All posts tagged: himalayas

How Volunteering in Spiti Led Me to an Unexpected Friendship.

Curious about what volunteering in Spiti Valley is like? My stint with Spiti Ecosphere led me to some pretty unexpected friendships. My summer of volunteering in Spiti Valley leads me to a nunnery in Morang village. In the backdrop of snow-hooded Himalayas and on the shore of the Spiti River. To conceptualize a new volunteer program for Spiti Ecosphere, the organization I’m volunteering with, I’m spending an evening with a nun to learn about her life. I’m a little anxious. The closest I’ve been to a nunnery is in the wanderings of my curious mind. The last thing I want to do is cross the thin line into insensitivity. The head of the nunnery asks a young nun to be the victim of my questions and she heartily abides. Dressed in a traditional red and orange robe, with a pretty blue headscarf, I guess her age almost accurately as 22. We walk to the kitchen, making small talk about the weather, and warm up over tea. She tells me she came to the nunnery 6 years …

Raison: Kullu Manali’s Well-Kept Secret.

Away from the hill station crowds, Raison Kullu (or Raison Manali) is a secret Bollywood haunt waiting to be discovered! As the bus jerks to a stop on the Manali highway and the driver yells Raison Kullu, I pick up my sleepy self and alight. On my left, a pebbly path winds uphill, away from the paved highway. The absence of a road is a sign that there won’t be many visitors here.  I climb past small village clusters, with red, purple and blue flowers intermittently dotting the edge of the path. The River Beas babbles harmoniously in the silence of the mountains. On a plateau in the middle of this wilderness in Raison Kullu, I am welcomed into an 83-year-old bungalow built during the British era. Surrounding me are apple orchards and kiwi plantations. The trees have shed all their leaves in the cold December weather, but their bare branches lend a rustic charm. The apple barons of the region have opened up this precious inheritance to travellers seeking a taste of royalty without …

Discovering a ‘Little Tibet’ in India.

Tibet might be off limit for most of us. In search of a little Tibet in India, I landed up in Dharamsala / Mcleodganj, in the lap of the mountains. Dharamsala feels so unlike India. I feel I’ve skipped legalities, missed stamps on my passport and entered a world I was taught is forbidden. I see a foreign face around every corner. Interspersed with men and women robed in red and orange. A tranquil vibe flows through the chaos of Mcleodganj on the narrow streets. I am fascinated by the small stalls and shops selling colorful bric-a-brac. Little memorabilia from the “Little Tibet” in India that has been produced elsewhere in India or Nepal. The side walls are covered with graffiti about Tibet, a reminder of the refugee lives of the people in Dharamsala. This has to be the only hill station in India where no shop-owners are shouting to sell their goods, nor touting foreign travelers. I can feel a spirit of acceptance among the people, or maybe a disguised form of dejection. Also …

Travel Tales From Pakistan: Of Fairy Meadows & The Killer Mountain.

This is The Shooting Star’s first ever guest post. Adnan Bashir, a traveler from Pakistan, who goes by the pen name Delirium, explores one of the most fascinating peaks on the other side of the Himalayas, the Nanga Parbat aka the Killer Mountain.  Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

The Legend of Komic Monastery in Spiti.

While in Spiti, I discovered a fascinating legend about the spectacular Komic Monastery and why it is located in the village of Komic. Spiti is a land of legends. Every mountain peak and rock formation has a story lurking behind it, handed down by generations of Spitians. The most fascinating of them is one I heard from a local friend, of a mountain peak which changes colors a few times a day, reflecting the mood of the deity that inhabits it. It takes 3 days to walk to the base of this peak from his village in Linkti, camping at nightfall along the Spiti River… But I digress. The mystery mountain is a story for another day. I’m currently at 4587 metres at Komic, and literally high at what is said to be the highest inhabited village in the Himalayas. As I count the 13 houses in this small village, I try to imagine how people lead such isolated lives. Perhaps a consolation is the Buddhist Monastery at Komic, where lamas (monks) pray and meditate …

Mount Kailash, Kinnaur kailash, kalpa, himalayas, shimla to kalpa

An Incredible Journey from Shimla via Reckong Peo to Kaza.

The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza is exhilarating but not for the faint-hearted. A once-in-a-lifetime experience! I’m en route to Spiti and going through a “sometimes the journey is as beautiful as the destination” moment. The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza – with a stopover at Kalpa – easily claims Himachal Pradesh to be the most beautiful state in India for a mountain lover. I watch the mighty Himalayas blanketed in Cedar trees for the first quarter of the journey. The landscape transforms to pine trees, until the mountains gradually become bare. I catch a glimpse of the River Satluj flowing below in a stream of clear white water. It gradually reduces to a blue-green trickle in the mountains. Then it meets the dam under construction in the Rampur district and changes to a disheartening brown. The winding road from Rampur to Kinnaur has been dug from the base of the mountains, leaving their rocky protrusions untouched. I’m stunned as I drive under these protrusions. It’s as though the Himalayas …