Browsing Tag: World

    Hobbyists in Zagreb build largest model railway in south-east Europe
    Articles, Blog

    Hobbyists in Zagreb build largest model railway in south-east Europe

    January 13, 2020

    “This model has around 75 square metres, in its current state, over a kilometre of railway tracks, about 300 railway switches… There is the road we are currently working on, there will be about 200-300 metres of road as well, a couple of thousand figurines, hundreds of small buildings and trees.” “We have got wireless powering of road vehicles, truck and buses, and personal vehicles. So they can drive around all day long, they have no batteries in them and there is no limit as to how long they can operate. That is something we made from scratch.”

    The fantastic miniature world of model railroading and railway modelling in Germany
    Articles, Blog

    The fantastic miniature world of model railroading and railway modelling in Germany

    January 7, 2020

    The Miniature Wonderland is the
    world‘s largest model railway, located in the city of Hamburg, Germany. More than 15 million visitors
    from all over the world have already visited this famous
    model railroad exhibition. Spreading over more than
    1,500 square meters, a unique and outstanding exhibition built
    in HO scale arose in 760,000 man hours and it keeps on growing. Next to sophisticated technologies, the Miniature Wonderland is known for
    its captivating richness of detail. There are 250,000 figures
    lovingly set in scene. There are moving cars and ships. And, at the miniature airport airplanes
    are taking off and landing every minute. The Miniatur Wonderland
    is a breathtaking miniature world unmatched
    anywhere in this world. Every year more and more visitors are
    discovering the Miniature Wonderland. But also behind the scenes,
    there is a lot to report: For example, currently more than
    360 people are working there. From technicians to art students – the whole team is going to
    create new worlds in HO scale. The great exhibit invites its
    visitors to dream and to observe. And, visitors get the
    possibility to look at our world from a totally
    different perspective. Although the model trains – sometimes
    – disappear in the background, however, not only the
    creation of these amazing landscapes makes Miniatur
    Wonderland so unique. It is also the innovative high-technology, which has never been installed
    in model railway layouts before. This technology, hidden within the impressive landscapes, is an important factor for the
    fascination and uniqueness. For example: 385,000 lights, which are dynamically controlled by a
    self-developed light control system, provide an almost perfect
    simulation of day and night. Of course, also approximately 300 amazing
    miniature cars must be mentioned, which are controlled by several computers. Finally, Germany’s Miniatur Wonderland is
    not only a normal model railway exhibition, but a miniature world – for
    the young and the old – which invites its visitors in many ways
    to marvel, to dream, and to discover. So, please: Visit Germany. Visit Hamburg. And, visit the Miniature Wonderland. Thank you.


