Nepal – Once is not enough!

Nepal Tourism tagline that says, “Naturally Nepal – Once is not enough” holds absolutely true! From trekking up through a rhododendron forest, to ridge walking above 4000m with jaw-dropping views of the Annapurna Himalayas up close, to enjoying gorgeous sunrise views of the entire mountain range from a village on the foothills, to chilling in a resort on a hill overlooking Phewa Lake & Pokhara city, chasing the one horned Rhino on a jungle safari at Chitwan National Park, experiencing the living heritage city of Patan in a traditional Newari home, to devouring delicious momos, sekwa, Dal Bhat and other traditional food in Kathmandu, it was the most eventful, thrilling & enjoyable two weeks I’ve spent in any country, and I am definitely coming back for more!

Motorcycle Diaries: Cold desert of Hanle, Ladakh

To reach a place as isolated in the Himalayas on motorbikes requires a heart full of courage and a spirit of adventure, other than a map of course or you could end up in China! Crossing some of the highest mountains passes in the world on broken, sometimes non-existing roads or mere dirt tracks to lead the way, it’s a challenging bone-chilling ride.

Riding through the Central Highlands of Vietnam

Before we set out on our road trip through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, I was nervous about riding for the first time in a new country. It took me a while to get comfortable on the motorbike and let my eyes off the road to enjoy the scenic views. But after riding more than 1300 km through half of the country, I am convinced there is no better way to travel in Vietnam than on a motorbike! And the freedom of exploring a place riding on my own adds to the depth of my travel experiences.

Rustic Kalaw, Myanmar

Surrounded by the misty blue Shan hills, Kalaw is a great place to relax, enjoy the view, other than cycling around exploring the town, to nearby monasteries, pagodas & the market. With beautiful views of the surrounding hills, it’s quite rewarding to spend time at the Buddhist monastery and see the daily life of young Buddhist monks who call it home.

Magical Myanmar – Instagrammed

Did you know the Burmese use tea leaves as a food ingredient? Other than  brewing a tea, the leaves are fermented to make a special Burmese tea-leaf salad and its yum! Myanmar offered a varied set of experiences from historic temples to nature hikes in the hills and boat rides exploring life on a lake, but it was the delicious Burmese food, readily available salads (and avocado!) and the people who stole my heart!

Kumortuli: Where Goddesses are made

On the banks of Hooghly, in North Kolkata is a labyrinth of narrow lanes, older than the city and full of vibrant color and art, Kumortuli – the potter’s colony, where idols of Gods and Goddesses are made from scratch for the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. Various artists work on different stages of sculpting, painting & decorating the idol of Goddess Durga in the workshops here. Deeply engrossed in the making of the Goddess, they look meditative.

Charang Monastery: The most Holy temple of Kinnaur

Charang is a delightful little village near the Indo-Tibet border in Kinnaur – the less explored & non-touristy part of Himachal Pradesh in India. The Kinner Kailash Parikrama is considered incomplete without receiving blessings at the ancient 11th century Charang monastery also called the Rangrik Shungma – the most holy temple of Kinnaur.

Delightful Charang

Kinnaur is the most beautiful and least explored part of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India. Surrounded by harsh mountains, Charang Khas, a pretty little village at an altitude of 3500 meters in Morang, Kinnaur, is accessible only by foot, a trek through Thangi and Lambar.

Eternal Varanasi

River Ganges is the soul of Varanasi. The Ganges rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and is the longest river of India as well as the second greatest river in the world by water discharge. In Hinduism, river Ganges is considered sacred and personified as goddess Ganga. A boat ride over river Ganges at sunrise is the best way to experience the ghats.

Ladakh – Ride of a lifetime!

