The Story of Todgarh

Nihal Mathur at Todgarh.
Nihal Mathur at Todgarh.

A guest post by the wonderful Nihal Mathur, the original travel writer, film maker, researcher, a great friend and a personal icon.

Todgarh is named after a British Lieutenant Colonel James Tod – who was born in Scotland in 1782. In 1799 he enrolled with the British East India Company and the following year – 1800 – he came to India as a Marine at an early age of 18. In 1801, he was selected as a survey officer. His great service was the scrupulous care with which he documented and mapped the entire regions now comprising Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
But it was his long lasting relationship with Rajputana that earned him immortality. This country of Rajput Princes became in his own words “home of my adoption,” as he affectionately called it. And indeed, the best part of his life was enthusiastically and usefully devoted in Rajasthan where Tod collected materials on the history of the Rajput clans who ruled most of the area at that time. Tod’s work drew on local archives, Rajput traditional sources, and monuments and edicts.
In 1818 he was appointed political agent for the states of western Rajputana, where he conciliated the chieftains and settled their mutual feuds. As the Resident British officer in the state of Rajpotana he approached this task with sympathy and understanding for the Rajput princes, many of who remained his admirers and friends.
1819 In appreciation of his work in the Merwara Region, the Maharana of Udaipur renamed Barsawada, a village in his monarchy, as ‘Todgarh’. The name comes down to us today.

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Amban Heritage Home : A Great Place To Stay In Kannur, Kerala

We were driving from Goa to Kochi and picked on Kannur in Kerala, as a mid way stop over for the night. After some searching around, we discovered Amban Heritage Home. And boy, did we love it!

Amban Heritage Home was built in 1904. The rooms are small, very affordable, but very clean and so are the bathrooms. The property is run by the family and the food is excellent. We had some awesome prawns, fish, rice, chutneys, veggies etc, all true Kannur traditional style.

We changed our plans of driving to Kochi, Kerala, because of the terrible traffic on NH17, and decided of going to Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu instead. Suresh was kind enough to suggest an absolutely beautiful drive to Coonoor, something our mapping devices could never think of. Thank you Suresh!

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Suresh and Sudha own and run this beautiful 104 year old property with their family.

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Birk, Punjab : A Photowalk

There are trips of exploration, trips full of adventure and then those we take to revisit our roots. So this was a trip to Birk, close to Phagwara, near our ancestral village Kahma. A quiet village in Punjab where our forefathers spent the sliver years of their life.

Visiting Birk, 107km from Amritsar, Punjab, made us feel that the idea of quietly nestled villages in India still exists.
This village comprised of a few by lanes and a lots of silent turns. You could hear footsteps of passer bys with clarity, and soon identify the incessant sound of sewing machine that informed the village that BC tailor was still at work.
Birk definitely made for a photo walk!

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The Beautiful Landscape and Wildlife of Oman that I hope to photograph soon

When one thinks of Oman, images of beautiful architecture, modern and traditional, great cities etc come to mind. However, I have been interested in the natural landscape and wildlife of Oman, which is equally mesmerising, but often not well known. I don’t know when I will be able to travel through the beautiful Sultanate of … Read more The Beautiful Landscape and Wildlife of Oman that I hope to photograph soon

Jambughoda Palace and Wildlife Sanctuary : A Serene Experience

On our way back from Velavadar to Mumbai, we were looking for a stop-over. And we found the enchanting  Jambughoda Palace at the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary. The drive from Velavadar to Jambughoda was mostly ok, with the exception of a detour we made to visit the Vadhvana Wetlands. By the time we left, it was late and we … Read more Jambughoda Palace and Wildlife Sanctuary : A Serene Experience

Tara’s Place : A Warm And Loving Homestay in Jaipur

A home away from home. Tara’s Place epitomises the simple words, and is situated in the heart of Jaipur, the Pink City of India. What makes it special is its cozy comfortable rooms, lovely small gardens, interconnecting passages and many relaxing spaces. But what makes it extra special is the company of amazing people who … Read more Tara’s Place : A Warm And Loving Homestay in Jaipur