Thursday, June 28, 2007


While I was glancing through the huge database of pictures of my treks, I found this picture and I thought it looks pretty interesting. I shot this picture at Savanadurga, which is one of my most adventurous treks so far.

Doesn't he look like a superhero who's just landed with a mighty jump? I bet he would look like Krrish if he had that mask on. It looks as if he's on top of the world. Look at the ground below, it looks so far below. And I love the cloudy sky.

* * * *
Actually this is my friend Harsha, just monkeying around on top of Savanadurga.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

feline ways

Cats.. I love them. This wonderful creature never fails to amaze me. There is a saying, which goes, 'Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function'. Cats are lazy and arrogant. They seem to have major attitude, and they can get away with it.

Have you ever watched a cat getting out of house? That's worth a sight. It always walks with it's head high, moves as if it's on an important mission, detests any human being it encounters on the way.

I can go on and on about cats, I am thoroughly fascinated with them. But I will keep it for some other day. I shot this picture in Iran, outside the flat I used to stay. This cat was a regular visitor to us. It's a Persian cat, which is very famous and expensive in India, but this one is a stray cat. In Iran, only stray animals you get to see are cats. They live on garbage, and they look well-fed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

web design

Another object of my cam's affection. My friend Smitha thinks it's very creative of me to come up with caption like 'web design' for this picture.

I shot this at forests of Goa, while trekking there earlier this year.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

holy flags

I took this picture near a Stupa in Kathmandu.

These colorful flags are seen around Tibetans religious places; they might be having some auspicious importance. I saw these flags in deserted mountains of Tibet too. You will also see these flags in Byluguppe, a Tibetan settlement near Mysore.

My cam is thoroughly fascinated with these colorful objects. Why not.. they make good photographs.

Add-on: You can find more info about these flags here, says Smitha.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

sir.. on the backboard

On my way to office everyday, on Old Madras road I see lots of private buses coming from KGF, Kolar, Malur, and other places. I don't particularly like them, as they are generally driven rash, and emit lots of black smoke right on my face while the rick I'm in snails by their side. These buses look gaudy with lots of colourful paint. They typically have picture of Aish Rai(sorry, Bachchan) on the back glass. Sometimes the privilege goes to Tamil actresses Sneha and Trisha.

Few days back I saw the picture of Pres. Kalam on a bus! I was so surprised, I nearly fell off from the rick. When I came back to my senses, I took the cam out and clicked this rare sight. Imagine, Kalam sir in competition with Aish, Trisha, and Sneha in the popularity department!

Friday, June 15, 2007


ಆವರಣ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾದ್ಮೇಲೆ ನಾನು ಭೈರಪ್ಪನವರ ಪರಮ ಭಕ್ತಳು ಅಂತ ಗೊತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರೆಲ್ಲ ಕೇಳ್ತಾ ಇದ್ರು ’ಆವರಣ ಓದಿದ್ಯಾ,ಹೇಗನ್ನಿಸ್ತು?’ ಅಂತ. ಆದ್ರೆ ನಾನು ಆವರಣ ಓದಿದ್ದು ಕಳೆದ ವಾರ ಅಷ್ಟೇ. ನಾನು ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಓದುವ ಹೊತ್ತಿಗೆ ಅದರ ವಿಮರ್ಶೆ-ಗಿಮರ್ಶೆ, ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಅಲ್ಲ -ಬರೀ ಚರ್ಚೆ, URA ಹಾರಾಟ, ಹೊಡೆದಾಟ-ಬಡಿದಾಟ, ಪರ-ವಿರುದ್ಧ.. ಎಲ್ಲ ಆಗಿ ವಾತಾವರಣ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ತಣ್ಣಗಾಗಿತ್ತು. ನಾನು ಥೇಟ್ SLBಯವರ ಹಾಗೇ ಸುಮ್ನೇ ಇದನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಾ ನೋಡ್ತಾ, ಗಲಾಟೆಯನ್ನು ಎಂಜಾಯ್ ಮಾಡ್ಕೊಂಡು.. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಬುಕ್ ಎತ್ಕೊಂಡೆ - ಸುರಿಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮಳೆಯನ್ನು ಕಿಟಕಿಯಿಂದ ಕಾಫಿ ಕುಡ್ಕೊಂಡು ಆರಾಮಾಗಿ ನೋಡಿ, ಮಳೆ ನಿಂತಮೇಲೆ ತಣ್ಣಗೆ ಒಂದು ವಾಕ್ ಹೋದ ಹಾಗೆ.

ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಇಷ್ಟ ಆಯ್ತಾ ಅಂತ ಕೇಳ್ಬೇಡಿ, ಮೊದ್ಲೇ ಹೇಳಿದೆ ನಾನು SLB ಕಟ್ಟಾ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿ ಅಂತ. ಆವರಣ ಅವರ ಬೇರೆ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗಳ ಹಾಗಿಲ್ಲ, ನಿಜ. ’ಆವರಣದ ಉದ್ದೇಶ ರಂಜನೆ ಅಲ್ಲ, ಸತ್ಯಾನ್ವೇಷಣೆ’ ಅಂತ ಅವರೇ ಹೇಳಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಉದ್ದೇಶ ಏನೇ ಇರಲಿ, ಜನ ಇಷ್ಟಪಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮರುಮುದ್ರಣದ ಮೇಲೆ ಮರುಮುದ್ರಣ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಿದೆ.

ರಂಜನೆಯ ಅಂಶ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಅಂತ ಬೇಜಾರು ಮಾಡ್ಬೇಕಾಗಿಲ್ಲ - ಜನಗಳಿಗೆ ಬೇಕಾದಷ್ಟು ರಂಜನೆ URA ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಾರೆ! Thank you Mr.ಜ್ಞಾನಪೀಠಿ..

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

kailash manasarovar experiences: part 4

Back to Kathmandu

We started our journey back to Kathmandu on the same day after finishing parikrama. It was pretty much same as the onward journey, expect for the fact that we skipped one of the halts, thus reaching Kathmandu early, 2 days earlier than the schedule.

I had a strange health problem; my tongue went thick (like how it happens when you get fever). And because of that I felt puky, and couldn’t eat much. Prahlad was making fun of me saying it was a symptom of rabies.

Each and every one in the group kept telling me that the first thing I should do once we enter Kathmandu is to get rabies shot. As if I didn’t know! I know they were all well-meaning, but it gets to your nerves sometimes.

We took pictures with drivers and Tibetan guide when we almost reached Tibet border.

When we reached the border, we met Meetu. He looked happy to see us. May be he was about to take another group to Kailash-Manasarovar. Subha was wondering how exciting or boring that profession could be.

We crossed the border, got into the bus waiting for us on the Nepal side of the border, and after few hours we were in Kathmandu.

Of course... first thing I did in Kathmandu was getting rabies shot, after 5 days from the day I'd got bitten.

Destination: Mountain

That’s what was printed in the destination column of the boarding pass, which was handed to us by Pushkar, our travel agent. We were to go on Everest sightseeing flight! This is, and will be, the most memorable flight of my life.

This one-hour flight from Kathmandu is operated by Yeti Airlines. They have small, 20-seater aircraft for this flight. We were given handouts, which had information about the mountains we were going to see.

We took off, and in few minutes we were close to the range of mountains. It was sheer majestic view from our windows. Air hostesses were helping us to locate mountains, and we were even allowed to go in to the cockpit to get a better view.

Initially, they looked like small stones emerging from a soft layer of cotton. We were at 25000 ft and the view started becoming clearer. With the help of the information and map on the handout, we could locate mountains. We saw Annapurna, Makalu, Gaurishankar, Kanchenjunga, Ganesh, Mansalu, and few other peaks.

We were deeply satisfied with the wonderful view, but we knew there was something more to come. After few moments, air hostesses started pointing to a peak, which was behind the row of all those mountains I mentioned – it was Everest.

Posing with Everest in the picture is Mt. Lhotse, which stands adjacent to Everest.

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience.

In Kathmandu

We visited three historical places in and around Kathmandu – Bakthapur, Paattan, and old Kathmandu area. These places were capitals of three kingdoms earlier; later on they were merged in to one and was ruled by kings at Kathmandu.