    Is This The Scariest Mountain Bike Race Track? | Blake Rides Champéry

    January 7, 2020

    (lightning crack) – Oh my goodness, me. There’s a cliff up there. Welcome to Champery everyone. Is this the hardest
    downhill World Cup track that the world has ever seen? I don’t know, and I’m here to find out. Oh man, oh wow. Ugh, oooh. (goats bleeting) Oh my frickin’ gnarly, dude. Nearly bends it. Looks gnarly. (goats bleating) Lay off the brakes, Blake. The whip! Oh, I’m so scared. Whoo-whee. I am no downhill rider. I’ve never ridden a World Cup
    downhill track in my life. But I found myself in
    the Swiss Alps, Champery. One of the world’s craziest,
    hardest downhill tracks that the world’s ever seen. Like if Danny Hart and Sam Hill
    can get down it in the wet, surely I can get down in the dry. It doesn’t look too steep from here. But I think it gets steeper further down. I’m scared, man. Let’s see how hard it is. Let’s see, ooh, I, just, anyway, let’s go. Alright, up. (high intensity rock music) Oh my goodness, me. Alright, I’m not hittin’
    that, I’m not hittin’ that. I’m so scared (laughter). That’s the first bit. Judge me all you like, but it’s my life and I quite enjoy it and
    I don’t want to jump that. I’m gonna carry on down, see
    how steep it really gets. Oh-oh. Oh my (beep). (high intensity rock music) Oh my goodness me. Oh that’s a steep turn. These are alright, actually. A bit rocky. Oh, this could be slippery in the wet, I can tell you for sure. Oh man. Oh, this is nice. Oh yeah. Yep. Oh my gosh, that’s scary. Fast section. Oh man. Whoo. This is literally the side of a mountain and you’re comin’ down it so fast. Like, I’ve just ridden this section here. Look at that. You’re comin’ so fast through here. Duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh. And then you gotta kinda
    slam on your anchors but still keep your speed, maintaining it. Into this little berm, then
    you just gotta commit off that. Bunny hop this, land there,
    you lily pad the next one, duh-duh, on the brakes quite hard, into another left hander,
    right hander, left hander, and then I’m guessing it
    just gets steeper and steeper the further we get down. But so far this section through the woods, yeah, pretty cool. (high intensity rock music) Oh wow. Just gets steeper and steeper. Oh no, look at this. Oh, oh, (laughs). Oh, that was slippery, that was slippery. Oh, finally. Oh. (high intensity rock music) A little history lesson on this track. There’s been so many
    amazing track lap times, wins, everything, we’ve got Danny Hart in a crazy wet condition
    and then you’ve got this one which is kinda forgotten, it’s the legendary
    second place by Sam Hill. Well, Matti Lehikoinen, Finnish rider, knew that at two o’clock in the daytime it would dump with rain
    so the track would get super slippery so what he
    did, it was pretty clever, he put in a slow qualifying time, which made him set down the list, droppin’ in first, you know, kinda right at the
    beginning on a dry track. He put in an insane run,
    put him in the hot seat, he did take the win but when Sam Hill dropped in on an extremely,
    extremely wet track he came into this exact corner, a big slab corner like this, wet, he slid out, he slipped,
    he crashed down there. He got back on his bike,
    he completed his run, and ended up in second place. That is probably the most
    legendary second places ever in Downhill World Cup. I’ve got goosebumps thinkin’ about it ’cause he, man, it was insane, ’cause all of the media are
    all on him and not Matti. He was like, come on, man, I won. But Sam, he was like, aaah, he crashed, he got up, he got second. Let’s hope I don’t slip
    out, this is a dry day. I’m gonna take the highline
    and go down it, scary. (high intensity rock music) Ho-ho, oh my goodness me,
    that was frikkin’ gnarly dude. Wow, alright. Well this, I feel like, the track went a little different here. It went, oh, did I through there, or around through the trees that way? They kinda made it a
    little bit easier now. This was a few years ago
    so they made it easier. Still looks steep, that
    bit there looks gnarly. You snake your way down through
    there which looks gnarly. This stuff’s so steep you
    can’t, you can’t even get up it. I’m gonna ride down this stuff. (high intensity rock music) Oh wow. (high intensity rock music) Ooooooh, lay off the brakes, Blake. Oh, nice. Okay, droppin’ in. This looks, oh my goodness
    me, look at the state of that. (high intensity rock music) Oh-ho, wow. Oh this bit’s finally gotten (inaudible) Oh, what’s down here? Right, fact time on this course. And it’s this step down. Look how big it is, it goes
    all the way down there. And the first person,
    person, and it wasn’t a male, it was a female, and
    it was Tahnee Seagrave. She was the first person
    to jump this step down all the way down to there. She crashed, she got back
    up, she pushed up to the top, she dropped in, she jumped
    it, she cleared her. She was the first person and
    she was only 15 years old. I’m 33, hopefully I don’t
    crash but I’m gonna jump it. (high intensity rock music) Holy moly (inaudible). Tahnee, you freakin’ lunatic. (high intensity rock music) Ho, ho, ho, ho, wow! The top top, steep section done. Now to ride the next bit blind, all the way down to the lift. Alright, droppin’ in. Well this bit hardly gets ridden. Brakes overheatin’, overheatin’
    brakes, brakes overheatin’, what’s down there? It goes down there, man. Oh my gosh, look at that. What you don’t know is I don’t have a backpack carrying a huge camera. Tom, on the other hand,
    he hasn’t got it easy. I’m sorry Tom, it gets bad. (goats bleeting) (bike tires riding over rocky terrain) Oh my flippin’, I gotta go up there. The last straight of steep bit. It’s not straight, it’s
    kind of, it zig-zags. It traverses across like
    that, like that, like that. Man, you gotta be committed in the turn. You gotta believe in the grip you’ve got. (high intensity rock music) Oh this corner’s real hard
    ’cause you got these roots. (high intensity rock music) He nearly bends it, I swear he did it, this famous, Danny Hart
    did, oh I felt like Danny. Oh (beep) what’s gonna on here? Oh my goodness me, that was close. Look at the whip. And Danny Hart comes
    soarin’ out of the woods to take his win but he’s not
    there ’cause it could go wrong. And to be honest, this was a landing. It’s a bit overgrown and
    further on down here, if I can make it down
    here, is another one. The other gap. The double, he has the take
    off, there’s the landing, and we’re nearly there. I’ll see you at the bottom. So glad that’s over, that’s for sure. Ha-ha-ha, yeah! I’m alive, I’m alive, and
    it’s good to be alive. That has changed since 2011. Seven years ago this
    Champrey World Cup was here. Danny Hart took the win
    in the absolute wet. Right, is Champrey the hardest track in the World Cup since then? Well, to be honest, I kinda think it is. It’s really steep in situations. Real tech, you’re goin’
    down at race speed. You gotta be at the top of your game, you gotta be focused, can
    make or break a rider. Oh man, I’m just so happy
    to come out of that. Like, in some of those
    sections I was so scared. It was scary. But you know what’s missin’
    out of the World Cup is a track like this ’cause it brings a good racing, it just makes
    good racing to be honest. You get the good riders comin’ up on top. It’s just insane, I get goosebumps ’cause of riding a World Cup, I’m
    a bit over the moon, really. Conquering my fear on such
    a big track like that. But if you want to see
    Champrey back in the World Cup definitely give this
    video a thumbs up like, and finally I can kinda sit down ’cause I haven’t got balls that big.

