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 […]

3/26/2010 to 3/28/2010 | Bihar , India

Back to Bodhgaya

12► I smiled politely on the outside but I cringed beneath the facade of my face as a couple of my fellow train compartment companions struggled to close the heavy brass bracelet I had just been given around my wrist.  Sarah looked on with amusement from the bench opposite me.  The 3 fellows […]

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 […]

12/16/2009 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, […]

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

Kushinagar (Completing the Buddhist Quadfecta)

12► Having just been to Lumbini I had now been to three of the four main pilgrimage sites associated with the life of the Buddha, Lumbini (birthplace), Bodhgaya (site of his enlightenment), and Sarnath (site of his first sermon).  Only a couple hours by bus from Gorakpur the main Indian transportation hub for […]

10/10/2009 to 10/11/2009 | Nepal

Lumbini (Birthplace of the Buddha)

123► Every time I’ve left Nepal I’ve gone via Sunauli the border town with Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and only a short 17 miles from the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini.  Each time I see sign indicating the turn off for Lumbini, I think to myself I should stop there one […]

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 […]

3/23/2009 to 3/29/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Back to Varanasi: walking the ghats

VaranasiI returned to Varanasi to meet up with my friend Jon, who I knew from my grad school days at UCSB. He was in town on business, to install some equipment at the local university, B.H.U. It was nice to see someone I hadn’t met in the last 2 years. I certainly didn’t mind being back in Varanasi, walking the ghats each morning. […]

3/14/2009 to 3/18/2009 | Bihar , India

Bodhgaya

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya Few places I’ve been to induce serenity like Bodhgaya, site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. Walking around the Mahabodhi temple marking the spot beneath the Bodhi tree where the Buddha reached enlightenment the melodic chants of Thai, Tibetan, and Sri Lankan monks and pilgrims fill the air of Buddhism’s most sacred site. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

| India , Kerala

Theyyam

Theyyam, Kannur District.

1234► My initial experience with the art of Theyyam enthralled me to the point where I was anxious to seek out more of this captivating ritual art form.  I returned to the Kannur District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) office that had been so helpful in leading me to the first Theyyam I had […]

1/18/2008 to 1/19/2008 | India , Karnataka

Udupi

Detail on temple cart, Udupi.

123► Udupi is a pilgrim town near the coast in southern Karnataka.  It is also the birthplace of the masala dosa, a tasty south Indian snack/meal consisting of spiced potatoes wrapped in a rice flour pancake served with chutneys.  It as close as India comes to a breakfast burrito, which is not very, […]

1/30/2008 to 2/2/2008 | India , Karnataka

Badami to Gokarna: Via Hampi

6th century Cave temple (no. 1), Badami.

12► From Bijapur, I left Muslim ruins behind for Hindu ones in and around the village of Badami.  Badami along with nearby Pattadakal and Aihole (pronounced a-hole-leh, rather than a-hole) are the sites of some well preserved Hindu temple architecture dating from 4th to 8th centuries.  Although the temples were nice and the […]

1/17/2008 to 1/21/2008 | India , Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho

Parsvanath Jain temple, Khajuraho.

123► The temples of Khajuraho are famous for their intricate and graceful carving but even more so for the sexual nature of that carving.  The temples, dating from the 950 to 1050 AD, were forgotten, obscured by the jungle until their rediscovery in the early 19th century.  There remote location and abandonment spared […]

12/27/2007 to 1/1/2008 | India , Punjab , Rajasthan

Golden Temple Reunion: Bundi to Amritsar

Sikh guard, Golden Temple, Amritsar.

12► From Bundi it was a whirlwind journey up to Amritsar with stops at Ranthambore National Park and Jaipur. At Ranthambore we spent a lot of money (all right relatively a lot ~$32 each, including the over priced hotel we had to stay at) to not see tigers and drive around in a […]

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

123► 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 […]

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.

123► 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 […]