An Encounter with Magical Beauty

It’s going to be a month since I returned from Leh- Ladakh. When I was moving along those amazing terrains of the mountains, the stories and literary lines were building themselves. The moment our flight entered the zone of the giant mountains, till the second we moved out of it, everything was picturesque.  It’s true that beauty extracts the writer out of you.  I thought that I won’t be able to write much about it since it’s almost a month now. But, still, when I close my eyes, the beauty of the mountain, cloud, desert, land, and river unfold itself. A single land holding every asset of the nature; mountain, river, desert, and greenery. The jewel of this scenic beauty is the enchanting play of the colors of the clouds. The crystal-clear clouds made the vision exotic. From the deserts of the Nubra valley, the confluence of the Zanskar and the Indus to Pangong & Tsumoriri lake, every piece of the natural heritage seemed a blessing to the eyes.

I had never seen the more magnificent version of the Himalayan mountains than the various ranges over here in Leh- Ladakh. The pattern of the colors of the mountains, changing from Grey to red, to green at some places. It felt that somebody had painted on a canvas, to get the correct color contrast of a scenery. Indeed, it was the perfect canvas created by God himself.

We drove from Leh- Nubra – Leh – Pangong – Tsumoriri, the entire journey accompanied by the Himalayan ranges. The charismatic confluence of the Zanskar and the Indus, where the shining blue water of the Zanskar and the dirt green water of the Indus distinguish themselves very explicitly.               I remember, our camera and phones were constantly full in memory because we were not having the option to delete any of the captures. We were amazed that suddenly we turned into extraordinary photographers. But obviously, it was the muse, not the photographer, who was brilliant.

Once you land before a beauty, you also learn the skill to appreciate it and admire it. The luminous blue waters of Pangong and Tsumoriri gave the mirror image of the mountains and clouds in its vast space; perfect mirror image. Pangong lake at 4 pm was treasure to the eyes. ‘Blue ‘, everything was blue till one could stretch eyes. I feel blessed when I get the opportunity to encounter such visions that leaves me speechless.  Perhaps, speechless beauty is the reason that it is situated high up in the Himalayas which is not easy under normal reach. You have to endure a little bit of pain and strength to survive the twist and turns of roads to get here, but I guess that is the thrill. And off course every good thing comes with a price.

Monasteries add divine touch to the land of Leh-Ladakh. You can always find monasteries at some distances, which can be easily recognized by their peculiar tombs.  Prayer flags and wheels all over the mountains make you relate to the traveler magazines where we find such captures.

It is said that People belonging to the mountains are simple and clear at heart and yes they were. Their simplicity and innocence were evident in their hospitality of the travelers. They deserve the clean and pious beauty of the place. God has chosen these people to preserve the natural heritage and keep all the destructions aside which emerge out of the human desires.

There are countless feelings but everything which can be written about this land is less to justify the varied feelings which you experience after moving along these terrains. When you encounter something which is mesmerizing , then you are also lack of words to compliment it. Such is the magic of this land upon me.TsumoririThe travellersPangong lakeNubraMagnetic hillMagnetic hill roadIMG_20170830_155119IMG_20170828_154915IMG_20170827_160351IMG_20170827_160005IMG_20170827_155935IMG_20170827_155932IMG_20170827_115615IMG_20170827_080511IMG_20170826_182727IMG_20170826_182426IMG_20170729_012306 (1)IMG_1330IMG_1325IMG_1297IMG_1258IMG_1169IMG_116721314713_1433396373364572_6203309232235873630_n

 

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Bridges ——-A Different approach to experience

Bridge – an epitome of  connection, which in itself defines beauty. However, I never wondered about it philosophically , it never seemed to be more than a marvelous construction. Living in India , I have seen some of the stunning constructions among them . Worli Sea Link is one among those stunners.  It has always been a means of fast transportation , so I could admire the fantastic technology behind the construction of cable-stayed bridge connecting Western Suburbs to Mumbai’s main business center.    But you have to stay at a place for a while , to connect to the soul. And this connection I felt for “Henderson wave bridge” in Singapore . This could be attributed for several reasons. One and foremost reason is that I was already connected to this place because this is one of the favorite destinations of my best friend, secondly minutes of walk along the waves of the construction with cool breeze will make you surrender. Far from the bright lights of the city of Singapore lies the highest pedestrian bridge of the Country.  Very true to its name, the bride mimics the shape of waves and surrounded by lush green forests. There are  shell-like niches where pedestrians can sit and capture the beauty of the surroundings. Hours could be spent on this bridge enjoying the panoramic  view of the city. I believe it gives big solace to people who want to experience a different side of the  technology-ready nation. And then, rest all is to do is to stay at the place for a while to connect to it and wait for its magic that will calm you down…..……via Photo Challenge: Bridge

 

