Notes from Jerusalem

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Once upon a time, many millennium’s ago, there was a town for Jews. They believed there is one God and worshiped him, observed Sabbath –  a day to rest, chill and worship, on sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night . They ate simple food on sabbath,  and went on with the life filled with jest. They looked upto Abraham – the one who founded their religion – Judaism.

Then came Passover, an important 6 day Jewish festival.  Festivities began.

Jesus, traveled through the Judean desert to a town called Jerusalem. As written in Torah, holy book for  Jews, every Jew must visit the Temple Mount, during the Pass-over. Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of Passover. Jesus was a good Jew so he traveled with them and entered Jerusalem through Mt Olives, a mountain then covered with Olive groves separating Jerusalem and Judean desert, descending into Dead sea.

It was busiest  week of the year, thousand’s of Jews in one big city,  were celebrating Passover. My Jesus was a country boy from Sea of Galilee, North Israel. He chose to live away from the humdrum and rested often on Mt Olives, and spread the gospel.

Passover is a festival which lasts 6 days. Jesus was crucified on Friday. 2 days later, the cave is empty and Jesus resurrected for 40 days. 40 days later,  He came back to Mt Olives, where he first arrived, and ascended to heaven.

No sooner than this, the fudge between Judaism and Christianity followers began.

Now as if the cross links between Judaism and Christianity wasn’t complex enough, Islam followers chimed in.  The Temple Mount – holiest temple for Jews, is also the third holiest shrine for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. They believe Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from the place where Temple Mount stands.

Welcome to Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world. Spiritual Center for three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Revered, besieged, brutalized, vandalized and rebuilt several times – Jerusalem has survived severe gashes of wounds in the history.

Roman arches, Byzantine moats, Crusader walls and Ottoman Ramparts testify that Jerusalem has fallen down several times, risen up even more several times than  it has fallen. Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans– different groups have massacred and exiled people.

Jerusalem Old city is divided into 4 quarters – Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter, Jewish Quarter and Muslim Quarter. There are 8 gates to enter the Old city of Jerusalem – Damascus gate, Golden Gate, Lions’s gate, Zion gate, Jaffa gate to name a few.

Golden Gate, called as Sha’ar HaRachamim (שער הרחמים) in Hebrew, has been closed for thousand of years.

For Jews, the Anointed One (Messiah) hasn’t come yet. They believe Jesus isn’t the Messiah, contrary to what Christians think. Jews believe Messiah will enter through Mt Olives and then go through Golden gate, directly to Temple Mount. But currently, it is guarded and controlled by Muslim soldiers. So, it looks like Messiah will have to engage in combat before entering through the Golden Gate.

Burning incense, Sound of bells resonating from Churches, Ram’s Horn used in Jewish religious practices and Muezzin’s call from Mosques will fill you with  a potpourri of  joie de vivre,  intrigue, and wonder in a repeated bouts of varied emotions.

When in Jerusalem, irrespective of your beliefs, eluding from intense historical effervescence is impossible. It will sink right into your lungs, like a puff of wind, and stay there while you’d exhale thinking, ‘Oh Jerusalem, you’re a sweetheart. Stay strong – like you have in past, surviving through centuries’.

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Leaning against the wall of the church, you reflect about the stories riveting traditions and mythologies.  More the people divulge different stories, the more you can characterize the different characters in story. As scaffolds unfold, through layers of centuries, the characters personify the compulsive desire and need for homo sapiens to hang on firmly, strictly and irrevocably to a specific belief system, akin to a beehive hanging from the branch of a tree; reproducing , strengthening the familial structure around that tree.

1 ) Temple Mount, Mt Moriah

You can hear yourself whispering, ‘What is all the fuss about?’ Prophet Mohammed ascended to Heaven here? Good. Jewish Foundation Stone is on top of this mountain which they believe is the center of universe? Good, again.  Why fight, pull, snatch, shoot and assassinate?  But, uh-oh, that’s another story.

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Temple Mount/Dome Of Rock

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Blue tiles adorning the walls of Temple.

 

2) The Western Wall

‘Judaism without Jerusalem is unimaginable. Wailing Wall is the most significant site for Jewish people in the world.’, says Odded, a local living in Jerusalem.

According to Jewish  mythology, the creation of the world began from the Foundation stone, center of Mt Moriah. It is also the place where Adam, the first human, was created. There are other walls too around the Mt Moriah, but you can see people standing only at the Western Wall praying because of it’s proximity to the Foundation Stone in Temple Mount. People write their prayers on a piece of prayer and stick into the walls.

