I had heard about the 25-foot Shivling, even before I had reached Ziro. With the Amarnath story still fresh in my mind this appeared too tempting to be passed without an investigation. While little kids at the Don Bosco Church just outside my hotel practiced Sunday choir, I bought emergency food of a few chocolates, and set off for in search of the Shivling.
It was hardly a search; everybody appeared to know exactly where it was and how to get to it.
6 minute read | 1115 words
As you drive on the well-maintained National Highway 52, given the volume or absence of traffic, you experience a serene calm. The assorted trees stand unruffled, kids play quietly in the verandahs, people appear to be talking softly or not at all, men sit bare-chested outside shops and seem to be doing nothing in particular. The Highway itself, as it snakes eastwards, appears to be snoozing in a riot of green – the fresh green of the paddy fields contrasts with the dark green of the banana groves, and the yet darker green-brown of the tall ‘tambul’ trees.
6 minute read | 1137 words
A two and a half hour flight followed by a one hour helicopter ride, leading on to 17 hours in a taxi, is a long way off from Delhi. And here I am sitting by a mist-covered lake at an altitude of over 4,000 meters and talking to Ling Tung Tsiring who lives here and tends to ‘Chomus’.
Click on any image to view an enlarged image gallery A ‘Chomu’ is a cross between a Yak and a bull, he tells me.
4 minute read | 722 words
It’s freezing cold when we leave Losar. The guest house chowkidar tells us the temperature at night is normally sub-zero. So, on that cheerful note, we leave behind Losar’s square white houses, their roofs trimmed with firewood, their windows framed in black paint or tar, and a satellite dish and a solar panel practically on every roof. Cut off from the rest of the world for six months of the year, when the passes freeze up, this dish is what links them to the outside world.
10 minute read | 2050 words
Spiti has been hovering in our travel consciousness for a while now. We’ve been hovering near Spiti too, but somehow we’ve never quite made it. Last year we reached as close as Kalpa, about 12 kilometres up from Rekong Peo in Kinnaur. Instead of heading further north, we had to turn back. A landslide in Malling, combined with my daughter’s clogged nose pretty much put an end to that trip. So, we came back to hot and dry Delhi, and to make up went on a quick-zip trip to Chopta, recommended by some friends who make an annual pilgrimage to the place.
11 minute read | 2252 words
Seven adults, five kids take a trek to Beas Kund, moving away from the trodden path and opting instead for a route that is spectacular, challenging, and at times, downright tricky. The oldest beyond 40; the youngest a little over 6. On our trekking holiday in Manali, we were joined by our friends, their friends, and two trekking titans. The result: a life-changing, mind-bending, muscle-opening experience that every one is just waiting to revisit.
27 minute read | 5718 words
We’re on our way to peace, quiet and stupendous views of the Himalayas in the distant hill station of Kausani in Uttaranchal. Barely an hour out of Delhi, and the cow belt hits you, literally. Ambling senior citizens, regurgitating a late munch on some roadside grass provide ample experience in zig-zag driving. Cow on the right, swing to the left; tractor approaching on the wrong side, swing to the right; pothole ahoy, bump thump, oops too late, speeding Indica zooming up to kiss its maker, and a truck, swerve to avoid being spread like jam between them.
6 minute read | 1150 words
When my son and I went to Ranthambhore I was not expecting much more than an opportunity to spend some time with my son away from TV, PC, PSP, GSM… Guess what, we encountered the big cat! Not one, but three – Mum and two of her fully grown. And, up close. So close that we could smell them. I exaggerate not! They were so close that I could not fit all three into one frame (I was using a telephoto).
1 minute read | 132 words
Gregory Colbert has traveled the world for more than a decade and photographed encounters between humans and large animals in Burma, Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, Ethiopia and Kenya. This traveling photographer’s photo exhibition is, appropriately, housed in a 56,000-square-foot nomadic museum ( see photos of the museum). Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, this temporary structure is constructed by stacking 152 steel cargo containers – the kind typically stacked on cargo ships and available all over the world in standard shape and size.
1 minute read | 156 words
A good traveler has an open mind. And if not, then good travel jolts him or her out of the habit of falling in for the stereotype and see things as they really are and not as locals in either country would have one believe.
My recent trip to Tunisia made me into a bit better traveler, or so I’d like to believe. I went in with an image of ‘Arab Africa’ accompanied with a baggage of stereotype.
2 minute read | 301 words
M iddle-age has its symptoms. In my case, I sense an old flame flaring up. My passion for travel, especially to the mountains, is getting a fresh supply of oxygen with each passing year. Every experience leaves me craving for more: a more exotic and a more adventurous fix. Best of all, instead of threatening my marital life, mountains help us spend time together away from the constantly ringing phones, endless homework, and the relentless tube.
21 minute read | 4406 words
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