There are many beautiful places around the world that we all dream of escaping to, but there’s very few where you can truly hide from ‘real-life’ and immerse yourself completely in another world. It’s time for a dose of healthy escapism and this week I’m going give you a snapshot of life in Arunachal Pradesh.
Tucked away in the northeast of India and bordered by Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh is so hidden, so isolated and so little talked about that when I visited with my boyfriend a year ago, our western faces made us instant celebrities. Despite it’s border location and history of skirmishes, this place feels like a sanctuary of peace and calm, utterly tranquil and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s also the antithesis of how you imagine India. Here the people look distinctly Tibetan and the food is less curry, more dim sum and noodles.
With no internet, and no technology to distract us, we spent our days trekking through the mountains, getting lost in its glorious forests and visiting local villages dotted with houses reminiscent of alpine chalets.
Here, almost all vegetables are grown locally and herbs and spices are plucked and hand-dried. We had the most delicious bowls of vegetable noodles and stuffed dim sum that were wonderfully warming in the chilly evenings.
Religion is an incredibly important part of life in the region, and you will often see delicately swaying prayer flags strung across mountain passes. We stayed a few nights in a Buddhist monastery that had the most gorgeous golden prayer wheels lining its entrance.
Of course, no trip to India would be complete without a visit to the white marbled magnificence of the Taj Mahal (‘Crown of Palaces’), and while we’re all familiar with this wondrous building, I wanted to share a couple of my own photos that really highlight the incredible intricacy and grandeur of the building.
The first is an example of the Islamic calligraphy that’s inscribed in black marble down the sides of the main mausoleum. It cites verses from the Quran relating to judgment and the paradise that awaits believers.
The second is the hanging lantern below, that swings from the roof of the main entrance. It reminds me so much of the many rustic style lights we see everywhere today, yet this is the real-deal, true Indian design, and just dripping in remarkable history. I adore the swirling conical shape that oozes with the delicate beauty of sea-shells.
And of course, no adventure is complete without picking up a memorable treasure for your home. After all, your home should be filled to the brim with objects that tell a story and have a history, and what better way than collecting gems from your travels? For our nugget of Indian design, we went for a beautiful copper and turquoise incense burner that we use whenever we want to send our minds to faraway shores. So use these short, dark days of January to get planning your next escape!