TREK TO REMEMBER

 

I embarked upon a trip as a last minute decision to join my hostel mates and their friends to the mystical escapade of Hemkund Sahib and Valley of flowers, situated in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India. I was accompanied by Nidhi, Manju, Shrestha, Snober, Kanika, Shalini, Mudassar, Mujahida, her brother, Pooja and Rita. We left early from Srinagar and our first halt was at the widely celebrated Badrinath Temple via Karnprayag, Joshimath and Gobindghat route. It was Monsoon and hence a time prone to roadblocks. It was my first visit to the Badrinath Temple. It is one of the Chardham math in India. The Char Dham Math are the four most revered  Hindu pilgrimages in India which are believed to be the abode of Hindu gods and owe their rejuvenation to Adi Shankaracharya. Located in the four directions of India, the circuit consists of four sites – to the north is Badrinath, to the west is Dwarka, to the south is Rameshwaram and to the east is Puri popularly known as the Jagannath Dham. Adi Sankaracharya, during his travels across the length and breadth of India, founded four mathas (monasteries) as seats of Hindu religion at these four places- the Sringeri matha on the Sringeri hills in the south, the Sharadamatha on the Dwaraka coast in the west, the Jyotirmatha at Badrinath in the north, the Govardhana matha at Puri in the east.

 

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Badrinath Temple

 

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This area is a panoramic view of nature and spirituality fused into one. The town lies between Nara and Narayan mountain ranges. The 25 km drive from GovindGhat to Badri, is probably the most incredible drive I ever experienced. Located beside Alaknanda River, Badrinath temple has an enchanting aura. We reached there in afternoon and the doors of the temple were closed. So, a couple of my friends went to visit Taptkund and rest of us decided to have lunch. There was a small queue outside and we too waited in the line till we got the opportunity to enter the temple. It is my belief that only Gods can adorn such places. The beauty, the mysticism, the magic of the place makes it a kingdom of divinities I do not understand but I feel it. I felt the sacredness flow through me and merge with everything within me and without. We had to stay at Gobindghat in the evening so had to leave the place on time. We gave Mana and Vasudhara a miss because of time constraints and decided to come back later. We were fortunate to have reached Gobindghat by 6 pm in the evening in spite of the dreadful road conditions during rains. Later we got to know that the road was blocked due to landslides just after we crossed.

 

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beautiful weather

 

 

After reaching Gobindghat we stayed at the Gurudwara and got the first-hand experience of the widely renowned hospitability of the Gurudwara staff. Rooms were well furnished and spacious. In the evening, we went to the kitchen to lend a little help in the langar preparation. The food served at the langar was very delicious. As we had to start our trek early in the morning we slept early. Next day, we woke up to heavy rainfall and that delayed our schedule. As the rain receded we left for our next stop Ghangria around 7.30 am. Before leaving for Ghangria we registered ourselves in the tourist registration centre. It is mandatory for everyone to register themselves to visit HemkundSahib and Valley of flowers. From Gobindghat there is shared taxi service until a village which is around 3 -4 km away from there. After that one has to walk about 10 km to reach Ghangria base camp. It took us approximately 6hours to reach Ghangria from there. The trek route was marvellous with waterfalls, river and an enthralling view. The rain was moody as it was raining heavily or drizzling all through the course.It was incredibly beautiful. Coming unprepared without a proper gear had disadvantages and took its toll on my health.

 

 

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When we reached Ghangria we checked into a hotel and got some rest. Next day we started our trek to HemkundSahib with endearing liveliness. It was a 7km trek from Ghangria base camp. It was a rainy day again and I cannot put into words how I loved those rains. Every step I took was not only towards mesmerizing views but they also drew me closer to myself. I happen to be a frequent trekker and was constantly leaving my mates behind.So, I decided to go ahead and enjoy the trek in solitude. I do not like paved roads in the trek, so I took all the possible shortcuts into the wild and reached HemkundSahib in less than 3 hrs. It was a good steep trek. I took pictures, made videos, ate langar and listened Gurubani inside the world’s highest gurudwara until my friends finally caught up with me.Such experiences show us our own trivialities, how small we are in the face of nature, how tiny in front of the divine and yet there is no pride, no proclamation of grandeur, only grace and love towards everything that is living. Sri Hemkund Sahib With its setting of a glacial lake surrounded by seven mountain peaks, each adorned by a Nishan Sahib on its cliff, at an elevation of 4,632 meters.Sri Hemkunt Sahib has emerged as a popular centre of Sikh Pilgrimage which is visited by thousands of devotees from all over the world every summer.

