What Urban Planners Can Learn From a Hindu Religious Festival,“ Smithsonian
What happens when millions of pilgrims descend upon a site and create a “kinetic” city in what is considered “the largest single-purpose human gathering on earth”? Tom Downey, an AFAR contributing writer, attended Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahbad, India, a Hindu religious festival that takes place every 12 years “at the convergence of two real rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, and one mythical stream, the Saraswati,” and wrote this colorful story for Smithsonian. —Derk Richardson

In the Beginning, There Were…Dumplings?” NPR
This week, NPR is investigating dumplings around the world, including the history, the geography, and most importantly, the recipes. Learn all about these perfect little packages of dough, and why every culture has come up with their own unique version. —Robyn Patty

Mining Magnate Bernardo Paz’s Dedication to Inhotim,” Wall Street Journal Magazine
I always look forward to the new issue of WSJ Magazine. The fall fashion issue has a fascinating story by Tony Perrottet about a Brazilian mining magnate’s dedication to turn a 5,000 acre plot of Jurassic Park–style forest into a global art mecca. Going to a museum has never sounded like such an enticing adventure. —Jen Murphy

All the President’s Chefs,” Roads and Kingdoms
Le Club des Chefs des Chefs bills itself as “the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society,” and that’s no exaggeration. The members all cook for heads of state, from prime ministers and European royalty to Barack Obama. This year the United States hosted the group’s annual meeting, which involved upscale American comfort food, a State Department reception, and a White House meeting with the president. Is it too late to become a chef? —Lara Takenaga

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theFINproject by Timothy Hogan,” Cool Hunting
Cool Hunting previews theFINproject, a very cool new photo series and documentary by photographer and surf addict Timothy Hogan that examines the artisans who craft the oft forgotten surfboard fin. —Jen Murphy

Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of ArtistsPenguin Books
Kay Larson’s engrossing study of the impact of D.T. Suzuki’s Zen scholarship on American composer John Cage’s radical approach to his art and his daily life is a travelog of sorts—through mazes of artistic and romantic relationships, and hotbeds of creativity and innovation in California, New York, and Europe. Known for his collaborations with choreographer Merce Cunningham, musician David Tudor, and painter Robert Rauschenberg, and such landscape-altering works as 4’33″Music of Changes, and Imaginary Landscape No. 4, Cage wholeheartedly absorbed Asian philosophy and incorporated its wisdom into his art. And some of his insights would serve well as foundational principle for travel: “Our intention is . . . to wake up to the very life /  we’re living, which is so excellent once one / gets one’s mind and desires out of its way / and lets it act of its own accord”;  ”I don’t understand why people are / frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened / of the old ones.”—Derk Richardson 

Photo courtesy of Chip Conley/AFAR