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How Mamallapuram became Mahabalipuram, regained old name

S Swaminathan, author of Mamallapuram, a book on the architectural and sculptural achievements of the Pallavas, said Mamallapuram was the original name, even though the town is also called Mahabalipuram. The venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping over Friday and Saturday has been referred to, interchangeably, Mamallapuram and Mahabalipuram. … Continued

What’s behind Iconic Tourist Sites initiative? (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper I; Culture)

During her Budget speech earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 17 “Iconic Tourist Sites” in the country would be developed by the government “into world class tourist destinations, to serve as a model for other tourism sites”. The Sites Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, … Continued

Humanist, feminist: Why Iswarchandra Vidyasagar matters (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; Modern History)

Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar  was born Iswarchandra Bandopadhyay on September 26, 1820, in Birsingha village of Midnapore district in a poor Brahmin family. Michael Madhusudan Dutt, the 19th century pioneer of Bengali drama, described Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar  as having “the genius and wisdom of an ancient sage, the energy of an Englishman and the heart of … Continued

ASI identifies Indian artefacts seized from smuggler Subhash Kapoor (Relevant for GS Mains Paper I; Culture)

Artefact of Manjushri (Eastern Pala period); Lingodhbhava (Late Chola period); and Mithuna (Kalachuris of Tripuri).  ASI team identifies Idols stolen from India From idols dating back to the Gupta period (5th-6th Century AD) to terracotta objects of the Harappan culture, a range of Indian antiquities and artefacts that were smuggled by Subhash Kapoor have been … Continued

How climate change may have changed Harappan society, led to its decline (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I; Culture)

The study finds that between 4,500 and 3,000 years ago, strong winter monsoons were characterised by “early neoglacial anomalies (ENA)” — changes in wind and precipitation patterns that are evident across the eastern Northern Hemisphere and tropics. A new study suggests that climate change may have led to the decline of the Indus Valley Civilisation. … Continued

UNESCO names Kumbh Mela Intangible Cultural Heritage (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper I)

Largest congregation of pilgrims After ‘yoga’ and ‘Nouroz’, Kumbh Mela/ KumbhMela, the largest congregation of pilgrims on the planet, has been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). The Ministry of External Affairs said the inscription of ‘Kumbh Mela’ in the list was undertaken following recommendation by … Continued

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