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I was all drenched when I reached there, that too at this altitude, it made me sick. My friends reached after 1.30 hrs, I took keys and went back to Ghangria. I was not feeling well but descended the trek as fast I could and covered the distance in 1. 30 hrs. I came back to my room, took a hot water bath and passed out. I had a high fever when my friends came back. They all got worried and took me to the nearest doctor. I was fortunate to have such lovely people around who took care of me in that hour of need. From my food to medicine they took care of everything.

 

 

Next day we have to visit the Valley of flowers. It was my childhood reverie to visit this place. I guess it was the first place on my bucket list that I always wanted to visit and after coming so near, I did not want to miss this opportunity. Valley of Flowers is a vibrant and splendid national park. this alluring place is famous for its charming meadows of alpine flowers. Endowed with a diverse range of endemic flora, it is picturesque in its beauty. This lush region is also home to some rare and endangered animal species.With a high fever, I decided to trek to the valley. The support of my friends was appreciable. They kept probing if  I was doing fine and took halts in every 500m. I reached a place from where one can look at the entire valley. I decided to sit there for awhile and asked my friend to go ahead. I sat there and did some meditation and must mention that was worth doing. High in the lofty Himalayas of the Garhwal region sprawls this enchanting valley. Legends believe it to be the place from where Hanuman had collected the Sanjeevanifor curing Lakshmana. This place has floral pastures, running streams and beautiful backdrop of the mountains.The place with that kind of serenity and peace makes your soul stir inside you. It craves to rise above and be one with everything that is there. It is amazing how we live in concrete houses and strive for artificial comforts but the only reassurance, the actual acceptance that we receive at places like the Himalayas transcends the narrow view of life that we have developed and the kind of lives humans are living. Once you close your eyes you can feel the old mountains smiling at you, the winds blow only to sing the song of your arrival, as if nature knows that you have come and that is where you belong. It is us who act blind but the bewitched lands such as the Valley welcomes you knowingly and if you allow yourself to be lost in this mystical place, you feel as if you have come home. It was the kind of ethereal beauty that looked as if it will crumble with a callous human touch, I felt so undeserving of this beauty as humans have always brought illness to nature like a destructive force but the kindness that I felt that day is deeply embedded in me. I realized that I was as divine as the magical sanctuary. I close my eyes and I can see myself drenched and shivering, treading the path and all the trees whispering among themselves talking about me, my journey, my destination. Its might seem snooty of me to think of me as a subject of conversation in the cosmos but that is the beauty of it. In places such as these there no wall between the divine and us. All becomes one.

 

 

It’s a core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. A colossal expanse of 87.5 sq kms and myriad alpine flowers makes this place a colourful paradise. Perched at an altitude of 3658 mts above sea level, Bhyundar Valley is the home to this surreal place. Historically, the beauty of the place was unknown to the world until in 1931, three British mountaineers came here. They lost their way and happened to discover this alluring valley and named it Valley of Flowers. Later in the year 1939, Joan Margaret Legge, a botanist arrived here to study flowers. She was deputed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Krew but she lost her life by slipping from the rocky terrain. Her sister later came here and erected a memorial near the spot. (http://www.valleyofflowers.info/).

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I do not know how long I sat there. It was as like floating amid the clouds infused with colours. Soon as I returned to my senses I realized I was not feeling well so after a while instead of waiting for my friends I decided to walk back. I walked and took many halts in between.  I met one lady from Gujarat named Vinali. She was one charming lady with lots of stories from her hometown. Like me, she also left her friends back there and decided to walk back. We had lots of conversation on our way back from life to home, trips to education and what not. It’s always good to meet new people, especially during the trek. There is so much to know about people and their places. After reaching back I took rest and wait for my friends. They came after a while we shared each other experiences. We all were very tired by then had our dinner and slept. Next day we left Ghangria and trek back to Gobindghat. It was the pleasantly sunny day. And we enjoyed that sun rays after three days of continuous rain. We reached back Gobindghat by lunch and hoped in our taxi and came to Srinagar late night.

