Leh'ed Again (contd)

After spending 2 days acclimatizing in Leh town, on the third day of our trip, we decided to go to Alchi, a thousand years old monastery in the north of Leh. It's about 2 hours drive away from Leh, with many other attractions on the way, including Hall of fame (a museum), Magnetic Hill and the confluence of Zanskar and Indus river - a beautiful site. Hall of fame came first. It's a nice museum with lot of exciting stuff like arms captured from the Pakistani army during Kargil war and the picture of a soldier launching a shell to the other side of the border with "From Raveena Tandon to Nawaj Sharif, with Love" written on it :) Next on the way was Magnetic Hill which we skipped for the later. We were going by Indus river all the time and soon we were at the confluence of two major rivers of the region - Zanskar river and Indus river. It's a beautiful site actually. Zanskar meets Indus almost perpendicularly. Difference in the color of two rivers is so obvious

Leh'ed Again

Finally I made it to Leh again. This time with Disha. It was my third time in last 4 years. I could not go last year because I was busy doing other things e.g. my engagement and marriage :) This year also I was almost about to miss it - first already quite a bit of holidaying - New York in May and home in July, and then cloud burst in Leh on Aug 6 which caused lot of devastation there. But then somehow I managed to get in touch with Dawa (a friend in Leh) and came to know that things were really fine in Leh. That was very relieving and encouraging. I decided to not let it go this time, and booked our air tickets for Leh for the last week of September, just before our marriage anniversary :) Disha was super excited when she saw Himalayas from the top, in our Delhi to Leh flight. It's an amazing sight actually. Mountains feel so close, and then you realize some of these peaks are 7k+ meters high, which doesn't leave a lot of gap if your plane is flying at around 9-10k meters al

Comfort and Bliss, In the lap of Himalayas

I've got to write about our honeymoon trip in October last year. This place was so amazing that not writing about is outright unfair. But, writing about the honeymoon trip can be very difficult, as you can imagine :) We went to this very beautiful resort, Kalmatia Sangam Himalaya Resort or just Kalmatia , perched on a mountain in Himalayas, at least 10 kms from any town or village and 100s of kms away from any metro. There were just about a dozen cottages there with no swimming pool, no tvs in the cottages and no multi-cuisine restaurants nearby - all the features to keep cities' clubbing noise loving crowd away. Mornings in Kalmatia Kalmatia resort and the estate surrounding it are owned and managed by a couple - Dieter Reeb (a german photographer) and Geeta Reeb - who live here for the love of the valley and the mountains. No rich Delhiite running a business remotely to milk the tourists. I guess that makes lot of difference. You can see and feel the passion and love tha

Trip to Ireland

It's been long, very long, since I last wrote. Not that I didn't have anything to write about. I was just being lazy. In fact there are quite a few things that I should write about - trip to Ireland, honeymoon trip to Himalayas, some other random topics. Well, I'll start with trip to Ireland. That's where I was when I wrote the last post. I went to Dublin in Aug. Not particularly good or bad time to go, as weather in Dublin is not anyway something to write home about. It's either cloudy or raining. I think that's the reason most of the Dubliners hit the bar pretty much every evening :-) Being in Dublin, and being the comrade that I am :), I had to do the same. There were lots of good moments shared with the colleagues including drinking wine till 4 in the morning and then going straight to the airport for flight back home. But, highlight of the trip was a weekend excursion to Glendalaugh, a historical town in Wicklow county in Ireland. I went alone. Yes, I c

Liberating Feelings

When I felt that there was nothing else to do and life was complete. I can only remember 2 instance now (those also recent) when it really happened to me: 1 - when I was in Badrinath temple last year and 2 - when I said 'I love you' to my girl :) Why did I feel like that in Badrinath. I don't know. There was something special in that space, in that time. The whole atmosphere was full of energy and that energy filled me. I felt kind of dissolved into the surroundings. I felt that 'this is it'. This is what we come to live for. Humm. Amazing feeling it was. As you might be tempted to think so, let me make it clear that I am not a mindlessly religious person. I believe in certain ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism, but I don't follow anything mindlessly. Now the second instance. Feeling liberated after saying probably the most abused sentence of the whole english language? Yeah. For me, it was accepting the fact that I loved someone. It had never happened to me be

valley of flowers: part VIII

Day 7, Fri Aug 29, 2008: The day had come to start our journey back to the noisy and polluted city life. We visited the temple again that morning. Morning experience was completely different from the evening experience. There were very few people. We could do darshan easily -- without any push from anyone. It was all great, but we still relished our evening visits more. I think evenings provided kind of coziness and isolation from the rest of the world. After checking out from the hotel, we went to the bus station to catch a bus going 'down' (to low lands). The buses, or rather timings of the buses, on Badrinath-Joshimath route are controlled by a concept called gates. Authorities on both sides coordinate with each other and let buses go only at specific times. I heard from someone that it's to ensure that there is not much traffic on the single lane road between Joshimath and Badrinath at any point of time, but that hardly seems to be the case now. It has become a way fo

valley of flowers: part VII

I think, it's the time to finish the VoF series. In my previous post , we were sleeping in Badrinath, at the end of Day 5 of our journey. Badrinath was a 'Rivendell' for us, a place to relax and rejuvenate. The dawn of Day 6 (Thursday Aug 28, 2008) brought us a pleasant morning. Though we got up early, we started the day at a slow pace. Only thing on agenda that day was a 3 km walk to Mana, a border village. In earlier days, when Tibet was not taken by China, Mana village was a much used gateway to Tibet. Now it is a closed border. Walk to Mana was pretty cool. A plane road along Alaknanda, the river that had been with us all along. In fact after doing trekking in last 4 days, it felt pretty much like how you feel when you read Harry Potter after reading Moby Dick. After a nice and easy walk of 35 min, we reached Mana. It was a small village - very few houses, populated mostly by people of Indo-Mongolian origin. We interacted with few kids there who were selling some medic