I love mountains. I often find my thoughts drifting to mountain ranges I have visited in the past, as well as peaks I've never seen in real life - only ooooogled at in photographs. I live in middle Tennessee where the closest mountains are the Smokys about four hours to the east (and the Rocky Mountains are about 18 hours to the west). So, I'm going to officially dedicate every Monday to the majesty of the mountains. In this little blog space of mine I'm going to showcase some of the mountainscapes I have been so lucky to see in my life and the setting in which I came across them. Hope you love mountains as much as I do! 

Mountain Crush Monday, The Himalayas

You might be thinking, "Those can't be the Himalayas. Where's the snow? I thought the Himalayas were much bigger than those green hills?"

What you see here are some of the sweetest mountains I've ever been in. It was Monday March 17th when I stood in the lower bazaar of Mussoorie looking down over Dehradun. If that date sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's because that was the day Holi was celebrated in India last year. Hundreds of tourists had traveled up to Mussoorie from the plains to celebrate the colorful holiday. Bright powders were thrown throughout the streets and the city was alive with excitement. Street food and candies were being consumed on every corner and you hardly met anyone who didn't greet you, "happy holi!" The mountain dwellers and tourists were all anxious to be rid of the cold winter months with the promise of spring.

I had never traveled as far down into the bazaar as I did on that day, and the view from where I stood was well worth the hike back to the top. I was amazed at how far I could see, even though it was still quite hazy on that day (the photo you see is unedited). I will always be fond of this little space on God's creation. If you've ever been there you surely know how special it is.

Mussoorie is the ultimate melting pot of culture. It was a hill station built by the British during their rule in India, there are still antiques previously owned by British families that are sold in the bazaar today. Apart from that, you have the Indian nationals (of course), the Nepali, the Tibetan, and a half dozen other backgrounds in the mix. The food being cooked, the clothes worn, and the languages being spoken throughout the mountainside town will keep you in awe. There is opportunity to learn something new every day. And views like this one here, I mean come on, can there be a more special place?



Today India celebrated Holi, the festival of color that welcomes in springtime. Most businesses close for the holiday, leaving the streets enclosed like a winding battlefield of color. Children prowl on passerby with water guns while unsuspecting folks tarry down the lanes munching on popcorn. Here's a bit of what Holi looked like in Mussoorie this year:

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Happy Holi!

Today, March 27th, is the day where people around the world celebrate HOLI.  It's a festival of COLOR welcoming the spring season and the ripe opportunities and new beginnings that accompany it.  Last year, we celebrated HOLI on our campus to raise funds for a couple teams doing work in India.  Here's a video by the awesome photographer/videographer Jake Morgan. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/47564466]

Here are a few of my favorite moments I captured from the event:

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Some images from HOLI festivals captured by my favorite photographer Steve McCurry:

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Here's an interesting article in The New York Times by Vishnu Varma about the colony of widows in northern India's Uttar Pradesh and how they are breaking conventions by playing Holi.

Happy HOLI!