Stranded in Tranquil Tawang!

It is quite amusing that we were kinda stranded in a way! I will get to that in a while.

Arunachal Pradesh! The place obviously sounded inviting when my friend had decided to go visit this place. After much thought and conversations in my head, I think I decided to go for it. Lately, I haven’t been feeling the urge to travel- Oh my God! Well, I will surely get back on this on my next post as it is a long story!

So yeah Arunachal!

We were kinda prepped up as travelers – as in we didn’t book any transport / stays! We intended to do it on the go!

But of course we booked the flight to Guwahati to and fro and we got the Inner Line Permit to Arunachal by applying online!

The morning flight from Bangalore to Guwahati was quite refreshing because we fellow travellers- the 3 of us had loads to talk that we ended up discussing insane topics in the flight too.

US before we boarded the flight!
US before we boarded the flight!

I think one fellow passenger was so annoyed that he sweetly retorted- “Could you please continue your conversation in the ground floor?”

We did stop our talk but we couldn’t hold our grins! 😉

We reached Guwahati well in time, thanks to Indigo!  Later we hired a taxi to the nearest bus station Dharapani and got into a tempo traveler taking us to Bhalukpong which was our pit-stop for the night.

The ride was pleasant, we traversed along the city to scenic paddy fields and the roads were lined with rhododendron trees with red-orange flowers!

Once we reached Tezpur we got onto another tempo traveller which took about an hour to reach Bhalukpong.

Bhalukpong is a small town on the border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We reached Bhalukpong around 6:30 in the evening and stayed in a good hotel close by the border. We got a chance to see the Bramhaputra river from a distance out here.

We had booked a share-taxi at the Taxi Union for our journey to Tawang the next morning.

In the North-eastern states of India, the transport works mostly through Taxis under the Taxi Union. One can hire a share-taxi to get to places for a predefined rate. This works out cheap for a traveler or a group of travelers.

So the next day morning after a quick breakfast at the roadside dhaba and quite an interesting conversation with the dhaba owner we were in the taxi to Tawang for about 6 hours!

The ride was uber awesome, obviously up the mountains. The roads were cobbled up with stones in a few areas and there was construction up the roads. After about a couple of hours, it started raining and  we crossed a series of mountains and were steadily climbing up! The roads were dusty but as we moved ahead the scenery changed to beautiful lush mountains.

We reached Bomdila at about 2-3pm. Post satiating our hunger we took to the nearby marketplace of Bomdila. We engrossed ourselves in window shopping and took to the chaats and sweets at the nearby bakery!

As we got to our stay, books, music and games kept us engaged!

It was almost 8 pm when we felt like eating but as we got out, the roads were empty and there just a streetlight flickering. With no hope of a restaurant being open, we strolled a bit and found one open restaurant. 🙂 A day in the mountains ends pretty quickly say about 6:30 pm everyone is in their warm homes!

We were looking forward to the meet the gorgeous Sela Pass at about 13000 odd feet. That got us up in the morning and after a frantic search for my ring which I thought I had lost we were in for another day of long ride up the mountains.

Lo and behold we reached there after cruising through the splendid mountain curves.

Trio at Sela, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
Trio at Sela

The sight of the Sela lake was pretty spectacular. I wanted to stay right there but all we could get were a few clicks and a momentary capture through our eyes. The biting cold and the gusty winds shoved us into the taxi in no time!

Sela Pass , Arunachal Pradesh, Shoepenlens, Shwetha Krish
Sela Pass , Arunachal Pradesh

After 2-3 hours we reached Tawang! We had booked a stay right in the center of the town and the rooms were fabulous and gave an amazing view of the mountains!

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, Shwetha KRish, ShoePenLens
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

We strolled a bit and went to the War Memorial. We were in for a visual treat as there was a movie scheduled for the evening! It was a wonderful movie about Arunachal, its culture, the people, the Army and the wars too.

After a tasty dinner at our stay, we hit the sack only to hear the roof rattling in the middle of the night. It was snowing!