    Conflicts grow in Ukraine as Russia-Crimea rail route opens
    Articles, Blog

    Conflicts grow in Ukraine as Russia-Crimea rail route opens

    December 30, 2019

    Russia has officially opened a railway
    bridge connecting it directly to the crimean peninsula a territory had
    annexed from ukraine five years ago the building of the railway line has been
    condemned by Ukraine and the European Union as a violation of Ukraine’s
    sovereignty and territory cha Jonghyun tells us more the first train left
    saint-petersburg Monday afternoon carrying more than 500 people on the
    2500 kilometer trip to Sevastopol Crimea a ride that takes 43 hours
    the Russian government is expecting the new route next year to carry around 40
    million passengers and 30 million tons of freight russia’s President Vladimir
    Putin was also at the launching ceremony saying the new 19 kilometer away bridge
    over the Kirk Strait benefits all today we have a very important occasion it is
    important for crimea sevastopol for the whole of Russia because naturally such
    infrastructure projects such as this landmark bridge that we have built will
    have an impact on the whole economy however the EU and Ukraine immediately
    condemned the opening of the bridge saying it’s another violation of Russia
    of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory Ukrainian officials opened a criminal
    investigation on Wednesday arguing that the train illegally carried people
    across the Ukrainian border Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 on the grounds
    that residents of the peninsula voted to join up with Russia the annexation
    elicited widespread international censure which saw the US and EU ban
    imports of non Ukrainian goods from Crimea and investments of European
    companies in the region the new bridge has also enabled Russia to limit free
    passage for ships heading to Ukrainian ports the Kirk’s trade is the only way
    for Ukrainian ships to get to the Black Sea from the inland sea of azov
    choi jungmoon arirang news

    What if Earth was INVERTED? (Geography Now!)
    Articles, Blog

    What if Earth was INVERTED? (Geography Now!)

