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Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery

Floods of Ladakh

The mighty force of the Himlayas – its mountains, its glaciers & snows and its rivers – can be imagined just by seeing the scale and magnitude of its being. … Continue reading

July 31, 2019 · Leave a comment

Goatherding with Gutthu – Travelogue

Gutthu sat on my lap staring into my eyes. Was there love? Was there bonding? Was this  unbroken stream of photons resulting in any emotional bonding from his side? Would … Continue reading

July 18, 2019 · Leave a comment

Himalayan Glimpses

View from the aircraft flying over the Himalayas. Awakens a thousand desires to go into each of those valleys on foot and knowing I shall never be able to do … Continue reading

July 10, 2019 · Leave a comment

Memories of Nagaland

The wealth of one’s life is the memories we collect – for only these can travel with us everywhere and be summoned at a moment’s notice to light up our … Continue reading

April 15, 2019 · Leave a comment

Sailing along the Mekong River Delta

On a hot summer’s day in a place called in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, we went out to see daily life and the floating markets. In a place connected … Continue reading

March 15, 2019 · Leave a comment

A Phulkari Fan from the Olden Days

Here’s another cultural remnant of the olden days in Punjab – A ceiling fan decorated with Phulkari work: The rope is used to swing the fan and is held by … Continue reading

February 5, 2019 · 2 Comments

Wearing her mother’s Bridal Haalvan Phulkari

A “haalvan” phulkari is done on very fine cotton cloth that is similar to mul mul. This is the first time I held one in my hand! All bridal textiles … Continue reading

January 30, 2019 · 2 Comments

A Place of Darkness – A place of Light

Come with me to this place – so dark that I stumbled a bit as my eyes took a few minutes to adjust. Seeking nothing, I went there during a … Continue reading

August 22, 2018 · 1 Comment

      Legacy of a Past Life 

This post is not about art or culture… Once upon a time I had a little venture called IQ Club. The idea came from working with my own kids and … Continue reading

May 20, 2018 · 2 Comments

Nomadic Weavings of Chanthang

Seen in the Himalayas in the Chanthang desert in Eastern Ladakh.  Their living spaces Let’s gp in … To see their home & their weavings ​(videa to follow later) Volunteers: … Continue reading

May 20, 2018 · Leave a comment

Mountain Art – Large Ancient Himalayan Buddhas – 4

The Yarma Gombo A set of natural rock formations revered and venerated by Buddhists as the appearance resembles the face of Buddha and other dieties. I would not have known … Continue reading

May 17, 2018 · Leave a comment

An Extraordinary Feat

So at the top of Khardungla pass in a small cafe I saw this other solo traveller. Since two of us were the only ones there I asked about his … Continue reading

May 15, 2018 · 1 Comment

Mountain Art – Large Ancient Himalayan Buddhas – 2

The Mulbeg Chamba Mulbeg is a small Buddhist village in Kargil that I’d first heard of while studying Perak headdress types.  Never thought U’d visit it someday to see the … Continue reading

May 14, 2018 · 1 Comment

Mountain Art – Large Ancient Himalayan Buddhas – 1

Huge Ancient Buddhist Sculptures in the Himalayas

May 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

Ancient Cave Paintings in Sasphol

13th Century Sasphol Caves, Ladakh Went up a mountain to see the magnificent Buddhist cave paintings. Worth every huff and puff. The big achievement was the small journey out of … Continue reading

May 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Visit to Phyang Monastery

Sat still within the ancient halls with only a young monk in attendance. Time passed unmarked by minutes and seconds. What do these matter when the walls have seen centuries!  … Continue reading

May 9, 2018 · Leave a comment

Himalayan Peaks – Journeys of the Soul

A few photos of some Himalayan Peaks taken over many journeys over the years. These spots evoke in me a great longing for journeys that I will never undertake …. … Continue reading

May 8, 2018 · Leave a comment

Walking on Water – The Zanskar Chadar

Come winter and the roads in the Himalayas are closed. But, as a way of compensation, the rivers freeze and create a path for those who must travel. Many villages … Continue reading

May 4, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Traditional Hearth

Serving up food for the tummy as well aa the soul!  It is the place where the whole family congregates over aclong breakfast of “khambheer” – hot thick rotis made … Continue reading

