The Best Travel Reads of 2016

Our favourite stories from the past year.

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Madurai’s towering temples are feats of the imagination, filled with deities and demons draped in jewellery, armed with weapons, and often, bearing more limbs than usual. Photo: Ayan Ghosh

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Hey Universe, is This My Epiphany?

We bring back many things from our travels: tickets, maps, snow globes, and more memories than our brains can hold. They’re all precious, but some of these recollections stand out more than others. Why is that? More here.

Guts and Glory: On a Chettinad Food Pilgrimage in South India

“There are two reasons people visit Madurai: Meenakshi and mutton.” One traveller plunges headlong into a food pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu’s famous Chettinad region, a rich feast for all the senses. More here.

Time-Travelling Through the Invisible Cities of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is like a matryoshka doll. There are cities within cities and some of these are real while some exist only in stories. And sometimes, when the line between them blurs, everything from a miracle to an apocalypse seems possible. A traveller enters a time portal to these invisible cities. More here.

Table for Two: How Food Remedied a Stormy Father-Daughter Holiday in Pondicherry

In Pondicherry, food helps a traveller come to terms with the pouring, spoilsport rain. Plus, the ultimate food guide to where to eat in the French-Tamil town. More here.

Shaolin Summer: Finding Redemption in a Chinese School for Warriors

What happens when a 52-year-old mother and her teenage daughter sign up for a summer of kung fu. More here.

The Stamp-Collector’s Journal

A traveller embarks on a long-held dream: a trip through Bulgaria, marked by the country’s postage stamps that he’s saved since childhood. More here.

Encountering the Elements in Azerbaijan, the Land of Sacred Fires

It’s always heart-warming to find a piece of home when travelling, even more so when it happens in the most unlikely places, as one traveller experienced in distant Azerbaijan. More here.

Dancing to a Forgotten Tune at the Khajuraho Dance Festival

Among a crowd of hundreds at the Khajuraho Dance Festival, the sound of ghunghroos makes the past come alive. More here.

The Road to Wellville: Retracing a Cross-Country Journey After 77 Years

The quintessential American vacation is still a road trip. Follow a father and son as they retrace a 77-year-old journey with a grandmother’s journal, a dad’s memories, and a stuffed bunny. More here.

Ticking Japan Off the Bucket List, One Meal at a Time

Japan’s culinary pleasures are as much about the food as the atmosphere. In Tokyo, “Office goers claimed the booths discreetly tucked away at the back, chasing their coffees with flaky croissants filled with sesame paste. Late into the night, when the last of the university students were drunkenly staggering home, Cafe Cotton Club would still be dishing out hot, thin-crust pizzas, served unfailingly with smiles.” More here.

Apples and Black Bears: Roadtripping Through Himachal With the Kids

A seasoned roadtripper sees his beloved Himalayas in a whole new light when he travels through the mountains with his young niece and nephew. More here.

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