LET THE BEAUTY OF VALLEY BE SPOTLESS

Ever since I visited this land, it feels that whatever has been written or described about this land is not sufficient to justify the cosmic beauty of Valley of Kashmir. War over the geographical boundaries could not destroy the blessed beauty of nature. Moving through the valley seems like moving through the path which is covered by snow laden mountains all around the corners. View of Himalayan mountains and the constant companionship of river Jhelum would never leave anyone alone. Sometimes humming and sometimes roaring, but the presence of Jhelum would always be there. Leaves of Chinar are as fascinating to watch as it always feels while reading about them in the books.  For me, it is like unfolding the pages from my books. I wish I could have also seen the apples in the apple valley, white flowers have covered the entire orchards. It is so exciting to imagine the presence of apples in those orchards, just in a few months. And there is not one or two orchards, but there is valley called apple valley while going to Pahalgam. While driving through the valley, I feel that those perfect paintings and photographs in the books and websites are part of my vision too.

Tulips, I have seen them alive for the first time in my life and I fall in love with them. Massive collection of Tulips in almost every color I can imagine it to be, are there. There are rows after rows dedicated to different colors of Tulips. Forget the colors, there are also contrast in the color combinations of these flowers. When you follow the end of these tulip’s rows, your eyes would meet the clouds almost dropping down from the mountains. When you follow these clouds, you would meet the snow-covered zenith of Himalayan ranges. That’s like a never-ending process, seems like treasure to the eyes and peace to the mind. But above all, solace to the soul comes from the warm approach and hospitality of the local people. In a true sense, they treat their guests as their God, as per our own tradition. They are delighted to receive you as their guests. I stayed with a local family for few days I spent in Kashmir and I would never forget the honor and happiness which they expressed by making me as a part of them for those days. Geographical boundaries have not succeeded to create any marking or boundary in the thoughts of normal people who want to be the part of normal lives.

History and future, both the aspects of this valley are soulful. War over geographical boundaries have injured the lives of normal people. Kashmir is said to be heaven on Earth and off course the natural blessings to this land is divine which is even difficult to document. But the common civilians who want to be the part of common lives shall never be judged and given the opportunity to be the part of them. It is dreadful to live in an environment that is constantly under the rage of fire. Paradise on the Earth cannot be remained as paradise until or unless the population of beautiful human beings living under the roof of Himalayas start living like any other human being in different part of the same country. Then I guess that this saying would be true in real sense “People call it heaven; we call it home “IMG_20170423_161109-1IMG_20170423_144515IMG_20170423_121818IMG_1216IMG_20170422_125334_HDRIMG_20170423_132841IMG_20170422_142727IMG_20170423_142942IMG_20170422_104757IMG_20170422_182439IMG_20170422_121300_HDRIMG_20170422_120240_HDRIMG_20170422_120240_HDRIMG_1219

Bhutan – Journey towards Peace and Happiness

Every land has its own tale. It has its own aroma and freshness. Bhutan is one such land that has the taste of happiness and peace along with serene calmness of nature. And certainly this is the attraction of this beautiful Country which can’t be left unnoticed.  Another attraction is the peculiar culture and tradition of the country that can be felt in almost everything; be it the chanting of the lamas in the monasteries, prayer flags all over the land, traditional clothing of men and women or even the exclusive architecture of the country.

The Journey started with Phuntsholing and marked across Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and Wangadu.  And every land has its own distinguish identity; Phuntsholing and Paro are subtle towns reflecting the preserved heritage; be it in terms of culture of the city or the architecture . Whereas, Thimpu being the capital city has the bit of modernity thrown in but still holding the essence of original Bhutanese identity. Punakha holds the peace and serene feeling of a Hill – Station. But no matter where ever the feet move, journey is always accompanied by the beauty of the pink flowers of cherry trees, positive vibes of the prayer flags, recitation of mantras with the rotation of prayer wheel and off courses the beautiful traditional cottages over vast stretches of hilly land. The pleasing beauty gets further amplified with the flow of rivers along the hills.

Tale of Bhutan is untold and inexperienced in absence of Trek to Tiger’s Nest.  Dedicated to the devotion and belief of the country to its King Rinpoche, Tiger’s Nest is a Monastery situated at a height of about 3000 ft. above the Paro Valley.  Legends are associated with the monastery that  King Rinpoche destroyed the devil and negativity and protected the country from evil at this holy place. So, local people always trek to this prominent Himalayan monastery in their traditional clothing Gho (Men) and Kira (Women) in order to pay respect to the sacred land.  Although it’s high up in the mountains, but one can never get over with the prayer flags and so its blessings.

Among several memories, the royalty of the kingdom can be experienced at the Palace visit and the amazing Flag down ceremony. It’s always special to feel the patriotic touch; no matter you are in a different country.

Celebration of Tsechu festival with the performance of Cham dance is also something which should be seen in order to make the image of Bhutanese culture memorable .  Costumed and masked dances depicting the legendary tale associated with Guru Padmasambhava are definitely to be captured to understand the glory of Bhutanese culture.

