A Yatra to Takstang Monastery

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Here winds are blowing strongly, carrying everybody’s prayer with it and bringing blessing for all- truly a heavenly experience. We enter into the monastery. There are small temples inside, each of them with images of Buddhist deities. The smell of incense fills the air, a divine atmosphere altogether. We are now near the Tiger’s Nest, a small board indicating that, the cave where the Guru Padmasambhava meditated. We peep into the cave one by one and feel great to witness such a sacred monastery.

On our way back down we stop in the cafeteria for our meal. But they charge Rs.460/- per head for buffet lunch, of course a vegetarian meal, so we remain happy with a bottle of cold drink at Rs.60/-. It takes less than an hour to get down. We thank God for blessing us with the opportunity to witness such a sacred place, to view such an architectural wonder and to accomplish the YATRA once in this life.

We are driving to Chelela Pass, the highest motorable roads in Bhutan which locates between the Haa and Paro valley. We are passing continuously through oak trees, at times glimpsing wild fowls with long tail feathers and free roaming yaks, then through snow capped roads climb slowly to the Chelela pass. A milestone placed along the road indicates the highest point on Dantak Road at an altitude of 3988 meter above the sea level. We see a perfect white Himalayan Mountains view from here.

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In the Kingdom of Bhutan :: Journey to Dochula Pass and Paro Valley

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Reshmi, the hotel girl, knocks at my door and I turn towards her. She briefs me about the facilities in the hotel and I express to have understood the same. She returns back and I take a nice hot bath, change my dress and after a few minutes enter into the dining hall where Prakash is suggesting to visit Paro Dzong on this afternoon. Everyone is consenting to him and I raise my hand too.

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Entering into the kingdom of Bhutan :: The Land of Thunder Dragon

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It comes as an unpleasant surprise which is now doubled by a piece of information that from tomorrow there is a three days Public Holiday for the festival Losar. We all stand speechless as we are not feeling at our best. Our driver is promising to give a try tomorrow morning at RST office. But no words of him are taking away the pain we are now feeling because we understand the implications of not having permit for our vehicle.

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Amarnath Yatra :: A Journey of Faith :: Pahalgam to Pishutop

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We were climbing the steep ascent through the muddy, rocky and narrow route. Those on foot were making their path upwards according to their own convenience. Every step on such steep ascent of initial trek is the first test of one’s mind and faith. To strengthen devotees’ faith the Military Personnel are there and their presences are felt throughout the route.

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The Sunset on Mount Everest

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Into the thin air, I was struggling hard for a breath of air. I’ve not climbed above 5300m before and with only 50% oxygen in the air, was struggling even more walking across the ridge. I sat down on a boulder to rest, grasp more air and stop my heart pounding high. This morning, for the first time, oxygen saturation level in my blood dipped below 80 and the altitude began to take toll on me. But no way could I give it up. I was so close of my dream destination, Everest Base Camp! I climbed up this much and was only an hour walk away from it. “Come on Anupam, you can do it!” yelled my guide. I stood up again, mumbled under my breath “Slowly Slowly, Bistar Bistar”, the Nepalese Mantra I learned from my guide for climbing high altitudes. The sense of following the footsteps of many legendary Mountaineers who conquered Everest was boosting my morale and finally I reached the head of downward trail to the Base Camp. I could clearly see from there, the Base camp, Khumbu Ice fall and the Mt Everest. It was then a few minutes’ walking down to the base where rocks were piled up and covered with colourful prayer flags announcing the destination, Everest Base Camp at 5364m!

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Badrinath Temple – One of the Holiest Dham in India

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Holy Badrinath Temple, one of the Char (four) Dham (pilgrimage centre) in India, is the temple of Lord Vishnu in Uttarakhand. Nestled in the lap of Himalayan mountain ranges, this colourful temple stands with the river Alakananda flowing on its front and the magnificent peak Neelkantha, also known as ‘Garhwal Queen’ on its back. Just imagine, there you are, at one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India, the Badrinath Temple!

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Valley of Flowers | The Wonderland

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Truly it would have been impossible for us, to take a step without crushing a flower, had there been no stone paves deep into the Valley of Flowers. We walked deep into the valley; saw many flowers of different colours, pink, blue, red, white, yellow and many others. Every single flower, though tiny, is so beautiful and colourful that none gets less attention from the visitors. These flowers are all wild. They vary in shape and colour at different altitudes. The flowers in the valley keep changing in different phases of monsoon. So after every 10-15 days of interval, a new set of flowers replace the old flowers and the Valley gets a new look every time such changes are happened. But do not expect to see any big flower in the valley as they do not reside here.

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The Road To Valley of Flowers

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No human soul lives around the valley though it is not soulless completely! The valley remained unknown to the world until 1931, when arrived there like Alice in Wonderland, six British Mountaineers, who lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt Kamet. Numerous wild flowers cover the Valley in monsoon and create a magical sight of a wonderland. Frank S. Smythe, one of the six British mountaineers, while mentioning about the Valley wrote, “it was impossible to take a step without crushing a flower”. They named it the Valley of Flower and thereafter the valley has become a popular place for summer expedition.

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A Day of Religious and Cultural Tour in Fort Kochi

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The show began! At the beginning, various movements of the body, face, hands, legs etc were demonstrated to give the audience an idea of how the things are expressed in Kathakali. It was an interesting initial part of the actual play. The main play followed shortly after this.
It was a play from the epic Mahabharata, named Kichakavadam, the killing of Kichaka. The evil character, Kichaka, an-anti hero, was in the make-up of face, half green and half red. He was the commander-in-chief of the Army of the kingdom Matsya ruled by King Virata. Kichaka was the brother-in-law of King Virata. During their one year hide out, Pancha Pandava (five Pandava princes) and their wife Draupadi took shelter in the palace of King Virata. While Draupadi was disguised as Dasi (female servant of the Queen) calling herself Sairandhri……….

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