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Old 21st June 2012, 14:07   #61
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Coooolcat21,

A very well documented, photographed and narrated travelogue!

The menacingly leaning (on you) mountain sides, cantilevered drive through's, roads like velvet ribbons laid through humungous mountains, furious water falls, serene lake Nako, Monastery and its interiors, pray flags, the pulley and cable transport contraption, road maintenance, bridges, cotton clouds, tent stay and last but not least..the pole that supports the mountain.

This is a documentary in stills and words. You managed to show us much more than the natives may have noticed.

I am forwarding this thread to my brothers and cousins who had been here twice.

Regards,
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Old 21st June 2012, 14:54   #62
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As we had reached early in the evening after a invigorating cup of Masala Tea, we walked down to Nako lake through the Village. These are the photographs from this 'Parikrama'. The Lake changes its colors in accordance with the moods of the surrounding mountains and the sky. Though its a sacred lake, I did see a few villagers use it like any other water body in the Country. However its simply serene and quiet, almost a ethereal scene with green overhanging trees and a village that is from another time long past.
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The Cloud Covered Mountains
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Prayers carved in stone, as we all know one needs persistence and insistence in our communication with the one above to get a response.
These stones are then entombed in Chortens, covered in a clay-lime mix and painted over in brilliant white.
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Prayer wheels. The idea of Prayer Flags and Wheels that send ones prayer around the world riding the winds is very attractive and spiritually soothing.
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This beauty kept mooing the whole time that we took to walk past this street.
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The Construction activity that we saw made us a little apprehensive of the future, what would one be coming back to in a few years ?
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Would this Child see the same in a couple of decades ? I did not imagine he would. Probably have a water park here by then.
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The Village, one wondered about the life here in Winter Months, Could some one from a City like us survive here for one season?
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Back to the lake. I think by now the stone walkway around the lake should be complete, when we visited there were a few patched unfinished.
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The Construction at the far end is supposed to be a Hotel. The Village despite appearances is quiet affluent.
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A close-up of the construction.
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The next two photographs are from the next day, we were up early, and after a hot cup of Tea took a few snaps in the morning light of our surroundings
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Nako Village with Prayer Flags fluttering in the wind.
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The Mountains surrounding the Nako Lake are surreal, specially at the time we visited the cloud cover, the green cover on the trees, it was a place that you immediatly made plans to come back to, even before you finished the present tour.

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Old 21st June 2012, 16:26   #63
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While some took shameless advantage of the fact that their age lent them and slept in late, other hard-working and long suffering members went out into the cold to bring to you, Dear readers, the following Pictures. The last two snaps in my last post actually belong here.

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This patch of Garden Heaven was in the neighbours compound. Help you to live in the 7-8 months of white-out during winters I would guess. Nature Compensates.
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These are a few close-ups of some of the blooms in the garden where we stayed.
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We left after a Hot Breakfast of the 'Usual' for the Monastery of Nako that we had kept for the morning the previous day. The idea was to see the Monastery and arrive at Kaza in the evening, where we had a booking at the HPTDC Hotel. Kaza was our second planned rest day of the trip. The plan was to visit, Chango, Gue and Tabo Monasteries along the way. We were today finally swinging away from the Tibetan Platue.

The Welcome Arch of the Nako Monastry.
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The Nako Monastery like the Village is over a Thousand years old. The Village earlier was up in the Mountains but after a unusually long and hard winter it was decided to shift the Village closer to the Lake and the Monastery.
The Government has helped build a New Stone Structure to house the Monastery as the old structure is damaged and weakened over the years due to quakes and harsh weather. No Photography was allowed inside the Old Monastery, however a Lama left the chores that he was doing and happily opened the same for up for us. He also gave us a brief history of the area from where I have quoted above. The Gold painting inside, on the walls of the Monastery, illustrating the life and various avatars of the Buddha are said to be done in Gold. All I can say is that the artists of old were very talented and blessed.