    December 22, 2019

    Hey Geographypeeps how are you doing? So as you know, this is ‘Filler Week’ which means every time we finish four episodes we take some time off to research for the next ones But I don’t leave you hanging I still give you some topical videos so at least you have something on this channel to watch. So today I kind of want to talk about something. On Reddit I saw this picture It’s a hypothetical Picture of what the world would look like if all the land and water was inverted on planet Earth. It really kind of got me thinking how would a world like this function It’s not immediately easy to understand because you kind of have to think upside down And you have to kind of study the oceans topography more than the dry land. First of all the strangest thing about this planet is that all the land would be interconnected in every single Cardinal direction.That means theoretically you could circumnavigate the entire Globe by walking in either North to South or East to West Avoiding every major body of water. That means the entire planet would technically only have one big major continent with large island clusters which are the inland Seas like the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea or the Great lakes. The Mediterranean Sea would look like an island but it would still be connected by that very narrow strait of Gibraltar which would now be the Gibraltar Isthmus I guess. The Gulf of Bothnia would be like the weirdest peninsula, like, connected by a bunch of splotchy leakey isthmus What’s the plural Isthmus? When thinking like this you have to realize: Mountains become trenches and trenches become mountains. Now in terms of land formations You kind of have to ask yourself, are we measuring by sea level or by ocean floor level and if that’s the case if we ask by sea level than of course the Himalayas would be the deepest Trench However if it’s by ocean level, then Mauna Kea on Hawaii would be the deepest lake!? However, Chimborazo in Ecuador would be the Trench closest to the center of the Earth. All the islands are become lakes and all the lakes would become islands. Lake Baikal would probably be like one of the most remote islands on the planet. This means that Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench would most likely be the tallest mountain, dwarfing Mt.Everest at about 36,000 feet or 11,000 meters. Bouvet Island would be like the most remote oasis!? We would still have the same tectonic plates but the direction of impact would have to be backwards and inverted as well, so instead of the Himalayas converging to create mountains they would be sub-ducting to create trenches. This means that the Ring of Fire would now become like the; ‘Bowl of Desolation’; as all of the deep trenches have now become really high peaks that would barricade the Pacific Valley below. Now here’s the problem I have with the image. It doesn’t accurately portray the underwater topography of our planet. I think maybe a little bit more of an accurate depiction would be this picture by ‘frans block’ at For some reason there’s a large mountain range that splits right in the middle of the pacific ocean creating a rain shadow effect with the desert in the middle of the pacific. That wouldn’t be there. The only kind of rise would be the east pacific Ridge that goes close to South America but then it kind of cuts off. The whole area would be kind of generally flat as the oceanic trenches would be the only mountains in the area, as all the pacific islands would be like lakes. There’s the coolest thing the longest mountain range on this theoretical planet would be the Mid-Atlantic Range which bisects the entire planet from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The coolest thing is that this new planet would have like a triple convergence mountain range with the Mid-Indian, Southwest and Southeast Indian ridges all smashing into one. I don’t think I agree with the amount of ice on this planet and obviously I don’t believe that the new Lake of Greenland would be all blue half of it most of it would probably still frozen underwater. Also I hate the fact that this is a Mercator projection. I can’t stand the Mercator. It’s so disproportionate it just drives me crazy! Another interesting thing to grasp would be the concept of Continental Shelves. At some point in our geological history the Continental Shelves were exposed and had life on them during the Ice Ages. Over time water levels rose and concealed them And that’s why today we have offshore oil deposits. In an inverted world I guess that would mean that the continental shelves would have been covered first and then later exposed. Sort of like those areas in Egypt where you can find whale bones in the middle of the desert. And then you kind of have to ask yourself, like, how would this work function and could even sustain life? We always tend to kind of err on the side of: “Oh, well, if it has water than of course!” But there’s a lot of other things that kind of go into the mix this is where you kind of have to think scientifically. Our planet right now is about 70% water and is able to kind of sustain a meteorological atmosphere which allows condensation and precipitation of water to lands across the planet. If our planet only had 30% water would it be able to sustain that much precipitation and condensation. I don’t know! Let’s assume that all the oceans on this new planet are saline just like our oceans, and if that was the case then where would all the fresh water come from. Would they come from the ice caps on the tops of the mountains and if that’s the case if we can’t get enough precipitation and condensation would there even be enough ice on those mountain caps? I don’t know! Would any or all of these mountain ranges create a rain shadow effect, creating an entire desert landscape across half of all the land? I don’t know! It’s hard to say because we can’t recreate the scenario in a controlled environment because we’re talking about a planet. We can’t.. ..recreate a planet! We can theorize and it’s fun, but until then it’s just kind of like brain candy. And there’s a lot of other things you have to kind of consider like; ‘What would caves look like? Would they be like underwater pocket reservoirs? And what would a sinkhole look like? would it be like an underwater land pipe? What would the role of marshes and swamps look like? I mean what they still remain but still be a little backwards? I mean also what would Antarctica look like? I mean it would still kind of be frozen but what the land still be water? And how does the ice look like? It’s confusing! And let’s assume that life can thrive on this planet, ‘what would culture look like?’ and ‘how would people live and thrive in what areas and what type of resources would they have?’ I don’t know what do you guys think. Let me know? Write some stuff in the comments and debate about it, fight about it, argue about it. Troll each other about it. Geography, more like geogra.. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! But in the end the point is is that we live on this planet the way how it is and I kind of like it I kind of like the way how our planet is. So that’s it for now. Thanks for joining me on this hypothetical quest. Subscribe if you want, and I hope you have a good one!

