Apr 30, 2010

Portraits: Shaiva Sadhu, Jaipur India

India’s Sadhus are Hindu holy men who give up the material life to seek enlightenment. There are different sects of Sadhus and this man is part of the Shaivas, those who follow Shiva the god of destruction and creation.

Carefully painted on his head in red vermillion is an Om sign. The yellow lines, which were painted with turmeric, are worn by followers of Shiva. His necklace is also an Om sign.

The saffron color of his clothes represents renunciation or the fourth phase of Hindu life after studying, becoming a parent and a religious pilgrim. Saffron represents fire, which burns or eliminates worldly desires.

Apr 25, 2010

Paan: Indian Delicacy

Paan vendors are a common sight on the streets of India. Paan is an Indian chew and while ingredients vary it is often made with made with betel nuts, mixed spices (masala) and lime paste and wrapped in a betel leaf eaten whole.

Paan is usually eaten at the end of a meal. It is thought to aid digestion and also acts as a mouth freshener.

This vendor was selling Paan in Janpath market in New Delhi. What local delicacies have you tried when traveling?

Apr 16, 2010

Delhi Observations

A lot can change in a city in three years and Delhi, with a population of 14 million, is no exception. The central part of the city is in the midst of a revamp in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.

Connaught Place is getting a facelift. The iconic white facades and columns are being peeled back and restored.

The Metro is on track to be completed in time for the Games including a line that will take you to the airport. I didn’t get a chance to ride the metro this trip but look forward to doing so next time. It is no easy feat building an above and below ground train system in an ancient city.

A new, much needed state of the art Airport Terminal is also slated to be finished in time for the Games. Once completed Terminal 3 will be the third largest in the world after Dubai and Beijing.

All of the above is a tall order to be completed in time for the Games which will be held in October, a more climate friendly time of the year. April is the start of the hot season and temperatures reached 110 Fahrenheit when we were there.

Shopping mall culture has fully arrived. Massive malls the size of small cities feature U.S. and U.K. chain stores as well as well as coffee shop franchises with prices to match the West.

More cars, in particular Smart Cars, are on the road instead of motorbikes. The drivers of said Smart Cars still handle them as though they were motorbikes, weaving in between large trucks and all forms of traffic from four wheels to four legs. Auto rickshaws are still plentiful.

The cost of living has increased substantially. My husband noted that the price of food in the local market near where our family lives has tripled in the last three years.

Whenever I return from cities such as Delhi, Tokyo or Shanghai New York seems empty and calm by comparison. When this perception starts to wear no doubt I’ll book a flight. Do you perceive your home differently when returning from an overseas journey?

Apr 10, 2010

Street Scenes: Djemma el Fna at Night

At dusk hundreds of food stall vendors start setting up in Marrakesh’s Djemma el Fna. By the time the sun goes down a full on feast is in full swing well into the night.

Do you sample street food when traveling?

Apr 5, 2010

South Korea Gallery

I’ve recently added a South Korea gallery to the portfolio section of my travel photography Web site. Images include Seoul and a few of the DMZ. It’s no easy task choosing the best 20 or so photos from more than 2,000.

I’ve also updated the Cities at Night gallery with a few photos of Tokyo and Seoul. When I return from India I’ll add Nicaragua and will update India as well.