The Taj – photo – Karen Anderson
I’ve been fascinated with India and Indian cooking for a very long time. My mentor Noorbanu Nimji and I published A Spicy Touch – Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen in December of 2015 but we’ve done tours and taught Indian cooking together in Calgary since about 2007. In 2011, because I am also founder and owner of Alberta Food Tours, Inc., I was asked to lead tours to India and have been happily doing so since 2012 thanks to my partnership with Indus Travels.
My 2017 trip has been sold out for some time so I’m happy to announce my plans for India 2018. Click on the link for the full itinerary. The synopsis follows along with some photos from past trips to whet your appetite. Continue reading
Cooking with Sumeet Nair in New Delhi – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Huge thanks to writer Catherine Van Brunschot for the City Palate magazine piece she wrote about the 2014 cuisine and culture trip to India I organized. I’ve been leading these tours with my company Alberta Food Tours and our business partner Indus Travels since 2012.
Catherine’s a writer’s writer. She quietly observes, scribbles notes and jots details. Her camera is always close at hand. She’s able to capture a moment and it’s feeling to share a sense of the traveller’s journey. I hope you enjoy reading her piece from the source: Eating India with Alberta Food Tours
I’m pleased to report that my 2017 trip to India is sold out and that Catherine is returning. When you get to the end of her article, you’ll see I’ve shared with you the answer to the question she poses.
For my 2018 trip to India we’ll return to some places I love – Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur – and also venture to a place I’m longing to visit – Kolkata. Please comment below if you’d like more information about that trip and I’ll be happy to email you an itinerary.
I don’t go to many movies. I find most of them too violent or crass for my well being but, I went to Lion recently and it moved me and motivated me to write this blog.
The main character in Lion, a small boy named Saroo, gets stuck on an empty deadheading train and ends up 1500 kilometres from his home. He survives a few months on the streets of Kolkata before being sheltered and then adopted. The story thus far is a true one but it is not a rare one. I won’t give away the ending.
In India the story of children ending up on the streets happens – for one reason or another – about 80,000 times each year with a cummulative 11 million children currently enduring their existence on the streets instead of having a childhood and chance at thriving not just surviving.
Last year I had the chance to take a City Walk of the Paharganj neighbourhood in Delhi with a guide who was rescued from a life on the streets by a Non-Profit Organization called Salaam Balaak Trust. Perhaps if I tell you what I learned on that walk, you might like to join the #lionheart movement launched by the movie producers to support a few of the organizations in India working to improve the lives of India’s street children. Continue reading
Filed under India, Travel
I have written about Sadhguru before. He is a teacher. He helps people along a spiritual path to living more consciously.
So much of the way we live is outwardly focused. Sadhguru is helping people go inward with yogic practices.
The video above is about one such practice: Namaskar. Sadhguru says that by simply folding your hands together you may unfold your being and that focusing your attention with love on something or someone for just three minutes a day can lead to harmony. Continue reading
I met a great teacher last year in India. I met Sadhguru.
Sadh means knowledge that comes from within. Guru is a Sanskrit: गुरु noun that connotes “teacher”. When I met Sadhguru, I met an enlightened human being who is able to access knowledge from within. This is the knowledge of all existence from the beginning of existence.
Attaining enlightenment comes with certain perks.
Today is the second annual International Day of Yoga. One of Sadhguru’s goals is to share the science of yoga. The video above was made last year so that anyone anywhere can access the benefits of yoga. This year Sadhguru and legions of volunteers taught hundreds of thousands of people the simple UPA yoga described in the video. Today Sadhguru taught people from 135 nations live at the United Nations in New York City that same yoga.
I’ve been blessed by my guru. Sharing this video here is a tiny offering of love, gratitude and respect for him and his work. I’ll share more about my experience of meeting Sadhguru at Isha foundation in India in the rest of the post. Continue reading
Fresh pakoras – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Shopping for Indian ingredients in Canada can be challenging even in today’s world of global markets and overnight air freight. In India, an array of vegetables and fruits are picked fresh and brought to market daily. The distance between Canada and India means we don’t have that level of freshness but nonetheless, I still have some favourite grocers where I can find the authentic ingredients I crave.
I’ll share the grocers that make up my “little India” in Calgary as well as some of my favourite Indian restaurants. Once you start shopping for, making and eating great Indian food, you might even be curious enough to travel to this magical place yourself. Food was the key that opened the door to this ancient culture for me. Maybe it will be for you too. Continue reading
South Indian toddler – photo credit- Karen Anderson
I feel privileged to travel to India every year. I felt its pull when I began practicing yoga 15 years ago. I wanted to go to the place that taught people to focus on awareness and fully living in this existence. Now that I’ve been a few times, I am increasingly drawn and look forward to each new journey’s discoveries.
So, that’s all the more reason I find it shocking when people say to me, “Why would you ever want to go to India?” Some people have indeed had poor experiences. They tell me INDIA is an acronym that stands for I‘ll Never Do It Again. I’ve learned to recover quickly and to share the reasons why I personally love it. I tell them INDIA stands for I Need to Do It Always.
I love the food, the patterns of daily life, the markets, the natural beauty and diverse landscapes, the arts and crafts, the monuments, the colours, the textiles, the exotic plant life, the cows everywhere, the ancient culture, the fascinating religions and most of all – THE PEOPLE.
I know most of you will never go to India but, if you’re at all curious, this post will give you some books and movies to explore so you can know it a bit better – from your armchair – at least. Continue reading