Gujarat

The Asoka Rock, Junagadh

Pictured here is the Girnar Rock Edicts in Junagadh, Gujarat, photographed by D. H Sykes in 1869. Located on the foothills of the Mount Girnar in Gujarat, the Girnar Rock Edicts, also known as the Junagadh Rock Inscriptions, are collections of 14 significant Prakrit edicts or inscriptions credited to Ashoka, the 3rd century Mauryan King.… Read more »

Age of the Empires

The thrill of serendipity, the awakening of the imagination, the inevitability of being devoured heart and soul by a world you didn’t even know existed until this moment. In a way, being a student of history is like being an astronomer. Especially if the subject of study is an ancient or forgotten kingdom. Click to… Read more »

Brick by Brick: The Built Legacies of the Gujarat Sultanate

The Sultans of Gujarat built a lasting cultural legacy that lives on through the incredible mosques, tombs, palaces and shrines they left behind in Ahmedabad, Cambay, Patan and Champaner. Let’s go on a tour of the Sultanate through rare photographs from the Sarmaya collection

Old Temple from the North West, Gop

Pictured here are the ruins of an old temple in Gop, Gujarat, estimated to date to the 6th century, Maitraka period. Located in Jamnagar district, Gop was one of several historic sites in Kathiawar and Kutch examined by British archaeologist James Burgess between 1874-75. The shrine, standing about 23 feet high, may be the oldest… Read more »

Patang Mata ni Pachedi

This artwork shows the process of making Mata ni Pachedi in the city of Ahmedabad. The Sabarmati river, Teen Darwaza, busy roads are shown more prominently than the Goddess, located off-centre. Sanjay Chitara and his family have been upholding the artistic tradition of Mata ni Pachedi (Cloth of the Mother Goddess for over 10 decades.… Read more »

Baroche on the banks of Nerbudda in Guzerat

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, company officials and professional artists played an important role in collecting and disseminating knowledge about India – an activity central to British imperialism. The discovery and definition of vegetation and fauna helped the Company’s mission of exploiting lucrative raw materials and furthering scientific research. Sketching was a quick and… Read more »

Surat on the Banks of the Tappee

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, company officials and professional artists played an important role in collecting and disseminating knowledge about India – an activity central to British imperialism. The discovery and definition of vegetation and fauna helped the Company’s mission of exploiting lucrative raw materials and furthering scientific research. Sketching was a quick and… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Bahuchara Mata

This Mata-ni-Pachedi  venerates the Bahuchara Mata, depicted sitting on a rooster. Two diminutive goddesses flank her on either side. Benevolent protector of India’s hijra community, the Bahuchara Mata or Becharaji is most commonly portrayed seated on a rooster. The bird represents virility and devotees of the goddess seek help with infertility, among other maladies. Historically,… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Hadkai Mata

This Mata-ni-Pachedi celebrates and venerates the Hadkai Mata, depicted standing on a large chariot shrine pulled by four dogs. Goddess Hadkai, also known as Hadkamai, Hadaksha, Hadkabai and Hulan, is the Goddess who protects against rabies. Rabies is a real and present danger due to the large population of dogs that live in and around… Read more »

A General view of Palitana

Built on Mount Shatrunjaya in the town of Palitana, these 863 temples receive millions of visitors each year. Of the 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism, 23 have visited this holy site. The first Tirthankara, Adinath is believed to have preached his first sermon here. The town was ruled by the Gohil family who have ruled parts… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Durga Mata, Vahanvati Mata, Bahuchara Mata

There are three central goddesses in this painting: Durga, Bahuchara Mata and Vahanvati Mata. If you’ve read this story on goddesses and their vahans, you will know that Durga Mata is the one riding the lion on land, Vahanvati Mata is riding a black goat on a boat in the sea and Bahuchara Mata is… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Vishat Mata

Vishat Mata’s name is derived from the Gujarati ‘vis-hath’ or twenty hands. Interestingly, even though she’s named for that very quality, this goddess is rarely represented in paintings with twenty arms; some six-armed goddesses have also been identified as Vishat Mata. Her mount is a black buffalo. The Goddess usually carries swords, a dagger, a… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Bahuchara Mata

Bahuchara Mata is the central figure of this work. The goddess is depicted sitting on a rooster inside a shrine-like structure. Her is flanked by the images of Hindu gods and devotees, and foliage on the outside. This goddess’s name is derived from the Gujarati words ‘bahu’, meaning many and ‘chara’, meaning movement. Her mount… Read more »

Mata-ni-Pachedi: Vahanvati Mata

Vahanvati Mata is one of the folk goddesses, worshipped by the Vaghri community of Gujarat. She is iconographically represented as sitting on a goat, which in turn is placed inside a ship. She is primarily a goddess that protects travellers and merchants crossing the seas. In this Pachedi, the goddess is represented with eight hands… Read more »

Prince of Morvi, painted photograph

The tradition of painted photography was a syncretic visual culture that began in India in the 19th century, at almost the same time as photography made its debut here. This genre became extremely popular, particularly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, fuelled partly by a dissatisfaction with black and white photographs and partly by rising unemployment among… Read more »

Mata No Chandarvo: Meladi Mata

The tradition of Mata ni Pachedis (Gujarati for ‘behind the goddess’) was developed by the nomadic tribe of Vaghris in Gujarat. It is believed that because the tribe was barred from entering village temples, they came up with the ingenious solution of painting the Goddess Durga on a cloth, hanging it at the back of… Read more »

Murad Baksh, Silver Rupee

Murad Bakhsh was the youngest son of Shah Jahan. He was very successful in the initial stages of the Balkh-Badakhshan campaign of 1646, but when he left the expedition to return to Agra, it created a permanent rift between him and his father and resulted in his expulsion from the Mughal court. Later, Murad was… Read more »

Map of the Mughal Empire

This map of Mughal India created by Matthew Seuter in 1745 is titled Imperii Magni Mogolis. The map charts out the extent of the Mughal Empire, extending to Persia and Kandahar (In the west) and Burma and Thailand (In the east). To the south it extends to the Malabar coasts and also points out the… Read more »