Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

Buddhism XXL
Tawang Buddhist monastery, the largest in India and second largest in the world, behind Potala, Lhasa, Tibet.
a real tournament
Buddhist monks play badminton in the late afternoon at Thinmey monastery.
life view
A cook from the monastery of Thinmey, spying on the fun of the monks outside.
morning training
Young apprentice monks pray, lined up, on the large terrace of Tawang monastery
Song & Palms
Priest of Tawang monastery sings and carries out a Buddhist prayer.
dairy breakfast
Monk serves milk to other apprentices during the morning ceremony at Tawang monastery.
tawang city
Tawang townhouse, located in the homonymous valley, next to the conflicting border with China.
soft smile
A nun from the convent of Ani, she overcomes her shyness and, after a while, poses.
total devotion
Priest prostrates himself on the floor of Tawang monastery in prayer, before dozens of young apprentice monks.
rotating faith
Child monk rotates two prayer wheels in the alley leading to the monastery of Tawang.
camouflaged party
Indian army soldiers during a small banquet that animated a celebration of their regiment.
the weight of faith
Nun carries a heavy sack in the convent of Ani
belief circuit
Devotees walk around a large statue of Buddha in Tawang.
monastery glimpsed
Far view of Tawang monastery among prayer flags.
cousin among peers
Priest walks along an alley of the main temple of Tawang monastery among young monks.
faith military version
Dilbag Singh a Punjabi officer from a battalion stationed in Tawang to prevent the 1962 Chinese invasion from happening again.
Buddhism XXL II
Tawang Buddhist monastery, the largest in India and second largest in the world, behind Potala, Lhasa, Tibet.
the elected monk
Early sunbeam falls on one of the monks inside the main temple of the Tawang monastery.
On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.

The Emblematic Canyon of Saddle Pass

It drags, long, steep and winding, the path from the plain of Assam to the rugged heart of Arunachal Pradesh. At a certain point, it approaches 4170 meters of altitude of the Saddle Pass, a frigid, windy gate that separates West Kameng from Tawang.

We crossed the Buddhist portico between its fluttering prayer flags. We skirt the semi-frozen lake that the frame reveals to us and continue on through the last of the districts. A few kilometers below and beyond Sela, those on the road are dotted with green canvas and camouflage.

There are hidden tents and magazines, trucks and other lighter vehicles. Thousands of soldiers, hailing from all over the India, populate and operate these strategic war colonies, which we would see repeated up to the last meters of northern India.

From the heights of Sela, we reach the slope that leads to the edge of the Tawang Valley and the villages that settled there: Dungkhar, Khalengche, Tongsheng. Tawang, the city, stood out high up on the opposite slope. The plan was to take shelter there for the night.

Before doing so, there is a final detour to Thinmey, the site of a great monastery, even so, in the shadow of the largest and most famous in the region.

A Buddhist Badminton Tournament

We arrived under the last breath of the afternoon. We distract ourselves for a while with a giant prayer wheel until a sudden din from the back of the complex arouses our curiosity.

A slender shed that served as a room separated the main building from a raised dirt courtyard, equipped with a volleyball and badminton net.

Badminton match at Thinmey Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Buddhist monks play late afternoon badminton at Thinmey monastery

There, the monks of the monastery were concentrated, in the middle of a raquetted sport tournament. Two brave pairs had already got rid of almost all of their burgundy outfits. They were faced with a pent-up fury because of the sacredness of the place and the presence of young disciples.

These were waiting for their turn to play sipping tea. And why the smoke released by the large scorched pots that crossed the kitchen's tin roof and ascended to the sky, sublimed at the time of the communal dinner.

The cook on duty accompanied the mischief of the boys of Buda and, at the same time, the cooking of milk tea in her hands.

Cook at Thinmey Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India

A cook from the monastery of Thinmey, spying on the fun of the monks outside.

Sunset dictated the end of the tournament, the time to take refuge in the Yangzom Hotel and the imminence of our own meal. We were coming from twelve hours of fascinating but painful road expedition.

We can't resist many more.

We wake up to the new day well before sunset. We take a look at the house that saw the birth of Tsangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama, a young man of the Mompa ethnicity that predominates in these parts.

Afterwards, we cross the urban Tawang and visit a huge statue of its inspirer: Buddha.