The view in the morning was spectacular, the mountains around were white-washed! Our plan of crossing the Bum La pass was washed away too as the snow pile was much that the Army had barred the way!

We spent the day in visiting the Tawang monastery which is the largest in India and the second largest in the world. The monastery stands atop a mountain and one can see the scenic valley, mountains and the city of Tawang from here! The monastery also has a museum which houses various artifacts, models and pictures!

Rest of the day was spent in reading books, chatting and just about enjoying the weather!

We decided to stay for another day in the hope to visit Bum La pass. But it turned out to be yet another day with no luck as the pass was closed owing to bad weather. We were invited by a fellow guest at our hotel to tag along on a tour of monasteries. With nothing much to do we tagged along!

He turned out to be quite a intriguing person. He was an elderly gentleman who knew much about the Monasteries, the Tibetan culture and a lot about spirituality! He kept us engaged with amazing stories and his life experiences.

We got a chance to visit Urgelling monastery which is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama.

Third day in Tawang and we were happy to find that we could atleast visit a couple of lakes further up the mountains if not for the Bumla pass.

As we headed on to the beautiful vistas, we were in for a treat as we were surrounded by snow clad mountains and white pathways!

Beautiful vistas,ShwethaKrish, ShoePenLens
Beautiful vistas

Spectacular views of the lakes came into view and they looked mesmerisingly beautiful.

PT Tso, Arunachal Pradesh, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
PT Tso, Arunachal Pradesh

As we made our way to Madhuri Lake, coined that way owing to the movie ‘Koyla’ starring Madhuri Dixit which was shot in this location. The vehicle we were in skidded and got stuck in the snow. The Army men who were traveling behind in the truck helped us out. But further ahead into the snow clad mountains the vehicle was skidding and it was going to be a risky affair at the end of the day so we headed back to Tawang. But the beauty of the lakes and the short trek we managed to do while our taxi was getting repaired, was splendid!

Himalayas – they time and again woo me, intrigue me and leave me stunned! There is always something new to learn and feel within! The Soul craves for more always!

Until next time…. See ye Himalayas!

Our stay in Arunachal especially Tawang was for about 3-4 days before we headed on to Meghalaya! But the short and adventurous trip was brilliant! Well so we were partly stranded owing to Bum La Pass. Hope to get to her soon!

More on Meghalaya in my next travel post!

 

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Trek to Kheerganga in the midst of Parvati Valley

Trek to Kheerganga in the midst of Parvati Valley

It has been a year already since the gorgeous Parvati valley happened to me. Situated in Himachal Pradesh, it is one of the beautiful valleys along the mighty Himalayas!

Parvati river along the Parvati Valley, Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
Parvati river along the Parvati Valley, Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

The trip to Himachal Pradesh last year was an adventurous one in every way- a road trip across the state, stopping by the scenic woods at Dalhousie, soaking in the serenity at Parashar lake, hiking up the Dhauladhar ranges and Parvati valley with thoroughly enjoying the roar of Parvati across Kasol- ‘Amsterdam of India’, Manikaran and quaint Tosh.

The trek to Kheerganga which is at 9700 feet is a beautiful one. The trek starts from Barshaini, a small town near Manikaran in the Kullu district at a height of about 7200 feet.

The trek of 14 km starts near a hydel project at the confluence of Parvati and Tosh rivers. The trail passes through small villages and cafes.

Confluence of Parvati and Tosh rivers at Barshaini, Himachal Pradesh, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
Confluence of Parvati and Tosh rivers at Barshaini, Himachal Pradesh

The vista opens upto the gorgeous Parvati valley lined with pine trees and one can hear the roar of Parvati all along the trail.

After a lemon drink at one of the cafes we( my friend and the guide) hit the trail with a zing of energy.

A lemon drink by the Parvati valley, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
A lemon drink by the Parvati valley

As I saw the last of the villages lined with wheat fields, the trail opened up to a small clearing which happened to be the Rudranag waterfall.

