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Postcards from Nowhere is a travel podcast that takes you on journeys exploring culture, history, food and people in the form of stories. With over a decade of travel stories in his kitty, Utsav Mamoria narrates the stories of the strange, obscure and fascinating things about the world, often interspersed with practical tips and deep realizations, which would shape the way you travel. Tune in to the new episode every Thursday.
 
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show series
 
In the summer of 1420, following a strange series of events, the migration of a community of people started from a border town between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, to a village in Karnataka. The village eventually came to have a unique claim to fame: It became known as India's Sanskrit village, where every resident spoke Sanskrit. And yet, lesser known i…
 
A customs inspection at the Switzerland Italy Border, murders in the Tibetan highlands and a weaving workshop in Srinagar - Kashmir. What connects these disparate places? This week, in the tenth episode of Kashmir Diaries, Utsav brings to you the wild story of Shahtoosh, the most expensive fabric in the world, and completely illegal. Straddling thr…
 
"In 1948, as India was fighting Pakistan in Kashmir, the Pakistani army reached this village but bypassed it completely. Simply because hidden behind a gorge, with just one access point, the village was invisible to them. Legend has it that when the army of a neighbouring kingdom tried to invade the village, they were greeted with huge boulders fal…
 
In the narrative of Kashmir, what often lies forgotten is the origin story. What could a Naga king who ruled thousands of years ago, have in common with a humble Gujjar-Bakrwal man, and what did they have to do with the origin of Kashmir? This week, in the eighth episode of Kashmir Diaries, Utsav narrates the story of a deadly hike at Sheshnag lake…
 
What started out 600 years ago in Persia (present day Iran) thrived to become the crown jewel of the Kashmiri arts. However, the art of Kashmiri carpet weaving is now vanishing, on the brink of extinction. This week, in the seventh episode of Kashmir Diaries, we meet Rafiq Ahmed Shah, a 73 year old, fourth generation artist who is fighting to keep …
 
About 100,000 years ago, a mutation in a family of deers gave rise to 3 distinct sub-species which came to be known by the geographical regions they travelled to - Bukhara in Uzbekistan, Xinjiang in China and Kashmir in India. But what does that deer have to do with the Kashmiri people? This week, in the sixth episode of Kashmir Diaries, I bring to…
 
In 1960, the Indian Archeaologist T N Khazanchi, in a painstaking excavation spanning 11 years, discovered proof of 4 distinct human cultures beginning from the Aceramic Neolithic to the Historical era, which meant that the Kashmir Valley had been inhabited for at least 11,000 years. In the excavation, they also found a stone carving, which did not…
 
In the Indo-Pak War of 1971, as the two countries fought bitterly, the fate of a few people change irrevocably - Overnight, they found themselves to be citizens of a new nation. This week, in the fourth episode of The Kashmir Diaries, Utsav takes you to Kargil, which overnight became a household name thanks to the war in 1999. But in the narrative …
 
100 Episodes - A reason to celebrate, a reason to reflect. This week, we don’t have a postcard, but a long conversation about travel. Utsav speaks with Chuck, the host of Getting Meta, about slow travel, the evolution of Postcards from Nowhere, and what drives him to travel in the first place. This conversation is about the person, beyond the podca…
 
They form 12% of the population of J & K, and yet their story is missing from the larger discourse of Kashmir. The Gujjar-Bakarwals are the nomadic pastoralists who migrated from Rajasthan in the 6th Century, and continue to live off the land. This week, in the third episode of the Kashmir Diaries, we delve into the uncertain future of the communit…
 
Two systems of writing time developed independently: One in Kashmir, and the other in Kerala. But they developed in completely different cultural milieus. And its all connected to the parking lot of Maulana Azad Medical college in Delhi. This week, in the second episode of The Kashmir Diaries, we delve into the art of Persian and Sanskrit chronogra…
 
What could be common between the towns in the Isfahan province of Iran, and the city of Srinagar in Kashmir? And how could they show us two ends of the same spectrum? This week, starting a new series, The Kashmir Diaries, we travel to Srinagar and meet the last craftsman of a dying art - Rosewater making. But there is more to rosewater than being a…
 
In a corner of northwestern United States, live a group of Native American people known as the Navajo, who in their language has no word for religion or art. But they have a very unique philosophy which encompasses both - Hózhó. This week, join me in understanding the life philosophy of the Navajo people, and what lessons it holds for us - as trave…
 
In 1845, a young student at the University of Oxford wrote a poem that led him to win the Newdigate Prize. His poem was about a place he never visited. 130 years later, a nurse from New Zealand traveling through this very place, fell in love with a man, married, and started living with him - in a cave! This week, in the fifth episode of Beneath the…
 
In the arid desert landscapes of Jordan, amongst the Balga tribe of Bedouins, is the famous story of the Ibn Khaltan, a man known all over for his incredible generosity, bordering on madness. This week, in the fourth episode of Beneath the Veneer, we travel to Little Petra in Jordan, and understand the intimate aspects of Bedouin hospitality. Tune …
 
