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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Human Rights in Tibet

There I was, standing in the main square of Upper Mcleodgunj and saw this cute little bookshop with big posters ridiculing the August Olympics this year. The collection wasn’t that vast or up to my taste, but they were giving off free books (not pamphlets, mind you). I gave a donation of 50 bucks and was honored by three of such books. This post contains excerpts from one of them called Death penalties in China – Abuse of Human Rights‘ which tries to prove the blatant but still hidden truth from facts. It tells you about the number of prisoners in Tibet, the forceful ‘democratic reforms‘ and custodial deaths. If the books has its facts right, there are more than 20,000 death penalties in the Chinese mainland every year!

These facts speak volumes about the ‘democratic reform’ China claims to have brought to the ‘dark, feudal, exploitative’ society of Tibet. Independent Tibet was certainly not an embodiment of a perfect human society, but it was by no means nearly as tyrannical as it is today.

Panchen Lama says: “The soldiers told the family members told the family members of the deceased that they should celebrate since the rebels have been wiped out. They were even forced to dance on the dead bodies and then massacred with machine guns’

On 9th March 1959, 10,000 to 15,000 Tibetans were killed within three days. The methods of torture include mutilation, set to dogs, electric shocks, gang-rapes etc. The Chinese government is also employing various coercive birth-control measures to stem the growth of the Tibetan population. A large number of Hans have migrated to Tibet, turning the ethnic Tibetans into a minority.Tibetan couples are allowed to have only two children. Extra children are denied ration cards. There have been 22,000 birth control operations. As a result of all this, Tibetans find themselves marginalized in economic, political, educational and social spheres.

I can go on, and write about the massacres, extortions by land lords, religious suffocations and state of Lhasa’s economy, but it wouldn’t serve any purpose. I just hope that the fighting in Tibet stops, we get an awesome Olympics and everything is solved peacefully. I know, it’s too much to hope for, but thats the only thing I can do for now. May the Tibet refugees in India find peace with their inner selves.

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And Golden it is, with the whole city carved out of the same golden sandstone. On approach it appears to be a giant golden sand castle rising in the middle of a barren desert. The narrow streets of the fort, still inhabited, with elaborate decorated houses, Jain temples, magnificent gateways and a beautiful palace all carved out of the same golden sandstone. It’s like something out of a dream.

A bustling tourist city on the western edge of the desert, it can be reached through the now famous Palace On Wheels or by road via Bikaner. This was my second visit to this city and it felt as if time had stood still for 3 years. The same shops, the same banners and the same people in those shops. The night road trip via Bikaner is a memorable one with the coolness of desert night keeping you company. A 15 hours drive (including stops) the Delhi – Jaisalmer Road can be divided into the following sections:

  • Delhi – Loharu (different routes to do this depending on where you live in Delhi/NCR) 160-170 KM
  • Loharu – Fatehpur (100 KM)
  • Fatehpur – Bikaner (170 KM)
  • Bikaner – Jaisalmer (328 KM)

You can stop for dinner at Bikaner with some excellent options in and around the city. You get the first glimpse of desert right after Bikaner with the sand dunes on both sides of the road. If you have some time in your hands, BIkaner itself is brilliant and rapidly developing city to explore. The touchdown at Jaisalmer the next morning is very refreshing with motels open 24*7. But it’s better to book your own in advance. Breakfast can comprise of kachori-tea-poha if you want it Rajasthani style or the usual roadside paranthas.

With the dozens of temples and fort that Jaisalmer has to promise for sightseeing, its better to start early in the morning. You wouldn’t want to miss the sunset in the dunes now, would you?

My Flickr.

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Karim Hotels, Delhi

Karim Hotels, Delhi

Jama Masjid. Chandni Chowk. Lal Quila.
This neighborhood is definitely one of the filthiest in India.
It doesn’t really matter, because tucked in one corner of the Masjid lane is a whole new world.
A mecca for foodies.

Karim Hotels Pvt. Ltd. has been delighting us with divine Mughlai cuisine for almost a century now, established in 1913. I had been fortunate enough to hog here a dozen of times, and it just keeps getting better everyday. The menu card boasts of a recommendation by the Lonely Planet and the “Best of Asia” by times magazine. The Roomali Rotis and Naans are cooked right in front of you. The delicacies include roasted goat, brain curry, burra etc. with a wide assortment of curries fit for a king’s plate.

Whatever I say about the food of that place, it’s less. So I’ll just stop here and recommend some of my favorites from there:

  • Tandoori Burra (Clay-Oven-Roasted Mutton)Karim's on Times magazine
  • Tandoori Raan (Spiced leg roasted in oven)
  • Dil Pasand Seekh Kabab (A special preparation roasted on direct heat, after wrapping spiced minced mutton on skewer)
  • Romali Roti (Bread of flour baked in the oven)
  • Makhani Murgh-e-Jahangiri (Chicken cooked with butter)
  • Kheer Benazir (prepared with milk, broken rice, sugar)
  • Shahi Tukda (fried bread soaked in condensed milk)

The menu keeps changing according to the local festivals and seasons. So keep your options open. And leave your calorimeter back home, becasue all preprations are done in desi ghee (butter).

My Flickr.

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