    Japanese bullet train company calls halt to scary safety drill   World news
    Articles, Blog

    Japanese bullet train company calls halt to scary safety drill World news

    December 21, 2019

    Japanese bullet train company calls halt to scary safety drill World news Trainee employees forced to squat between tracks as high-speed trains passed close by Trainee employees forced to squat between tracks as high-speed trains passed close by Standing on a platform as a bullet train hurtles past at top speed can be an unnerving experience. Spare a thought, then, for the dozens of new employees of West Japan Railway forced to squat in a trough between two sets of tracks as shinkansen trains whoosh by at speeds of up to 187mph (300km/h). Future trainees can count themselves lucky after the firm agreed to halt the exercise following pressure from a rail workers’ union. Instead, from next month, employees will watch the trains pass from behind a trackside fence outdoors. The exercise – introduced in 2016 to raise safety awareness among carriage inspectors – required groups of employees, dressed in hard hats and goggles, to enter a tunnel and crouch inside a narrow maintenance ditch between two sets of tracks located a metre away on either side. The aim, according to company officials, was to give workers a greater appreciation of the force generated by trains traveling at maximum speed. JR West introduced the drill after an aluminium part fell from the outside of a bullet train and struck the body of the train as it passed through a tunnel in south-west Japan in 2015. One passenger was injured in the accident, which Investigators blamed on loose bolts and insufficient inspections. About 240 employees, manly from a nearby railyard, have taken part in the exercise. One told the Mainichi Shimbun earlier this year: “The wind pressure was enormous. I felt as if I had been pressed down from above. It was scary, and I wondered what the point of it was.” The union representing the employees described the training programme as dangerous and unnecessary, and called repeatedly for it to be halted. Local media quoted one employee as saying the experience was “horrible”, while another likened it to a “public flogging”. “Exposing employees to danger is a problem,” an official from the West Japan Railway Workers Union told the Asahi. “Workers have been forced to undergo the training programme as a sort of punishment for the accident.” Other regional firms belonging to the Japan Railway group allow trainees to observe passing bullet trains from platforms. The trains are renowned for their punctuality and safety. The shinkansen network, which runs from the southern island of Kyushu to Hokkaido in the far north, has not suffered a single fatality from accidents since it was launched in 1964.

    Semmering Railway – UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Articles, Blog

    Semmering Railway – UNESCO World Heritage Site

    December 4, 2019

    Hey everyone I’m Joel on the Road, and today
    my UNESCO World Heritage Journey is at the Semmering Railway in Austria. So today my World Heritage Journey is a little
    bit different. Because rather than looking at a World Heritage Site, we’re going to be
    using one. The Semmering Railway runs through mountainous terrain in eastern Austria. It’s
    about 41 kilometres, and it was an incredible feat of railway engineering when it was built in the 1850s. And it’s still in use today – it’s actually the train we’re going to use to go between
    Graz and Vienna, so let’s hop on board! So we’ve just entered the World Heritage Area
    here. The railway that we’re going to be checking out is about 40 kilometres long, there’s 16
    tunnels and 14 viaducts, and there’s over a hundred stone bridges as well, most of them
    curved which is really cool, so we should be seeing some pretty good stuff. So we’ve just gone through the halfway point
    at Semmering, which is one of the tourist towns that was erected along the railway.
    One of the things it did of course, was rather than just allow passage through the mountains,
    it allowed passage *to* the mountains, and that’s where a lot of Austrian ski fields started
    to develop. I did wonder before boarding the train, how
    difficult it would be to film the incredible works of engineering while on board the train.
    And as you can probably tell from the footage, the answer is: quite difficult. The windows
    were very dirty, and of course you just can’t see much of the bridges while you’re crossing
    them. Same with the tunnels – you can’t see them because it’s dark! Ah well, what can
    you do hey! Thanks very much for watching, don’t forget to Like and Subscribe. I’m Joel
    on the Road, and I’ll see you at the next World Heritage Site!