There are several places with their own significance either the gigantic Buddha Dordenma in the mountains of Thimpu or Chime Lhakhang at Punakha district known for its founder  Lama Kunley “ Divine Madman” and his unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism and outrageous behavior.   But the reflection of cultural heritage of the country is quite evident in almost everything. And it is very pleasing to the eyes and good to find that the land is still holding its distinguished identity and grooming it constantly.

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108 Stupas (chortens) at Dochula Pass
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The Paro Tsechu Festival

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Border of Bhutan and India at Phuntsholing
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Stupas – Symbol of Divinity and Prayer
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Prayer Flags

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Chhuzom -Bhutanese, Tibetan and Nepali stupas at the confluence of Paro Chhu and Wong Chhu rivers
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Royal palace under the preparation of Flag Down ceremony
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Cherry Blossom
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The sacred Tiger’s Nest
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Blessings of  Prayer flags
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Prayer Wheel
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Buddha Dordenma at Thimpu

 

Rejuvenation : Few days along the serene coastline…

The less explored beaches of Konkan, Maharastra , beautiful greenery over vast stretches of land and magnificent forts; everything for an Art and peace loving soul.
One might have seen many beaches but the real beauty of these beaches lie in the transparency of water and serenity of the air around them. View of sunset on the edge of beach is one of the most blissful moment for any person and off course to me. Its a complete masterpiece , the way nature transforms its beauty around us during sunset. One can feel the breath in these less crowded and unexploited piece of land.
Beaches offer soulful experience and the remains of magnificent forts of Konkan instill pride and honor in our history. I was really fascinated by the brilliance , energy , dedication and hard work invested to build these giant structures. Although only remains are left , majority of them are damaged but still the history behind these can’t be remain untold. Every structure that has been designed is done with a motive and purpose . And its truly amazing to learn those facts which are taken care while creating these masterpieces of architecture. Most of them belong to the era of Pre-independence so one can’t be left untouched with the tale of the Warriors. And really, that’s when one feels the heroic as well as tragic history behind the freedom of this country.
The more one enters into the depth of these regions , the more traditional and beautiful it turn. Old fashioned homes with mud flooring are rare site in cities these days. Moreover the innocent and pleasant behavior of villagers adds to its beauty and peaceful environment.  But the journey will remain incomplete until or unless one doesn’t tastes the rich and mouthwatering Malvani food. It has its own peculiar aroma and taste derived from coastal influence.
My 6 day visit to Konkan left me with these blissful experiences and memories and its completely worth to take break from the hustle and bustle of cities and spend few days along the coastline.

FEW DAYS IN THE LAP OF HIMALAYAS…

Nothing is as mesmerizing and majestic as the long and vast stretches of Himalayas…One week under the vast and open roof of mountains, without any protection and safety of walls, doors and locks. Its soothing  when we really feel every breathe, far away from the noise of metro life. “Good Morning” feels worth when eyes are opened to engulf the maximum possible beauty of our mother nature.
Every sleepless  night spent under the snow clad mountains and every tiresome feet towards those heights seems meaningless when the height is conquered and at the summit its only you , who is the conqueror and has the chance to helplessly fall in love with the mountains.

 

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” God’s own Country”…….

God’s own country, they call it.. And indeed it was! Beautiful land with extremely calm and composed people. The presence of those innocent smiles cannot be ignored,  ever so welcoming to a stranger on the land.

It was a long cherished desire to breathe the air of the state and yes, it was fresh and so pure. Being there for a week was a completely different experience,  yet familiar. No matter whether language was known or unknown,  a help was never denied. Some were able to express themselves and extended their support; those who were unable to express, took the help of others to help out. Amidst them, the realization occurred. That mishappening can occur anywhere and with anybody, but definitely our country is not as worse as we think.

Nature can be seen and felt in its divine form in Kerela. So it didn’t  matter what places you visit or what places you did, the only thing that you felt everywhere was the presence of serenity. Nature has always knocked me out with the beauty of its variations; hills and mountains add thrill and excitement, but the beauty of  Kerala hold you by your feet, soaks into your breath and relieves all the restlessness from your soul.

Different places, their wonderful history, architecture, and legends; everything is a matter of quest for a traveler. But sometimes the strange feeling of an unknown familiarity and stability in an unknown place, where people hardly understand your language, outshines all the upheavals and finally leave you with an awesome and amazing experience. Simplicity and grace are the USP of this beautiful land. Clean beaches, splendid architecture,  effortless beauty of nature which can never be left unnoticed, magical landscape and dissolution of Ayurveda in the soul; each one of them complements the soothing nature of God’s own country.

“Land of spices” or ” Land of Coconuts” or ” Land of Elephants”, whatever they call it but the feel of divine touch will remain as a bliss once who touches the charming land.