Buddha statue in Tawang, India.

Devotees walk around a large statue of Buddha in Tawang.

A Buddhist Monastery in Monta

It was barely dawn. A platoon of believers circled the red base of the sage's colored throne, unraveling the beads of his malas, the Buddhist rosaries. The sun's rays began to gild a distant sanctuary, so resplendent that it caught our eyes at once.

It was much more than just another monastery, the castro of white and yellow buildings that we admired and photographed to exhaustion, against a whimsical cutout of shadowy mountains.

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Tawang Buddhist monastery, the largest in India and second largest in the world, behind Potala, Lhasa, Tibet.

Founded in 1680-81, at 3000 meters above sea level, the Buddhist monastery of Tawang remains the largest in the world. India. It is, in fact, the second largest in the world, right after Potala, which resisted the Chinese-Chinese invasion in the Tibetan heart of Lhasa.

By eight, the monastery and the resident monks were going about their business. We saw them gather in front of a long school wing, then group in front of the building, back to the city and the surrounding mountain range scenery.

Eccentric Morning Debates

Others arise from inside the classrooms and from different parts of the complex. They bring notebooks and notebooks. They form new groups on the terrace and begin a lively Buddhist debate session, filled with clapping, syllogistic shouts and defiant retorts.

An hour and a half later, the debate and teachings are closed. A battalion of monks and little monks form on the terrace and watch a leisurely speech from one of the monastery's mentors.

A group prayer ensues followed by the younger ones, those in the front row intent and eyes closed, under the breathless supervision of the old tutors.

Formation of Monks at Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Young apprentice monks pray, lined up, on the large terrace of Tawang monastery

However, also that session of faith and discipline comes to an end.

Adolescents and children disperse between obvious relief and ecstasy, many of them into the monastery's driveway that they soon sweep in chains.

A Military Party on the Way to a Convent

We keep the monks busy with their fascination. Tawang also housed a convent, that of Ani. John, the local guide was of the opinion that we should visit.

Thus, we set out on the way, but without ever expecting it, we found ourselves ambushed by a military battalion that controlled not only the access road, but a vast area around it.

For reasons that we will soon explain, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most sensitive Indian provinces in terms of security and the presence of foreigners. We were part of an entourage of journalists, all of whom had special visas that gave them coverage of the place.

Even so, when a huge Sikh soldier stops the car we were in, it occurs to us to think we might be in trouble.

The military's English is poor, so the driver can help us translate. “They organized a Punjabi party there in their battalion. They insist that they participate.”

Indian Soldiers in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Indian army soldiers during a small banquet that animated a celebration of their regiment.

At first, we turned up our noses. The other half of our group had already arrived at the convent. We didn't want to lose the feminine side of Tawang's Buddhist religiosity.

But when the driver tells us we have time; that there would be no problem if we arrived at the convent later, we stopped feeling restrictions and valued the invitation as it deserved.

Moments later, we find ourselves living with dozens of Indian officers and soldiers: Punjabis e Sikhs, almost all of them robust and with a haughty posture, as is their hallmark. offer us daddy and other specialties in thalis assortments.

We soon realized that we lacked stomach for the spicy used, we apologized and moved on to smooth desserts of kheer, the Indian sweet rice.

More and more military and popular join the conviviality and the allied attack of a long buffet table. Festive music sounds but, contained by the seriousness of the battalion's mission, the party never ends up in Bollywood reveries.

Dilbag Singh, Indian military stationed at Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Dilbag Singh a Punjabi officer from a battalion stationed in Tawang to prevent the 1962 Chinese invasion from happening again.

The Indian War Force That Deters China

There, as around the Sela Pass and elsewhere in Arunachal Pradesh, the presence of the Indian army has a historical and a present reason for being. Between the two lies the security and supremacy of its vast and mega-populous nation.

Around 500 BC, the Tawang region was already dominated by the Mompa ethnic group. It was part of the kingdom of Bhutan. Tibet and so it remained for centuries on end.

In 1914, with the British increasingly predominant in this part of Asia, a so-called Shimla Agreement between Great Britain, the India and the Tibet, forced Tibet to cede several hundred square kilometers to Britain. The treaty was despised by the China.

Throughout this period, even apart from the Tibet, Tawang has always remained accessible to Tibetans. In 1950, the China invaded the Tibet.

