Saturday, February 22, 2014

new life in the family

Sheer joy to see the new life joining all of us at the farm!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Zanskar - Frozen in Monotones

Although I love the colors of blue sky, brown-gold lit walls of the Zanskar valley, white ice and blue-green clear waters of the river, the landscape looks completely magical and gives a new meaning when they are seen in monotones. Presenting here some of the photographs that I liked to view them in the shades of grey.

(click on the photographs for a better and wider view)

At Tilat Sumdo

Chadar at Tilat Sumdo

First light at Tilat Sumdo

Chadar on the way to Shingra Koma

Chadar formation on the corners of gushing Zanskar

Chadar seen from the cliffs

Thick sheet of ice breaking and flipping

Huge gorges formed of sedimentary rocky layers

Chadar getting exposed to the hard sun

Icicles floating away while chadar on the corners gets narrowed

Frozen waterfalls and its territories

Mighty waterfall at Nerak frozen in its state

A lone juniper tree welcomes trekkers to the Nerak village

Reflections on Zanskar

Star shines on the gorge 

Icicles floating away and getting cornered to form chadar

Looking through the shade on to the shining valleys 

Glow behind the valleys and shade freezes the rest

Tiny at its feet and frozen by the wind

While the reflections shine away the gorgeous zanskar
For colored photographs, kindly follow this link here


Monday, February 17, 2014

Wider Scapes' of Frozen Pangong Tso

After a crazy week of our trek on the frozen Zanskar, we were fortunate to have our buffer day left in the end. We were delighted to hear from the tour operators that the passes are clear and we can reach Pangong easily without any problems. Anticipating this plan, we had applied for permits even before we left for our trek and luckily on the day we returned, we got our permits. We instantly booked a cab and early next morning we were driving in the wider valleys towards Changla Pass. It was absolutely a gorgeous sight all through the way and the wider vistas of snow capped peaks kept our eyes wide open without a blink. After crossing the world's third highest motor-able road at Changla, we entered the Changthang cold desert wildlife sanctuary and were thrilled to see Pashmina goats (Changthangi) that are native to this sanctuary grazing in the valleys. We sighted many wild yaks and were also lucky to sight the Tibetan wild ass (Kiang) which is native to Tibetan plateau. As we continued further into the wider horizon, we just wow'd at the mighty Pangong Tso, frozen in its state at an altitude of 4350 m despite being a salt lake. It is 134 km long and extends itself into China and 60% of the lake is in Tibet. I had not seen any lake as gorgeous as this one and that too in its frozen state. The colors of white ice, blue sky and brown hills around were absolutely captivating. Here are some photographs from Pangong Tso. 

(Please click on the photographs to enlarge them. Some of them are 360° stitched panoramas, so it will be better to view them in a larger size)

Prayer flags at Chang La - the world's third highest motor-able pass at 5360 m

The army post at Chang La 

View through the frost glass window of our cab
Winding roads on the way to Chang La

On the way to Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

Inside the Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

The frozen salt lake - Pangong Tso

360° degree panorama of Pangong Tso

360° panorama of Pangong Tso - near to the Spangmik village

Snow capped valleys around Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso - overlooking Tibetan horizon

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sketch-A-Tree @ Neralu

I have been thinking about the two day Bengaluru Tree Festival - Neralu happened at Cubbon Park last week; I was a volunteer on both the days and absolutely loved the festival. It is something to look forward to every year from now on. It was a first of its kind, crowd funded festival that brought all the nature lovers together for two days. There were tree walks conducted by some eminent naturalists and tree lovers; tree related films; story telling sessions; journaling workshops; art exhibition; photography exhibition, cultural performances and many more art forms. A lot of visitors took part in the events on both the days and made it a grand success. Many people told us that they would like to see more such events and would like to be part of them. I was also thrilled to meet a lot of people with similar interests and learn from them. 

On both the days I was looking after this particular activity called Sketch-A-Tree. This activity involved people to pick up a piece of paper, make a free hand sketch of a tree and color the same. This was not just for kids, but for everyone who walked into the campus. I absolutely enjoyed volunteering for this activity and also seeing so many people enjoying this activity. They came, they asked for paper, they sketched whatever they liked to, colored them and tied them up on the display rope. After tying them up, they enjoyed spotting their sketch and they took pictures with them. The thing that was most intriguing for me was that every picture had a message in it. Looking at all the messages, I thought, if so many young children are caring for our planet, there is some good hope for us for sure and we're on the right side of the history. In two days we got almost 500 sketches tied on long ropes and every picture was absolutely beautiful with a message attached to it. 

Also, in the process I overheard and also I was a part a lot of interesting conversations and would like to list some of them that are still lingering in my mind here:

Hey boy! come sketch a tree. Boy: No, dad, I'm not interested, you only sketch it for me. 

Mom, I wanna sketch will you wait for me here? Mom: Do it fast, its too sunny here!

A family of three: See baby, so many of your friends are sketching, do you wanna sketch? you can tie it up there, see how nice it looks? you like sketching, why don't you do it here?

No no, you are still too small to sketch, lets go back home, come!

A 3rd standard boy: Are there any other interesting activities here? I say, this is interesting why don't you sketch one more picture? No, I do not like this, I like computers, you do not have any computer games here. I ask - What is interesting in computer? I like C programming. Although this boy ended up sketching 12 pictures, he left his gmail id on every sketch he made.

Can I take back what I have sketched? I say- why don't you tie it up there on the display rope so that everyone looks at your picture? No, no, I do not want people to see my picture!

Come beta, sketch something, I will take a picture and put it up on facebook!

If you do not sketch properly, I will not post it on facebook. Do you want it or not?

Mom to her son who was sketching: come lets go to the story telling session and come back here. Son: I am bored of listening to stories at my school everyday. I am not coming. 

See how nicely you are sketching. You should do it at home also. Will you?

wow! It is so nice baby... write 'Save A Tree' on it! 

Papa I want to sketch. No no, I do not have time now, lets go home. It takes a lot of time if you start sketching!

I don't want to sketch a tree. I say - ok! sketch a bird. I don't want to sketch a bird. I ask - what do you want to sketch? I want to sketch a computer!

...and many more!

Here are some photographs from the festival:

Nature Journaling workshop by Sangeetha, Shilpa and Abhisheka


Cultural performances by Soliga Pusumale Kalatanda

Moved-by-Trees workshop by Veena Basavarajaiah

Crossword activity

Story telling sessions

Jigsaw Puzzle of an African Tulip Tree flower

Cubbon Park, Bal Bhavan campus

Everything under Neralu