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India

India is not a trip. It is an experience. Everything here is pushing your senses. To say, “I did India” and have in mind a tourist trip where you see the sites and nothing else is impossible. The Indian life permeates your skin, engulfs your entire body, odors your breath and your mind like nowhere else in the world. India is a place like no other on any traveler's path. In no other place in the world you live symbiotic, like it or not, with your travel destination. Also India wears you out like no other destination to the point that you could tell in a crowd of travelers who was the guy coming from India after a long stay. They look different, tired, weary, exhausted, excited. This does not mean a bit that they hate it, They are coming every year and stay for quite long hauls, traveling from North to South, coming and going to Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc, but always spending a large part of the time in India. They were before and will come again next year no matter that the experience may be tougher than in any other parts of the world. A lot of them stay in ashrams for a while taking yoga classes. Here life is different, easier sometimes than the one “on the road” but it has the stricter requirements of the secluded life. Some are forgetting themselves in Goa, Varkhala, Andaman Islands, Shimla, Manali, etc. but no matter where they go and stay, they will always be awed and horrified in the same time. They know that they will not extend their stay so they take it easy and stay as comfy as possible thinking about the time when they will be back in their own country. Because India is the only country where you are not regretting that the vacation is over, looking forward to return to your country where, after a short while, you will start again dreaming to return here, to India.

In our first foray in the subcontinent we visited Rajasthan This was a while ago but we still remember that travel like it was yesterday and when we returned to India all the senses' memories came alive. In our second visit the goal was to search a spiritual road of India and what better place to do this than the famous Maha Khumba Mela in Haridwar, the largest festival in the world that congregates tens of million people in a tiny town. After spending some time there living in the camps immersed in the continuous play of bhajan and kirtans, deepening in the Ganga to cleanse our western sins and being amazed by the marketing in Self Realization advertised everywhere we took the road to Rishikesh, a place full of Rishis and retreats where we visited temples, meditation caves and ashrams. The return to Delhi marked the beginning of the second part of the journey, the road to Varanasi. The famous Indian roads with its amazing combination of life and death, enjoyments and loathing brought us to visit Akbar's tomb in Sikandra, the great emperor who made "a nation out of a mob". This was the first stop on the way to Gwalior, where we visited its majestic hill top fort and its magnificent Jain statues sculpted in the hill's rock. Latter we visited the beautiful palaces of Orcha and the magnificently sculpted temples of Khajuraho, UNESCO protected monuments. The temples were nicknamed the Love or KamaSutra temples because of the small portion of sculptures that have erotic content representing, in the some historians interpretation, the Shakti manifestation in tantric practices. We switched religions in Bodh Gaya, the place where Lord Buddha got enlightened under the famous Bodhi tree and latter to Sarnath, where He preached his first sermon, Dharma Chakra, in the deer park setting in motion the "Wheel of Dharma". We finished our tour in the holiest of the holy cities of India, the older than history city of Varnasi or Benares, a place that breathes its contrasts, living between life and death, shit and flower petals, exalted devotion and total indifference. The morning sunrise that bath the city's ghats in a pink light has something godly in it shedding away the sins of the many Hindu believers that come here to bath in the Ganges or to die in this place for a fast track karma cleansing. You feel blessed by just being in this sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi.

Our third foray in India was in its majestic South. From the tip of India in KanyaKumari, bathed by three oceans, we hit North to the famous beach tows of Kovalam and Varkhala, hang out places full of latte places and Bob Marley music. Close by you can explore the tranquil back waters of Kerala and enjoy its relaxed atmosphere by renting a boat house or taking the public ferry from Kolam to Allapuzha. Up north Cochi still extends its Chinese fishing nets and deals in spices but its prosperous Jewish community, who handled the trade for many years, is almost completely gone to Israel, its heritage buildings still managed by some old folks. From there we got to Munnar's tea plantations up in the hills and further we crossed the border in Tamil Nadu and visited the majestic Hindu temple of Madurai, by far the most impressive temple of the South. Close by is the famous city of Tanjavur or Tanjore, a place that used to represent exquisite art and refinement. The palace is not its big attraction but the temple is remarkable. One hour away is Trichy that has an entire collection of impressive Hindu temples. Pondicherry still preserves the old French heritage side-by-side with the famous ashram founded by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother who established also the impressive communities of Auroville. Just two hours away is Mamallapuram with its impressive Rathas sculpted in granite. Retracing a little we immersed ourselves in the atmosphere of the Ramana Maharishi's ashram in Tiruvannamalai and its holy mountain, Arunachala. North from there we visited the Golden temple of Vellore and the Money Temple of Tirumala before reaching Chennai, the last stop of our tour.

 

DVD Release

Swami

"Vashista Guha"

A deeply inspiring interview with Swami Shantananda Puri at Vashishta Guha outside of Rishikesh, India that reiterates the spiritual history of this magic cave and goes on about meditation, self realization and Indian philosophy in a satsang with the Master.

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Jul 18: Back from a two week shoot in Alaska and another week in Vancouver and Washington State's Cascades Loop and Seattle.

Apr 30: We finally returned from a longer shoot in Utah and California. We went twice and shot extensively in various parts of LA and its surroundings and in most of the Utah canyons.

Jan 23: We finalized a long due project about the Tibet culture and tradition by editing the last two videos of a 9 DVD series, about the pilgrimage around Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar and Everest.

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India Stock

24 hours of HD footage and 3500 Hi-Rez images from these locations:

Allahabad, Bodh Gaya, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Kumbha Mela@Haridwar, New Delhi, Orcha, Rishikesh, Sarnath, Sikandra, Varanasi, Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Varkhala, Kolam, Allapuzha, Kochi, Munnar, Madurai, Tanjavur, Trichy, Pondicherry, Auroville, Tiruvannamalai, Arunachala, Vellore, Tirumala, Chennai

4 hours of SD footage and 100 images from these locations in Rajasthan:

Agra, Bikaner, Chittorgarh, Fatehpur, Fatehpur-Sikri, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Khuri, Mandawa, Ranakpur, Pushkar, Shehawati, Udaipur