JOURNEYS & STORIES

BHUTAN - Feeling Festive in Phobjikha

Dec 22, 2016
BHUTAN - Feeling Festive in Phobjikha

We visited Phobjikha during the Black Necked Crane Festival. This festival is one-of-a-kind because it is celebrated to honor the Black Necked Crane and promote the conservation of this endangered species. These birds migrate to the Phobjikha plateau and the locals organize a festival to welcome them.
BHUTAN - Nurturing Nature

Dec 21, 2016
BHUTAN - Nurturing Nature

At Bumthang, we visited a monastery known for its conservation effort for the Himalayan Monal. The Himalayan Monal is hunted for its meat and colorful feathers. However, these monks are dedicated to protecting the Monals from poachers. I realized that the Bhutanese had an innate consciousness about the conservation of wildlife.
BHUTAN - A Bird’s Eye View at Punakha

Dec 20, 2016
BHUTAN - A Bird’s Eye View at Punakha

Bhutan allows travelers to explore the wonderful world of birding. Birding as a hobby requires patience, curiosity and the ability to be completely silent. At Punakha while tracking the White Bellied Heron, we had an extensive exercise of being still and quiet.
BHUTAN - A Lesson in Aesthetics and Discipline

Dec 18, 2016
BHUTAN - A Lesson in Aesthetics and Discipline

What took me by surprise is that people were naturally inclined to follow these rules and make a collective effort towards protecting their environment. Perhaps this is why it is frequently said that Bhutan has the highest gross domestic happiness.
NEPAL - Women of the Himalayas

Nov 26, 2016
NEPAL - Women of the Himalayas

An incredible aspect about the Himalayas is that the women of this part of the world are strong leaders in the community. I interacted with a Russian doctor named Valentina and Annie Cheung, a monk, who are doing commendable social work to ensure a better future for the Himalayan region.
KATHMANDU - Hanging in the Himalayan Wind

Nov 25, 2016
KATHMANDU - Hanging in the Himalayan Wind

I held on to a glider that was tied securely to an aircraft. Once the plane was in the air, the rope was unfastened. I watched the plane fly away, knowing that the only thing keeping me in the air was the strong wind of the Himalayas.
KATHMANDU - Everyday Heroes of the Himalayan Kingdom

Nov 23, 2016
KATHMANDU - Everyday Heroes of the Himalayan Kingdom

In Kathmandu, we visited an ancient mountain cave with a sixteen-year-old guide named Kong. This cave was home to a large family of bats. They hung upside down, perfectly still, as we walked past them. They were not perturbed by the human presence at all.
ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP - Up, Up, And Away

Nov 21, 2016
ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP - Up, Up, And Away

Our pilot mentioned that on the day of the Nepal earthquake, he had been flying over the Annapurna. When disaster struck, he noticed clouds of black dust rising from the earth. He said for the first time he felt a hint of fear from being around the mountains.
POKHARA - Making a Splash in River Trishuli

Nov 20, 2016
POKHARA - Making a Splash in River Trishuli

After the devastating earthquake of 2015, the Nepalese economy was in dire straits. Instead of depending on foreign aid to solve their problems, the youth mobilized themselves by thinking out of the box. They came up with innovative ways to earn money through tourism.
NEPAL - The Circle of Life at Pashupatinath

Nov 17, 2016
NEPAL - The Circle of Life at Pashupatinath

The Pashupatinath Temple is an architectural wonder. The temple dates back to the 5th-century B.C.E and the Nepalese Government has attempted to maintain the original architecture of this structure. The temple itself is divided
NEPAL - A Kaleidoscope of Colors and People

Nov 16, 2016
NEPAL - A Kaleidoscope of Colors and People

Our expedition to Nepal was packed with thrills. Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is a bustling hub for mountaineers seeking to summit the numerous Himalayan peaks.
CHECHING - The Bridge to Neverland

Jul 16, 2016
CHECHING - The Bridge to Neverland

Dhritiman yelled that the person working the ropeway was resting his arm. As I hung over the gorge, completely petrified, I understood what a bold move this was for the villagers of Cheching. It takes a lot of courage to get used to such hardship in everyday life.
DHANKAR - A Touch of Kindness

Jul 09, 2016
DHANKAR - A Touch of Kindness

The Dalai Lama had decided that monasteries had to do more than offer religious insight. Thus he allocated a variety of duties to the monks in order to help people in various spheres of life.
TABO - Mingling with Monks

Jul 07, 2016
TABO - Mingling with Monks

The origin of most monasteries is high altitude mountain caves. Initially, those pursuing monkhood would climb to these caves for the tranquil atmosphere. Later, these caves were converted into the rooms of a monastery.
HIKKIM - Letters from the Unknown

Jul 05, 2016
HIKKIM - Letters from the Unknown

Our first introduction to the realm of Himachal Pradesh was in a quaint settlement called Hikkim. This Himalayan hamlet is a small community of only 25 houses located at 16,000 feet.
JIM CORBETT: Walking on the Wild Side

Jun 23, 2016
JIM CORBETT: Walking on the Wild Side

The tigress continued to advance and our driver kept moving in reverse. We were caught in this unusual tango for half a kilometre. Suddenly the tigress walked past our jeep and towards a fresh water lake nearby. We watched her drink and then saunter off into the woods. Even after this regal creature had left our presence, I could feel my heart pounding.
What is it About the Music of the Himalayas?

