Month: April 2012

La Gran Chiquitania

April 18, 2012 Condé Nast Traveller India

“On All Souls Day, the butterflies arrive,” Mauricio told me, clutching his violin and bow, “and the spiders cross the road.”

We were in the tiny village of Santa Ana de Velasco, a remote settlement on the Jesuit Mission Circuit of the Gran Chiquitania in the lowlands of southeastern Bolivia. We had just left mass at the village’s 18th-century church, the last and smallest of the UNESCO-protected Jesuit missions built in the region. Outside, the expansive plaza was empty save a few boys roughhousing in the pavilion at its centre. (more…)

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And God Made Nihari

April 7, 2012 – Open Magazine

The lanes of the Nizamuddin basti unspool around the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, dotted with stalls selling garlands of roses and copies of the Quran, travel agents advertising journeys to Mecca, and many, many butchers. Beef hangs red and white from their doorjambs, and dogs gnaw at discarded marrowbones. It is a declaration of difference from the wealthy, Hindu neighbourhoods adjacent, the Biblical lamb’s blood on the lintel. (more…)

Easter in Tañarandy

April 3, 2012 – Condé Nast Traveller India

It’s ironic that the site of Paraguay’s largest Easter celebration, the village of Tañarandy, is named for the inconvertible tribes that once lived there. In the heart of the Misiones district of southwestern Paraguay, Tañarandy translates from Guaraní – the only indigenous tongue in South America to be recognized as an official state language – as la tierra de los irreductibles, or “the land of the irreducibles,” in reference to the 18th century Jesuit missions known as reducciones. Some interpret it as “the land of the heretics,” others as “the land of the demons.” (more…)