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I can still see those rivers, waterfalls, mountains, flowers all smiling in my mind. The kind of acceptance I felt in the arms of nature away from noise can move me to hot tears, travelling is spiritual to me. It’s just not discovering new places but also discovering ourselves with each step. That is a pilgrimage. Travelling sans spirituality is empty. Now that I have been there in the sanctuary of Gods I know another world exists, a world that resonates with me.In all the beauty I could see my own self-being reflected. I wish I had closed my eyes more, sniffed every flower that smiled at me, I wish I had said a Thank you to whichever power that resided there. The tranquillity that I was in shall remain forever as it is merged with me and wherever I go I should exude this calm glow that I recognize as my natural state. No filter, no picture, no camera can do justice to what my eyes saw and what my soul felt. I am grateful.

 

P.S

I would like to thank Yogita Khatri for proofreading this blog and doing the necessary edits.

 

 

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Trek to Tungnath, highest Shiva temple in the world

The beauty of this place is beyond words, you have to see it believe it! Snow-clad mountain ranges, blue sky, fresh air is a trekkers’ dream comes true. It is one of the most adventurous and audacious trails you can tread in Uttarakhand. Towering at 13000 feet, adorned with mists, coniferous, and snow, this is one heck of a trek you must take.

 

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midway view    P.c Saral Asthana

 

Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world, Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft). It is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located at Chandranath Parbat in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the third (Tritiya Kedar) in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars.in the order of Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheswar and Kalpeshwar. ThisTrek is a moderate and sometimes steep climb (2,926–3,658 m), the trek path is stone paved with benches provided en route at intervals to rest and enjoy the alluring views of the Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth and Kedarnath peaks.

The trek to Tungnath was a sudden plan. One of my friends Saral came to visit Chopta and Tungnath from Dehradun. I reside at Srinagar Garhwal which is in middle of these two places.  So he called me up, told me his plans and asked me to join. I asked my other friends if they were interested. Who shall miss such an opportunity? We planned to join him at chopta the next day.

Gunjan, Herdyesh, Raghu and I left early morning from Srinagar and reached chopta via Karan Prayag, Gopeshwar, and Mandal.  The Kedarnath sanctuary was filled with white and mauve Rhododendrons also known as a Buransh tree. This sanctuary is famous for its Musk Deer. As we reached in the evening, the first task was to search for a good camping site to stay. We got two tents at the Eco Pristine Camp in Chopta. It is a luxury campsite with a stunning view. The shades of sunset were mesmerizing. As we reached late so we decided to trek to Tungnath next day morning. We came back to the camp after the sunset and lit a bonfire. 3 people from Delhi, Rohit, Aparna, and Chaitanya, joined us. It was an evening well spent under the twinkling stars with lots of conversation on random topics from all over the world with hot pakoras and rum.

Late night, we went to our respective tents assuring each other that we will wake up early to start the trek. After a while, Gunjan and I heard some roaring sound. Terrified, we lit the lamps praying that we don’t become a midnight snack of a wild animal. Managing the night somehow, when in the morning we asked others about the noise they all claimed innocence pretexting the rum.

We had our breakfast at the camp and left for the beginning point of the Tungnath trek. We 8 started the trek from Chopta(2,926 m) at our own pace. It was an incredible experience to climb those mountains, overcoming our limits. Of all the Panch Kedar trek routes, the route to Tungnath is the shortest: only 4 km from Chopta. Enthralled by the view, it took us 4 hrs to reach the temple. It is an ancient temple built in the North Indian style of temple architecture. The architectural design of the temple is similar to the temples at Guptakashi, Madhyamaheshwar and Kedarnath. The temple enclosures are made of stones with beautiful paintings depicting tall towers.

