Reverse chronological order
May 31, 2010. Having
neglected to register with the Foreigners' Regional Registtration
Office in New Delhi last June when I arrived in India, I had to seek
special permission to exit India. Procedures took about 9 days.
Finally, I have flown to Kathmandu, Nepal, where I should remain 3
months or more.
April 23, 2010. After a peaceful
month in Kazhakuttom, a village in suburban Thiruvanathapuram, the
capital of Kerala, I have returned to New Delhi for the remaining weeks
of my stay in India. Three new lines have been added to the Delhi
Metro, one of them with a station near Akshardham Temple. You are not
allowed to take a camera into the temple, so I photographed it from the
metro station. Even there I was told that photographing the temple was
prohibited, but I had already taken one picture.
Akshardham Temple from Akshardham Station
Ramada in Kazhakuttom, a Village near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
February 24, 2010. Today I visited Bannerghatta National Park, in the Indian State of Karnataka, south of Bengaluru. This is a park where lions, tigers, bear, deer and other animals walk about at liberty. Each species has a region of several acres, but the regions are separated by high fences. Visitors are escorted in a tour bus, which crosses through the fences by entering and exiting sally ports. The park also has a zoo, including an aquarium and an aviary, as well as a butterfly conservatory. The Indian lion is a critically endangered species, but there were several in Bannerghatta. The Indian tiger population is also dwindling, but India's National Tiger Conservation Authority seeks to keep the species viable.
Bengal Tiger in Bannerghatta National Park, near Bengaluru, India
Lioness in Bannerghatta National Park, near Bengaluru, India
December 24, 2009. I arrived in Bengaluru, until recently known as Bangalore, one of the five largest cities in India and capital of the state of Karnataka. Downtown Bengaluru is an immense marketplace, with emphasis on silkens, apparel and luggage. Also available are pistols, swords, daggers and hard liquor. The chief language here is not Hindi, but Kannada, a Dravidian language, related to Tamil, Telugu and other languages of south India. In the photograph below can be seen the quaint, exotic writing of Kannada on a banner over the entrance to a bazaar.
Bazaar in Bengaluru (Bangalore)
December 1, 2009. I flew from Mumbai to Dabolim, Goa, by
IndiGo, a domestic Indian airline, arriving about 3 PM. It was a very
long ride in a taxi to Panjim (Panaji), a city of 100.000 that is the
capital of Goa, India's smallest state. Goa was a Portuguese colony
from 1510 till 1961 and still bears the mementos of that era in its
architecture and toponymy. I have a comfortable room in a local hotel,
but will depart on December 24.
The Mandovi River, at Panjim, Goa
November 9, 2009. Arriving by air in Mumbai from New Delhi, I was greeted by dense clouds and incessant rain, though the monsoon season is supposedly over. By November 12, it got sunny, and I did some minor visiting around town, trying to figure out where I am. I went by suburban train to Churchgate, for one thing, and from nearby Kilachand Chowk, I got a fine look at Mumbai's skyline, over a bight in the Indian Ocean, which here is called the Arabian Sea.
Mumbai Skyline from Kilachand Chowk
Cattle Relaxing on Juhu Road, Mumbai
October 22, 2009. Here is a picture of the Baha'i House of Worship, or Lotus Temple, in Delhi, which I visited this morning, This temple was built in 1986 and is India's main Baha'i center. The Baha'i faith is meant as a religion that will unite mankind and was invented in the nineteenth century in Iran by Bahá'u'lláh.
Lotus Temple, Delhi, India
August 6 & 13, 2009. I made separate visits to two of Delhi's famous landmarks. Qutb Minar is an Islamic minaret built in the 12th through 15th centuries in the midst of ruins of even older Hindu temples. There are several buildings and dilapidated walls on the grounds. Birla Mandir, also known as Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, is nearer downtown Delhi. Worship services are still conducted in the temple, built in 1620 by the Birla family in honor of the goddess Lakshmi, wife of Krishna known also as Nirayan.
Qutb Minar, Delhi, India
Birla Mandir, Delhi, India
August 30-31, 2009. I went on a pilgrimage to Haridwar, in Uttarakhand, a state in north India bordering both China and Nepal. The Ganges, with its source 200 miles upstream, flows through Haridwar, and faithful Hindus bathe there. There are many, many famous temples in the vicinity, including Maa Mansa Mandir Devi, perched like a fortress on a hilltop, and accessible only by cable car. It was a rugged excursion, with bumpy roads, labyrinthine villages and throngs of people.
Mist over the Ganges at Haridwar, Uttarakhand
August 23, 2009. With a group of about 12, I visited the Amber Fort, near Jaipur, Rajasthan, the Pink City. During the outing we also visited Jantar Mantar observatory and in several places we saw elephants and camels. There were snake charmers near the observatory as well.
Ladies at the Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Elephant, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Cobra, Jaipur, Rajasthan
August 5, 2009. I went with a group of around 40, mostly Indians, to Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. There we visited Fort Agra, much like the Lal Qila in Delhi, pictured further below, and the Taj Mahal. On the return to Delhi, we stopped at Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, and Vrindawan, where Krishna grew up, according to Hinduism. In Vrindawan, we attended Hindu services in a small temple, seated on the floor, and afterwards we offered garlands of flowers to Krishna. In both the Taj Mahal, which is a Muslim site, and in the small temple in Vrindawan, we were required to go barefoot, leaving our shoes outside.
Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Camel Cab in Agra, near the Taj Mahal
July 1, 2009. I visited Lal Qila, the Red Fort, built by Moghul (Mughal) Emperor Shahjahan in the seventeenth century. This is in downtown Delhi, accessible by Metro, near Chandni Chowk Station.
Lal Qila, the Red Fort, Delhi, India
June 16-17, 2009. After four and one half years in South America, I have come to India for a stay of one year or more. I boarded a British Airways jet plane at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stopped without deplaning at Guarulhos Airport in São Paulo, Brazil. I had to transfer at Heathrow Airport in London, England, finally deplaning at Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi, India. I left Buenos Aires at noon on June 16 and arrived in New Delhi at 11 PM on June 17, with an 8-1/2 time difference. Actual air time was about 22 hours. This distance is some 10,000 miles, but we flew 11,000 because of the detour to England. After England, we flew over Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan and Pakistan.
Parade in New Delhi
Ox Cart in New Delhi
Itinerary in India, Nepal and Tibet
The Hindu Spirit
(from the Rajasthan Patrika)