The Blue Lagoon

Legend of elephant lake

Silence

On a recent visit to the alpine mountains surrounded by high altitude lakes,I explored the Elephant Lake in East Sikkim above the sunrise point,at the top of a serpentine road in the Eastern Himalayan territory.The blue lagoon symbolizes an epic place of meditation and peace and travelers can stay in single rooms in retreats and home stays facing the mountains.

Solitude being my strength,I had never engrossed myself in silence beyond my occasional meditation hours.I went to explore the blue lagoon to think,retrospect and enjoy the blissful adventures surrounding the zone.The sounds came from the streaming rivera surrounding the retreat and we could auscultate the sounds of animals and birds several times a day.

As my tenure of stay came to an end after spending one night,I enjoyed the scenic view of the mountains and the landscape surrounding the lake and environment.This photo,taken in the early morning when I arrived in this hamlet reminds me of enticing landscape where I can forget anything and set aside a few minutes to enjoy the heavenly silence.

The rhetoric silence of this lake could be thought of as a romantic destination for directors willing to launch their next generation of films with co- actors and film producers.Although smaller in length,the high increased and unknown depth of this lake can be treated as an important measure to explore its actual width and intensity to delve further on its features.

Top seven places to view sunrise over Kanchenjunga mountain

Glorious sunrise

Here are a list of seven places from where you can get spectacular views of sunrise over Kanchenjunga mountain in India

Sunrise over Rachela peak
Sunrise

1.Rachela peak,Lava-Rachela peak is one of the few places in India from where one can get spectacular sunrise views.The peak is at an elevation of around 10,000 ft above sea level and is situated in the Lava district of Kalimpong.It takes half an hour to reach the hill top from the beautiful town of Lava by travelling in a Sumo or Safari Jeep.The sunrise view is really very amazing and spectacular and on going a bit further the entire range of the Kanchenjunga mountain is palpable when the reflection of the sun falls on the snow clad peaks.

Rachela peak
Sunrise over Rachela peak

View of Kanchenjunga from Lungtung
Kanchenjunga

2.Luntung Valley,Sikkim-Lungtung valley in Sikkim is one of the magical places in Eastern India from where you can get magnetizing and ensnaring vision of the mighty peak of Kanchenjunga and witness the spectacular sunrise over the mountain.For this purpose,Thambi View point is the best place in Lungtung to catch the greatest vision.If one is lucky,he can also see the other neighboring peaks of the mountain giant if the weather remains clear and proper. Lungtung valley is situated at an altitude of around 12,500 ft and offers enchanting and winsome views of the entire range of Kanchenjunga and its neighboring peaks.

Kanchenjunga massif from Lungtung
Kanchenjunga from Lungtung

View from Nathang
Nathang valley

3.Nathang valley,Sikkim-Nathang valley is one of the destinations in the Old Silk Route that offers intriguing and ravishing views of the Kanchenjunga mountain.It is a few kms from Zuluk and can be traversed by car or a safari jeep to catch the enigmatic vision of the mountain alongside its neighboring peaks.The view is rewarding for any passionate mountain lover provided it is the correct time of the year they have planned a visit to catch sight of this mighty peak.

4.Tiger Hills,Darjeeling-Tiger Hills Darjeeling remains one of the oldest and a popular place to view sunrise over Kanchenjunga mountain.It is a few kms from the town of Darjeeling and offers enthralling views of the third highest
mountain in the world.The early sunrise creates a wonderful halo in the entire atmosphere making Kanchenjunga the most comely and attractive mountain in the whole world.

5.Tashi View Point,Gangtok-Tashi View point remains a very important place to catch sight of the divine and enigmatic peak of Kanchenjunga mountain from the capital city of Gangtok.If you open a One Hundred rupee note you find the mountain in the back side of the note.The picture is that of Tashi view Point in Gangtok that has some magic and enthrallment for any passionate nature lover across the globe.

Thambi view point in Lungtung
View from Thambi view point in Lungtung

6 .Tiffin Dara  : Tiffin Dara,Rishyap offers hypnotizing views of the mighty Kanchenjunga peak and is one of the highest summits in Kalimpong district.However it is required to climb 2.5 kms uphill to reach the  point from where you can witness the glorious and spectacular sunrise .