Rudranag waterfall, Kheerganga trail, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
Rudranag waterfall, Kheerganga trail

A small bridge ahead paved way to a steep trail. The woods were spooky yet beautiful. After trudging up the rocky spiral trail amidst the woods which had a fairy-tale wonder to it, we had reached the famous Kheerganga.

The roar of Parvati along the Kheerganga trail, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
The roar of Parvati along the Kheerganga trail

Kheerganga, is a spectacular meadow where Shiva- the Adiyogi happened to have meditated for about 3000 years. The meadow is surrounded by lush green and snow clad mountains.

The hot springs of Kheerganga are best known for their healing properties and there are two separate hot springs area for men and women.

Hot springs at Kheerganga, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
Hot springs at Kheerganga

After a trek of about 3-4 hrs one can relax in the spring and rejuvenate oneself. The meadow is a bit commercialized with camps, cafes and stays. It could turn off any trekker looking for a tranquil space in the mountains.

The camps and stays atop Kheerganga, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
The camps and stays atop Kheerganga

After spending the night in a tent, viewing the splendid mountains, we were off to Barshaini to head to Tosh. More on Tosh at Quaint little Tosh

The view of the mountains from Kheerganga, Shwetha Krish, Shoepenlens
The view of the mountains from Kheerganga

The trail is absolutely beautiful lined with pine trees, serene captivating meadows and that makes this trek all the more worthwhile!

Yellow #AtoZchallenge

Y #AtoZChallenge

Yellow Ball of Gold- Sunrise!

Sunrise
Sunrise!

As I went about my morning walk up on the terrace of my home in Bangalore, the Sun was making it’s way up. It’s move up on the stage was so grand that I had to grab my camera and focus on its entrance.

It was a poised way up and it was utterly elegant that I had to focus on getting these above shots. I was lost in time and wonder of this spectacle.

We are always so lost in our own world that we fail to look at the beauty around, the nature is a grand spectacle and every day, every moment is brand new.

What do you think of this? Have you come across any grand spectacle of nature?

Photography #AtoZChallenge

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Passion for Photography

Though it started as a hobby, it is now my passion. I feel comfortable behind the lens more so because I am an introvert.

Where words failed, my camera spoke to the people around. And the process happened to capture many lovely moments of people and landscapes as well.

It has been a very rewarding journey in terms of meeting many wonderful people, visiting amazing places and more so the fabulous journey of being a photographer.

It is magic when amazing clicks happen at the right time and place. Himalayas have been a great haven for spellbinding clicks.

Here is my coffee table book on Himalayan landscapes with Haiku.

Can be bought on Amazon India or Blurb. Here are the links.

Buy on Amazon India

Buy on Blurb

Himalayas #AtoZChallenge

H has to be Himalayas for me!

H

They are my second love after ‘Books!’

My first experience in Himalayas was spellbinding. To stand and gaze at the mighty mountains was utterly fabulous. The mountain air evokes the soul within you and certainly come back to the plains a changed person. It is so sublime that I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

View Point 1, Goechala Pass, Sikkim with Mt. Kanchenjunga in the background
Me and Mt. Kanchenjunga in the background

Days and days pass by

My love for them stands by

It is a calling I cannot ignore

For I long for them forever more!

I have been visiting Himalayas every year now.

Well do visit Himalayas, the abode of mighty mountains and bliss!

Or have you been to Himalayas and how was your experience?

Great Smoky Mountains #AtoZChallenge

Great Smoky Mountains

One way is to trek, another is to ride up , well there is a third way – Riding in the largest aerial tramway in the United States – At Gatlinburg over Great Smoky Mountains!

G #atozchallenge blogging

Well the road ride to Tennessee was fabulous because of the valleys, the mountains and incredible views throughout the way.

Gatlinburg, the mountain resort city has numerous places to visit, enjoy and of course ring in with the rustic mountain ambience throughout. More on Gatlinburg in another post.

Great Smoky Mountains, USA
The Great Smoky Mountain ranges

Great Smoky Mountains are part of the Blue ridge mountains on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The popular Appalachian trail passes through the center of the park. The ranges are at an altitude of about 6ooo feet and above.

