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Postcards from our November 2018 issue

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Luang Prabang, Laos: Watching monks celebrate Khao Phansa is truly magical. The festival marks the end of the monsoon season, which lasts for three months. During this period, monks are not permitted to travel and must focus entirely on meditation. Often referred to as “Buddhist Lent” or the “Rains Retreat”, this tradition corresponds with a three-month lunar cycle, when the region experiences heavy rains and farmers sow their crops. During this period, locals tend to follow a more ascetic lifestyle by giving up meat, tobacco and alcohol. They also spend more time doing charity work and visit local temples to meditate.
Photographer: Reader Sirsendu Gayen

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COLOUR OF SILENCE Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh: This photo was taken in Lucknow, at the front gate of the Chhota Imambara. I was staying in India for a month, working for Pollinate Energy, a social enterprise whose aim is to bring life-changing products to India’s most vulnerable. We visited the monument on a weekday, which is why the scene is so quiet and still.
Photographer: Reader Adam Corrie
UP IN FLAMES Bali, Indonesia: The island of Bali is dotted with seaside temples, many of which are renowned for their “Kecak” dances. I took this photo at the Uluwatu temple in South Bali. While I had read about the influence of Indian culture here (Indonesia itself translates to “Islands of India”), I was intrigued to see the Kecak rendition of the Ramayana. The Indian epics are an important part of Balinese folklore and are extensively portrayed in local dances, masks and shadow puppets. This photo depicts Hanuman, the monkey god, setting Lanka on fire.
Photographer: Reader Ayan Adak