Glorious view from Sandakphu
Sandakphu

7..Sandakphu and Phalut-Sandakphu and Phalut,Being the highest point in West Bengal offers enticing visions of the Kanchenjunga massifs and the peaks of Lhotse,Makalu and Everest.Sandakphu and Phalut are situated in the upper extremities of the Eastern Himalayas and serves as the gateway to the Singalila National Park.These places offers the best and enigmatic visions of this mountain giant and serves as the only point in West Bengal to get a glimpse of Mount Everest,Mount Kanchenjunga,Mount Pandim,
Mount Manaslu and Mount Lhotse all in one go

Tales from an Indian Lepcha village

Fire to warm ourselvees

Lepcha villages are quite popular in India and they are widespread across various areas and districts but few of them are also based out of the country as well.Having heard about them before drove me to a place known as Loleygaon in the Kalimpong district.A fours drive through the tea gardens and lush green fields and meadows was something to cherish this year end before the new year actually begins on a positive and striking note.The road was a challenging one through the river Teesta and gravel and rocks decussating museums and monastries along the route to the lepcha village.

Dense forests
Thick and dense forests

 

The route to the village
Enroute to the Lepcha village
Green water
Green water of Teesta
The green grasslands
Grasslands

There were wooden houses built by the locals in propinquity with the hotels and home stays available in the district.We had to traverse through the gravel road from a district known as Lava to reach the destination.On reaching the hamlet we could find lot of Buddhist paintings and statues portraying the importance of the religion and the people living in the district.The entire area was covered by the dense forests of the Neora Valley National park which is the gateway to this important village of Loleygaon.The route is a waved one through tough and steep ridges covered by thick and condensed
forests of the national park.

Children playing
Children landing from the top
Lekeview
The Lakeview
The Hanging bridge
Hanging bridge

I could track some small houses and the people living inside them making some intelligent moves to improve their lifestyle and find some unique ways of earning their daily livelihood and maintain a decent style of living.Children were putting their hands to help parents in their daily work.They wore thick and woolen clothes to keep themselves wrapped up and protect from the cold and escape the bitterness of the temperature which goes beyond -10 degrees during the evening and night.Some villagers  maintained shops for selling groceries,fruits,drinks and daily requirements of a household.Some people had their own cars for helping tourists coming to explore this beautiful lepcha village and the landscape surrounding it.There were tea gardens maintained
by the government and the private landlords in the outskirts of the village.Tea leaves are really popular for their taste,perfume and flavor in this part of the country and are exported worldwide.

Outskirts of the village
Village outskirts
From the lakeside
View from the lake
The roads of Loleygaon
Loleygaon
Neora Valley
The forests of Neora velley National park

The innocent faces of children made me feel for them and the alchemy drove me to one of the monastries helping the poor in funding the poorer ones without food and water.Their eyes were very captivating and alluring and they really looked blessed in getting the offerings of Nature helping them plant and grow their own food in the vicinity.The surrounding view of the snow clad peaks made the village look even more comely,dignified and conventional making it a succinct place in the lap of Eastern Himalayas.Not to mention about the colored leaflets being kept in the roadside to drive the wicked and the evil away from the region and trigger an alarm to the villagers to maintain peace and stability in the area.

 

Twisted alleys of Barot Valley

The river Uhi

Ascend

Barot Valley is an important lowland in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.It is connected to Bir Billing via Joginder Nagar and Palampur.This valley has gained importance and recognition in the state due to the recent construction of the hydel power project and a dam that serves as the biggest water supply to the people in the adjoining areas of the district.The road to Barot from Joginder Nagar is a twisted one and through the dense forests and the woodlands of Himachal Pradesh,India.

Steep scent
Twisted alleys
Flowers blooming in resort gardens
Flowers blooming in the garden
High flowing Uhi river
River Uhi
Uhi River
Trout fishing at UhI

Trout fishing is very prominent and established and serves as the largest exporter of fish in the region and the adjoining places of the Mandi and Kangra district.Population is sparse and local villagers have planted trees and built wooden houses to survive in the lowlands.The high stream of water from the dam flowing across the lowlands
is a retreat and an eye catcher for all travellers coming for a sojourn and quest of some adventure in the region.Barot valley was one of the least explored destinations of Himachal but has gained attention and distinction recently due to the construction of the hydel project across the high flowing UhI river.

Flowers glowing in propinquity
Flowers blooming in propinquity in UhI river
Flowers blooming
Flowers blooming at resort gardens
Wooden houses across Barot valley
Barot valley
Hydel project
Hydel power project in the region

The passage is very adventurous and enterprising as we wander across the Dhauladhar Himalayan circuit and the impenetrable and condensed areas of the forests and looks very scenic and artistic and captures the mind and hearts of all nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.It is a 4-5 hrs drive from the spiritual destination of Bir and through the wild forests of Kangra and the Mandi district of Himachal.The valley attracts mostly foreign tourists and adventurous backpackers from India and forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife sanctuary.There are steep ascents across the twisted alleys and route to some important trekking expeditions.

