To banish the onset of winter blues, the Globe Guides team go in search of inspirational sights, spiritual celebrations and animal antics taking place across the world in November.
The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes Night, named after one of the Catholic conspirators who tried to blow up the King and Houses of Parliament in the sixteenth century, and is one of England’s biggest festivals. Justine Shapiro finds herself in mortal danger at the Burning Barrels festival in the town of Ottery St. Mary where the locals have their own unique take on the celebrations: char barrel throwing. In this bizarre display of heroic stupidity, men (and women too!) run around the town with burning barrels on their backs and thousands of onlookers dodge the flames.
Meanwhile, Ian Wright comes up against another fierce sight at the Surin Elephant Roundup in the northeast of Thailand when he joins a tug of war between one elephant and a hundred men. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see more elephants in one place than at this celebration of their strength.
There’s no better month to visit the sacred Rajasthani town of Pushkar as in November it hosts not one but two major events. Megan McCormick joins the throngs as they gather for the annual Pushka Puja at the town’s captivating lake, one of Hinduism’s most sacred sites, where she has her year’s sins washed away. She then heads into the desert for the Camel Fair where people come from all over India to parade, race and barter their animals and gets stuck into the complicated buying process.
After sweltering in the dry desert heat, the team head south in search of serene beach bumming. Justine Shapiro bypasses the established capital of hippydom, Goa, and sets down at Varkala on the eastern coast of the state of Kerala for seclusion and a great beachside massage. Megan McCormick finds one of the world’s best tropical beaches, Unamatuna, nestled next to a fishing village on the south coast of Sri Lanka, while Aragum Bay is perfect for surfing.
Ian Wright heads north to Nepal for trek in the world famous Himalayas. Not only is it a great way to see some magnificent scenery but you get a dose of Nepalese culture on your way up – Ian receives a blessing from the spiritual leader of Tembokshe, a Buddhist temple way up from civilisation and makes an offering to the Hindu gods when he finally reaches 13000ft and a place affording him a view of grande dame of mountains, Mount Everest.
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