These 3 places have similar looking Durbaar squares; the one in Bakthapur is better than the other two though.

These durbaar squares are typically complexes with temples and palaces.

In Bakthapur, there is a five-storied temple of goddess Kaali.

After spending long time in Bakthapur, we went to see Paattan and Kathmandu durbaar squares, and found that they were much similar to the one at Bakthapur. The square in Kathmandu is very large, with lots and lots of temples. I didn’t have patience to see all of them.

But I was interested in seeing Kumari, the living goddess. I had read a lot about Kumari, so wanted to see her. She lives in a building called 'Kumari Ghar' at Kathmandu durbaar square. We had to wait till 4 pm to see her. There were quite a lot of people waiting there, mostly foreigners, in the open space of the ground floor. She came out and gave a glimpse through windows at third floor.

Kumari is believed to be the form of goddess Taleju and also believed to have healing powers. Nepalis worship her. Though it may sound interesting to be worshipped as goddess, I had read that Kumaris’ life is tough, deprived of normal childhood and education. And also Kumari’s divinity stint ends once she gets menstruated; and after that leading normal life could be tough for them.

We also went to Dakshinkaali temple outside Kathmandu. It is small temple in the open space, many people were doing animal sacrifice there. I didn’t quite like the scene, but liked the drive to the temple from Kathmandu.

Next morning, it was time to leave. In spite of wishing it should have lasted longer, we landed at Bangalore after few hours. Thus… I’m over and out with my story.

* * * *

Many people have been asking me about the trip logistics. So here are few points:

# There are many tour organisers in Kathmandu who operate Kailash-Manasarovar trips. Google for them. I know 3 such firms, I can give reference if you need.

# The trip costs quite a lot of money (at least by Indian standards), and you have to bear expenses of journey to-n-fro your town - Kathmandu. The fee includes your stay at Kathmandu 2 nights before the trip, one night after the trip, and pickup and drop to airport.

# You will have the option of flying from Kathmandu to Manasarovar area if you feel driving for 5 days is tough.

# Season for this trip is from May to October.

* * * *
ps: Photographs are from my camera, the ones that look better are from Subha :)

Friday, June 08, 2007

kailash manasarovar experiences: part 3

Wild encounter

After our stint at Manasarovar, we proceeded further that day early in the evening to Tarchen, the place considered as base camp for parikrama (parikrama is walking around Mt. Kailash in clockwise direction, like a pradakshiNa). This place looks decent, better than other places we had stayed - Subha and me exchanged thoughts once we reached Tarchen. We were supposed to go to a place called Ashtapad to get closer view of Mt. Kailash. We went halfway through and found out that the way is blocked. While returning we saw a nice-looking shrine, and we decided to go exploring in Tarchen.

Back in Tarchen we went on walk, trying to find that shrine we had seen from the top. Finally we found that it was small temple inside a Tibetan medical school. The guy who was around was kind enough to send someone to open the place up for us and we got to have a look.

I had tough time moving up and down, and it made me tired. I was getting worried how I would do parikrama. We started walking back to our campsite.

While we were almost close to the hotel, a big dog suddenly came barking towards me and attacked! Within a moment there was another dog attacking Subha, and we both were down on ground. I can’t tell how scary it was! Men standing close-by came and chased off the dogs; but there was a sharp burning in my left foot. I removed my shoe and checked if I’d got bitten, and I was. I was wearing my trekking shoes, they are very thick and hard; I wonder how the dog managed to plant a tooth in my flesh!

Back in the kitchen tent, sherpas attended to my wound while I suffered more burning because of the antiseptic lotion. Soon the news reached our guide Krishna, and he looked worried about it when he came to see me. Our Tibetan guide tried to find medical facility, but there was none available. By that time uncles and aunties had decided to return to Kathmandu, they didn’t want to do parikrama; Krishna suggested that I too return with them. He also added that generally nothing happens if one doesn’t take rabies shot immediately, and left the decision to me. I told him that I wanted to stay back and do parikrama.

I went thru a bit of mental agony for next few hours. I knew that I was not very fit physically to do parikrama, and now this dog bite thing had drained off my mental energy. Not that I was scared that I might fall sick, but the sudden scare the whole incident gave me was a little too much to bear. It kind of shattered me, I don’t know why. I had seen the dog attacking Subha, and felt very helpless that moment. Thankfully nothing happened to her though.


