THE METROPOLITAN cities encapsulate, in quick thumbnail sketches, the myriad faces of India. Here, gleaming temples of the future rise up amidst stately monuments of the past; homes of millionaires shade reeking slums; fast-paced urbanism lives cheek-by-jowl with elaborate rituals of tradition. They crowd, overwhelm, invigorate, irritate. What they cannot do is leave you standing as a mere spectator.
THE CHOSEN CITY. Capital of modern India. Historical capital of influential dynasties down the ages. The site of as many as seven different cities whose legacies keep alive memories. A truly cosmopolitan city that juxtaposes modern and traditional with a graciousness that is her very own unique heritage.
BROUGHT BY Catherine of Braganza of Portugal as dowry to her marriage with Charles II of England, Mumbai is India’s most vibrant city, largest port and the hub of trade and finance. The ebullience of her spirit, captured by the throbbing beat of Bollywood, draws millions here to realise their dreams.
A VIBRANT PULSATING city full of contrasts. Transformed from a sleepy little village into the all-powerful seat of the British Empire in India Calcutta, as it used to be known, was at the heart of the social, cultural and intellectual revival that swept the country.
WITNESS TO THE arrival of the Armenians, Portuguese, Dutch, French and finally the British East India Company. Its wealth of Indo-Sarasenic architecture co¬exists in amicable harmony with the vivid heights of traditional temple gopurams and the larger-than-life portraits of politicians that watch over the city.
YOUTHFUL, DYNAMIC, exuberant. The city’s mellow, tree-lined avenues cannot hide the restless buzz of enthusiasm with which it greets the dawn of each new day, nor the sparkling glitter that adorns nightfall. Blessed with a salubrious climate this verdant city well deserves the title ‘garden city’.
A SCENIC CITY sprawled over a number of narrow islands and a strip of peninsula sheltered within a saltwater lagoon. The native beauty of the location is complemented by the joyous amalgamation of Portuguese, Dutch and British influences, for all three imperial powers have occupied the fort at Kochi.
SEAT OF THE erstwhile royal family of Travancore for over 200 years, now the distinctive first city of modern Kerala. Gracefully accommodating the insurgence of modern urbanism, the gentle slopes of the seven hills that form the heart of the old city still retain the quiet magnificence of a more gracious age.