Our India magazine is now available through our online store (you can nab a copy here) and will be with stockists in the next few days (UK) and weeks (rest of the world we're afraid). In the mean time, here is a sneak peak of the new issue, featuring the Editor's Letter from Liz and the images of a few of our contributors. Embrace the wanderlust!
Creating these magazines is joyous, a chance to see the world in extraordinary detail and share the work of contributors driven by awe, curiosity and a need to create. The process is both inspiring and unpredictable, with each issue taking on a life of its own, but I can’t think of any as delightfully eccentric or lively as India.
Or as demanding for that matter - for how do you capture a country this diverse? I considered producing two magazines - North and South - or focusing on a single state, yet ultimately decided not to meddle with the Lodestars’ status quo. We would, as always, offer vignettes, snapshots of India’s attractions, culture and communities, its myriad of ever-shifting personalities. For even if our focus had been narrowed, you simply can’t do India’s immensity justice.
Understandably, selecting this issue’s featured locations proved challenging. Our best hope was to offer a geographical spread, a window into worlds which, whilst they might seem remote, are still kith and kin to Mother India. But I also made some personal choices. For me it was vital that Darjeeling be featured. The gateway to the Himalayas, this is an India far removed from the sun-baked Rajasthan I’d explored - a place where great snows fall and time seems to slow. My grandfather, Alan, spent his childhood in Darjeeling, on Nagri Farm, a working tea plantation to this day, where he remained until Partition, a time of heartbreak and violence seared into his memory yet rarely discussed. You can only imagine the horror and pain this period caused for Indians. Alan had grown up looking at the mountains, too young to be aware of the political and social ramifications of his family’s presence, yet absolutely alive to the magnificence of the world around him.
I wasn’t sure how appropriate it was to share this story, especially when on the ground, but what’s surprising about India is how open everyone is when it comes to discussing history and how willing people are to share their stories and listen to those of others.
This country is generous to travellers. It is bewitching, tumultuous, electrifying, maddening and addictive. You will adore or despair of it, whatever emotion it draws out guaranteed to be extreme. Travelling here you nd that life’s nuances, its highs and lows, are on full display. There will be moments when it all feels too much, when your mind yearns for calm, but then you’ll see something that takes your breath away. India will sweep you up, envelop you, and leave you enraptured. Then you depart and all those experiences seem like a distant dream, so at odds with the ordinariness of your everyday. People ask me what I thought of India and I have to take a moment to remind myself I was even there. And then it all comes flooding back.
Alive as it is, this issue is slightly different. We’ve published something particularly photo-heavy; a magazine that will take you on a journey you feel rather than understand - one I hope allows you to respond to its pages the way you would to scenes on the ground. You’ll find within images of Holi in Varanasi, a lesser-known Goa, reclaimed fortresses, architectural marvels, beaches by the Arabian Sea, cosmopolitan madness, rural artisans, temple-dotted mountains and wilderness.
I feel even now, trying to describe a magazine that describes an impossible country, I’m failing somewhat, because India is beyond words. It is changing, harrowing, rousing, radiant and unparalleled. It is all things at once - constantly, unendingly - and more than I could ever say.