Kalpana Sunder

Kalpana Sunder

Kalpana Sunder is an independent journalist based in Chennai, India. She writes on travel, environment, gender, architecture, culture, lifestyle, food and fashion. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera and the National Geographic Traveler.

Latest from Kalpana Sunder

From palace to hotel: how India’s royals are striving to stay relevant

Since India abolished the monarchy in 1971, its royal families have had to grapple with the changing role of nobility in the modern world.

18 Oct 2020 - 3:42PM

Since India abolished the monarchy in 1971, its royal families have had to grapple with the changing role of nobility in the modern world.

From palace to hotel: how India’s royals are striving to stay relevant
The history of chicken tikka masala: why Britain’s favourite curry has few fans in India despite its fame

Chicken tikka masala has long been hailed as one of Britain’s most popular dishes, but it does not exist as such in Indian cuisine or figure commonly on menus in India. So where did it originate?

2 Oct 2020 - 4:01PM

Chicken tikka masala has long been hailed as one of Britain’s most popular dishes, but it does not exist as such in Indian cuisine or figure commonly on menus in India. So where did it originate?

The history of chicken tikka masala: why Britain’s favourite curry has few fans in India despite its fame
Coconut oil in your hair, turmeric on your face: Ayurveda isn’t just medicine or food – thanks to the Indian beauty market, make-up and skincare are Ayurvedic too

Indian cosmetics companies have turned to the 5,000-year-old traditional health science of Ayurveda to appeal to millennial customers.

30 Sep 2020 - 8:31AM

Indian cosmetics companies have turned to the 5,000-year-old traditional health science of Ayurveda to appeal to millennial customers.

Coconut oil in your hair, turmeric on your face: Ayurveda isn’t just medicine or food – thanks to the Indian beauty market, make-up and skincare are Ayurvedic too
Apps to keep you connected in coronavirus lockdown, for serious conversations and finding a pen-pal – or a shoulder to cry on

QuarantineChat and Slowly! connect lonely individuals with common interests, Twine does the same but for small group chats, and HearMe allows users who feel anxious or lonely to connect with volunteer listeners.

26 Sep 2020 - 5:59PM

QuarantineChat and Slowly! connect lonely individuals with common interests, Twine does the same but for small group chats, and HearMe allows users who feel anxious or lonely to connect with volunteer listeners.

Apps to keep you connected in coronavirus lockdown, for serious conversations and finding a pen-pal – or a shoulder to cry on
The bakers to watch: from Asia to America, these influencers have got bread making down to a fine art – with a coronavirus boost in followers

Millions have taken up home baking during the pandemic – many inspired by the bread influencers of Instagram, who post about making everything from sourdough to babkas, challah and focaccia. Some give lessons.

24 Sep 2020 - 6:25PM

Millions have taken up home baking during the pandemic – many inspired by the bread influencers of Instagram, who post about making everything from sourdough to babkas, challah and focaccia. Some give lessons.

The bakers to watch: from Asia to America, these influencers have got bread making down to a fine art – with a coronavirus boost in followers
Pie, flowers, pottery, knitting: why Taylor Swift loves cottagecore and how it’s taking over social media during Covid-19

Taylor Swift is a fan, and so is David Beckham – cottagecore is a lifestyle aesthetic that’s taken the internet by storm. People who adopt it say it’s soothing and stress-relieving. It might be exactly what we need during the pandemic.

21 Sep 2020 - 6:01PM

Taylor Swift is a fan, and so is David Beckham – cottagecore is a lifestyle aesthetic that’s taken the internet by storm. People who adopt it say it’s soothing and stress-relieving. It might be exactly what we need during the pandemic.

Pie, flowers, pottery, knitting: why Taylor Swift loves cottagecore and how it’s taking over social media during Covid-19
A Burmese beauty secret, thanaka paste is an all-natural sunscreen made from ground tree bark

Men in Myanmar wear thanaka paste, schoolchildren have the silky yellow concoction slathered on their faces, and women use thanaka because it reduces oiliness, tightens their pores and improves their complexion.

15 Sep 2020 - 8:34PM

Men in Myanmar wear thanaka paste, schoolchildren have the silky yellow concoction slathered on their faces, and women use thanaka because it reduces oiliness, tightens their pores and improves their complexion.

A Burmese beauty secret, thanaka paste is an all-natural sunscreen made from ground tree bark
At India’s colonial-era clubs, allure of elite membership trumps archaic rules

The members-only clubs were established in the late 1800s by the British as a place for white people to socialise.

12 Sep 2020 - 8:18PM

The members-only clubs were established in the late 1800s by the British as a place for white people to socialise.

