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Pokhara is a lake town (about 200 kilometers from the earthquake's epicenter) in central Nepal's Himalayan foothills. As the clouds roll in and out, dramatic mountain views appear and disappear, including several snow-capped peaks that loom over the lake from above 23,000 feet. Good coffee and Tibetan food visibility is less weather dependent.
Located a bustling 12 kilometer auto rickshaw ride from Varanasi, Sarnath is where the Buddha first began teaching after attaining enlightenment. It is the first of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites we’ll be visiting on this trip, along with Bodhgaya (where the Buddha became enlightened) and Kushinagar (where the Buddha died) in India, and Lumbini, Nepal (the Buddha’s birthplace).
Hanuman, a Hindu god and aid to Rama, is often portrayed with a monkey’s head and/or monkey-like anatomy. His image is very common in the area around Hampi because the hill across the river from the ruins is—in the view of some—is his birthplace. Here is a collection of some of his images that we snapped over a couple days’ time.
We spent five days in Bhimavaram touring the water, health and livelihood programs of the Byrraju Foundation and their partner organizations. Everywhere we went, the people of the Foundation and the villages welcomed us. Here are just a few of the people we met and worked with along the way.
No other city in the world stands with a foot in two continents. Like salad dressing that refuses to emulsify, Istanbul is an unsettled fusion of Eastern and Western perspectives and prerogatives. Whether gazed upon from an Asian or European vantage, this iconic city is as complex as it is beautiful.
This 10th century B.C. Neolithic sanctuary, still being excavated today in Southeastern Turkey and not yet developed for mass tourism, is considered to be the oldest known religious site in the world, and the birthplace of architecture. Towering T-shaped pillars arranged in circular patterns were carved, decorated with striking animal and human figures, and erected using stone-age tools. Hundreds of detected pillars have yet to be uncovered. The guards are sneaking in catnaps now because this astonishing archeological site won't stay quiet for long.
Saniurfa, claimed birthplace of the prophet Abraham, with a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor, is a pilgrimage site and melting pot for Kurds, Arabs and many religious sects. No fishing in the sacred lake where visiting families overfeed the sacred carp (legend has it you’ll go blind if you try to catch one). Instead, fill up on grilled lamb or liver flatbread sandwiches washed down with ayran, a refreshing yogurt-based drink.
It wasn’t until the year 2000 when a large collection of mosaics was unearthed in Turkey from the time of Alexander the Great, just as dams on the Euphrates River were being installed and the ancient city of Zeugma was about to be flooded. The stunning new Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum opened in 2012.
Explore the red mesas, eroded bluffs, conical rocks and fairy chimneys of the Cappadocian landscape where people have been carving out and occupying cave dwellings for centuries, from Byzantine Christian monastics to today's tourist hotel operators. Meanwhile, local agricultural life goes on.