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My Most Memorable Sunrises, Sunsets and Night Skies of 2016.

“I don’t have a diary, I don’t write things into a diary. I imprint myself into the sky and when the sunlight shines brightly, I can stand under the sun’s rays and everything I have imprinted of myself into the sky, I will begin to see again, feel again, remember. And when the wind begins to blow, it blows the details over my face, and I remember everything I left in the sky and see new things being born. I am unwritten.” ~C. JoyBell C.

I’m going to remember 2016 as the year I imprinted myself into the sky. I fought my nocturnal ways to be awake for more sunrises; I lay under more starry, moonlit, thunderous night skies than I ever have before. And sunsets became my daily dose of inspiration.

With my annual round up this year, I want to remind you (and myself) to slow down and savor some of life’s simplest joys!

The last sunrise: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

I witnessed many beautiful sunrises during my month-long stay on Lake Atitlan, but the last one really blew me away. My bags were packed and I was ready to go, waiting impatiently for the first ferry to make an early morning bus, when the sky burst into the most magnificent pink and orange colors!

 Read: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala: The Feeling That I’ve Found My Place on Earth

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Releasing 2-hour-old turtles into the Pacific Ocean: Baja California, Mexico

Holding a newborn Olive Ridley turtle on my palm, placing it on the golden sands, and watching it scramble towards the setting sun into the vast Pacific Ocean – that’s a sunset I’ll never forget.

Read: An Open Letter to Indian Parents: Let Your “Kids” Travel

turtle release mexico, baja california mexico, mexico travel blogs

Night adventures with my nun friends: Nyerma, Ladakh

I finally learnt to photograph night skies this year – starting with my ‘home’ with my nun friends in Ladakh. I was so excited about my first Milky Way photo, that I ran to show it to them – and they ran out excited to see what this ‘thing’ in the sky was! Lots of laughter and a big photo shoot happened that night, and even if most photos are blurry, my memory of it certainly isn’t.

Read: Heartwarming and Heartbreaking: Living With the Nuns of Ladakh

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Clouds rolling into my sunrise: Phu Chi Fa, Thailand

I trudged up with a friend to one of Northern Thailand’s highest peaks to see the sunrise. But we got caught in a massive, merciless rain, without rain gear or warm clothes. We shivered under a tree for what felt like an eternity, and when the rain finally stopped, gorgeous clouds rolled in below us and made our morning!

Read: How I Manage Visas on My Indian Passport As I Travel Around the Globe

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That ‘home’ feeling at sunset: Baños, Ecuador

Sometimes, the best things happen when you lose your way at sunset. I had been hiking alone in the countryside near Baños, got quite lost, and ended up taking a very long way home. Enroute, I fell in love with this beautiful, abandoned house in the golden hue of the setting sun.

Read: Soul Searching in the Ecuadorian Andes

banos ecuador, ecuador travel blogs

A pind, a rooftop, a charpai: Gunopur, Punjab

I was looking for a cheap way to get from Southeast Asia to India last month, and I found a 9000 rupees flight on Scoot, from Singapore to Amritsar! I got on it, marvelled at the Golden Temple, and made my way to a little pind near Gurdaspur. I expected mustard fields and heartwarming conversations, but lying on my roof at Punjabiyat, under a thousand stars was a sweet surprise.

Read: From Punjab, With Love

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The sunrise that lifted the veil of the forest fires: Sarmoli, Uttarakhand

Early May was a depressing time to be in Uttarakhand – seeing miles of pine forests on fire on the otherwise verdant hills of Kumaon. The haze reached all the way to Munsiyari and hid the gorgeous snow-capped mountains for a week. Then one morning, I woke up with the first rays of the sun pouring through my window and saw that the veil had been lifted! A surreal feeling.

Read: How Responsible Tourism Can Challenge Patriarchy in India

munsiyari uttarakhand, sarmoli uttarakhand, uttarakhand travel blogs

A shared sunset: Odenwald, Germany

I had a rather packed trip through the Hessen region of Germany this September, but one evening, while driving with a newfound friend along the forests and wildflowers of Odenwald, we pulled up on a hill, laid out a blanket and caught a breathtaking sunset over stories of how she began living in a hippie commune.

Read: A Journey to a Special Place From Our Storybook Days

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The Milky Way on the other side of the world: Wales, UK

North Wales was my biggest surprise this year – a region with spectacular rugged mountains, vast meadows and more sheep than people! On the shores of Lake Vyrnwy, after adventurous days of surfing and mountain biking, I was ready to rest my tired feet, but when I shut the lights, I was surprised to see a million stars (and the Milky Way) twinkling outside my window. Who needs sleep with such a gorgeous night sky?