Other rooms were high on activity that evening. Krishna roped us with the other group, which was managed by Kailash Trek, another tour organizer. He was to return with uncles and aunties; he gave us last-minute instructions. Gambu sherpa was to stay back with us for the rest of the tour.

Meanwhile there were speculations about weather not being too good in the area. Opinion in large was that we might not be able to do parikrama. We had a brief talk with our new groupmates, and decided to try our luck. Later that night Meetu came to us to return my cam, which I’d forgotten in the vehicle that day. We realized that he’s going back with the group next morning, and gifted woolen cap to him. We tried to explain that we won’t be meeting him thereafter as we are going to stay back for the parikrama, and thus we wanted to give him a small gift; I don’t know how much he understood.

Next morning we were allowed to sleep a little longer. Weather was bad; it was raining, or I should call it snowing. Finally at around 9.30 am we left the campsite; vehicles were to take us to a place called Yamadhwaar, which is the starting point of the parikrama trek.


Here is the trek part of my trip, just before my friend Smitha concludes that I didn’t trek there.

Parikrama is walking around Mt. Kailash in clockwise direction; Hindus and Tibetans do it for religious purpose, it is supposed to be very holy. It takes almost two and a half days to complete parikrama.

On first day the distance to be covered was 18 kms; our destination was a place called Derapuk, which is located very close to Kailash. It was mostly plain, without any climbing. Our sherpa Gambu was our porter too. I was apprehensive about me being successful with parikrama; I asked Gambu what he thinks about my chances. He coolly said that I will surely be able to do it, and I should not at all worry about it. He kept on telling me to walk slowly so that I don’t hurt my wounded foot more. He brought back some confidence in me.

Subha and Gambu were walking quite fast; I was in my own pace. They waited for me in a teahouse for lunch. We had our packed lunch there, with lots of Tibetan tea.

I should share a couple of things about the tea served in these countryside teahouses. Tea is not served in the measure of cups here; a whole flask is given to the group. It’s black, not sweet, and sometimes salty. Even in Iran they would give a full teapot, served with sugar cubes and dates. And the practice is to not have one single cup of tea, you must keep on refilling your cup and drink it till you empty the whole pot. It’s fun.

Getting back on parikrama, we started walking after long lunch break. Now I was slower, and getting tired in spite of the path being almost plain. That was because of high altitude. I could see Kailash on my right; it looked beautiful. Finally after so many breaks and slow walking, I started seeing a building-like structure, which was our camp for the day. By that time, Gambu had made arrangements for our stay at Derapuk, and came back looking for me. I finally reached the camp; none of our groupmates had reached except for Subha.

At Derapuk, we got nice view of Kailash.

That night was the coldest; we had to use our sleeping bags. Next day was going to be long and toughest day of our trip, so we slept early.We left Derapuk camp by 5 in the morning, we had to climb up a pass, which was 5900 meters high, and cover 22 kms on whole that day (though I feel it was more than that). Many of our groupmates decided to go back to Tarchen, so we were only 5 girls who were about to finish parikrama. Climb to the pass was tough; the path was full of ice and fresh snow. I was very slow and was logging so much behind our group. Dorje sherpa kept me constant company; he kept offering tea, juice, and water all the time. Finally I reached the pass, which is called Dolma pass, after 5 hours of tough climbing. I was on cloud nine... literally! It was the highest altitude I’d ever been. After having a cup of tea there and resting a bit I was instructed to climb down, as it is not good to stay in high altitude for long time.

Near Dolma pass, there is a small lake called Gaurikund. But it was fully frozen that day.

Gambu sherpa was there with me while climbing down the pass, he said he was happy with my performance. He kept singing Nepali folk songs beautifully. While getting down I met and overtook Savitha Ben and Urvashi Ben, who were our groupmates. Later I got to know that Urvashi Ben wasn’t feeling well; in spite of her bad condition she managed to get up the pass. Soon, Gambu and me reached a teahouse, which was our lunch point.

