Category Archives: Travel

Without Travel, we begin to unravel. Some of us can afford to go to exotic destinations while others can experience the thrill in ways that don’t require money.

Red Kidney bean flowers–Indian Himalayas

While trekking to yet another destination in the Indian Himalayas, I came upon a leafy plant with delicate white flowers. It was a whole field of red kidney bean plants. The kidney beans grown in the mountains is one of tastiest and healthiest, The plant later produces pea like pods, laden with stacks of kidney beans, which are dried and opened to get the hardened, dark red beans,IMG_4305 IMG_4306 IMG_4307

It is not difficult to imagine that anything grown in these picturesque surroundings and in the rich soil in these areas would be of the best variety. 

 


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The Great Hornbill-Nagaland, India

How can one visit Nagaland and not see the legendary Hornbill??? All we saw were pictures and sculptures that depicted this glorious bird…finally, at a secret location, we saw several of them……this one was my first………….he was the most impressive……the most captivating and fascinating bird, ever!!!


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The Simplest washroom

The North-Eastern part of India has, like most places, the richest and the poorest…in terms of material wealth. In the remote areas, it was a pleasant sight to witness the recently constructed, government-aided, free and clean washrooms. We were offered an inside look into a thatched home…..it was clean, and had a bathing area, a kitchen, tiny bedrooms, with wooden partitions and wooden beds. The huts are generally made at an elevated level on the hilly slopes. The washroom has stored water, and a window which faced into the forest over the hill. The floor was made of bamboo sticks, with gaps in between, to allow the water to drain on the slope below!!!

Luckily, there is no shortage of land in the hilly areas where running water is not present in some homes…..


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Auli- world’s highest man made lake

Auli, located at an altitude of 2500-3050 metres above sea level, is a popular skiing destination. it boasts of the world’s highest man made lake, which is used to make snow and fire it from ski guns along the ski slopes. The lake is bordered by beautiful flowers, and the location offers a panoramic view of mountains all around, including the Nanda Devi peak.

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It is a location that inspires real meditation…..the feeling of connecting to the universe….


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Flowers Bloom undisturbed

When you trek in the mountains, be sure to look at the wonders around you…the stream which comes straight from a glacier, the tiny bird that sings uninhibitedly, the clouds that smile and dance, the butterflies that romance the flowers, the tiny buds ready to bloom……the journey is even more enjoyable than the destination. You may even see all the stages in the life cycle of a flower, the tiny bud, the half opened bud, and the flower itself.

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Hoshang Shah’s Tomb -Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

The city of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh is a spectacular example of a fortress city, stated to have existed as far back as the 6th century. It is built over a hill, with a plateau on one side and a river basin on the other, offering it a strategic advantage over a potential invasion. The city is approached through stone gates, of which there are 12, built of solid large rocks with walls that are several feet thick. There are several places and palaces of interest, most of which have been protected by the Government. They are mostly labelled and have a protective fence around them, there is no entrance fee for the majority of structures that can be seen from within. The few that charge an entry fee, do so at a nominal rate of INR 5/- per person!

One of the most imposing structures was the tomb of Hoshang Shah. It is reportedly the very first marble building or the first ‘Taj Mahal’. It is an amazing piece of architecture, made of white marble, geometrically perfect. It is bordered by an intricate pattern of stone archways. There is a garden all around the tomb, the boundary walls have niches for lighting diyas. Even if you are not interested in history, the sheer beauty of the structure makes it a must see.

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This marble dome can be seen from afar, and draws you towards it.

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Ahem- one looks up at the impressive dome, and finds it inhabited by nocturnal visitors, the bats which hang upside down from the highest points!

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The symmetry is superb, it is architecturally as well as aesthetically appealing.

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The left side of the tomb has these stone archways.

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Wall of Hope—Kohima, Nagaland, India

Local artists have got together to beautify and clean up Kohima. The Wall of Hope painted by them offers hope and inspiration……as it features the ordinary who persevered to become extraordinary…..


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Miracle of Kedarnath Temple, Himalayas

The Kedarnath Temple is a temple at about 12,000 feet in the Himalayas in India. In 2013, there were massive floods and large scale destruction surrounding the temple. Miraculously, a large boulder positioned itself behind the temple and diverted the flow of turbulent water, stones and debris on either side of the temple, saving it from destruction. Every structure was destroyed for miles around the temple. The boulder stands testimony to this event,as it has not been moved. The temple has a triangular Shivling in the inner part of the temple. There is a statue of Nandi carved from stone outside the temple. Any wish by a pilgrim who visits the temple is said to be granted by Lord Shiva. The temple can be reached by a trek of about 39 kms from Gaurikund, or a 7 minute helicopter ride.

it started to snow while we were there… A frenzied collective prayer from all present resulted in instant sunshine.. If you are a believer, it was a miracle…

The helicopter ride ….

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The temple ….image

The boulder that saved the temple…

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More of the temple and ride back ..

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In the picture above, the path of destruction on either side of the temple is visible…

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Green Sapphire Butterfly-Nagaland, India

Each time I see something for the first time, I am overjoyed and think that it is the most beautiful thing (animate or inanimate) that I have ever seen!!

I wonder why we have this fascination….for the first time???? the best??? Each living being is incomparable….and the more you spend time with anything, the more amazing it is……..the fact that you are with anything or anyone for a long time means that you share precious moments with them which make you hang on for more….or is it many many first times revisited with them???? 

The Male Green Sapphire Butterfly we saw recently in the forests (several times, over a week) is breathtakingly beautiful……it posed while we literally breathed over it!!!


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Sufi/Dervish dance video

Those who have visited the Middle East have generally enjoyed the Sufi or Dervish dance, which is considered to be a form of meditation. It is achieved by getting rid of any falsehood or ego and listening to God, while spinning one body repetitively in a circular motion. It is perfected through years of hard work and focusing on the inner self. Just watching it can make you dizzy !! 

Seating for the audience around a central stage in the desert…

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Click on MVI 2898 below for the video of the Sufi dance….

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