violent crowd chased her through the streets. She took refuge in a church where she found…

The Munity

The obedient and submissive posture adopted by the Oudh kings proved insufficient in the eyes of the English. After dethroning the last of them, Wajid Ali Shah, they annexed his kingdom, and unwittingly set off a chain reaction of events.   It all began with a rumor that spread amongst the Indian soldiers, the Sepoys,…

Akbar

India is the mother of all. For millennia, the Indians were vanguards of metaphysics, philosophy, and mysticism. Their epic poetry guided the mind of man to new heights. India has inspired all of Asia and influenced western antiquity, the extent to which we have yet to fully grasp. India is polytheistic at its core, yet Islam…

The Begum

On one of my trips to India, I met a rather exceptional maharani. Her husband owned the most beautiful library in India, filled with ancient manuscripts dedicated to the study of medicine and botany. The maharani herself was short and round. She wore the garlands of an actual Christmas tree as a necklace, and on…