Viki Pandit
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Some of my awe-inspiring experiences as I wander about the unique & beautiful Earth.

The Stone Sculptures of Veerabhadra Temple

Today we ride to a 16th century temple in Lepakshi. Hidden away in the suburbs of Andra Pradesh, this small town was sufficiently influenced by the stone sculptures of Vijayanagar Empire and includes a huge monolithic bull that sits staring at the Temple.

Bon Odori at Kobe Harbour

Mani & I took the train to Kobe to check out the stunning illuminated harbor but we were sucked into the Bon Odori festivities happening on the same day. Food and beer stalls were everywhere. Surrounded by a sea of Kimono clad couples, on a small wooden stage, a group of lovely ladies were dancing to traditional music. It was great fun watching this 500-year-old tradition that is celebrated yearly to honor the spirits of their ancestors.

The cute dolls of Tougyoku Doll Museum

We landed in Iwatsuki today to see the amazing Togyoku dolls. The collection at Tougyoku Dolls Museum is diverse and the exhibits include imperial court dolls and hina dolls among others. The town of Iwatsuki is famous for its cute dolls and is said to have over 300 doll-makers. They’ve been making dolls here since the 1700s when it was discovered that the Paulownia trees here are excellent for woodcarving. Soon the town became a center for the production of hina dolls, and the tradition continues to this day.

Warrior dolls of Aomori Nebuta Museum

The Nebuta summer festival is a spectacular event held in Aomori Prefecture of Japan, where massive paper lantern floats based on kabuki or mythical stories, flanked by large taiko drums, musicians and dancers parade through the city. For those like me who missed the festival, the floats are kept back at the Museum to enjoy throughout the year.

Inakadate Tanbo Art

We took the train to Inakadate to witness the Tambo Art. Tambo Art is an art form originating in Japan where people plant rice of various types and colors to create a giant picture in a paddy field. The massive pictures are elaborately designed using perspective drawing methods to make them look their best when seen from a nearby observation platform.

The ruins of Sannai-Maruyama

We step back in time to the Jomon period at the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins. The ruins in the southwest of Aomori is the largest ruins of a Jomon-period village in Japan. Most of the excavated items have been reburied for preservation, but a few excavation sites and artifacts are on display along with reconstructed dwellings, giving us a sense of the daily life of ancient times.

The Awa Odori Musical

This weekend I was lucky to witness the Awa Odori, a traditional Bon dance. It originated in Tokushima Prefecture and is danced to the lively call of “Yatto San, Yatto, Yatto. The dance has a history of about 400 years, and is one of the largest festivals in Japan.

The ancient Yoshinogari village

Today we went to explore the Yoshinogari ruins, that spreads throughout the Kanzaki area of Saga Prefecture. It is one of the largest historical site in Japan, reminiscent of Yamatai Kingdom from the Yayoi Era between 300 BC to 300 AD. The moated village marks the first shift from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent settlements.

Ainu Kotan at Lake Akan

Ainu Kotan is a small Ainu village near Lake Akan. The village comprising some 40 Ainu households live here in scattered huts in an attempt to preserve the Ainu culture. The Ainu are greatly skilled in wood works and various shops can be found in the village selling wood carvings and embroidery.

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