Abraham’s grandson Jacob , later renamed as ‘Israel’ loved Mt Moriah. #Justsaying

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View of the Wailing Wall and Dome of Rock

3)  Jewish cemetery 

In Jewish tradition, people never bring flowers while visiting the grave of their loved ones. Every time they visit, they put a stone on the grave. They believe flowers perish. But, stones signify – ‘from dust we came and to dust we shall return’.

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Oldest and biggest Jewish Cemetery in the world.

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4) Dormition Abbey on Mt Zion.

It is said Virgin Mary never died. It is believed it is here in Dormition Abbey that she fell asleep and ascended to heaven.

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Dormition Abbey

5) The Church Of Pastor Nastor

It stands on the site of Christ’s teaching of the Lord’s Prayer. (Luke 11:2-4). In this church, the walls are adorned by Lord’s Prayer written in every language across the world.

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Inside the Church Of Pastor Noster.

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6) Tomb Of Virgin Mary

Located in Kidron Valley, at the foot of Mt. Olives.

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Outside the Tomb Of Virgin Mary at Kidron Valley, at the foot of Mt. Olives

7) Dominus Flevit 

When Jesus first arrived to Bethany ( Mt Olives) and overlooked the city of Jerusalem, he wept and prophesied that Jerusalem will be destroyed. After 40 years, it was captured by Romans and was tethered to pieces.

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For Jews and Muslims alike, the Mount Of Olives is where the gates of heaven will open up on Judgement Day.

8) David’s Tomb on Mt Zion

‘Faith is powerful in Jerusalem. If people say, it is the Tomb Of David, it means it is the Tomb Of David’, says Assaf, a local living in Jerusalem.

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People praying at the Tomb Of David

9) Via Dolorosa

This is the route taken by Jesus leading from Antonia Fortress, where He was condemned to death, to Mt. Golgotha, the place of crucifixion. Via Dolorasa means Way Of Sorrow. There are 14 stations.  People praying at the Stone Of Unction which is the 13th Station where Jesus’ body is taken from the cross and washed.

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People praying at the Stone Of Unction which is the 13th station where Jesus’ body is taken from the cross and prepared for burial.

10)  Church Of Holy Sepulchre

It is where Jesus’ body was nailed to cross and then laid in the Tomb Of Joseph Of Aramathea.

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11) Room Of Last Supper on Mt Zion 

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Street leading to the Room Of Last Supper

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View from the terrace of Room of Last Supper. Jerusalem at night.

13) Al-Aqsa Mosque on Mt Moriah

Muslims pray in direction towards Kabba. But centuries before, Prophet and the followers used to pray in direction to Al-Aqsa. According to Islam, this is the ‘farthest Mosque’ and Prophet Mohammed undertook a voyage ‘Isra and Miraj’, called as Night Journey to this place. He then ascended to heaven from where the Dome Of Rock stands.

Entry into the mosque is prohibited to non-muslims.

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Al-Aqsa Mosque -third holiest site in Islam.

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Compound of Al-Aqsa and Temple Mount. They stand adjacent to each other in this complex.

14) Church of Agony and Garden Of Gethsemane

After the Last Supper, Jesus knew one of his seven disciples would betray him. He comes from Mt Zion to Mt Olives, in the Garden Of Gethsemane, then a garden full of olive groves. Sits on the rock with agony where Judas comes with Roman Soldiers. From here, Jesus Of Nazareth is taken into custody and was condemned to death.

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People Of Jerusalem 

In Jerusalem, men have long-side locks and wear a yamakha. The belief goes when they wake up in the morning, it is good to know that somebody is watching over them from above. Men do not look into the eyes of the women while they talk. Now in case you lost your way in twists and turns of Jerusalem, consider yourself a lucky woman if they answer your request. They don’t talk to women because of religious reasons.

Damn, life must be hard for them!

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A Jewish Man reading Torah.

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A man waiting in anticipation for a customer in the Muslim Quarter.

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The Book Of Torah – Holy book Of Jews in Hebrew

Streets Of Jerusalem

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‘Jerusalem has been physically and spiritually destroyed in past’, says Naomi, a local living in Jerusalem.

With 5000 year old past, the roots of  Jerusalem have always been entrenched in the quagmire of controversy, bloodshed and war dwindling  with peace and worship on the other side.

You should safeguard Jerusalem in the petal of your memories, which shall last until the end of time .

