When I think of Sri Lanka, I think of incredible landscapes, pristine beaches, misty mountains, rich biodiversity, friendly locals and delicious food.
Muktinath temple Prayer flags flutter along the wall inside the Muktinath temple compound. Just outside the wall, Buddhist monks air their blanket by spreading them on a bed of jagged rocks. A Sadhu Baba (holy man) of Tibetan origin, with his possessions, a bronze ewer, two hardbound books next to him, makes a wooden bench at […]
I feel grateful and privileged beyond words to be part of such a beautiful planet, perhaps the best place in the universe. For enduring pain inflicted and yet being ever so kind and loving.
Owing to the Velas turtle festival during the turtle nesting and hatching season, there are more tourists in the village than residents! Turtles have been around for almost 110 million years; they have seen dinosaurs live and perish. What fascinates me the most about sea turtles, besides their long run on our planet, is that they faithfully return to their birth site to nest.
Durbar Square before earthquake reminded me of Florence, it had a tinge of red, yellow, orange, blue and green to it and the place came alive with tourists and locals alike. The temple domes with clear blue sky and snow-capped mountain for a backdrop was its specialty.
I always thought of Ooty as a place only fit for honeymooners: cold, hilly and romantic. “Ooty and me? no way,” used to be my usual response.
When we reached Ooty, I noticed horses thronged this place as much as the tourists. I was convinced that I was not going to regret the trip. I gave all the must visit tourist spots especially the suicide points a miss for another time I might feel suicidal and explored the not so touristy and suicidal side of Ooty.
When I talk about trekking in the Himalayas, sometimes people ask me, “What is the point in walking or climbing aimlessly from one point to another, in rugged climate and terrain at that.” I was never able to answer that question. In fact I gave into the idea that it was pointless. During my recent trip to the Himalayas I realized why I was lost for words. Even if I tried, it would be a futile exercise. To express what it feels like to be surrounded by the Himalayas is beyond language.
I say this at every opportunity, “not for nothing people associate The Himalayas with renunciation of the material world.” If you spend enough time in the mighty mountains, renunciation becomes a natural process. When you are up there, in the lyrics of Metallica, nothing else matters.
Here I realized it was possible to walk in the clouds but without Keanu Reeves by my side. The white fluffy clouds descended so low on the town that it literally passed through people strolling on the narrow streets and made the town look like it was floating dreamily. For the first time I saw, between clouds, many Tibetan monks flooding the streets in bright maroon robes and shaved heads; men and women alike. McLeod Ganj is the headquarters of Tibetan government (in exile.) Icing on the cake was I saw Dalai Lama at the monastery and heard his discourse to the Tibetan monks, in the language I didn’t follow. I vividly remember the knickknacks and souvenir shops were, very lazily, manned by the Tibetans. Clearly their lives didn’t depend on the shops. And the travelers and hippies from across the globe added a hint of exoticism to the town. It had an air of a paradise.
As a kid the very sound of market excited me, because of its association with the pleasant prospect of shopping, much to my father’s dismay. The sound of shopping still excites me and the reason remains the same. However, now that I have to pay my own bills, I reluctantly learnt to sidetrack myself by means of a camera. Hail street photography!