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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Morning

cat, sleep, sleeping cat, pets

Being a lazy person, morning means to me even deeper sleep just like this, right after the alarm rings at 6 o’clock. 🙂   😉

Well, when I have to go to office I cannot afford this luxury though!

cat, sleeping cat,

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Morning.

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Opposites

opposites, contrast

“All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.”

~ Marc Chagall

Last week I stumbled upon a post on minimalist photography, which I found very appealing. As soon as I finished reading the article, I took up my camera and started looking for a subject.

I knew that the newly painted boundary wall  in our backyard could be a subject. So I ran to the balcony and this green vine caught my attention immediately. The combination of living and nonliving – the contrast of lush green leaves and the bright yellow wall on its background creates a nice frame.

green leaves, green vine, yellow wall, minimalist photography

I would also like to share the opposite combination here. A yellow flower with green background. So… which one do you like more?

Yellow flower, nature photography

P.S: I have brightened the image slightly and darkened the edges to enhance the colors. Hope you like it. 🙂

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Opposites.
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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Partners

doves, pigeons, birds, partners

“Of all the myriad ways we define love, there is perhaps none more honest and powerful than this: Great love is rooted in great partnership.”

~ Sarah MacLean

It was a foggy winter morning. I was still lying on my bed when my mother came into the room and opened the window. That’s when I saw them perched on our neighbor’s boundary wall. Partners, having some “alone time” together.

doves, pigeons, birds, daily post photo challenge, partners

doves, pigeons, birds

Cute! Aren’t they? 🙂

doves, pigeons, partners, birds

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Partners.

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Pure

buddha, dordenma, thimphu, bhutan

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
~ Buddha 

This week’s photo challenge theme, pure, transports me to that beautiful morning in Thimphu. The morning I had a glimpse of Buddha, pure and sublime, overlooking the hills and the city.

buddha, dordenma, thimphu, bhutan

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Pure. 

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Numbers

ludo, board game, dice, numbers

This week’s Daily Post photo challenge theme, numbers, re-opened a chapter from my childhood memories…

I remember those happy days when we took pleasure in this indoor board-game called Ludo. Throw the dice and give your move with the numbers you get. Numbers played a key role in this game. Those who were lucky found the ladders to move up quickly.

ludo, board game, dice, numbers

And the unlucky ones got the snakes and struggled to reach 100, which was the winning point.

ludo, ludo board, board game, numbers, dice

Good numbers and bad numbers are just so relative in this game. What is good for one might be bad for the other players. You never know what awaits you in the next move.

ludu, board game, dice, dp photo challengeNow, when I look back to this Ludo board, I can see this simple game so closely resembles the biggest and most complex game called “life”. And numbers are important in every stage of our lives.

Your age is a number.

Your school and college grades are based on numbers.

Your salary/income is a number.

And your blog-views are also numbers. 😉   😀

Unfortunately, we are seldom happy with these numbers.

 

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Numbers.

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Sikkim Diaries: Waterfall-breaks on the Way to Lachung

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

This is the second part of my North Sikkim tour photo series. If you have missed the first part, click here to view the photo-essay on my journey to Lake Gurudongmar.

We reached Gangtok in the afternoon, on May 7, 2016, and headed for Lachung the very next morning. The shared taxis/rental cars for Lachung are available at Vajra taxi stand, just outside the city. Unfortunately, a technical fault was detected in our car right after we started from Vajra. It took some time to get it repaired. Therefore, it was a delayed start from Gangtok at around 12 pm.

mountain roard, sikkim, lachung

The weather was fine and the views were great. The rows of white and colored prayer ‪‎flags, with the sublime mountains in the background, added a pristine charm to the ‪‎landscapes.

prayer flags, gangtok, lachung, sikkimblue prayer flags, Gangtok, Sikkim

Unfortunately, the road condition is extremely bad in North Sikkim. It was a rough ride throughout on the broken mountain roads, but the torturous journey was compensated with breaks like these… 🙂

waterfall, lachung, north sikkim

Our first stop was at Seven Sisters’ Waterfall.

seven sisters waterfalls, lachung, sikkimseven sisters waterfalls, lachung, sikkim

There was a natural pool at the bottom of the falls.

natural pool, waterfalls, lachung, north sikkim

And we could see big boys were having fun in the water.

waterfall, natural pool, lachung, sikkim

swimming, waterfall, natural pool, Lachung, North Sikkim

This part of the Himalayas is green and verdant year-round as it receives sufficient rainfall to boost the streams and waterfalls. We stopped as many times as we could to take in the beauty of the hills and rivers on our way.

mountain road, road trip, hills, river, sikkimhills, mountains, sikkim, himalayas

And took pleasure in small things as well…

blue berry, berries, fruits, hills, sikkimThere were quite a few waterfalls on the way up to Chungthung, a small town, after which the road bifurcates. One goes to Lachung and the other leads to Lachen, the gateway to Gurudongmar, the iconic lake in North Sikkim.

waterfall, mountain road, sikkim, lachung

However, the last and most notable was ‘Bachchan Falls’, which is popularly called so because of its appearance, tall and lean like Big B. 😀   Well, I don’t know if this waterfall is really called so by the locals. I didn’t see any signboard there, indicating the name of this waterfall.

bachchan falls, waterfall, lachung, sikkim

My Sikkim diary will continue. Please don’t forget to share your thoughts on this journey if you like it.

