At the Ootea festival

I had never heard of the Ootea festival before – and from the looks of it, neither had many of the participants. We were walking out of the railway station after inquiring about the timings of the heritage train when we spotted these costumed kids waiting in long lines, restless as only kids can be….

The road to Ooty

Almost as lovely as being in Ooty itself is the drive there from Bangalore. The route goes through the forests of Bandipur and Mudumalai and then briefly past Masinagudi before the climb up the Nilgiris. Plastic is banned through most of this route – you tell me, is there a way to ban those morons…

St. Stephen’s church at Ooty

One of my quick halts at Ooty was at St. Stephen’s Church on the way to Charing Cross. I had been keen to visit the church ever since I had seen photographs of its lovely stained glass windows. The church was almost empty but for a solitary worshiper on the last pew. The late morning…

Chug-chugging from Ooty to Coonoor

Crossing off one more item from my ‘must do sometime’ list: taking the toy train from Ooty. Ideally, I would have loved to travel in the heritage train from Ooty all the way down to Mettupalayam but there was just not enough time. And so, the short one-hour ride to Coonoor, just for the experience….

Memories of Mcleodganj

The streets of Mcleodganj, where the smells of a fresh batch of momos just being opened mix with the sharp twang of longing and nostalgia of the residents… Where faith finds many, many, many expressions… And dusty, crowded, hot Dharamshala, down in the plains – and home to the Norbulingka Institute – a testament to…

Longing, belonging

The Tibetan community has been in Mcleodganj for close to five decades now, but the nostalgia for home and country is evident on the faces of Tibetans I see on the streets. Despite the trappings of modern life – cellphone, internet, fast food – that the community seems to have adopted, what stands out is…

Journey to Little Lhasa

It is 50 years since the Dalai Lama came to India – this is a photoessay that appeared in Sunday Mid-Day (April 05) on my trip to Mcleodganj… It is really early in the morning and still dark when we set out for a walk. There is a whiff in the air, not the smell…

Long weekend in Wayanad

I had asked if it was a good idea to go to Kerala in the rains. Turns out it was. The three days we spent in Wayanad, the weather was perfect. Grey and cloudy, some would call it – I saw it as moody and romantic. And the last day, when we were getting ready…