May 3, 2018 · Leave a comment

The Sawantwadi Palace

A walk around the charming old Palace building of Sawantwadi, in South Maharashtra just a few km from Goa. The overall building layout and the minor accents are native to … Continue reading

April 26, 2018 · Leave a comment

Sentinels & Thresholds 

The threshold is a very important line in a traditional Indian home.  It is washed and decorated beautifully every day with auspicious symbols  drawn in powder by the woman of … Continue reading

February 28, 2018 · 4 Comments

Travel Plans

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving (Lao Tzu) I long to evolve to this level of life! Maybe I will plan my next … Continue reading

February 12, 2018 · Leave a comment

Goa Carnaval 2018

Something to do over the weekend in case you are in Goa!  Delighted to find local culture in the themes of the floats!  Delighted to find people of all ages … Continue reading

February 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

My kind of Palace

After a long time I have been able to afford the time to take a little solo trip.  And here I am in a charming palace sipping green tea!  in … Continue reading

December 13, 2017 · 2 Comments

Back into the Home & Hearth of the Himalayan Aryan People

October 2016 The kitchen is a very intimate space. It is where many facets of my habits, my work style, my skills, my character, my thinking are revealed. And so, … Continue reading

May 23, 2017 · 1 Comment

The City of Benaras

“Yeh Benaras Hai” Literally it means “This is Banaras” but the tone included pride and an assurance – a way of saying “Don’t worry – it’s okay – this is … Continue reading

October 1, 2016 · 2 Comments

A Journey for the Bucket List

An addition to the Bucket List….
It appears that I might need a second or third life to accomplish it all!

September 11, 2016 · 1 Comment

Kashi nu Maran – The Flood of Ganga – 2016

According to a famous saying in Gujarati – my mother tongue –  one can attain Nirvana (bliss) through two simple ways: “Surat nu Jaman ke Kashi nu Maran” i.e. (By … Continue reading

September 3, 2016 · 1 Comment

Benaras Ganga Diaries

An unplanned visit to the Ganga came my way. For spiritual reasons. For filial piety reasons. For ceremonies that complete the cycle of life & death. Measured in the number … Continue reading

August 29, 2016 · 5 Comments

Pattua Singing from Bengal

In Bengal, in the olden days, in order to disseminate the holy stories, folk legends adn perhaps even news of major events, Pattua scrolls were used. Women first painted out … Continue reading

August 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Land of the Sufi

Istanbul – almost exactly a year ago, I spent almost every evening eating at a small place near Topkapi palace. It was an open air restaurant with a basic menu … Continue reading

July 4, 2016 · Leave a comment

When Life Happens… 

Sometimes life happens too fast. And there is hardly any time to keep up with reality -leave alone document it!  No time to blog out the memories for a future-self … Continue reading

April 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Waiting to Grow Old

A friend reminded me that at 50, we are the youngest of the old people. But I cannot wait to get to the next stage and become the oldest of … Continue reading

March 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

Side Effects of Religion

With the world slowly going crazy and the use of religion as a platform to justify it all, it is natural that there are discussions everywhere on this provocative subject. … Continue reading

January 10, 2016 · 2 Comments

What’s in a Name!

I did not realise the complexity of our naming system until I came across the extremely simple – and therefore confusing – naming system used for naming children in Bali, … Continue reading

December 27, 2015 · 1 Comment

Indonesian Archipelago Diaries

Traveling through active Volcanoes that spewed ash just 2 months ago! Ancient Temples & Prehistoric Dragons, Coral reef snorkelling (and a few lectures) beckon! The villages of Borobudur &  Prambanan … Continue reading

December 15, 2015 · 15 Comments

Motif & Meaning – Caravans & Herders

More textiles, more meaning! Here are some created by a Bishnoi group from Rajasthan India. These motifs that tell us about their lives through their portrayal of the cultural elements … Continue reading

November 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

Interesting Istanbul 2 – The Shoe Shine Men

Just outside the Topkapi Palace…. A shoe shine man with a glamorous set up! This was not just a scene of a service provider and a customer. It was a … Continue reading

July 11, 2015 · 1 Comment

Interesting Istanbul 1 – Artistic Locks

After hearing a story of my friend’s credit cards being stolen from the overhead compartment on a flight on one of the world’s best airlines, I have begun using locks … Continue reading

