I hesitated long before I could take on the project of creating content on Ethiopia. The ancient nation from the horn of Africa, landlocked and defying the European colonists since eternity, remained shrouded in an obscure mist. Ethiopia is beautiful and then beautiful is an understatement. Her arid highlands of the north embraces lush green with the onset of rains. The south is called home by the Omo river. Her fertile delta has housed ancient human settlements, some of them dating back to 5000 years. The tribesmen held onto ancient art of living a life, symbiotic with nature.

We spent a couple of weeks in Ethiopia, exploring the famed northern circuit and I tried to soak in the gorgeous vastness as much as I could. But my heart longs for more!

As I created this blogpost, I realize how much I was in awe and reverence for this beautiful country. Beyond the usual stereotypes of African national parks, Ethiopia is dotted with ancient Orthodox churches, a salient part of dried up Red Sea (which receded but left a number of warm volcanos as a sign of nature’s marvel), and the sprawling capital of Addis Ababa, the quintessential economic heart center of emerging continent of Africa!

traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog: Sunday Mass at Gondar Church
A child looks on at a Sunday Mass in Gondar, Ethiopia

Sunday mass in Ethiopia is an experience to cherish. the air resonates with the prayer bills ringing from far off churches, mostly tucked inside the towering hillocks. Devotees visit the church, offer prayer in a group and then indulges in social exchanges. A small market is set up in front of the church.

traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog: taking photographs of the locals of Ethiopia
With a group of Ethiopian women, whom may I take the honor of calling Habesha! They were in awe of my saree as much as I was in awe of their Sheba dress!

It was an absolute honour to stand amidst the beautiful group of Habesha while visiting Gondar. As much as they appreciated my Mysuru silk Saree, I was in awe with their white dress!

traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog: Rooftop of Church Debra Selassie
The roof of an ancient church, Debre Birhan Selassie. Note the Afro hair on the cherubs, hand-painted some thousand years back!

All throughout Ethiopia, I found Biblical characters had seamlessly blended with the local culture. The Afro hair is a huge thing!

traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog: Lake tana from Flight
Lake Tana. Source of the Blue Nile. Endless as you witness! The surrounding of Lake Tana is lush green, thanks to water of the lake which is used for irrigation. That is a sharp contrast to the arid landscape of the rest of the northern part of Ethiopia!

Did you know, Lake Tana is now a political tool in the Horn of Africa region, thanks to the sheer volume of water that feeds into river Nile and rears millions of people. That includes Egypt as well!

Also read: Two weeks backpacking travel guide in Turkey!

traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog: Sunday football in Gondar
Early morning Sunday mass in Ethiopia is followed by mirthful football match! It did not change across other parts of Africa, say Kenya or Zanzibar!
traveling in Ethiopia Photo blog:  Gondar castle
The magnificent castle of Gondar, Ethiopia! A UNESCO heritage site.

Despite being super close to Europe as a region, Ethiopia was never really occupied by any colonial force. The people are fiercely brave, indigenous and freedom is much endeared in the country. However, the north of Ethiopia did witness a bit of Italian influence as Italy came as close as Eretria in the region. The scramble of Africa followed after the first world war and many regions fell at that time. Ethiopia too had to bear the burn of it.

Part of the elaborate coffee ceremony of Ethiopia! The incense. The aroma! Smoldering and hypnotizing!

Did you know, Ethiopia is also known as the land of Coffee! This is where coffee was first accidently discovered by a shepherd. The rest is history!

Also read: Complete Guide to Offbeat things to do in Goa!

The Ethiopian Coffee! The elixir of Africa!
My first introduction with a full plate of Enjera, the numero uno staple of the horn of Africa!

If you are a vegan, you are likely to be a great fond of Ethiopian food. Twice a week Ethiopians eat fasting food, which is essentially devoid of animal proteins, including milk or milk products.

Not arguing with the aspect of cultural appropriation, I think this head cover is necessary to safeguard your skin from the burning sun of Ethiopia! Also a headcover makes it easy to enter most of the places of religious importance, and there are many in the northern circuit of Ethiopia!
I had to be this dramatic when the Sun bid adieu to the Earthly realm! Because, Bollywood. Because, Saree!
By the bank of a Sulphur lake, Dallol. The remains of a volcano that once shook the Earth at the bed of Red Sea!

The Danakil depression will rank very high on my travel experience around the world. If you have only a week for Ethiopia, I would definitely recommend an adventure trip to Danakil. However, this is a true adventure and only suitable for the ones without a faint heart!

A camel skull marks the salt mining territory of Danakil depression Ethiopia.
Men and their camel caravan work hard to extract salt and bring them to the market for trading! They earn somewhat USD 40 a week for the task. It is considered decent income in the context f Ethiopia, as the guide told us!
The African wilderness. Can not be compared with anywhere else!
Sunrise shot taken at the Erta Ale Volcano!
Overlooking the sleeping volcano crater of Erta Ale!

the highlands of Northern Ethiopia. Manual labor and hard work are essential to survive in the landmass.

The northern Ethiopian highlands pave way for rustic locals. Life is hard here, for both men and animals!

With Lucy, also known to be the grandmother of mankind! The first hominid who could stand on two feet. Her fossil was retrieved from afar region, a part of the Rift Valley of Africa.
The moon god. Once worshipped in the Sahara region before the advent of Abrahamic religions.

While traveling in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, I had seen a similar statue.

Basking in the African Sunrays. Small pleasures of life!

I have forever been in love with sunsets, specially with the breathtaking sunsets of Africa!

Bete Giyorgis, the Church of Saint George: the finest of all the rock hewn monolithic churches of Lalibela, one of the earliest UNESCO Heritage sites of the world!
Lalibela boasts of 11 such Rock hewn churches made of volcanic pink soil and dating back to thousands of years. Lalibela was intended to be the new Jerusalem of the world!
The impeccable paintings that adorn the walls of the Lalibela Churches.
You can not help just pose once against this stunning backdrop
Lalibela. the best kept secret of Ethiopia!
The obscure northern highlands of Ethiopia and sparse water body. It is where the remnant of Arabian deserts cedes and the beginning of Nile’s journey takes place.
Hand painted murals on the Old Christian churches of Ethiopia. You will be stunned to know many of these mural dates back to thousands of years! All these pictures tell intriguing stories of old Orthodox Christian society, not known to many from the world outside!
Aah, the Nile Fish Cutlet. I survived mostly on these while traveling in Ethiopia! Reminded me fondly of the Cabin restaurants of Kolkata. Let me warn you, one portion of this would suffice at least a couple of eaters.
The fast changing face of Addis Ababa, arguably Africa’s economic pulse center. A subway train leaves the station as onlookers cross the road.

I think it was an absolute pity I could not ride the metro rail in Addis Ababa. the capital city of Ethiopia is emerging as the economic superpower in Africa and there are new developments everyday! At the dawn, the city’s new sky scrapers shine in the golden glory of a shining sun, testifying to the new feathers in its crown. The metro rail is no exception!

Local board game of Ethiopia. A lot like India’s Ludo. Makes for a great souvenir to be brought back home from Ethiopia!

I will take a little while to post about my travel experiences from Ethiopia. It is just that I want to ensure I know enough, and I have satiated my eager mind with enough information about Ethiopia, her politics, culture, religion. I loved traveling in Ethiopia. But saying I loved Ethiopia is not enough, never enough for a travel blog. I have to elaborate and I would do so, happily, once I have clarified all my questions on Ethiopia! All I ask is some gift of time so that I prepare myself to do justice for this beautiful nation!

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