At the entrance of the temple, there is a Nandi stone image facing towards the sanctum where Shiva’s idol is deified (Lord Shiva is a part of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and is associated with Moksha which is relief from the cycle of life and death and Nandi is depicted as a bull, who serves as the mount (Vahana) and Gana of Lord Shiva and is a gate-guardian deity in Hinduism.)To the right of the temple entrance, there is the image of Ganesha(Son of  Shiva and also known as Elephant Face God). As the doors were closed at that time so we couldn’t see the sanctum of the temple. The temple opens during April or May every year.It is closed during the winter season, the deity and priests move to Ukhimath, which is 19 km from here.

Due to snow, we couldn’t climb to Chandarshilawhich was just 1.5 km from the temple.

According to the local beliefs, Tungnath temple was built by Pandavas to appease Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva resides at Mount Kailash with his wife Parvati. After the Mahabharata war sage Vyas advised the Pandavas that since they were the culprit of slaying their own relatives, Kauravas during the war, their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. The Pandavas went in search of Shiva who eluded them for he was convinced of their guilt. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi. The Pandavas try to pursue him. But later Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the “Panch Kedar” where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each Kedar is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified and worshipped as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen, the hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.

According to another legend, Lord Rama meditated at the Chandrashila peak, which is close to Tungnath.

 

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The Panoramic view of higher Himalayan range from the temple. P.c Saral Asthana

 

The trails of Garhwal Himalayas induce excitement and thrill. Lofty terrains leading to the summit make for an incredible experience and the surrounding beauty leaves you enchanted. Right in the heart of the Uttarakhand, Tungnath is a year-round adventure. Here, you walk the snow trails and live in delightful campsites with some of the most picturesque backgrounds. It is one of those places that take you closest to nature and your escape the details of a humdrum life in no time in the shape of a memorable excursion. Walk the trail and get yourself some of the most memorable moments ever!

 

P.S I would like to Thank Kritika Dhyani for being such a good critic and helping me out in improving my write-up every time.

Bundi, A lesser known town of Rajasthan

With magnificent frescoes, glorious Mughal architecture, breathtaking paintings, splendid bazaars, Bundi has a unique essence of its own. Such charismatic is the silhouette of the city that one can see its mention in literary and cinematic works of many veteran authors and filmmakers, like Rudyard Kipling in ‘Kim’ novel, Rabindranath Tagore in ‘False Fort’ (Nakalgarh Poem), and Satyajit Ray in his movie ‘Sonar Kella.’

After finishing our fellow researcher Swati’s archaeological fieldwork around Bundi, we (Me, Swati and Herdyesh) had two days to tour the magnificent city. From taking pictures of renowned miniature paintings of Bundi, eating sweets from the corner shop in the bazaar, riding the scooter in the narrow lanes of the city, buying the famous Kota Doria saree, Bundi was a pleasurable experience.

The most exciting part of our stay in the city was the haveli of MeghwanJi, which was located just beside the Naval Sagar lake. They have turned their haweli into Lake View paying guest services; we got a room on the top floor with great view of Bundi Palace on one side and Naval Sagar lake on other. The essence of the room was quite Rajwada, with its fresco walls, coloured glass windows, and ample space with age-old furniture. What else a lover of history can ask for! The Haveli is 200 years old with frescoes all around which gives an ethereal vintage look. Meghwanji lives with his wife and a caretaker who are ever welcoming and most helpful. We stayed there for a week and enjoyed every bit of it. Our routine of the day after coming back from fieldwork was to sit beside the lake and enjoy our tea and conversations.

Bundi has situated around 35 km from Kota. It is also known as Chota Kashi due to the presence of many temples in the area. It was a princely state ruled by Meenas and later by Rao DevaHada and his descendants. Tremendous in size and exceptionally beautiful, Bundi is an enchanting town, which is surrounded by Aravalli ranges and lined with Brahmin-blue coloured houses, lakes, hills, bazaars and a temple at every turn. The most mesmerising and my personal favourite are the painted doorways, walls and corridors of houses and lanes of the city.

