The India Diaries: New Beginnings

…trips do not begin or end, they merely change form”  ~ Robyn Davidson Last week in India. Every situation I encountered became a microcosm of India in my mind, little snippets of time and absurdity that perfectly encapsulated my experience of the country… * A Varanasi alleyway at night. A cow thrusts her matted black…

The India Diaries: The Art of Dying

Varanasi is the holiest of seven holy Hindu cities in India. It is where Shiva and Parvati stood when time began ticking. When I asked the family with whom I was sharing a sleeper bunk on the train from Amritsar to help me get off at the right stop, the man said, “Banaras? Next stop!”…

The India Diaries: Get Thee to a Nunnery

Someone once told me that India will teach you what you need to know. Maybe not what you want to learn (no one wants to learn what happens when you eat dodgy curry, but it’s definitely in the syllabus), but what you need to. It’s almost as though when you fill out the visa application,…

The India Diaries: Amritsar

Amritsar, the capital city of the Punjab state, is famous for three things: The Golden Temple, the ceremony at the Pakistan border and food. The food absolutely lives up to its reputation. Everything has butter and/or ghee (clarified butter) in it — even the lassi (yoghurt drink, like a milkshake but with yoghurt). Probably not…

The India Diaries: The Dalai Lama talks to Mongolians

“We are all the same. We don’t want suffering; we all want happiness.” — HH the Dalai Lama There seems to me a natural progression in backpacking. In the beginning, we want to see everything, go everywhere, have every (positive) experience. This is both great fun and completely exhausting. I’ve reached the stage where I…

The India Diaries: Dharamsala

I left Rishikesh in a state of bitter-sweet happiness. While it was sad to say goodbye to the place and people that had been my home-on-the-road for six weeks and where I’d learned so much about myself, yoga and life, I was overflowing with gratitude for the experience. And I was excited to get on…