The dam serving as a means of water supply
Vertical view of the dam
Green grasslands
Green grasslands across the valley
Tents set in Billing
Tents in Billing

Barot Valley remains an important discovery in the Mandi distict of Himachal Pradesh and serves as the largest water supplier in the region besides Prashar lake due to the construction of the hydel power project.The crisis of water supply has now been eradicated from the region and people continue to live a blissful life of adventure and mountain fantasies in this beautiful lowland.I am extremely blessed to have conquered this part of Himachal with my courtiers and I stimulate other like minded travellers to plan a voyage across this wonderful lowland to enjoy the enticing
beauty and fascination of the Dhauladhar Himalayan compass.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Cheeky

Unique bird

Cheeky

Last month,Travelling took me to the wild and dense forests of Netarhat in India where we could spot animals like leopard,tigers,black bear and muntjacs to mention a few.Such is the fascination and alchemy of wandering in the wild with your gears and camera.There were birds that could be spotted near the rivers and mostly in the soaked areas of the forest.

On. delving further,I found this bird in one of the soggy areas of the reserve looking quite angry from her facial appearances.She seems to be searching for commodity,may be food and water or may be something beyond that.She took few steps from she was and stood firm at one point close to the river from where I took this photograph.There were however no predators I could find that could attack this little creature so she was free  from fear and danger.

Although I stood closer to the creature,I found that she never bothered to turn her neck and face me.She was in her own world and was peeping close to the rocks and the bulky stones close to her contact.Although she was whiter in appearance and two small legs to stand tall and a big mouth projecting her tongue her eyes were something to watch out for. There were some alarms that I could hear in the forest but that could not perturb her actions.She stood undisturbed,calm and placid and solitary.My phone kept ringing for few minutes but she never turned towards me and the strange thing was that I could not even hear her chirping sounds as she was silent.

Hopefully we could understand the secret behind her actions and behaviour.It seems that she was not impressed by me or my phone or camera which I had at that point of time.It is sometimes very difficult for humans like us to interpret other creatures and study their mind and actions.

Shadow

Shadow of the mountain

Today I just want to showcase my travelography
in three different photos which truly captures the shadow of the
object completely and creates an unfathomable interest in discovering new ones similar to the below pictures.
I believe I have been able to capture the shadow effectively in my
lenses and lucky to have captured the beauty in three unique and
different sketches.

The first one was taken in Chandra Tal few years
back on a sunny afternoon after I trekked a distance of 3 kms from
the juncture where the car left us.It was an easy trek as there were
no steep climbs and was mostly transparent and plain.The Kunzum pass
and the dry desert like mountains surrounded the entire territory.
The mountains were mostly blackish and greyish in appearance that
looked very arid and unconquered for several years.There were no
contour of any torrential downpour during this time of the year
and we were fortunate to get a clear blue sky and enjoy the grandeur
of the Greater Himalayas.The white snow clad mountains just cast their
shadow inside the blue lake of the moon making a momentous appearance.
There were few tourists in the spot and the blue color was visible till
5 pm in the evening before twilight.

Sun's shadow in Ganges
The sun casting its shadow in Ganga

The setting sun cast its shadow in the river I was blessed and charmed in a cold winter morning to see the light red color of the sun creating a notable presence in the greatest national park of the country.Everything appeared to be dancing to the light of the sun with trees breathing with the cool breeze and the entire atmosphere turning light red which was a rare view in my travel life span. The safari jeep in which were were traveling cast its shadow in the plain land which was very much prominent and distinguished.Even the wider areas of the jungle were glowing with the light red color of the sun and creating an impressive appearance
for travel photographers.

Shadow of the car in road
Shadow of the car in the road

Early Morning @ Jim Corbett where the shadow of the car falls in the
road Lastly I just managed to get rid of the busy city life on a Sunday evening and stroke towards the holy river which looks very peaceful and salient in Princep Ghat,Kolkata.The sun was about to set when we could see the reflection of the vanishing deep yellow color of the sun casting its shadow inside the river.Such instances are however not rare but I was very much prosperous in taking the best picture that day in my lenses.The Ganges looks dashing in dusk and that’s the reason why maximum people crowd to
see the beauty and the opulence of the panorama.

The syrupy and authentic rhododendrons

The rhododendrons

If you want to track and taste the best quality of rhododendrons then the authentic and the best varieties can be found in the Kumaon ranges of Uttarakhand in India.They are found in other parts of India like the Garhwal,Eastern Himalayas and also in some parts of the Northern Himalayas.Being the national flower of Nepal,they may be either
deciduous or evergreen and can be found in most corners of the world.They are accessible and found abundantly in the Kumaon belt namely Sitlakhet and on the way to Munsiyari,India,.