Before I stop for now, here are a few more beautiful moments captured on the way…

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

hills, river, mountains, lachung, sikkim, landscapegreenery, woods, hills, lachung, sikkim

bridge, mountain road, sikkim

waterfalls, mountain road, lachung, sikkimwaterfalls, lachung, sikkim

river, stream, lachen, lachung, sikkimriver, stream, lachung, lachen, sikkim

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

And a selfie is the way to go when there is no one to click your pics. 😉

selfie at waterfallTake care. See you soon.

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Sikkim Diaries: Visiting a Piece of Heaven Called Gurudongmar

lake, Gurudongmar, Lachen, North Sikkim

Gurudongmar was on my bucket-list since 2011 when I planned with my friends for North Sikkim travel for the first time. Unfortunately, due to a devastating earthquake in Sikkim in the same year, we had to cancel our trip. Nevertheless, visiting Lake Gurudongmar was my destiny. I finally made it after 5 long years. 🙂

Selfie, Lumia 540, Gurudongmar, lake, north sikkim

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, at approx. 17,800 feet above the sea level, the holy lake is about 3.5-hour drive from Lachen, a small village where tourist can halt for the night.

We started early, at 4 am. It was a terribly bumpy ride on the rough mountain roads till the army check post after Thangu, which was our only halt during this hectic journey.

mountain roads, north sikkim

north sikkim, mountain, desert, road

26641876673_f105988cca_hThe road gets better from here, offering a smooth ride, which is a rarity in North Sikkim. 😛   😀  mountain, road, desert, north sikkim

North sikkim, lachen, gurudongmar, landscape, mountains

As we were nearing the lake the landscapes changed drastically without any trace of trees and plants. It looked more like a desert with dune-like formations visible at the horizon. Exalted and overwhelmed, one of our group members commented that the landscapes reminded him of Ladakh. 🙂

road, gurudongmar, north sikkim

mountain, desert, north sikkim, gurudongmar

Whatever it might look like, the mountain desert looked outlandish and fascinating to me. I was spellbound with the sights of such exotic landscapes.

way to gurudongmar, north sikkim, himalayas

mountains, himalayas, north sikkim

snow, mountains, north sikkim

We saw herds of yaks grazing on the fields, totally indifferent about the tourist vehicles that were running past them.

yaks, north sikkim, mountain desert, himalayas

27150318012_3e53ac0ac2_hFinally, we reached our destination, Lake Gurudongmar, at 7:30 am. That’s how the holy lake looked like in the morning light – still, calm, and unspoiled.

lake gurudongmar, north sikkim, reflection

The first few moments were speechless in silent admiration to such divine beauty.

gurudongmar, lake, north sikkim

There is a temple on the bank. I didn’t find time to enter as I was too busy in absorbing the beauty of nature all around.

gurudongmar, holy lake, north sikkim, himalayas

prayer flags, colors, north sikkim, gurudongmar

lake gurudongmar, north sikkim

Gurudongmar, north sikkim, landscape

And of course, posing for the camera with the lake on the backdrop. 😉

gurudongmar, holy lake, north sikkim, nature

However, amid this clean and clear environment, the taxis/rental cars were the direct agent of air pollution. These rental cars are so poorly maintained in Sikkim. I wonder why the local administration is so indifferent about them while it is so strict about keeping Gangtok clean.

environmental pollution, north sikkim, gurudongmar, mountains

In addition, there are the “litterbugs” who never forget to throw off their disposable belongings anytime, anywhere. If you zoom into the picture (below) you’ll see the discarded water bottles. Is it not the responsibility of the visitors, too, to keep the environment clean?

mountains, gurudongmar, environmental pollution, north sikkim

Our Tour Plan

We were lucky to have the weather in our favor during our tour from May 7 to 12, 2016. Our North Sikkim tour included 2-night 3-day Lachung-Lachen package. We stayed at Hotel Meylong in Gangtok and booked the Lachung-Lachen tour package through our hotel. You can check out my review of Hotel Meylong on TripAdvisor for more information.

Our North Sikkim tour plan was like this –

Day 1: NJP (New Jalpaiguri) to Gangtok (We reached NJP from Kolkata at around 9am by Padatik Express)

Day 2: Gangtok to Lachung (Night stay at Lachung)

Day 3: Visit Yumthung Valley and Zero Point – Back to hotel at Lachung for lunch – drive to Lachen (Night stay at Lachen)

Day 4: Visit Lake Gurudongmar and drive back to hotel for lunch – return to Gangtok by evening

Day 5: Gangtok sightseeing

Day 6: Visit Changu (Tsomgo Lake), Baba Mandir and Nathu La pass and return to Gangtok

Day 7: Start for NJP after lunch and reach there by 7:30 pm and board the train to Kolkata

Some Important Info

Please note that if you are an Indian citizen, you should carry your Voter ID card/PAN card/driving license as photo identity proof along with 4-5 photocopies of the same document and an equal number of passport size photographs for Lachung-Lachen tour. You may need to submit these documents to get the travel permit. However, you cannot rent cars on your own and arrange the tour directly. You have to go via a local tour operator or your hotel’s travel desk. They will arrange everything for you.

Finally, don’t forget to pack an umbrella if you are visiting in the May-June season. You may need it anytime. 🙂

To be continued…

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