July 7, 2015 · 2 Comments

Guest Post – Memories of Swat – Kohistan Valley

Steve Wallace is a Textile Collector living in Australia and has kindly shared his memories of a visit to the Swat Valley three decades ago through this note. Photos are … Continue reading

June 26, 2015 · Leave a comment

 Lost & Found – An Ancient City in Northern Thailand

An experience from 8 years ago almost lost in my memory… revived through photos. In 1984, some ancient tablets were found at a site about 5km from Chiang Mai in … Continue reading

June 25, 2015

Vietnam Diaries

So close yet so far! Vietnam being just a short flight away – there is the feeling that I can go there anytime. And as a result I put it … Continue reading

May 4, 2015 · 1 Comment

Caving in Halong Bay – First Adventure

Well ‘almost’. Caving is the recreational pastime of exploring wild generally non-commercial cave systems. The beautiful Halong Bay in Vietnam with its 2000 towering limestone islands and islets offered me … Continue reading

May 4, 2015 · 4 Comments

Asia Travelogues Coming Soon

The Wealth of South Asia  – Islands, Sun & Sea Vietnam: Caving in Vietnam Vietnam:  Just what were you thinking? Guerilla Jungles & Tunnels Vietnam: The Tale of a Refugee … Continue reading

April 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

Going Solo Again

Another speaking assignment – another fantastic cruise ship and a whole lot of new places waiting to be seen! A month ago I was in the Andaman Seas – stopping … Continue reading

March 23, 2015 · 3 Comments

Shedding Draupadi’s Sari before the Ocean

Yes – these are the true colors of the ocean in Phi Phi island, near Phuket Thailand. Yes I am extremely fortunate to have seen such waters several times in … Continue reading

February 11, 2015 · Leave a comment

Myanmar Diaries

A few notes on the culture & art of Myanmar (Burma) experienced first-hand.

February 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Narakasura Festival, Goa

[A post from 2010 on the occasion of Diwali & Narakasur] Goa. Narakasur. Pre-Diwali. A unique folk festival that I noticed for the first time in 2004  then became more … Continue reading

October 20, 2014 · 7 Comments

The Honey Trappers

* WARNING Several Graphic Images* Goa is one of the regions that is blessed with fertile forests. And a result of (or perhaps cause of) this is the large variety … Continue reading

August 5, 2014 · 1 Comment

Mumbai – Bombay Diaries

Born, brought up & lived life in the most spirited, most diverse city in the world. A few glimpses of my love for the city can be seen through the … Continue reading

April 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

Rajasthan Diaries

The caravan stops again.  At Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and the surrounding desert villages! Sand dunes, an abandoned village, mesmerising architecture, a surprising desert-turned-fertile landscape, warm people, and finally an unforgettable meeting … Continue reading

April 1, 2014 · 20 Comments

Okinawa Ryukyu Diaries

A walk through a traditional Ryukyu Village, Okinawa, Japan Grace of a Ryukyu Weaver, Okinawa Dancing to the Drums of Ryukyu Traditional Sugar Mill, Ryukyu Okinawa

November 15, 2013 · Leave a comment

Lifestyle & Beliefs of the Dard Aryan Ethnic Group of Ladakh

“It happens when it happens” Time is not a rare commodity and leisure is a luxury that all enjoy. ‘It happens when it happens’. No hurry. No time crunch. No … Continue reading

November 1, 2013 · 3 Comments

The Magnificent 11th Century Lamayuru Monastery – A photoessay

The Monastery    Student Monks doing their laundry.   And finally an invitation to  lunch of Rajam & Rice with the student monks! Food for the Soul, Food for the … Continue reading

October 29, 2013 · 1 Comment

A Cup of Tea with the Lamaji of Lamayuru Monastery

Imagine a much revered 11th century Gompa (monastery). The drive to Lamayuru takes us through unusual & complex Himalayan landscapes. We arrive tired and saturated with all the beautiful views. … Continue reading

October 29, 2013 · 2 Comments

Aryan Diaries

My  first trip to Ladakh in 2011 was an extravagant visual feast of culture.  As a first-time viewer I was dazzled and overwhelmed so much that I could barely differentiate … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

A walk through a traditional Ryukyu Village, Okinawa, Japan

Ryukyu Kingdom – Wikipedia says it existed between the 15th & 19th century. A walk through a village in Okinawa that has been reconstructed by transporting century old houses from … Continue reading

