Shadowed archway looking towards a large white building (The Taj Mahal)

India in Ten Snaps: A Photo Essay

Mark Stewart Destinations 6 Comments

By the time we travelled to India, we thought of ourselves as fairly seasoned travellers. We’d bounced around Canada, the Us, and spent nearly half a year roaming throughout Southeast Asia. We even lived in a car for six months while crossing Australia. On this trip alone, we spent time in South Korea and Nepal before crossing over, we figured it would be a nice warm-up for this incredible land. We were wrong. India is without question the craziest, most …

Recipe: Red Lentil Dahl

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It’s 7 am in Varanasi, Northern India. The ghats are already swarming with devotees bathing themselves in the holy ganges. The sun is still low in the sky but the temperature is already becoming unbearable and the humid air is heavy as we anxiously await the delicious dahl. We sit at a small table, tucked in a corner off the street. Wide-eyed, we stare at the chaos of the buzzing market. Hundreds of people, a few cows, and the odd …

Sunset over the ocean

Back to Mumbai… or a Little more Goa

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Well, the last day in paradise arrived. One last swim in the warm, salty waters of the Arabian sea, a quick breakfast, and we check out of our bamboo beach hut. After walking through the burning sand to the main road, we grab a rickshaw back to the ‘town’ at Palolem to catch our bus back to Margao. From there, the plan is to meet up with the main bus back to Mumbai; and after that 16 hour bus ride, …

Rocky beach with green hills


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And to think, of all our plans for this trip, we hadn’t included Goa. Thought about it yes, but thought it would actually happen? Goa is a tiny little state about 12 hours south of Mumbai, and thinking we wouldn’t even have enough time left after traveling the north, even making Mumbai in time was a minor concern. Long blog short, plans changed, and we hopped our train to Mumbai, and from there, the first one we could down south …

Cars in front of an old building at night

India v2.0

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The last week is a blur. As I previously mentioned, Udaipur was a great time. The guesthouse we stayed at was the first true ‘guesthouse’ of the trip. With only three rooms, one of which is occupied by the owner Johar, it is not you’re typical accommodation. First of all, Johar is a very westernized Indian, fluent in English, and sympathetic towards the small day-to-day bullshit a foreign traveler goes through in his country. Secondly, while staying with him, he …

Eid al-Adha

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About a week ago on the train to Jaisalmer, we were told about Eid al-Adha: the Muslim festival commemorating the story in which Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son Issac to prove his love for Allah, and at the last minute, Allah stopped him and provided him with a sheep instead. For the Western (Christian, Jewish…) equivalent, simply change Ibrahim with the obvious Abraham, and Allah to God, and you’ll find the same story in those their associated texts. …

Rajasthan: Into the Desert with a Bhang

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We knew all about Diwali, the Hindu equivalent of Christmas, the festival of lights… but for whatever reason, we decided to make this the day we travel to the next location, or at least begin the journey. Overall, it really wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t as smooth as it normally would have been. Any other day of the year, a bus runs direct from McLeod Ganj, straight to Pathankot (where our train to Rajasthan leaves from). Being the …

Colourful houses on a green hill

Kulcha Shock: Punjab & Dharamsala

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After another less-than-pleasant overnight train, we arrive around seven in the morning at the city of Amritsar, in Punjab province. Walking through the city early in the morning, pre-traffic, we are accompanied mostly by a few random people, stray dogs, and burning piles of the previous days garbage on the side of the road. With few auto-rickshaws (therefore lack of competition) around so early in the morning, we decide to walk the whole way, just a few kilometers, rather than …

Rooftops and a river under a brown hazy sky

Burning Bodies and Meditation: Varanassi to Rishikesh

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Varanasi. Forget everything I said in previous posts about Kathmandu. This town is where chaos resides. After the long bus and train rides, we make our way through the maze of tiny alleys surrounding the river Ganges, eventually finding a place to stay. Starved, we climb to the rooftop restaurant, and stand in awe at the view… the holy Ganges river is massive, and the view from here is epic, although the view is hazy due to pollution and cremation …

Crowd of people in a dusty parking lot

India First Impressions: Kindergarten to High School

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I have vague memory of Kindergarten as a kid… mostly that it was only a few days a week, there were giant cardboard bricks that looked like a bunch of tiny bricks already built together.. we learned about green and red lights, yield signs, crosswalks… most importantly was nap time. A little while later I went to high school. Excitement, attitudes, all kinds of emotions that never really seemed to make sense, and a multitude of other things that can …