All entries by this author

Fakirs and Bauls

Mar 19th, 2018 | By

I heard a group of Bauls singing in an eco village in the Sundarbans  where I met a young man called Souvik who offered to accompany me to Shantiniketan in a couple of days time. On the appointed day Souvik turned up three quarters of an hour late, which I did not mind, because I

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Mar 9th, 2018 | By

Hazaribagh in the Indian state of Jhharkhand was one of the hill stations favoured by the British at the time of the Indian Raj. At the time it was considered the most beautiful hill station and the British Indian government were seriously considering adopting it as their summer capital, when the temperatures in Delhi became

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Mar 3rd, 2018 | By

The Beetles started the whole Rishikesh phenomenon when they came here to find their guru, the Maharishi. Ever since then this holy place, sacred to Hindus, has mushroomed into the giant complex of concrete buildings: ashrams, yoga centres, hotels, that it is today. Thousands of fit young people go to Rishikesh to practice every form

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Sacred Spirit Festival

Feb 20th, 2018 | By

The Sacred Spirit Festival is held every year in February, in the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, an international festival of  Sufi sacred music. The Sufis were originally a mystical sect who broke away from mainstream Islam in protest against the rules and regulations that bound the religion to the detriment, they felt, of inner

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The Fort at Bhuj

Feb 17th, 2018 | By

We climbed up to the fort, which stands high above Bhuj, an immense walled enclosure, with bastions and towers at every cornier of its curlicue length, up and down the rocky hillsides, which are covered in cacti and thorn bushes. Huge wooden city gates, half splintered,with elephant spikes, were set in an immense archway. The

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Feb 13th, 2018 | By

Dholavira was built almost five thousand years ago, one of the Indus Valley ancient cities of north west India. It was part of the Harappan civilisation, which appears to have comprised eight major Harappan cities, most of which are now in Pakistan: Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar and Lothal. Indian civilisation was born here

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Fly Ash

Feb 4th, 2018 | By

The other people in the compartment of the train from Jaipur to Bhuj generously let me have the top bunk, where I made myself a super luxurious bed by spreading out a folded train blanket with a sheet over it and laying my sleeping bag on top of that. In the other top bunk a

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Jan 31st, 2018 | By

Everyone is hustling to buy, sell or make a fast buck in Jaipur, city of diamonds, gemstones, gold, silver, spices and silken cloth, with its merchants, traders, importers, exporters, its fabulous palaces, surrounded by gardens with fountains, where the rich, famous and beautiful party all night with champagne, in a city that has grown and

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Numb Feet

Jan 25th, 2018 | By

I have managed to manifest an interesting symptom: a numb right foot. Luckily at the moment I’m staying next door to Sergei, the Russian massage genius, who has been applying pressure to various points on my feet and legs. Sergei’s fame travels far and wide and people come to see him, year after year, to

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Kola Bay

Jan 22nd, 2018 | By

  My Indian friend drove me to Cola Bay. We parked then set off down a narrow forest path. We arrived at a clearing in the forest where circus equipment had been set up: ropes, trapezes,  hoops and silks, attached to a steel frame, with thick landing mats underneath. Women in leotards and leggings were

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