India is a very diverse country and every city has its own rich history and culture. A particularly striking aspect of this is the range of different festivals celebrated throughout the country.
One of the biggest festivals celebrated around this time of the year in Mumbai is “Ganesh Chaturti”. Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is one of the most famous Hindu Gods and easily identified by his elephant head. He is known as the God of Wisdom and Intellect, but also as “Ek Dant”- one tooth – and “Vighnaharta”- vanquisher of obstacles. Continue reading Ganesh And The Story Behind Maharashtra’s Favourite Festival
In a loose replication of Portuguese adventurers centuries ago, over the last couple of weeks thousands of the world’s top athletes have been seeking precious metals in Brazil. However one country in particular is slightly conspicuous by its absence from the upper echelons of that ultimate game of temporary national one-upmanship, the Olympics medal table.
India collected their best ever medal haul of 6 at the last games in London and were hoping to improve upon that momentum this time round having brought their largest ever team. It was hoped the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi might also kick-start a new generation inspired to improve their fitness and participation levels by seeing many of the world’s top athletes and comparatively unknown sports up close. Yet with the Olympics now over it appears India have headed backwards once more, having claimed a couple of medals only and no gold in Rio 2016. Continue reading India At The Olympics – A Sporting Chance?
Your average Mumbaikar might wonder why Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, has survived, slap bang in the middle of India’s burgeoning financial capital, for so long. As the city has grown and expanded, Dharavi has come to occupy a prime piece of real estate. Why not bulldoze it down and start again?
What people across Mumbai might not know is the way that the slum is influencing their lives; how the million people and over ten thousand businesses Dharavi is home to are a vital part of the Maximum City, rather than a blight upon it. Continue reading How Dharavi Makes A Difference: Eight Surprising Facts About Mumbai’s Largest Slum
India will not be what you expect. You will meet people that are friendlier and more generous than you ever thought possible. You will taste foods so delicious you’ll begin to wonder why Indian food isn’t everyone’s favourite. You will see sights so beautiful that they will remain embedded in your memory for the rest of your life. But you’ll also have to overcome challenges so great that many travellers write off India entirely. Logistically, you will face a myriad of transportation issues. Culturally, you will have some of your most basic assumptions about life and society come into question. And throughout your visit, a thousand and one things will threaten to make you sick. Your time in India will be uncomfortable in one way or another, but these challenges and the beautiful moments that inevitably follow are precisely why we travel: to get out of our comfort zone, challenge ourselves and broaden our worldview. Recognizing this goal and preparing yourself for the challenges that you will inevitably face can dramatically improve how much you enjoy your trip. The first century Stoic philosopher, Seneca, is the unlikely guide to the importance of mentally preparing for your trip. Continue reading How Seneca Can Prepare You For India
The morning of Eid, after repeatedly assuring us that it wouldn’t be an inconvenience, Asim kindly invited the foreigners from the office to his family home nearby Dharavi for Eid al-Adha. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous for this: I had never seen anything sacrificed before. We wound our way through the narrow streets to Asim’s home and greeted his extended family. Everyone was sitting around the living room in their Sunday best casually chatting and surfing the internet on their smart phones. The scene looked like it could have been the living room of any of my family’s holidays, except for one key difference: there was a skinned goat cut in half sitting in the center of the living room. The head and legs were on a platter underneath a chair. What a way to start off the week!
Continue reading Eid al-Adha in Mumbai: One Square Kilometer Of Goats (Part 2)