August 13, 2013 · 3 Comments

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City

A few interesting cultural shots of traditional life  from the otherwise modern Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam Will post a video of my cycle rickshaw weaving through the heavy traffic … Continue reading

August 4, 2013 · 7 Comments

In the Presence of the Past – Ancient Caves of Odisha

Just outside Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India monks carved out a cave complex from the stone mountain and made it their home. Today, I am here, in the same point in space … Continue reading

March 26, 2013 · 4 Comments

Return to Ladakh

There is a ‘magnetic’ mountain on the road between Leh and Alchi. The magnetism is strong enough to pull parked cars upwards. It is probably this magnetism that took me … Continue reading

March 22, 2013 · 2 Comments

Palm Leaf Pattachitra from Odisha

Traditionally paper, textiles and stone have been used to create artworks. So when a new base material is encountered the most intriguing aspect for me is ‘how did this come … Continue reading

February 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

The Stylish Priests at Jagannath Temple

Who said that men’s fashion has to be bland and boring? Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the 4 important pilgrimage spots for any Hindu.  The temple is old … Continue reading

February 17, 2013 · 3 Comments

The Ladies Compartment in Mumbai Local Trains

VENUE : The Ladies Compartment LOCATION : The local trains of Mumbai EVENT : 1. Shopping Gala 2. Bonding Gala COST : INR 40 / all day travel TIME : … Continue reading

February 7, 2013 · 8 Comments

Kalinga Diaries

Kalinga. Now called Odisha (Orissa). The poorest state in India financially. Yet, among the richest states culturally. Every Indian has heard of Orissa through its arts – either the dance, … Continue reading

January 28, 2013 · 5 Comments

Camels go on a Pilgrimage with their Tribal Masters to pray

I am in Kutch. One of the districts of Gujarat. Which is one of the 28 states of India. This little portion tucked away in a corner of India bordering … Continue reading

October 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

Quill Art of the First People

  A short slideshow on the Quill Art of the first people of North America. But first some interesting facts about quillwork : Quillwork, the oldest form of embroidery of … Continue reading

September 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

A walk through a Rabari tribal Village

Rabari people are gypsies having their deep ancestry origins in Mount Kailash. They migrated to the Kutch via Afghanistan & Kashmir. Just a video taken as I walk about a … Continue reading

August 14, 2012 · 2 Comments

Textile Art of South East Asia at the Asian Civilsations Museum

An album from a forgotten visit in 2007 to the Asian Civilisations Museum …. taken with a camera I do not even remember. A photography experience that probably made me … Continue reading

July 7, 2012 · Leave a comment

Tribal Textile Art of Kutch – the Bhuj Folk Art Museum

A self explanatory photo-essay showcasing the mirrorwork & embroidery of various tribes in the Kutch region of Gujarat India. But first an introduction to the two lovely ladies from the … Continue reading

July 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of Mizoram, The Lunglei Museum Collection

A walk through the textile & jewelry section of the Museum of Lunglei, the remotest town in the North Eastern state of Mizoram, India. Details of these pieces are available … Continue reading

June 27, 2012 · Leave a comment

Turban Art – the Crowning Glory of Indian Men

Turbans serve many uses for Indian men. They provide relief from the sun and a touch of color to the simple male costume. The loose ends are used as handkerchiefs, … Continue reading

June 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

Alternate Life Models 5 – Mizo culture

Most Eastern life models are patrilineal and the father-son lineage carries forward important life markers such as caste, name, inheritance etc. The rules are clear and common across geographies. But … Continue reading

June 24, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Classic Indian Village Fair – Gogunda mela

Not a single tourist present besides me. No Indian tourist. No foreign tourist.No men tourists. No women tourists. ONLY locals. ONLY villagers. And me. This is simply not a place … Continue reading

June 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

Gangaur Festival

A festival of devotion and of celebration of love. Shiva and Parvati are the epitome of love in Hindu mythology and this is one of the stories about their love. … Continue reading

June 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

Curious Dayak Tribal Objects

I had never articulated the thought in my head until Kuching but had always known this even during my days of scrounging through Chor Bazaar in Bombay and flea markets … Continue reading

June 14, 2012

A Cultural Stay at Kuching

A quaint little backpackers hostel set in an old shophouse along the waterfront decorated with Straits furniture provides the perfect cultural experience in Kuching This is been the most culturally … Continue reading

