.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa (89)

The medieval ruins of Polonnaruwa are located in east-central Sri Lanka.
During my last trip to Sri Lanka I revisited Polonnaruwa as I’d only been there on one prior occasion.  During that prior visit, Polonnaruwa was at the fringes of the front in the country’s lingering Civil War, and not considered safe, so we didn’t stay any longer than necessary to visit the highlights of the ruined city.

UNESCO Marker, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

UNESCO Marker, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka


This trip was done at a more relaxed pace.  We spent two nights in the Polonnaruwa at a charming small hotel adjacent to the ruins, got to celebrate Sri Lankan New Year with the hotel owners, staff and guests, and I had a leisurely day to explore the ruins. 
Polonnaruwa is part of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, …

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Visiting a Boy’s Home in Delhi

00 SBT SHELTER WALK

One of our tour group’s activities while in Delhi was to visit a Home for Boys, which we did early one winter morning.   The air was cool and crisp as we stepped off our bus and most of us zipped up our jackets.  We were met by one of the older boys from the home.  He greeted us and gave a brief history of the home before guiding us through the streets to visit it.   While I think the purpose of the walk was largely to let us see what life on these streets could be like, it would be impossible for any vehicle larger than a tuk-tuk to have navigated the maze we entered.
The Salaam Baalak

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A Day at Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

17 Humayun’s Tomb (54)

The building of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb was actually undertaken in 1565 by his Persian-born widow, Hamida Banu Begum, nine years after the great man died.  She selected the site of the monument, on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the Persian architect who designed it.  The monument took seven years to build and shows a strong Persian influence, including it’s gardens divided into four parts by walkways or flowing water.  It was the first garden-tomb in India.

The massive mausoleum is constructed of red sandstone interspersed with white marble, while the inner tomb itself is made of marble. The platform of the mausoleum is 7 meters tall, while the height of the building’s impressive marble dome is 47 meters.  …

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.All Trips / Asia / Food / Sri Lanka

St. Clair’s Tea Center, Sri Lanka

01 St. Clair’s Tea Center

High in the mountains of central Sri Lanka you’ll find vast plantations of tea.  Interspersed among these are tea centers, wherein you can stop, sample some of the local tea and purchase some to take with you.  Some of these stops include a free tour of a tea production factory; here you can see how the tea leaves are dried, fermented, roasted, crushed and prepared for market.

Near the city of Nuwara Eliya we stopped at St. Clair’s Tea Center, which is only a tea shop with no adjoining factory tour.  St. Clair’s was founded in the 19th century by James Ryan, who was among the first in the region to begin growing and experimenting with tea.  The plantation is named …

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Some Doors from Jojawar, India

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Jojawar is a fairly small community in the Rajasthan region of India.  We spent several days here and I really enjoyed this part of our trip.  It’s a more traditional community than many of the others we visited, with, for example many men in Jojawar having beards and wearing turbins — something you don’t see much of in India’s bigger cities anymore. 

 As I was sorting through my images from this community it became clear that there were many interesting doors in this small community, which is the theme of today’s blog.

I hope to share more stories from Jojawar with you in the future. 

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

02 Souk Madinat Jumeirah (2)

There are many great markets in Dubai, with no lack of opportunity for shopping.  Some markets, like the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall, are modern and could be found in almost any city in the world.  Others are uniquely Arab, including the original and traditional outdoor markets, like the spice and textile souks.

The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is sort of a hybrid of these concepts, a re-creation of an Arab market but with modern amenities, set by the sea, adjoining the lovely Burj Al Arab hotel.  The place is quite lovely, with traditional wind-towers and sand colored construction.  Shops and restaurants of a great variety are available, …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 10, 2020: Lassiwala in Jaipur

03 Lassiwala Yogurt shop, Jaipur

 ‘Lassiwala’ is an Indian term for someone who makes lassi, a thick sweetened yogurt beverage.  This particular shop in Jaipur is the best known in the city and is considered by some to have the finest lassi in India.  It has been visited by politicians, celebrities and many thousands of tourists.  LassiWala has been serving its famous drink for over 70 years. 

We visited the shop very early one morning, just after dawn.  The place already had several people waiting for their drink, which is scooped from a large bowl when ordered.   The beverage is cool, frothy, refreshing and delicious.

Lassi is served in hand made red clay cups (mitti ka kulhad) of the kind so common in Rajasthan.  Once used, the cup is …

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Staying at Rawla Jojawar, India

05 Rawla Jojawar (12)

One of the joys of traveling in India is to indulge a little and spend a night or two in one of the country’s Heritage Hotels.  These are historic accomodations, often nicely refurbished, each unique in some way.

Rawla Jojawar was once a small fort whose construction dates to the 18th century.  Rawla means ‘abode of the local chieftan’;  Jojawar is the name of the town in which it’s located.  This fort was converted into a Heritage Hotel and is run by the family of the Chieftan who lived here in the late 1700s.  The hotel opened in 2001. 

My room in the Rawla Jojawar

My room in the Rawla Jojawar

The Rawla is quite lovely, and a calm and relaxing place to stay.  The grounds are beautifully and carefully landscaped, and the Rajasthani cuisine served …

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