Chortens near the Monastery.
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You walk around a Monastery in a Clock-wise manner and spin the Prayer Wheels similarly. This was an old Stone and Mud Building in the Compound.
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View of the New Structure.
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Door to the Older Monastery.
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The Old Monastery. The Energy Meter next to this ancient door looked out of place as did the Solar Light. But then times they are a changing... Check out the flag-stoned courtyard.
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The New Monastery.
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That's definitely out of place and time.
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The surrounding Mountains.
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The Monastery from some way down the Mountain Road.
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A Buddhist Icon dressed in Prayer Flags.
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The Journey back to NH 22 begins and we start our descend.
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The Spiti in the distance
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The Kazigs and Spiti.
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Co-riders in the distance
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Sand Mining wonder who issues licenses here, but knowing our bureaucracy I am sure they have found and implemented a method.
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This Jackal was simply too quick and good at hiding for us to get any more snaps, it simply disappeared into thin air in front of our eyes.
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And we drove on towards Chango..
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Old 21st June 2012, 16:38   #64
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Amazing.

Nako is so beautiful through your lens.

I have found a lot of such prayer stones near the Nako signboard near the road.

Cool - Foxy guys too live there

Out of Time and Place - Nice one!
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Old 21st June 2012, 19:47   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Coooolcat21,

A very well documented, photographed and narrated travelogue!

The menacingly leaning (on you) mountain sides, cantilevered drive through's, roads like velvet ribbons laid through humungous mountains, furious water falls, serene lake Nako, Monastery and its interiors, pray flags, the pulley and cable transport contraption, road maintenance, bridges, cotton clouds, tent stay and last but not least..the pole that supports the mountain.

This is a documentary in stills and words. You managed to show us much more than the natives may have noticed.

I am forwarding this thread to my brothers and cousins who had been here twice.

Regards,
Thank You Fazal Ji. Hope the rest of the T-log lives up to these expectations too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Amazing.

Nako is so beautiful through your lens.

I have found a lot of such prayer stones near the Nako signboard near the road.

Cool - Foxy guys too live there

Out of Time and Place - Nice one!
Thank you Laluk Ji, your travels were part of the inspiration.
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Old 21st June 2012, 20:12   #66
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We arrived in the afternoon to the turn off from the NH 22 towards Chango. The road leading to Chango diverts just before a Bridge that is surrounded by Orchards growing luxuriantly along the river banks. The narrow road leads through a colourful arch and a rather prosperous looking Chango Village to the Monastery situated higher up the mountain surrounded by fields. The Monastery houses only Nuns. Like all the other people we met here they were an epitome of Hospitality, even though at the time of our arrival all the senior nuns were out in the fields and we were welcomed only by Novices. The Monastery appears to be a fairly modern one as I could see no building older than a couple of decades in there. Subsequently we saw a stone plaque fixing the date of inauguration as 1996.

Orchards of Red and Golden Apples near the entrance to the deviation into Chango Village.
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The Colourful Welcome Arch.
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The structure housing the Prayer Wheel. I believe these are put up and maintained by the Army near almost all Monasteries and in the town of Leh itself.
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The main building of the Monastry.
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Views from the Monastery.
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Prayer Flags fluttering in the wind.
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The Buddhist symbol one finds atop all Monastries.
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Old 21st June 2012, 20:42   #67
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We were conducted into the Monastery by two young Novices who did not know either Hindi or English. Through gestures and mime they tried their best to communicate with us the significance and importance of each of the several deities within. They were kind and patient but our state of mystification did not clear.
The interiors of the Monastery were gorgeously colourful and the deities impressive in size and the wondrous in gold, blue and royal purple. In all ways it was a inspiring experience.

Tara Devi the Mother Goddess is in reign here.
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Musical instruments used during Prayers and Chanting
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The Traditional Door resplendent in bright colours and wood carved adornments. The Metal Handles and the Lock looked out of place.
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The Gate to the Monastery.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-46.jpg
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Old 21st June 2012, 21:28   #68
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After a hot cup of Tea and some snacks at the Monastery, that the Nuns offered us, we said our goodbye and left the Monastery. Tracing our steps back to NH 22 we hit the road towards Kaza. I would like to mention here that we met some Army Personnel here who advised us not to go to Gui if we wanted to cover Tabo and make it to Kaza by nightfall. We were told that the road was extremely narrow and post noon there would be oncoming vehicles which could cause further delays. After having done the Narkanda - Hatu Road we were not worried about narrow roads, however the time and reaching Kaza after dark was worrisome, so we decided to skip Gui, Hey but then we were coming back soon were we not ?

