India Journals

Memories of Raj Days

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A travel journal to India by phileasfogg

Clock Tower Photo, India, Asia More Photos
Quote: The British ruled India for almost two centuries. When they finally left, they left India peppered with reminders of much that is distinctly English- from lovely churches to the ubiquitous Mall Road; from five o’clock tea to cricket... to the fact that I am writing this in English.

The Residency

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Attraction

Clock Tower Photo, India, Asia
Quote:
In 1775, Lucknow’s ruler, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, was compelled to welcome a new guest to his city. The British Resident, representative of the East India Company, arrived, and Asaf-ud-Daulah was obliged to build a mini township, the British Residency, complete with a church, a banquet hall, homes, slaughterhouses, and whatnot. The British Resident - "an unwelcome guest of a reluctant host"- moved in with his entourage.Over 75 years, the British Residency entrenched itself in Lucknow - until 1857, when the mutiny turned everything topsy-turvy. For 87 days (until relief forces arrived under Havelock, Outram, and Sir Colin Campbell), Indian mutineers besieged the Residency, reducing its population from...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 13, 2005

Beating the Retreat

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Attraction

Vijay Chowk Photo, India, Asia
Quote:
Ask an Indian to name a national extravaganza and chances are you’ll hear of Delhi’s Republic Day Parade. Delhi’s celebration of the day India became a republic, January 26, is impressive. So impressive that it overshadows a subtler, better orchestrated (literally!) ceremony: Beating the Retreat on January 29. The ceremonial end of the Republic Day festivities, Beating the Retreat’s also impressive and colourful. It is also more subdued, less crowded, and better organised.And, ironically for something that’s part of the celebration of freedom from British rule, it’s a British legacy.Beating the Retreat supposedly dates to the 16th century, when, during battle, the cessation of the day’s host...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 13, 2005

The Botanical Gardens

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Attraction

At the Botanical Gardens Photo, India, Asia
Quote:
The fact that most Indians still refer to this lovely little hill town in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamilnadu as Ooty is proof of how lasting an influence the British had across India. In the case of the Madras Residency (of which the Nilgiris were a part), the muggy climate of Madras itself was enough to induce the British to look for cool summer retreats in the nearby hills. And they chose the small town of Udhagamandalam. Only because Udhagamandalam was a bit of a mouthful, they anglicised it to Ootacamund. And because that was a mouthful, they called it Ooty - a name that’s stuck.Looking at Ooty, it isn’t surprising the British liked it. Centred around a shimmering lake, it’s surrounde...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 13, 2005

St James Church

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Attraction | "St James' Church"

St James Church Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Delhi’s oldest church is a quiet, yellow-and-white building near the historic Kashmiri Gate. St James’ Church is a lovely old monument, recently restored by conservation architects. And it’s not just the building that’s interesting - there are many other churches across India that are as (if not more) historic, beautiful, and famous. What sets St James’ apart is the colourful story of the man who built it.Colonel James H Skinner, CB, (1778-1841) was the illegitimate son of a Scottish officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hercules Skinner and a Rajput woman. James Skinner worked as a printer’s apprentice and at a law firm before finally managing to do what he really wanted - join the army. The British Indian ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 13, 2005

St James Church
Lothian Road
Delhi, India

Crazy about Cricket

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Story/Tip

Quote:
My husband and I were driving through the beautiful hills of Kumaon, through woods of oak and cedar, from Mukteshwar to Almora. The road was quiet, and we’d passed barely half a dozen vehicles in the hour or so we’d been driving. The road, narrow and none too good, had just dipped down into a village when my husband suddenly had to swerve to the side, almost into the fields. A strange contraption sat in the middle of the road. A couple of very battered wooden planks, both about 1 foot long and about a hand’s span wide, stood propped up precariously by a single brick. A dozen metres or so down the road was a similar structure. A handful of village boys watched irritably as we edged past. And it wasn’t ...Read More

Hanging on and not letting go

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Some time back, a friend of mine, a European, remarked that one of the few places in India she’d been to was Goa. "But that’s not India, really," she said. "It’s very different from what one always thinks India is like." And that, of course, set me thinking. I guess if cows on the streets and temples at every corner, saffron-clad sadhus, chaotic traffic jams, spice, and medieval palaces are all that you equate India with, it may be a bit disappointing to discover that India can often not be as exotic as it’s made out to be. Bread and butter at breakfast, invariably with omelettes (though spiced up with chopped onions and green chillies!); a plethora of daily newspapers in English; street sig...Read More