October 30, 2017

The 5 Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra

In today's world of unforgiving rush and mental exhaustion, we are constantly in search of peace and relaxation. While these  two could mean a plethora of different things to different people, but for many they refer to landing themselves in a soulful and serene environment where one can let go of the daily hassles and experience oneness with the supreme being. If you are fond of travelling, you have virtually a limitless world of aesthetically appeasing and spiritually fulfilling temples to explore.

Some of the most revered of those temples are the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. Out of the 12, there are 5 in Maharashtra known as Pancha Jyotirlinga. Interestingly, these temples worship the same lord, but address him by different names and forms.

For instance, Lord Shiva is referred as 'Ardhanareeshwara' in Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, and with the river Bhima originating for this location, it is considered to be Siva's perspiration! On the other hand, Shiva is 'Vaidyanath' in Parli Vaijnath temple. This is due to the location of the temple among medicinal plants, and hence the belief of devotees in its healing properties. While Trimbakeshwar temple is considered one of the holiest place in Hndu mythology, Aundha Nagnath temple is believed to be the one where Lord Shiva was worshiped  first. It is believed that the pilgrimage is incomplete  without paying a visit to Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga. The uniqueness of these temples are evident from the fact that each one of them has its own significance in the spiritual journey.

Apart from serving as special connections between the Lord and his devotees, the Jyotirlingas of Shiva are known for their beautiful architecture and splendid natural locations making them a confluence of god, nature and man. This leads to the cleansing of the soul and mind of all worries, anxieties and apprehensions that we have become accustomed to in the modern world.


P.S.: This is a sponsored post.

October 25, 2017

Zostel Spiti- Review


With open fields beside it and mountains in the backdrop, Zostel Spiti is an ideal place to enjoy the scenery and meet likeminded travelling souls. From backpackers to riders, Zostel is a favourite, and the one in Spiti is special for its location and delicious food. It’s located just before the town of Kaza while coming from Kalpa/ Reckong Peo and is a short walk away from the market. The vibrant common hangout area is best enjoyed with other travellers sharing the day’s stories in the evening. Zostel Spiti also offers many activities such as star gazing at night. Apart from dormitories, the hostel also offers private rooms, outdoor tents and alpine tents. The prices start from Rs.499.



What I loved:

Location: It has an excellent location with a magnificent backdrop.

Rooms and Baths: The dormitories and bathrooms are well kept and neat. They do up the beds daily.

Food: The options for food are many and it’s quite delicious.

The staff: The guys out there are quite pro-active and help with your travel plans.


What I did not like:

Wifi: The connection is pretty weak. (Only BSNL phone network functions in Kaza).


Verdict: The place to stay in Spiti!


 Address:

Leo Village Road, Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India- 172114

https://www.zostel.com/zostel/spiti

P.S. : This is not a sponsored post

October 18, 2017

Hikkim- Home to the World’s Highest Post Office

There is a charm to things that are getting obsolete and redundant in the world. In the modern age where the biggest scares are weak network, low battery and no data, writing letters to your loved ones seem like walking back a few decades. While telephones over the years reduced the number of letters sent, mobile phones have made postal letters and post offices almost obsolete. Many post offices in India still function as they do provide other services apart from sending letters.

I love post offices and take a picture every time I find one. Many villages and small towns in India still have post offices and the most fascinating one I found is in Hikkim. Up in the mountains of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, Hikkim has claims of being home to the highest post office in the world at 14,567 feet above sea level. Wedged between the villages of Langza and Komic which are known for their monasteries, Hikkim gets a few visitors who come here to send home a couple of postcards. Though it may sound touristy for some, I am glad that the concept of sending letters is still alive in such tiny villages in the country.


The village also has credits of being the highest polling station in the world. Apart from the post office that has made Hikkim popular among travellers, all that you can find here are a few houses, kids playing and people working in the fields.



Hikkim is about 16 Kms from Kaza and there is a bus which leaves from Kaza to Komic and Langza (and connects Hikkim) once or twice in a week.

October 12, 2017

Friends Forever!


Two young monks enjoying their camaraderie near Komic monastery in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. September 2017. 

October 11, 2017

A ride through Pin Valley National Park


Despite being located in Spiti, Pin Valley national park remains secluded from the main circuit of travellers and is a favourite with trekkers. Though the park is known for treks such as Pin Parvati and many others, what fascinated me were its mesmerizing landscapes. The scenery after I took the detour from Attargu bridge were breathtakingly beautiful with endless mountains, valleys and the gorgeous Pin river snaking its way through them. Mountains changed multiple shades as I rode ahead deep into Pin Valley. Known for a variety of rare creatures such as ibex, blue sheep, and snow leopard, the valley is best explored on foot with a trek. However, a ride through its tiny villages and uninhabited landscapes offered spectacular views of the beautiful valley.











From Guilling, a road spirals up to Kungri village known for its monastery which is more than 500 years old. While the roads were deserted all the way till Guilling, Kungri showed a stark difference with kids playing, monks scurrying around and a huge number of locals praying at the temple in the monastery. The colourful interior of the monastery also has lovely frescoes adorning its walls.



Large mountains and tiny villages at its base took me further deep into the valley and to Mudh village, probably the last inhabited place on this stretch. Near Mudh village, what left me speechless was the view of a mountain with multiple colours. I would love to call it Rainbow Mountain for the spread of colours. It was undoubtedly the best frame I saw in Pin Valley. A light drizzle on the way back from Mudh accentuated the charm of the valley.












Travel Tips:
  • There are home stays in Guilling, Sagnam and Mudh. The home stays in Mudh village organize treks into Pin Valley.
  • It is best advised to travel in your own vehicle to Pin Valley as there is only one bus from Kaza to Mudh village every day.
  • The treks are mostly organized in the summer months of April and May and after the monsoons from August to October.


Location:

Mudh village in Pin Valley is 50 kilometers from Kaza. Take a right at Attargu bridge while coming from Kaza.


October 9, 2017

Chandratal Lake

The crescent shaped Chandratal lake is nestled deep amidst the mountains of Spiti at a height of more than 14,000 feet above sea level. The road from Kunzum La takes a detour, a kilometer before Batal and turns into a mud track clinging onto the mountains with Chandra river accompanying all the way. The 12 Km ride is an adventurous one along with magnificent views of the mountains and the gorgeous river.



The camp site where the road ends has numerous tents on offer and is the only place where one can stay for the night. The camp site is two kilometers before the lake and a narrow mud track snakes its way up to Chandratal from here. The mud track leads to the parking area from where it is an easy 15 minute walk before you get a glimpse of the surreal lake. Surrounded by beautiful brown mountains, the turquoise lake with clear waters offer a picturesque frame. 






Considered to be a sacred lake, Chandratal is a favourite with trekkers and campers. The place also offers lovely night skies for photographers and star gazers.

Location: Lahaul and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh.

October 7, 2017

Kunzum La

Located at a height of more than 15,000 feet (4590m) above sea level, Kunzum La or Kunzum pass connects Spiti with Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh. Fluttering prayer flags, snow capped mountains and cold winds are what greet you here.






October 6, 2017

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