No matter how much you love dogs, it is really hard to imagine that around 100 years ago, the Nawab of Junagadh in today’s Gujarat actually got his beautiful Golden Retriever, Roshanara, all dressed up in brocades and pearls for her wedding. The groom, a Retriever named Bobby, came with a baraat atop an elephant. The wedding was followed by a grand banquet with more than 700 guests in attendance!
Around the same time, the Maharaja of the small kingdom of Nabha decided that he had to have a car shaped like a swan. It was said that if the Maharaja was pleased with someone, the ‘swan car’ could even ‘lay’ an egg of gold, causing a stampede in the streets!
Welcome to the world of eccentric kings, bizarre tales and jaw-dropping facts that will make you fall in love with the stories that make India and its history.
The first book in the Quirky History series goes beyond the staid, linear and chronological history that you probably read and studied. Here, you will find the story of how the Indian landmass made its journey across the ocean to form what we call ‘India’ today. The markers of this journey can be found in places like Kanyakumari in the south to Shillong in the east and Mumbai in the west. You will also read about the great Indian dinosaurs who roamed the vast plains of Central India and the very first ‘Indians’ who lived just about 60 km from present-day Chennai, 1.7 million years ago!
In our sections ‘Animal Stories’ and ‘Games We Played’, you will be amazed to learn that some of the popular games you have played, like ludo and chess, originated in India, and how the stories from our Panchatantra made their journey across the world. Today, there are more than 200 versions of the Panchatantra across 50 countries.
If you are a foodie, you will relish our section ‘Food For Thought’, where you will find the story of how ice cream first came to India and how two staples – khichdi, one of our oldest dishes, and biryani, perhaps the most widely travelled, tell the story of India’s varied past.
And then we have a full section called ‘Treasure Trails’ - from hidden fortunes deep under the vaults of a grand fort, to entire cities buried underwater and the thrilling story of one of the greatest archaeological finds ever made.
Finally, the story of a great entrepreneur and inventor who should be as famous as Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs (but isn’t) because we can’t really imagine life without his creation – shampoo!
This book will give you a taste of our amazing history and help you enjoy, appreciate and love the many stories that make India what it is - a land of beauty, wealth and so many hidden wonders! This mission is at the very heart of Live History India.
We do hope you enjoy this first compilation of Quirky Histories, where facts are truly stranger than fiction!