Going back to my roots with the “Know India Program”

In 2011, I took part of the best trip to India I could’ve made. I was a part of the “Know India Programme” or “KIP” for short.

What is it?

The “KIP” is organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with Indian State Governments, and directed towards youth of Indian origin from ages 18 to 26.

Each programme is formed by 35 youngsters from all around the world and lasts for 3 weeks. During this time, they are taken around different places in India, from villages to historical sites, taught about the progress made by the country, take part in important conferences for diaspora and more.

The Ministry takes care of all expenses, including a 90% refund of plane tickets upon completion of the programme.

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My attempt at celebrating Diwali

This year during my November trip, I happened to be in London for Diwali, which is a Hindu festival that takes place in fall also known as “the festival of lights”. So I figured since I was in London, a place with one of the largest indian communities, I had to celebrate it. One of the biggest indian temples outside of India is actually  in London called Swaminarayan Temple, and for the festivities there would be fireworks and food. To my advantage, my couchsurfing host was indian so  I had someone to go with. Continue reading

Navigating the backwaters of Kerala

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(pic credit)

Kerala is a south-western Indian state that offers good weather almost all year round and great places to explore.

During one of my trips to India my family and I stayed in a houseboat for a night. These houseboats, originally called “Kettuvallams” were used to carry rice and spices and now have been remodeled to serve tourists with the unique experience of navigating the backwaters of Kerala, which consists of a series of canals, rivers and lakes that interconnect and meet with sea water from the Arabian Sea.

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