Tawang gradually became inaccessible to them. An open wound between the China and Indian Republic, declared independent just three years earlier.

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh Province, India

Tawang townhouse, located in the homonymous valley, next to the conflicting border with China.

From the beginning of the uprising and especially during the 1959 uprisings, India provided support to Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, to whom it immediately granted asylum.

At the same time, he started his Forward Policy in which he established several military outposts, even north of the McMahon Border Line (defined by Foreign Secretary Henry McMahon).

For its part, months after Shimla's agreement, the China it had already established its own outposts south of that line. As might be expected, the divergence led to confrontation.

Brief Border Confrontations

Unable to carry out their intentions, the Chinese launched offensives in the region of Ladakh and, at the same time, through the McMahon Line. They did it in the heart of the High Himalayas, in one of the wildest war scenes ever.

And in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis when Soviet audacity in Cuba left the USA in trouble and unavailable to support the India.

In 1962, Tawang was thus occupied by the China, in the image of nearly 40.000 km2 before belonging to India or under dispute.

Pleased with the outcome of their invasion but cautious, the Chinese declared a unilateral ceasefire and backed off from some of the positions. Tawang was one of them.

From November 1962, it returned to Indian control. As might be expected, Delhi never recovered from the trauma. With the house stolen, he locked the door.

We left the banquet, grateful for the conviviality and the kind group photos, committed to recovering the original plans.

When we arrived at the convent, the other half of the group was leaving. Only a portico with the Tibetan message of “Tashi Delek” welcomes us, translatable as “Blessing and Good Luck” or “Auspicious Greetings”.

The Convent of Ani and the Return to the Monastery

We piss off, second-hand, the few elusive nuns we find there.

Nun at Ani Convent, Anurachal Pradesh, India

Nun carries a heavy sack in the convent of Ani

From the convent, we return to the heart of Tawang and explore its frenetic street market. In the afternoon, we visit Tipki, a traditional Mompa village at the bottom of the valley, where we are greeted with such a feast, pomp and ceremony that we prefer to narrate it in a dedicated article.

We leave the village at sunset and return to the hotel's night shelter.

New day, new suffering awakening, even earlier than the previous one. We return to the monastery of Tawang, determined to attend the morning prayers of the apprentice monks.

When we enter the complex it is still night and we do not detect a soul. We sat at the door of the main temple in sleepy anticipation.

Finally, with the first rays of sunlight piercing the clouds to the east, a torrent of “little buddhas” emerges from the monastery's housing wing, crosses the courtyard and bursts into the temple in a great rush.

The young monks sit in several rows and receive a cup of milk that breaks their fast.

Milk served to young monks at Tawang monastery in India

Monk serves milk to other apprentices during the morning ceremony at Tawang monastery.

Next, an adult priest begins the ceremony with resonant chants and prayers that even our increasingly dynamic intrusion does not get in the way.

We left the monastery under pressure from John who, for the rest of the day, had to lead us all back to Guwahati, the capital of the neighboring province of Assam.

The sun that poured in through the temple's windows, hit the faces of a few elected monks. And it revived the defensive mission of the many battalions of the Indian army deployed there.

Enlightened monk at Tawang monastery, India.

Early morning sunbeams on one of the monks inside the main temple of the Tawang monastery.

More information about Tawang and its monastery on the website Incredible India.

Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Bingling Yes, China

The Canyon of a Thousand Buddhas

For more than a millennium and at least seven dynasties, Chinese devotees have extolled their religious belief with the legacy of sculpture in a remote strait of the Yellow River. If you disembark in the Canyon of Thousand Buddhas, you may not find all the sculptures, but you will find a stunning Buddhist shrine.
Guwahati, India

The City that Worships Kamakhya and the Fertility

Guwahati is the largest city in the state of Assam and in North East India. It is also one of the fastest growing in the world. For Hindus and devout believers in Tantra, it will be no coincidence that Kamakhya, the mother goddess of creation, is worshiped there.
Dooars India

At the Gates of the Himalayas

We arrived at the northern threshold of West Bengal. The subcontinent gives way to a vast alluvial plain filled with tea plantations, jungle, rivers that the monsoon overflows over endless rice fields and villages bursting at the seams. On the verge of the greatest of the mountain ranges and the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, for obvious British colonial influence, India treats this stunning region by Dooars.
Gangtok, India

