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A UNESCO world heritage site and the most famous stepwell in Gujarat is the Rani ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell). It is about 130 kilometres from Ahmedabad, and, we didn’t have the time to travel. Instead, we visited the smaller one – called the Rudabai Stepwell at Adalaj, this was a few kilometres from Ahmedabad city. In the Gujarati language, the stepwell is called a vav, (leading down to the level of water). It was built in 1498 for a beautiful lady known as Rani Roopba (or Roodabai), who was the wife of Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty, a…

For all those born in Madras aka Chennai, seeing this 15 story building (build in 1959) invokes a pleasant feeling. For almost a decade, its beauty was obstructed due to Chennai Metro’s underground tunnel construction work. Now it can be seen in its full glory again. //Before the construction of the LIC building, establishments such as Murray & Company auctioneers and Pioneer Laundry service (started in 1918) stood on the same plot. M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettyar, the founder of Indian Overseas Bank and the United India Insurance, identified the location on Mount Road to construct an 18-storey building for his…

I have been to Dakshina Chitra a few times, mostly accompanying my clients  (Yes, I know, it sounds like a cliché) who visit from abroad as a pit stop on the way to Mahabalipuram. It is a living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India, presented in an enjoyable way – They certainly have succeeded in that mission. The place is convenient to visit from the city, well maintained – even the toilets here are super clean (Swachh Bharat!), a rarity in tourist places in India. It takes about an hour to reach from the…

After seeing Chettinad Palace and Kanadukathan on Monday, on Tuesday we went around Tanjore. I have written earlier detailed posts on my visit in 2012 to Thanjavur Palace and Big Temple, so I will keep this post brief. First stop was தஞ்சை பெரிய கோயில் (Tanjore Big Temple): Tanjore Art museum aka Palace: In the evening we went to Salangai Natham, an exhibition of dance from around India. The next day we went to Trichy and there I saw this vedaranyam march remembrance stone.

After seeing Thirumayam fort we went to Kanadukathan (கானாடுகாத்தான்) to see Chettinad palace, the palatial house of Sri MAM Ramaswamy and family. Chettiyars hail from Chettinad region are a prosperous banking and business community who traveled across South East Asia doing trade especially during Cholas and later the British empire. To go inside the Chettinad Palace you need to get prior permission from the family which we were lucky to get through a friend in Tanjore. After Kanadukathan we went to Athangudi to see the Big House (ஆத்தன்குடி பெரிய வீடு), this too is a palatial house slightly on a smaller scale compared to Chettinad Palace…