3/9/2011 to 3/11/2011 | India , Manipur

Temple Meal: Eating with the Meiteis, Imphal

Temple meal at Shri Shri Narsinga Mandir, Imphal

12► Deepak took us to a meal at one of the local Temples.  Meiteis are Vishnavite Hindus, and several of the Hindu temples in Imphal put on a daily meal for there devotees in the late morning.  Deepak assured us that this particular temple, the Shri Shri Narsinga Mandir, was the best.  It […]

10/30/2010 to 10/31/2010 | Himachal Pradesh , India

Chamba

Sui Mata Shrine, Chamba

12► My final stop in the Chamba Valley, before I headed back to Delhi, was the regional capital of the same name.  Set down in the valley its setting isn’t as impressive as Bharmour’s, but like Bharmour it has an array of impressive temples dating from the 10th to 19th centuries.  The focal […]

10/27/2010 to 10/29/2010 | Himachal Pradesh , India

Manimahesh: Another Kailash

Manimahesh Kailash

12► I had come to the Chamba Valley with the intention of trekking to Manimahesh Lake, a lake holy to Hindus set in the high Himalayas at 4,080 m (13,390 ft), and dominated by Manimahesh Kailash.  I was hoping to add this Kailash to my Kailash collection, which now included the grand daddy of Kailashes, […]

3/29/2010 | India , Uttar Pradesh

A Day in Varanasi

12► With the exception of Delhi, which is “the Rome” of Northern India where all roads or in this case rail lines lead, Varanasi is the Indian city that I’ve been back to most often.  Ironic since it took me until my third trip to India to finally visit this most sacred Hindu […]

3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part IX: Death of a Sadhu

123► As I walked along side one of the channels of the Ganges that ran through the camps on the Eastern edge of Haridwar I noticed a small group of Sadhus gathered by the river.  Some were chanting others just stood watching.  I would find out after the small crowd dispersed that what […]

3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VIII: A Sadhu Lunch

123► A stream a Sadhus passed by me as I sat resting in the afternoon sun, immediately curious as to where all these holy men were headed, I jumped to my feet and followed.  It turned out I had stumbled upon a lunch that was being put on for a particular Akhara (division […]

3/16/2010 to 3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VII: Life in the camps

12345► The wide flood plain that harbors several channels of the Ganges on the eastern edge of Haridwar sprouts into a tent city during the Kumbh Mela.   Temporary Ashrams, Naga Sadhu camps, and tented accommodation for pilgrims from various states cover the barren plains in a patchwork of canvas and color.  I found […]

3/16/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VI: Hari Ki Pauri

12► Hari Ki Pauri is believed to be the point at which Ganges leaves the mountains and enterers the plains of India.  It is the most revered site in Haridwar believed by Hindus to have been visited by both Siva and Vishnu.   While this revered ghat was closed to all but holy men […]

3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part V: Somavati Amavasya

123► Until March 15, 2010 in Haridwar, despite having been to Varanasi and other sacred cities on the Ganga (Ganges) numerous times the extent of my contact with the river had been limited to washing my hands in the icy cold waters at Gomukh, the point at which the Ganges flows from the […]

3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part IV: Sadhus on the march

12► Somavati Amavasya occurs when a new moon falls on a Monday.  On this auspiciousness day Hindus believe that a dip in a holy river will have especially good karmic results.  During a Kumbh Mela this auspiciousness is amplified.  The stream of Sadhus toward Hari Ki Pauri Ghat inching toward their sacred bath, […]

3/12/2010 to 3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part III: The Sadhu Olympics

12345► (warning nudity -not the good kind) Sadhus, Hindu holy men, are a fixture amidst the holy cities and temples of India.  Normally wondering the road between holy sites or meditating in caves up in the Himalayas, once every 3-4 years they converge on the site of the Kumbh Mela.  It is the […]

3/12/2010 to 3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part II: It’s time for a bath

123► As the Second Royal Bath (Somvati Amavasya – Dvitya Shahi Snan) approached, the banks of the holy Ganga(Ganges) at Haridwar steadily filled with pilgrims.  In the mornings the pilgrims who had descended on Haridwar from across India would flock to the ghats, taking their morning bath in the holy river.  In the […]

3/5/2010 | India , Maharastra

Nasik: Rang Panchami, Holi Strikes Back

123456► I put on my already color stained hole ridden shirt which I had worn for the Holi celebration in Hyderabad.  I had saved this item that might ordinarily gone straight to the trash can for this particular day.  I placed my camera inside my dry bag backpack securing the watertight seal.  I […]

3/4/2010 | India , Maharastra

Trimbakeshwar

It was the festival hump day in Nasik sandwiched between yesterday’s celebration of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj birthday, and Rang Panchami the day that Maharastrans throw color for Holi.  I decided to take the opportunity to visit the nearby city of Trimbakeshwar, a pilgrimage city worshiped as the source of the Godavari River.  I […]

2/28/2010 to 3/1/2010 | Andhra pradesh , India

Holi Hyderabad!