There are many places to see in Bundi and for judicious use of time, we decided to explore the city as much possible. The circumference of Bundi city may be a small one but it encompasses a wide range of history. The first day we visited the Garh palace which was constructed during the reign of Rao Raja Ratan Singh (A.D 1607-31) and a hub of miniature style Bundi paintings, a style of Rajasthani paintings that was started in the 17th century. With the usage of natural colours and gold and silver, the beauty of these Paintings is captivating.

Raniji ki Baori or queen’s stepwell was built in 1699 by Rani Nathavatiji who was the younger queen of the ruling Rao Raja Singh of Bundi. Make sure you visit it between 9 a.m to 5 p.m otherwise authorities won’t let you in. we were the victim of this bureaucratical nit-pick. We reached there at 5.05 pm and in spite of a lot of pleading they didn’t allow us to enter, so we had to come again next day to see this beautiful stepwell. Though it’s a very small stepwell, the alluring architecture and sculptures of Varun and other deities make the place worth a visit.

We walked towards Chaurasi khambo ki chhatri or 84 pillared cenotaphs. We reached here after 5pm, the same situation happened here as well, the entrance was closed but, as you can see the picture, the cenotaph is clearly visible from outside so clicked some pictures, enjoyed the sunset and returned. This 17th-century edifice is an exquisite example of carving and is an architectural marvel which was built by Rao Raja Anirudh Singh in 1663 A.D.

Next day, we visited raniji ki baori first and then went to Dhabhai ka Kund. It is the largest stepwell in Bundi, Constructed in the 19thcentury, this stepwell lies south of Ranijiki baori. One has to walk around half a km to reach here from Raniji ki baori. It is a magnificent stepwell but is in a very poor condition.

While roaming in the city, the condition of monuments and lakes was a source of sheer disappointment. It was heart-wrenching to see the sewage water from the houses draining into the lakes. It clearly shows the negligence of the authorities and lack of awareness among the citizen. While whole India is into Bharat Swacch Abhiyan, the scenario of Bundi’s squalid streets and lakes create a major setback in the mission.

 

 

I thank Kritika Dhyani for her constructive suggestions while reviewing this article.

The Trilogy of Shiva: A book Review

 

‘The Trilogy of Shiva’ by Amish left me astonished. Due to my research work I couldn’t complete it in a go, which I usually do and it took me nearly two years two cover all three parts. The first two parts were so exciting and engaging that I could not resist myself to read the third part though very late but finally completed and pursued me to write the review.  The narrations of the story were action packed and spell bounding. The characters, situations, their morals, there understandings and intelligence is extraordinary. Being the student of ancient history I am well aware of mythological stories which he was narrating along with historical and archaeological background, he has chosen to depict the story. I will say that he has done a commendable work on mingling History and mythology in a fictional way to make it a perfect fiction plot. One thing that I would like to mention and appreciate here, the way he has demonstrated the Snatan Dharma and its values. I am not choosing the term Hinduism over here because I consider it’s a broad umbrella.

Shiva, the protagonist of the story is the Flag bearer of the fact that with all the fears, gulit, compassion, humility like a normal human being he passed all the odds and attained his godly stature by conquering it. It is shown that he was Destined to do it and his Karma was in harmony with his destiny.  Like, there is only one Buddha, only one Mahavir which suggest that there are people who are destined to do some great things. One person amongst us can bring the change in the society.

The society was based on merits, no discrimination of gender can be seen for example characters like Sati was a great warrior, kankhala as the prime minister of Meluha, Kali as the queen of the Nagas, Ayurvati as the head of medicine department, Tara as student of science, Anandmayi etc all stand on the platform of feminism which gives an idea of an idealistic society.

This trilogy is good example of teaching today’s generation a lesson on Dharma. Dharma is not religion. It’s a way of righteous living. Following ones inner voice. It’s a blend of many terms like Faith, Righteousness, law, code of conduct, truthfulness etc. There is no one term in English which can define it.