Ladakh is ‘the land of high passes’, breath-taking landscapes, pristine lakes and gorgeous monasteries in the Himalayas. Travelling through this idyllic beauty of the mountains, peace & tranquility, warm-hearted people and the hair-raising adventure was the most unique, out of this world experience I’ve had – a dream trip to the roof of the world! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

A landscape looks great in a ‘landscape’ or Horizontal format but sometimes looks much more interesting in a vertical or ‘portrait’ format. Here are a series of landscapes of River Yamuna shot from the new Naini bridge in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, in horizontal and vertical format for the Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways. And some useful…

Kunzum La: A vantage point

Kunzum pass or Kunzum La, in Tibetan, at an altitude of 15,000 ft is one of India’s highest motor able mountain passes, in Himachal Pradesh. A mountain pass is a path connecting two mountains. It connects Lahaul to Spiti valley and has a 360-degree spectacular view of the Bara-Sigri glacier (the second longest glacier in…

Mt. Bromo : A volcanic vacation

One of the most awesome sunrises I saw was over the surreal, moon-like landscape of an active volcano – Mt. Bromo in East Java, near Surabaya, Indonesia. The name Bromo is from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation. It belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park named after the two mountains, Mount…

Weekly photo challenge: The golden hour

The most positive & reflective moments that I’ve spent with myself have been watching the beautiful hues of the sky as the sun sets or the early morning light – the golden hour. Some of the pictures from this hour of the day, when the light is most dramatic & moody, for the Weekly photo challenge:…

Pushkar Fair Part 2: World’s largest camel fair

The Pushkar Fair or Pushkar Mela is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair held in the small town of Pushkar. It’s a spectacle on an epic scale, where traditions and spirituality meet and one can experience the culture and grandeur of Rajasthan. Pushkar fair runs for five days and is one of the largest in…

Enchanting streets of Pushkar

There is nothing like a walk on the street to experience the mood, culture and lifestyle of a place. And Pushkar is a town which is best seen on foot. It’s quite small and can be covered with in a few hours. The colorful little shops & cafes look fascinating against the backdrop of old buildings decorated with street art. The fresh…

Pushkar Lake & the Ghats

Pushkar is a small town near Ajmer in Rajasthan, situated around the charming Pushkar Lake, sacred to the Hindus. Other than the famous Brahma temple, there are more than 500 other temples in Pushkar. A dip in the holy lake is considered auspicious. The ghats (steps) are used to do religious rituals & ceremonies and for…

The Thai Spirit

It’s the festival of Songkran in Thailand today, the traditional Thai new year. It’s a water festival in which friends and family get together and celebrate by sprinkling water on each other, as a symbol of good luck. It’s a three-day festival which starts on April 13th every year and coincides with the new year of many…

Banteay Srei Temple

With just half a day left in Siem Reap, we decide to wake up early next morning and visit Banteay Srei. It’s 25 km away from the other temples and one hour by tuk tuk, but the ride there through the country side was the most pleasant one. The endless views of the flatlands of Cambodia, the…

Evening at Angkor

After the sunrise experience at Angkor Wat,it was a must to see the temple in the light of the setting sun. So, the next day at dusk we head to the temple on our tuk-tuk. The temple is much more crowded at this time. Everyone is eager to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Angkor…

The magnificent Angkor

It’s an early day, we’re on our way to visit the grand Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu ( Avatar) – the Preserver. Angkor Wat, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and am excited as its the first time, I’ll experience the spectacular sunrise at the temple. As we cross the bridge over the gigantic Angkor…

Bayon Temple

Prasat Bayon is the main temple of Angkor Thom, and is situated right in the center of the ancient city. As I walk to the temple, the guards at the entrance check my pass. I notice a lot of japanese tourists here, some with their faces covered in hygiene masks. Our guide explains that the temple’s conservation…

Ta Prohm : Jungle temple

In the jungle among the really tall trees is the outer wall of the ‘Jungle temple’ – Ta Prohm. The entrance gate with a Bayon head gopura, leads to a dirt track, on the sides of which are some men under a huge umbrella, playing traditional cambodian music. They are land-mine victims, who now play music,…

Baphuon – A Shiva Temple

Baphuon, a pyramid shaped temple was built in the mid 11th century as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II and was dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is located in Angkor Thom, northwest of the Bayon in Siem Reap. In the late 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple. One side wall of the temple is in the…