 

 

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The fear of being shrunk,
A dark cloud covering the iris of the eye,
The head floats in the sky like a dove flying towards the fluffy clouds.

 
A jolt from a feather.
The mind awakens.

 
The voice echoes so far away,
The rest of the voices are blur.

 
The sight of the sun rises, sanity walks away.
A transcendental fear creeps in,
Freedom goes sauntering towards the oblivion.

 
Nerve takes the leaps and bounds to the unknown.
Left to throttle the speech and sound.

 

‘What is to be scared of?’, whispers the known
Break the cocoon.
Let the spirit run into the thick groves.

 

The shackle breaks open,
The sweet pain abounds.

 

A sharp click of the musical note.
The mind awakens.

 

You Are Travel

Standing on the cliff, peeping into the deep bottomless dark abyss – which is eerily silent, you are being sucked into the black ruggedness.  Black symposium with dark melodies are sprinkled with eight-legged arthropods who’d come out screeching – crawling deep under your skin.

You are travel.  One moment, you are in harmony, enjoying the world as it is, only to find yourself, next moment, in a situation similar to a child who has been separated from his family. He looks frightened and lost – trying with utter dismay to get hold of reality. Dismayed, imbalanced and disoriented, he tries to find the base foundation to keep away the edges of prickly terror penetrating his veins. He attempts to hold on to the shaft of grape vine, searching for a purpose, to the places he belonged, and the people who belonged to him.  The child still bearing a toy in his hand – the only thing left from past, runs hither thither, with dismal attempts to find it’s roots. In an attempt, to get back to the harmony, stabilization and the conscious association of mind – the one that links and makes up his cluster -a cluster where things, commodities and people thrive and rhapsodize in continuous equilibrium.

You are travel. Time is siphoned into the reckless vacuum; carrying you along to float in the infinite black hole. The air is ruffling sharply against your skin, darkness engulfs and you gasp for air. You surface in the open but the air doesn’t provide ample oxygen. You are still short of it, still gasping – for familiarity, hope, and positivism to sweep you.

You are travel. You force and reason yourself to go out. Not because you don’t want to, but because you’re afraid. Being afraid comes with a meaning – a meaning which is obscure and you know not yet. Is discerning and bifurcating the basis of fear into small basis points worth the effort? Yes, it is. 

You are travel. Because you search for a blank in people’s eye. New people you don’t know in an even more new environment.  People who are so distinct from you, with the conviction, whether they have an identical blank vessel as yours? Or, do they have a galore of fullness and abundance- linking to the cosmos like graphite carbon links? Do they feel as empty as a hollow vessel and need to fill the cup? Or, is their cup over-flowing with joy and all-things-good?

Humans are wired so differently.

You are travel. Harmless things may scare you. And, it is okay to be scared once in a while. Did you ever imagine – will going out, talking and looking at people send you to the land of barrenness where there are only land-locked tall weeds? I guess, not. You imagine yourself walking through the unprecedented fill of tall weeds and losing your way. They are so thick that you’re trapped, and you try to find the way to get out of the maze. You remind yourself to not give way to ambush, however, no matter how hard you try – at last, trepidation fills in. You fail because you are a weakling who is afraid to face fears. You do an insufferable tango because you are looking for familiarity of home country in a host country, which of course, by all means, doesn’t exist.

 Can I call you a coward not willing to break the cocoon of comfort zone? I would not. Breaking shells requires time. You go through the process of germination. The seed germinates slowly, blossoms into a plant, and then into a full-grown tree.

You are travel. There are days when you just want to ensconce in your own shell. The shell is impenetrable. And, it is perfectly okay. You go through periods where silence would be ruffling like a cold wind rummaging past the cemetery.  Akin to situation where the bomb is being detonated somewhere miles away and you hear the explosion in your ear. You long for silence – silence which will let your mind dance through a rhythmic melody, make your mind rest by still waters, greener pastures, sunny breeze and rolling hills.

You admonish the mind to regain its harmony and to be flexible so as not to feel the elastic tension. You pine for solace. You crave for comfort. You dream of warmth. You yearn peace – peace of mind.

You long for cosmos to sing a lullaby and put you to sleep.

You are travel.  Your heart bleeds not because you left things and people behind, your heart bleeds because you are trying to create things from the ashes and the struggle to create is real. The process can be easy like a breeze but you find it difficult to blend into the current matter state and establish the congruence of the aforementioned state bearing the same molecular charge.