At India’s colonial-era clubs, allure of elite membership trumps archaic rules
Rasam during Covid-19 lockdown: an Indian comfort food staple, delicious and medicinal

An anything-goes peppery soup that includes digestive-boosting cumin, black pepper, fresh coriander and asafoetida.

10 Sep 2020 - 3:45PM

An anything-goes peppery soup that includes digestive-boosting cumin, black pepper, fresh coriander and asafoetida.

Rasam during Covid-19 lockdown: an Indian comfort food staple, delicious and medicinal
Kitty parties: a sisterhood of savings empowering Indian women

From their humble beginnings as a way for displaced women to access credit, kitty parties have evolved into support groups, networking events, fundraisers, and more.

29 Aug 2020 - 3:17PM

From their humble beginnings as a way for displaced women to access credit, kitty parties have evolved into support groups, networking events, fundraisers, and more.

Kitty parties: a sisterhood of savings empowering Indian women
Crying clubs show laughter isn’t always the best medicine – feeling sad for a while can be just as good for you as feeling happy

At India’s first ‘healthy crying club’, members share deeply personal incidents from their lives and tap into repressed feelings to trigger emotional outpourings that leave many feeling much better.

19 Aug 2020 - 7:10PM

At India’s first ‘healthy crying club’, members share deeply personal incidents from their lives and tap into repressed feelings to trigger emotional outpourings that leave many feeling much better.

Crying clubs show laughter isn’t always the best medicine – feeling sad for a while can be just as good for you as feeling happy
Indian millennials escape big cities for more low-key small town lifestyles

Unlike previous generations, who did not have the luxury of choice, many younger Indians have decided overcrowded, polluted cities are not worth the hassle.

9 Aug 2020 - 9:05PM

Unlike previous generations, who did not have the luxury of choice, many younger Indians have decided overcrowded, polluted cities are not worth the hassle.

Indian millennials escape big cities for more low-key small town lifestyles
From Singapore to India, urban farms sprout up as coronavirus leaves Bollywood celebrities with thyme on their hands

While Covid-19 has been creating havoc with everything else, one hobby has just kept growing: gardening. And even Bollywood fingers are turning green.

2 Aug 2020 - 4:09PM

While Covid-19 has been creating havoc with everything else, one hobby has just kept growing: gardening. And even Bollywood fingers are turning green.

From Singapore to India, urban farms sprout up as coronavirus leaves Bollywood celebrities with thyme on their hands
Indian-Chinese food: why Indians can’t get enough of this spicy, chilli-laden fusion cuisine – at home or abroad

Indian-Chinese food, known fondly as ‘Chindian’, is said to be the most popular ‘foreign’ cuisine in India but bears little resemblance to dishes eaten in mainland China.

16 Jul 2020 - 9:45PM

Indian-Chinese food, known fondly as ‘Chindian’, is said to be the most popular ‘foreign’ cuisine in India but bears little resemblance to dishes eaten in mainland China.

Indian-Chinese food: why Indians can’t get enough of this spicy, chilli-laden fusion cuisine – at home or abroad
Big fat Indian weddings: coronavirus pandemic’s latest casualty?

Indian weddings are ordinarily gala celebrations and community affairs, but social distancing and attendance limits have made lavish, over-the-top celebrations a thing of the past.

12 Jul 2020 - 9:15PM

Indian weddings are ordinarily gala celebrations and community affairs, but social distancing and attendance limits have made lavish, over-the-top celebrations a thing of the past.

Big fat Indian weddings: coronavirus pandemic’s latest casualty?
A homebound travel writer revisits her favourite destinations through art

Under lockdown in Chennai, photos and paintings stand in for physical adventures to other lands.

23 Apr 2020 - 3:36PM

Under lockdown in Chennai, photos and paintings stand in for physical adventures to other lands.

A homebound travel writer revisits her favourite destinations through art
Lucknow: north Indian city’s architecture, food and bazaars an enticing mix for tourists

Lucknow, the capital of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, offers an enticing mix of architecture, craft and culinary heritage and is little more than an hour’s flight from the smog and pollution of New Delhi.

19 Nov 2019 - 5:56AM

Lucknow, the capital of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, offers an enticing mix of architecture, craft and culinary heritage and is little more than an hour’s flight from the smog and pollution of New Delhi.

Lucknow: north Indian city’s architecture, food and bazaars an enticing mix for tourists
In Indian artist village, every home is a gallery

Raghurajpur is a heritage-listed village in Odisha state known for its ancient arts and crafts such as pattachitra, a traditional cloth-based scroll painting

11 Jun 2018 - 3:31PM

Raghurajpur is a heritage-listed village in Odisha state known for its ancient arts and crafts such as pattachitra, a traditional cloth-based scroll painting

In Indian artist village, every home is a gallery