Discovering South – Kanyakumari & Madurai

Oh jingle bells jingle bells, jingle all the way! – Christmas Carols, Jingle Bells

It happened that I spent Christmas in Kanyakumari and Madurai, two cities in the Indian state of Tami Nadu, that honestly were not the very best choice to spend a nice Christmas eve, but as anyways I was travelling alone with most of my beloved ones far away in Germany, Christmas didn’t seem such a big deal to me this year. I was hoping to spend Christmas Eve with some other travelers, but soon figured out that Kanyakumari was not a big tourist destination for foreigners, so the disappointment about the fact that my so-called hostel “upgraded” me into a single room was not too big. However, a feeling of joy came over me every time I found a church, a Christmas tree, nativity scenes or any kind of decoration that reminded me of Christmas, despite the 35°C outside and the missing infinite loop of typical German Christmas songs. Continue reading

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Exploring South II – Kochi & Varkala

I want to be like water. I want to slip through fingers, but hold up a ship. – Michelle Williams

My next two destinations – Kochi (Cochin) and Varkala provided me in many ways a short escape from the sometimes challenging travel conditions in India, as both places are crowded with tourists, which gives them in many ways a more Western touch. I found myself staring at people in bikinis and shorts, as well as couples showing affection, as if I would have never seem something like this before. Apparently I dived so deep into the Indian culture, that it felt somehow wrong and not appropriate to me, so in the end I stuck to my long trousers and suffered in the heat, although this would not have been necessary at all, but well… 😀 Continue reading

Discovering South I – Bangalore & Munnar

You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. – Miriam Adeney

I felt quite awkward when I entered the bus that should finally take me away from my second home Pune and bring me all the way to Bangalore instead (14h bus drive). It left a strange feeling when I said goodbye to my new friends after my last day in office, and I was glad that I didn’t have to wait for the bus alone. Honestly I felt kind of paralysed once I was sitting in the bus, trying to realise what just happened. Those six full months did pass by just like that, way too fast as that I could understand how it happened. How this fabulous time I had in Pune could be over so quickly. Continue reading

Gujarat – Rann of Kutch

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow. – Anita Desai

The last trip during my internship was something Dustin and me were looking forward to since quite a while. However, it was only the fact that I got my two unpaid leave days permitted that in the end forced us to go – after another busy week in office, spending endless times in sleeper trains and busses made us doubt about our mission. After all, the five days travel was leading towards only one goal: a couple of hours in the salt desert in the Great Rann of Kutch. Continue reading

Exploring North East III – Khajuraho

Take your pleasure seriously. – Charles Eames

Our last stop was Khajuraho, where we arrived early morning by train and booked a cab for the day to drive us around and bring us to the railway station in the evening, as the one where we could take a train to Mumbai from was 120km away. Initially I found out about this place because a friend in France told me about it, and there are various reasons why the temples located there are worth a visit. Not only is the whole complex beautiful to look at, also the scenes depicted in the engraving are quite special. It is needless to explain more once you saw the pictures… Last hint: The temples are colloquially called “Kamasutra Tempels”… 😉 Continue reading

Exploring North East II – Varanasi & Sarnath

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain.

Varanasi certainly is a city that cannot be described in words, but that has to be experienced. The atmosphere in the probably most important city inthe Hindu religion is overwhelming, and I can honestly say that I didn’t find anything comparable during my past six months in India. The city’s popularity originates from its location directly next to the holy Ganges river, which is said to wash people’s sins away and to enable a breakout from the continuing cycle of rebirth if the ashes of a deceased person are strewed in the river. Continue reading