    Prostitutes of God (Documentary)
    Articles, Blog

    Prostitutes of God (Documentary)

    November 30, 2019

    [MUSIC PLAYING] SARAH HARRIS: The first thing
    that strikes you when you come to India is a sense of
    extreme contrasts. While some people are still
    shitting off the side of railway lines and eating from
    banana leaves, other people are drinking Frappuccinos and
    wearing Gucci sunglasses. Along with this feeling of
    progress and moving forward, there’s still this undercurrent
    of tradition and religion and superstition and an
    even more deeply ingrained caste system. I didn’t realize quite how sharp
    these contrasts between new and old India were until
    I came here last year to research an article about
    sex trafficking. And on my very first day here,
    I met a group of temple prostitutes who told me about
    this ancient Hindu system where prepubescent girls are
    dedicated to a goddess, and for the rest of their lives,
    they will become sex slaves of the temple. The name of that system
    is devadasi. This train’s a little bit like
    The Darjeeling Limited, except we have cockroaches sleeping
    under our beds. And there’s no one serving
    sweet lime. Hello. So in the beginning, being a
    devadasi had nothing to do with prostitution. In medieval India, they were
    glamorous temple dancers and held high social status. They performed sacred religious
    rituals and danced for loyalty in the name of a
    goddess called Yellamma. Over the centuries, the link
    between the devadasis and their temples gradually
    diminished, along with their social status. They became the paid mistresses
    of priests, then kings, and later,
    rich landowners. In the 19th century, Western
    missionaries tried to abolish the tradition, calling it
    grotesque and immoral, driving the devadasis underground. Today, devadasis are no
    different to common street hookers, servicing drunk truck
    drivers and bored businessmen. Even though the practice has
    been illegal for over 20 years, up to 3,000 girls are
    still being secretly dedicated every year. We traveled to the border town
    of Sangli, which straddles the two southern Indian states of
    Karnataka and Maharastra. Its red light district is home
    to hundreds of devadasi sex workers, and that afternoon,
    we were invited there by Anitha, one of its most
    successful brothel owners. She’s a member of an NGO called
    SANGRAM, which fights to empower locals sex workers. Communication was pretty
    painful, as our interpreter Somashekar was having some
    trouble with his English. Everybody in the houses
    next door– this whole street– is also sex workers
    like Anitha? Yes. SARAH HARRIS: So all
    the neighborhood. And they’re all friends
    who live around here? Everybody is friends? SARAH HARRIS: So when the
    customer comes inside, the door closes. And this– SARAH HARRIS: She’s
    not a customer? She is also a sex worker? SOMASHEKAR: A sex worker. SARAH HARRIS: And she
    uses this room? SOMASHEKAR: [SPEAKING MARATHI] [SARAH LAUGHING] SOMASHEKAR: That’s another one
    of Anitha’s friends who’s lying in there. Hello. SARAH HARRIS: This is
    what she’s saying? SOMASHEKAR: I am. SARAH HARRIS: You. SARAH HARRIS: Tell me again. So are you talking as you? Are you telling me– Somashekar. SOMASHEKAR: Huh? SARAH HARRIS: So you
    are a sex worker. SOMASHEKAR: I am a sex worker. SARAH HARRIS: You are
    a sex worker. And you came to Anitha’s
    room, and– SARAH HARRIS: Yeah. SARAH HARRIS: You work in
    this room, and Anitha works in this room. SOMASHEKAR: This room. SARAH HARRIS: So you
    all work together. OK. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: The whole place
    is completely difference to what I thought it would be. I kind of imagined these
    really seedy, anonymous hotel-looking brothels. And actually, there’s kids
    running around everywhere. There’s women doing their
    laundry, making lunch. And it kind of feels
    like quite a tight-knit little community. The ladies of Sangli wouldn’t
    let me leave without showing me the temple around
    the corner. It seemed like wherever there
    were brothels, the goddess Yellamma was never far away. For Anitha and her friends,
    being a devadasi was nothing to be ashamed of. Sex work was their choice. They had condoms, power in
    numbers, and SANGRAM looking after them. But these were just
    the lucky few. For the vast majority
    of devadasis, prostitution isn’t a choice. It’s forced upon them, and most
    often by their parents. Like most Hindu legends, the
    story of the goddess Yellamma is long, convoluted,
    and surreal. However many times we
    heard it, it still didn’t make much sense. But it seems to go something
