Category Archives: India

Leh

When the prospect of exploring the Himalayas popped up, I was above and beyond ecstatic.┬áMost I have been around mountains was outside India. There were only handful of occasions I saw them in India in over two decades. Part of the tradition to explore India every time I visit, following a trip to Agra, a friend and I made impromptu flight reservation to fly from the capital of the country to the capital of the Himalayan kingdom – Leh.

As soon as we landed in Leh, we were left breathless both metaphorically and literally. At 3500m, not only did lack of oxygen has caught us unawares with altitude sickness, but also the cold. Excitement turned into grumpiness. Breathlessness, cold, grumpiness and of course drama enveloped us.
One hotel customer was kind enough to chide us for being so unprepared and gave us medicines for altitude sickness. That breathed life into our miserable souls and lifted our spirits up. With that, we hired a taxi and proceeded to explore.

Pretty much everything around Leh is built by the Indian Army. The amount of engineering that had to be done to make life possible there was beyond imagination. Life in the Himalayas is hard. There is no internet, water supply, fresh foods, for weeks or maybe even months during winter (which spans almost the entire year). And yet, somehow human spirit found ways to survive and thrive.

The morning dose of chai at an altitude that exceeds most peaks in the Alps, certainly gave me goosebumps.

Pretty much all infrastructure is built and maintained by the Indian BSF (Border security forces). Civilians are allowed to use most of it with exceptions for certain roads which restricted to foreigners.

There were several temples we visited. The peace and tranquillity I observed left a desperate to give up life in the urban rat race and live there.

Leh palace was a stunning sight. Sitting atop a small peak, it had incredible views.

Next stop was the Lamayuru Monastery, Kargil.

The most ubiquitous piece of gadgetry in the Himalayan range turned out to be satellite tv. The satellite dish antennas were everywhere! In hindsight, it seems obvious now, but I was amused to see them. They perhaps are the only means of connecting to outside world.

Cricket – not surprisingly, the most popular pastime. I loved seeing kids dressed in monk’s red-orange robes playing the game everywhere, brought a smile to my soul.

Taj Mahal

Seeing the Taj Mahal the second time, after almost 15 years, reminded me of my first visit during my childhood. Although I don’t remember much of what I saw back then, the feeling of having been there brought back nostalgic memories from times past. This time around I had a good camera to capture the sights.

Getting there early in the morning gave us spectacular views without too many people around. Here are those sights

Glimpses of India

I made a quick trip to home in Hyderabad and then to Bangalore. Every time I go back, what I feel about the country completely changes and this time was no different. Am now very tempted to move back for no good reason than to just experience the country in its raw form. There is disorder and chaos everywhere, and I am yearning to drown my soul in every drop of it.

In a way, the intenseness was similar to my experience in China, except here, I can communicate and find my way around people and their personalities. For now, I am content in capturing moments that provoked this sublime nostalgia.

As soon as I landed, grandma was quite happy to stuff me, my sister and everyone with food.

20161109-dscf4380
20161114-dscf4441

My last memories of running around the corridors included me being unable to reach the mirror or the clothe hanger/cables.

20161109-dscf4370

Couldn’t help notice the light and shadows, that have been casted the exact same way for decades.

20161109-dscf4366

I was very amused to see this bag hanging on the gate for the milk-man to drop in the milk packets every morning.

20161114-dscf4436

I then headed to Bangalore to meet one of my friends, with whome, inspite of not meeting or talking to for years, we seem to pick things up right where we left, as though it were only yesterday. I wish there were more of them.

20161113-dscf4416
20161112-dscf4398
20161113-dscf440_1_6

The scenery that I would have found boring 5 years back, I found it incredibly captivating.

20161113-dscf4425
20161113-dscf4417
20161113-dscf4430