In the southern Indian state of Kerala, an ancient for of voiceless theater still thrives. Kathakali is a riot of colours and rhythms that retells Indian legends.
Learn about it through info-bubbles inspired by the VH1 series “Pop-up video.”
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]
How’s this for a holiday: getting up before sunrise, no alcohol, and wearing modest, unremarkable clothing. This is what hundreds come to do at an ashram in the south of India.
Every year, they come, mostly young Western women, to medicate, practice yoga, and follow an acetic lifestyle. I spent 12 days at the Yoga Vacation of the ashram Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari, whose mission is popularize the practice in the West.
Listen to the report.
Note: this post shares advice that is best enjoyed if starting life all over again. Belief in reincarnation is advised.
Get born into a family that isn’t germophobic
Play in the dirt
Don’t take antibiotics for every little infection
And more tips inside.
Nothing like seeing two Indian men holding hands to show how homophobic Westerners really are.
Nothing like seeing two Indian men holding hands to show how sexually repressed their society has become.
Which one is it? I think it’s both. What’s your say?
It’s tempting to photograph India by resorting to clichés: women in colourful sarees, street cows, bearded mystics, soaring gopuram, dirty-faced children splashing in the river.
We hope that the following pictures show faces of India that go beyond the typecast.
See the full post for a Flickr slideshow.
As a general rule, cooking courses for tourists follow the following recipe:
1. Take cook of dubious skill and place him before a group of earnest culinary travellers.
2. Teach them three to five local dishes. Omit any history, context, or philosophy of food.
3. Serve it cold.
4. Charge them a 200% markup on ingredients and time.
5. Profit for a mediocre restaurant.
Convenience rules over the mountain town of Kumily, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Most Keralan specialties, from spices, to wildlife, to theatre to martial arts can be found within its five or six streets. This makes Kumily a cultural Wal-Mart of South India.
But like any all-in-one, each component is of doubtful quality.
It’s a question that must dog many a discerning traveler to India: should I take advantage of the plentiful and cheap Ayurvedic spas? Even though it’s a travesty of the ancient healing system?
All across India, especially in the state of Kerala, visitors are beckoned with glossy brochures showing a bikini-clad blonde doused in oil by a wise-looking woman. “Ayurvedic body massage: 600 rupees,” the price list reads.
It’s tempting. But at its heart, it’s not Ayurveda. It’s packaged exotica for tourists.
India is the least Westernized country I ever visited. It’s a societal proof of entropy, that the most natural state of things is the least organized. That to create order takes work.
It’s the visitor who has to do the work. With time and effort, the disarray starts to assume recognizable forms and what was unbearable becomes a mere inconvenience between you and your reward.
This is how to get there.
I want to find the little lying bastard who told me the for $5 you can get a good, clean, comfortable hotel room anywhere in India.
He should suffer for warping my expectations in such an inhumane way.
This is what you get for $5 in the town of Kottayam, Kerala state.