This is the blog of journalist, Lonely Planet author and photographer Stuart Butler. It features news and travel updates from the regions in which Stuart works, including northeast Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan), Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

BBC Kumbh Mela Photo Story

My latest for the BBC, a photo essay on India's Kumbh Mela festival, has just been published. This is largely a different set of images from those I have had published elsewhere. Note that as usual with features for BBC Worldwide people based in the UK are likely to find the link blocked (for license reasons - sorry nothing can be done about that...). I'll try and work out a way of displaying the full slide show here.

Enjoy! And now it's back to planning my travels around the Basque country for a new Bradt Guide to the Basque Country due out early next year and planning a series of upcoming projects in South Sudan and East Africa later this year!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sri Lanka 2011/12

Tropical BeachTea bushesDance show Kandy Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 10Train ride -13Dance show Kandy Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 39Dambatenne tea factory
Mulkirigala Rock templewaterfalls Horton Plains National Park Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 4Gateway KataragamaTropical Beach 2Tea pickersGalle
Dance show Kandy Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 32View from Ella RockSign postTemple of the Tooth Kandy Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 9Bambarakanda waterfallsBuduruwagala Buddha statues/carvings
Dance show Kandy Sri Lanka photo S.Butler 44DagobaTrain ride -5Lawyer signs Kandyy Sri Lanka photo S.ButlerDoor, KataragamaTea plants

Sri Lanka 2011/12, a set on Flickr.

Ok I've (as usual) been really slow with this lot, but finally here are a selection of my images from my last Lonely Planet research trip to Sri Lanka. For this current edition I had the great pleasure of re-researching the south coast and west coast as with the previous edition, but I also got to cool off in the delightful hill country. I love doing the Sri Lanka book, it's one of those jobs that feels as much a holiday as a job - the people are warm and friendly, the curries the best in the world, the scenery beautiful, the beaches near perfect and so I could go on.... In fact the only negative I can ever really come up with is that I don't find it as photographically stimulating as its big brother to the north!

I'll be back in Sri Lanka later this year and am looking forward to a rice and curry already!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Wow! Glastonbury you don't have a patch on this! Finally made it to the Kumbh Mela. Gods, gurus, saddhus, holymen, boat, masses of pilgrims and noise - lots and lots of noise! Tomorrow millions and millions of pilgrims are expected to arrive!
Some photos of the first crazy evening!


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Kumbh Mela

First day in India and on the way to the Kumbh Mela; the worlds largest religious gathering. I flew from Delhi to Varanasi this morning. What a crazy city this is. There are thousands of pilgrims in town at the moment many of whom are on the way to Allahabad and the Kumbh Mela themselves. Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganges river here washes away sins and the riverside ghats were awash in sin releasing colour and noise (a LOT of noise). Not much of a day for photos (jet-lagged and getting things sorted out) but took a boat out onto the river at sunset and got a couple of pictures.
This one, of a couple setting up a campfire, was taken on the opposite side of river from town.