The red flowers of rhododendrons
Rhododendrons as spotted from Khalia Top

Rhododendrons growing in the tree branches
Rhododendrons spreading their oasis

My experience has been mostly wonderful in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand where the species are grown as delicate plants and I have been lucky and fortunate enough to see the different varieties growing in solidarity in the wild  trees encompassing the region.They grow throughout the year but the majority of its species are seen after the autumn season and they keep intriguing people across the world.The authentic rhododendrons do provide us with lots of health benefits including blood purifier,increasing energy level and treatment of skin ailments and also acts as an health drink appetizer.

A bunch of rhododendrons
Evergreen rhododendrons

 

Rhododendrons growing together in the trees
Rhododendrons growing in solidarity in the trees

Varieties of rhododendrons
Different species of rhododendrons

There are syrups and juices extracted or prepared from the flowers and sold in glass bottles and can be purchased for a few bucks .i.e 5$ per bottle.To prepare,there should be two tea spoons of the syrupy material with cold water and 1 cup of sugar to get the best taste and the flavor.Since there are different species of it,the taste may vary depending upon the different categories of it being available and cultivated in India.The syrups are normally deep red in color and very much concentrated and sold in bottles or plastic containers.It would be good enough to mix it with water and sugar along
with three tea spoons of the syrup and serve and drink it to get the authentic taste and flavor of these rhododendrons.

Rhododendrons classified as deciduos
Deciduos rhododendrons

It is essential to compare it with the authentic rhododendrons that are available in the region than the ones which are not the original quality that are being sold to lure and fool people willing to get the real taste of the flower.Normally the label outside the bottle and the place where they are manufactured can give you the real estimate or take the best opinion in deciding the superior or the actual variety of the species.The species are grown and manufactured throughout the year so it would be wise to plan a trip to the Kumaon spectrum once in a lifetime to accomplish,experience and feel the piquancy
of the best varieties of the species.

The red rhododendrons spotted on a wild tree
Species of rhododendrons as seen from Munsiari

Tsomgo:The Yak lake

Tsomgo lake

Serene

Tsomgo lake,situated at a height of more than 12000 ft above sea level
is a high altitue lake in East Sikkim,India.The. lake is situated in
Changu Village around 40 kms from the state capital of Gangtok.The lake
is also called the 'Yak Lake' as yak is the only animal that is seen
around the lake.Many yaks can be spotted in and around the lake and
serves as the largest milk producer in the area. All tea sellers use
their milk to make and prepare tea and coffee in the region.The area is                     very serene and isolated and we can only feel the essence of the mountains.

Tsomgo lake
Changu lake

Changu Lake
Tsomgo lake as visible from Changu village

Tsomgo Lake
Tsomgo or Changu Lake

Yak with clothed horns
Yaks covered with red clothes around the horns

The lake normally remains frozen in winters and it would be good to plan
a sojourn near the lake during December-February-March.It is the most
important lake in Sikkim due to its height and the depth of water level.
The lake can be traversed from the capital city of Gangtok by covering
a whooping distance of around 2 hours in car and looks splendid and
ravishing in the morning.On going further from the lake,we can find some
other lakes like Menmecho,Elephant lake and Kupup lake.

Blue water of Tsomgo
Blue water of Changu

Changu lake in morning
Tsomgo lake in the morning

Yaks spotted around Changu lake
The Yak spotted in and around the lake

Ride around Yak lake
The Yak ride around the lake

There used to trade operations between India and China in the region
but it was stopped and discontinued few years back and goods stopped
coming from China.The trading was affected and as a result lot of people
who used to depend on trading for a living lost their daily source
of income.People of Sikkim now mostly depends on tourism and selling
for a decent living.The yak lake is encompassed by mountains of the Eastern
Himalayas
and there are military camps and forces operating in the area

Changu lake
Changing colors of Changu lake

Road around Yak lake
The zig zag road around Changu lake

Yaks spotted at yak lake
Changu Village

 

 

 

 

The Tsomgo lake serves as the entry point for another important route
namely the 'Silk Route' between India and China.Since the trading
operation got affected few years back,the route now remains opened
for travelers and nature enthusiasts for a visit all around the year.
There have been eco retreats and resorts consructed by the people of
Sikkim that acts as home stays for travelers and tourists throughout the
year.The elegant lake looks dazzling if viewed from the top acting as the
only water body in Changu village and continues to impress tourists and
manages to be as one of the most important lakes in the Eastern Himalayas.