Jun 02, 2016
What is it About the Music of the Himalayas?

The music from the Himalayas have a pentatonic structure and also includes duotones and monotone. Since mountainous terrains are sparsely populated, this structure has not evolved much. For generations, people have adhered to this five note structure, since they did not have the exposure to the music prevalent in the plains. Thus the number of notes in hill music is always limited.
Music in the Mountains

Jun 01, 2016
Music in the Mountains

Mountains have always been an integral part of my musical journey. Though music and the mountains are two apparently disparate elements, for me, they have an everlasting bond. I believe music resonates through the deep crevices and green valleys of the mountains for anyone who stops to listen.
UTTARAKHAND – The Himalayan Open Mindset

May 14, 2016
UTTARAKHAND – The Himalayan Open Mindset

since the physical conditions in the Himalayas are so challenging, people are constantly training their minds to be open and flexible. This type of mindset, would probably only develop in extreme environments, because there, one can only focus on the bigger issues...
KEDARNATH – Faith As Stable As Rock

May 13, 2016
KEDARNATH – Faith As Stable As Rock

We started our descent to Kedarnath, preparing ourselves for contact with civilization after eight days. After a 20 km trek, we arrived at the sacred town. I noticed that Kedarnath had several broken houses and structures. This small settlement had been severely damaged by the 2014 landslide in Uttarakhand.
UPPER CHOWKI - Khukri-cut Footsteps in the Ice

May 12, 2016
UPPER CHOWKI - Khukri-cut Footsteps in the Ice

We all held onto a long piece of rope, as the cook positioned himself as the leader of our group. Using just a khukri, he started cutting steps in the hard icy ground. Lakhpat instructed us to take only one step at a time and to look nowhere but ahead.
KHATLING GLACIER - Reaching New Heights of Adaptability

May 11, 2016
KHATLING GLACIER - Reaching New Heights of Adaptability

From Khatling glacier, we were expected to trek to our next campsite in Chowki. However, the bridge which connected these two places had been destroyed by a landslide. It was a tedious diversion to our trail. But in the Himalayas, one needs to be adaptable to every situation.
KHATLING GLACIER - Exploring A Frozen World

May 10, 2016
KHATLING GLACIER - Exploring A Frozen World

From Tambakund, we bid adieu to the pleasant weather and greenery. Our route to the Khatling glacier was clearly above the tree line, meaning we had now reached the frozen zone. The river was no longer gushing near us. Birds stopped singing and an icy silence prevailed.
BHILANAGA – Walking on the Wild Side

May 10, 2016
BHILANAGA – Walking on the Wild Side

After lunch, we continued on our route along the Bhilangna river. It was a warm day and the sun beamed on us gently. It felt incredible to be in the presence of so many different species at the same time.
TAMBAKUND - A Lesson in Religion

May 09, 2016
TAMBAKUND - A Lesson in Religion

We trekked along the uneven terrain to Tambakund, making our way through the realm of the Himalayan Black Bear. Dhritiman warned us that bears are the most unpredictable mammals. If we spotted one, we were to remain quiet and avoid being seen.
RHEE – The League of Extraordinary Himalayans

May 09, 2016
RHEE – The League of Extraordinary Himalayans

One of our co-travelers was an eighty-six-year-old porter. He had hiked the Himalayas extensively in his youth but had never visited the sacred Kedarnath temple. Now, he was inspired to visit this place of worship before his death.
GHUTTU - A Small Himalayan Town Thriving on Innocence

May 07, 2016
GHUTTU - A Small Himalayan Town Thriving on Innocence

We started our journey to Kedarnath at Ghuttu, a sleepy town located at 5,000 feet. There was only one main road that ran through the whole town. There were only a few residences and one tea stall for refreshments. But this secluded community had four schools.
UTTARAKHAND - Lakhpat's Luck & How to Become Your Purest Self

May 07, 2016
UTTARAKHAND - Lakhpat's Luck & How to Become Your Purest Self

Despite a few traumatizing events, Lakhpat still came back to the mountains and kept exploring. Something about the Himalayas makes you shed your inhibitions and self-doubt. An individual is able to become the purest version of themselves.

May 06, 2016
UTTARAKHAND – The Road Not Taken

Uttarakhand, as a region is daunting. There is no clear path for trekkers, just large expanses of rocky terrain. Clearly, this is one part of the Himalayas where only a few venture out to.
DARJEELING: Optimism Prevails, Come Rain or Storm

Apr 28, 2016
DARJEELING: Optimism Prevails, Come Rain or Storm

On our way back from Sandakphu, we stopped at Darjeeling. There was a four hour traffic jam due to a sudden hailstorm. The hail had covered the streets in a sheet of ice, making mobility difficult.