Sravanabalagola

A giant Jain Saint stands meditating on top of a holy hill, 2 hours from Mysore, concrete tendrils winding around his calves as he stands in blissful serenity gazing at the hazy plain below. We took a cab through miles of sugar cane and bananas.  Some ladies were letting the traffic thresh their harvest.   […]

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Graphic Art of India

In Ye olde days (the 1980s) India had fabulous graphic art everywhere.  Hand painted and drawn signs, advertisements and giant movie posters abounded.  They were glorious, and always just a tiny bit strange, out of proportion, really quite large stars making eyes at each other or gazing dreamily into the middle distance, looking as if […]

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Mysore Palace

Mysore has the Palace from central casting. Overwhelmingly beautiful, a melange of styles and colours that come together incredibly well. It’s a pastel wedding cake that perfectly captures the essence of India – a hodgepodge, a mishmash, a series of stratified layers and rings more numerous than any tree or rock, an avalanche of appropriations […]

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Madurai

Madurai is the most photogenic place in India.  Beautiful locals with soulful smiles, incredible wrought iron, modernist pastel buildings and outlandish graphic art. Our window looks out onto the Meenakshi temple so at around 5 in the morning there is the Quasimodo effect – bells that seem to ring sonorously but interminably. There is also […]

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The Bollywood Bombshell

At a time when many romantic leads in Indian movies looked like this… A young man appeared who looked like this… A doe-eyed, slim hipped, rebel with a taste for Trouble. Over many decades he became The main man, the top-of-the-pops, the Big Banana of Bollywood, he is as omnipresent as any God.  You see […]

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Cochin

Street Art Kochi Kochi is a dreamscape of 18th century Dutch and Portuguese architecture floating on lush green islands in a tropical sea. It is the land of Kathkali, of pepper, all things ginger, fragrant spices and coconuts, ancient churches congregated by believers whose ancestors were evidently converted by St (Doubting) Thomas himself, and the […]

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Kathakali Kapers

Kathkali is an ancient and venerable dance tradition that sprang from the rich culture of the people of the Malabar Coast.  The Dancers are the direct hereditary descendants of dancers going back over many centuries. They are trained from early childhood in the language and symbols of the dance and in a muscle control so […]

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