June 14, 2012

The Batak Calendar from Sumatra, Indonesia

Everyone reading this would know that it is the year 2012. And everyone would also know that the world did not begin 2012 years ago – so what does this … Continue reading

June 5, 2012 · 8 Comments

A Python for Dinner

Note: Please note that this article contains images of raw meat. If this is offensive to you do not read further. “Mom what’s for dinner” “Stir Fried Python” This would … Continue reading

May 28, 2012 · Leave a comment

Sarawak Diaries

The number of hours spent in an airplane seems to be directly proportional to the “Exotica  Quotient” of a destination. This is false of course and although I knew that, … Continue reading

May 28, 2012 · Leave a comment

Women of India – the Weaker sex….

Presenting a view of the woman seen as the classical “abalaa naari” or the helpless woman of Indian society. The tribal Indian woman. An epitome of freedom and strength! She … Continue reading

April 26, 2012

Music of the Manganiyar Tribe

The Manganiyars are famous through their shows worldwide titled the Manganiyar Seduction. Presented by international performance companies their music has received a platform it deserves. Awards and acclaim have followed … Continue reading

April 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Blacksmith Gadaliya Tribe of Rajasthan & Gujarat

One of the many tribes I met in Rajasthan – the Gadaliyas – the Blacksmiths. I have posted some images and an informed article by another blogger on nomadic tribe … Continue reading

April 24, 2012 · 2 Comments

Mewar Diaries

Rajasthan needs no introduction. Colors flood my senses from the moment I drive into the city of Udaipur from the airport late in the evening. After stopping to pick up … Continue reading

April 20, 2012 · 2 Comments

The Man with 39 Wives

A remote village in Mizoram. Returning from Lunglei to Aizawl I took a detour via Sirchip in order to meet this man with a new idea of life. Communication with … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Chapchar Kut Harvest Festival of Mizoram

A glimpse of the Chapchar Kut Harvest festival held at Aizawl in March 2012. The Chapchar Kut is the Harvest festival of Mizoram and celebrated across the hills in March … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · Leave a comment

Street Dwellers in Bombay

Everyone has heard about the much romanticised and much media-exploited slums of Bombay. There are even organised tours through the slums! Most outsiders think that slum life is the rock … Continue reading

March 17, 2012

Mizoram Diaries

Mizoram. A landscape of blue mountains. Rising above white clouds and mist. Green. Pristine. Located in the North East of India. With a population of 10,00,000. Spread over half a … Continue reading

March 4, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Komusa Wandering Monks & their Shakuhachi flutes

Arm Chair Travel  The Distance between point A and point B may be reduced by either one of them moving to the other. Since it is not possible to move … Continue reading

February 24, 2012

Intense Spirituality – the Thaipusam Festival

They say spirituality awakens at a particular moment – and that moment is necessarily different for each person. I do not think I have reached my moment yet. But I … Continue reading

February 7, 2012 · 2 Comments

Arunachal Pradesh Diaries

Nested in the Himalayan foothills, almost untouched by my world that is desperately seeking answers to its energy crisis, its financial crisis fuelled by ‘more & more’ & ‘growth’, and … Continue reading

January 18, 2012 · 1 Comment

Fierce Nocte Headhunters

Portrait-collage of the Nocte Tribe, Khonsa, Arunachal Pradesh, a friendly happy yet fierce tribe with headhunting ancestry. Hi res images available on www.jainamishra.com My other related articles Headhunting Tropies Back … Continue reading

January 18, 2012 · 1 Comment

The Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh

Am stating the obvious – that every journey results in not only a fresh view of old things, but also views of things never seen before by the beholder. Having … Continue reading

January 16, 2012

Glimpses of a contented People – the Arunachalis

Images of interesting elements of Arunachali lifestyle have been put together as a general kaleidoscope. For separate articles on the specific topics, click on the links below: Hunter-Gatherer-Weavers  Innovative housing … Continue reading

January 15, 2012

A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual

Rural Arunachal Pradesh, Dec 2011 This was an encounter that took me by surprise and swept me off my feet! When I think back, it is difficult to imagine the … Continue reading

