Adrift on Inle Lake

It is my first experience with a traffic jam in the middle of a lake. It is late in the afternoon, and life on Inle lake is almost at a standstill. The husband and I are nodding off on the boat, drowsy after a heavy lunch of crunchy fermented tealeaf salad and rice with green…

Storied Mansions

For those of you who wanted more information on Chettinad, here is a complete guide… This appeared in the January issue of National Geographic Traveller… Over a century ago, everyday life in the villages of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu would have been very different. The sounds of women’s anklets, the laughter of children, the aroma…

A picture perfect holiday

The first thing Hellmuth Conz teaches me about my camera is how to hold it correctly — with my left hand under the lens, cradling it and not above it. “There is no need to raise your little finger,” he says. “You are holding a camera, not a tea cup.” I am in Hampi with…

Not just a cup of tea

For the first time in my life, I am petrified by the prospect of having tea. I am in Koomon salon sat Tokyo’s Chou-Ku neighbourhood to watch a traditional tea ceremony called sado or chado (meaning ‘the tea way of life’). As my hostess shuffles into the room on her knees, everything I’ve read about…