You see people around, talking and laughing – but do they know what you know – about you, or do you know what they know – about them, as a person? Is their mind in the same collaborative platform as yours, or does it afloat in different dimensions? You want to know if their laughter has a pure, untainted, deep, sincere origin, and if they see things the same way as you do?

Happy, anxious, sad facesyou learn to read them all. And now when you are in a total new country, with new people – question is will you still be able to do it? Yes, you should be able to do it – to know and read them as if reading a book and getting bewitched by their stories only to fill the chasm by myriad colours.  You have so many questions which significantly hold importance as small as a grain of sand. However, it is still a grain of sand, in the desert, huddled up, and blowing with the storm waiting to settle down. And, settling would come when the rain comes.

You hope the inertia would change gears no sooner than the next day so that you’re comfortable. You wait for the the initial frenzy of settling down to settle like the sediments in the water pot. But until it does, it will be a bumpy-ride and you know that you cannot stop, or going back the same path isn’t an option at all.

No matter how strong you claim to be, how detached you consider yourself – transitioning is weird. You do not feel associated to the country you are moving to and not the country you have just left. You’re in the perilous position of hanging from a tree.

In the end, all else fades – as long you do what you are supposed to do, everything else fades. But unless it does, you have to enjoy your bumpy-ride and wait. Wait for the time to look back and marvel that you survived and will do so in future.

For eternity and beyond, you are travel.

Of Monsoons and Konkan Coast: Gokarna, India.

The day before I was about to leave for Gokarna, I was apprehensive and reluctant to go ahead with my plans due to continuous downpour and the bad weather.

However, isn’t the best part about going to a distant place is about getting drenched with new impressions and ‘experiences’, so to say? I stand firm by the adage “If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens!” Even so, when a meteorite enters our atmosphere, it becomes a “shooting star”. Hence, I decided to take a plunge.

Gokarna is a small, coastal town in the state of Karnataka, India, with Western ghats brimming with abundant flora and fauna forming the backdrop, running parallely to Arabian Sea, marking the territory. Small town, with even more smaller shops huddled together, has many temples in the heart of the town. The Indian Monsoons strengthening over Arabian sea is not-so-much cherry on the cake, you may think. But, guess what, every penny and time invested was worth it.20150620_185358_LLS (copy)

20150620_190156 (copy)Irrespective of your location in Gokarna, the coast is always 10-feet away. The thundering roar of the wind and the water, the echo of the sea splashing against the cliff, and the thunder clap reverberating high above in the sky.  20150620_190836 (copy)The cliff stands tall and proud, like an emperor watching over his people from the altar. The waves jumping fiercely, dominating, fighting, struggling, clashing against the cliff with firm persistence.

The water of Arabian sea seems to be imbued with rapidly moving momentum forming crests and troughs, swaying and dancing with the flow of wind in a simple harmonic motion. The waves, far-reaching, seem to do the angry dance of Shiva, ironically, in the land of Shiva, may be?20150620_100408

20150621_123718 (copy)It may seem the wave is hitting and pummeling against the rocks mercilessly, ramming ruthlessly, unleashing and exploding with fury. But that is not the case.  For the sea and rocks have stood with each other time and again, for a long time.

But Geologists say- rocks remember. They always do. The hurt, the agony and the soreness impacted by the Sea. And that is why, when the Sea wave reaches out to them again, after retreating back in a circular motion, the cliffs and rocks, leave the Sea in the perpetual state of starvation and hungriness. They do not let the wave overpower them, once again – they stand steadfast, grounded, with unshakable determination to assert their immutability – to remain unchanged over time.20150621_161250I strongly believe the Arabian Sea is not hurling it’s waters strongly against the rocks. Neither are they being merciless, or ruthless. It is the nature of the wave to retreat back and forth. Only when the wave retreats back, it will come forth. I see the waves as small kids sprinting with energy, color and enthusiasm. They know they have to return to the shore. They hurl against the rocks with so much power and energy because they know the rocks are capable enough of handling the buoyant force  of the water.20150621_154025Rains in Gokarna were sporadic. It will rain only for 2-3 minutes and then, poof, gone. It wouldn’t happen that the downpour is continuous.step0003Smell the sea and feel the overcast sky.

If a blue sky, calm sea, and a steady breeze  is therapeutic to the soul, so is the grey mist over the lonely sea formed by the shadow of clouds.  It may seem ominous, but it is not. Just the different shades of natural forces, the latter being more electric in nature.