January 7, 2012 · 4 Comments

The Arunachali – the Hunter-Gatherer-Weaver

Tiny hamlets dot the Himalayan foothills of Arunachal Pradesh. Some lie along the winding roads while a large number are accessible only by foot paths taking as long as 3-5 … Continue reading

January 5, 2012

Tribal Signatures – Face Tattoos of the Apatani tribe

The lifestyle of Apatani hilltribe of Arunachal Pradesh fascinates a cultural traveller on several aspects. But the one that hit me with the greatest intensity are the 2 tribal signatures … Continue reading

January 4, 2012

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 2 : Innovative housing

Arunachal Pradesh landscapes comprise the foothills of the Himalayas and is inhabited mainly by tribes.The hills are dotted with tribal villages all across its 85000 sq km expanse. Hills and … Continue reading

December 16, 2011 · Leave a comment

Head Hunting Trophies

The British had banned head hunting during the days of the Raj and ordered that all trophies – such as skulls of enemy tribes – be destroyed. Most tribes complied. … Continue reading

December 11, 2011 · 4 Comments

Ram Leela at Dassera in Mumbai

The Ramayan is a well known epic about the triumph of good over evil. But the Ram Leela – the enactment of the Ramayana is a lesser known event. In … Continue reading

November 16, 2011 · 3 Comments

Ladakh Diaries

“LADAKH – THE HERMIT KINGDOM”  PROVIDES AN INTRODUCTION TO LADAKH AND IS A PREFACE TO A SERIES OF SUBJECT SPECIFIC ARTICLES ON LADAKH. In the olden days, in the Hindu … Continue reading

November 11, 2011 · 1 Comment

“An Indian Discovers India” – Photo Art Prints Exhibition

For an Indian born and raised in urban India, discovering the diverse spectrum of cultures in the extreme geographical ends has been a journey filled with revelations about India’s identity. … Continue reading

November 3, 2011

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Archery

The word ‘sports’ evokes visions of young fit people. It evokes images of competitive spirits. But in most folk sports that I have watched in places that remain pure and … Continue reading

October 24, 2011

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

This was, without a doubt, the most difficult journey I have ever made. I have travelled to Everest Base camp, have travelled squeezed into the boot of a car on … Continue reading

October 24, 2011 · Leave a comment

Bactrian Camels of the Central Asian Silk Route – Ladakh

Diskit village, Nubra valley. Ladakh. Wedged between two ranges of the Himalayas. Sand dunes. River beds. Mountains with badly scratched faces. Mountains with a topology that mesmerised. Rock formations that … Continue reading

October 23, 2011

The Chamms Masked Dances by the Monks of Chemrey Monastery – Ladakh

Lamas of the ancient Chemrey monastery performing the Masked dances in Leh in which they enact religious tales with a moral. The stunning colors of the flowing robes combined with … Continue reading

October 23, 2011 · Leave a comment

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Polo

Where else would we find a monastery, a chorten, mountain peaks AND polo players in the same shot??!!! The cheerleading squad – traditional drummers The teams A flying horse? A … Continue reading

October 4, 2011

Ancient Murals of Alchi Monastery – an art-collector’s delight

Alchi is a sleepy and simple unglorified village about 70 km to the West of Leh. Nothing in its approach route or in the buildings and structures of the village … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

Mastering the Mind and Body – Monk Warriors of Xiaolin (Shaolin) – a photoessay

Xiaolin or Shaolin. China. Popularised in the film “36 Chambers of Shaolin” (1978) When I woke up yesterday, I had no idea that the day would hold unforgettable encounters with … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

A night-out with the Nomads of Changthang

  Dreamt of spending time with nomads for a long time. To experience their minimalistic lives,  to observe the mental strength with which they embraced the harshness of nature, to … Continue reading

September 15, 2011 · 6 Comments

Church of St. Francis Xavier of Assisi, Old Goa

I studied at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, and my school was a convent run by a nun order that is closely associated with the Jesuit priests, an order started … Continue reading

July 25, 2011 · 2 Comments

Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an – a photo gallery

Made of . These and other artifacts like bells, cranes, amulets and weapons are all widely speculated by experts to be part of the recreation of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s … Continue reading

July 16, 2011 · 3 Comments

Antique Java Topeng Masks and Wayang Topeng

Wayang Topeng is an Indonesian dance form that uses masks such as the ones shown below, that evolved in the 16th century. Performances enact Javanese stories about 12th century heroes … Continue reading