After lunch we had to walk towards Zuthalpuk, our campsite for the day. It was plain, but boringly long. We were walking very slow as Urvashi Ben’s condition was not good. After quite long we managed to get a pony for her. Savitha Ben and Dorje sherpa started walking beside her pony, leaving me and Prahlad (guide) behind. We were very slow, but steady. This stretch of the day seemed very long, as if it would never end. Finally when we reached the campsite, Subha and others were already comfortably settled in the room. We were relieved, and happy. I just climbed up the bed, went inside the blanket, and wouldn’t budge. Subha wanted to see the cave where saint Milarepa(only one who is supposed have summited Kailash) was said to have meditated. She managed to pull Nimisha with her; they said there was a small Tibetan temple in that cave.

Agenda for next day was to reach Tarchen and finish parikrama. It took only 2 hours from Zuthalpuk; as usual Subha and Nimisha reached first, and I was with Prahlad at the back. When Prahlad showed me the vehicles waiting for us, I was immensely relieved. That was end of parikrama, and we had done it successfully.

We congratulated each other, happily posed for photographs flashing victorious smiles, and then reached our camp in Tarchen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

kailash manasarovar experiences: part 2

Lake Manasarovar

On the 5th day of drive, Meetu finally announced that we had reached Manasarovar area. The tough drive had taken its toll on us by that time; we were extremely quiet that day, trying to hide fatigue. But we returned to our normal selves once we had first glimpses of Mt. Kailash and Manasarovar. We waited for others in our group to arrive, and then moved on closer to Manasarovar area. We were to drive along the banks of Manasarovar, we learnt. After a while we got close to the lake, and Meetu stopped for a photography break. We eagerly jumped out from our gaadi, and we knew that it was the moment we waited for!

I wouldn’t even try to explain the feeling I got when I touched the ice-cold waters of the Lake. Handouts given to us by our tour organizers read, “Manasarovar is lake of tranquility, serenity, and bliss”. I couldn't explain it better! I only knew that I loved it and wanted to be there forever. Water was crystal clean, and shining in bluish green color. While Subha indulged in photography, I moved away from the crowds and got lost in the charm. That was one soul-filling experience. I must admit I got very emotional there!

At the background was Mt. Kailash, which looked awesome when combined with lake view.

After sometime we started driving again, but we were much close to the lake. I guess we stopped again to have another look. It was as if none of us wanted to move away from this center of attraction. Anyways, it was time to move towards our camp for the day. On the way we saw another lake called Raksha Sthal. It was sunset time when we reached there, and the whole picture looked very beautiful.

We drove upto the Lake next morning again. It was time to take holy dip and offer worship, if one felt like doing it. I was apprehensive about the idea of bath, it was very cold and water was freezing. But in a spur of the moment I decided on having a dip and did it, credit goes to Subha though for making me go for it. Water was bone-numbing cold! Thanks to our guide Krishna’s supply of hot water after the dip in the lake and the changing tent, it was bearable. But felt very good and fresh after the bath. Aunties and uncles started doing pooja after the bath; it took long time. Subha had good time for meditation there, while I wandered and watched the birds. We started feeling hungry as it was quite late in the morning, our sherpa Gambu had supplies of cup noodles but he didn't have hot water, so we had to use hot milk instead of water! Noodles in milk?! Hungry ho to kuch bhi chalta hai :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

sugar free.. yet, very tasty!

Refreshing Romance - that's what the trailer of the movie 'Cheeni kum' had said. And it is true. If you think that it's one of those movies because Tabu is in it, trash that thought!

The whole thing is very high on freshness. It's neither hot (like Nishabd), nor intense.. it's just fresh and crispy - chatpata and hatke!

AB playing a chef is good as usual, Tabu is as if she has a label on her forehead which reads 'brand new'. Zohra Saigal as AB's mother and the small kid (Sexy) who plays his neighbor are awesome, just loved them!

But for me, hero of this movie is the dialogue writer. It has got such good, witty dialogues that you will never stop laughing. Zohra Saigal trying to send AB to gym, Sexy's sayings about 'A' rated movie DVDs, Paresh Rawal and AB's meetings, etc etc..

It's a total entertainer; no mush, no candy-floss.. much to your relief.