    like this. The whole ordeal begins when her
    son is ordered to chop her head off by her husband after
    he catches her spying on two people getting frisky
    by a lake. After a complex process of
    death, reincarnation, and a load of fat Hindu gods with blue
    skin and gold bikinis, the goddess Yellamma was born. She fled to the villages of
    Karnataka and became a symbol of worship for the lowest
    Hindu castes. So after a really sweaty 10-hour
    train journey, we’ve finally arrived in this
    town called Mudhol up in Northern Karnataka. And it’s in the villages around
    here that we’ve been told has the highest
    concentration of devadasi women in India. An estimated 23,000 women in
    this part of India have been dedicated to the goddess. And roughly half of those will
    have resorted to sex work in order to feed their families. SARAH HARRIS: We traveled to
    the outskirts of this dusty transit town to meet two
    teenage devadasi girls. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Madigas are
    considered filthy and polluting and are only permitted
    to work in the lowliest positions, as street
    cleaners, sewage collectors, and of course, prostitutes. When we took the girls out
    shopping, they seemed terrified of the higher castes
    recognizing them as devadasis, which they did. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: It was surreal to
    see the reaction they got. The shopkeepers wouldn’t even
    look them in the eye. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: So now it seems
    this religious ritual is just a justification for
    poor families to pimp out their daughters. [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: It was strange
    sitting with Belavva’s family on the floor of their one room
    hut, knowing it’s also the place where she has sex with
    customers while her brothers and sisters wait outside. BALAVVA: [SPEAKING KANNADA] [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Karnataka is one
    of India’s largest producers of sugar cane. Hundreds of trucks pass
    through towns like this every day. The roadside can be
    a scary place. Horny drivers and bored
    agricultural workers gather here, looking for ways
    to spend their wages. They are one of the main
    transmitters of HIV throughout India, spreading the virus
    through the country’s extensive road network, putting
    girls like Mala and Belavva at risk of this
    deadly disease. SARAH HARRIS: Back in Sangli,
    we were invited to meet another devadasi called Pandu. We were told she was different,
    but we weren’t prepared for just
    how different. [MALE SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Every morning, he
    spent two hours polishing brass Yellamma statues and
    blessing his beloved shrine. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Can you ask him
    to show me how to make chai? Tea powder. Wow, that’s a lot of sugar. Fucking hell. [SARAH LAUGHING] SARAH HARRIS: Still? Going, going, going,
    going, going. SARAH HARRIS: Can we watch
    him dance today? We have to persuade him,
    sweet talk him. Ah, wow. Wow, Pandu. Who’s this guy? You put a sari over his head. [PANDU SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: He’s got money
    between his teeth. Your best friend, Sudir. Oh, wow, that’s a nice photo. Wow, thank you. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: Later that day, at
    our hotel, Pandu showed us his favorite Bollywood
    videos and the famous Sangli condom trick. SARAH HARRIS: You’re about to
    witness a demonstration of the classic Sangli condom trick that
    Pandu has just taught me when his male customers don’t
    want to use a condom. [SPEAKING MARATHI] SARAH HARRIS: I think I lost. Pandu may want a better life for
    his daughter, but for many other devadasis, there’s a lot
    of money to be made in recruiting the next
    generation. Now, we’re on our way to another
    village, about five kilometers outside of Mudhol. And most of women who live
    there are from the madiga caste, and so most of them are vulnerable to becoming devadasis. One of the interesting things
    about this village is that we’re going to be able to go
    to the house of a devadasi woman who’s made a real career
    out of prostitution. And she’s built this enormous
    house in the middle of the village as a kind of symbol
    of the her success. So she can become a role model
    to the other girls living in the village that becoming
    a devadasi is a good way of life. The legendary owner, Champa,
    doesn’t even live here. She’s too busy turning
    tricks in Bombay. Inside, shiny display cabinets
    of unused crockery line the walls as testaments
    to her success. There were groups of village
