Hampi – The Echoes of Glory

The empire is long gone. Its relics scattered across a breathtaking boulder strewn landscape once chosen for its impregnability. Desolate ruins, lacking the antiquity of Egypt, the precision of Inca stonework or the mathematical coding of Angkor Wat. But Hampi’s stones – those chiselled by man into intricate divine forms, as well as those worn smooth by the elements – whisper stories.…

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San Sebastian – Favourite Pintxo Bars

The fact that San Sebastian is home to two of the top 50 restaurants in the world and boasts more Michelin stars per capita than any other city, is common knowledge and an indication of the Donostiarra passion for food. That many residential complexes come fitted with state of the art community kitchens in lieu of gyms or swimming pools, is even more telling.…

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In Photos – The Pagoda Fields Of Bagan

Bagan has always been synonymous with Burma for me. The vivid imagery of hundreds of mystical pagodas rising out of vast misty plains or silhouetted against a gloriously golden sky has beckoned me for as long as I can remember. The reality however was unexpectedly mixed. The temples are stunning from afar. Close up, the mystique gets eroded somewhat, and you begin to understand why a…

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Zanzibar – The Allure Of The Familiar

Everything, barring the intensely turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, felt startlingly familiar. The sultry weather, the spicy coconut infused curries, the colorful attire, the ornately chiseled doors. Even the traditional game of Bao. My Indianness, and the fact that I had grown up watching monsoon winds billowing the lateen sails of Arab dhows and dreaming of following in the wake of mythical adventurers,…

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Serengeti – The Gnu & Its Wanderlust

We very nearly missed the river crossings we had come to the Serengeti to witness. Rains arrived early this year. And the wildebeest herds, following some primal genetic coding that propels them on an arduous trek across the Savannah in search of fresh new grass, had already moved to the Northern plains. Perhaps even crossed over to the…

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Rwanda – Rubbing Shoulders With Silverbacks!

We are warned not to get too close to the mountain gorillas. Or touch them. But the great apes are not bound by any such restrictions.  Guhonda, the largest silverback on the planet, lies on his belly, staring at us intently. Then he heaves up all 400 imposing pounds, and strides purposefully to a clump of bamboo shoots…

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The Light Of Faith

The crowded, choreographed, almost Bollywoodesque obeisance to the Ganga in Varanasi, is more spectacle than religious ritual. Performed daily at sunrise and sunset, the Ganga aarti was conceived by the savvy pujari (temple priest) Babu Maharaj in 1992, and it’s  popularity has spawned more such spectacles in other cities along the banks of India’s holiest…

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