Times Passion Trail: A Revelation of Untold Stories and Experiences


Guest Blog

Explore Madhya Pradesh through Times Passion Trail

'We met as strangers, and we are leaving as a family' is what we affirmed while everyone bid goodbye to each other, with a humbled heart, in the recently concluded Times Passion Trails in association with Madhya Pradesh Tourism board. There are many reasons that made this trail special for me. It was probably for the first time that I wasn't traveling with the writers alone. Over the next six days, a set of 17 travel influencers were brought together along with other heritage enthusiasts, to experience some of the iconic monuments within central India, spearheaded by Padmashree Professor KK Muhammad. Indeed, it was a moment to cherish when you get to attend a walk with an esteemed dignitary who has played a major role in restoring the iconic monuments of the country. But, none of us were sure how it would turn out to be since Times Passion Trails brings together people from different walks of life, sharing the same passion of understanding the heritage of India. The next few days were spent understanding each other’s work along with hearing the untold tales. We met as strangers, but we left with a bucket full of laughter and good memories. But, there is more to this trail that I shall remember.


Showcasing the vast architectural potential of Madhya Pradesh: It goes without saying that Madhya Pradesh as a heritage site has a lot of potential with its natural formations, monuments, and palaces hiding the tales of the bygone era. Honestly, it takes a talent like Professor Muhammed to convince you with his deep knowledge, that there is much more to the iconic sites that we need to know. Times Passion Trail aimed to bring forth just the same with these curated walks. From learning about human evolution from the fading paintings at Bhimbetka to understand the culture of Johar at Chanderi, it was interesting to hear how each monument has been well-read and presented to us on this trail.


The Rock Formations at Bhimbetka


A story of restoring the two iconic sites by Professor Muhammad: Now, nothing can beat the joy of getting a chance to walk with Padmashree Professor KK Muhammed, on the sites where he was himself involved in the restoration work. The Shiv Temple of Bhojpur, which is known for its 27feet long Shivlinga and apparently is the highest one in the world was left unfinished during its construction period in the 11th century. The temple was later discovered and marked as a monument of National importance by the ASI. Another such tale is from Badal Mahal in the town of Chanderi, where we were told that the site was incomplete ruins when it was discovered and complete restoration work was carried out under his esteemed guidance, to make this an accessible place for the public. Personally, it was a moment of pride that I could hear these stories from the man himself, responsible for restoring it. 


Living the tales of Johar at Chanderi


World’s largest Shiva linga at Bhojpur


The underground houses at Badal Mahal restored by professor KK Muhammed


These houses were used by the locals to protect them from the extreme heat


Badal Mahal Darwaza (Gate)


Retracing the history of the town of Chanderi & Khajuraho: It is said that the best tales are narrated by the locals, and Times passion trails made sure that we hear these stories from those who have worked passionately in retracing the history of their respective towns. Personally, it was a delight meeting Muzaffar Ahmad Ansari, widely recognised as Kalley Bhai who has been working for over 20 years in rediscovering the lost significance of his town of Chanderi. Anurag Shukla, whom we met in Khajuraho, told us how the temples here which are famous for its erotica actually depicts the stages of mankind through which a person can attain nirvana. As I stood hearing them, it was easy to make out how passionate are they towards redefining the identity of their own towns.


With Kalley Bhai


Statue of Vishnu at ASI Museum at Chanderi


The Jama Masjid of Chanderi


Mr. Anurag Shukla interacting with us at Khajuraho


Duladeo Temple in Khajuraho


A Meeting with the Royal Family of Bundelkhand: Honestly, this is something which shall remain as a pleasant memory from this trail where we got a chance to interact with the royal family of Bundelkhand and understand the history of the town much better. 


These six days that I spent exploring the cultural and heritage delights of Madhya Pradesh with Times Passion Trails have left me with so many wonderful experiences and tales, that I am already planning another trip here. It was truly a well-organised trail and I shall look forward to attending more of these.