The Wovensouls Journal


INDEX | Articles on Culture

A kaleidoscope of glimpses into various cultures within Asia. Each tribe, each ethnicity expresses its identity in various ways – music, dance, textiles, costumes, food, language, life format etc.

It is impossible for an individual to capture the complete essence of any tribe – either one’s own or another’s – but it is possible to experience the diversity and be nothing less than awestruck by the beauty of human society.


Sometimes the customs and traditions are so different from the ones I have been exposed to until now, that it is hard not to be alarmed and to remain nonjudgemental. But the only way to view any custom is to see it as a part of the complete picture, within the paradigm that has given birth to the custom. It is only then that the view is fair.

Every society has its reasons for doing what they do. The set of rules that have evolved have withstood the test of inter-generational transmission. Therefore they are always internally consistent within the system and provide answers to all of the issues faced by that particular society. When viewed from outside, a traveller usually only gets a limited view and she sees a single custom / tradition without seeing all the evolutionary factors and the paradigm within which this is perfectly valid.  Given that this  is merely a slice of the whole life model, which is  quite likely to be different from her own, this view is likely to cause the viewer some dissonance and sometimes result in an imbalanced judgement.

Of course it is not only the limitedness of the view that causes this bias. Sometimes the close-mindedness of the viewer also contributes to this.

It has taken me many journeys into the lives and minds of others to realise that unless the context is known and empathised with, the judgement is unfair and therefore invalid.

I try to make a deliberate effort to ‘understand’ and ’empathise’ instead of judging.

It is in that spirit that I have written my articles. My respect for their lives is total (and unconditional) even though my information about their paradigm is not.


The posts have been listed below in order of posting.  You could either choose to scroll down all the way and read all  or click on the titles that interest you.

Rural India Beckons

The day I almost missed my flight – Textiles of the Salar Jung Museum

EXternal Article – Mongolian Shamanism

STunning old costume photos from Tibet

Traveling Godmen

Traditional Textiles of South India

Costumes from Mongolia

How many Indian manuscripts exist?

And we thought Ornaments were only for people?

Vanishing Cultural Knowledge – the Penans of Borneo

Intriguing Balinese Calendars – Palindon & Palelintangan

Lifestyle & Beliefs of the Dard Aryan Ethnic Group of Ladakh

An adventure on the Mighty Indus River

A Cup of Tea with the Lamaji of Lamayuru Gompa

Costume & Jewellery Culture of the Dard Aryan People

Dance of the Dard Aryan People

Living with a Dard Family

Karakoram Dard Diaries

Small Town Magic in Mega Mumbai

Small Town Magic – The Best Street Food

Small Town Magic- Travelling Bakery

Small Town Magic – Cycle Rickshaws

Small Town Magic

A walk through the Panaji Fish Market

Gypsy Women Herder

I wish I could do that

Animals in our lives

Forts of the Konkan Coast

Women of Substance

Navratri – the festival of Garba & Raas Dance

Dancing to the Drums of Ryukyu

A view from a Skyscraper

Traditional Sugar Mill, Ryukyu Okinawa

Majulah Singapura – Happy 48th Singapore!

Grace of  Ryukyu Weaver

Behind Bars – Imprisoning the Mind

The Arresting Architecture of Chi Lin Nunnery, Kowloon

Honey from a Honeycomb at breakfast

Into the hearts and homes of the Dard people of Ladakh

Praying in a Hong Kong Temple

Hello From Ho Chi Minh City

Prehistoric Rock Carvings of Mizoram

Akha Hilltribe Costume Art

Goan Fisherman’s tale

The Bangle Sellers of India

Documenting the extinction of Lambani culture

Interesting Nuggets about Odisha

Return to Ladakh

Anachronism – Mumbai the Mega city & Elephanta the ancient caves

The Ladies Compartment in Mumbai Local trains

Kalinga Diaries

The stylish priests of Jagannath Puri

Journey to the Past – the Science of Epigraphy

In the Presence of the Past

The Magnificent Stone artefacts of Odisha

Camels go on a Pilgrimage

A Rabari Gypsy Tribal Wedding Ritual

A walk through a Rabari Tribal Village

The Stunning tribes of Sarawak, Borneo

A Cultural Stay at Kuching

Bidayuh Tribal Longhouse in Borneo

Puppets & Puppeteers of Rajasthan

The Batak Calendar  of Sumatra, Indonesia

A Python for Dinner

A Dog’s Sixth Sense

Loss of Cultural Diversity

Colors of Mewar,  Rajasthan

Turban Art – The Crowning Glory of Indian Men

The Gangaur Festival – praying for Marital Bliss

The Classic Indian Village fair – Gogunda Mela

Alternate Sexuality Traditions 4 – The Garasia Tribe

The Blacksmith Gadalia Community of Rajasthan

Music of the Manganiyar Tribe

Folk Dances of Rajasthan

Women of India – the Weaker sex

The Holi Bonfire – Past & Present

Mizo Mosaic

The Chapchar Kut Harvest Festival of Mizoram

Alternate Sexuality Traditions 3 – The Lushai Custom

Bnei Menashe – The Lost Tribe of Israel in Mizoram

The Siddi Tribe of Gujarat India of African origin

The Komusa Wandering Monks & their Shakuhachi flute

My talk at Asian Civilisations Museum

Intense Spirituality – Body piercing at the Thaipusam festival

Back to the Future – Tribal Life in Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 1: Glimpses of a contented People

