Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 2010 Varanasi, the city of Shiva, is one of the holiest places in India. The Ganges, known to Hindus as the Great Mother, is regarded as a river of salvation and pilgrims come to do puja on her ghats (literally meaning respect, offering or prayers) and cleanse themselves of sin. Long before dawn, sounds herald the break of a new day. Temple … Continue reading Varanasi, Life on the Ghats.
Trekking in Nepal, 2010 Nepal is a small land-locked country, 800 km long and 200 km wide; but as the old adage says: ‘good things come in small packages’. Around 64% of the country is covered by mountains. One third of the total length of the Himalaya lies inside Nepal’s borders and the country claims ten of the world’s fourteen highest peaks. Wow! ‘Pokhara is … Continue reading Pokhara, Nepal.
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 Kathmandu is a fascinating city to visit. A patchwork quilt of faith, religion, tradition, superstition, – it offers a link with the past, but is also a dynamic city living fully in the present moment. A city of temples, shrines and statues; a stroll down the narrow streets of the old city will reveal markets, “toles”(1), “bahals”(2), and “bahil”(3). It’s a glorious … Continue reading Kathmandu
Dwarka, Gujarat 2010. A mini Varanassi. Pilgrims. Sadhus. Bathers. Offerings. And in India a deity or two is never far away. Continue reading Dwarka.
Jamnagar, Gujarat 2009. Some of the friendly faces encountered around town. Henna Beard. A plastic spoon salesman at the market. When I asked if I could take his photograph, he started juggling with his wares. This was the ‘ta da’ moment at the end of his act. The festival of Maharram. Goatman. I loved his colour and jewellery. He loved being photographed. Friends. These men … Continue reading Faces of Jamnagar.
Junagadh, Gujarat 2009. Food is one of the delights of India. Colour, smell, flavour, eating is an experience for all the senses. In Junagadh, we found two wildly different favourites. The Jay Ambe Juice Centre was a welcome retreat, a place to rest and watch India from a distance. Great for a fresh juice or a delicious milkshake – chikku, (sapodilla), valiyari (aniseed), kesar (safron), … Continue reading Food For Thought.
Travelling from Junagadh to Jamnagar, Gujarat. 2009 The driver revved, revved, revved the engine. ‘And this thing has to go 200 km – I don’t think so’ said Jim. We were on private bus – Mahasagar Travels Ltd. – travelling from Junagadh, hopefully to Jamnagar. We moved about 200 m and stopped for another five minutes of serious revving. The whole bus vibrated. The window … Continue reading On The Buses.
The island of Diu, Gujarat, India 2009. Diu is at the end of the line. This tiny (11 km by 3 km) ex-Portuguese island at the tip of Gujarat has a quirky charm and lends itself to lazy sand and sunshine-filled days. Not quite a tropical paradise, but very nearly. Indian, but yet not, Diu has white-washed churches, catholic-saint-filled chapels, and colourful Lisboa streets with … Continue reading Gone Fishin’.
Palitana, Gujarat, 2009. Shatrunjaya is one of Jainism’s holiest pilgrim sites. A mind boggling array of 863 temples perched on a hilltop plateau high above the gulf of Cambay. Three thousand two hundred steps lead to the top. We began to climb. Slowly but surely. Luckily there was plenty to distract us from our aching calf muscles and thirst. Donkeys being herded uphill, carrying paniers … Continue reading The Black Sheep of the Jain Family.
Ranthambhore, India 2009. Ranthambhore National Park was once the hunting ground of the maharajas of Jaipur and is one of the last few habitats capable of supporting viable populations of ‘Panthera Tigris” – the Royal Bengal Tiger. The guide tells us, ‘a tiger knows when a jeep enters the forest. Whether he chooses to show himself or not is his decision’. Seeing a tiger needs … Continue reading The Tiger Walks In The Morning.