Shahbandar Café | A traditional cultural café

Shahbandar café is one of Bagh­dad’s few remaining traditional cultural cafés. Since opening its doors, Shahbandar café had become a hub of Baghdad’s intellectual life, drawing poets and politicians to its wooden benches and photo-lined walls.  The café still stands, a testament to the resilience of the country and the capital, Baghdad, even if so much has happened here. From British rule to modern-day Iraq, Shahbandar has lived through the birth of a nation, the toppling of its monarchy, decades of domination by Saddam Hussein, the drama of the US-led invasion and the bloody chaos that followed.

It’s time to bring our planet back from the brink

cape town water crisis

The coastal paradise of 4 million on the southern tip of South Africa, Cape Town, is to become the first modern major city in the world to completely run dry. And even though residents aren’t responsible, the burden of making sure it doesn’t happen rests largely on our ability to cut down on water usage.

Ancient megaliths of Hazaribagh

Megalithic monuments are among the earliest and most permanent of archaeological structures, and so many of them were used, or more properly, have been used and reused for thousands of years. Their original intent is likely lost to the ages, but they may have had multiple functions as they were used by different cultural groups over the centuries and millennia.

Khovar | An ancient tribal wall art

khovar wall painting

Tribal wall painting is an age-old tradition. The personal experiences of the artists and their interactions with the nature are the biggest influence in these art forms. Khovar art was traditionally for decorating the marriage chamber of the bride and groom, and it usually depicts the animals and plants of neighbouring forests and valleys.

Mukhosh | Masks of Bengal

I was travelling to Ranchi from Kolkata. I saw traditional Bengali masks were being displayed at the departure terminal of the Kolkata airport. It’s a nice way to promote the ancient craft of mask-making in Bengal. Throughout the world, masks are used for their expressive power as a feature of masked performance — both ritually and in various theatre traditions.

Handia | A desi fermented drink

Any tribal festival is incomplete without the rice-beer called Handia, an indigenous alcoholic-fermented beverage. The indigenous peoples have inherited the process of preparing the drink from their forefathers as the craft passes on from one generation to the other since ages. Handia is prepared by mixing boiled rice with traditional fermenting inoculums.