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 2 : Hunter-Gatherer-Weavers

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 3 : Innovative housing

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 4 : A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 5: The Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh

Tribal signatures – Face Tattoos of the Apatanis

Fierce Nocte Headhunters

Head Hunting Trophies

Arunachal Pradesh Lifestyle – Innovative Housing

Traditional Sports – Kabutar Baazi or Pigeon Gaming

Ram Leela at Dassera in Mumbai

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Archery

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Polo

Mountain Adventures 18000ft above sea level – a landslide at the Khardungla Pass!

Bactrian Camels of the Central Asian Silk Route – Ladakh

A night-out with the Nomads of Changthang

Mastering the Mind & Body – the Monk Warriors of Shaolin

The Ambubasi Tantric Festival

Church of Saint Francis Xavier of Assisi, Old Goa

Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an – a photo gallery of exhibits at Asian Civilisations Museum

Viva San Jao 2011

Invitation to a Lambani Gypsy Tribal Wedding

Exquisite Vintage Kebayas – costumes of the Pernakan Culture

Sikkim Diaries

Chanting Ceremony at Lingdum Monastery, Sikkim

Losar Celebrations – Bonfire at Kagyud Monastery, Sikkim

Procession at the Enchey Monastery, Sikkim

Little Lamas, Sikkim

Lama Dances at Thongsa Monastery, Kalimpong

Dancing with the Nuns at Phendzong Nunnery

Cross border handshake at Nathu-la Pass on the Silk Route

Yak Horn textile adornments, Sikkim

Street Shrines of India

The Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

Naga Lifestyle

Tribal Dances of Nagaland

Traditional Naga Bamboo Climbing & Fire Making

Tribal Textile and Bead Art of Nagaland

Sacrificial Lamb at Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati

Train Ride across rural Assam – Guwahati to Dimapur

Sumazau Dance of Sabah, Borneo

Journey of a Lifetime – Tibet

The Narakasur Festival

Lifestyle of the Qashqai Tribe, South West Persia

Nomads of Mongolia

Driving to Sindhudurg Sea Fort and back

The Eunuch Community of Bombay

The Dhunuchi Dance at Durga Puja

Thumbuakar Tribals of Borneo

Lucknow – Capital of Awadh & city of Nawabs

The Dragon Dance

The Magnificent Lion Dance

Janamashtami Festival

A cup of tea with nomads and gypsies of the Kutch

Alternate Sexuality Traditions 2 – The Tibetans

Textile Symbolism 1 : Hilltribes of Northern Thailand

Alternate Sexuality Traditions 1 – The Khmers

The children of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Time Travel Tour Operators

Kissing a Bengal Tiger

Common Memes between Tribes

Into the Arabian Sea at Mumbai

Through Rural Gujarat

Life in an Ashram

Goan Village House

Monsoon at Miramar, Goa

Dances from another place

The Fishing Nets of Cochin

The Lambani Gypsy Tribe

Lifestyle of the Hilltribes of Northern Thailand

Travelling Godmen

Colors of San Jao festival, Goa

Rajasthan Folk Art

Mountain flight to Mount Everest

Pashupatinath – celebration and sorrow

New posts are constantly being added to this list and will appear at the top.


by wovensouls
by Jaina Mishra

8 comments on “INDEX | Articles on Culture

  1. Durga Puja 2011
    July 19, 2011

    The biggest festival of Bengal – Durga Puja is coming early this year in 2011. The preparations have already started in various places in Kolkata. Wish you all a very happy durga puja

  2. wovensouls
    July 19, 2011

    Oh yes! I plan to be in Kolkata this year before returning to Singapore – mainly for the Ashtami! Would like to photograph the Dhunuchi in Cal!!

  3. Lane Byse
    November 6, 2011

    you have an awesome blog right here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my blog?

  4. wovensouls
    December 12, 2011

    sure I’d be happy to! let me know how. thanks. jm

  5. Lorayne Tabor
    May 29, 2012

    Hello, I just hopped over to your site using StumbleUpon. Not somthing I would generally read, but I appreciated your views none the less. Thanks for creating something well worth browsing.

  6. Alinda
    July 22, 2013

    Thank you, thank you for your view on understanding other cultures. It is perfectly said.

  7. donnaevaligia
    September 19, 2014

    That is a very impressive and vast work: thanks for letting us be inspired

  8. wovensouls
    September 19, 2014

    Am glad you like it. When I go out and get these experiences my reaction (after the first of being completely awed and then completely hungry for more) is that this is too huge to NOT be shared with others. And so I put up these notes. Most are hurried scribbles but at least the reader gets a glimpse into that experience and maybe based on this glimpse, will engineer her own journey if she gets smitten by the tale.

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