India Photo Journal

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India.

And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in face more truly human a life, again I should point to India.

–Max Muller (19th century orientalist)

My wife, Alex, and I have just returned from a month-long journey through India. It was our second time there. In 2005, we visited northern India. The trip began with an 18 hour flight to Delhi, where we spent a couple of days settling in and attending an extravagant Hindu wedding. Next, we took a 20 hour train to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi. Since it was nearby, we also took a day trip to Sarnath, where The Buddha preached his first sermon. Next, we rented a car and driver and headed to Bodh-Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment. After a few days there, mostly hanging around the peaceful ambiance of The Mahabodhi Temple, we left for Delhi on New Years Eve embarking on a train to Delhi. Later that day, after arriving in Delhi we caught a plain south east to Chennai from where we visited a crocodile sanctuary, and the amazing rock cut temples of Mamallapuram. Next, we flew south west to the laid back port town of Kochi in Kerala. A few days later, we began to make our way north, flying to the sun drunk beaches of Goa for a few days. Next, we took a plane to Aurangabad to spend the last week of our trip exploring the magnificent paintings and caves at Ajanta, and also the breath-taking stone cut caves at Ellora. Finally, we flew back to Delhi and spent the last few remaining days of our journey wandering around on foot and taking a remarkable early morning bicycle ride through the old city before we flew back home.

Here are some photo highlights from the trip in chronological order:

13 responses

  1. I wonder if we Americans love India in some inner search for the ancient. I have always loved how infinitely small I feel in the presence of the ancient architecture, as is India, Nepal, Indonesia – not insignificant, but rather like we are each a tiny part of an infinite puzzle, without which the whole is incomplete. Thx for reminding me of my time in India.

  2. Thank you Rising Hawk. Yes, you should go to India, but be prepared to be turned upside down, which is in my opinion the number one reason to visit.

    Warm regards,

    Luke

  3. Thank you, Marguerite. No, we didn’t make it to Vultures Peak. I had to look that up just now, and it looks amazing. India is such a vast country. This time we concentrated more on southern India.

    Warm regards,

    Luke

  4. Thank you very much, Seth. Glad you like the photos and the phrase “sun drunk.” It’s funny when the perfect word or phrase comes upon you that describes something so perfectly. It’s magical.

    Warm regards,

    Luke

  5. Thank you, Whitney. Yes, I certainly felt what you describe here. I’m a Canadian living in Toronto, and by comparison with a country like India, we are incredibly young in our history. India is an ancient civilization that maintains an unbroken tradition. What I notice most of all in India is how their religious traditions are embedded into their daily life, whether through ritual, waking up the Mother Ganges in the morning and putting it to sleep at night for example, or small reminders (holy cows, calls to prayer from the Muslim faith, bells, temples, roadside shrines etc.) that “the whole” is always there and that we are a part of something much greater than “I, Me, and Mine.”

    Warm regards,

    Luke

  6. Thanks for sharing the images of your journey. I guess the impressions of these places will linger on in you for a long time. I find the Ajanta and Ellora caves especially inspiring and will find out more about them.

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