Danny Boyleâ€™s Academy-Award winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, has been garnering both praise and controversy for his outsiderâ€™s view of Mumbai, a city that has been portrayed in urban squalor, yet full of the hopes and dreams of millions of Indians. This sudden worldwide attention to the mega-city, the 4th largest in the world in terms ofÂ population, has even sparked a boom in what is being called poorism: a subset of urban adventuring where backpackers are taken by local guides to what one Slumdog Millionaire character called â€œthe real Indiaâ€: a place where extreme poverty and inner-city survival mesh to create moving scenes of humanity. One of these poorism tours focuses on Dhavari, a district in the central suburb of Mahim that is Asiaâ€™s biggest slum, with around 1 million residents. Visitors can pass through homes where families to make a living making clay pots or recycling the cityâ€™s wastes, and a childrenâ€™s shelter, one of many in the area.
Archive for the ‘India’ Category
Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the favorite summer destination of the British Raj a century ago. It is a hill station, a community located far above sea level, allowing it to remain cool during the blistering dry season heat. Shimla is notable for its tudorbethan and neo-gothic style of architecture, a heritage from its colonial days. The Viceroy, his administration, and their wives and children, would take the trouble to move from Calcutta to this wondrous community every year, and tourists still do so today, to soak in the cool weather in the summer and relish in winter activities six months later.
Dehli is one of the oldest cities in India. So old, in fact, that it could have already been considered ancient when the British got around to discovering it. The city, once coveted by Asian rulers, now leaves behind a legacy that speaks volumes – if only you could hear it above the contemporary roar.
Image credit: Stuck in Customs
The beach front paradise of Goa is located on the Western coast of India. Goa is the smallest state India and the coastal state has a natural border in the form of the Arabian Sea. Goa has long 105 km coastline that is made up of many simmering sand beaches and quaint villages which are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. The state is often referred to as Indiaâ€™sÂ Sunshine state as the Goan people who live here are generallyÂ happy laid back folkÂ who believe in enjoying life while following a philosophy of â€˜Sosegadâ€™ . The word â€˜Sosegadâ€™ is derived from the Portuguese word â€˜Socegadoâ€™ meaning tranquility. It is fitting that the Goans should follow this policy as Goa was a Portuguese colony for nearly four centuries.
Goa became a haunt of the hippies and the flower children in the 1960â€™s as they reveled in the tranquil atmosphere of this congenial state where the sun always shone and the beach sands glistened in the cool sea breeze. These hippies with their liberal care-free lives and their ideals of free love often scandalized the locals but over time they got accustomed to them so much so that some old hippies in fact settled downÂ in Goa.Â They can now sometimes be seen at Goaâ€™s famed Anjuna flea market which is held every Wednesday at the beach town of Anjuna. The flea marketÂ Â is a major tourist attraction as it attracts traders from all over India who congregate at the flea market to sell their wares which include mirror work embellished apparel, brass ware, glassware, silver jewelry and much more.
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Forget modern medicines for now. The diverse and ancient cultures of Asia have grappled with the needs of romance for as long as they have existed, and have come up with plenty of traditional remedies, aids and supplements to increase vigor and verve. Even if you eco-conscious types remove the options that threaten the endangered species list like rhino horns, deer antlers, bird’s nest soup, and tiger genitalia, there are still plenty of alternative aphrodisiacs that can improve your love life.
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is a city known for its interesting blends of opposites. On the one hand you’ll find wealth and creative beauty while on the other you’ll be faced with political unrest and the cries of the destitute.
Once the home of Mother Teresa the city of Kolkata played a vital role in the development of India as it stands today. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is full of vibrant, intellectual, and friendly people. Kolkata’s citizens have been the backbone of the city for hundreds of years – a city that continues to grow with each passing day.
The mighty river Ganga which is also known as the River Ganges is greatly revered in all of India. I recently had a chance to witness this reverence first hand as I visited two holy towns Haridwar and Rishikesh both of which are located in the foothills of the Himalayas through which this mighty river flows on its way towards the plains. Much of Indiaâ€™s rich civilization and culture has in fact developed along the banks of this great river as a result of which the river is worshiped and held in high esteem by the Hindu population of India.
The Ganga which is responsible for the fertility of nearly forty percent of Indiaâ€™s agricultural land begins its journey in the higher Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh at the Gangotri glacier which is a vast expanse of ice situated 14000 feet above sea level. This glacier is the source of the River Bhagirathi which continues to join the River Alaknanda whose waters are formed from the melting ice of several Himalayan peaks like the Nanda Devi, the Kamet and theÂ Trishul to form the River Ganga at the town of Devprayag. Read the rest of this entry »
“Dim dawn behind the tamerisks — the sky is saffron-yellow —
As the women in the village grind the corn,
And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
That the Day, the staring Easter Day is born.”
So begins Rudyard Kipling’s “Christmas in India“, a poem which exalts the glories of Jesus’s birth in the subcontinent. Indeed, Christmas is a national holiday in India, despite the larger population of Hindu and Muslims in the country. December 25th is also known as Bada Din (the big day) since this day marks the start of the period when each day lengthens compared to previous days. Each state in the sub-continent of India celebrate Christmas in its own unique way.
The Fall is a 2006 independent movie by director Tarsem Singh which features picturesque locales and colorfully dressed characters. It is about a patient who weaves a tale about a masked bandit and his group in order to entertain a little girl in the same hospital. The amazing thing about the movie is its use of natural settings all over the world in 18 countries, as opposed to the heavy use of computer-generated imagery in mainstream films.
For those who’ve seen the movie and wish to visit its fanciful locales or just wish to learn the history of each site, keep on reading. For those who haven’t, check out this trailer:
Video Courtesy of roadside07
For a Christian holiday, Christmas gets surprising attention in a continent dominated by Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. For some countries, it is an after-effect of centuries of Western colonialism and Christian missionary work. For others, the commercial aspects of gift-giving and festivities encourage department stores and markets to dress up for the holidays. Still others see it as a romantic season, a time for couples and lovers to share intimate moments together.
Whatever the reason, Christmas is still celebrated the world over, and nowhere is this fact more proven than in the following major Asian cities.
Tokyo, Japan - less than 1% of Japan’s population are Christians, and December 25 is not a national holiday here. Christmas is seen more as a commercial season, a time for romance between couples and for corporations to deck their offices in lights. December is also a time for oseibo (end-of-the-year gift exchanges between companies) and boukenkai (“forget the year”) parties, and Christmas-themed parties tend to get mixed in with the celebrations.
Seoul, South Korea â€“ South Korea recognizes Christmas as a public holiday, with 30% of the population being Christians. Even non-Christian Koreans engage in gift-giving, card-sending, and plastic tree-decorating at this time of year, and engaging lights beautify the City Hall area for people to enjoy. Whatâ€™s surprising is the locals treat the season to be a romantic affair, much like Valentineâ€™s Day.
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