Saturday, August 12, 2006

In my Element now

Finally I have reached the mountains that i love soo much. The monsoons have still not subsided and it is still raining over here, but I am not complaining as I love the show of clouds in the mountains. Here are some photos to let you guys know that I am in my element now. Yes, I am very happy as I am doing what I like to do the most i.e. trekking in the Himalayas.

Vertigo: Look at the vertical drop beyond me in this photo (It was a drop of 800 meters). Lush greeen meadows, clouds on the mountains, fresh himalayan air, spring water to drink and bathe, beautiful people to photograph .... can life get better than this?

The Photographer: In Action :-) ... This is my new baby ... The 30D

Offering Alcohol to Gods: Thats me offering some alcohol to the Gods in a small temple after crossing a moutain pass successfully (It was an "Old Monk" Rum.)

Seduction: I love travelling in the Himalayas during the monsoons. I love the way cloud/fog seems to be seducing the mountains in the background.

Watchman and my mate: Thats me along with the watchman of the guest house we stayed in, and my mate Lovey from Delhi

Roads in Himalayas

In this post, I want to share what it is like to travel in a bus in the mighty Himalayas of India. Only thing I will say is that there is never a dull moment in the journey. I will let my photos speak the rest.
Yappu: This is my mascot for August, travelling in a bus from Delhi to Manali. This was the first time that he was looking at Himalayas; You can see that he is very happy.

SSS: Sunlight Seducing the Shoulder: There was this very soothing light shining on the shoulder of this girl travelling next to me, I could'nt resist to take her photo (I did ask her permission before taking the photo).

Bus Ride: Bus ride in Kullu district.

Landslides: Travelling during the monsoons means that one has to come across some landslides. At such places the buses on both the sides of the landslide tend to reach at same time and than passengers walk across the landslide and continue their journey.

Top of the Bus: I took this photo while travelling on the top of the bus, most of the time drivers do not let you travel on the top, but this time I was able to convice him as the bus was very crowded. It was quite a ride so very full of adrenalin rush and I was very impressed by the driving skill of the driver. In Indian Himalayas there is very impressive road network. Although the condition of most roads is not that good, but considering the fact there are roads that traverse through many passes more than 5000 meters, I tend not to complain.

Riding on Top: If you had doubts about the fact that I rode on top of the bus, I guess this poto will convince you about it.

Chaddi Friends: This was when I was coming back from Shimla to Chandigarh with a good friend of mine from Rohru in Shimla district.

Cruising in Kullu: My friend from Delhi (Lovey) took this photo on our way to a my first two day trek of 2007 in India.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gujjar Family

On my recent trek in the Kullu district of the Himalays, I had an honour and good fortune of visiting a Gujjar family. Gujjars lead a nomadic lifestyle and also inhabit parts of the scenic himalayas, besides staying in other parts of North India. They migrate to higher altitude in the summers and lower reaches during winters. For more information on the Gujjars check out this link on Wikipedia.

STORY: I was on a trek in the Kullu district of the Himalays with another friend from Delhi when it started raining very hard, which is very much expected when you trek in the monsoon season. We were lucky to find one solitary hut on big meadow. The hut belonged to a Gujjar family that was very kind. They not only give us shelter in thier hut but they also cooked some excellent organic delicacies and and gave us fresh buffalo milk. I was very overwhelmed and deeply touched by the hospitality that this family showered upon us. We continued our trek when it stopped raining after four hours. I took many photos of this family and printing them and sending back the photos is the least that I can do.

PHOTOGENIC: I would consider this girl as the most photogenic gujjar person I photographed on my trip to India.

THE POSE: This dude was hard to photograph, I guess his pose gives a good idea about how moody he was. I was pretty happy with some of the portraits that he gave me.

THE MOTHER: Mother of the family.

THE KIDS: Children of the family, watch out the stare of thier mother over the shoulder of the girls.

THE FAMILY: The whole family huddled together around the fire for cooking food.

CURIOSITY: Curious children looking at thier photos on the LCD of my camera.

THE MILK: Yes this is me, relishing the super hot fresh buffalo milk.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Its been Ten days

Lots of things have been happening at my end.

BANK ACCOUNT: After coming to India, I had put all of my money in ICICI bank where they had assured that my account will be activated in three days, well it has been ten days now and I still can't access the money in my account as my account has not been activated. Luckily for me I borrowed some money from my friends so I am okay. I also opened another bank account in the SBI today. SBI is a governement run bank where things move slowly but are much more safer and cheaper than private bank like ICICI. I hope things will get sorted out in the near future.

HEALTH: I am sick my friends, I have got stomach problems as I had been eating food with too much of chillies and I also got some flu as I had been spending considerable amount of time in the Air Conditioned environment and than venturing out in the hot humid sun in Delhi.
NOTE to my friends coming to India for treks: I have been a bit too careless about myself as I wanted to suffer from all the diseases that one has the probability of experiencing after coming to India. I did this in order to regain my immunity to indian stuff ... lols (you might consider it as bad logic, but it works for me .. lols) BTW folks, don't worry, I will take good care of you guys and will guide you well.

I had an excellent short trek ... I loved it, I will post the photos as soon as I finish doing some PP on them. I am having a great time over here, meeting my old friends/Networking (I have already got something like 45 contacts on my mobile, so you can well imagine the kind of networking I have been doing lately). I got some excellent maps from Survey of India and I also finally got the kind of mobile service that I was striving for, so you guys can contact me on my mobile whenever you feel like.