The famous restaurant by the train station in Trivandrum, Kerala.
My final stretch in India. Having skipped Sikkim to avoid intensifying monsoon rains, I went up to the Himalayas of eastern Himachal Pradesh through the ancient Tibetan buddhist strongholds of Kinnaur and Spiti valleys.
Taking flight in the Himalaya.
From temples to tombs, Madhya Pradesh to Western UP. The departure from Jagdalpur was the beginning of one of my longest legs of transit of my trip in India. The bus to Raipur took 7h and someone was possessed enough to equip it with a horn that could emit five different ring-tones, always at around 80db. Reaching Raipur was also terribly far behind on its list of priorities next to filling the bus with as much people as possible –
After the epic arrival from Araku, Jagdalpur proved equally moving. Even in the in the late afternoon, the Sunday market (haat) was still in full swing allowing me to push my sampling of fruit even further. Jagdalpur is the administrative centre of Bastar District in south Chhattisgarh. It is a medium-sized pleasant city of about 150,000 inhabitants which also serves as the main economic and transportation hub of the area. I was attracted to Bastar by my book’s suggestion that this was a wonderful area, if remote, from where to visit Adivasi (Indian tribal aboriginals) towns.
Thus I boarded the train and nestled in for the epic ride up Araku Valley. One of few trains which bears letter in its serial name, the 1VK links Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh with Koraput district in southwestern Orissa and ends in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh.
From a 7th century sculpture, good Hindu married life includes –
Good-day from Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Since my last trip update in Kanyakumari, I have been working my way up through central India. I was covering most of my original planned landing points until I had a terrible experience with an extended night bus under monsoon rain.
The presence of women in public spaces is not always equal to that of men in India. I have commented for example that in Tamil Nadu and as I recently experienced in Kerala, women are very visible and actively present in public spaces, coming close to representing the actual 51% or more proportion of the total population which they comprise. But men are predominantly the ones hanging out at the chai stand or in front of their friend’s shop, young boys play on the street everywhere but not girls, and men are the ones spitting, smoking, urinating like they own the space.
The landscape has changed a lot over the last 5 days.
I have made my way down to Cape Comorin. Outside of my window (to my left at the present) cloudy skies glow faintly with the setting sun. Pilgrims, tourists and their concessions are everywhere but the streets are quiet and peaceful, as if everyone were silently reflecting upon their geographical position at the tapered end of the subcontinent while a light marine breeze keeps one cool from all directions.
From Shri Ranganathar and Thayumanavar Rockfort temples in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli).
Best dish I’ve had so far.
My two weeks of work are over and I will be back on the traveling route as of Friday evening. I am planning a 10-day loop through Tamil Nadu which will allow me to coincide with some colleagues for a day of process-documentation in the middle of the hot southern plains.
I am residing alone at a friend’s house in Bangalore. His family and him are on vacation but they have generously let me stay for the duration of my work stint. When I came back from the office yesterday around 8pm I immediately took notice of a dog crying loudly.
India can perplex me like no other place I have been to before. I can have trouble conceiving of its charms and deterrents as pertaining to the same place and it continues to lead to frequent feelings of irony and mood reversals. There is a level of consciousness that I obviously still fail to tap into! Provincial Mysore made for the ideal pit stop to catch up on sleep and reading. After a couple of lazy days however, it proved relieving to push myself to make the southbound bus to Ooty (also known as Udhagamandalam, 2286m) on Thursday.