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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AdventureIndia

Two valleys where flowers missed you this lockdown

India has big number of exceptionally stunning valleys of flowers across its peninsular region, and top among them is definitely the ‘valley of flowers’ in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district inside the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve. It is so popular that whenever you talk about Valley of Flowers, it is presumed that you are talking about it. But there are many other valleys of flowers and a handful of them are in the Himalayan region itself. They might not be as popular as the Valley of Flowers in the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve but they are equally beautiful and worth a visit. Yumthang in North Sikkim Har Ki Doon valley in Uttarakhand Well, here I am not talking about all the valleys of flowers. That isn’t the purpose of the post. I am loking at what we have missed this season due t...

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Lockdown effect | A yatra without yatris!

Chardham yatra is one of the India’s major pilgrimage and it is second time in last eight years that  it has to be shelved. Last time in 2013, it was due to an altogether different reason as Yatra has to suspended and finally called off due to devastating floods in Uttarakhand. But that year, Yatra started in usual manner with all customs and rituals, but met a catastrophe on 16th & 17th June when extremely heavy rainfall and sudden melting of glaciers created a havoc like never before. Thousands of lives were lost and villages after villages were washed away. So, that year Yatra didn’t resume. Now this year again Yatra has been suspended because of lockdown due to Corona pandemic. The temples have been opened but routes are closed for yatris as no travel is allowed for this purp...

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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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Flowers of trekking: Sighting of rare Brahma Kamal

Had heard a lot about the Brahma Kamal flower earlier. But got to see it blooming for the first time when I went to Valley of flowers and Hemkund trek almost fifteen years back. (But here I will like to remind you that it is not Valley of Flowers, where you will find it normally, but on the Hemkund trek. Everywhere around the sacred lake on the surrounding mountains, you can see this flower blooming.) Thereafter, have seen it on various occasions during high-altitude trekking in Uttarakhand. Watching this flower in its natural habitat is a luxury that only serious trekkers can afford to. Rest all can enjoy this post and the photographs. Kamal is Hindi term for Lotus, but unlike different species of Lotus family, Brahma Kamal blooms amongst rocks and grasses on hillside. Even Brahma Kamal ...

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AdventureIndia

A panchpura and a legend of shepherd king at Raithal

It’s the time of the year again, when Raithal village in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand gets ready for a unique festival. A festival celebrated to welcome the cattle folk as well as shepherds back to village after months of rearing and grazing in higher meadows of Himalayas. It’s a Holi celebrated not with colours but with butter and curd milk.  More about Butter Holi of Raithal, read: Get ready for a Holi with Butter at Dayara Temple at Raithal village Raithal is also popular as base for many treks originating from or concluding at Dayara Bugyal. Truly, Raithal is no ordinary village. Besides its locational value just on the footsteps of Dayara Bugyal and its unique Butter Holi, it is also a historical village. It has got some very old traditional Garhwali homes. Many o...

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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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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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