Tag Archives: India Travel

Tiruvidanthai – The Land of Divine Weddings

By Swati Prasad Siddharth

The Lakshmivaraha Perumal temple at Tiruvidanthai in Tamil Nadu is one of the 108 Divyadesams – sacred places for Vaishnavites. The place is also called Sripuri , Varahapuri, Asurakulakaalanalloor, Nityakalyanapuri or Vamaghavipuri

About 42 kms of driving down the East Coast Road from Chennai, 16 kms short of Mamallapuram, we branch off to the right through a multicolored arch. A concrete road ends abruptly in front of a 15th century stone mahamantapam. Each of the 16 pillars in the mahamantapam is intricately carved. The dasavatharam or ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are very easily recognizable among the numerous figures.
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A desert drive past Jaisalmer

Navin Gulia severely injured his neck and spine while clearing an obstacle in a competition at the Indian Military Academy, where he was in the final term as a gentleman cadet.He was 22 years old then. Refusing to let his disability define him, he decided to conquer the world in a wheelchair.

He created a modification kit to allow him to drive a car and has notched up over 200,000 kms driving up the Himalayas in Uttaranchal, Himachal and Ladakh. He has driven up to the Khardung La (pass) in Ladakh, then the highest motorable pass in the world. He has also practised flying powered hang-gliders. Here he writes about his experiences driving from Delhi to the Indo-Pak Border.

Growing up, deserts have caught my fancy a number of times. From movies like ‘Omar Mukhtar – lion of the desert’ to the Hindi classic ‘Lamhe’ and books and stories on deserts. I had no real experience of the desert except what I had read. Going to Jaisalmer, the essence of deserts in India and the beginning of Thar, had been my fantasy for a long time.
When I got a call from the Ability Foundation to go on an assignment to Jodhpur, I grabbed it. Jaisalmer was 300 kms away and the India Pakistan border another 140kms. Continue reading

On the trail of the Tiger

by Nirupama Subramanian

It was 5.30 am on a dark December morning. The wind gnawed at my face and froze my fingers gripping the edge of the seat in the open Maruti Gypsy. I wished I had worn gloves. The cold was something I had not anticipated on our quest. We were at the entrance of the Bandhavgarh National Park, along with forty other jeeps, with one singular purpose- seeing tigers in the wild. I had seen tigers before, pacing restlessly behind the bars, resting behind high walls and deep trenches, separated by more than those boundaries from the humans that gawked at them. They were creatures that evoked only curiosity and provoked cries of ‘Hey, tiger, move from there’ from unruly spectators. We are masters of confined spaces, tigers are creatures of vast open territories. We have rarely met on neutral ground. Continue reading

The Taj and the shameful state of Indian Tourism

By Rohini Mohan
A pervasive email campaign has been making the rounds to nominate the Taj Mahal as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Over 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year- that’s about 8000 people a day.  Most of them get on a filthy train or stinky tourist bus from a distant location, fight a barrage of people, drink in automobile fumes, among other odors, and arrive dusty and derelict and consumed with frustration and fatigue at the first vista point. When they finally set their eyes on the “Miracle in Marble”…..it takes their breath away. The Taj is a flawless creation, probably the most wonderful manmade structure I have ever seen. However, if it were not for the one more obligatory trip I must make to see it with my son, I would be loath to brave another visit.
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