A wise old friend once said, “India will take your mind apart and put it back together again”.
This was my third venture into India. As always, it’s a humbling experience, to feel but a speck in a mass of humanity, where life and death confronts you daily.
India is not a holiday destination. It’s an adventure on survival, keeping every wit in check. Every sense is pushed and pulled to infinity and back. Even for the cynical, one cannot help but have some sort of spiritual and/or philosophical experience being surrounded by temples, mosques, shrines, pilgrims and devotees.
Mark Twain said, “India has 2,000,000 gods, and worships them all. In religion other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire”.
Remembering my first trip 30 years ago, visiting a temple in Varanasi, being swept along with the crowd to find myself in front of a holy man offering holy water from the Ganges, well holy moly, I nearly died from dysentery.
I’m such a different traveler now, embarrassingly obsessed with bottled water and sterile hand spray. Shame in a way, after spending tons of money on unused diarrhea pills and exotic injections.
This adventure took us to Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Kerala,
In Jaipur, we looked for uncut gemstones and stayed in the devine Click here: Samode Palace and Haveli. Being summer, as in over 100ª, we were the only guests and had the Palace all to ourselves.
Wish I could share a few picture from Shane Warne’s last cricket game playing with the Rajasthan Royals. Security was insane. Little did we know, no mobile phones or cameras are allowed into the ground. What to do with all our gizmos? We tried telling security that Shane himself gave us the tickets, yea right. I asked a TV camera crew if they’d hold on to them, which they obliged. I prayed they’d find us in the crowd. Not only did they find us, they plastered close ups of our token Caucasian faces all over Indian TV during the game.
We ventured to Hyderabad, where western tourists rarely travel, researching a new book. Looking for a 16th century landmark pillar took us deep into a slum in the old Hyderabad. Some “houses” were kept immaculate, some utter hovels. Here’s the pillar and some of the children.
And finally to Jew Town (Ft. Cochin) in Kerala. I know, I know, but that’s what it’s called.
I recommend everyone go to India at least once in your life, or if you are lucky to believe in reincarnation…in one of your lives. My book “The Bird Who Was an Elephant” was inspired by this belief.
Mark Twain once again, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”.
To see more photos, go to my Facebook page.