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The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Book Review: Warlord of Ayodhya - Rebellion , by Shatrujeet Nath

Ayodhya is synonymous with Rama, which is why it is a pleasure to read a book about Ayodhya, where there is no Ram. The events of “Warlord of Ayodhya” occur in the city, when Rama is in exile. It is Bharat who is at the centre of this story, an unwilling character forced to play the lead. While he rules the kingdom with his brother’s sandals on the throne’s footrest, and remembers his brother’s words of advice to him, it is his father he seeks to emulate as king. After all, it is his father who has ruled the kingdom all those years. While Rama is the prince, the rightful heir, it is still Dashrath who is the ideal king in Bharat’s eyes. It is these subtleties that make Shatrujeet Nath’s newest book a riveting read.



While centered around Ayodhya, the book does not limit itself to the city. The author skillfully puts Ayodhya in the context of the larger subcontinent – of the River Kingdoms and Gandhara, of Madhupura and the trade routes, and the much farther Lanka looming ominously in the shadows.

The narrative also follows not only the kings, but also the servants in and out of the palace, the traders, the soldiers, those with and without power. There is intrigue, and the author skillfully holds a lot of separate threads in his hands as he weaves the story together. If his previous books are any indication, we can look forward to all the separate threads coming together to form an intricate story that holds together beautifully as the series progresses.

As with his Vikramaditya Veergatha series, the story brings together mythology and fantasy. While there are no superheroes in this series, there is magic. And the author’s conception of magic is just as intriguing as his conception of the superpowers of his heroes in the previous series. As with his other books, this one too is fast paced. The characters are all conceptualized in great detail, and each one begins to take shape in our mind as we read about them. however, that’s where the similarities end. There are no gods here so far, though the rakshashas have already made their appearance. And the story revolves as much around the internal problems faced by the city as the external threats. Above all, so far it feels like the coming-of-age story of a king. How the author takes Bharat’s story forward and how he handles the hand-over of the throne to Rama eventually already intrigues me, and makes me wait impatiently for the next books in the series.

The only thing I’m not a fan of, in the book, is its cover. I much preferred the cover art of the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, especially the first three books. However, as they say, “Never judge a book by its cover”, so that hardly matters.

Please note: The book was sent to me for review by the author. However, the views expressed are all my own. 


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