.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka

00 Gal Vihara (2)

One of the most amazing sites in Sri Lanka is the Gal Vihara, which is located within the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I thought the Gal Vihara was unusual and interesting enough to warrant a more detailed blog.   During my last visit I spent a full hour here, studying and photographing details of the carvings and just watching people.   
This has long been a site of Buddhist worship and teaching.  Gal Vihara (meaning ‘Rock Temple’) is an amazing collection of beautifully sculpted Buddha images carved from a massive granite boulder.  The scope of the carvings and their beautiful detail never cease to amaze me.  Hard to imagine the time it …

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Spotting a Wild Tiger, Panna Tiger Reserve, India

00 Panna Tiger Reserve

It’s a rough bumpy 45 km ride from Khajuraho to the Panna Tiger Reserve — but it turned out to be very worthwhile.
A Brief Background of the Panna Tiger Reserve
The Panna Tiger Reserve is part of Panna National Park, which is a large swath of nature in one of the world’s most densely populated countries, having an area of 542.67 km2 (209.53 mi2).  The reserve has grass habitat with extensive open woodlands, and plateaus punctuated by gorges.  Life here depends on the Ken river and its tributary streams, which sustain everything you see.  The area was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2011.
India has the world’s largest surviving tiger population.  In 1993 Panna was declared India’s twenty-second Tiger reserve and placed under the Protection …

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Shopping in Jojawar, Rajasthan

02 Shopping

Jojawar is a small city in Rajasthan. Walking its streets is a good way to get a feel for how the people in the region sell their goods, shop, and live.
We spent a few days in Jojawar and had several opportunities to explore the area near our hotel. There were a large assortment of vendors selling everything from textiles and clothes, fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs, to assorted commonly used household goods.
(Clock on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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“Pic of the Week”, February 26, 2021: A Parade in Jojawar

04 Parade

Our entry into the city of Jojawar was delayed by a traffic jam.  When we got out of our vehicle to see the reason why, we encountered this parade on the city’s main street.
I never did find out what the reason for this gathering was — perhaps a Jain celebration?  But the colors, music, chanting and enthusiasm of the celebration were engaging and evident. 
Within 10 minutes it was over and we resumed our journey to our hotel.   But I did gain an appreciation for how people in India love to celebrate.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, February 26, 2021: A Parade in Jojawar

“Pic of the Week”, January 29, 2021: The Masala Chai Men’s Club, Jojawar

00 Masala Chai

While rambling around the city of Jojawar, we came across this group of older men.  They were gathered in the shade of an overhang, shoes off, sitting on towels and blankets, smoking and enjoying good conversation and some masala chai.
As is typical of the more remote regions of Rajasthan, the men almost uniformly wore turbans.
A street vendor near them was cooking up masala chai, a treat our tour group had grown to enjoy.  We watched him go through the process of preparing our chai — a mixture of boiled milk, water and spiced tea.   He kept constantly stirring the mixture until it was ready.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 

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Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Agra

04 Tomb of Itimad Ud Paulah

The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah (hereafter called TID), also know as the “Baby Taj”, is overshadowed in popularity by some of Agra’s other tourist attractions, namely the incomparable Taj Mahal (25 mins away) and Red Fort (14 minutes away).   Yet TID is a beautiful marble structure that’s worth a visit, especially at dusk or dawn as the soft light highlights its beautiful architectural details.
TID is on the eastern banks of River Yamuna and was built by Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and step-mother of Sha Jahan (who was to become the builder of the Taj Mahal).  Nur Jahan built the tomb for her father, Mirzā Ghiyās Beg,  a Persian amir in exile who had been given the …

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A Wedding in Jaipur

01 A Wedding in Jaipur (2)

If there’s anything more colorful than a wedding in India, I’m not sure what that would be.  It’s uncommon for a group of tourists to be invited to a wedding celebration; this unique opportunity arose because our tour guide was a good friend of the groom, hence the invite.
Indian weddings are still mostly arranged affairs, the parents picking appropriate mates for their children.  I personally believe that marriage for love is better, but the Indians are happy with their system and it seems to fairly work well for them.  Marriages in India are as stable as those anywhere in the world.
We arrived at the rented venue, part of a total of about 250 people ultimately attending.  We were invited to …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 4, 2020: Monkey getting a Drink, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa (237)

Sri Lanka is home to several exquisite and fascinating historic sites, one of which is the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There’s a river not that far from the ruins, but this toque monkey was innovative, deciding instead of having to scamper a mile or more for a drink, she would simply drink from water trapped in rounded stone holes (probably where logs had been inserted centuries ago).
Simple, but effective and thirst-quenching. 
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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, December 4, 2020: Monkey getting a Drink, Sri Lanka