    children roaming around the house to gawp at her flickering
    color TV sets and shelves of broken electrical
    equipment. The message is clear– prostitution is a lucrative
    business. So this is the necklace, the
    muthu, that the devadasi women wear when they get dedicated. And hers is just hanging on
    the wall of her mud hut. She’s an old lady called
    Shavvavva, and she’s one of the oldest devadasi women
    in the village. And I’ve just been told that
    she brought the very first radio to this village. No one had ever seen a radio
    before she brought it here. Walking through the village, we
    notice Yellamma’s presence everywhere. The locals told us that all
    devadasis in the area were preparing themselves for the
    full moon festival, which is apparently the most
    important event in the Yellamma calendar. After hearing so much about the
    famous full moon festival in Saundatti, we drove four
    hours out of town to catch the first day of this month-long
    celebration of Yellamma. Just up there in the center of
    that big arch is the face of the goddess Yellamma. That’s the entrance to her
    temple here in Saundatti. Over the course of the 28 days,
    more than half a million people will pass through
    the temple doors. A heaving shantytown springs
    up around the famous Yellamma shrine. The place is filled with garish
    Hindu icons, Bollywood music, sticky sweets, and the
    symbolic red and yellow colors of the goddess Yellamma. Hello. Nice to meet you. We’re not allowed– we’re not
    gonna take the camera inside. No. SARAH HARRIS: This is the
    Yellamma temple, which is like the main attraction
    of Saundatti. It’s here that for hundreds and
    hundreds of years, all the devadasi girls have come for
    their dedication ceremonies, which are now illegal. And we’re not allowed in, so
    we just have to shoot from outside, but you can see
    hundreds of people walking around, praying to
    the goddess. Everything around the temple
    is really, really colorful, and you’ve got all these red
    and yellow dyes, which the women put on their foreheads. And this is to kind of represent the goddess Yellamma. And the green bangles are in
    rows all along the side of the road here, and they’re the
    bangles that they put on the girls during their devadasi
    dedication ceremonies. And tonight is the moon
    celebration, and they’ll smash their bracelets as a symbol
    of widowhood. This is also one of the places
    where the women traffickers come and pick up potential
    prostitutes. The brothel madams will travel
    from big cities like Bombay and Pune and come to Saundatti
    to these festivals to pick up young girls to traffic. Amidst all the religious fervor,
    there was a distinct feeling of secrets going
    on behind closed doors. Families are offered a generous
    fee in return for their young daughters,
    often under the pretense of a better future. But it’s here that the next
    generation of young devadasi prostitution are found. What we really wanted to do was
    watch a real dedication ceremony, but that didn’t look
    like it was going to happen. And as a bunch of pasty
    Westerners with cameras, we weren’t exactly inconspicuous. Luckily, we met an ex-devadasi
    and social activist called Sitavva. She agreed to stage a mock
    dedication ceremony to give us an idea of what really goes
    on behind the scenes. SITAVVA: [SPEAKING KANNADA] SARAH HARRIS: Leaving Saundatti,
    we felt disturbed by everything we’d seen. The bright colors and energy
    of the festival were overshadowed by the seedy
    reality of a religious ceremony that condones
    child prostitution. Our last stop before we headed
    home was in the small village of Sarol, where we’d arranged
    to meet three generations of devadasi women, all from
    the same family. When we arrived, we were told
    that the daughter had recently died of HIV. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] SARAH HARRIS: India is a land
    of extremes, polarized by extravagant new wealth
    and ancient poverty. Everywhere you look, there’s a
    battle being waged between the traditional forces of religion,
    castes, and superstition and the inevitable
    force of Western capitalism. Nowhere are these clashes more
    evident than in the plight of the devadasis, where religious
    devotion has been exploited for commercial gain. The devadasi tradition is
    destroying families and communities, generation
    after generation. And with the advent of AIDS and
    HIV, the practice now has a deadly price tag. And today, any remnants of the
    devadasis’ cultural origins have all but disappeared. All that’s left is a system
    that turns children into prostitutes and their
    parents into pimps.