Middle East


bursa, turkey, ulu cami, mosque, grand mosque, travel, photography
1st February 2015 – Bursa, Turkey When the roar of the city wind demurely hid behind, 2 doors of immense proportions, calligraphed and calling. When a hundred knees hit the floor, followed by foreheads, I stood in silence, with only my loud conscience blaring. The upbeat weather continued today, so I found myself heading back to Bursa. This time, to check out the grand mosque. The Bursa grand mosque, or Ulu Cami in Turkish, is an Ottoman era mosque. It has a total of 20 domes, and I can’t think of any other reason to call it ‘grand’! There are many […]

Project 365: Day 215 – The grand mosque is grand indeed!


Bursa, turkey, travel, photography, travel photography
31st January 2015 – Bursa, Turkey The night is falling, and the tea glasses are gathering steam The wind howls on me like I scorned in fret. In the midst of this esoteric part of Turkey, I found a stairway to heaven, in a crowded market. Yeayy, finally we went to Bursa today, after nearly 5 days of staying lazy in Gorukle. We were supposed to go the Grand mosque, but as luck would have it – or rather our hunger pangs would have it – we ended up hanging around the Koza Han. Koza han was formerly a silk market. […]

Project 365: Day 214 – Stairway to heaven


Gorukle, turkey, travel, photography, shisha
30th January 2015 – Gorukle, Turkey It was as if I had run out of reasons to go out. Or maybe I find more reasons to stay in. And add to that, a little shisha, and rings in the air, My time is too precious now. Well, I am still in. Ok, because I am running out of ideas for things to do in Gorukle, I did a little digging around and found Ibrahim’s Shisha. Hoorahh!! I tried to explain to him for a long time, that we can do shisha tonight. And he simply couldn’t understand me. Only when I […]

Project 365: Day 213 – Shisha nights now!



Gorukle, Turkey
29th January 2015 – Gorukle, Turkey The rain didn’t stop, but the music started anyway. And in a little corner of the mysterious Kurdish corner, I found a niche for some ethereal strings. All six of them. And a little bit of heaven they unfurled. The monotony of sitting around in the house, was broken by Ibrahim, my Kurdish host. He introduced a whole range of Kurdish music to me. What started with Zimane Kurdi and other kurdish rap songs, soon ballooned into him taking up the Baglama on the wall. The baglama, also called Saz, is a Mediterranean string instrument, […]

Project 365: Day 212 – Saz nights


gorukle, turkey
28th January 2015 – Gorukle, Turkey The rain is always a good excuse To put your feet up, and do nothing actually. So, lets add today to another long list of lost days, I am not dying tomorrow. So, I can still even the tally. I woke up today, after a slight hangover from the Raki, only to find that the rain had only increased. There was an attempt on my part to go out a little bit, but I managed to walk form 10 minutes, and click one picture, before I came back home. Naah, lets call it a day […]

Project 365: Day 211 – Reflections of calm


Gorukle, turkey, water, rain, travel, photography
27th January 2015 – Gorukle, Turkey The clouds gave way to cold rain and snuggles. And they dangled on my window ledge, ready to burst. I am a lazy man today, can’t help it even if I could. I should to do some sightseeing, but I think I’ll chill first. Last night, after the art academy episode, I met with some new Turkish friends who took me to a salsa club in Gorukle. I was pleasantly surprised to see some good salsa being danced there. I did a little bit of my chicken dance, and went back to crash at my […]

Project 365: Day 210 – Hanging like droplets



gorukle, turkey, art, travel, photography
26th January 2015 – Gorukle, Turkey When life imitates art, the royalties are oft forgotten. We live in a world full of imitations, so who cares anyway? But when I found a bunch of artists, toiling away in acrylic, I clicked them. I am an imitator too. Didn’t i say? After spending nearly till 5 AM in the Bursa Otogar, the public buses started running finally. And I caught a number 98 to take me to Gorukle. Gorukle is quite far away from Bursa, nearly 28 KM. But it is the centre of the Universities, and has a crowd of many […]

Project 365: Day 209 – Art imitating art


25th January 2015 – Bursa, Turkey After the initial crestfallen days, I am warming upto Turkey now. Even the dull, gloomy Ankara, has a shimmer of hope around it. Or maybe I should now head to Turkey’s beautiful surprises? The caves, the mountains, the beaches. Or whatever I see fit. I think I went overboard with the food today. I was to leave Ankara, heading to Bursa, but sleep came late and I woke up only around noon. Not wanting to travel at this time – risking the chance of me arriving Bursa at night – I decided to take the […]