12► I had decided to stick around Hyderabad for Holi, while not the most exuberant place to celebrate Holi, I would get a chance to attend the Indian School of Business (ISB)’s Holi party with my friend Sunny.  It was being held the day before Holi since classes were being held on Holi.  […]

2/20/2010 | India , Karnataka

Somnathpur

Somnathpur is home to the 13th century star-shaped Keshava Temple built by the Hoysala dynasty.  These masters of sculpture also built the larger more famous temples at Halebid and Belur, which I visited in 1994 and 2008.  I made an effort to visit this temple in part on behalf of my dad.  I […]

12/31/2009 | Gujarat , India

Ambaji: Pos Purnima Festival

1234► A couple of the members of our group had made a promise to visit and perform a puja at the temple of Ambaji in Northern Gujarat, about an hour drive from Abu Road where we stayed the night.  I decided to join them on their early morning pilgrimage, while other members of […]

12/28/2009 to 12/30/2009 | India , Rajasthan

Touring Southern Rajasthan with the N.R.I.s

123► After wedding I tagged along with Vinay and a number of his cousins including the bride and groom on a short 4 day tour of Southern Rajasthan (a kind of group honeymoon).  The major places on the itinerary Udaipur and Mt. Abu I had already been, so it was more an opportunity […]

12/16/2009 to 12/20/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Return to Varanasi: again for the first time

1234► Varanasi is a place that just keeps drawing me back every time I pass through this part of Uttar Pradesh.   No doubt a combination of things draw me here, cheap comfortable accommodation at the friendly Tiwari Lodge in Assi Ghat, a couple tourist cafes with free wifi where I can rest from […]

12/13/2009 to 12/15/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya

12► Ayodhya was another place in eastern Uttar Pradesh that I had been meaning to get to and hadn’t.  I had passed through it once on a bus to Lucknow and was impressed enough by the temple lined riverfront that I decided then I should stop at some point.  That point was now, […]

10/18/2009 | India , Uttarakhand

Champawat

I had decided to stop in Champawat on my way to the Nepali border.  I knew little about the town only that I had been told it was a historical place with ruins of some old temples dating from the 16th century Chand dynasty who once made their capital here.  There was not […]

1/14/2009 to 1/17/2009 | Bangladesh

Paharpur to Dinajpur

12► From Rajshahi I continued north stopping at Bogra as a base for visiting the remains of the 8th century monastery Somapuri Vihara at Paharpur.  Once one of the largest monastery complexes of its time it has now been reduced to a collection of brick foundations, although quite a bit of masonry work […]

1/10/2009 to 1/13/2009 | Bangladesh

Bagerhat to Rajshahi

123► I spent my one day in Khulna taking a day trip to Bagerhat, site of several 15th century mosques and tombs, including the tomb of a venerated sufi saint by the name of Khan Jahan Ali which is the primary draw for Bangladeshi pilgrims.  While the architecture is not spectacular (especially when […]

October 2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Char Dham

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1234567► Legacy Gallery with Captions Having escaped the snows of Spiti, I headed for the neighboring Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, formally known as Uttaranchal.  The state’s most famous destination for foreigners is the Meditation/Yoga/Asram/neo-Hippi meca of Rishikesh made famous by the Beatles’ stay in 1968.  For Indians the state derives its fame as […]

4/6/2008 to 4/10/2008 | India , Karnataka

Return to Hampi

Towards Virupaksha Temple from Hemakuta Hill, Hampi.

1234► On my first trip to India, having seen my father’s pictures of Hampi, I immediately wanted to go there myself.  The 16th century ruined capital of the Vijayanagar empire, set in a fabulous landscape strewn with boulders appeared to be a perfect place to live out my “Indiana Jones” fantasy.  As soon […]

4/4/2008 to 4/5/2008 | India , Karnataka

The Sculpture of the Hoysala

Detail on the 12th century Hoysalewara Temple, Halebid.

123► Central Karnataka was ruled by the Hoysala dynasty during the 11-13th centuries.  Their temples were characterized by incredibly ornate sculptural detail, possible because the soft steatite soapstone used in construction oxidizes and hardens when exposed to air, beautifully preserving the artistry for almost a thousand years.  The Hindu temples of Halebid and […]

3/17/2008 to 3/20/2008 and 3/27/2008 to 4/3/2008 | India , Kerala , Tamil Nadu

The Ghats

Munnar, Kerala.

12► The Ghats are southern India’s mountain range which stretches from its southern tip northward.  Before branching into the eastern and western Ghats which create the boundaries of the central plateau of India the Ghats run along the boarder between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  It was this region in which I spent the […]

3/21/2008 to 3/26/2008 | India , Tamil Nadu

Temple hopping in Tamil Nadu

North gopuram Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai.

123► I had seen a great deal of Tamil Nadu on my first trip to India so I hadn’t really intended to go back, but I found that a short foray through Tamil Nadu would permit me to head North without retracing journeys I had already made in Kerala.  Plus it would give […]

3/15/2008 to 3/16/2008 | India , Kerala

Sabarimala: Jungle Pilgrimage

Main shrine, temple of Sri Ayyappa, Sabarimala.

If you mention the words “Sabarimala,” and “Lord Ayyappa,” to the average Western tourist in Kerala and you will be most likely be greeted with a blank stare.  I would have been one of those blank stares if I hadn’t started thumbing through my Kerala road atlas looking for places to break the […]

2/23/2008 to 2/26/2008 | India , Kerala

Festival hopping through Thrissur District

Ceremonial elephants, temple festival in Wadakkancheri, Thrissur District.

123► There has been more than a few times when I’ve arrived in a town and after a quick look around thought to myself what am I going to do here for the rest of the day, yet on each occasion that thought as crossed my mind something invariably arises to keep my […]