The year that was…

Another year. Another wish-list. And a time to take stock…

2008 was a good year in terms of travel. I managed to combine my much-recommended short breaks with longer holidays in countries I have been dreaming of but never thought I’d visit so soon. 2007 had ended with a maniacal road trip across thousands of kilometers, and the strain of that kept me going for the first few months of the year!

The year’s travel started in early April with a week in Cambodia, specifically the Angkor complex near Siem Reap, with a few days in Bangkok thrown in on the way back. Angkor was as awesome as I had expected it to be; the happy discovery was the smaller, more beautiful temples in the region, like Bantaey Srei.

On the floating market

Sunshine girl

He reclines…

He reclines...

Through the window…

Through the window

Happy to pose

Happy to pose

A house shift and new job took care of the next few months, and I found myself gazing longingly at the calender, waiting for the August Independence Day weekend. Wayanad it was then, three days of absolute quiet and peace at Annapara Homestay, among the tea plantations and the misty hills all around.

A nice cuppa

Want a nice cuppa?

Diwali saw us on a whirlwind tour of the Chola temples in Tamilnadu, with Madurai, Chidambaram and Vaideeswaran Koil thrown in for good measure.

Inside the Meenakshi temple

"Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished"  ~Michael Strassfeld

Gangaikondacholapuram

Walking in from the light

And then Turkey in November. A few days in Istanbul, with perfect weather and then a couple of days among the ruins of Ephesus, based in the pretty hill village of Sirince, tasting the local fruit wine and watching the sun set in the valley deep below.

Inside the blue mosque

Prayer Buzz

The dervish whirls on…

Sema

Playing the game right

Playing the game right is more important than winning

And a perfect way to end the year – four days over the Christmas weekend at Nandan Farms in Sawantwadi. A home-stay place promoted by Culture Aangan, Nandan Farms is a peaceful and relaxing break at its best. A morning at the gorgeous and deserted Vengurla beach, followed by an evening at Vagator in Goa filled my beach quota for the year. Just as a plug for a worthy cause, Culture Aangan has other home-stay options in the Sindhudurg region and are doing a great job of it – highly recommended for those who cringe at the mention of the word ‘resort’.

Fishermen at Vengurla jetty

Getting ready for the day

A perfect morning

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

***
Coming up next is the wish-list and an update on all that has been written on Itchy Feet through the year, and that is to be written. Till then, here is to hope and happiness… Have a wonderful 2009! May the feet never stop itching, and may the purse never run dry…

And – May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. ~Joey Adams

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Vamsee says:

    Looks like you had a great year. I wish you the same for 2009 also.

    Loved the pictures of the temples and the mosque.

  2. Beautiful pictures! Happy New Year.

  3. Sujatha says:

    Loved the pic of the little girl and the man in the temple’s corridor.

  4. Arun says:

    Is the whirl of dervishes a regular phenomenon?

  5. charukesi says:

    hey thanks all!

    Arun, “performances” take place for tourists all the time! some of these are somewhat close to real (but not completely authentic) like the one I attended. the actual ceremony is not open to public, and is only for those in the mevlevi sect.

  6. shalini says:

    Wow, what a great year you’ve had for travel….hope lots more for 2009 too!

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