Down the Rabbit Hole: How Europe’s mountain communities celebrate Winter solstice.

Image shot by Charles Freger for his book Wilder Mann. Picture courtesy: Wired Magazine.

Image shot by Charles Fréger for his book Wilder Mann. Picture courtesy: Wired Magazine.

Every year, as winter breaks its stronghold and retreats to make way for Spring, the mountain communities of Europe gear up to celebrate the occasion by shedding their human form and dressing up as animals/birds.

French photographer Charles Fréger travelled across 19 European countries and over 50 villages to document this fascinating culture and compiled it in his book titled Wilder Mann. Just reading the article makes me want to go to the places and be a part of the celebrations – imagine the centuries-old stories that one could find among these people!

This adventure comes via the Wired Magazine. Read the full article here: http://wrd.cm/1hkuy7O

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What is Down the Rabbit Hole?

Remember Alice? And how she went slip-sliding down an innocent-looking burrow? And how she emerged into this fantastic, unbelievable world on the other side – one she never thought existed? Well, starting this month, Potli Baba will go down a special rabbit hole from time to time and stumble upon strange, fascinating worlds that have been recorded for posterity by those brave enough to venture into them. Simply put, Potli Baba is going to curate interesting and marvellous articles, stories and photo essays from the Internet and bring them to you as a series (complete with gift-wrap and ribbon) on the blog. Just for your reading pleasure.

Meet the traveller: Prarthana Krishnamurthy

*Meet the Traveller is a new series on Potli Baba, of conversations with people who have been inspired by travel.*

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Prarthana Krishnamurthy discovered photography in the days following her move away from practicing law. I’m not even half the traveller she is. Her face lit up with every little anecdote and journey she recounted for me, turning me into a six-year old who hung on to her words with every ounce of interest I possessed. Her passion shines through, and talking to her has given me new perspectives on travel and photography. She’s holding her first photography exhibition at Atta Galatta in Koramangala, Bangalore from December 9-16. If you’re in the city, you must visit her exhibition to know what I’m talking about.

Prarthana

Describe yourself in one word. Simple.

Where do you live? Currently, Singapore.

Where have you travelled to till date? I’ve covered most of Europe, Asia and India, and a bit of the U.S.

Travel to you is: Everything. I think places talk to you.

Five things your travel bag will always have: My camera, iPad, hard disk, phone… I always travel with my gizmos.

Wanderer or tourist? Wanderer.

Mountains, beaches, deserts, jungles, nature or adventure sports? All of them!

Plan your own travel or get someone to do it for you? I plan my own travel.

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I took this picture mid-conversation with Prarthana, as she was talking about her trek to Everest Base Camp early this year and how it had changed her.

What’s your favourite journey to date? Your travel memory? After my tenth standard, I travelled across Karnataka with my dad. We were complete wanderers over those 15 days.

My travel memory is arriving back at Lukla, Nepal to Nak cheese pizza at a fairly questionable Starbucks – it meant that I had made it back alive from Everest Base Camp!

If you were a city/town/country/place, which would you be and why? Mumbai. Everything changes and yet, when you stay there, you know that nothing does.

How has travel inspired you? It overwhelms me. I can’t stop travelling. I remember the first view I had of the Himalayas. Nothing can come close to that experience. You realise how small and insignificant, how much of a zero you really are. It was a life-altering experience for me – I came back humbled, calmer, more accepting of things…

Complete this sentence: If the world could fit into your palm, you would… Stay that way forever, holding it.

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This is one of the many photographs from Prarthana’s exhibition. It was love at first sight for me.