12/19/2007 to 12/27/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Southern Rajasthan: Karin and Jeff trip part I

City Palace of Udaipur.

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As I rode Dehli city bus 729 towards Indira Gandhi International airport crammed in aisle amidst the crush of humanity that is Indian public transportation, I was excited at the prospect of seeing my sister, Karin, and brother-in-law, Jeff, after nearly a year away.  I had just completed nearly a week of […]

12/5/2007, 12/10/2007 to 12/11/2007 | India , Madhya Pradesh

Ujjain, Maheshwar, Omkaheshwar: Holy Rivers, Holy Cities

Woman performing a puja along the river, Maheshwar

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While Varanasi may be the most famous and holiest of India’s riverside cities, there are a number of venerated places along India’s extensive network of rivers.  I made my way to three of these revered cities in Madhya Pradesh, stopping first at Ujjian, and then Maheshwar, and Omkaheshwar.  In the absence of […]

12/5/2007 to 12/9/2007 | India , Madhya Pradesh

Mandu

Rupmati’s Palace, Mandu.

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The collection of villages now scattered across the Mandu plateau sit in the shadow of a deserted capital dotted with ruined mosques, palaces, and tombs.  It was once a capital and fortress of a Muslim dynasty that ruled the area during the 15th and early 16th century.  Today it lies in a […]

12/2/2007 to 12/3/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Jhalawar: Foreigner on display

Me in the middle of some students at the public school wide assembly.

Few tourists make there way to the town of Jhalawar in the southeastern corner of Rajastan.  I was stopping to break up the journey to province of Madhya Pradesh and to check out the 10th century sun temple in nearby Jhalrapatan.  However, what I’ll remember from Jhalawar was not the old temples, but […]

12/1/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Kota

City Palace, Kota.

Kota is the big city in the area, for this reason most tourists don’t do much here other than hop on a train.  I made a day trip into the city to check out the city’s palace and look around.  I walked around some of the back streets picking up a mob of […]

11/30/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Hindoli

View of Hindoli.

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The small town of Hindoli gets only a fleeting mention, if any, in guidebooks.  It lies 30 minutes by bus north of Bundi on the edge of large reservoir.  While certainly not the most spectacular town in Rajastan, it’s a pleasant picturesque town with more of a village feel.  A ruined palace […]

11/29/2007 | India , Rajasthan

K. Patan

From the Vishnu temple by the river in K. Patan.

The Bundi festival extended to a few neighboring towns.  The Rajastani tourist office in Bundhi was using the festival as an occasion to try to develop the tourist industry in these towns by organizing a free bus tour.  I went along with 8 other tourists to town of Kasherai Patan about 2 hours […]

11/27/2007 to 11/30/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Bundi Deepans

Deepans (ghee lamps), Bundi.

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Images from the Deepans (ghee lamps) that took place around the town.

11/27/2007 to 11/30/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Bundi Utsav

Parade in Bundi.

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There were far fewer western tourists at the festival in Bundi than at the more famous Pushkar fair.  The relatively small number of tourist meant that the 20 or so foreign tourists who were there were given the “royal” treatment.  On the first day of the festival there was a parade that […]

11/25/2007 to 12/1/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Bundi

View of Bundi.

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After leaving Pushkar, with the rest of the crowds at the conclusion of the fair, I spent a half day in Ajmer before heading on to the town of Bundi.  Ajmer is a Muslim pilgrimage town, the site of the tomb of an important Sufi saint.  For me it was a place […]

| India , Rajasthan

Sunsets from Pushkar

Sunset, Pushkar.

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Desert sunsets are always nice; add some camels, and it’s hard to put the camera down.  Here are few of my sunset pictures from Pushkar.

11/17/2007 to 11/24/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Pushkar: scenes from the city

Drying turbans by the sacred lake, Pushkar.

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11/17/2007 to 11/24/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Pushkar Fair

Smiling woman watching the closing ceremonies of Pushkar Camel Fair.

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In addition to the camel trading there were a number of cultural programs and events for tourists as well as locals.  Among the most photograph friendly events (basically because they took place during the day) were the “spiritual walk,” (essentially a parade consisting of carts, dancers, musicians, and, of course, camels) and […]

11/17/2007 to 11/24/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Pushkar Mela: Camels, Pilgrims, and Tourists, Oh my!

Pushkar.

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It’s a long way from the mountains of Nepal to the deserts of Rajastan in western India.  That distance feels quite a bit further when you are riding on an 8 hour bus from Kathmandu to the border having just come down with a case of diarrhea.  I was popping Imodium like […]

9/24/2007-9/31/2007, 11/6/2007-11/16/2007 | Nepal

Faces of Kathmandu: Street portraits from the city and surroundings

Kathmandu

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Kathmandu and the surrounding towns and temples in the valley are great place to wander around and take a few photos.  Here are a few I took during my stay there.

9/24/2007-9/31/2007, 11/6/2007-11/16/2007 | Nepal

Kathmandu

Puja along the Bagmati River near Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu.

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I must have liked Kathmandu because during each of my stays there I seemed to stay longer than I expected.  Checking out of the Hotel on each occasion, I had to recount the days, thinking, “Wow was I really here that long.”  I suppose that is mark of an intriguing city, which […]

11/9/2007 | Nepal

Patan

Durbar Square, Patan.