Let the the Earth delight while you walk bare foot on the sand. Let the wave wash away your feet, as to caress your feet gently. The wind is stern, yet gentle, reassuring that it is the harbinger of serenity.

Strengthen yourself in the stillness.

Immerse yourself amidst the sounds of rustling leaves and twigs, sounds of the ocean and wind.

Indulge in quietening your inner self while on the outside all you see is agitation, unrest and turmoil.

Let your mind be. Still yourself. Drowning yourself in the stillness is a privilege, harness it.20150621_160328

Feel the air brushing past your skin which has traversed miles, touching many, many trees of Western Ghats. Let it seep into your mind and body.

Let the wind play with your hair.

Have an epiphany or two in those fleeting moments, while inhaling the grey and green.

Admire the sweet sight of the Konkan coast which is spanned by Tropical Coconut trees. Sleek, slender, tall shape, with leaves branching out like rainbow segmentation’s and coconuts hung to it undulating, gyrating with the flow of wind will be a precious, sweet sight.

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The Coconut trees seem to watch out the vast expanse of Arabian sea and they both tend to have a strong camaraderie. And as you sit and stare at the trees and the ocean, they beckon you to foster a even more stronger association with them, which will impart you with a sense of belonging and fundamental joy.

Who doesn’t like to be befriended, cherished and further stronger interpersonal relationship with other fellow beings? Everyone does. And so would you. Aren’t we all social animals?20150621_103008 (copy)

Be open and free with the the grey clouds hung up in the sky, which may look dismal, but they’ll call out to you. Share the rage within you, if any, and be a part of them by skillfully merging with them. The best part about them is – they allow you to be in their company without holding you back with no room of expectations whatsoever. They hold you in the arms, cradle you in the lap, let you toy with the spectrum, and touch the horizon, but will never cage you.

They would never restrain you.

Never.

Do not let Monsoon rains deter your plans.

By being a part of all the natural resources paraphernalia, you become free yourself. Unrestrained and unfettered; sailing with ebb of time. For John Ruskin said, “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” 

The Philosophy of Travel

Brilliance!

Letters From The Porch

The Philosophy of Travel
by George Santayana

Has anyone ever considered the philosophy of travel? It might be worth while. What is life but a form of motion and a journey through a foreign world? Moreover locomotion- the privilege of animals- is perhaps the key to intelligence. The roots of vegetables (which Aristotle says are their mouths) attach them fatally to the ground, and they are condemned like leeches to suck up whatever sustenance may flow to them at the particular spot where they happen to be stuck. Close by, perhaps, there may be a richer soil or a more sheltered and sunnier nook; but they cannot migrate, nor have they even eyes or imagination by which to picture the enviable neighbouring lot of which chance has deprived them. At best their seed is carried by the wind to that better place, or by some insect intent on its own…

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Photo Essay: Meet Ladakh, India

How many times have you decided to renounce the worldly ways and have decided to lead a very basic minimal life on bare necessities, on the pretext of attaining nirvana? Well, at some point, we all have, bumbling and rumbling – ‘Hey, am going to Himalayas, heck with the world’.

Haven’t we all?

Aerial View Of Himalayas.

Aerial View Of Himalayas.

Horns, loud noises, technology – cut off from the entire world, Ladakh is a world in itself. It is hard to imagine the primitive wilderness in its truest sense, primordial in its essence, like a flower bud yet waiting to blossom, yet to go through the rigor of Urban Sprawl.

Leh city as seen from Leh Palace

Leh city as seen from Leh Palace

However, it is not like any other trip you would take. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You would struggle with breathing, nausea, headache, dizziness, and vomit. Dizziness is still okay, but vomit? Heck, no. You would barely eat a sandwich, and if you eat little extra, you’d curse yourself later in the day. Who likes the feeling of sustaining grumpiness and the sounds of gurgling in the tummy?
  • You are stuck in middle of no-where, have trouble breathing already,  unbearably cold, and then, you have a Running  Tummy to manage which can play havoc  anytime if not taken care *Alarming situation alert *
  • You need to drink lots of water to combat High altitude sickness. Drink water ->pee ->  drink some more water-> pee again. Repeat.
  • Walking for 5 minutes at a fast pace would make your Head Spin, making your gut squeal at the top of its voice ‘Hey stop walking already’. Acclimatization is the bro!
  • At night, you would  sleep with your mouth open. Here there isn’t much of a leeway: you choose not to open your mouth, but at night, the oxygen level and air pressure drops even more so,in the atmosphere, making you sleep like a chimpanzee. Who wants to be a chimpanzee?
  • Cold.  Very cold. Too cold.  You may be like ‘Hey, I am okay living at my home. Cannot bear all that coldness, ok? So what if it is Himalayas?’