What could a statue of an Islamic ruler in the Umayyad dynasty near Jordan have in common with Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath India? How does Jordan, a country with a 95% Islamic population, have aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism in its architecture. This week, in the third episode of Beneath the Veneer, we travel to Amman in Jordan and Jericho in Palesti…
 
These structures are found all over the world right from Europe all the way to South Korea. They are seen in India too, 2,200 of them, but I can assure you that none of you have seen it. This week, in the second episode of Beneath the Veneer, we travel to one such structure in Jordan, and how it sends us on a meandering journey to discover the secr…
 
What could the iconic cartoon character Tintin possibly have in common with a marine biologist which kickstarted the global environmental movement. And what could both of them possibly have to do with a small nation in West Asia? This week, starting a new series, Beneath the Veneer, we travel to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, where Utsav takes yo…
 
It's been the site of a war, it has a connection to Mount Everest and a very very old connection to the human race. This week, in the seventh episode of Exploring your backyard, we visit the well known Lalbagh botanical gardens in Bangalore. This is the story of how well known but little understood Lalbagh is, and how many fantastic things one can …
 
A German Jew fleeing Nazi Germany. A temple buried and lost to the vagaries of time. A steamboat journey on the Mediterranean sea. This week, in the sixth episode of Exploring your backyard, we visit Malleshwaram, and how unlikely events and forces came together to establish this suburb. And how the city became home to one of India's foremost intel…
 
What connects the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism to the neighbourhood of Ulsoor in Bangalore? (No, its not a Buddhist monastery!). It is in fact a tree whose fruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the state fruit of Karnataka. This week, in the fifth episode of Exploring your backyard, we move into Ulsoor, which hides the s…
 
In 1792, the British departed from Srirangapatna near Mysore to Bangalore for a rather strange reason - To escape the mosquitos. But that wasnt the only deadly thing that shaped the future of Bangalore. This week, in the fourth episode of Exploring your backyard, we turn our eye towards Bengaluru, and how pandemics came to shape the city in ways we…
 
"Cotton Green, the forgotten, nondescript station on the Harbour line of the Bombay suburban train network. But once, this area was the beating heat of Bombay. This week, in the third episode of Exploring your backyard, we take you to the story of the meteoric rise of Bombay, which had wide ranging causes, right from the American Civil War in the 1…
 
You can't have been to Mumbai and not been to Colaba. The ultimate tourist hotspot, with colonial architecture and the bullet riddled walls of Cafe Leopold. This week, in the second episode of Exploring your Backyard, we take you to two silent spectators of Colaba, which are barely even noticed even by those who live there. Walk with us through Col…
 
For the outsider, Mumbai means Marine Drive and South Bombay. For anyone who has lived long enough in the city, they know that Dadar is the heart of the city which beats endlessly. This week, starting a new series, Exploring your Backyard, we tell you how this iconic neighbourhood has shaped the country in ways you would not have imagined. Or how D…
 
A pandemic which killed an estimated 2 to 6.4% of India's population, and became one of the only decades where our population actually declined. It's largely forgotten today. What did the 1918 Pandemic have to do with Jim Corbett and the leopards of Kumaon? What does it have to do with the home grown FMCG giant Godrej? In the last episode of the Da…
 
The American Army fighting the war in Vietnam never took it seriously. They never estimated the extent to which these tunnels existed, for they seemed outside the scope of the American imagination. And yet, these impossible tunnels were very much a reality. This week, in the fifth episode of Dark Tourism, we take you to Vietnam, up close to the Cu …
 
They number in hundreds, if not thousands and they are the best kept secret of the Balkan countries, right from Slovenia to Macedonia. However, the world has come to see them very differently, thanks to the colonial gaze that has been upon them. This week, in the fourth episode of Dark Tourism, we take you to Kosovo and Serbia, upclose to these mon…
 
A city finds itself at the centre of the world's attention twice in a span of ten years, but for completely opposite reasons. In 1984, it became the first Balkan country to host the Winter Olympics. In 1992, it was home to the first televised war in human history. This week, in the third episode of Dark Tourism, we take you to the city of Sarajevo,…
 
What would you do if you were forced to pick up a gun at a tender age of 10? And fight numerous wars for the next ten years, without ever having any choice? This isn't fiction, but the story of countless youth from Cambodia who grew up in the 70's. This week, in the second episode of Dark Tourism, we listen to the story of Aki Ra, a man who turned …
 
Since 1993, the Kazimierz district in Kraków, Poland has seen a huge influx of tourists, thanks to the film Schindler's List, an uplifting story of how the Schindlers saved a thousand mostly Polish German refugees from the Holocaust. The phenomenon is not unique. Starting a new series, Dark Tourism, we explore why are we so attracted to places of d…
 
On January 23, 1960, at a little after one in the afternoon, two men seated on small stainless steel boxes inside a forged steel-alloy cabin, settled gently onto a patch of ivory-coloured silt on the floor of the Mariana trench. At a depth of 35,800 feet, they had achieved every explorers dream. But what has become of the human desire for explorati…
 
