India travel

This category contains 8 posts

Kaushik Barua on Windhorse

Kaushik Barua’s first novel Windhorse is a fictional account of the Tibetan armed struggle against China. Through the lives of two Tibetans – one born in Tibet and witness to Chinese atrocities, and another, born in exile – he tells a modern tale of identity crisis that many young exile Tibetans face today, and of … Continue reading

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Seven Ways of Looking at Birds

I was first attracted to birds when I moved to Dharamshala in 1997. I remember being woken up every morning by the song of a blue whistling thrush (I didn’t identify it then). Slowly, as I settled in, I started recognising a few of the most common species of birds such as magpies, barbets, woodpeckers, … Continue reading

Ladakh’s turquoise jewels

Once the preserve of the military, the lakes of eastern Ladakh are places of hallucinatory beauty. Just don’t expect a good night’s sleep. We’ve all seen it. Whenever Time magazine or one of its competitors brings out a story on the region and includes a map, a legion of unfortunate peons somewhere in the bowels … Continue reading

Buried treasure

The lost city of Champaner is one of India’s forgotten gems – and it’s not even hard to get to.  The road from Baroda is a highway to the new India, humming with trucks, a flat, smooth drive past industrial parks and scrubby fields. Then, after 40 kilometres or so, a mountain builds as suddenly as a … Continue reading

The Kangra Valley Railway

Running 163 kilometres from Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh, the Kangra Valley Railway is one of the last of its kind: a narrow gauge railway in original working condition that still serves a local community. In other parts of the world, these railways have either been torn up or turned into tourist … Continue reading

Holy smoke

Weird stuff in an ancient Himalayan village It’s easy to describe the trek to Malana. The first half is horizontal, the second half vertical — a gentle walk through a pine-forested valley, followed by a breathless struggle up a sheer mountainside in the glaring sun. You crest at the village, a collection of castle-like stone … Continue reading

Flying colours

January 14 is the festival of Uttarayan in Gujarat, marking the end of winter, the return of the sun and the reawakening of the gods. It is also the day of the kite flying festival. Flyers hold kite fights, attempting to send competing kites crashing to the ground. They use special string, dipped in a … Continue reading

Around Rajasthan in an Ambassador

“There are no rules!” by Nick Melzer Khan was small, plain, and modest – a near polar opposite of the vast, grandiose, and relentlessly colourful land we were driving through, Rajasthan. His light brown complexion, wispy white beard, close-cropped grey hair, flat white hat and quiet confidence gave him away as a Muslim, though he … Continue reading