Tag: exotic destinations

The Dance of the Elephants!

Elephants dance at Hindu FestivalNearly forgot!

We visited a Hindu festival on way to visit the 800-year-old synagogues on Vypin Island, north of Cochin. 22 elephants performing to drums and horns in unison!

Vypin or Vypeen is one of a group of islands that form part of the city of Kochi, in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

The island is about 17 mi long and is connected to mainland Kochi by a series of bridges known as the Goshree bridges, which start at Kalamukku in Vypin, touch other two islands then finish at Marine Drive, Kochi. There are ten lighthouses along this waterfront!

Parade celebrates Hindu god

Skanda-birthday-parade-web

Today is the birthday of Ganesh’s brother Skanda (otherwise known as Kartikeya). There are big Hindu temple festivals everywhere. It is very colorful!

According to Wikipedia, regional differences dictate the order of their births. In North India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder brother while in the South, Ganesha is considered the first born and may reflect historical tensions between the respective sects.

Stories relate episodes of sibling rivalry between Ganesha and Skanda.

Once there was a competition between Ganesha and Skanda to see who could circumambulate the three worlds faster and hence win the fruit of knowledge.

Skanda went off on a journey to cover the three worlds while Ganesha simply circumambulated his parents. When asked why he did so, he answered that his parents Shiva and Parvati constituted the three worlds and was thus given the fruit of knowledge.

China: Leaving the Comfort Zone

Kidnapped Nigerian Girls seen on videoWhy do we go to places ‘less traveled by’?

Sometimes we are forced, as the horrified world believes has happened to young Nigerian school girls –

Nigerian Girls Seen in Video From Militants

But most of the time, if we are brave, we take steps to stretch our comfort zone willingly.

Yes, it’s easier (although not necessarily cheaper) to take the kids to Disney World.

Yes, it’s easier to sit on a nearby beach and watch the waves break on the shore.

Yes, it’s easier to pile in the car and head for the lake in Vermont.

But traveling beyond one’s comfort zone provides experiences that often change the way we understand the world.

Tomorrow, I leave comfortable Hastings-on-Hudson for China.

As Internet and time allows, I will tweet about comfort zones I find there – ones where travelers can close their eyes and think they are home, and comfort zones that take some stretching to endure.

I am not even I will find any roads ‘less traveled by’ within a land of nearly 1.4 billion people, but follow me to find out.

And thinking about one’s comfort zone, explore this site to learn what we have planned for south India …

Our tour offers comfortable ‘Disney­-like’ yet ‘real’ cultural celebrations; idyllic islands and backwater lagoons; and beyond-comfort-zone digging and intellectual stretching into 3000 years of history.