Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kumbh Mela: Seattle Globalist

Check out The Seattle Globalist for my short essay and set of photographs from this year's Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad, India.

It remains-- and will always remain-- one of the most intense experiences of my life.

To see the article click the tearsheet below:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


For many travelers, Darjeeling offers a bit of a respite from India's usual madness and unpredictability. Situated at 6,700ft on a steep hillside of the Himalayan foothills, the small town moves at a comfortable pace. 

Porters and sherpas hoist massive loads as they methodically ascend the narrow staircases that wind through the hill station as school children smile and scamper between their legs.

Like all streets in India, the hum of life and cars and horns and animals is still there-- though perhaps at a few decibels lower than other areas of the busy country.

On clear mornings, the world's third highest peak, Mt Kangchenjunga (28,169ft), looms in the distance and dwarfs its surroundings. From Tiger Hill, a lookout point in the nearby town of Ghoom, spectators gather in total blackness to await sunrise, huddled together with blankets and cups of steaming chai and coffee, waiting patiently for an unfiltered view of the massive mountain.

The respect and general calmness more commonly associated with Nepalese and Tibetan culture has obviously migrated across borders into Darjeeling. 

Portrait of a Fire: Janta Lodge

On March 8, 2013, a fire tore through Janta Lodge in Darjeeling sending the typically quiet town that sits just on India's side of the border with Nepal into a panic.

Crowds flocked from the nearby market, "Chowk Bazar", to watch the flames as they ravaged the old building-- completely destroying its interior and leaving it smoking late into the afternoon. To date, no casualties have been reported.

A mixed group of ragtag firefighters and pedestrians worked to fight the blaze but couldn't prevent the interior from burning out on every floor. 

The day after the fire, I explored the gutted interior of the once bustling guesthouse with a group of locals. The blackened walls, melted sockets and singed decorations left an eery atmosphere.

Nostalgia hung like a thick fog in the air-- disconnecting the past from the present in a messy break.