Stepwells of Gujarat – Adalaj Vav

It’s amazing what people here have to go through to get water. Back home, with one flick of the wrist, we turn on the faucet to water our lawn. For many Indians living in the arid desert regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat, this is unimaginable. Many have to walk for miles to simple wells to get their daily water supply.

I’m even more amazed by the amount of Continue…

A Day at the Mall

Call me superficial, but when we decided to spend a day at the mall, I was as excited as a 10-year old on Christmas day. Not that I expected any big surprises, I was simply hoping to escape the busy streets of India for one day.

When we entered the world of Continue…

Shatrunjaya Hill

Gujarat is boiling – hotter than hot! So what do you do when your eyeballs are steaming at 5:30 AM – you climb thousands of steps up the side of a remote desert mountain, right?

Shatrunjaya Hill, just outside Palitana, is to Jains what Mecca is to Muslims. Making the pilgrimage up the twin-peaked mountain crowned with 1008 temples and shrines is a must for the Jain at heart. And we, in our attempts to learn more about the Jain people, joined in with the stream of devout climbers aged 5 to 95.

Almost immediately, it was clear that Shatrunjaya was very different from many of the other Jain sites we have visited Continue…

Diu – A Little Piece of Portugal

After seeing the Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir Nationalpark, all we wanted was to cool off in the Arabian Sea. So we headed straight for Diu, an ex-Portuguese colony off the coast of Gujarat.

Although Diu Island has been in Indian hands for almost 50 years, it has preserved its Portuguese charm with white-washed churches, delicious seafood, an impressive fort, colorful houses and tranquil music. Because the small island is mostly free of congested roads, we were brave enough to rent a scooter. Follow along with us in our video as we explore Diu Island.

Conversations on God

“Do you believe in god?” the very friendly engineer asked me.

“I believe in the Christian God,” I answered out of curiosity to see how he would react. (Actually, I’m not really religious.)

“Which one?” he questioned, intrigued.

“We only have one god,” somewhat surprised that an educated engineer wasn’t aware that Christianity only had one god.

“Only one god!” he exclaimed, “What is his name?”

“Well… we call him God.”

The engineer looked extremely disappointed, and I realized how boring Christianity must seem to a Hindu. No Shiva, no Ganesh, no Hanuman, no Brahma, no Vishnu…

Lions of Sasan Gir Video

SUCCESS!!! As we mentioned in our post Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh My, one of our major reasons for coming to Gujarat was to come to Sasan Gir National Park to go lion hunting (with cameras). We had such an incredible lion viewing – far better than we had ever hoped. The lions came so close to the jeep that at one point Thomas could have reached out and touched one lion’s back (although he didn’t because he wanted to keep his hand).

And our viewing was relatively long, allowing time for me to take some fantastic photos and for Thomas to shoot a short video to give our visitors a glimpse of one of the rarest wild cats in the world, the Asiatic Lion. Click here to view the pictorial.

Girnar Hill

Many Hindu temples are off-limits to non-Hindus, that’s why we’ve been focusing a lot on Jain temples. The ones we’ve recently been to are The Adinath Temple of Ranakpur and the Dilwara Temples in Mt. Abu, all religious sites which are easily accessible by vehicle. Then, there are Jain pilgrimage sites which require a lot more work. Continue…

The Mahabat Maqbara of Junagadh

While walking down the street in Junagadh, we came across this outrageous 19th century mausoleum, the Mahabat Maqbara. I just couldn’t take my eyes of this stunning Islamic masterpiece. Unfortunately, like many Islamic treasures in India, it is rapidly falling apart. Fix this thing up India – it’s spectacular!!!