Back in 2006 i visited the Ranthambore national park with the hopes of sighting a tiger in the wild. I was lucky enough to see two. During that trip i also saw something which remained with me till date. A group of canvas tents pitched in the jungle and a bunch of people milling about. I've always wondered what those people were doing in the jungle and how exciting it would be to live in the jungle like that. Four years and six months later, i got answers to both my questions.
Back in 2007 I traveled across Bhutan on my motorbike. I had kept those memories locked away for almost 4 years but here they are now. My most memorable moments in Bhutan.
I had modest goals for my first day. Cycle the 35 odd kms from Manali to Marhi, spend the night there,Â acclimatizeÂ and then push towards Rothang pass and beyond.Â Sounds simple enough but the 35km ride does involve climbing from 1900m to 3300m. I've never cycled at any of these altitudes before,Â so i was a bit anxious and wanted to take it slow.
This is a folk tale about how the Tsokar lake in Ladakh lost most of its water. It also explains the origin of the tiny Tso Kiagar lake on the way to TsoMoriri. The story was told to me by a local from the Thukje village.
After an eventful first day, where i was caught in a freakÂ hailstormÂ and had to camp by the side of the road, i was looking forward to a new day. Many questions still remained. Will the rains abate ? Will the road to Rothang pass be open ? and moreÂ importantly.. Will i be able to cross the Rothang pass on my cycle ? Read on to find out..
Eating Chillies is a major part of the Bhutanese lifestyle. Some experts would argue that this habit wasÂ necessitatedÂ by cold weather of the place (to keep warm). While, others may argue that it is due to the limited variety ofÂ vegetables that could be grown in the country. But ask any average Bhutanese out in the street and their answer would be as simple as it is true. They just love the taste.
Har-ki-Pauri (meaning the "Steps of Lord Shiva") is a famous ghat located on the banks of the Ganges river near Haridwar. It is here that the Ganges finally leaves the mountains and enters the plains of North India. Every evening, the local priests perform a Ganga Aarti ceremony to welcome the revered river to the plains of India. It is a spectacular ceremony of fire and songs, participated and performed by thousands of people who gather here from all over the country..
One of the things i'am unhappy about myself as a photographer is my reluctance to take more portraits while traveling. There are some good reasons for it. But still, at the end of a trip when i look back at my photos, the ones that bring me the most joy are the ones with people in them. If i had taken a portrait of someone, then more often than not, it means that i had interacted with that person before taking the portrait and they had shared a small portion of their story with me. It is those stories behind the portraits that make them so memorable for me. Here are a few such stories from my trip to Ladakh in 2010.Â
The floating markets of Bangkok are a photographers delight. As well as being colorful, they offer a wonderful glimpse into the traditional market practices of the river dwelling Thai. Yes, the markets are commercialized for the benefit of the tourists. But in doing so, they have not lost their original charm, they remain quintessentially Thai, as the below photos will show.
Spotting a tiger in the wild is a once in a lifetime experience for any tourist and the wildlife park officials know it well. A successful spotting means big tips for the guides and they literally leave no leaf unturned in the forest inorder to spot a tiger.Â This is especially true in Ranthambore, the park is well known for its of tiger sightings. The tigers themselves are used to all the attention and dont seem to be bothered too much by the jeeps and canters milling about around them. Hence they are tagged as being 'friendly' by the park officials.Â Â How "friendly" they really were ?? Well.. i was about to find out.
After 5 beautiful sunny days around Pangong Lake, the weather turned for the worse and dropped a ton of snow on the mountains around Chang La. I had to find a way back to Leh. Cycling was impossible now, but i had not planned on cycling back anyway. So i waited at Tangste, hoping to get ride on a jeep or truck going towards Leh.
In between Leh and Pangong Lake lies the mighty Chang La pass.Â At over 5400m high, Chang La is officially the 3'rd highest mountain pass in Ladakh (after Khardung La and Tanglang La). After successfully cycling across the Leh - Manali highway i did not think that crossing Chang La on my bicycle would pose much of a problem. But i was wrong.
Towards the end of my Ladakh trip i had become very proficient in hitchhiking around the place. I no longer hesitated to stick out my hand to flag down any passing vehicle. I knew that people would stop if they could spare the space to take you on board. So i no longer worried about finding transportation to anywhere in Ladakh. That little theory of mine was put to the test when i went to the Nubra valley. And i barely made it through.