An Hillside Life

Gangtok it is the capital of Sikkim, an ancient kingdom in the Himalayas section of the Silk Road, which became an Indian province in 1975. The city is balanced on a slope, facing Kanchenjunga, the third highest elevation in the world that many natives believe shelters a paradise valley of Immortality. Their steep and strenuous Buddhist existence aims, there, or elsewhere, to achieve it.
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Lhasa, Tibet

When Buddhism Tires of Meditation

It is not only with silence and spiritual retreat that one seeks Nirvana. At the Sera Monastery, the young monks perfect their Buddhist knowledge with lively dialectical confrontations and crackling clapping of hands.
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.

Hampi, India

Voyage to the Ancient Kingdom of Bisnaga

In 1565, the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar succumbed to enemy attacks. 45 years before, he had already been the victim of the Portugueseization of his name by two Portuguese adventurers who revealed him to the West.

Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
Shillong, India

A Christmas Selfiestan at an India Christian Stronghold

December arrives. With a largely Christian population, the state of Meghalaya synchronizes its Nativity with that of the West and clashes with the overcrowded Hindu and Muslim subcontinent. Shillong, the capital, shines with faith, happiness, jingle bells and bright lighting. To dazzle Indian holidaymakers from other parts and creeds.
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Jaisalmer, India

The Life Withstanding in the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fortress was erected from 1156 onwards by order of Rawal Jaisal, ruler of a powerful clan from the now Indian reaches of the Thar Desert. More than eight centuries later, despite continued pressure from tourism, they share the vast and intricate interior of the last of India's inhabited forts, almost four thousand descendants of the original inhabitants.
Guwahati a Saddle Pass, India

A Worldly Journey to the Sacred Canyon of Sela

For 25 hours, we traveled the NH13, one of the highest and most dangerous roads in India. We traveled from the Brahmaputra river basin to the disputed Himalayas of the province of Arunachal Pradesh. In this article, we describe the stretch up to 4170 m of altitude of the Sela Pass that pointed us to the Tibetan Buddhist city of Tawang.
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
Sheets of Bahia, Eternal Diamonds, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

Lençóis da Bahia: not Even Diamonds Are Forever

In the XNUMXth century, Lençóis became the world's largest supplier of diamonds. But the gem trade did not last as expected. Today, the colonial architecture that he inherited is his most precious possession.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
self-flagellation, passion of christ, philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
Kiomizudera, Kyoto, a Millennial Japan almost lost
Kyoto, Japan

An Almost Lost Millennial Japan

Kyoto was on the US atomic bomb target list and it was more than a whim of fate that preserved it. Saved by an American Secretary of War in love with its historical and cultural richness and oriental sumptuousness, the city was replaced at the last minute by Nagasaki in the atrocious sacrifice of the second nuclear cataclysm.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Indigenous Crowned
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Moçamedes to PN Iona, Namibe, Angola

Grand entrance to the Angola of the Dunes

Still with Moçâmedes as a starting point, we traveled in search of the sands of Namibe and Iona National Park. The cacimbo meteorology prevents the continuation between the Atlantic and the dunes to the stunning south of Baía dos Tigres. It will only be a matter of time.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Missions, San Ignacio Mini, Argentina
San Ignacio Mini, Argentina

The Impossible Jesuit Missions of San Ignacio Mini

In the century. In the XNUMXth century, the Jesuits expanded a religious domain in the heart of South America by converting the Guarani Indians into Jesuit missions. But the Iberian Crowns ruined the tropical utopia of the Society of Jesus.
Palm trees of San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Atacama woman, Life on the edge, Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Natural Parks

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mayan History, heads of Kukulkan, El Castillo
UNESCO World Heritage
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

On the Edge of the Cenote, at the Heart of the Mayan Civilization

Between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries AD, Chichen Itza stood out as the most important city in the Yucatan Peninsula and the vast Mayan Empire. If the Spanish Conquest precipitated its decline and abandonment, modern history has consecrated its ruins a World Heritage Site and a Wonder of the World.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
church, our lady, virgin, guadalupe, mexico
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Asian buffalo herd, Maguri Beel, Assam, India
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.