religious site

Krishna and his sidekick Garuda

Ancient Angkor: Stories in the Stone

The history of the Khmer Empire is written in the ruins at Angkor, from ancient Roluos to Hindu Angkor Wat & the Buddhist Bayon

The Buddha at Wat Maha Pruettharam Worawihan, supposedly from Sukhothai

The Reincarnated Capital: A History

Southeast Asian history is mostly the story of competing city-states like Bangkok and Ayutthaya, which are reincarnations, in their way, of one another, with the same karma.

A mostly Akha congregation sing a hymn at Mae Salong's Methodist church

A Sunday Service Among the Akha

In Mae Salong, a Chinese minister and his wife invited us to a Sunday service, attended mostly by the Akha, one of Thailand’s hill tribes.

The Mekong reflects dusk's eerie light

Luang Prabang: The Elements of Heritage

Luang Prabang is a riddle that photographs can solve. It is a town popular with tourists and a World Heritage site, but it rarely feels [...]

The new Fude Temple in Vientiane

The Chinese of Vientiane

A portrait of the Chinese immigrants transforming Laos’ sleepy capital.

The Curse of Gokarna

The Curse of Gokarna

Gokarna is a village growing awkwardly and uncomfortably into a town. It is in this sense an adolescent, unsure of itself in the modern world, but in every other sense Gokarna is old, with a history that stretches into the remotest parts of human memory.

Bubbling Over: Attukal Pongala

Bubbling Over: Attukal Pongala

Celebrated in the South Indian city Trivandrum, the Attukal Pongala Festival is the largest annual gathering of women in the world.

An Brahmin and a priah dog pass a door advertising Thums Up, India's spicy cola

Varanasi’s Doorways

Mark Twain visited Varanasi in 1895, while following the equator around the world. “Benares” he wrote, referring to the city by its Raj era name, [...]

Allahabad boatman

India’s Touts: Journal Entry, Day 75

India’s touts treat tourists like walking wallets. Why should tourists treat them any better?

Claire and Iain post-Holi, in Hampi

Holi: India’s Festival of Colours

Two days ago, the Times of India’s Delhi insert included an article on the “ten dirtiest things crazy revellers had played Holi with.” It was impenetrable, like so [...]

Murudeshwar's temple

Murudeshwar and the Millionaire

The ancient temple at Murudeshwar in Kerala, India, is like a Hindu Disneyland. It has the largest gopuram in the world, and even the dustbins seem borrowed from the idea of a theme park.

Women line up at Attukal Pongala

One Minute at Attukal Pongala

Claire is writing a post about it, but in the meantime here is a short, shaky clip from the Attukal Pongala Festival. (That post is [...]

Hyderabad / Cyberabad

Hyderabad / Cyberabad

I awoke to the muffled beeping of my mobile phone’s alarm, heard through airline issue earplugs and the metal of the train clattering on its [...]

Cochin's backwaters

Backwaters and Beer Teapots in Cochin

The train rattled along, inducing in me the sluggish fatigue of rock-rocking train travel and blanketing heat. I sat atop a wooden luggage rack in [...]

Maharaja's palace in Mysore, it up at night

Mysore: The Demon, the Goddess and the Indian Prince

Mysore, which was one of India’s most important princely states, traces its history back to a Hindu goddess and a demon doing battle on Chamundi Hill.

The Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem

A predawn haze lit the kilometre of road before us. We trudged along it, still groggy from the half hearted slumber of our bus ride [...]

Damascus

Damascus

Sharia ath-Thawra was a jumble of shining yellow taxis, fearlessly zipping between moving metal. Their drivers rested weary elbows on horns, hooting, blind to all [...]

Suleymaniye Mosque Interior

Ramazan in Istanbul

“Allaaahuu Akbaarr.” The muezzin paused, drew breath. I held out a public phone’s plastic receiver, stretching the wire, and hoped my father on the other [...]

rome

Misadventures in Rome

A single coin thrown into the Trevi Fountain, with your right hand, over your left shoulder, is said to ensure a return to Rome. The [...]

Old World Wandering

Florence

An earthy rainbow of suede belts hung from rows of open air market stalls, iron railings groaned under the weight of plush leather jackets. Wallets [...]

Old World Wandering

York

Dodging traffic in London, chests heaving, burdened by still unfamiliar and uncomfortable backpacks, Claire and I started our ambitious trip, on a tight budget, through [...]

Old World Wandering

Beginnings: Oxford

An almost missed bus drew the two of us into Oxford, bleary eyed and recovering from my birthday, celebrated over the previous two days. I’d [...]

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