Khajuraho, a small village in Madhya Pradesh, is reputed for its sumptuous temples, built under the Chandela dynasty and listed as Unesco World Heritage. They are famous all over the world for their relief sculptures of the “art of love”.
The lingam is the symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. There are numerous lingams throughout India, but the twelve Jyotir lingams or ‘lingams of light’ are the holiest and most worshipped of all. Jyoti means ‘light’ and lingam means ‘mark’ or ‘sign’. According to Hindu tradition, the Jyotir lingams pilgrimage washed off bad karma and, Read More
Perched on a rocky spur 1200m above sea level and 20km from the capital Kohima, the village of Khonoma with its discreet inhabitants and its unspoilt environment will charm the traveler in quest of peace and authenticity.
During the month of Shravan (July-August), tens of thousands of Hindus undertake an arduous 50km pilgrimage through the scenic Himalayas to worship a very special symbol of Lord Shiva: an ice stalagmite-lingam that forms each year in the cave of Amarnath at the end of the Lidder Valley in Kashmir. The sacred Amarnath cave is regarded, Read More
Saputara ‘the abode of snakes’ in the local language is a charming hill resort of Gujarat perched at 1000m altitude on the Sahyadri hills bordering the state of Maharashtra. It is surrounded by lush forests dotted with typical villages inhabited by the Dangs, a tribal community known for its impressive acrobatic dances. The best, Read More
The town of Pondicherry, now renamed Puducherry, was formerly a French trading post. Its well-ordered streets lined with trees and bougainvilleas, painted colonial buildings and chic boutiques, together with its spiritual aura, make it one of the most relaxing places to stop on the Chennai-Madurai road.
Overlooked by its imposing fort (called “the magnificent”), the blue city makes the most of its heritage with a number of top rank cultural festivals. The stunning landscapes of the Thar desert all around and the busy streets of the colourful old town will bring you back to Jodhpur again and again.
Kerala in the far southwest of India is the unchallenged champion of laidback lifestyle. It is no accident that it’s called “God’s own land”, and it knows how to charm its guests. You’ll be captivated by its luxuriant landscapes, lagoons, dream beaches and relaxed, smiling population. Here the sometimes frenetic pace of Indian life, Read More
This 20,000-hectare green forest paradise at the southern tip of the Deccan plateau, in Kerala, is home to one of the world’s densest concentrations of wild Asian elephants; it is not unusual to see one. The region is covered in coffee, teak and eucalyptus plantations and more than half its population belong to tribal, Read More
The Sanjhi is an ancient art of religious origin, which consists of creating drawings on the ground or on water using finely cut stencils that are filled with colored powders. Traditionally, this art depicts the mythological legends of India and especially those of Lord Krishna. The Sanjhi, which has gradually fallen into disuse, has, Read More
Char Dham, meaning ‘four abodes’, is the pilgrimage circuit around the four most revered pilgrimage sites in all India. These are in Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram. Over time, another Char Dham pilgrimage circuit has developed, in Uttarakhand state in North India. It is known as Chota Char Dham, ‘the four small abodes’ or ‘Himalayan, Read More
Everyone arriving in Kolkata for the first time totes a bagful of preconceptions, mostly from books or films such as City of Joy. It’s true that, like all of India’s megacities, it has its less attractive sides. But once tamed it reveals an atmosphere that’s all its own. To appreciate its charm, take a, Read More
Organised tours often bypass the Shekhawati region in northwest Rajasthan, yet in the 18th and 19th centuries it was one of Rajasthan’s richest regions. Wealthy Marwari merchants built huge mansions there, decorated inside and out with sumptuous frescoes in which Hindu mythology mingles with scenes from daily life. These masterpieces have earned the region, Read More
Chennai (formerly Madras) lies on the Coromandel coast in southwest India. It is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and one of India’s major economic centres. Chennai also boasts a considerable cultural and artistic heritage, of which Carnatic classical music and the Bharata Natyam dance are prime examples. Chennai is there to, Read More
Meghalaya, literally ‘the abobe of clouds’, is one of the seven states of Northeast India also known as the ‘seven sisters’. This state, the wettest in India, is slowly opening up to tourism and an increasing number of nature lovers get mesmerised by its unspoiled landscapes. Whether during the monsoon, when the mist hangs over the highlands,, Read More
The little spray-swept village of Mahabalipuram, 60km south of Chennai, is a delight, although very touristy. The Pallava kings left architectural masterpieces, Unesco World Heritage, whose distinctive style spread as far as the Far East.
Gwalior, the fourth largest town in the State of Madhya Pradesh, owes its fame to the fort, perched atop a 300ft hill, which the Mughal emperor Babur called “the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind”. Gwalior is also known as a cultural centre and home of both the famous poet and musician Tansen and, Read More
Pongal is the harvest festival, held in mid-January each year in thanksgiving to nature, the sun, the rain and working animals. Agriculture is of immense importance in India, so the harvest is a major event. It is believed that this celebration brings wealth and prosperity.
Uttarayan, the time of year when the sun starts its northward journey, is celebrated in Gujarat state with a kite festival that’s totally poetic. All day long thousands of multi-coloured kites drift endlessly across the sky, and when night falls the sky is lit by a myriad paper lanterns.
Rajasthan state is in northwest India, on the Pakistan border. This is the India of picture postcards, very popular with tourists and wonderfully colourful, from the pink of Jaipur to the blue of Jodhpur and the gold of Jaisalmer. Bounded by the Thar Desert in the northwest and crossed by the Aravalli hills, this “land, Read More