LAMAYURU: Moonscape

The moonland of Ladakh…

IMG_9532 copyMoonland..?

We are going there…

Reeaaallyyyyyyy….!! (with the big smile)

Its gotta be fun.

This is the first time I heard of it.

Then I saw it. 

And it was out of the world.

I mean I know that does look out of the world that is why it is called moonland. But I do have to exaggerate because it was magnificent.

Moonlands of Lamayuru…IMG_9559

Now the reason for the name:

Geological upheavals during the continental drift caused a unique stratification near Lamayuru giving rise to a spectacular landscape known as the ‘Moonland’ of Ladakh.

mark your steps3

Yungdrung Tharpaling Monastery (གཡུང་དྲུང་ཐར་པ་གླིང་དགོན་པ), known today as Lamayuru Monastery.

Once upon a time lamayuru was inundated in a lake, or so the legend goes. Arahat Madhyantika prophesied that one day the lake would be dried and a monastery would be made here. 

In the 11th century came a Buddhist saint to meditate in a nearby cave, mystical Mahasiddha Naropa, who with his prayers miraculously invoked the water to dwindle away and made the place into a sacred land.

Well preserved cave is still stands and is the part of the main shrine of Lamayuru Monastery. In 1038, Rinchen Zangpo, a great translator, built five temples at Lamayuru, only one is in perfect condition today.

Monastery’s impeccable building stands hither…IMG_9533

IMG_9547

I love looking at these murals at the entrance of the monasteries. I just sit there and let them take my mind on a journey through the story, they depict.
So far, i m just trying to figure out much about them reading here and there. You know the stuff.

Tantric Protectors…mark your steps4.jpg

IMG_9550

Human ant house monastery as I call it, which seems to be on the mounds of earth. 

To add all up just like ants, Monks live in a community and work for the greater good. They function as parts of a whole.

ye aacha

IMG_9526.jpg

While driving upto Lamayuru you will cross Fotu la 4,108m (13,479 ft)

It is the Highest point on Srinagar-Leh Highway of the Himalayan Zanskar Range.
There is a rainbow colored mountain, which i found absolutely breathtaking.

IMG_9513 copy

Then there was a lone cloud on top of the mountain in the clear blue sky, which was adorable

IMG_9503

The valley itself is so vast that i just kept my face out the window trying to take it all in and clicking away like a crazed dog wanting for air.

IMG_9504

Mountains had so many beautiful arrays of color as if an artist poured mix of liquid acrylic color over few of them. Pure love from my side…

IMG_9520.jpg

“I like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.” — Mark Obmascik

HARSHIL: A LITTLE GEM OF UTTARAKHAND

Let the Bhagirathi sing for you..

IMG_8049-2Tranquil is the word for Harshil. 

It’s a modest little town in Uttarakhand on the way to Gangotri. We took a taxi from Uttarkashi to reach Harshil.

IMG_8040

By the time we reached Harshil sun was out of the reach behind the mountains and it was set beforehand for this little town….

IMG_8045The allure of the gushing Bhagirathi river through the town is harmony in the notes of the nature. Just like the keys of piano you will hear the perfect symphony among the environment, water, animals. 

Just like the keys of piano you will hear the perfect symphony among the environment, water, animals.

 

How the Bhagirathi flows with gusto…

IMG_8059

While we were roaming and experimenting with the photos, a companion presented himself out of nowhere and followed us all the way to the next village and it was helpful in the dark to have a dog lead on and see to it that you are protected. How I would have liked to bring him back to delhi but I figured with all his fur, he could not adapt to the Delhi’s summers.

I named him Hachi for being loyal.

IMG_8070

We hoped for snow as it was end of December but you know global warming, so it was late as we were told at the night by the villagers. There was chilly wind so we all cramped together around the can of burning hot red coal and talked about for an hour.

That clear sky. I even saw a shooting star there…

IMG_8077

 

 

“The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” — Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild.

Out of Delhi: Weekend Getaways

Sitting on the porch either in winters with freezing fingers or summers with stifling heat, I look for solace in my dreams in far away land with comfortable drink in hand enjoying the sun with a surreal clouds rowing with the brisk wind.

So, I compiled the places I have been to or want to go to around Delhi for the weekend according to the season and distance.


Weekend Getaways from Delhi

In summer

1. Deoria Tal– Picturesque lake

Deori tal, 3km away from Sari village in Uttarakhand, is a crystal-clear lake, mirroring the snow capped Chaukhamba peaks, beside which you can camp and stay the night.

Distance from Delhi: 440 km (approx. 6 hours)

Best time to visit: March to May and October to November

Budget: INR 800 per person per night (tent, dinner, breakfast)

Activities: Camping and treking

2. Valley Of Flowers– Bed of flowers

Valley of flowers, in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is an easy trek through Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve with the ornamental flower bed which is in full bloom from July to September.

Distance from Delhi: 515 km (approx. 6 hours)

Best time to visit: March to June for trekking and July for seeing bloomed flowers

Budget: INR 400 per person per night. Stay at asharams for lesser amount.

Attractions: Hemkund Sahib, Ghangaria, Badrinath Temple, Vasudhara Falls, Trekking and camping.

3. Bir Billing– Paragliding paradise

If you have paragliding in your backlist, then Bir is the destination for you be it with your family or friends and you can do any number of activities there.

Distance from Delhi: 517 km (10 hours)

Best time to visit: April to June

Budget: INR 1,000 per person per day

Activities: Paragliding, Chokling Monastery, Sherab Ling Monastery, and Bir Tea Factory

4. Tosh– Sip tea at the top of the mountain

Tosh, 20km from Kasol in Parvati valley, is a small village on a mountain and is best for peaceful escape from the city life. Best way is to hire a bike in Karol and ride to tosh because the ride is just breathtaking with asthetic lush green mountains .