Project 365: Day 208 – In a food coma today


Ankara, turkey, luna, park, travel, photography
24th January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey Travel is like life. There are bad days, and then, there are days filled with glorious dusks, and reflections. Forgive me, I preach. But like still water, I would be boring too, If I merely took notes, and didn’t reflect on my actions. I’ve had rough days on this trip, many times. And each time, I follow the same strategy. I go out, click as many pictures as I could, and put my problems behind. I did the same today too. I had absolutely no intention of coming to Ankara, as I was told by everybody […]

Project 365: Day 207 – Parking my troubles away



Ankara, turkey, travel, photography, food
23rd January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey Vincit qui, se vincit. Your fights are only against yourself. Or if you are an Indian traveller, against your passport. On a day when a solitary embassy in the middle of nowhere, had me bent over and served, Raki was my only resort. One of my principal deterrents, when it comes to travelling, is my passport. The Indian government is not keen on working diplomatic angles with other countries or promoting reciprocity, to make our passports more travel-worthy. And it is my opinion that the reason lies within the fear of forex imbalances, which are expected […]

Project 365: Day 206 – Screwed by Georgia. Saved by Raki.


Ankara, Turkey, travel, couchsurfing, photography
22nd January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey Misery is often just like your pride. Only reversed. When it strikes, the head goes south and stays there. From lack to linguistic support to traversing long distances, It will purely be a Turkish test of time, to see how I fare. Just when I thought I had enough trouble yesterday, today turned out to be amazing. The perfect way to start my Turkey episode. NOT! So, at the unholy hour of 2 AM, I stepped out of the Sabiha Goekcen International airport, to find a way to get to Ankara. I had a basic idea […]

Project 365: Day 205 – Ahh, the troubles in Turkey!


sharjah, uae, emirates, airport, travel, photography
21st January 2015 – Sharjah, UAE We build homes, buildings and offices so magnanimous, yet feel content, in a weird way, sleeping in an airport. That joy you feel, is called a satiated wanderlust. While the joy of a home is sublime, Today, its the nomad I court. I may complain about waiting and crappy airport services a lot, but the fact is: I love being in airports. There is something so nomadic about staying in an airport, that it even that tickles my wanderlust. Something like Tom Hank’s ‘Terminal’. I hope you read the sarcasm in my lines. Because I just […]

Project 365: Day 204 – Sleeping in Airports



Man evolved by walking through deserts. - Mesaieed Sand Dunes, Qatar
30th August 2014 – Mesaiieed, Qatar From the souqs of Doha, to the dunes of Mesaieed, We drove through the heart of Qatar, with the tyres screeching. Like camels becoming alive in the barren august sand, We were at the heart of the desert, and still breathing. Sleep lasted all of 1 hour today. I slept late around 3 AM, and woke up by 4. Why? To catch the sunrise at the Messaieed sand dunes. Messaieed is a municipality, located approximately 50 KM away from Doha. This is practically, the only remaining desert in Qatar, as the rest have all been […]

Project 365: Day 60 – The sands and the silhouettes


Iran walks past you in these markets. - Doha, Qatar
29th August 2014 – Doha, Qatar Falcons and parrots played festive court jesters, and the spices and shisha reminded you of the next meal.  In an oblivious Iranian stronghold from the past, the souq gallantly strides by you, like an antic movie reel. Today was another one of those days, when the temperature hit a cool 41 C. If you don’t get it, the abbreviation ‘cool’, was intended to be sarcastic. I must have had one too many of these hot, summer days, because i chose to stay at home the whole day. I slept in, till evening 6 pm, fully enjoying the air-conditioning. Only at 6 PM, […]

Project 365: Day 59 – A little bit of Iran in Qatar


A tolerant collector, if there ever was one. - Sheikh Faisal museum in Doha, Qatar
28th August 2014 – Doha, Qatar The posse of American muscle cars had me overwhelmed. And there was a private biplane too, apart from all the ships. But wealth is materialistic, and did nothing to woo me. It was the magnitude of a religious interest, that had me in flips. I had quite made up a list of things to do in Doha, which included the corniche, Souq Waqif, Katara and the Museum of international arts, all of them courtesy the lonely planet. So, it came as a surprise when my friend here, Arun, suggested that I go to the Sheikh Faisal museum. Or to […]

