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Monday 27 January 2020

Discovering Life on the Mighty Mekong

Hopping in and out of South East Asia, one fine morning, I landed in the tiny landlocked country of Laos PDR. This is an ancient land having ties with India dating back 2000 years. Although not on the regular tourist map of any visitor, my interest in its culture and its simple people made me hop on to a four day trip and I flew quietly into the quaint capital city of Vientiane.

Vientiane, capital of Laos PDR
Vientiane, capital of Laos PDR

Sunday 26 January 2020

Veeranarayana Temple In Belavadi

- The Saga of Ageless Unspoiled Beauty

When I first walked into the Veeranarayana temple in Belavadi, which is about 29 km away from Chikmagalur, my first instinct was to hug every pillar and stone in the temple. After having seen so many ancient temples falling victims to modern granite and worse, bathroom tiles in the name of renovations, this temple with its original look and beauty, was  like a much needed breath of fresh air. It was also so intoxicating that I was immediately smitten by its beauty.

Temple view
Temple view from a nearby cottage

Tuesday 14 January 2020

The Koppal Habitat - An Immensely Grounding Experience - II

Part II
In case you have missed out on Part I , click here.

Sanganal Landscpe
The vast expanse of the Sanganal landscape

During the second half of the day with warm sunshine to keep us company, we moved to Sanganal. This is  the area of black cotton soil, now painted green during the farming season.  It was green as far as eyes could see and the same would be black once the crops were harvested. This was the choice habitat for the blackbucks. The uneven path of the undulating terrain through the vast  green stretches tossed us around in the vehicle. We were shaken, stirred and had our bones rearranged multiple times during our journey through Sanganal. The blackbucks were nowhere to be seen.

The Koppal Habitat - An Immensely Grounding Experience - I

Part I

The warm Wednesday afternoon had just transformed into a cool comfortable and almost chill evening. Entering into Hagedhal as guests of Indrajit Ghorpade in his farmhouse, the first thought was to breathe in and store as much oxygen as  possible during the couple of days we were going to be there. 

We were here to learn a bit about Koppal, the precious inmates of this unique habitat and the efforts of Indrajit Ghorpade and his DCF (Deccan Conservation Foundation) team in their conservation efforts to protect the region.

After being welcomed by Durganna and Suraj, a nice warm dinner of local North Karnataka cuisine  awaited our hungry stomachs. The dinner was outdoors, set to an orchestra of a thousand insects under the shimmering night sky. Warm food, chill evening breeze, a sea of stars, music of nature - I was in the embrace of heaven for sure. The enamor  of the night sky and the entire ambience took my breath away even as the others chatted. This was the perfect recipe to get grounded and connect with mother earth.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Jigme Dorji National Park

The Misty Mountainous Land With Its Many Hidden Colours And Life
Jigme Dorji National Park
The entrance to the Park

If you want to soak in unbelievable views, breathe pure and mountainous air that too at high altitudes, then take a trip down the royal kingdom of Bhutan. Even as such in this nation, when traversing from place to place, we have to either go up or down continuously. If you are nature lover and also freak on trekking and have young legs, this is the ultimate destination.

Friday 3 January 2020

Kinnal Crafts - Generations Of Incredible Creations

For two days we had averaged 10 - 11 hours on the road. We had already been on road since early in the morning for the day and it was 5pm now. Information overload was almost short circuiting our brains when Meera and myself reached the Kinnal village along with Pompayya Sir for some insight about the beautiful Kinnal art.  But all we could think about was another 5 hours of journey ahead of us and a bus journey home. We reached the workshop of Dharmanna Chitragar, who was busy working on his temple model. It was a modest workshop with older models of his art, covered in cloth, occupying considerable space. Some more pieces that were returned in exchange for newer pieces sat on the loft observing us intently.