What does Venice, a floating city with an algae problem and Finland, a country battling climate change have in common? And what could it possibly have to do with stamps? This week, in the fifth episode of Currencies and Stamps, we explore the intersection of stamps and climate change, and how are countries are bringing out these problems through th…
 
Why would the sleepy Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan decide to suddenly issue talking stamps? Or the tiny West African nation of Burkina Faso issue stamps featuring the American singer and musician Elvis Presley? In fact, these were not frivolous pursuits by deluded monarchs or a tin pot dictator but were well thought out strategies. This week, in the …
 
What happens when a British civilian administrator in the Indian government, a graduate in math and physics from Cambridge, on a fatal mission to organize a guerrilla network against the Japanese disappears? And what does that have to do with currencies? This week, in the second episode of Currencies and Stamps, crisscrossing Britain, Japan, Burma …
 
What does the Oscar winning iconic director Stanley Kubrick have in common with a Chess grandmaster? And what does it have to do with banknotes of Armenia? This week, in the second episode of Currencies and Stamps, we travel all the way to Armenia and uncover how banknotes can be used to trace the cultural changes of a young nation. Tune in, and un…
 
What could Marie Curie, a two time Nobel Prize winner and the famous poet Jane Austen possibly have in common? And what does that have to do with banknotes, an everyday object we scarcely pay any attention to? This week, starting a new series, Currencies and Stamps, we travel from the WW 1 trenches in France to modern day UK and Tunisia and answer …
 
Erling Kagge, is no ordinary man. In 1992, skiing and walking 1300 kilometres, over 52 days, he reached the South Pole. Alone. A few hundred miles away, there is a waterfall known as the Blood Falls, after the red water which constantly flows out of its parent glacier. But what do Earling and the Blood Falls, have to do with the Moons of Jupiter. I…
 
Deep into South America, lies a place which is considered barren and inhospitable. And for good reason - how can life flourish in a place which has less than 15 mm of rainfall every year. But its barrenness is its advantage, for it houses some of the most elite and far ranging scientific pursuits known to man. In the fourth episode of the series, A…
 
Extreme temperatures, check. The harsh desert climate, check. One place is an arctic desert in the northernmost part on our planet, the other a hot desert country plagued by a brutal, seemingly unending civil war. Svalbard is a unique lonely place - you cannot be born, die or be buried there. Less than 10% of the place has any vegetation. Outside i…
 
What do the father of the nuclear age, the Italian American physicist Enrico Fermi and a young European traveller by the name of Mubarak Bin London have in common? And why would it lead you to one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible places on earth, a place which Fermi hadn't ever set foot in? In the second episode of the series, Alien Landsc…
 
58 degree celsius, 100% humidity and pitch dark. This is not Mars, but somewhere on our very own planet. While 2020 killed all our travel plans, I am sure even that would not make you go here. But there was a Spanish man who was waiting for the moment he could visit this place. A place where you would not survive for more than a couple of minutes. …
 
In the 1928 and 1968 Olympics, Mexico participated in the marathon and failed to get a podium finish. The runners, who came in with a great reputation and a mystic halo around them felt that the 26-mile race was too short. In fact, in 1928, they had to be stopped to tell them that the race was already over. In the last episode of People Unlike Us, …
 
Black Holes - Those enigmas of the universe we all have conceptually heard of but don't really understand. Taking a break from regular episodes, here comes a 2020 year-ender reflecting on a strange year gone by. This week, join Utsav as he asks us to relook at 2020 in a completely new light, much like the way we need to rethink what black holes are…
 
In 2016, deep into the heartland of Ethiopia, a herder by the name of Ali Bereino, chanced upon a bone in the goat pen in his backyard. It took an archeologist to determine the significance of Ali's find. In many ways, it was literally the bone the world was waiting for. In the fourth episode of the series, People Unlike Us, Utsav takes you to the …
 
What if I put a bunch of children from varied countries, from Mexico to Vietnam, in a room. What if I told you that they may eventually develop a common language to communicate? Across the world, there are societies which have independently developed a whistling language: they chat, flirt and hunt through whistling! In the third episode of the seri…
 
What does the 80's blockbuster film - The Karate Kid, a 17th century poem by an English poet have in common with the people who live for over a 100 years? And what if there are multiple communities of people, right from North America to Asia who live for a century? In the second episode of the series, People Unilke Us, Utsav takes you to Okinawa in…
 
In a letter dated 14 May 1728, a Dutch East India company official writes to the Governor-General about a group of people camping out in the ocean off the coast of Indonesia. Two hundred years later, marine biologist suggests a theory of our evolution which gets dismissed by the scientific fraternity. So what do these two incidents have in common? …
 
We've all heard the story - Put a frog in boiling water and it will jump out. Put it in cold water, bring it to a boil and the frog will be toasted to death. In times where the impact and advancement of climate change are not disputable, why are we acting like frogs? Why are we so terrible at fighting climate change? Taking you from the port cities…
 
For a declining Native American tribe, it's a symbol of future abundance and health. For a whole host of scientists and conservationists, it's a horror story unfolding over the last few decades. Their annual migration is known to be one of the most beautiful in the world. But it's under significant threat. In the penultimate episode of Our Changing…
 
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