AdventureIndia

Uttarakhand’s spring up in the flames

When I planned a quick relieving biking trip to Almora, I had hoped it to be refreshing as it was spring once again. The year before Coronavirus shattered our lives, my last trip to Kumaon was on bike too and almost on the same dates during the spring time. I still had some good reflections of that. I was expecting nothing short of that this time as well and because of all those expectations, this time around, I had planned a slightly longer trip with a plan to go further towards Dharchula or Narayan Ashram. Fire raging right along the main road from Bhowali to Ramgarh in March 2021 But all went up in flames… literally! Spring season this year came and was gone in a flash this year in hills. I was expecting, as earlier, hills turned red with rhododendrons in the Mukteshwar region...

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India

170 year old warehouse and an Advaita Ashram nestled in Himalayas

Quaint Himalayan towns have always been favourite of writers, thinkers, leaders. Nature has proved inspirational to them. They have also been source of many movements and ideas. Among the big names, Gandhi and Vivekanand were frequent visitors to hills to focus on their thoughts and also to connect with large cross-section of people. Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was one of the most liked places by one and all for its natural beauty, serene environment and close proximity to Himalayas.  Main building of the Advaita Ashram at Mayavati There are many places in Kumaon which are known only because of their association with Gandhi or Vivekanand. One prominent among them is Advaita Ashram, Mayavati, near Lohaghat. The same Lohaghat, which is also close to Abbott Mount, known for Abbey...

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AdventureIndiaPhotogallery

Chaukhamba : A peak on four pillars and it is not our democracy!

I couldn’t have missed the satire in the present context as all the four pillars of our democracy are currently on terribly shaky ground. Having said that, this post is definitely not about our democracy but about one of the most beautiful peaks on Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is the World Environment day and what else can we talk about than the most precious gift our nature has given to us! Sunrise on Chaukhamba peak as seen from Almora town in Kumaon The inspiration for this post came from an impromptu comment on one of my Facebook post couple of days back by a renowned photographer friend Jaimitra Singh Bisht, based in Almora. Post was a photo of sunrise on Chaukhamba peak, which I captured a few years ago from Almora. While appreciating the photograph, Jaimitra said that, “Chaukham...

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IndiaPhotogallery

Nanakmatta, place of Guru Nanak’s discourse

Located between Sitarganj and Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib is one of the historical shrines associated with Guru Nanak. On the occasion of 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, lets go on a photo tour of the Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib. View of the Gurudwara from the main road It is said that Guru Nanak Dev visited this place during his third Udasi (Guru's travels) in 1514 AD. At that time this place was under spiritual control of Siddhas (Yogis, devotees os Guru Gorakhnath). People also say that, just because of this the place was earlier known as Gorkahmata. Main building of the Gurudwara Guru Nanak's way of spiritual awakening among people was entirely different from what was pr...

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IndiaPhotogallery

Nature’s poet and poet’s museum

Pant museum at Kausani in Uttarakhand isn’t a touristy place as such. In my three visits to this place in the course of last few years, I have rarely seen any other tourist there. Despite, this place being in the heart of the Kausani town with just a few steps to walk upto the museum from the road head. I wonder, if even more than five percent of the tourists coming to Kausani would remember the name of Sumitranandan Pant, although surely most of us in Hindi heartland of India have read his poems in school text books. Ancestral house converted into museum Main entrance to the Sumitranandan Pant museum Actually, we don’t respect our literary persons. They are the ones who guide our intellectual discourse, many of them have been leading lights for various movements but we tend to...

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AdventureIndiaPhotogallery

Nature, myth and history of Syahi Devi Temple

Last year, when we went to Shitlakhet, we headed for an early morning trek to Syahi Devi temple. But we started a bit late, and then we had a packed schedule in the day ahead. And, with some clear view of Nanda Devi range consuming lot of our time, we dropped the idea of going till the top and returned mid-way. I had then decided that, I won’t let that happen next time. Hence, when I visited Shitlakhet again this year, I kept the very next morning after my arrival for the trek to temple. What a beautiful day it was, calm and clear. Now, in the hindsight when I look back at that decision, how remarkable it turned out to be, as the second morning onwards, the weather went for a toss. Sun rises while on trek to Syahi Devi temple Morning colours on the snow peaks It gets brighter a...

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AdventureIndiaPhotogallery

Its spring time and lower Himalayas are laden with beauty!

I have always felt that spring is the best time to go to hills, specially in the lower Himalayan region. And, that's not just for adventure trips, but also for the leisure trips to hill stations. It's about weather, it's about brightness, it's about colours, it's about nature and its about views. Everything in abundance. It gives such a jovial feeling when you are here during this time. As soon as the winter freeze gives way to the some warmth, the new life comes out of the earth. The whiteness of winter turns colourful with all types of flowers. Peach blossoms are this region's answer to Cherry Blossoms in East Asia during most this time. Peach blossoms turn the surroundings pink in the spring time. Although it's not so as of now, I think that it won't be too long when pe...

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AdventurePhotogallery

Wings of Gold – Himalayan Golden Eagle in flight!

First time I saw a Himalayan Golden Eagle in flight or else was way back in 1993, somewhere in Kullu-Parvati valley while trekking to Chanderkhani Pass. But that time I had a film camera and not so good lenses. Focussing was issue and it wasn't possible to use many shots on flying bird in a 36 exposure film. Since then, I had spotted golden eagles on many occasions during various treks in Himachal and Uttarkhand. Last year, during Kashmir Great Lakes Trek I spotted a couple of them deep inside valley at Gangbal pass. But they were still far from reach of my tele lens. In that respect, it was the best opportunity this month I got to photograph Himalayan Golden Eagles when I was biking near Mukeshwar. I was on ridge with view of Nanda Devi peak on one side and valley on other. Eagles were...

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AdventureIndiaPhotogallery

A photo journey to Shitlakhet, a hidden gem in Kumaon

I had been hearing about Shitlakhet for almost ten years now, ever since I started visiting the Almora region more frequently. I even made some flying visits to the village, and had some incredibly tasty maggi. But never got an opportunity to stay overnight and explore the place until last month when I was there as the part of the Bloggers Bus of Uttarakhand Tourism. Although a one night stay is just not enough to do any justice to this place, but we tried to extract  as much experience as possible. Shitlakhet is certainly not a happening place. But I can bet, it is unimaginably beautiful. It is just a small village at the end of the mountain ridge. But it is full of adventure and it is certainly a photographers paradise. Hence, I though that it is better to talk about this ...

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AdventureIndiaPhotogallery

Whispering winds, hovering clouds and a ghost which wasn’t there!

If I would have been believing in ghosts than I could have said that this ghost certainly loved nature and he lived in most exotic of locations. Ghosts or not, this place known as Abbott Mount certainly had a captivating charm. It did create a magnetic pull on us. As soon as I came to know that there is this haunted place, in no time I was just running on the mountain trail towards that spooky mansion on the top the mountain along with two others. I felt just like a member of ghost busters team on a mission. Other members of our Bloggers Bus team stayed back, few may be because of fear, few due to disinterest and remaining for hating to walk so long. Prelude But there is very interesting prelude to this visit. We reached Lohaghat on fifth night of our roadtrip in Kumaon region of

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