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Orissa or India and her pious tradition… 1

I recently did a mini-break in Orissa.


Orissa, and more precisely Puri, is there:

Map Orissa Puri.jpg



Immediate question when I speak about this trip (to Indians and others): “But why there?? Why Orissa??“

I was looking for a place to visit with my friends, with a big time constraint – which doesn’t really help in India.


I had posed a first option on Bundi, in Rajasthan. Super pastoral. But that implied one night of train + one hour of car to go there and 3 hours of train + a plane to return. And then while doing some research I found out that we would miss the local festival by only a few days. But that we could attend the festival of Puri, in Orissa. It is a sacred city in India and there is a festival! No need to say no more. And it is also easily accessible by plane and not too expensive. Done!!


We arrive at the mini airport of Bhubaneshwar. How nice to be able to walk from the plane to the terminal!! We find a car without a problem for Puri (one and half hour from there). It is dark outside and we can’t see anything. On the other hand our ears take load. Loud Indian music and the driver is hooked to the horn. Never seen (or rather heard) that. Really. And surprisingly our 2 other drivers during the trip, same thing!!


We arrive at the hotel. I succeeded in taking the last one on the beach, so far from the other hotels that the driver believed it did not exist! There is no roof, the 4th floor is in construction and obviously the work has been stopped. The restaurant is in the basement, “nicely” decorated with plastic flowers. There is no one… Guys constantly pass half naked (apparently the restaurant is between the staff quarters and the shower). The roasted fish is good but the chicken is not well unfrozen. I have to point it out. Answer of the waiter - which honestly did not express anything (the absolute vacuum): “it is the AC”. Good Lord. The food is not cooked and he talks to me about the AC! Good luck…


The night goes by, with crackers and other backfires…


5 years ago…

 …I arrived in India…

 Here are 2 dialogues quite typical when non-Indian people ask me for how long I have been in India. The 1st one is usually with a non-Indian who 1. has never been in India, 2. visited India on holidays and 3. has just arrived in India. And the 2nd is with a non-Indian person who has had some brush with India…


-          5 years?? You must be in love with India no?

-          Euh… No. I don’t adore her, I don’t hate her, I have just found a (small) place here.


-          5 years?? How did you do it?? (meaning, how are you still holding on?)

-          Euh… I have found a professional and affective balance here. And after 5 years of introspection – I spend a lot of my time with myself! – I think I may have even found some kind of inner balance!!

To celebrate, I decided to select a picture of every place I have been to during my personal trips. It took me a lot of time but gave me the opportunity to kind of travel there a second time and moreover to realise that I have seen some out-of-this-world things!! Maybe it is also why I have been staying ;)

So here is my patchwork (there is an album (see on the right) where the detail of the places where the pictures were taken is mentioned); there are pictures that meant something to me, not necessarily very touristic and none has been photoshoped:



Click on the picture to enlarge it.



Places I have visited out of personal interest...


Uttarakhand, what else?? Garwahl

We left Kumaon from Kathgodam and embarked on a night train journey to Derhadun.


(On a side note: the 4th passenger of our cabin came in at around 20:30 when we had already switched off the lights. He settled down, had his food and then lied down. Half an hour later, he received a phone call and talked for like 20 minutes, totally undisturbed (but damm disturbing), comfortable on its berth. My mother finally asked him “hey, you could be polite??” Obviously the type did not give a shit and went on talking loudly for the next 10 minutes. And I think he did not even understand the remark of my mother!! Where in the Western world, “our freedom stopped where that of the other starts”, in India, our freedom does not stop…)


And here we are, catapulted on the heights of Rishikesh, in a “trendy” hotel-spa, Ananda in the Himalayas. With a program: spa treatments, yoga, meditation, pramayana, ayurvedic consultation, healthy food and green areas as far as the eye can see. The children below 14 are not allowed: calm guaranteed!!

It is a little odd to see all the guests walking around in white salwar-kameez provided by the hotel to ensure a maximum of comfort. It certainly is comfortable but you feel like you are in a psychiatric hospital!!


My pictures are below:  


Garwahl hills, Uttarakhand - Août 2011


Thank you Ananda!!