During my first time in India, I was a relatively inexperienced traveller: I was overwhelmed by its beauty and stunned by its poverty, just as any first-time visitor. The second time I went to India, I expected to be more familiar with its various vagrancies. In reality, I was overwhelmed and stunned just as before.
I’ve spoken before of my part-time love of architecture. I openly admire Gothic and Art Noveau but secretly I’ve always loved Brutalist.
I say ‘secretly’ because Brutalist buildings are ugly – seriously ugly – but there’s also a bleak and haunting beauty amid the ugliness. Here are my favourite Brutalist structures (sometimes known as ugly buildings) from around the world.
In general, I have plucked images from Wikipedia rather than using artsy, filtered shots from funky angles, so that I can showcase the true horror of these structures. Tell me what I missed in the comments below. (Or call me a philistine devoid of any taste whatsoever.)
Chittorgarh Fort is the Rajasthani gem rarely promoted as a must-see
If you decide to take that trip of a lifetime to go and “find yourself” in India, it will probably include a trip to the Taj, a date with the Dalai Lama, a tour around the pink city of Jaipur and any number of other “spirit of India” experiences the guidebooks will throw at you.
These sights are all, of course, worthy of your time but don’t miss Chittorgarh Fort, the Rajasthani gem rarely promoted as a must-see.
In the first of this two-part series, Peter recounted his tale of India in search of his father’s long lost friends. Five years after his initial visit, father and son return to India to reunite with those friends. Here is his father’s story.
This article was featured on National Geographic’s Traveller magazine website on 14th February 2015
Christmas Eve, 2013. It was the middle of the afternoon and the sun was warm on our backs. We stood on the roof veranda looking down on the dusty streets. A soft breeze was blowing which barely stirred the tangle of electricity and telephone wires that were draped between the houses in this relatively wealthy suburb of Bhilwara, Rajasthan.
Each house was painted in different pastel shades of blue, green and peach and set against an azure sky. It was quiet and the roads were almost empty.
This was indeed surprising, as this was India.
We take a look at some amazing images of the awesome international borders to be found across the globe from Asia to America
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices. Sometimes, like this incredible piece on architectural density in Hong Kong, they’ll depict urban decay or stifling poverty – always gilded by the photographer’s lens.
Six years ago, Peter retraced his parents’ footsteps on a return India to track down his father’s long forgotten friends…
When I was younger my father would write out my name in Hindi Sanskrit on scraps of paper. I thought it was some magical language from a fantasyland like Narnia or Lilliput and Blefuscu.
When I was older I would sit with him and my mother in front of the TV and listen to him exclaim at Michael Palin’s latest travels through the foothills of the Himalaya or the dusty roads of Rajasthan. “We have to go back,” he would declare with gusto, turning to my mother. “The smells,” he would say. “The colours,” my mother would respond. “We have to go back…”