Thursday, February 25, 2016

Zuluk Loops - One of the best roads to drive on in India

In the remotest corner of the Himalayas, the great ancient explorers had set up this trade route called silk route that connected India to Tibet and later other cities also became part of it, eventually making it the largest network of trading. This route re-shaped the way people did trade and exchanged cultural ideas. This route passed through Lhasa, Nathu La and Jelep La Pass and finally reached the port of Tamralipta (present Tamluk in West Bengal) from where it took to the sea and reached far east.
Located on this route in lower Himalayas of East Sikkim is a beautiful small village Zuluk. It was once a transit point to the historic Silk Road from Tibet to India. There is also an Indian Army base at Zuluk, which has been used as a transit camp for the army movement to the Chinese border hence permit is required to visit Zuluk and beyond which can be obtained from Rongli (between 10am -2pm). You can also sign up for the Sikkim trip on this route with ChaloLetsGo

Beautiful zig zag roads, amazing view of Kanchenjunga throuhout, varied flora and fauna and lovely locals... all this makes the drive from Zuluk to Thambi one of the most beautiful drives of India.

The zig-zag road - The road through Zuluk has almost 32 hairpin turns and is no less than a wonder. Driving on this road is any road-tripper's dream. Mt Kanchandjunga will follow you throughout the drive. The landscape views are truly breathtaking especially during the sunset.

Varied flora and fauna: Zuluk has high diversity of Himalayan flora and fauna. The place shelters variety of birds like Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Khaleez Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and others. You may also catch a glimpse of Himalayan Weasel, Red Panda, wild dog and deer in the high hills.

Amazing view of Kanchenjunga: 14 kms away from Zuluk is Thambi View Point that offers a panoramic view of the entire Mt. Kanchenjungha range. Watching the sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjunga and its allied peaks from Thambi View Point at 11,200 feet is a surreal experience. The golden rays of rising sun kiss the snow clad peak of Kanchenjunga, which slowly turns crimson and then golden and finally silver. The spectacle is truly breathtaking.

Zuluk is accessible throughout the year. During winter Zuluk faces high snow fall and freezing temperatures and in summers are wet and foggy here. During summer Zuluk and its surrounding hills remain covered with different kind of blooming rhododendron flowers.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

A Day With Gaddi Family In Himachal

I was working on an assignment when I came across this lovely family in a remote village of Himachal in Kangra Distt. I was already impressed by the hospitality of simple people from the hills. I was staying at a homestay in Palampur with a lovely couple.

While I was roaming around in a village near Bundla, I was approached by this lovely young lady who was curious to know what am I doing in their village with a big camera and what on the earth will I do with the pictures I was clicking. As I told her I am here to cover the traditional lifestyle of Gaddis (tribe of Himachal) she readily invited me to her place. Excitedly she took out an old steel trunk that had their tradional attire 'Chola and Dora' that ussually they wear in marriages. She wanted to wear it and get clicked and I readily agreed "Andha kya chahe do aankhen" ;)

My young gaddi friend Lali getting ready to be clicked 

While we were busy doing all this shoot, her mother-in-law was busy taking care of house totaly indifferent to the uninvited guests of her daughter-in-law. After some time the man of the house arrived with fodder for their cattle who are no less than family members.

Shy but welcoming mom-in-law busy in household chores
Father-in-law getting fodder for the cattle
After settling in, the gentleman invited me in to have lunch with the family. I was glad to see the man serving lunch himself.

Serving me lunch they might have prepared for themselves
It was all cooked on mud stove called Chulha and tasted delicious. The family members opened up more on lunch in their traditional kitchen. Post lunch they keenly showed me all their precious traditional possessions like Charkha, Hukka and some old pictures.
The marriage picture of my new friend Lali 

Charkha that they still use 
After this photo session we were joined by their neighbor and we all basked in the angan chatting and laughing. It's during this conversation that I got to know Lali's husband is in army and her son is getting treated for some deformity in his leg.

Post lunch chatting session
I salute the spirit of the family who seemed so happy and contended inspite of all the odds they are facing.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016


Goodbye Dear Sun 

I wonder from where you come and to where you go
as I sit on a cliff of a mountain high.
I watch you slowly dip down the horizon
spreading your golden glow over the valley.

For a few beautiful moments of parting,
the sky becomes your canvas
and in harmony with clouds
you paint it colorful.

You pour out your brilliant hot oranges and reds
on the sky and the clouds
ablazing the blue sky with molten lava.
And then slowly the hot red melts into the cool blue
making it purple, grey and then black
Turning a beautiful day into a silent night.

In the meanwhile...
Your golden light embraces us all
and your warm glow kisses our day's weariness away.
As you depart and bid us goodbye
with a promise to come back
I close my eyes dreaming of another beautiful day!

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