Lanterns line sidewalks in Mumbai in the lead-up to Diwali, diffusing the dreariness of everyday.
Around the monasteries in Ladakh, you often come across notices about and faded, worn pictures of a young child.
At first glance, we thought someone’s child was missing, but upon inquiring, we learnt that the boy is the Panchen Lama – in Tibetan belief, the monk in charge of finding the successor of the Dalai Lama and has been spirited away, along with his family, in 1995 by the Chinese when he was 6 years old.
The reason why the Chinese did this, is kind of obvious (China, you may want to cover your ears for this) – if they control the Panchen Lama, they control who becomes the next Dalai Lama. The topic is extremely sensitive for Tibetans and they have been raising their voices in futility for the last 20 years to ask for his freedom. China, meanwhile, has appointed a ‘faux’ Panchen Lama in place of the real one but the Tibetan people refuse to accept him, believing that the real Panchen Lama is still alive, even though they worry about his state and well-being.
Theirs has been a long and fruitless battle in trying to reclaim their lost country, lost independence and spending generations in exile. There’s a sort of determination, sometimes punctuated by desperation, in their voices – they want him to come back, they need him to come back.
Read more about the Panchen Lama’s disappearance and the movement to bring him back: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-32771242
One year ago, on this exact day, I was in Ladakh – a remote, arid and beautiful region in Indian Himalayas; and a place that I would happily go back to any day and recommend that anyone who can, visit now. You can read all about our adventures on the road in Ladakh here.
Shopping for clothes is serious business in India. Try taking a stroll in one of the more famous local textile markets or bazaars in India on a Saturday and you’ll know that this isn’t a task for the faint of heart.
Lanes upon lanes of little shops snake through the labyrinth markets in all directions, crowded by women with hands full of shopping bags and buying appetites still not satiated; and shelves overflowing with fabrics of every type, every print and every color imaginable.
This photo was taken on one such Saturday afternoon in one of the many almost-identical stores in a New Delhi market, unwillingly having to brave the mad rush.
More bursts of colour here: “ROY G. BIV.”
The Fire Dance is a special performance put up by the Banjara (gypsy) community of Rajasthan. It involves women dancing with aflame vessels balanced on the top of their heads; and more spectacularly, the Fire Breather (and Eater) who swallows a few fireballs, drinks kerosene and breathes massive fire clouds – all in a day’s work.
This was one work trip that I was looking forward to.
We were headed to the dry forests of Ranthambore in Rajasthan. Rajasthan – the land of brave warriors (of the past), grand palaces and rich cultural heritage. Rajasthan is the stuff of postcards – it’s the place that you see most often when your mind conjures up images of India (other than the Taj Mahal, which lies in another state, Uttar Pradesh).
But here I was, headed to Rajasthan for none of its grand palaces and monuments or its music, dance or festivals – I was headed to the quiet, nondescript village of Sawai Madhopur, bordering the wildlife reserve of Ranthambore. I was here to try my luck, yet another time, to spot the elusive Bengal tiger, that most majestic of Indian wild animals. And one that had eluded me on 3 different past trips to three different national parks (Corbett, Nagarhole, Bandipur). My hopes were high; someone I know had sighted tigers twice on their safaris in the month of December in Ranthambore (and that isn’t even prime spotting season). Continue reading In Pursuit of the Elusive One…
Having successfully made its way to the (momentarily) unattended tea table, a squirrel awaits its chance to make a dash for its reward – crumbs from the cookie box that it sits on top of.