Project 365: Day 58 – He is an extreme collector



Into the city - Doha, Qatar
27th August 2014 – Doha, Qatar Through the night, against the eyes peering at them from the corniche They worked their way through, time slipping through their hands. If and when the soccer ball rolls here, the world will realise, There is a forgotten glowworm in the middle of the desert sands. So, one of my friends from UAE, Naaby, drove me to the Sharjah airport in the morning, from where I took a quick flight to Doha. In fact, I saved 10 minutes of my life. How? By departing at 8.20 AM, and arriving at 8.10 AM. I wonder why they […]

Project 365: Day 57 – Ahlan Wa Sahlan, Qatar


13
This was the first post of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here. 1st July 2014 – Singapore From dust we rose and to dust we shall go And dust is […]

Project 365: Day 0 – The beginning


Entrance to the Shoubak castle
It was time to finally end my Jordan episode. Not an easy thought, considering that I had some of the best days of my life in the past few days. It was almost like someone took a full length movie of the best times of your life, and compressed it into a 5-day trailer. But, like all good things, this had to come to an end too.   ==================================================================== Read: Check out my images from Petra, the pink city! ==================================================================== I was spending way under budget this whole trip, so I made a ‘rich’ move on the last day. The […]

Through a forgotten castle: Shoubak, Jordan



Orthodox church of St. John the Baptist. 2
So after our cave-sleeping episode with the bedouins, we woke up early in the morning and went back to Nawwaf’s house to change clothes. Yeah, we smelled like cattle and wood and smoke. After a shower, I realized that a shower did absolutely nothing to help with the smell, because it was my jacket that was smelling like a camel ever since I wore it last day. I had no other jackets with me, and there was not enough time to wash it too. Well, this was Jordan, and the smell of camels was everywhere, so no harm done to anybody’s […]

Dead sea, Gabriel’s wings, and Bethany: Jordan


Vendors in Petra 2
So, after we started from the home of our couchsurfing host, I boarded his Nissan truck for a short 15-minute ride from his home to the Petra entrance, along with Gabriel, another Mexican couchsurfer who was staying with my host. I hopped on the open back of the truck, to take some pictures. Read about couchsurfing with the Bedouins, here! Nawwaf is the archetypical example of Bedouin huge-heartedness, as he stopped at every person walking on the road, and asked if they wanted a lift. And soon, I was sharing the open back with a kid called Mohammed. He spoke […]

The Pink City : Petra


Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon 2
Everybody is doing it. So, I might as well.   To recount a year is difficult, and especially when it is a year like 2013 which was nothing short of momentous. I checked my hard disk to find out that I have travelled to a total of 14 countries this year, and the total pictures in my hard disk totalled up to 32000! So, what better way to recount a year, than to show it in pictures.   January The Thaipusam festival is one of the most bizarre festivals that one can imagine. I have been wanting to check out […]

2013: My year in travel photos



Bedouin cave in Wadi Musa 2
After a day in Amman, and another around it, I was finally raring to go to Petra. ‘Raring’ is rather too subtle, given that I woke up at 4 AM to get ready for a minivan ride to Petra. Kojak, who drove me to Jerash, was going on a ride to Petra already, so I joined him on the drive. Given that a bus would have cost 9 JD anyway, it was worth it to go with him for only 10 JD. So, we set off by 6 AM, with a couple of other people from the hostel. I was […]

‘Cave-surfing’ with the Bedouins : Wadi Musa, Jordan


The view from Umm Qais 2
I am still in Amman as I write this, and had one more day before I head to Petra and Wadi Musa. And was unsure of what to do for the whole day, since I had pretty much covered Amman entirely the previous day.   Thankfully, the hostel I was staying in, had a tour organised for the day, heading towards Jerash. I had wanted to visit Jerash using public transport, but given my lazy disposition and Amman’s hard, cold climate, I decided to bite the bullet and joined the tour. Our tour-guide was a huge, bald Jordanian, who I called Kojak from […]

Chasing snow in Jordan: Through Umm Qais, Ajloun and Jerash.


Petra beer in Jordan
So, after the fiasco last night with the flight, I was asleep in Amman like a blissful log. The Jordan Tower hotel, was located in the historic region of downtown Amman, next to the Roman amphitheatre and the Nymphaeum. I choose it for the location, its proximity to everything important in Amman, and more importantly, because it was the cheapest among the options that hostelworld gave me. Woke up in the morning to the most glorious view ever, that of historic Amman looking up at me, with all its hustle and bustle. The view was so amazing, that I decided that […]

Of Citadels and Amphitheatres: A day in Amman, Jordan