Travel trivia : From Gangaikondacholapuram to the Mekong; the incredible stories behind place names.

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by Ayan Ghosh on Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Session type

Technical level


“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind." - David W. Orr


The world is full of places. Some sound familiar, some unfamiliar and some downright weird. Some are long, some are short and some are tongue-twisters. Some are named after people, some after gods, some after demons, some after flora, some after fauna, some after colors, some after numbers and some even after human body parts! Many place names travel to foreign lands and end up far away from their source of origin, many place names come from a foreign language and sometimes they are even downright invented! Travel trivia will look at how to make travelling a rivetting experience if you know how to connect unrelated dots into a familiar pattern. It will unravel the fascinating world of etymologies behind words and place names, because travelling is ultimately an experience about telling stories about unknown lands.


A love for travel and empathy with the world around.

Speaker bio

Educationally, I am a post-graduate in New Media from NID, Ahmedabad. Professionally, I am a travel photographer working with Getty Images. I am also an active travel writer and researcher and my articles have been featured in Travel Plus, National Geographic Traveller, Time Out Explorer, Discover India, Terrascapes, Marg, Better Photography, Jetwings, Femina, The Oberoi Magazine and The Leela Magazine amongst other publications. I have been a visiting faculty on Visual Culture at Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology, NIFT and NID. The fact that I have been directly involved with all things related to travel has given me a bagful of stories to share, which I have collected from around the country.