Victoria Lautman
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Victoria Lautman

Fee Range1: $ 2500 - $5000

Beyond the Taj Mahal: Inside India


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Victoria Lautman

Victoria LautmanBeyond the Taj Mahal: Inside India

Victoria Lautman has a unique, insider’s view of India, a country that for millennia has captured the world’s interest and imagination.  Burgeoning exponentially as a tourist destination, India presents a land of extreme contrasts: an exotic vacation spot where some of the world’s most luxurious hotels abut some of the world’s worst slums; a rising global power with the second largest population on earth but where technological advances exist steps away from antiquated machines and methods; traditional costumes in handloom fabrics worn side by side with European haute couture. It’s no wonder this vast and evocative country stimulates strong opinions and abiding curiosity right along with inventive flights-of-fancy inspired by Maharajas, palaces, opulent jewels and vibrant colors. 

And yet, our knowledge of the subcontinent often stretches no further than a brief headline or captivating travel ad, even as news of its politics, wealth, poverty, religious clashes and sexual violence bombards us daily. India’s complex history and remarkable monuments are often just too distant and inaccessible. 

Victoria brings India to you, but not the typical India experienced by most visitors. She burrows deep into the country’s significant, compelling, and lesser-known aspects existing below the surface where few tourists venture. Hers is a world of remote tribal crafts and abandoned painted cities, soaring Hindu temples and mystical Sufi tombs, futuristic transportation and a hidden “language” of jewelry – all of which are just a few of the topics Victoria illuminates in Beyond the Taj Mahal: Inside India. This sumptuously illustrated presentation is guaranteed to transport its audience to the hidden treasures of a country imbued with mystery and meaning. Armchair Indiaphiles and seasoned travelers to the subcontinent are bound to find it both enlightening and delightful. 

As a veteran journalist specializing in culture, Victoria’s searched out the most interesting and unusual sights during thirty-years of often solo excursions through the country she loves. She’s had a multifaceted career starting as an art-historian at the Smithsonian Institution’s renowned Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture garden before detouring into journalism. For over 25 years she was heard on public radio in Chicago as a popular host and contributor, while writing for dozens of international publications on architecture, design, art and of course India. She continues to be a featured interviewer for the Chicago Humanities Festival and a frequent emcee for public events. But it’s Victoria’s off-the-itinerary Indian adventures that occupy most of her time, and which she passionately shares with others.

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