Cheating on my kebabwallah

Old Delhi kebabs

I don’t hide the fact that I have a special relationship with my kebabwalla, but my outlet of choice, however, closed down this spring and I’ve been relegated to a getting my fix at a different, less convenient branch (that I swear just isn’t as good).

Given that, I took a visiting friend up to Old Delhi to the celebrated Karim’s Hotel kebab joint in the bylanes outside Jama Masjid. Karim’s is a legend in Delhi culinary circles and certainly deserves some of it’s fame.

We picked up chicken seekh rolls (for my friend) and paneer tikka for me.

It was good, that’s not in doubt, but it still can’t match my Aap ki Khatir. I’m almost relieved. Visiting any other kebab stand just feels like an illicit tryst.

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Puja day in Tughlaq ruins

Hurry up, mom

The last time I visited Tughlaqabad Fort, a small shrine was drawing a crowd for puja. Despite multiple trips to the fort, which is my absolute favorite hideaway in Delhi, I have yet to discern just who this shrine celebrates.

A small stream of worshippers continued even in the afternoon heat, as they carried food and items for puja. Festive times for a fort that is usually home to herdsmen and a handful of tourists who escape the beaten path.

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A beautiful but decrepit old church

Almost forgotten

From the entrance to St. John in the Wilderness, an old Anglican church that has fallen on hard times. After the British left in India, the congregation dwindled with the Christian population of Dharamshala.

The church today is dingy and in need of repair, but not without its charm: beautiful stained glass, picturesque forest setting and a dedicated pastor-cum-caretaker. On the grounds of the church, Lord Elgin, one of the viceroys of India, is buried with little ceremony.

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He is very snotty


My obsession with cow noses continues.

You can see the full brute in all his glory below.

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Newly opened?

Something is amiss

From an ongoing construction project across from the “new” bus stand in Dharamshala. Someone got excited about printing a sign, but the promised bowling lanes are no where to be found.

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‘No charge for pagri’

I became a public spectacle

The Golden Temple is Sikhism’s most holy place. All those entering the temple must out of respect and acknowledgement for tradition cover their heads.

This has given rise to a whole industry of people selling scarves, kerchiefs and other headgear in the bylanes leading to the Golden Temple complex. The temple itself also offers free head coverings in the form of simple scarves.

Since I often wear a long stole with my kurta-pyjama, I have learned to tie myself a makeshift turban, or pagri, on festive or religious occasions. That had been my intention again, when I visited the temple complex on holiday in March.

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Artists in exiled residence

Hand woven

Dharamshala, as the political and religious center-in-exile for Tibet, draws refugees from all walks. NGOs and the like have accordingly sprung up hoping to provide transplants with opportunities in their new home.

Here’s a Tibetan carpet workshop on the main square. Fantastic crafts(wo)manship and absolute beauty.

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Prayer wheel redux

Many wheels to go

The trip to Dharamshala two months ago certainly was photogenic. And I do like photos of faith and the faithful: people practicing their rituals, at that moment when, for many, meaning and the divine are most accessible.

And prayer wheels make for good color and meditation.

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Monk’s mood: Candelight march


Monks and others march ’round the main square of Dharamshala in memory of a young monk in Tibet who a day earlier had set himself on fire in protest of Chinese rule over his country. As the primary community for Tibetans in exile from Chinese rule, Dharamshala is something of free expression zone for all manner of protest and sociopolitical thought, like the monk’s vigil.

They do here what they would be shot for doing in Tibet.

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Pilgrims and flags


A family on a pilgrimage walk around the Namgyal monastery at Dharamshala. This venture through the woods is one of the most peaceful “trails” I’ve encountered in a long time.

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