He has justified all his logics that he had implemented in the story whether it’s giving life to Indus valley civilization, using the terms that are used in history like the name Meluha, Hariuppa. The writer has exploited the historical facts and amalgamated them into the grandeur of myths like Relationship of ancient Indian civilization with Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Human relationships are beautifully depicted in the books and by no means reduce the communication of the characters to frugal human exchange. The relationship of Sati and Shiva is an epitome of how consorts should be without generic clichés.

This story emancipates a universal principle and resonates with the times we are living in which is applicable to all yugas or time. We are witnessing several ethnical differences in our society just like the world created by Amish and he has given interesting arguments to subdue these problems. He actually asks the readers to celebrate differences and gives an insight into the worlds which has many truths. This book gave a perspective to me and allowed me to see the world sans the black and white spectacle.  It taught me to be non judgmental.

The series talks about the fact that if not checked the good will eventually turn into evil and the world will find solace in the constant change which is important to regulate the balance of the world. An idea of how we can perceive a problem and find a solution out of it.

I would like to recommend this series to bibliophiles and those who don’t like reading books then I think they should have a glance; one might get hooked to it.

P.s- I would like to thank yogita khatri for those enormous discussions we had on these books by Amish.

Glimpses of Upper Mustang, Nepal

Traveling to Upper Mustang made me realize how great Himalayas are, engulfed with so much of beauty and diversity. Every place has its own distinctiveness, in spite of sharing the same terrain.

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In mid july I left for Nepal to assist Mark Aldenderfer in his American- Nepal archaeological project in Upper Mustang. Assisting him on field was like a dream come true for me. Team consist of Tina Warnnier who taught me the basics of bones analysis, Jake Nortan and Liesl Clark gave me tips on photography and filming, Mr Everest Peter Athans gave many lessons on mountaineering,  the Nepali fellows like Jiban, Jyoti, Mohan and bhaskar who always made an effort to make me feel like home and Marion, a French scholar who became a good friend of mine, together we shared around two months working both at mustang and later at ladakh and last but not the least those two wonderful kids of peter and leisl, fynn and cleo my movie partners.

This one month that I spend at Nepal was full of excitement and adventurous experiences. from climbing a mountain in rain and getting all dirty when reached at the top, clicking archaeological pictures of the artifacts, getting lost in the streets of medieval town of Lomathang, seeing the old ruins of monasteries, a total diverse style of chortens in the area, to trekking for almost 16- 17 kms in a day, getting stuck at jomsom for 3 days and rescued by a helicopter eventually got my first helicopter ride with an amazing American pilot jimmy.  These bunch of experience had taught me a lot not just about archaeology but about life as well. That spirit of not giving up, no matter how many times you slip while climbing a mountain in rain, no matter where you get lost, no matter how tiugh it gets going, you have to keep moving.

Nepal was astonishing whether walking beside lake in pokhara or visiting the three durbar squares of kathamandu. The traditional architecture was profoundly affecting, though due to earthquake buildings were destitute but government of Nepal is trying hard to keep them safe.

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with Mark Aldenderfer

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Me with my Girlies- Marion, Liesl, Tina and Cleo

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Fynn tring to capture the view through his Drone

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The caves at such a height is a mystery in itself

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Dr. Steve treating patients, while Jake filming

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The Team

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Caravan

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The last village Samson, at Nepal china border

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The curious mind: Jake filming the local lady 

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Medieval capital Lomanthang

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Experience of first heli ride

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camping

 

Streets of Udaipur

No matter how much you roam around in this place, you’ll fall in love with this city again again.. 

This is an attempt to show a glimpse of streets of Udaipur through my view. The heritage walk took around hathi pol and city palace with my friends Nupur and Suramya. 

Shopping bags with full desi style

These beautiful paintings all around made the place more beautiful

Frames, whether it be a window or for the photos

Lighting all around and some conversation

A unique use of steel buckets, just loved the concept

Painter babu, with his creation of Shrinathji

Graffiti

Mithaiwala, can’t resist to try some local sweets

When in rajasthan you ought to buy some handicrafts stuffs

Symbol of love and dedication, meera bai

Mesmerizing Gangor ghat

My heritage walk guides, Suramya and Nupur

The clock tower

Haveli

The door with these amazing dwar pala paintings

Just can’t get enough of this place will be back soon to explore this marvelous place again. 

