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
Celebrated in the South Indian city Trivandrum, the Attukal Pongala Festival is the largest annual gathering of women in the world.
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 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.
A Bombay Beer Bar
I started going to the beer bars because I was puzzled. I couldn’t figure out why men would want to spend colossal amounts of money [...]
Hotel Samrat, Mumbai
Four years ago, Hotel Samrat gave Claire and I our earliest impressions of India. The cows just outside its doors and the oversized ledger used [...]
Omkar Lodge, Trivandrum
Last bed in town This was the last room in the city for under Rs1000 when we arrived during the Attukal Pongala Festival, the largest [...]
Shastri Resort, Gokarna
Far away enough from the hippies to be wholesome. One of the lovely Shastri family’s cottages on the hill became our home for almost a [...]
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 [...]
Cockroaches in Sleeper Class: Journal Entry – Day 4
Written on an overnight train from Mumbai to Gokarna. There are cockroaches all over our train carriage. They are scuttling along the floor, crawling over [...]
Back on the road
We’re on the road again, at the beginning of our second overland journey – through India, Southeast Asia, China, Central Asia, the Middle East and [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
A Homestay in a South Indian Village
Rural India is changing: electrifying, learning English and accepting tourists into its homes.
Goa’s Haughty Hippies
Vagator in Goa has a reputation for trance parties. It didn’t live up to it when we visited, but its hippies were there, most of them drug-addled and obnoxious.
Matheran: A Hill Station Petting Zoo
Matheran is hill station outside Mumbai. It where the city comes to breathe: all mechanised vehicles are banned – even bicycles – and monkeys, ponies, cows, goats and dogs roam its streets.
The Mumbai Revelation
Arriving in Mumbai was a revelation. Bollywood, Indian newspapers, cows on Khar Road and crowded trains: all of them began our love affair with India.
A Passage to India (with apologies to E.M. Forster)
“The brown skins, the bare feet, the nose-rings, the humped bullocks – all these things were foreseeable, seemed obvious and familiar from the moment of [...]