Author: Devi Boerema

Let’s talk about the need for toilets in India.

Have you had the toilet conversation yet? If you’re traveling or living in India it’s bound to happen. Here you’re totally allowed to talk about what goes on in the loo. Everyone feels the need at some point. How does that water spray thingy on the side work? Is it really better to squat than to sit down? No toilet paper, really? The Indian loo raises a lot of questions for foreigners, but since a few years toilets have become a topic for Indians too. Or rather, not having a toilet has finally become a topic. Over 600 million Indians are forced to defecate out in the open, because they don’t have a toilet in their house. Public toilets are few and the ones that are there are often poorly maintained. Slum dwellers prefer to find a spot in the bushes or along side the railway tracks. Recently I was invited to spend a day with Dr. Pathak of the Sulabh Foundation. His foundation has been the leading force, for many years, behind bringing toilets …

Love and sex in Khajuraho

  Drawn by the promise of explicit sex scenes carved from sand stone, millions of tourists come to Khajuraho every year. The temples of Khajaraho weren’t discovered until the British ruled the country and an English man was sent out to map India’s most central state; Madhya Pradesh. Thanks to T S Burt’s discovery in 1838, shopkeepers, restaurant owners and rickshaw drivers today can make a living from the hordes of tourists that come to this otherwise sleepy town. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for this proper English gentleman to uncover the carvings from thick jungle branches. Did they make him blush? For even the most liberal thinkers some scenes are quite shocking. Even the little book that I picked up for 60 rupees at the entree seems to struggle with promoting the monument. Out of all the pictures of the temple in the book, not one of them shows a couple having sex. Though there are many on the temples and all the tourist try their best to located …

Udaipur’s cenotaphs remember lost loved ones and cruel traditions

A Cenotaph is structure that is build to remember someone after they die. It doesn’t actually hold a person’s remains. It’s meant as a beautiful memorial. I didn’t know this before I visited the Cenotaph site in Ahar located less than three kilometres away from Udaipur’s city centre. Hardly 15 minutes if you take a rickshaw from the City Palace, you’ll find this amazing place filled with white marble structures of different sizes and designs. When a member of the Maharaja’s family dies they are cremated here. Since five-generation Mr. Ravi Rathore’s family has had the honour to prepare the cremation of the royals of the Mewar Kingdom. Today Ravi is the site’s caretaker and incidental guide if you catch him at the right time. After wondering around with my camera for about an hour I was lucky enough to run into Ravi. His stories made these old structures and the people they commemorate come to life for me. When the Maharaja -Udaipur still has a royal family- or one of his family members dies …

Sheroes Cafe in Agra – a place for survivors instead of victims

  In a previous post I’ve talked about the amazing Nur Jahan being the real queen of Agra. Visiting her father’s tomb is something you should definitely do when you’re in the city. But Agra recently got another reason you should hang around a little longer. While you’re busy sightseeing, make some time to have lunch at Sheroes Café. When I was there around the beginning of December Sheroes Café was just about to officially open it’s doors. As a ‘soft launch’ the café had been open for about a month already to see if the concept would have potential for success. The food isn’t the main reason why you want to make a stop here. The Sheroes café is set up by an organisation called Stop Acid Attacks Now and is run by female survivors of acid attacks. In India about four women are attacked every week with a product that burns through the skin within seconds. Leaving them scared for life, if they survive the attack at all. SAAN expects that the real …

The real queen of Agra

It’s a little chilly up on the roof, but I’m still hopeful that the sun will soon come up soon to warm me and light up the mesmerizing sight in front of me. Unfortunately it’s a typical December morning in Agra. The air is filled with a mixture of pollution and dense fog. I’m still cold. Even after I waited for about an hour, the reason I’m out on the roof before sunset, the Taj Mahal, doesn’t bath in light as I expected it would.

About me

Hey there, welcome to my website. I’m glad you found me.. Currently I’m traveling through India looking for interesting women’s stories. The amazing women I meet and their stories get featured on my blog. xo Devi

A homestay that will steal your heart

It’s 8.30 pm. I’m tired after a long day of work running around Bhopal. All I want to do is sit down for a nice warm meal before going to bed. I’m just praying the lady of the home wasn’t too enthusiastic with spices tonight. My stomach would keep me up all night, if she did. When I look up from the dinning table I see two steaming hot dishes being brought in. They look familiar. I recognise the thick potato mash on top of a mix of vegetables. It looks like what me mum would cook. I’m getting a Dutch stew served at this kitchen table in India. This morning when we talked about Dutch cuisine – which made me blush from embarrassment – she took notes and this afternoon prepared some of my favourite dishes from home. Now that’s something you won’t even find in a five star hotel. Homestay – the word alone seems to go against everything you want to do when you backpack. You’ve packed up a minimal amount of …

Bhopal beyond the disaster a developing tourist destination

Before coming to Bhopal I couldn’t think of a good reason for a tourist to put this destination on the list. It’s the city of lakes yes, but these two man-made ‘pools’ are hardly natural wonders to make a detour for. But after having spent two weeks there to cover the 30-year anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, I find myself seriously considering going back in the near future. Just to be a tourist this time and not work. For most people Bhopal will always be connected to the gas disaster of December 3th 1984. It’s true that the disaster has left deep marks on the city and continuously effects the people that live there. If you do decided to visit the city, I would say you owe it to the victims to show interest in this side of its history too. Bhopal gas disaster museum. Getting a look into what really happened that night and the many years that followed has become easier since a few days. The Bhopal Holocaust museum was opened on the …

Long layover? Take a Free tour of Istanbul with Turkish Airlines

Let’s start off by saying that I totally understand that this tour is made available to pimp up your experience of flying with Turkish Airlines. I’m also fully aware of the fact that it’s a teaser trip to get you to come back to Istanbul using for mentioned airline company again. And yes, I don’t know how they do it because it was the cheapest ticket I could get, although free you probably pay for the tour anyway.

The women-only travel industry works for India, but lets not copy it

New York is getting its first women-only taxi service this week. Female customers can now use an app to hire a taxi driven by a female. In New York City the taxis are called SheRides in other cities they use the name SheTaxi. Their drivers will have – very original – pink pashminas. In India we’re familiar with the women-only travel concept. We have female only taxis, separate ladies compartments on trains and the metro. On government busses the first rows of seats are reserved for women. For me it works well, I find traveling this way comfortable. Because we have more men out on the streets in India the general sections on the trains are extremely over crowed almost every hour of the day. For me choosing to ride in the women’s compartment isn’t always about being scared to get groped by a guy, but more about making sure that I get a seat. But I often wonder if always traveling in women’s compartments has made me more apprehensive of interacting with men when …