Carving your own space

​A girl has no home of her own, until she has her own home. By this, I mean a home that she owns, neither the one she is from nor the one she will be going to. Knowingly or unknowingly people will make you realise that you don’t belong here. So girls, it’s very necessary to be financially Independent so that you don’t need to go through all those dialogues like when are you going, why you are even here, this is my home and you have to work according to me, etc etc. I am sure some had heard even worse. 

That sense of belongingness, that sense of power and that independent feeling can never be achieved until you carve that space of your own. Why to hear such things and feel bad when you know you are capable enough to go out and stand tall among that crowd. 

Creative room of one of my friend Priyam @new delhi

And for that independence leave no stone unturned just work hard for your goals and grab them. Always remember sky is not the limit. It’s good if you have loving and caring people around for whom this stuff doesn’t matter but it will be more good if you have earned that space of urs where only you matters. No, I am not saying you to be selfish I am just saying you are worth it. 
#just a thought

Tashigang Retreat

Micheal was telling me to visit this retreat site since October, but due to shortage of time I couldn’t visit it last time. So, I made up my mind to visit it this time. On one fine day sitting in Hotel Deyszor (Kaza), I was thinking about how to go to that site as it was more then 1 hr journey from there. Then Jaywant appeared and I asked him whether he was interested to visit this site, and as expected he was ready to explore this hidden retreat site at 14440 ft ASL.

By the way i must introduce you with Jaywant, (i call him Jaywant sir though :p )he is a retired businessman from Goa who loves traveling. In 2014 he travelled solo from Kanyakumari to Lisbon in his meghdoot (his car) in 4 months. Amazing person ,isn’t he? Then a couple named Abhay and Nandini along with the owner of the hotel, Meme and Karan also joined us for this adventures trip to Tashigang retreat site.

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And we call it middle of no where picture (Nandini, Abhay, me and Jaywant. Karan and meme is missing in this picture. :p)

 

We started our journey post lunch around 3 pm and reached Tashigang around 4.45 pm. In between we had an exclusive view of kee monastery, chicham village, kibber village, and gete village with its little lake.

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That little lake at gete village (amazing color)

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Chow chow mountain (summitted just once by a Japanese)


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Horses running in front of meghdoot (yes that's what Jaywant named his car)

The way itself was so beautiful that it felt like it should never end.
horses crossing your way in between, with chow chow mountain looking at you. As if they are calling you.

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A view of Key monastery from the road

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Kibber village, from the other side of the road

We had a cup of tea at meme’s cousin’s place and after that his cousin took us to that retreat site. It was around 20 to 30 min hiking from Tashigang village. (Dnt expect it too be a very big village. Its a village of just five houses.)
While walking you will actually feel that you are in middle of no where. Its an amazing feeling to be there. On the opposite side of the ridge you will see Langza village. Both tashigang and Langza are famous for its fossils findings. And the view from there is spectacular.

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one of the encarving at the retreat site

 

After reaching the retreat site we saw two mud houses, which are used as retreat. Its an active site, monks still come for meditation. Inside the retreat one can see the well executed encarvings of Budda and Bodhisattvas.

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another encarving

 

Spending some quiet time over there we came back. Meanwhile, Karan did some running practice, its like a grassland and looks like a good camping site. It was pleasant and serene experience to visit a place like this.

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and one more image

Then we visited a lakhang (temple) in the village. It contains mesmerizing paintings of Bodhisattvas. A must visit place it is. One of a scholar at international conference on Spiti at Oxford, gave a presentation on this lakhang.

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A painting on the ceiling

Above the village one can see three lattos (the village deity). They are in red bule and white colour. Looks like as if they are guarding this village.

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Chortens (in the back lattos cab be seen)

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All 6 member 🙂

Around 7 pm we went back to kaza, in our way back we did some off road driving which was an adventures experience. Places like tashigang which are at such a height gives this kind of ample opportunities to you.

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This amazing camping ground

And a sunset like this this is a cherry on the cake. Isn’t it marvelous?

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Picture says it all