The World On My Doorstep

An ever-expanding postcard blog

Indian Woodpecker


Scan 6 - Version 4This beautiful card comes from Amit in India on his travels through a nature reserve. Although this card says all that is needed to be know about the Common Golden Back Woodpecker, did you know that inside a woodpecker’s  beak there is a long tongue used for rooting out food from the tree they are drilling? And to prevent brain damage, their skulls have had to adapt specially! Amazing!

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A Package From India

Scan 3 Scan 3 - Version 4 Scan 3 - Version 3 Scan 3 - Version 2 Scan 5 - Version 2

This lovely selection of cards comes from Som in India and depict some really lovely scenes of his country. First, my favourite, you can see Mirjan Fort in the district of Uttara Kannada which dates back to the sixteenth century and was renowned for its strategic importance. Its grounds spread over ten acres, encompassed by a large moat. Over the centuries it has survived many battles and been ruled by several dynasties. Next is a beautiful bright card showing my favourite flower – the sunflower – which are grown a lot in India for their importance as an oilseed crop. Next, the Red Fort in Delhi, a 17th century fort also encompassed by a water-filled moat. Its design is extremely extravagant and ornamental. Every year on Indian Independence Day (15 August), the national flag is hoisted up at the Red Fort by the Prime Minister who then broadcasts a speech from its ramparts. Next you can see an absolutely delicious looking card! Just look at it makes me hungry! Here you can see Panipuri – a popular street snack of fried crisps filled with tamarind water and masala, traditionally served one at a time in leaf-cups by venders. Finally, you can see an ornamental bronze Nataraja, or Lord of Dance, dating back to the Chola Dynasty. This is considered to be a depiction of the god Shiva, doing the cosmic dance of creation to prepare an old, tired universe for rebirth. A beautiful selection of cards, thank you so much Som! I have learned so much from researching them!

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Banjara Mother and Daughters

postcards2_2This beautiful card comes from Som in India and shows three pretty members of the nomadic Banjara tribe. For those of you interested in etymology, the word Banjara comes from the Hindi ‘Ban’ or ‘Van’ meaning forest or moorlands depending on which it derives from and ‘Chara’ – movers. So even their name seems to give away their nomadic origins! The elaborate clothes are traditional wear for the women of the tribe and are very striking. Thanks Som, it’s beautiful!

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postcards1This amazing card comes from Kamran in India and shows the ancient cave paintings of Bhimbetka. And when I say ancient, I mean 30,000 years! Although, the cave systems themselves actually show the earliest traces of life on the Indian subcontinent, with evidence of homo erectus living there c.300,000 years ago. Wow! Now, my degree was in Archaeology, so this sort of thing really quickens my heartbeat – I just love the connection these little drawings have with time, for the last 30,000 years! Although these caves have had clear significance throughout history, the paintings were actually only discovered in 1957, since then 243 such rock shelters have been discovered in the area. Amazingly, these shelters were used for art-practice not just 30,000 years ago but throughout prehistory and history until Medieval times, although considering the abundance of natural resources in the area, this is perhaps unsurprising. Fantastic card!

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Simla in the 1920s

SimlaThis fabulous vintage card comes from my mum in back in England but shows Simla in India back in the 1920s. My mum tells me that my great-grandfather would have bought this card when he was stationed in India. During the very hot summer weather, his family used to decamp to the cooler Simla hills which was apparently very fashionable with the British then. In fact, my grandmother was born in Quetta which was then a part of India and would have been taken to Simla as a young child as her mother loved it there. Such a sweet card! And I love its history!

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ChillisThis vibrant card was part of a swap with Varsha in India who tells me all about how popular chillies are in her country! She says most houesholds will have a stack of dry and fresh chillies to hand at all times which they use to flavour curries and dry dishes. She also says how in some areas you can find dishes made only by using spices and chillies – amazing! What a fascinating card! Love it!

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A Wonderful Package From India!

This amazing postcard and two first-day cover envelopes arrived in a beautifully decorated envelope all the way from young Varsha in India. One of my favourite ever swaps as she’s really taken the time and effort to make the package a total joy to receive! It was just full of surprises! Inside the 150 year commemorative archaeological survey envelope was a 5 rupee note and inside the India International Centre one, was a lovely brochure. What really made this swap perfect though was the lovely long letter the little girl wrote. She tells me she lives in a  tiny village in south India which has an enthusiastic agricultural economy and that the mothertongue of the people living there is Tamil. Her village is in the state of Tamil Nadu which has a history of over 2000 years – amazing! She’s also been kind enough to attach a LOT of low denomination stamps instead of standard more costly ones, so the envelope looked awesome! Oh and the postcard itself shows a boat on the backwaters of Kerala. Wonderful swap!

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Basilica of Bom Jesus

All the way from Mangalore in India, postcrosser Srinivas sends this beautiful card showing the Basilica of Bom Jesus, home of the relics of St. Francis Xavier. Srinivas tells me that he works in a stationery shop and that nearby is a beautiful temple. Sounds really lovely!

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My Longest-Travelled Postcard Yet!

This beautiful Indian postcard travelled 109 days from sender Debashish to reach me! Sent on 13th March, this arrived in my mailbox today and shows a map if the Qutb Complex in New Delhi which is a world heritage site. He tells me that the minaret of Qutub Minar is 72.5m tall. Very unique card.

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Christmas in Goa

I received this lovely postcard from my old nursery school teacher who has made an effort to keep in touch for the last 20 odd Christmasses without fail. This was Christmas ’05 and while I was sitting in cold, rainy England, she had decided to take a last minute trip to India. Still jealous!

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