India is different

At this conclusion I arrived after churning the memories of my visit to India in 1988.  I had studied India and Hindi tradition; still, it was not much like I had imagined.

Sure, places were where they were supposed to be, but prices and timetables were not.  Pictures without the experience are only two-dimensional, and my western mind distorted the Indian stories.  Therefore, during my travels, I was often confronted and challenged by what I saw.

People of this culture of many thousands of years uninterrupted tradition have something, which is outside, if not beyond western understanding.  Is this the reason why spiritual people turn towards India and their Gurus?  I believed to be open-minded, where I had tripped confronted me with my borders.


Twelve years later, experiencing India again, I noticed that I had changed by far more than this old country.  Was this not to be expected?

In January and February 2000, as part of a team, I accompanied a group of design students from Australia on their travels through parts of India and Nepal.  We would visit places, which I had seen before; this would be my test, has my mind become more accepting?

The Indian Journey began on Thursday, 13 January 2000.   Go to that page to see a map of the trip from Mumbai to Delhi, through the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.  This page also includes a list and summaries of the published diary entries.

On Thursday, 10 February 2000, the Nepalese section started and finished on Thursday, 24 February.  Everything has been written (in the diary) but not transferred, yet.

front cover of my India and Nepal diary


This is my faithful notebook.  After every entry I returned it into its pouch; otherwise, it would have been much more dishevelled.   There is at least one story a day, many are accompanied by a sketch or two… and one day, they will be all published, here.  Once you start reading the stories, the beautiful names of the places mentioned in the titles will resonate even more.

Doodling the cover calligraphy happened over many moments of waiting.  Patience, real patience, is part of life, in India.


Below is a sample, what it looks inside, alas, not every page opening has a picture… it takes a long time for a Westerner to find an hour or two to sit down and draw.  With time, I got better at it (taking time), and somewhere I wrote a story about it.

page opening, 6th of February 2000 — showing the Jaisalmer Fort from North

The picture shows a view of Jaisalmer Fort seen from the cenotaph hill, north of Jaisalmer.  The story tells why Brahma has only one temple and hardly any devotees.  When you click on the photo, it will be displayed in real size.

Amadeus W. absorbing the Taj Mahal, 2000

I will include the drawings in the stories where they belong, which is not always where they ended up.  I preferred drawing on the right pages because at the start of the book they were the flat pages.

I did not take many photos.  The connection with people, the locals and their environment was more meaningful to me.  I felt that the camera in between separated me, the tourist from them.

Therefore, many photos I sourced from the internet.  If that is the case, I noted it in the caption of the image.

Drawing was different.  It connected me with people when their curiosity attracted them.  They would gather, talk with me and watch me draw.  But drawing takes time.  Soon I was showered with lively chatter of my fan club.  Occasionally, they would check my progress.  I have written about such events in my diary.


As you see, it took the stories over ten years to arrive here on my blog.  Why?  Just so many other things to do and typing has not been my forte, albeit, I am improving.

When they will all be published?  No idea, but I am sure, bribery, like receiving your favourable comments will surely work, try me.


Wolfgang Köhler

18 October 2015

Read the first Story?
Click here for Indian Journey Log

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