• Photo essays

    What a beautiful world ! #1 – Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan

    India’s neighbor, and erstwhile inseparable part of the family is no different when it comes to being blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. How naive it is though, to be a tiny part of a massive universe and see more of the differences between us than the similarities. In his series of photo essays from the magical land of Skardu-Baltistan (geographically contiguous with Ladakh and the Tibetan plateau), Bukhari gives us a glimpse of the treasures that his country, Pakistan, has been blessed with. After going through it, there lingers a romantic hope that someday, there will be no borders.   “I was walking on a narrow strip, when a window of a nearby home…

  • Reflections at Pangong Tso
    Best of the Travel Bag Tales,  Ladakh,  Travel Bag

    Why a visit to Ladakh is incomplete without the Pangong Tso

    On the Pangong Tso .. Though the country is so barren, the lake has its beauties in the varied tints of surrounding hills and mountains, and the rich deep blue of its waters, becoming quite of an emerald green colour as they shallow near the shore.* Once in a while during your travels, you come across a place that is different from everything else you’ve ever experienced. It captivates your imagination and the mind, already lured away from the monotone of routine, is suddenly unshackled and left free. As the body relaxes and somehow starts breathing differently, every whiff of fresh air invigorates you, like never before. This strange sense of absolute bliss and…

  • Ladakh

    The Ladakhis

    Famous western explorer Marco Pallis, while on an exploratory tour of the region way back in 1936, had this to say about the peasants of Ladakh, although it can be taken as a description of the Ladakhis in general too. The inhabitants of these villages must surely be some of the happiest on the face of the earth. One can only pray that no zealous enthusiast will feel impelled to ‘improve’ or ‘enrich’ them, acting on some sociological theory worked out under totally dissimilar circumstances. Certain writers have alluded to the poverty of the people, doubtless referring to their lack of ready money and their rather spartan simplicity of life.…

  • Nubra valley from Diskit Gompa
    Ladakh,  Travel Bag

    Photos from the Nubra Valley

    Continued from Part I here. Past Khalsar and the Karakoram wildlife sanctuary, is a stretch of road that is straight as an arrow and appears to point straight at the Nubra valley. “This road is called the camel road“, remarks Tashi, our driver, in his usual mischievous tone. Upon being questioned, he bounces in his driver’s seat, mimicking the road’s tendency to make you feel like you are seated on a Bactrian camel that is native to these parts. The road itself is surrounded by flat stretches full of sand dunes, the scale and the diversity of the geography never ceasing to surprise you at any moment. Past it, is another pass that…

  • Shyok on the way to Nubra
    Ladakh,  Travel Bag

    Sights from the high road to Nubra

    Nub-ra: the western district As we cross the Khardung La and leave the high altitude behind, the landscape changes and we are well and truly on the road to Nubra. The snow from the glaciated mountains feeds little streams that irrigates the land, leaving patches of white and green. Set against the deep blue skies, the scenery is a welcome relief from the dirty brown monochrome that is Khardung La.