Monthly Archives: September 2015

Wonderful Women of the Himalayas

I use the term ‘Indian Himalayas’ because I have visited a part of the Indian Himalayan range of mountains. My experience and pictures are specifically from the Indian side of the Himalayas. I have often seen women carrying a large load of leaves and vegetation in specially shaped large woven baskets, which are anchored to their backs. They use a sickle to slice through the grass. The grass is later dried on the rooftops of homes and used to feed cattle in the winters, when fodder is scarce. They sprinkle water on the dried grass and feed the cattle. it is a 3-step heave-ho for a lady to arise from the ground with the heavy burden on her back. Each lady supposedly carries twice her body weight!!! Salute to the ladies who work hard to feed their family and cattle.

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Mauve magic flowers

IMG_4946The flowers that grow in the wild in high altitude areas in the Indian Himalayas are eye catching and make one smile. They grow in clusters, often during the spring and summer months. All colours, shapes and sizes of flowers are seen strewn over the mountains. It is essential to walk or trek up in the mountains to enjoy the flora and fauna.  IMG_4908

 

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Violet Trumpet flower has Psychedelic LSA

The violet trumpet flower has a brilliant violet colour due to the anthocyanins. The seeds contain a psychedlic substance called d-lysergic acid amide (LSA) which is similar to LSD.  It is a flower native to Mexico or Central America, which we have seen in great abundance in the Indian Himalayas. 

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Instant ice-cream


An ice-cream which is instantly created to your taste within a minute ? That is delicious and unique ? It is a reality !!! You can select from a variety of flavours and the end product is magical … Liquid nitrogen is used, which adds to the taste and charm of the ice-cream. A syringe with chocolate flavor is provided which can be injected at will . All in all, a great experience . image image image image image image


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Veronica Red flowers–Himalayas

Bright red stalks moving gently in the breeze with butterflies hovering around them. surely one has to stop and gaze at the flowers growing wild in the Himalayas. Supposedly native to America, they grow in abundance along the mountain paths, in and around the high altitude Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, near Ghangaria village. A detailed and extensive blog on this unique valley will follow….

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Himalayan Apples fresh off the trees

Red, green and golden….Himalayan apples are tastiest and healthiest when eaten fresh off a tree!!!

The people in the mountains do not use insecticides or pesticides when they grow apples or any other fruit or vegetable. As a result, the product is slightly smaller and not as even or regular as the sprayed variety, but much healthier and tastier. On a trek up a mountain, we saw apples being plucked and bought 5 kilograms ( we had to carry them a long way). Each kilogram cost a mere INR 25/- each or 0.40 US D. In the picture below you can see a lady on an apple tree, plucking the fruit.

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On our dining table….the fruits of someone else’s labour taste sweetest….

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Himalayan trek to Bhavishya Badri

The trek to the Bhavishya Badri Temple or the Future Badrinath Temple is a 14 km trek which takes you 3,000 feet higher than the starting point near Joshimath. It is strenuous but thoroughly enjoyable due to the panoramic scenic beauty throughout the trek. This is apparently on the path of the ancient trek to Mansarovar Lake and Kailash mountain.

The temple at the end of the trek is in an isolated location within a beautiful forest of tall trees around it. A single priest lives there, who explains in detail that one day the present Badrinath Temple near Mana village in the Himalayas will be obliterated by the union of the two mountains behind it and in front of the temple. This will happen when the deity in the Narsingh Temple in Joshimath will lose it’s right arm ( it has been thinning over a period of time and is as thin as a hair now). The two mountains which will merge are called Nar and Narayan. Whenever this takes place, the Badrinath temple will be shifted to the Bhavishya or Future Badrinath temple. The path to the temple is through fields of crops and villages and thorny bushes to the temple at a high altitude location. The trek is well worth it, though the path back to base is steep and treacherous (like most treks in the mountains!!). The trek began with school children waylaying me and interrogating me, saying ‘it’s too tough, you can not come back today!’.

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Off we go….

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The winding uphill path leads through a couple of villages…

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Finally a signboard to encourage us…

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catching a breath…of fresh air

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It did not seem like anyone had been through here, there were thorny bushes along this stretch…

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My son and I in the lap of nature…

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Finally after hours of s steep uphill slope…the temple ….

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Refreshed, rejuvenated…

A special prayer session for us …..the idol has appeared here on it’s own…. IMG_4395

Back ….the path down is way steeper and tougher….but beautiful.

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Grateful for this opportunity…..


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Highest Laxman Temple and Gurdwara in the world

The best way to reach the village of Ghangaria in the Himalayas is a 5 minute helicopter ride from Joshimath. A trek of 17.75 kms to and fro takes you to the Laxman temple and gurdwara Hemkund Sahab from the helipad in Ghangaria.

You  gain an altitude of 4,100 feet from 10, 200 feet above sea level.

Not a trek for the faint hearted or unfit……on the day we went, all the other people were on ponies, we were told by them as they trotted past us…’take a pony, it’s really tough to walk up there’.

We had booked ponies which followed us up and down again while we walked on foot. They were useful as they carried water and food and other essentials for us.

The trek is well defined, though in places landslides and ongoing repair have caused it to become  little treacherous and slippery. The view is breathtaking throughout.

The Laxman temple was there much before Hemkund Sahab was constructed there. Laxman had meditated in the pond which was called the Lokpal Laxman Kund. His footprint is visible there even today.

This is what the trek looks like….

 

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The Laxman temple……

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The trek around the kund to the Laxman footprint….

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Above the coin, a large footprint is seen…

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Hemkund Sahab…with the Laxman temple to the right…

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The path was more slippery on the way down due to the rain and fog…

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The trek and the spiritual experience is worth every aching joint…..it’s a wonderful feeling to complete it by foot.


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Pink Autos for women’s safety

Following the brutal attacks on women , the Indian government has begun a service of pink auto rickshaws that run exclusively for women . They are being operated by women and cater for women travelers only. However we see men driving them, probably enough women are not trained yet to drive them. Hopefully in the near future there will be more of them to enhance the safety of women traveling on their own. There are police stations which are meant for women and are being run by women . There is hope .. And that is the start of a new era. Instead of relying solely on the government to protect women, we can ..

report crimes

try to intervene

avoid being an assaulter

teach our kids to respect women

in the picture below, a man is driving but his wife and small child are sitting alongside since he got the auto in her name .. She is learning and planning to take over from him .

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Rest-u-rent????

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