The roads that we followed were typical of the region. We followed Spiti river towards the Valley named after it and enjoyed the drive.

The Grey Coloured Spiti near Chango.
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Mountain Roads
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Fractured Mountains
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Part of Chango Village towards Tabo
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This was the gate on the Tabo side of the road decorated with the 'Ashta Mangalas' the 8 signs of Good Fortune.
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A lonely Chorten along the Road.
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Mountain Roads along The Spiti again
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Ever wonder why these lands slide every so often when it rains in these region? Look closely.
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Entering Spiti Valley ? Guess we just are leaving Lahaul.
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Co-riders overcome an obstacle with elan
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Waiting for the slow pokes with the Cameras.
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The Welcome Arch to Gui Village, Shall be driving through there very soon.
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No roads one moment and people sweeping them clean the next! What can I say ?
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I Know, but this sign board was irresistible. Welcome to Chandigarh in the Spiti Valley. Villa Sites available at unbelievably competitive prices.
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Wonder if it comes out in China.
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Wondered here if the areas travelled through earlier were labelled as semi-urban or rural. Here onwards however it was a wild life range.
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Forces of nature !
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And we drove on towards Tabo Monastery
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Old 21st June 2012, 21:41   #69
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Waiting for Gui!
And the Mummy Stories!!

Time to get some popcorn and wait for Muumy 4 from Coooolcat21
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Old 21st June 2012, 22:18   #70
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Onwards we went, till we came to this unlikely looking Mountain for the rest of the terrain. Guess it was the action of the winter snow and summer melt that had given it these smooth sides.
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Grampho which was the end of this loop of our journey appeared to be comfortably far away. No one wanted this journey to end.
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Road to Tabo Monastry
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This too like the Nako Monastery had old and new structures. We arrived here in the middle of the afternoon. Most of the rooms were locked. The Old Monastry was open but we had failed to take a light / torch in with us to take any photographs, it was absolutely dark inside. All the structures were made of the typical Clay, wood and reeds combination and coloured Clay brown too.
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These Chortens outside the immediate compound, across the road appeared older that the rest of the structures. We were told that this was a place for penance and prayer. Lamas or even ordinary men who got the call and entered these Spartan structures to meditate. Food and water were taken to them by the villagers voluntarily, some went without food for days, fasting to break through earthly bonds and achieve a higher plane. A few years ago one of these Gentlemen had given up the spirit here, after fasting for months, living only on water and dried seeds, he was worshipped locally as a saint and was buried near the Monastery.
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The surrounding Mountains were stunningly stark and huge
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The Old Monastery was laid out to a pattern that escaped us.
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The Golden Chorten in the New Compound. It was all too shine and new and we skipped the New Monastery. There was also the apprehension of reaching Kaza in time.
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The famous Tabo Bridge, we crossed it soon after and went towards Kaza that was about 50 Kms away.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 12:23   #71
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We followed the Spiti onwards to Kaza. The Valley in which the road ran was for most of the time along the river Spiti, it narrowed and broadened out alternately. The mountains retained their colourful hues shifting from Brown to Tan to Purple to Clay White. The sky kept company playing with different hues of Blue and embellishments of Cloud. It was more like running in a high altitude plain among Mountains of Mud and Rock unlike the previous days drive.

The Pictures say more..
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The Roads here had a less dramatic inclines and ran in an undulating terrain.
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Dramatic Pinnacle's of Soft Rock.
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There was also less of Black Top here, though the surface was well packed and reasonably smooth.
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A small swathe of green next to a Village.
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A small Monastery along the way.
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The Valley Widens.
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Fractured Rock face, looks like sedimentary rock to me.
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Natural Fortifications.
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The Mountain Purple
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Towards the evening the setting Sun and a heavier cover of Cloud painted a different picture in the Sky.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 17:53   #72
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

We arrived at the HPTDC Hotel in Kaza appropriately called The Spiti late on the 20th evening, as we were running late and it was getting dark we did not manage as many photographs as we usually did, however as the next day was to be spent in Kaza itself visiting, Dhankar and the Pin Valley we were not worried'
The Hotel is situated on the Banks of the River Spiti though the Waters of the rivers were quiet some distance away. The Hotel is at the other end of the town when approaching from Tabo. The rooms were large but not as well maintained as Kinner Kailash however the service was good. Once more we were the only guests there. As has been mentioned here earlier the food is simple and the same in all HPTDC hotels. Not that we complained. The attitude of the employees made up for everything, they were extremely and cheerfully helpful.
The Mountains surrounding the Hotel, shot from the 1st floor balcony.

