Sikkim for centuries was a Buddhist princedom squeezed between larger neighbours, Nepal, Bhutan and India. In 1975 its residents decided to join India. Green bamboos, fabulous views, a murky mists, Buddhist monasteries and laugh of young monks mixed with the murmur of mantras and delicious cheese momo. This is Sikkim. This place is available only for a few months a year. The best way to get there is driving through the state of West Bengal, visiting its capital - Kolkata and beautiful tea resort – Darjeeling, where independent music scene is blossoming.
Purani Dilli, the Old Delhi, is one of the seven historical cities, within which present capital of India, Delhi, was built. The local crowd, chaos and bedlam might be frightening at first. But it is worth to take a deep breath and stop for a moment. And look, listen, feel. Then we can be absorbed by Old Delhi’s charm. I spent a year in Delhi studying Hindi language and its literature at the Central Hindi Institute in 2010 -2011.
Rishikesh is a mountain town in the northern India, in the state of Uttarkhand. Lakshman Jhula – Lakshman’s Bridge is the symbol of the city. It is a suspension bridge built in 1939 on the Ganges River, in the place where the mythical Lakshman jumped to the other side using a jute rope. Rishikesh was made famous around the world in the 60’s of the twentieth century, when the members of The Beatles practiced yoga and meditation in the local ashrams.
Nepal is a Himalayan country very diversed ethnically. Gurkhas, Newars, Sherpas, Tamangs, Gurungs live here as well as Indians, Bhutanese and Tibetan refugees coming from the neighbouring countries. Faces of Nepal are very different, but all of them are incredibly friendly. Pictures were taken in April 2011.
At the end of July 2011, and extraordinary march walked the streets of Delhi – Slutwalk, a demonstration against gender based violence. It was a part of global movement. Slutwalks were organized in many parts of the world against secondary victimisation that rape survivors are often subjected to. The intention of the walks was to highlight the fact that women face violence regardless the way they are dressed. Farther, perpetrator is always the one to blame, not the victim. One of the slogans of the march was: Change thinking, not clothes.
Hawwa is a Pakistani non-governmental organization founded by a poetess Kishwar Naheed, who runs a shop and organization’s office in Islamabad. A training center, where women and girls from the poorest neighborhoods learn crafts, including sewing and dyeing fabrics is located in Lahore. The products made by them are sold throughout the country and abroad. I visited the organization in July 2011. The girls were wonderful and very excited that I could speak Urdu.
Istanbul is the most beautiful city in the world. Bosphorus, bridges, ferries, mosques, Turkish tea and baklava. Nothing more to happiness is necessary. I spent here a few months (2007/2008), studying Political Sciences at Istanbul University. I wnet back a few times to breathe in the air of Istanbul and watch the picturesque sunset over the Bosphorus.
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan built in the 70s of the twentieth century. It is expanding according to the plan, sector by sector. Each sector has its markez - service center with shops, restaurants and parking. Nearby Margalla Hills are rich in vantage points from where one can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city. Beautiful, green, clean and quiet. This is Islamabad. I lived there for over five weeks in the summer of 2011.
Varanasi is one of the most famous Indian cities in the world. This is probably due to the Ganges River, which flows through the city. Numerous Hindu pilgrims reach the city to take a ritual bath in the Ganges River which is believed to be sacred. While walking on ghats – stairs descending to the water, one may come across a funeral pyre – burning human corpses.
This is a village near Aligarh in India. A sugar from sugar cane is produced in this factory. During the season, farmers are rushing from all over the region to sell the crops from their fields. Factory has been in the hands of influential Muslim family for many years. Beside the factory buildings, where sugar is produced, the venue has a colony where workers and their families live. There is also a school for children of workers and shop with sweets. I spent a pleasant Christmas weekend there in 2010.