Patan like Bhaktapur is another of the old cities of the Kathmandu valley, closer to Kathmandu than Bhaktapur it has been nearly swallowed up by the expanding capital.  But it remains not quite as crowded as and a little quieter than its bigger neighbor.  This makes for the city slightly more pleasant walks […]

11/4/2007 to 11/6/2007 | Nepal

Bhaktapur

View from my hotel room over Tachupal Tole, Bhaktapur.

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Bhaktapur is a beautifully preserved old city outside of Kathmandu.  Many people visit Bhakatpur as a day trip from Kathmandu, but I had heard it was nicer to stay overnight there, so I switched buses in Katmandu and move right on to Bhaktapur.  Coming all the way from Gorkha, I fortuitously arrived […]

10/26/2007 to 11/3/2007 | Nepal

Pokhara, Bandipur, and Gorkha

Fishtail Mountain from Pokhara.

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I was happy to get back to Pokhara, rest, and eat, after 25 days of walking.  My shoes were in tatters, my cloths stunk (even more than usual), and after all but sprinting down from the base camp in a mere one and a half days, my knees where sore ready for […]

10/23/2007-10/26/2007 - | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas VI: The Annapurna Sanctuary

Predawn Annapurna I

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After Poon Hill I was trekking on my own, heading off towards Annapurna Base Camp.  In the area right around Poon Hill there had been muggings in the past, and not wanting to have a repeat of my episode in Tibet I kind of hung around other groups during that stretch of […]

10/19/2007 to 10/23/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas V: Jomsom to Poon Hill

Dhaulagiri (8167 m or 26,951 ft) at sunrise from Poon Hill.

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We moved a little slower through this section not because of weather this time but because Tom developed blisters on his feet.  The slower pace was not a problem as it allowed us to spend a little longer in Tukuche sampling the various brandy flavors at the local distillery and an extra […]

10/17/2007 to 10/18/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas IV: Snowed in at the Bob Marley

View from Muktinath after the snow storm.

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Arriving in Muktinath was a welcome change after two days at the rather rustic High Camp.  Noting on our arrival that there was a lodge in town called Hotel Bob Marley, there was really no other place to stay given that my Canadian trekking companion was even sporting the Marley dreds.   Transportation […]

10/14/2007 to 10/17/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas III: Over the Thorung La

View towards the Annapurnas from Thorung La pass.

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From Manang, the second time (courtesy of my snow blindness and need for sunglasses), we took two days to hike up almost 1500 m to High Camp at nearly 5000 m {16,500 ft}.  High camp is a couple of lodges at the foot of the Thorung La pass the highest pass on […]

10/10/2007 to 10/13/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas II: Tilicho Lake

Porters, Tilicho Lake.

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From Manang we deviated off the typical circuit route to visit Tilicho Lake.  At 4914 m (over 16,200 ft), and depending on your definition of a lake, it qualifies as the highest lake in the world, a title which seems to be clamed by a number of high altitude bodies of water.  […]

10/3/2007 to 10/9/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas I: Besisahar to Manang

Annapurna III, Manang, Annapurna circuit trek.

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For the longest time, I had wanted to come to Nepal and hike the famed Annapurna circuit.  When planning my journey I had tried to time my arrival in Nepal for the best possible time to do the trek, just after the monsoon when the air is clear and the temperatures are […]

9/22/2007 to 9/24/2007 | Tibet

Crossing the Himalayas: Tibet to Nepal

Small lake on the road to Saga from Kailash.

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After living on instant noodle soup and going without a shower for 10 days, arriving in the town of Saga with a choice of restaurants and most importantly public pay hot showers, was a welcome sight despite its grubby Chinese buildings.  We had no trouble with the authorities this time and arrived […]

9/19/2007 to 9/21/2007 | Tibet

Sacred Springs, Lakes, and Mountains

Pilgrims prostrating around Lake Manasarovar.

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After the Kailash kora, we went to Tirthapuri hot springs and monastery associated with Padmasambava, the Indian guru who brought Buddhism to Tibet.  Traditionally it is were pilgrims bath after the kora, my travel companions had visions of soaking in a warm pool fed by the springs, I was under no such […]

9/17/2007 to 9/19/2007 | Tibet

The Kailash Kora: sin free for the moment

Approaching Mt. Kailash before starting the Kora.

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According to Tibetan Buddhists completing the kora (walking) around the sacred Mt. Kailash rids one’s self of the sins (negative karma) accumulated over a lifetime.  It’s a bit tougher than walking in to a confessional at your local Catholic Church, but then again Tibetan Buddhism is not a religion for those wishing […]

9/13/2007 to 9/16/2007 | Tibet

The journey west: to Kailash

Himalayas on the road to Kailash

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I decided to play by the rules for my journey out to western Tibet and the sacred Mout Kailash, home to the Hindu gods, a pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, and tourists alike.  The Chinese government tries its best to make the pilgrimage to this most sacred of mountains as difficult […]

9/1/2007 to 9/12/2007 | Tibet

Lhasa

Pilgrim with a prayer wheel near the Jokhang temple, Lhasa.

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I’m always a little worried when I return to places I really enjoyed, not wanting to spoil those memories.  So it was with a bit of trepidation that I road train on the newly completed rail line from Golmud to Lhasa, and the trepidation was not solely because I was traveling without […]