Mateura Jari : Timeless Village in Parvati Valley

It had been a strange sort of a day in Parvati Valley. After having enjoyed solitude in Grahan, we had made our way to far away Kutla. The descent from Kutla and the subsequent arrival in Tosh, waiting in the rain in Barshaini and then wasting time in Kasol (in the dust and diesel fumes) had left…

Jageshwar Dham Temple in Uttarakhand

While returning from remote Jhaltola, we had taken a short break at the unbelievable Patal Bhuvaneshwar caves. I was on a hitched ride with a couple and at the start of the day could never have imagined making it to Jageshwar! They were going to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary via a different entry point and dropped…

Chasing Tranquility in Majuli island

I figured that it was quite easy to reach Majuli island from Guwahati and reached Khanapara early in the morning. The locals pointed me towards shared transport from Guwahati to Jorhat and I was pleasantly surprised to find a good seat which cost only 300 Rupees. The route from Guwahati was suggested as the easiest…

Cloud Watching at Bairagarh enroute Sach Pass

Normally the weather gets milder once you are in the region of 1500m to 2000m in the Himalayas, even if it is summer. That was not to be on that particular day, the morning that had began with a sharp drizzle in Pathankot progressed to a balmy day in Churah valley at Bhanjraru. When I…

Redefining Remoteness : Secret Places… Continued

I must first thank everyone for the resounding success of the idea of not naming the destination, in an earlier blog post. The Dilemma of Responsible Travel : Secret Villages in the Himalayas There is so much positivity in your heart and it was heartening to (a) read the comments, (b) be told in person,…

Khardung La in Winter : Part 1

Although the lure of becoming the first official tourist to explore the other side of Nubra Valley was immense, murky skies had necessitated that I take a logical decision and go back to Leh. We were only allowed till Ensa Gompa earlier on the Panamik and Sumur side, the district administration in Diskit informed me that…

Lessons of Life at Pangong in Winter

I had woken up breathless in the middle of the night. And then I saw out of the window, the lake shined in glorious moonlight. I dare not go out to pee, we had all been advised by the gentle homestay owners to stay indoors and clear of the cold, at least till the morning…

A lost treasure – The biggest home in Kumaon

I had been roaming pretty much everywhere in the higher reaches of Uttarakhand. It was sheer delight coming across pretty windows and doors embellished with intricate carvings in remote towns. Houses in the mountains have traditionally been constructed from mud and stone because of easy availability of the same. I kept asking people about traditional houses wherever…

Waltzing to Happiness on a Houseboat in Srinagar

I had spent the night gazing at the framed views of Nun-Kun peaks from a little village in Suru Valley called Parkachik. While hitchhiking in a truck from Padum to Rangdum, the lunch break had enabled me to speak to a lady from New Zealand who promptly offered me a seat in the cab that she was…

Solo travelling to the last frontier of Sach Pass

July has the distinction of being one of my favourite months. Even when I worked in the family business, the arrival of rains in July signalled that I could head out for long solo sojourns. In the last week of June, I randomly booked tickets from Jaipur to Pathankot in Pooja Express. I was hoping to…

Doing the unthinkable – Solo Trekking to Zanskar

My Lahauli friends chide me for being too upbeat about trekking to Zanskar, all by myself. ‘Even we locals don’t go alone’, they say. The trek path begins from Darcha on the Manali-Leh route, just an hour’s drive away from the district headquarters of Keylong. Cloudy weather has caused the atm machine to not work for…

Tranquility in the hippie land of Kasol

While coming back from Malana, I was given a small preview when I hitched a ride to Kasol. Curiously I asked him if he kept any charas with him? And out came a black soap, I was stunned. Read : Winds of Change in Malana This was the land of Bob Marley and free love, I had…