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After a Good Nights sleep we got up to a lovely morning. Had a Good Breakfast and after getting some tips from the Hotel Manager, who said that 'Mud" (pronounced as Moodh) in the Pin Valley was a must see, we set off to the Market to pick up some Bread for an Picnic Lunch. We had carried various snacks and ready to eat food packets from Home and Simla. In fact we even carried two Tents, Collapsible stools, a Gas Stove, utensils and other paraphernalia in the hope of stopping some place and Camping in the Himalayas. . After loitering about for some time we set off back the way we had come to the deviation towards Pin Valley.

The Road we had covered in semi-darkness the previous night.
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More Sand Mining ? Looks like a thriving business here.
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The Mountains here appeared to be covered with some kind of Moss and this shows up as a Green tinge in the Photographs.
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The similar make up of the stone structure as seen all over, layers of rock loosely stuck together that looked like could slide off at the slightest vibration.
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There was this stream of Black coloured water flowing down a mountain side to join the River below, you can see the discolouration in the Grey waters.
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The Welcome Arch at the beginning of the road deviating towards Pin Valley
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It was a Narrow Valley that we entered, with Colourful and Mighty Mountains, till it widened at certain places allowing humans to set up their dwellings in the harsh and desolate land.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 18:52   #73
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Along the way we saw this mountain side, I am putting up a close-up of the same, The Himalayas I saw were either made of soft and crumbling rocks or this mix of mud + clay and rocks of all sizes from the size of a House to flakes of not more than an inch. Then there were these round rocks.
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One more shot of the Black Coloured Stream
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Bridge towards Gulling Village
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A Village in the Distance across the River.
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Snow bound Mountains, we hoped to see them tomorrow as we crossed Kunzum La towards Gramphoo.
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The seasonal Harvest stored on the roof, this is a typical sight in the area.
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The Choling Monastery as we approached
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The Main Gate.
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The Monastery itself. Like all Budhist Monasteries here Choling too was a feast in Colours.
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The intricate carvings on the Roof.
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The view of the field below from the entrance of the Monastery.
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The facing view of the Entrance to the Monastery.
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Look at the Main Door and the interiors, Jaw Dropping Carvings and Colours.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 19:04   #74
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Coooolcat21,

Your latest posts are Mesmerizing!

The mountain scapes...the breathtaking vertical and diagonal ridges , interplay of sunlight and shadow on them, diverse browns in contrast to the rich blue skies, ancient and silent sentinels and the enormity they so proudly flaunt..makes us realize and introspect our being.

This thread has long surpassed "Fazal Ji's" expectations.
I am now voting 5 stars.

Gods creation very well represented here.
Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 22nd June 2012 at 19:06. Reason: Saw more magic coming in.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 19:56   #75
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Continuing with the interiors of the Choling Monastery. The Colourful Wall Hangings, Wooden painted Pillars and the roof with the presiding Golden Buddhist Icons.
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This is the Intricate Brass Door Handle close-up.
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We left the Monastery and were back on the road again going towards Mud
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This is where we landed and stopped for lunch.
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We actually stopped here to look at the rickety wooden Bridge and actually walked across it just for kicks. When we were doing this and clicking pictures we became aware of a foreigner woman walking towards us, dressed in the long flowing clothes as worn by the locals and carrying a heavy load. After exchange of polite hello's we came to know the following. She was an American and was a desciple of the Dalai Lama for a long time. On seeking his spiritual guidance as to how serve the people better she had been instructed by his Holiness to come to this Village of Talling and help the Village Children by educating them. So here she was doing the same from the past couple of years through out the year. Then we said our Good-byes.
We were simply too stunned at this story, is this the commitment required of us in serving our fellow human being ? How many of us were capable of this kind of service that too in a foreign land ? How did one reach such a state of mind ?
This was all too much and we decided to do the next best thing, that is have our Picnic Lunch.
We had our Veg and Ham Sandwiches followed by hot tea and left, Actually I forget what we had that day exactly for Lunch, but I remember that American Woman distinctly and disturbingly.
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