CNN International explores India’s place on the modern ‘Silk Road’

MUMBAI: This month, ’Silk Road: Past, Present, Future’ continues an 8,000 kilometre journey across the ancient silk and spice routes, traveling south from Central Asia, across remote snow-topped mountains, to explore one of Asia's most important corridors of commerce: India.

Following the series’ first two episodes in China and Kazakhstan, this month’s show sees presenter Sumnima Udas explore India’s historic role in the world’s most important trade route and uncover the country’s place in the modern Silk Road. 

India is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet; the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, ancient medicines and even spicy curry. CNN's Sumnima Udas explores one of the largest wholesale spice markets in Asia, in India’s national capital, New Delhi.  From coriander to pepper to turmeric, spices are a centuries-old staple of Indian heritage.  Decades ago, Indian cooks used to spend hours preparing their spices, manually grinding everything to make their own blends. Today, the process is much easier.  CNN meets India’s self-proclaimed ‘King of Spices’, the 93-years-old, Dharampal Gulati, and learn how his Delhi spice company, MDH,  started in the year of India’s independence, 1947, is making cooking easier for thousands of consumers.

The program also travels south to India’s growing tech-hub, Bengaluru to discover how Indian technology firm Wipro is partnering with the American company GE to design and manufacture low-cost baby warmers for new-borns to help reduce the neonatal mortality rate.  The concept, often called ‘reverse innovation’, is to create and sell new technology for the Indian market at a fraction of the cost that they are normal sold around the world. Sumnima also examines how Ayurveda, an ancient system of healing based on balance and nature is enjoying a resurgence.

India is the world’s second largest producer of tea in the world and drinking the beverage is a national pastime.  Udas treks through the hills and tea plantations of Darjeeling in North East India. This lush, mountainous region, near the borders of China, Bhutan, and Nepal, is world-famous for Darjeeling teas. The program meets Kaushal Dugar, a young Indian entrepreneur who is hoping his three-year-old e-commerce start-up, Teabox, will change the way tea is bought and sold around the globe by shipping tea straight from the field to the consumers, just days after it is plucked in the tea gardens.

Following the India episode, The Silk Road: Past, Present, Future will visit the Arabian Peninsula as it makes its way across the old routes over nine episodes before completing its journey in Northern Italy.

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