Read: Why North Wales Blew My Mind

laky vyrnwy, north wales travel blog, stargazing UK

A fisherman in my sunrise: Mauritius

I only spent a couple of days on Mauritius’ east coast, and had to force myself out of bed to keep my vow to be awake for atleast one sunrise in every country I visit (being a late riser sucks like that). The sun’s colors scattered in the dark clouds above the Indian Ocean, just as a fisherman set out on his boat… it was like the universe had conspired to make it a perfect wake up call!

Read: Mauritius is Not Just About the Seas You Sail, But Also the People You Meet Ashore

Mauritius sunrise, Mauritius travel blogs, Mauritius east coast

An “End of the world” sunset: Munduk, Indonesia

I’ve heard way too many people dismiss the rain and clouds as bad weather; I even found a score of article on “bad weather photography”! Having grown up with plenty of sun in a tropical country like India, rainy, thunderous, misty weather is my favorite kind. I got exactly that at the coolest infinity pool I’ve swum in this year, at Munduk Moding in Bali.

Read: Easy Ways to Take Awesome Photos When You Travel Solo

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A resolution for more starry nights: Vikramgad, Maharashtra

My Southeast Asia plan kind of fell through, and I found myself without an abode on New Year’s Eve (again). As luck would have it, I connected with Hideout Farm on Twitter and fell for their promise of “vegan, starry starry nights”. This little sanctuary is one couple’s work to transform barren, rocky acres of land into a flourishing fruit forest and organic farm. Every night, sometimes with newfound friends and sometimes in solitude, I lay out under the vast open sky… and when the calendar turned to 2017, I pledged to fill my year with more starry nights and shooting stars!

Read: Road Tripping in Rural Maharashtra

hideout farm maharashtra, mumbai offbeat weekend getaways, india stargazing

Thanks for joining me virtually on my adventures in 2016! Big hugs x

Where were your most memorable sunrises, sunsets and night skies in 2016?

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40 Comments

  1. Jan – Sunrise in Valmiki Tiger Reservve, West Champaran, Bihar
    Feb – Sunset from Upper Lake, Bhopal and Sunrise from ramparts of Jhansi Fort where Rani Laxmibai plunged
    March- Sunrise over Straight of Malacca from a flight, Sunset from Penang Hill, Sunset from Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
    Apr- Tiger Hill, Darjeeling
    Sep- Upper Seletar Reservoir, Singapore
    Oct- On a highway near Samudrgarh, Hooghly,WB
    Nov- both Sunrise and Sunset on magnificient Kanchenjunga from Pelling, West Sikkim
    Dec- several dramatic sunsets from Khuri Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer Fort, Badabagh

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  2. These photos are so beautiful. Really peaceful & inspiring. And releasing baby turtles must have been the most incredible & heart-warming experience. Can’t wait to travel onwards into the new year! 🙂

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  3. Your pictures look so beautiful! My most memorable night skies view was when I was in Peru with the Milky Way. I hope to be able to see the Northern Lights one day!

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  4. Tales of a Globetrotter says

    Your writing was always superlative but man, your photographs !! Wowwww, hats off to you, what amazing pics you take now compared to a few yrs back, just amazing. Great going girl 👍

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  5. Happy 2017! Looking forward to reading about more of your adventures in this brand new year. My favorite sunrise of 2016 was atop the sand dunes at Sossussvlei, Namibia and favorite sunset was here in good old NJ at the end of a really calming yoga practice 🙂

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  6. That first picture caught my eye and is my favorite. Seems like you had a very pretty year. My pictures always look nice but, only before I take it 🙂 never comes out as nice after. Have a fantastic New Year!

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  7. Pingback: My Most Memorable Sunrises, Sunsets and Night Skies of 2016. — The Shooting Star | Viral Feed Post

  8. Finally saw and heard you in person at the Nat Geo traveller meet up in Bandra. Loved your starry pics. BTW, I am an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer since 1981!!!

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  9. The stars are truly amazing. It is one thing I miss about Australia and Canada, those big open skies where the milky way feels like that it will make you wet for standing underneath of it. And now that I have a telescope, I want to see more open skies more often. Really love living through your travels vicariously. Lots of splendid memories and love there I am sure.

    Take care friend, you are an amazing woman.

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  10. Beautiful photographs. Night sky photos are some of my favorite. You should go to my home country Iceland or Norway to get some photos of the northern lights!

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  11. This post was absolutely beautiful. I don’t see as many sunrises or starry skies but sunsets are beautiful where I come from and this has inspired me to take more pictures of them and perhaps share them someday.

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  12. pooja says

    Nice pictures. Your blogs inspired me not to afraid to try new places. i have learnt that open your arms and embrace your life and try different in your each travel.

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  13. So beautiful! I love the first one, and the infinity pool is definitely cool.
    What a great collection, and amazing travel places. 🙂

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  14. Great post Shivya along with lovely captions with each picture. Sunrises and sunsets are my fav times too. Sunrises bring hope while sunsets sooth the mind after a tiring day. Will have to practice photographing night skies too 😊

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