EnRoute to Somewhere

Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Tune of the Erhu

Playing the Erhu

DALI. CHINA. 2015

It has been raining. The cobblestoned streets are dull, almost empty for China, and there’s a heavy unease in the air. Tunes float out of pastry shops where women crush rose petals and fill cookie dough balls with the same to bake flower pastries which they will sell for 10 kuai each, a perfect warm thing to eat on cold Yunnan days. It is January 2016 in the Yunnan Province in China. People walk by without a word, for such is China and its people: reserved, closed, bubbled, alone. No one talks to strangers. No one smiles at a foreigner. Everyone is alone within their aloneness. Everyone is busy going nowhere. A man plays a melancholic tune on his Erhu, an instrument also called the Chinese fiddle and originating in the Tang Dynasty. He’s an unrealized consciousness bringing us all together. He’s the inconceivable instrument of advaita on these cold windy streets of Dali, who cracks open, albeit slightly, the souls of everyone who walks past him.

Japanese Paper Skin

IMG_1968

BALTA. INDIA. 2016

Not many people in India know their dates of birth, and hence their age. They seem to skip through the years of life in tens. That is, for ten years, they’re 80, then suddenly they’re 90. Laxmi Devi is 80 and lives in the midst of dried red pines in the tiny village of Balta in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand with a population of 850 people. She’s frail, less than 5 feet tall, her skin is impeccably wrinkled in sharp contours like handmade Japanese paper, and she offers us to come with her for a wedding in her village in exchange for a bike ride there.

Babas of Pashupatinath

Baba

KATHMANDU. NEPAL. 2016

Followers of Shiva (babas) walk all the way from Varanasi in India to the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu for Mahashivaratri, the night on which, according to the Vedas, the Universal spiritual energy generated by planetary positions is at its peak. To allow this natural surge of energies to find their way, people stay up all night i.e. remain with their spines vertical, or in other words, stay awakeIt is the night of profound stillness. In the Yogic tradition, Shiva isn’t worshipped as a God but rather as the first guru from whom knowledge originated and prayers offered to Shiva on this night has a profound impact.

Celebrating Death Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja

A happy funeral attendee

TANA TORAJA. INDONESIA. 2015

In the tiny village of Tana Toraja in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Torajans celebrate death like almost all cultures in the world would celebrate a wedding: with grandeur, a large crowd, meat, drinks, and dessert enough to feed a village, which is exactly what is invited to revel in the celebrations.

Women of the Desert

Women of the Desert

PUSHKAR. INDIA. 2016

The women of the Thar desert in Rajasthan, also known as banjaras, who travel barefoot most of the times, take a break to drink chai in Pushkar, Rajasthan. The banjaras are nomadic tribes that wander from one place to another in groups, living life on their own terms and conditions. They are believed to be the descendants of the Roma gypsies of Europe. The women of the tribe wear elaborate clothes consisting of bright colors and usually wear ivory bangles that go all the way to their elbows.


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