Bhadrakali Temple, Itkhori | A place of religious tolerance and cultural unity

Itkhori in Chatra district of Jharkhand state of India is situated at around 150 km from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, at the confluence of two rivers named ‘Mahane’ and ‘Baksa’. Bhadrakali temple complex is a symbol of religious tolerance for centuries. It is a wonderful place with abundance of historic reminiscences and archaeological remnants demonstrating a breath-taking saga of religious tolerance and cultural unity.

Visited Holy City of Karbala and Ancient City of Babylon

The city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq around 100 kilometres south-west of Baghdad, was founded 4000 years ago as a small port town on the river Euphrates. It became a major military power under Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 BCE. We visited the heritage site yesterday. The summer is extremely hot in Iraq with temperature  hovering around 50 degrees Celsius and still we went ahead with our plan.

Interesting Facade of Inanna’s Temple

There was a section of the facade of the temple of Inanna at Uruk. A wall of baked bricks with buttresses and recesses. This wall was a section of the front facade the temple of the goddess Inanna in Warka, which was built by Karaindash, the Kassite king (1445-1427 BCE) and replaced the wall of mosaic which decorated the facade of the temple Warka since the Jamdat Nasir period.

Om Ali | A dessert born in blood

Recently, I attended an Iftar party at a luxury hotel in Baghdad. After I finished the food, I found a nice, sweet dessert there, called Om Ali — a simple concoction: bread and pastry are combined with raisins, pistachios, coconut and almonds, then drenched in sweetened milk. It’s not the story of a royal chef preparing an innovative dish at the behest of a discerning king, but of a murder and a rather cruel one! 

Al-Mustansiriyya Madrasa | Baghdad’s oldest seat of learning

In 1227 CE, the thirty-seventh Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Billah (reigned 1226-1242 CE) commissioned the construction of Al-Mustansiriyya madrasa in the capital city of Baghdad named in his honour. Construction lasted for six years and the school opened in 1234 CE. It was one of the oldest madrasas in the world. Al-Mustansiriyah Madrassa stands as a testament to Iraq’s resilience and endurance over the centuries and demonstrates that barbarism and terrorism of any kind, at any period, cannot prevail over culture and knowledge.

Winged Genie of Assyria

Winged genie is the conventional term for a recurring motif in the iconography of Assyrian sculpture. Winged genii are usually bearded male figures sporting birds’ wings. The genie symbolised both protection and fertility — its role was to safeguard and replenish the ancient kingdom of Assyria.