Thursday, August 7, 2008

Farewell Bangalore!

I suppose this is a fitting date for my final post to this blog... a year ago today I was in the air, on my way to India. I'd never been there before and had no idea what to expect! It was an unforgettable year -- so many amazing sights, several challenges, and a lot of wonderful new friends. Here are a few final photos of Bangalore, taken over my almost-year living there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Weddings and Other Ceremonies

I've been back in the U.S. for about 3 weeks already... yet still have photos from India to post! During my time there, I was lucky enough to attend several engagement, pre-wedding, and wedding ceremonies. Here are a few photos of some very simple, other very fancy, and all very joyful, times!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Down Under

OK, I guess this doesn't actually qualify under the title of this blog, but about a month ago I visited Australia and New Zealand... there was so much gorgeous scenery to photograph!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Office

As many of you may already know, although my host organization is a secular charity, its offices are located on the grounds of a Hare Krishna temple -- in fact, one of the most popular tourist spots in Bangalore! So in addition to learning about school feeding in India, every day at my office also has been an opportunity (and privilege) to learn about and witness Indian and Hindu culture. Here are some photos of life and sights at the temple over the past year.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, another American friend in Bangalore and I took a long weekend to visit Darjeeling and the surrounding West Bengal Hills. We had a very relaxing time, enjoying mountain views, sipping excellent tea, eating yummy dumplings and noodle soups, riding a quaint steam train, exploring Buddhist monasteries, and taking in the dominant Tibetan and Nepalese cultures. These photos can't capture the true beauty of the Himalayas, but I tried my best.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Earlier this month, a couple of American friends who also work in Bangalore and I took the overnight train to Hampi, not too far away in the state of Karnataka. Despite the intense summer heat (probably 100 degrees Fahrenheit), it was worth the trip. As you can see in these photos, Hampi is equally famed for its 14th to 16th century ruins of temples and palaces, as well as its surreal landscape of tremendous boulders, piled up as far as the eye can see. We also visited a pretty nearby village and watched an elephant have her morning bath!

Friday, May 2, 2008


About a month ago, I took a long weekend to visit a friend in Mumbai, formerly Bombay. It's certainly the most modern and cosmopolitan place that I've visited in India so far! We had a great time enjoying delicious food, concerts and plays. I also wandered around a bit, checking out a beach, a nearby island known for its cave temples, and even a synagogue, as you can see in these photos. Luckily I also ran into some of Mumbai's famous tiffinwalas, who deliver thousands of hot lunches directly from workers' homes to their offices every day. Their system is so impressive that the BBC did a story them!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Another friend from DC came to India last month to volunteer for a few weeks in a city not too far away. So on Easter weekend, I met up with her, and then we headed to Pondicherry, a former French colony on the coast of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a quaint, quiet town, with many French-speaking residents and tourists. We also checked out the utopian community of Auroville nearby, which contrasts greatly with the Indian countryside surrounding it. Here are a few photos of what we saw that weekend -- enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

School Meals

The bulk of my work in India involves assessing the impact of Akshaya Patra's free school lunch program on its student beneficiaries. With hundreds of schools spread out over several Indian states, we hired a research firm to conduct the surveys at schools and students' homes over the past few months. Here are photos of the team working in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and other photos of students with their free lunches in Bangalore (Karnataka).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jaipur Again

My work trip up north last month took me to Jaipur (in the state of Rajasthan) again. My colleagues from the U.S. had not been there before, and luckily we had a Sunday to play tourists, as you can see in these photos. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vrindavan Schools

During our trip up north last month, my colleagues and I did manage to fit in some work: these photos are of our visit to Akshaya Patra's centralized kitchen facility in Vrindavan, which prepares over 80,000 free school meals every day, and to rural schools that are not easily accessible by road. In these more remote areas, local women are provided valuable employment cooking meals at schools every day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Uttar Pradesh

Earlier this month, I went up north to the state of Uttar Pradesh for work again. My colleagues and I traveled from Delhi to Mathura and Vrindavan on the first leg of our trip. As you can see in these photos, we spent an especially memorable afternoon exploring Mathura, a small city known for its many Hindu temples, some on the banks of the Yamuna River, one of India's holiest (and most polluted!) rivers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


During the past month, I've traveled a bit for work -- while interesting, visually it gets a bit repetitive (schools and kitchens)! So here are some rather random photos of Bangalore taken over the past several months. I don't take many photos when going about my daily life here, so these are far from representative of the city. But I hope you find them interesting anyway!

Friday, February 1, 2008


A few weeks ago, I met up with a couple of friends from DC in Goa. It was great to catch up with them, look at some pretty architecture, and eat good seafood, sausages and bread! While we did walk for a bit along one of Goa's famous beaches, we spent most of our time exploring the current capital, Panjim, and the old capital, Old Goa. Panjim has a laid-back atmosphere with colorful houses along narrow streets. We stayed in a quiet part of Panjim in a picturesque refurbished Portugese mansion, complete with antique four-poster beds! Old Goa is filled with churches, some now abandoned and in ruins, but others very large and featuring gilded interiors -- demonstrating the power and wealth of the Portugese several centuries ago. As I hope you can see in these photos, it felt *almost* like I had left India for a few days!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ooty and Coonoor

From the sea... to the mountains! The weekend after Christmas, we visited Ooty and Coonoor in the state of Tamil Nadu, colonial hill stations originally established by the British as summer headquarters. These photos show some of the lovely mountain views and tea plantations for which this area is famous -- I think deservedly so. We also enjoyed a taste of the Raj era while staying in a restored mansion, filled with antique furniture and fireplaces in every room!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Kerala's known as one of India's most beautiful states... a well-deserved reputation, as you can see in these photos. The weekend before Christmas, a friend visiting from NYC and I spent a few idyllic days there, staying at a small resort of cottages in Alleppey, with views of the water and hammocks to relax in! The highlight of our visit was a tour in a canoe, which allowed us float through some very narrow canals. We were privileged to observe life along the canals: the people there depend on the water not only for transport, but to clean their clothes and dishes, themselves and their children.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Taj Mahal

My work trip to the north of India took me only about an hour away from Agra, so I had to take a morning to see the Taj Mahal. It is a stunning sight. Agra Fort is another beautiful structure nearby. I doubt any photo can truly convey the magnificence of the Taj Mahal, but I tried my best with these.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Vrindavan kitchen and schools

Happy New Year! When I was in Vrindavan, I spent a couple of days checking out kitchens and schools, all while marveling at the rugged beauty of the countryside, as you can see in these photos. Here my host organization has a centralized kitchen (with an amazing machine that can bake up to 10,000 pieces of Indian bread in one hour, and pots that can cook over 100 kg of rice in less than 20 minutes!) as well as employs local women to prepare school meals in rural areas that aren't easily accessible.