Retroblog – Taj Mahal

Worth visiting again and again.

Our family visited the Taj Majal twelve years ago this spring; after that 2009 visit I wrote “Taj is, quite simply, stunningly beautiful, exquisitely crafted, and a marvel of engineering and art.” Portions were under renovation at the time, so I was excited to return in 2017, as part of Dartmouth’s Mystical India tour. On that day we enjoyed blue skies and a fully-open site. Visit both posts for more info and more photos!

2009 Family photo at the Taj Mahal! David, Pam, John, Mara, Andy.

Retroblog – Ranthambore

A place worth revisiting – again.

My first visit to India’s Ranthambore National Park was in the spring of 2009, when we were on a tour of northern India. This park is famous for its tiger population, and we were not disappointed – but is also home to countless other species and beautiful scenery. Read about our 2009 visit and, for that matter, our 2017 re-visit. I hope to return again!

Ranthambore: A male tiger patrols his territory.

Retroblog – Ellora and Ajanta

Worth a return visit!

Two of the most stunning historic sites I’ve visited, anywhere in the world, are Ellora and Ajanta. About two thousand years ago, ancient Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu cultures carved and painted elaborate caves and entire temples from the basalt cliffs in western India. The results, preserved as UNESCO World Heritage sites, are nothing short of stunning. Take a return visit with me to that blog post, Ellora photo album, and Ajanta photos album.

Ellora: from the back looking forward; temple at left, rock face and gallery at right.

Retroblog – Dharamsala

Revisiting an epic trip.

One of the most epic trips of our year in India involved our travels from Delhi to the remote village of Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalaya, where we met up with old friends for a few days around New Years’ Eve. The travel itself was the most challenging – but the time in Dharamsala, with its visit to a school for Tibetan refugee children, and the headquarters-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, was entrancing. A hike up to snowy Triund Pass on a sunny New Year’s Day offered incredible views. Check out the story of the round-trip journey, of Dharamsala itself, and our hike on New Year’s Day, for the full story. It’s worth a visit!

We stop at a tea stall, while hiking with the Hookes to Triund pass in Dharamsala.

Retroblog – Kerala

One of our favorite trips.

A dozen years ago, in December 2008, we visited the southwest corner of India for a week-long tour of the famous “Malabar coast”, taking in its Arabian sea beaches, historic sites, inland waterways, spice plantations, wildlife parks, and more. It was a fascinating experience for all the senses! The four-part series begins here.

We finish our elephant ride in the hills of Kerala. David, Mara, Andy, John, Pam.

Ultrapot

A new cooking opportunity!

A couple of years ago we bought one of these newfangled multi-function cooking pots – specifically, a Müeller Ultra Pot. But it was just a couple of months ago that I realized the incredible potential of this device, when I discovered this new cookbook from Urvashi Pitre, Indian Instant Pot. As many of you know, I love Indian food and have refined my ability to make a very small number of Indian dishes… but with this cookbook, and this cook pot, I could do a lot more. Read on to see what I’ve tried so far!

Continue reading “Ultrapot”

Retroblog – Monkey bars

They’re very savvy.

When we lived in Bangalore we would occasionally encounter the resident band of monkeys – actually Bonnet Macaques – as they passed through the neighborhood, seeking any possible way to sneak into apartments and steal food. At least once, one pushed open the front door and came traipsing across the living room floor. We heard from others that these savvy critters knew how to find and open refrigerators. Check out this a pair of blog posts (and associated photo galleries) from November 2008!

Bonnet Macaques raid the rooftop and atrium of our apartment building at IISc.

Retroblog – Dasara

Dasara is the most important festival in Mysore.

As I mentioned recently, I will occasionally post some flashbacks to some favorite old trips and events. In 2008-09 we lived in Bangalore, India, and traveled extensively.

Today I’m remembering an incredible day in Mysore, a small city a few hours west of Bangalore, which we visited for the major Dasara festival. The parade was an incredible sensory experience, including elephants, bands, dancers, and more. Check it out!

A second group of elephants. Dasara parade in Mysore.

Honorable mention

One of my favorite photos.

From time to time I like to enter a few photos in a photo contest. Today one of my photos, below, received honorable mention in the “People” category, at the annual “Elden Murray photo contest” hosted by the Hanover library. Here’s a link to the photo on their site, where you can also explore the winning photos.

I chose to enter this photo because I enjoyed the colorful action of this elderly Rajasthani vendor while he was making chai (tea).

Chai wallah in Shahpura, Rajasthan, India.

The photo is from our 2017 tour of India; read the blog post.