July 11, 2011

Viva San Jao

24th June 2011 A second visit to the wonderful non-touristy festival in Goa! For the local people and by the local people. Vibrant colors, Vibrant music, Vibrant boat decor and … Continue reading

June 25, 2011 · 1 Comment

Invitation to a Lambani Gypsy Tribal Wedding

A Lambani Gypsy family. A Village in Karnataka, India. May 8th 2011. An arranged marriage. This is an account of a gypsy tribal wedding in a tiny village that had … Continue reading

May 7, 2011

Sikkim Diaries

‘To live many lifetimes within a lifetime…”. Its time for another lifetime! My trip to Sikkim in March 2011, was planned during the week of Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations. … Continue reading

March 17, 2011

Chanting ceremony at Kagyud Monastery, Lingdum, Sikkim

The Kagyud Monastery was the best experience of my Sikkim trip. This is the monastery that I will return to someday. On the first visit, 2 days prior to Losar, … Continue reading

March 17, 2011 · 1 Comment

Lama Dances at Thongsa Monastery, Kalimpong

The dates for my Sikkim trip were arranged so that I could experience the Lama Dances at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Information on the net was sketchy, but some websites … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Breathtaking Mural Paintings of Sikkim Monasteries

The images need no supporting words… Just a small preface …all images were taken inside a large hall lit only by a few butter lamps. I have not used a … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Art in Buddhist Ritual Objects

My awareness of Buddhist rituals and practices is limited to my observations. Someday I hope I will have the opportunity to seek out the stories and the philosophies behind these … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Art in Sikkimese Monastery Architecture

The initial images display exteriors of monasteries while the last dozen display the interiors. Back to Sikkim Diaries jm March 2011

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Wood Art in Sikkim Monasteries – Windows, Doors and Pillars

The design of the Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim is heavily influenced by Tibetan designs and bears a close similarity to the visuals seen on the other side of the Himalayas. … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

On the Silk Route at the Nathula Pass, India-China border

The day journey from Gangtok is a difficult one, but that doesn’t stop tourists from reaching the pass 15000 ft above sea level…..I was just one of the 4-5 dozen … Continue reading

March 7, 2011 · Leave a comment

Buddhist Yak Butter Art of Sikkim

I usually travel ‘blind’ – without detailed research. So I do not have a clear idea of what to expect. As a result, the experiences I go through along the … Continue reading

March 5, 2011 · 1 Comment

Procession at the Enchey Monastery, Sikkim

The head Lama at Enchey, a quiet handsome and dignified gentleman who rarely speaks to visitors, honored me with a detailed conversation about his life* and about the monastery. He … Continue reading

March 4, 2011 · Leave a comment

Pattachitra Art of Assam

Pattachitra is similar to ‘storyboards’ or stories told along with pictures. The tales depicted are usually derived from epics such as Bhagawat and Ramayana. In ancient India, this art was … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · 3 Comments

Rural art & crafts of Assam

Art arises as an expression of common people as expressions of culture, expression of religion and expression of belief. In cases where the art form finds a patron, the technique … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of the Ahom Kingdom – Guwahati Museum Collection

The Ahoms are a community found largely in Assam. This community consists of the descendants of ethnic Tai people who accompanied the Tai prince Sukaphaa who established the Ahom kingdom … Continue reading

February 17, 2011 · 2 Comments

Street Shrines of India

The Gods are everywhere – literally. In busy Bombay, in parts where its working class real people live, almost every street has a wayside shrine. A holy tree or an … Continue reading

January 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

Tribal Textile and Bead Art of Nagaland

This photoessay is preceded by the article that appears on Jozan.net titled “Red, White and Black – Tribal Textiles of Nagaland” available here. Images will say it better than words … Continue reading

December 27, 2010 · 3 Comments

Nagaland Diaries

An image from 1870s Nov 29th, 2010 Am setting out to explore Nagaland – home to over 20 distinct tribes characterised by two intriguing lifetsyles: headhunting and minimal clothing. This … Continue reading

December 26, 2010 · 1 Comment

Tribal Dances of Nagaland

Every tribe has unique ways of celebrating festivals – some that are common to all Nagamese, others that are unique to each tribe. A collection of images of various tribal … Continue reading