But.

In Ladakh, events would be paradoxical in nature. Time would run fast, but slow at the same time, to the point of standstill. Everything would be like a blur.

It is the Land of extremes – glaciers and sand dunes; barren and rustic,  humongous mountainous ranges with no iota of vegetation in sight; azure blue water and fluffy, white cumulus clouds adorning the cerulean sky; no civil establishments in the near sight, and monasteries suspended from the edge of cliffs.

Meet Ladakh- unreal, imaginary, far from what your mind can conceive, or your eyes would have ever seen.

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Serpentine roads of Ladakh.

Confluence of Zanskar and Indus River.

The massive colossal formations will exercise their dominance, which are omnipresent, with many more mountains.

Changthang area, Rupshu Valley.

Ladakh Landscapes are utopian, idyllic and intensely dramatic which the nature can ever sketch, gives the feeling of being on an altogether totally different planet.

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Rupshu Valley

The sun-kissed snow, soft and granular, glistens on the ridges and mountaintops, palpitating, pulsating with energy. Leave a wandering trail of footprint behind, coupled with the crunching sound of snow compressing under your shoes.

Chang-la Pass, second highest motor-able road in the world, at 17.590 feet.

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Chang-la Pass, second highest motor-able road in the world, at 17,590 feet.

Pangong Tso, at 14,270 feet, weaving palette of shades with a spectacular setting. Marvel at Rugged cliffs, scree slopes and shimmering turquoise blue waters. 40% of the lake is in India, rest 60% in China.

Shyok River,tributary of Indus originating from Siachen Glacier of Karakoram range in Himalayas.

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Gigantesque canyons of Ladakh on the way to Nubra Valley.

It is also said the landscape in Ladakh is similar to Lunar Landscape.

On the way to Nubra Valley.

Traverse through 3 world’s highest motorable passes and with the bated breath, your world, mind and soul will be infused with a sweet clarity. You will marvel at the silent expanse, still emptiness, and the vast soundless depthness of crests.

The actual height of Khardungla Pass is 17,582 ft. Gateway to Nubra Valley.

The terrain gleams brightly; resplendent with the glimmer of the crystalline radiance, which leaves you in a tranquil trance-like state of mind.

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Spituk Monastery.

Thiksey Monastery , largest monastery in Central Ladakh, is known to have semblance with Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

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Sakyamuni Buddha

Colourful Tibetan prayer flags dance in the drifting cold wind, and rustle like the living beings. Mostly Ladakhi begin their day by listening to ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’. You can listen it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q7MyG4afIg

Buddhist Prayer Wheel.

Thangka Paintings inside the Monastery.

Innumerous passes, very less people, harsh climatic conditions make Ladakh one of the coldest deserts in the world.

Sand dunes in Hunder, Nubra Valley.

Diskit Monastery in Nubra Valley hanging precariously from the cliff.

Kiagar Tso in Rupshu Valley area of Ladakh while heading to Tso Moriri

The brightness of the Blue Lake can be dimmed by only one another brightness-that of the Bravery and courage of Indian soldiers stationed at the Indo- China border.

Tso Moriri Lake(15,000 ft), Indo-China Border, J&K.

Tso Kar is a white salt lake where nomadic settlements reside. The nomadic tribals can be found on the east of Leh on the Chinese border in Changthang area in Rupshu Valley. They rear yak and goats, eat yak meat, store the yak meat, and wear yak wool.

Tso Kar, white salt lake, nomadic settlements can be found here.

Ladakhi Kids. To the left, is the boy. To the right, is the girl.

Indus Valley with the Indus river snaking by the sides. Tapped my memories when we used to study about Indus Valley Civilization. This route also trails the path of the Silk Route during the medieval period.

Indus Valley with the Indus river snaking by the sides. Tapped my memories when we used to study about Indus Valley Civilization. This route also trails the path of the Silk Route during the medieval period.

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Leh Sunsets- Gaze at the fading light and watch out for the pink and purple hues in the sky.

If you have to do one thing before dying, it SHOULD be visiting Himalayas in India. Promise me you will? Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and absorb some Bangalore sunshine.