Photo du Jour #49: Mother & Child – Kochi, India

In the southern Indian city of Kochi, this mother and child sported bindis between their eyebrows, as well as sparkly bangles and dramatic eye makeup. The young mother’s hair was also trimmed with a garland of fresh, aromatic jasmine – a practice that is customary with many of the ladies in the state of Kerala. On two separate afternoons, locals treated me to jasmine garlands, purchasing them from a flower merchant’s stand and then tying them into my hair. It was such a beautiful gesture and a generous way of sharing this custom with us. I was so very touched by my new friends’ random acts of kindness!

A Golden Afternoon on India’s Elephanta Island

 

Wanting to escape the hustle, bustle and sardine-packed nature of manic Mumbai, we boarded a boat at the city’s Gateway of India monument bound for lush Elephanta Island. The island’s former name Gharapuri (meaning ‘place of caves’) is fitting given Elephanta boasts numerous caves with elaborate Hindu and Buddhist carvings – considered to be some of the finest in India. They’re thought to have been created and carved between AD 450 and 750. Continue reading “A Golden Afternoon on India’s Elephanta Island”

Monkey Business at Elephanta Island

Perhaps I should seek employment as a surveillance photographer for I found it so amusing to catch mischievous primates on film in Bali, Cambodia and India! :)

This cheeky monkey was spotted on Elephanta Island. To get there, we had to take a 50-minute boat ride from India Gate in Mumbai / Bombay.

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First, the little macaque checked the scene to ensure she wasn’t being watched.

Into the blue bucket she dove.

With her prize in sight, she completes one final check…

…before spiriting away a bag of savory snacks.

It’d be hard to identify her in a line-up with only the derrière shot!

But I caught her later, enjoying the evidence. :)

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • To reach Elephanta Island, catch a ferry by the Gateway of India. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes each way.
  •  Need more inspiration as you plan your travels in India? This link contains an index of all my posts from India.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

 

Happy Holi! Celebrating the Festival of Colors in Goa

If you were in India today, chances are that you would now be sporting rainbow hues from head to toe, for today is Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a Hindu celebration that welcomes spring and its abundant colors and bids farewell to winter. Originally, Holi commemorated successful harvests.

As we prepared to take on the endless supply of vibrant tossed powders and sprayed colored waters this morning, we watched the playful mayhem on the street below our Panjim, Goa guesthouse. Like toy soldiers, children held ground with fluorescent plastic squirt guns and water balloons, awaiting vehicles and motorists at which they could toss their jewel-toned water and powder.

Open-topped trucks drove by, blasting festive Indian music with a Caribbean feel as teenagers and adults on-board cheered. Poof. A purple stream of powder flew onto the passing revelers painting them in an instant. The children were euphoric at this victory.

When we finally took to the street, armed with a plastic bag to shelter our cameras, we encountered a jubilant pack of merrymakers. Noticing our squeaky-clean clothing, the group parted, allowing us to pass untouched. We asked them to slather on some colored goodness. They obliged – swirling orange, red and yellow powders onto our faces. Despite the fact that they were gentle on us, we now felt like part of the club.

As we walked to a Punjabi restaurant for lunch, we saw revelers of all ages with hair that resembled powdered wigs. Locals shouted “Happy Holi.” Siesta-takers watched a cricket match, while a coffee-house employee channel surfed, briefly stopping at a Holi-themed Indian soap opera; the Bollywood-esque actor’s face was smothered with fuchsia war paint that was perfectly coordinated with his tunic. We wondered how some of the local diners had made it to the restaurant unscathed.

With the hot sun overhead we decided to stroll back to our charming home away from home, Alfonso’s Guesthouse. As statewide elections had just taken place days earlier, we were told that Holi’s tossing of the colors ended earlier this year (as officials were still busy tallying the votes). On our walk home, the streets were noticeably quiet. The scattered splotches of color on streets and sidewalks were the only evidence of the mischief that ensued just hours before.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

 

Photo du Jour: A Rice Paddy Panorama in Ubud, Bali

 

If you have read Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll remember Ubud, which is featured quite prominently in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. We have just arrived to our new home away from home, the Nirwa Homestay Ubud (affiliate link). The family run guest house is surrounded by a panorama of vibrant rice paddies. Our soundtrack is that of nature: soprano crickets, confident roosters and babbling canals.

Continue reading “Photo du Jour: A Rice Paddy Panorama in Ubud, Bali”

Photo du Jour: Monkey Business – Uluwatu, Bali

When they’re not spiriting away Uluwatu Temple visitors’ sunglasses, shoes and water bottles, the wild monkeys in Bali’s southwestern-most corner are preoccupied with personal-grooming rituals.

Continue reading “Photo du Jour: Monkey Business – Uluwatu, Bali”

The Flora & Fauna of Jimbaran, Bali

Bali delights not only because of her splendid architecture and welcoming people, but also through her amazing flora & fauna. From the roosters with no qualms about waking us at 5 o’clock in the morning, to record-size wasps and rats, we’re feeling quite connected with nature on this paradisiacal island.

This post is dedicated to the beautiful flora — as well as the creatures large and small —with which we have crossed paths in Jimbaran, Bali.

Continue reading “The Flora & Fauna of Jimbaran, Bali”