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naggar deodars

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On the lower mountain slope, the village and ancient regional capital of Naggar presides over the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by orchards and forests of majestic deodars, the Himalaya cedars whose name derives from the Sanskrit devadāru, tree/wood of the gods.

rishikesh ads

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The town of Rishikesh lies in the Himalaya foothills, where the river Ganges comes flowing out of the mountains. Since gaining fame in the West as the retreat of a certain British pop group in 1968, the "yoga capital of the world" has seen an ever-expanding spiritual health industry, with gigantic ashrams dotting the river banks. According to Wikipedia (entry sanitized today; its source advertorial is still available) The Times of India, "the place is charged with spiritual energy."

varanasi dawn

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Varanasi, formerly Benares, also Kashi, the Hindu holy city has since time immemorial worshipped the river goddess Ganga from its ghats. Not surprisingly, the most auspicious time for puja has always been at dawn, when the heat, dust, noise and pollution have not yet crowded out the river's serenity. Above is Asi Ghat.

mughal flowers

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The Indo-Perso-Islamic culture of the Mughal empire left much celebrated architecture, including the palaces of Delhi's Red Fort and Agra Fort as well as one of the most famous tombs in the world, the "teardrop on the face of eternity" of the Taj Mahal. One striking feature in all their splendor is the use of flower decorations - roses, lotus flowers, flowering trees. Deviating from the starkly abstract arabesques of Western (from the vantage point of India) Muslem art, it allowed an element of almost frivolous exuberance to creep into their devotion.

mumbai slogans

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A sample of Mumbaikar humor...

mumbai skies

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Mumbai's peninsular, tropical location on the Arabian sea creating some impressive skyscapes...