Sunda – Strait at the Fire Mountain

January 2nd, 2012

Sunda – Strait at the Fire MountainWhen magma, which is usually entirely covered by the Earth’s mantle, rises up to the surface and gets in direct contact with water, then experts are only speaking soberly about phreatomagmatic eruptions but the rest of the world gets confronted with an all too often catastrophic explosive power being that immense like a couple of Hiroshima nukes. Back in 1883 such an epic volcanic eruption happened in Indonesia, between Java and Sumatra Islands. More than 20km3 of rocks and ash got tossed into the air followed by an up to 40m high Tsunami that erased all villages framing the Sunda Strait. The old volcano got almost vaporised but its offspring is already waiting in the wings, the Anak Krakatoa; a place that gets reconquered by life under as well as over the waterline »»

Built of eternal Love – The Taj Mahal

February 28th, 2011

Built of eternal Love – The Taj MahalThe way to a human’s heart is through its stomach; maybe that is why every second Indian restaurant is named Taj Mahal nowadays. The actual name giver is located in North Indian Agra and was built by Great Mogul Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. His intensive and eternal love as well as the abilities of Persian architect Abu Fazel left the world a unique gem of Indo-Islamic architecture behind »»

Behind the Scenes of the Golden Temple in Amritsar

Behind the Scenes of the Golden Temple in AmritsarThe university town of Amritsar can truly be called to be the heart of Punjab. The city is located not too far from Pakistani border and is an important commercial hub as well as religious centre of the Sikhs, as it is the home of one of their highest sanctuaries, the Golden Temple. The temple complex has a wonderful open-minded, hospitable and spiritual atmosphere and allows interesting in-depth insights in the daily routine of pilgrims and the temple itself »»

Fatehpur Sikri – Ghost Town of the Great Moguls

Fatehpur Sikri – Ghost Town of the Great MogulsBeing located just an hour drive away from world famous Taj Mahal, the town of Fatehpur Sikri is providing an in-depth insight into India’s history as from 1571 to 1585 it has been the capital of Great Mogul Akbar’s empire. Quite a long time ago, though its buildings and chambers are looking still like as its inhabitants were checking out yesterday only. Actually the complex of ancient buildings consists of two cities, which is the holy town Fatehpur and the royal enclosure Sikri. Nowadays tourists are walking awe-inspired over mosaics set in red sand stone and white marble of highest quality »»

Shiva’s Cistern – The Abhaneri Step Well

Shiva’s Cistern – The Abhaneri Step WellThe Chand Baori step well at Abhaneri is everything but a staircase wit. Its unconventional architecture guarantees to the Rajputs, who are usually living in a dry region a water supply being usable throughout the whole year. Due to being surrounded by dozens of stairs, people can access the well from literally every side and when having a closer look at its structures and design, you will easily find yourself not only stuck in a maze of thousands steps but also able to see Shiva’s beauty »»

Jaipur – Rajasthan’s Pink Panther

Jaipur – Rajasthan’s Pink PantherRetina tickling pink is traditionally Rajasthan‘s colour of hospitality. To the Rajputs this symbolic colour is so much important that their capital’s Old Town once got a Barbie-like coat of paint. Jaipur is like a panther on the jump: graceful, but full of energy that is waiting to get released. It is the buzzing and bustling home of more than 2 million people as well as university city, industrial town and a shining light for all things called culture. Maharaja Jai Singh II. formed Jaipur and built impressive monuments like the Palace of the Winds, the Palace of Water or World’s biggest solar clock; all got framed by imposing fortifications like picturesque Fort Jaigarh or massive Fort Nahargarh »»

Jodhpur – Where Shiva and Allah are shaking Hands

Jodhpur – Where Shiva and Allah are shaking HandsIn Jodhpur muezzin’s call to prayer is getting louder and Arabia coming closer. The city Jodhpur is a very interesting interface between Indian and Arabic influenced cultural areas. The countless picturesque lanes with its historic buildings, Haveli called, are crowded with day life. Though from almost everywhere a glance at the massive Mehrangarh Fort is possible, doesn’t matter how narrow a lane is. The Fort is appears like a massive battle ship anchoring in front of the city gates. The city centre is the Clock Tower being surrounded by the Old Market, a place so diverse that it wouldn’t come as big surprise when bumping into a stall selling already chewed chewing gum »»

Divine Vārānasi – Stinking to Heaven high

Divine Vārānasi – Stinking to Heaven highVārānasi, the metropolis at the Ganges River, is one of India’s oldest towns and central sanctuary of Hinduism. No other India picture is as famous as the Hindu pilgrims praying and washing themselves in the waters of Ganges River at the so called Ghats. There is no better reflection of the Hindu society than this river. For most of them Vārānasi is definitely the holiest spot on Earth, though for some of them this means some enormous exploitation potential they are taking advantage of with utter disregard. »»

Calcutta – Out of (Traffic) Control

Calcutta – Out of (Traffic) ControlWhat is the most important part of the body of someone living in Calcutta? Correct, the honk. It doesn’t matter if a car, motorcycle, rickshaw or bicycle: without it nothing is going on, whether it’s hand-driven or with an echo effect. Calcutta’s traffic, or to be precise the way people are behaving is beyond every experience “enjoyed” thus far. It takes no three seconds until the next high frequency noise is drilling its way through the ear to your brain. It’s a sheer miracle that people aren’t deaf yet… Its horrific traffic as well as unbelievably dirty and unhygienic circumstances are definitely the most dominating elements of the city, making Calcutta being hell’s small forecourt. Fortunately it had a guardian angel, a little woman from Albania: Mother Theresa »»

Cloud Nine for Rodents – The Rat Temple ‘Karni Mata’ at Deshnok

Cloud Nine for Rodents – The Rat Temple ‘Karni Mata’ at DeshnokCows, elephants, rivers and even monkeys; in India literally everything you could bump into can be something sacred. One of the most interesting obeisances paid can be witnessed in Deshnok, a small desert town in western Rajasthan being the stage for a religious building dedicated to Karni Mata. Around this sacred patron of the Rajputs and reincarnation of Goddess Durga, the souls of the dead are gathering in the form of four-legged rodents at the Rat Temple »»