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Amritsar: the jewel of the Punjab

Amritsar, capital of the Punjab region of India, is a city with a character all its own. Sitting close to the border with Pakistan since partition in the 1940s, it has a large Sikh population and is home to the greatest temple in the Sikh religion. I fell in love with the city, which is a little less crazy than some others in India, a little more ordered, at least by local standards.… Keep reading

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The Mourne Mountains: Northern Ireland’s beautiful southeast

If you are visiting Northern Ireland, you could do far worse than a day or two spent exploring the Mourne Mountains. Nestled in the far south of County Down, the stunning peaks (of which the highest is Slieve Donard at 850m, Northern Ireland’s highest point) rise out of the Irish Sea to provide breathtaking hiking and scenic drives across hillsides covered in moorland, farmland and pastures.… Keep reading

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Central Asia: rebuilding a heritage

I spent a couple of weeks this summer in Central Asia, visiting the Silk Road nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

These countries have had a chequered history. From a rich heritage as trading posts, and at the heart of Timur’s vast empire, all three nations have natural beauty but also magnificent historic cities, fortresses, mosques and madrassahs which play a substantial part in their heritage.… Keep reading

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