Taylor’s travels

KAPAA — Capturing her fascinating travel adventures through India and Sri Lanka, world traveler and Kauai resident Gabriela Taylor will share her two latest travel movies at the Kapaa library Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Gabriela began her two-month journey in February 2015 by walking 10 days and 100 miles through Kerala, India’s southern most state, on a pilgrimage called the Walk of Hope. She joined 150 Indians dedicated to spreading interfaith harmony, women empowerment and earth sustainability, among other lofty goals.

Traveling by train to Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley — a city where IT high rises and sleek department stores are in stark contrast to her previous impressions of India — Taylor began to understand what diversity and tradition mean in India. India has managed to retain much of its original culture, from food to ancient languages, religions, dress and customs, despite the intensity of 21st century technology.

One example of such diversity in a country of more than a billion people is Rajasthan, a desert state punctuated by vermilion saris, intriguing music, camels, hill-top forts and lavish castles. In the city of Jaipur, Gabriela experienced the Gangaur festival followed by the Mewar festival in Udaipur, both taking Hindu devotion to another level in a riot of color with processions, ceremony and dance.

Gabriela returned in February of this year to once again join the Walk of Hope. After walking 97 miles, she left India for Sri Lanka, a small island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South India, where tons of elephants and former British tea plantations still thrive.

Traveling on vintage British trains, she discovered a country that reveres nature and is graced with national parks and wilderness preserves that allow exotic birds and animals thrive in the wild.

Flying to Kerala, India, to stay in a peaceful village at the beach, she received daily Ayurvedic healing treatments by day, and experienced ancient Hindu trance ceremonies by night. Not a performance, villagers attend “Theyam” for their own devotion.

There, drums, torches, processions and trance dances with elaborate costumes create a mesmerizing experience that Taylor felt privileged to observe. “That experience was just one more example of how welcomed I felt in India, where the kindness of people prevailed throughout my entire journey,” Taylor said.


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