Everything is sacred in Rishikesh, India. For more than 2,000 years, people on the shores of the Ganges have been honoring Shiva, the Angry One. But it was not until the Beatles that Rishikesh brought world fame and with him came generations of hippies that still shape Rishikesh today.
In Shillong, far away in northeastern India, there is a special lottery. Tar is the name of the game that thousands have forfeited. Hidden behind the urban polo field, players crouch, chew their kwai, rinse their throat with cheap whiskey. With bow and arrow, this is about a lot of money and especially about the dreams of the last night.
In northeastern Turkey we reach Kars. The Pronvin town with its intricate history lies silted in a wintry melancholy. From here we explore the former metropolis Ani on the Armenian border. In the past, however, as important as Constantinople, she was not granted a century-long success story. Ani lies today in the rubble of herself.
Secluded in the middle of the eastern Khasiberge in the Indian Meghalaya, lies the tiny village Kongthong. It is the last bastion of an almost lost tradition. There are no names in Kongthong. The inhabitants call each other with whistles and songs that sound far beyond the surrounding fields. Pynshai grew up here and guides us through the village of his childhood.
In Rawalpindi we meet the mafia, celebrate with a corrupt senator, breathe the dirt of the street and are eventually arrested by the police and thrown out. Rawalpindi is an exciting piece of Pakistan that makes us shake our heads in disbelief.
It smells of spicy food, garbage and urine. Everywhere people are in colorful clothes, constantly waving his head with a smile. The noise pollution is extreme. Unceasily is honked and roared, temple music roars deafening even through the streets of the smallest village. At dawn, people in long rows on the beach shit into the sea. India is exhausting and inscrutable. It is exciting and sobering. Here are 23 curiosities from the distant subcontinent that you did not know before.
Ghom is a religious and arch-conservative city. Bookshops with theological writings are as common here as Starbucks stores in New York.
Ghom is the most conservative city of Iran. Here women wear only chador and even toddlers are shrouded in headscarves. Ruhollah Khomeini, the later leader of the Islamic revolution, studied here. Here we are a guest at Maryam. The young, lively woman lives with her family somewhere in the center of Ghom. For generations the strictly religious family has been linked to Islam. Maryam's grandfather, her father and many of her uncles studied theology and work as mullahs, Islamic religious scholars, in various institutions at home and abroad.
Shiraz is the cultural center of Iran and is considered a city of fine arts and beauty. Here we stroll through the historic Vakil Bazaar and marvel at the pink Nasir al-Molk Mosque. Here we drink wine with Hafez and Goethe and enjoy the green oases in the gardens of the city.
In an opium cloud we reach Shiraz, the city of fine arts. Ashkan and his friends are at home here. In their shared flat, the young men resist the repression of the outside world in just under 40m². Here is gekifft and Hochprozentiges tipped down the throat. Here are the thoughts free! - regardless of the will of the powerful.