Well as we headed up the aerial tramway, the joy of seeing the mountains below us was fantastic. It was the thrill of hovering over mountain ranges and seeing the Smoky mountain ranges all around us. The ride was quite adventurous when the tramway headed down and we had the entire crowd inside the tramway yelling on top of  their voices.

Aerial Tramway Great Smoky Mountains, USA
Aerial Tramway, Great Smoky Mountains

Well for me a trekker, a hiking enthusiast this was a different wonderful way of seeing the mountains and enjoying the ride with fellow travellers.

Dalhousie #AtoZChallenge

Dalhousie – A poet’s paradise

D #atozchallenge blogging

Well it is the D-day. And all I can think of for today’s challenge is Dalhousie.

I can’t forget this beautiful hill station nestled in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, India.

By the Dalhousie Woods on a rainy evening
By the Dalhousie woods on a rainy evening

I spent my Birthday week last year at this place. The monsoons in July made it all the more beautiful. Lush landscapes, rolling hills, hot food and the misty woods made it all the more lovely.

Lush landscape, woods at Dalhousie
Lush landscape, woods at Dalhousie

It is located in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of the Himalayas at an altitude of 6000 to 9000 feet above sea-level. The ride through Dalhousie kept me on my toes as I wished that I would make a home in the woods…. Well the dream stays…

Misty Roads, Dalhousie
Misty Roads, Dalhousie

Cubbon Park #AtoZChallenge

C #atozblogging challenge

Cubbon Park is one prominent landmark in Bangalore city. Covering an area of 300 acres, it houses many public buildings and large variety of flora. It has beautiful trees, walking paths, children play area and beautiful gardens and recreational spaces.

Walking paths in Cubbon Park3
Walking paths in Cubbon Park

A fine Sunday afternoon got me capturing a few glimpses of the park…. I was mesmerized by the play of light on the gigantic trees.

This place is a haven for Photographers, Pet Lovers, Acrobats on SlackLining, Musicians, Joggers, Yoga Enthusiasts and just about anyone who loves nature.

An Art Escapade: NGMA Bangalore

Manikyavelu Mansion- An Art in itself

A white colonial style building caught my eye as I entered the vicinity of National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore. Nestled in a quiet corner in the city on the Palace Road, this place evokes Art!

DSC02744

As I walked across the pathway, it was a sight to see huge old trees decorating the Manikyavelu Mansion which houses the gallery and lush green lawns exuding an air of warmth and elegance. The lawns are decorated with Abstract Art Stone structures which is a food for thought for any passers-by!

A short trip to the Cafe and a peek at the books and paintings in the Reception, I was all set to enter the Gallery.

The Thought Provoking Exhibits

Though Venkatappa Art Gallery houses the works of the Artist Venkatappa, The NGMA Gallery houses artwork of his teacher Abanindranath Tagore. Along with the works of other Tagore stalwarts Gagenadranath and Rabindranath. The Gallery has fabulous paintings from various artists across the country and works from the 18th Century to the present. It is a great sight to see Award-winning Paintings and Artworks, only to rack one’s brains of the thought and idea behind the piece. One can simple gaze for hours at the mesmerizing works of Raja Ravi Varma, M.F. Hussain, Amrita Shergil and other renowned artists. As you walk through the two-storeyed mansion which includes the old and modern Art pieces, the place speaks to the Artist in you.

The huge quaint rooms, the airy decorated halls, wood laden floors, windows that open to a view of the garden, the passages that evoke creativity, well it is truly an Art in itself!

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There are various events and exhibitions happening at this place throughout the year.

The current gallery houses the paintings and work of A.A. Almelkar : Inspiration and Impact

So if you are a Art lover/ Aficionado drop in at NGMA, Bangalore and have an Artsome time.

The place is on Manikyavelu Mansion, Palace Road, Bangalore.

Check out for the timings, events and exhibitions at their website: NGMA Bangalore