December 26, 2010

Sacrificial Lamb at Kamakhya temple, Guwahati

I had heard about the Kamakhya or Kamakshi temple through a scientist friend recently. He was intrigued by the world of Tantrics and as he talked about his fascination, he … Continue reading

December 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Train Ride across rural Assam – Guwahati to Dimapur

The railway station was just as enchanting as every other Indian railway station. Bustling with travellers and vendors, crowded with passengers sleeping on the platforms waiting for their next connection, … Continue reading

December 20, 2010 · Leave a comment

Naga lifestyle

Pineapple plantation Buddies chatting on a ‘puliya’ Local Backpacks Dimapur market: Small intertwining lanes that would challenge the map-drawers skills; Shops spilling out onto the streets with wares stacked in … Continue reading

December 13, 2010 · 1 Comment

Tears in Kohima

My friend who had fought several wars as part of the infantry brought me to look at this landmark site. It probably held some significance to him, but I had … Continue reading

December 12, 2010 · 1 Comment

Goan Folk Art – Tulsi Pots

Goa is known for its beaches …but over the years its numerous hidden attractions have revealed themselves to me, slowly, one at a time, ensuring that I remain in love … Continue reading

October 25, 2010

Panaji to Sindhudurg Sea Fort and back

If you are considering going to Sindhudurg Sea Fort, you’d look at the map, find Sindhudurg on it and then head for it….but that would be a mistake! If you … Continue reading

October 24, 2010

Beautiful People – the Eunuch community of Bombay

Eunuchs have been mentioned in the Mahabharata, in tales from the Mughal times and from ancient China. In all of these they played a role in royal and noble homes. … Continue reading

October 20, 2010 · 3 Comments

The Dhunuchi Dance at Durga Puja

I first experienced this dance through one of the most beautiful Hindi films of this decade – Parineeta. This dance is performed at the Durga Puja – a hindu festival … Continue reading

October 13, 2010 · Leave a comment

Thumbuakar Tribal Group, Borneo

What a delightful and soul satisfying find this has been!! Gorgeous humans, gorgeous textiles and topping all that – gorgeous performance art! Bamboo dance, fire dance – in which they … Continue reading

September 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

The Dragon Dance

A set of photos on the dragon dance. The dragon chasing the pearl shows that the dragon is continually in the pursuit of wisdom. Every unique formation has a name … Continue reading

September 10, 2010 · Leave a comment

The magnificent Lion Dance

The boys performing these feats are not professionals. They are students or young working adults who also perform the lion dance… The main performers of a team are the dancers.  … Continue reading

September 8, 2010 · 1 Comment

A cup of tea with Nomads and Gypsies of Kutch

  This trip in early 2006  marked the start of my solo travelling life. A novice solo traveller a bit nervous, but as usual serendipity helped me along….. Armed with … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 6 Comments

Ajrakh Block Print Art

This is a photoessay on the art of block printing called ‘Ajrakh’. The process described here, is the same for any block print art. The speciality of Ajrakh is that … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Hmong Batik Art

The Hmong are one of the hilltribes living in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. One of signatures of this group is their Batik Art used in their garments. The following photos … Continue reading

August 21, 2010 · 3 Comments

Kissing a Bengal Tiger

If Webster needed examples from the real world to explain the word ‘inappropriate’ – the names of two tigers I met and cuddled, Sticky Rice and Spicy Sausage would be … Continue reading

August 12, 2010 · 1 Comment

Lifestyle of Hilltribes of Northern Thailand

Following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Jozan.net. ‘Textiles, costumes & dress codes have played an integral role as announcers of significant life events, in some cultures … Continue reading

July 11, 2010 · 2 Comments

Travelling Godmen – the Spiritual Healers of India

Travelling Godmen are wanderers that travel from village to village, restricting themselves to a particular geographical area (usually dictated by the language). They sell spirituality and its benefits in different … Continue reading

July 10, 2010 · 6 Comments

Newari Wood Art

I am ashamed now of my ignorance of that entire Himalayan region that houses a rainbow spectrum of historic cultures – that have left so many pieces of art & … Continue reading

July 9, 2010 · 1 Comment

Lives of Others – The Bicycle Tourists

2007. Tibet – at a location just outside Lhasa. A short climb up a hill to a monastery. Quiet place – left alone by tourists. After many stops along the … Continue reading

July 7, 2010 · Leave a comment

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