Distance from Delhi: 538 km (15 hours)

Best time to visit: April to October and November to February to experience snow with freezing cold weather.

Budget: INR 299 per person per night onwards

Attractions: Tekking, chill in the cafes

5. Mcleodganj– Land of lamas

Mcleodganj, also known as Little Lhasa, is the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and home to a large Tibetan population, including many monks and nuns.

Distance from Delhi: 488 km (9 hours)

Best time to visit: Sharadotsav Festival during the autumn and June to September

Budget: INR 5,000 per person for 2 days (With meals, transport, accommodation and sightseeing)

Attractions:Masroor Temple, Monastery, shopping, cafe-hopping, Yoga and trek to Triund, camping, Bhagsu Falls, Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake

6. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary– Gaze at birds

A day out can be at Bharatpur bird sanctuary, also Keoladeo Ghana National Park, where you can find the sanctuary to vast arrays of faunal species, including thousands of rare and highly endangered birds. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home.

Distance from Delhi: 2 km

Best time to visit: August to November for resident breeding birds and October to February for migrant birds.

Attractions: Bird watching and photography.

IMG_5189

7. Rishikesh– Repose at the banks of Ganges

Rishikesh, a holy town and a pilgrimage site for yogis, lays claim to ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ with great vibes strung with the Ganges traversing through the vast forested hills.

Distance from Delhi: 245 km (approx. 6 hours)

Best time to visit: late SeptemberOctober to mid November and March for Yoga Festival

Budget: INR 400 per person per night. Stay at asharams for lesser amount.

Activities: River rafting, bungee jumping, cliff jumping etc. Visit asharams, cafe-hopping.

 

8. Vrindavan– Home of Lord Krishna 

Vrindavan, a holy town in U.P., is said to be the childhood home of the lord Krishna and lots of temples are dedicated to him and the deity Radha, his lover. It is a must to buy Peda (sweet) from Vrindavan. And be safe from monkeys.

Distance from Delhi: 183 km

Best time to visit: October to March and February for Holi celebration

Budget: INR 400 per person per night.

Activities: Temples, Boat ride.


In winter

9. Auli– Skiing destination

Auli, in chamoli, is renowned for the fascinating ski resorts bounded by the snow drapped mountains, Himalayas, and enchanting oak fringed slopes and coniferous forests. Plus, Auli offers an unspoiled ambiance

Distance from Delhi: 80 km

Best time to visit: Snow Skiing during November to March and pleasant climate during May to November 

Budget: INR 3000 per person

Attractions: Snow skiing, Artificial Lake and Ropeway.

10. Mussoorie– Queen of the Hills

Mussorie, in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas, is an abode to range of flora and fauna and provide the view of the mesmerizing Shivalik ranges and Doon valley. You can also head to Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines.

Distance from Delhi: 294 km

Best time to visit: Snow Skiing during November to March and pleasant climate during May to November 

Budget: INR 400 per person per night onwards

Attractions: Skywalk, Zipline, Zip Swings, Treking, Mussoorie lake, Lake Mist, Cable Car ride and Sky Bridge

11. Jim Corbett– Voices of wild animals

Distance from Delhi: 246 km (5 hours and 30 minutes)

Best time to visit: November to June

Budget: INR 4,000 per person for 2 days (with meals, transport, accommodation and entry charges)

Attractions: Royal Bengal Tigers. Indian elephants, spotted deer, golden jackal, Himalayan black bear, and leopard cats are among other animals you may spot while on a jungle safari. Corbett Museum and Corbett Falls.

 

12. Jaipur– Royal heritage

Distance from Delhi: 288 km (5 hours and 30 minutes)

Best time to visit: October to March and during Diwali.

Budget: INR 3,000 per person per day (With meals, transport, and accommodation)

Attractions: Amer Fort, Jal Mahal, Hawa Mahal, and Nahargarh Fort

13. Udaipur– City of lakes

Distance from Delhi: 663 km (11 hours)

Best time to visit: October to March

Budget: INR 3,000 per person for 2 days (With meals, transport, accommodation)

Attractions: Sunset boat cruise,

14. Agra– Abode of architectural gem

Distance from Delhi: 233 km (4 hours and 30 minutes)

Best time to visit: November to March and monsoon time, July-September, is also good to watch Taj Mahal with different shades of clouds. Its just lovely.

Budget: INR 4,000 per person per day (with meals, transport, accommodation)

Attractions: Taj Mahal, Moti Masjid, Jahangir Palace, Itimad-ud-Daulah, Chini Ka Rauza, Guru ka Tal, Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Tomb of Akbar the Great.

15. Pushkar– New hippie hub

Pushkar is another Hindu pilgrimage centre but recently it has become a new hub for hippies. With the hoards of tourist around, you can lay back and enjoy the majestic Pushkar lake. You will also find different cafes to chill around the lake and the market.

Distance from Delhi: 663 km (11 hours)

Best time to visit: November to March and enjoy Camel Fair in October/november.

Budget: INR 6,00 per person per day (With meals, transport, accommodation)

Attractions: Cafe hopping, Ghats, Pushkar Mela, Brahma Temple, Yoga Garden, trekking and camping.

16. Amritsar–  The tank of nectar of immortality

Distance from Delhi: 454 km (11 hours)

Best time to visit: November to March

Budget: INR 500 per person per day.

Attractions: Golden Temple, Amritsari Food, Jallianwala Bagh, Tarn Taran Sahib and Wagah Beating Retreat ceremony.

 

 

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien