This is your slightly different group photograph. Traditionally, group photographs are taken with the subjects facing the camera. But, in this case, the group photograph is the camera’s view of the group without the group’s intervention and hence forms a totally different perspective.
Here, fellow travel bloggers are either admiring nature’s beauty, trying to locate the Himalayan bear below or are trying to capture the moment in their lens.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This is your slightly different group photograph. Traditionally, group photographs are taken with the subjects facing the camera. But, in this case, the group photograph is the camera’s view of the group without the group’s intervention and hence forms a totally different perspective.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I love to be on the road and hence I guess it is quite normal that I have a fascination for just plain simple ‘roads’.
The road in the picture is a winding one that leads to the Himalayan state of Sikkim in India. The fresh rains have just added to its aura.
Here is an interesting offer for those interested in photography tours to Nepal. BE ON THE ROAD readers get a special discount of 20% on the published price. Though, I would recommend that you use your own discretion in signing up. This post is just a means for photographytours.in to reach out to a wider audience.
Disclaimer: I am not related to photographytours.in or Ultimate Travels and do not have any financial stake or benefit in this travel setup. And neither do I make any financial gain in getting customers sign up for these tours. Further, I have not taken part in any photography or other tours organized by the above mentioned travel companies.
Below is the complete lowdown on these photography tours to Nepal as provided by photographytours.in. Please address all your queries directly to www.photographytours.in.
Photography tour, photo tour, photography workshop, nature photography or whatever you want to related it to photography, we at photographytours.in specialize for photography tours in India and Nepal lead by professional photographers from different part of world. Our fixed departure photography tour and workshop to India and Nepal are especially meant for amateur photographers and people interested in photography where as we at photographytours.in offers exclusive services to professional photographers who wants to capture the specialty of India and Nepal in their cameras.
With the team of professional photographers and travel guides from India and Nepal, we understand need of photographers and cater every bit of it – such as subjects, location, time of day, time at location, and group size and also the budget. Apart from photography there will be much more fun filled activities which will ignite your interest in India and Nepal.
We invite all the photographers (professional / amateur / hobbyist) to be the part of photography tours, photo tour, and photography workshop in India and Nepal with us.
At present, Mr. Nikolaz Godet from France is leading a photography workshop to Nepal in the month of March. Join us for fifteen fascinating days of travel and photography around Nepal. We will explore this fantastic country through idyllic locations like snowy peak to waterfall. Shoot the sunrise from the best spot on the Himalayan range and get the best advice to make your experience memorable!
This workshop is dedicated to the travelers, amateur photographers, nature lovers who want to improve their photography skill in a way you never thought possible. You will explore the multi-faceted approaches to photography that have taken years to perfect like lighting conditions, focal length, composition, white balance, exposure, noise, digital workflow,...
The photographic subjects will include people/ portraits, nature and cityscape. Every day you will have demonstrations, photography sessions as well as critique sessions of your work. You will learn how to handle and push the limits of your camera! As you meet, share, and learn from fellow photographers you'll also have a lot of fun.
An Unique opportunity to be trained by a professional photographer and at the same time a promise to show you the best of Nepal lead by a professional travel guide.
Day 1 : 17th March 2011: Arrival Kathmandu : Upon arrival receive, welcome and transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel Manang.
Day 2 : 18th March 2011: Kathmandu : Visit Kathmandu old Durbar Square and Swoyambhunath Stupa for Photography and other places of Interest in and around Kathmandu. Evening, meet and transfer to nearby Nepalese typical restaurant to have dinner and culture dance show. Overnight at hotel Manang.
Day 3 : 19th March 2011: Kathmandu - Pokhara : Drive to Pokhara by Private Tourist Coach. 5 hours drive. The drive between Kathmandu and Pokhara offers amazing views for photography of landscaping and beauty of nature as well as rural lifestyle of Nepal. Check-in at hotel and Evening at leisure or one can opt to walk down the alleys of Pokhara for photography. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 4 : Pokhara : 20th March 2011: Early morning drive 30 minutes to Sarankot for excellent sunrise view for photography. Close up panorama of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhare (Fishtail) is outstanding. After 2/3 hours of photography, back to hotel and after breakfast, hike to Peace Pagoda for photography. Overlooking Phewa lake, Pokhara City and mountains can be captured in your cameras from the spot. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5 : 21st March 2011: Pokhara : Photographic tour around Pokhara Valley including boating atPhewa Lake and visit to Barahi Temple (Temple at located at the centre of Phewa Lake) and other places of Interest for Photography such as Karma Dubgyu Choling Nyeshang Monastery, Bindya Basini Temple, Devi Falls, Mahendra Caves. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6 : 22nd March 2011: Pokhara – Nayapul - Tikhedunga : After breakfast drive to Nayapul (1 hour & 15 minutes) and start trek to Tikhedunga. Easy level walks of 4/5 hours in total. Lunch enroute, dinner and overnight at lodge.
Day 7 : 28th March 2011: Tikhedunga - Ghorepani : Trek steep up of 3000 stone staircases to Ulleri village. A view of Annapurna South is excellent from this place. Then after, the tail menders through scattered villages and then deep in to lush Rhododendron forest to Ghorepani. Views of entire Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri ranges are superb. Lunch enroute, dinner and overnight at lodge.
Day 8 : 29th March 2011: Ghorepani : Early morning around 5am, hike 1 hour to Poon Hill for outstanding sunrise view over the close-up mountains of entire Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range. This view point most probably the one of the best view point in the World. You will absolutely delighted to stay for whole day long to take pictures from different angles. If you wish to spend long time there, our crew will manage to bring packed breakfast or even lunch for you there. Lunch, dinner and overnight at lodge.
Day 9 : 30th March 2011: Ghorepani – Tadapani : After breakfast, trek gradual up and then downhill through lush Rhododendron and pine forest to Tadapani. On the way views are excellent. Lunch enroute, dinner and overnight at lodge.
Day 10 : 31st March 2011: Tadapani – Ghandruk : Short downhill trek of 2/3 hours takes you to a beautiful & prosperous village of Ghandruk. From Ghandruk, the close up view of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Mighty Fishtail are faboulas. Ghandruk, the homes of the brave Gorkha soldiers is typically famous for Grurng culture and its prosperity being one of the largest and clean villages in entire Annapurna area. After lunch, time for photography.
Day 11 : 1st April 2011: Ghandruk – Nayapul – Pokhara : Trek downhill through typical Gurung villages to Saulibazaar. After lunch, a easy level walk leads you back to Nayapul. Here your driver awaits you to pick you up to drop back to Pokhara. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12 : 2nd April 2011: Pokhara – Chitwan : A scenic countryside drive of 4/5 hours takes you to lush tropical vegetation of Chitwan National Park. Check in at hotel / lodge. Right after the dinner transfer to Tharu culture dance show
Day 13 : 03rd April 2011: Kathmandu : After breakfast proceed towards Kathmandu. Stopping for lunch at Hetauda. Arrival at Kathmandu evening free for own activities. Dinner at Bhanca Ghar “ Resturant Serving Traditional Nepali Meal”. O/n Hotel
Day 14 : 04th April 2011: Kathmandu : Kathmandu Photography tour which includes visit to Pashupati Nath Temple, Boudhnath Temple and other places of Interest such as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur as well. O/n Hotel
Day 15 : 05th April 2011: Departure : Morning free for leisure. As per flight timing transfer to Airport and tour ends.
Tour Cost : USD 1675 Per person (Special discount of 20% for the reader of www.beontheroad.com)
Date of Arrival at Kathmandu for Photography Tour - Clickage : 17th March 2011
Tour Cost Includes :
Airport pickup and Drop
Transportation by sutluj tourist A/C bus throughout the trip.
Accommodation on MAP (breakfast and dinner) on twin sharing non A/C standard room in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner during trekking.
Accommodation with all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in Chitwan in standard room.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Chitwan.
1 English speaking tour leader throughout the trip.
10 porter during trekking and 1 sherpas.
One Professional Photographer leading entire tour providing training on travel photography
Professional Tour leaders to ensure the smooth operation of tour and visiting rural places in Nepal.
Our Staff Insurance
Annapurna Area Conservation Fee.
Any necessary permit fee for Photography.
All applicable taxes
Tour Cost Excludes :
Lunch in kathmandu and Pokhara.
Sightseeing Monuments entrance fees.
Beverages, Mineral water, Bar, Telephone, Laundry etc.
Any cost due to uncertainties’ like land slide, natural disaster etc.
Personal nature cost.
Any costs not mentioned in Cost include.
For further details on the travel plan and booking formalities, please feel free to contact Photography Tours – “ A Unit of Ulltimate Travels Pvt. Ltd” at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can log on to www.photographytours.in
Remember the Special 20% Discount : Readers posting the query from this site, please don’t forget to mark a us the reference of www.beontheroad.com enabling us to provide you the 20% discount.
Vibrant blue skies on my first morning at Gangtok. This is what I got treated to on my first morning during my recent trip to Sikkim.
And for this pristine view, all I had to do was open the drapes in my hotel room and stare out.
It is always an experience to watch the sun rise or set against the mighty Himalayas. And even better when the weather is great like how it was on that morning at Gangtok.
WILDLIFE and BIRDING
INDIA on a MOTORCYCLE
During my recent trip to Sikkim, I got the opportunity to photograph some very interesting subjects. In this case, they were the local people of Sikkim.
Buddhist Monk at Lingdum Monastery
Sharp Features of an Adult Sikkimese Male
Smiling Face of a Local Sikkimese Kid
I had recently gone on a trip to the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim in India. This short, but sweet trip was an invite by Club Mahindra. It was during this trip that I got to meet eight other fellow bloggers, most of them travel bloggers, some travel writers, most of them photographers, some birders, some social media experts and one pastry chef. I knew a couple of them before and most others through their online presence. But, this was the trip, where I put a face to a name along with some great experiences and happy memories.
I found their company to be great fun, enterprising and very interesting. I hardly realized how time flew when I was around them. These enterprising travellers are Lakshmi Sharath, Arun Bhat, Arun Nair, Vamsee Modugula, Nisha Jha, Kishi Arora, Shuchi Kapoor and Sneha Divakar. I seriously recommend that you check each one of them out.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The entire range of the Kolli Hills gets a religious importance because of the Arapaleeswarar Temple. Such is the importance of this temple that the ancient Tamil literature speaks of this temple in glorious terms.
This temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled the area. Lord Shiva is the main deity here. It is also believed that a secret path connects this temple to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram, situated about 50 kilometres by road.
Well, I visited this temple for the second time about a couple of weeks back. Me and my friends made our way into the temple after finishing our shower under the Agaya Gangai Waterfalls.
The temple as such is pretty small. When I had visited the temple last, it had a dark and gloomy look about it, but now, it looked like it had gotten a facelift with fresh paint and some renovation work.
But, the facelift only seemed to be inside the temple campus. The area outside seems to be getting pretty bad with lots of garbage strewn everywhere. Tourists and locals alike seemed to be responsible.
Coming back to the temple…Inside the temple, one can see shrines of various gods and goddesses. It also has dedicated shrines for all the planet rulers (the navagraha). Just behind the main shrine, one can spot some ancient inscriptions. These inscriptions didn’t resemble any of this generation’s scripts. If I remember right, these inscriptions were created during the construction of the temple and hence can be seen on the foundation stones.
Around the temple, one can also see the place where animal sacrifices are made. It is sad that such practices are followed even in the 21st century.
Upon striking a conversation with the locals I found out that a lot of devotees throng to this temple during the ‘Aadi Perukku’ day when they get to witness the symbolic adorning of the ‘nose ring’ for the fish at the Panchanathi, the jungle stream that cascades down as the Agaya Gangai Falls.
The Valvil Ori festival and the spring festivals are also known to draw huge crowds to the temple. All around the temple, one can see a lot of sadhus and hermits who are keen followers of the tantric art. No wonder, Kolli Hills was the headquarters of ancient black magic.
'BE ON THE ROAD' is the travel and photography blog of Sankara Subramanian C that was formed in August 2009. This blog shares his global travel experiences while retaining a focus on INDIA, his home country. Since it’s release, it has steadily climbed into the top ranks of the travel blog industry. In this duration, it has been recognized as one of India’s Top 50 blogs and featured in National Geographic Traveller India Magazine, TripAdvisor.in, Deccan Chronicle newspaper, Yuva Magazine, Exhibitor Magazine, Travelavenue.com, eCollegeFinder, TeachStreet, Cheap Cruises, Flipnomad, KeralaTourism.org and iSikkim.com. Sankara also regularly writes for specialty Indian travel companies like Club Mahindra Holidays and Jungle Lodges to name a few and has even covered a pan India road show ‘Tata Nano Superdrive’ organized by Tata Motors as a travel journalist in 2010.
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Are you addicted to food? Do you live to eat? If yes, then you can continue reading as I am going to talk about the best dessert that I have had in recent times and am going to help you savour the yummy experience.
As you all know, I had recently been invited by Club Mahindra to go to Sikkim along with a group of enterprising travel bloggers, writers, photographers and did I say a ‘Master Chef’. It was during this trip that I got to sample the Banoffee Pie and Chocolate Brownie made by Kishi Arora and boy was it an out of the world experience. It has been four days since I savoured these desserts and the sweet taste still lingers in my mouth and in my brain.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Kishi Arora is a pastry chef and a food consultant who runs the finger-licking and yummy business that calls itself ‘Foodaholics’. Foodaholics makes your favourite cakes, desserts and puddings and the best part is that you can order online.
So, if you happen to be in the Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida (NCR) area, do remember to sample the lip-smacking menu of foodaholics. I intend to every time I am in the NCR corridor.
All images in this post are copyright of Kishi Arora and Foodaholics.in.
The Himalayan state of Sikkim offers an unique shopping experience. Shopping primarily revolves round its predominant Buddhist culture and the cold weather.
The Thangkas (traditional paintings on cotton canvas and silk frames) is quite a rage. And so are the exquisite Choksee tables designed in Tibetan style. The traditional Tibetan and Sikkimese garments are also quite popular. While some of the tourists buy these garments, the rest wear these garments and take pictures of themselves in it.
Since Sikkim has chilly to cold weather round the year, the tourists throng for the woollen gear. The woollen blankets, carpets, sweaters, jackets, ski caps, mufflers and shawls draw a lot of attention. Most of these woven woollen carpets and blankets are embellished in unique designs and traditional Sikkimese motifs using traditional vegetable Sikkimese dyes.
The Lepcha weave bags are also very popular with the tourists. The Dragon sets, prayer wheels, incense sticks and other holy objects are quite a draw too. In terms of food and beverages, yak’s cheese (chhurpi), Chang (local beer), the local red wine and the local tea variety sell the most.
Most of these shopping opportunities exist in the markets of Gangtok. The Lal Market, Old Market and the New market on MG Marg are your best bets. I remember the Dalai Lama Trust Fund shop in the basement of Hotel Tibet to be also a great place for picking up authentic merchandise. The other parts of Sikkim also have their own unique markets, but these are standalone small shops.
During my recent trip to Sikkim, I did not indulge in any shopping, but the group I was travelling with seemed to do quite a bit of shopping. Here’s a list of what they bought: Yak’s Cheese, Prayer Wheels, Traditional Tibetan crockery (Mugs, Teapots and Vases), Cherry Liquor, Woollen Gear (Ski Caps, Gloves and Mufflers), Nepali Music CDs (especially that of the popular band Mantra), Buddhist Chants and some other traditional gift items.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Agaya Gangai or the Akash Ganga waterfalls is one of the most stunning waterfalls I have seen in recent times. Up close, it resembles a 300 foot torrential milky shower.
The Agaya Gangai falls is located in Kolli Hills of the Eastern Ghats of India. It is in fact a multi-tiered waterfall and one can see different shades of this waterfall through its various tiers from different view points.
I got to visit the Agaya Gangai Falls during my recent trip to Kolli Hills. It is situated close to the Arapaleeswarar Temple and a steep set of thousand plus steps from the temple takes one to the foot of the waterfall.
The descent from the temple to the waterfall should take about 10 minutes while the ascent should take about 15-20 minutes. Both the ascent and the descent can get quite taxing due to the steep steps and hence a slow and easy approach is recommended.
This short hike to the waterfall and back in itself is a great experience as one gets to see the splendid views of the green Eastern Ghats, the thickly forested valleys below and the long shots of the multiple tiers of this waterfall gushing down into the dense vegetation.
A couple of view points have been provided for the tourists. These view points, apart from the stunning views, provide shade and a spot to relax for the tourists. Though, the thing to remember here is that no food or water is sold on the way to the waterfall and hence it is advised that the tourists carry the necessary water and food supply.
The river Aiyaru and the jungle stream Panchanathi cascade down as the Agaya Gangai Falls. The entire terrain is green and hence the temperatures are slightly lower than outside. Though, the humidity can get slightly high.
As me and my friends approached the foot of the falls, all we could see was heavy water spray and a loud thundering sound. The last mile had no steps and we had to climb over slippery rocks and slush.
But, then, we were treated with the most amazing view of the Agaya Gangai, which literally means ‘Ganges of the Sky’. With hands it front of our eyes to block out the heavy water spray, we saw that the huge milky white waterfall that fell from the sky.
The view in itself was a surreal experience. I somehow managed to take some photographs while getting my camera drenched in the heavy water spray.
Close to the waterfall is a small room where one can keep their baggage. This is the place where we changed and off we went to take a shower under the waterfall. The rocks close to the waterfall were slippery and hence we had to watch our feet.
We could not go entirely close to the waterfall as the force was too much, but with all six of us holding hands together, we made it real close to the waterfall. The needle like drops, the cold water and the force made for a great experience. In spite of us getting tired very fast, most of us stood on as we didn’t want to leave it so soon.
But, finally we had to and off we went back to the room, got dressed and sweated our way back to the top under the afternoon soon. We wanted to visit the Siddhar’s Cave situated near the waterfall, but couldn’t locate it. So, all cleansed after a refreshing bath under the Agaya Gangai falls, we went into the Arapaleeswarar Temple to offer our prayers.
Cover of Tibetan Incantations
I have heard Buddhist chants many a time before, but I first heard this chant very closely during my recent trip to Sikkim. And boy was I truly touched! This chant was playing at Club Mahindra’s Royal Demazong property near Gangtok and every second of it really appealed to me. Upon asking the hotel employees I found out that this particular Buddhist chant was sung by the music band ‘Tibetan Incantations’ and it was part of their album ‘Chants of Tibet: The Meditative Sound of Buddhist Chants’. There are three tracks in this album and the original and the alternate versions of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ are my personal favourites.
Wikipedia says that Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara. This mantra is especially revered by the devotees of Dalai Lama. I used to see a lot of inscriptions on prayer wheels and prayer flags during my visits to Buddhist monasteries, but never did know that these inscriptions were actually ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ mantras.
Do give this song a listen here at Last.fm.
Another feature! This time on iSikkim.com. Last week I had written an article on my blog titled ‘Upcoming Travel – Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim’. This article has been featured on iSikkim.com as a ‘A Bangalore Biker in Sikkim’.
iSikkim.com is a fast evolving information directory on Sikkim. It is a great resource for anyone looking to travel to Sikkim or anyone simply looking to find the latest news on Sikkim.
Thank you Tilak Jha and the iSikkim.com team for the feature!
Monday, October 18, 2010
This is a very popular belief in most of India and especially South India where people or should I say devotees come and tie a piece of cloth, a written piece of paper or a small thread to a tree that is either near or inside a temple.
It is believed that such actions enable their wishes to come true. A lot of variations can be found in this concept, but the underlying belief is that of ‘faith’ in the almighty. For example, there are trees that are supposed to be lucky for matchmaking, while others help in education or career or bearing an offspring.
I spotted such a tree inside the Arapaleeswarar temple campus that is situated in the Kolli Hills of Tamil Nadu, India.
It has been over a year since I last visited the heavenly Himalayan state of Sikkim. In fact, that was my first visit to Sikkim and I was on my solo all India motorcycle journey.
I still have very vivid memories of my time here when I visited the Tsomgo (Changu) Lake in East Sikkim, Yumthang Valley and Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim, Pemayangtze Monastery, Rabdantse Ruins, Khecheopari Lake, Singshore Bridge and Pelling in West Sikkim and got caught in a snow storm in the cold Himalayan deserts on the upper stretches of North Sikkim.
This time I have been invited by Club Mahindra to travel with their team to their property near Gangtok. During this trip, I will be in the company of travel writers and photographers, most of whom I already know through their respective travel blogs.
This will be a brilliant opportunity for me to put faces to names and to enjoy the company of like minded souls and all this while I get to enjoy pristine nature in the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim.
And hopefully a lot of interesting posts and photos from Sikkim…soon!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
70 continuous hairpin bends take you to Kolli Malai or ‘the mountains of death’. Riding through these hairpin bends is an exhilarating experience. The views of the plains below are beautiful and the dense green tropical forests surrounding the hairpin bends adds to the charm.
Kolli Malai or Kolli Hills is a rustic picture-perfect hill station located in the Namakkal district of central Tamil Nadu. Since, Kolli Malai is about 1300m above MSL, the weather is very pleasant round the year.
I visited this place last weekend as part of my weekend getaway plans. Seven of us on five motorcycles went here to enjoy the mountain ride and to have a relaxed weekend experience.
Kolli Hills is about 290 kms from Bangalore. The route we took was Bangalore –> Hosur –> Krishnagiri –> Dharmapuri –> Salem –> Rasipuram –> Kalapanaikkampetty (on the Sendamangalam road) –> Kolli Hills.
We had four lane highways till a little beyond Salem on the Trichy highway. Then, we turned left towards Rasipuram from where we turned right towards the new bus stand and then a second right towards Sendamangalam. At Kalapannaikkampetty enroute to Sendamangalam, we turned left towards Kolli Hills.
The roads were pretty decent except for some slightly bad stretches as we hit the hairpin bends. The 70 hairpin bends, which are spread across a little more than fifteen kilometres are nearly continuous and it is indeed a pleasure to ride a motorcycle on these winding roads.
Though it was quite warm at Rasipuram, the temperatures started dropping as we steadily climbed the winding roads of the Eastern Ghats. At certain junctures on these hairpin roads, shoulders have been provided where one can park their vehicles and enjoy the panoramic views of the plains below.
Unfortunately for us, we hardly got to see any view as it was a cloudy and misty. But, no one complained as the monsoon ride through these 70 continuous hairpin bends was simply liberating and a mind numbing experience for the motorcycling lovers in all of us.
The weather, elevation and soil content of Kolli Hills is ideal for pepper cultivation and hence if you are holidaying in Kolli Hills, you are definite to lock your sights on some winding pepper climbers and their bright green seeds.
Pepper is one of the more popular cash crops here. In fact, there are plantations where pepper is grown as their main crop.
While I personally saw pepper seeds and climbers at many places in Kolli Hills, I took these pictures at the Nallathambi resort where I was staying.
It was just before sunset and the golden glow that fell on the pepper seeds gave it a very appealing look. And it was this appeal that brought me close to them.
When I got closer to them, I could smell a strong odour as these pepper seeds were nearly ripe. And when I got curious, I tasted a couple of these green seeds. On first bite, they tasted like a green vegetable, but within seconds, the strong acrid taste of pepper hit my taste buds and nostrils.
But, it was a very pleasant experience for my senses as personally I am a big fan of Indian spices and the sharpness that they add to our cuisine. So if you plan to visit Kolli Hills, do remember to taste the green pepper seeds that make this place famous.