Kazi Mostafizur Rahman (Kolkata, India) writes on Perception.
Photography by Kumar Ishan (Ranchi, India)
July 19, 2017
Located at a height of 4270 metres or 14,200 ft, the beautiful village of Kibber in the Spiti Valley in Himalayas has the distinction of being the second highest motorable village in the world. It lies in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. The village is best known for it’s scenic beauty and attracts a lot of tourists and adventurers throughout the year.
The landscape is similar to that of Ladakh and Tibet. Kibber rests admist picturesque mountains, barren landscape and green meadows
Life of the people:
Kibber is small village with total 77 families residing. It has a population of 366 of which 187 are males while 179 are females (as per Population Census 2011). The village has around 80 houses which are made of stone instead of mud or adobe brick used extensively elsewhere in the Spiti valley, making them unique. Kibber has a civil dispensary, a high school, a post office, a telegraph office and a community TV set in the village. The culture, too, is similar to that of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism is the predominant religion. Agriculture is the backbone of the local economy. People also have other occupations such as animal husbandry, jobs in government programs, government services, and other businesses & crafts that include weaving. Villagers count on the 3 day traditional trade route over Parang la to Ladakh to barter their horses for yaks or to sell for cash.
How to reach
There is a bus from Kaza in the afternoon, which returns from Kibber to Kaza early in the morning. Shared jeeps are also available. Hiring a jeep from Kaza taxi
stand costs ₹800 (as in the year 2012).
Where to stay
Don’t expect a luxurious stay at a hotel or resort in Kibber. Accommodation is limited to a few guest houses, Norling Guest House being the most popular. The locals provide rooms on rent for the tourists. Homestays are comfortable and affordable. Camping facilities are also available during summer.
What to eat
The options are very limited in Kibber. Guest houses or Homestays provide food on demand. Locals serve Tibetan, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
The village is popular for it’s temples and monasteries. It is also known for the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary– India’s only wildlife sanctuary in a cold desert, which is located close to the village and houses many snow-dwelling animals such as Ibex, Blue Sheep, Red Fox, Tibetan Woolly Hare, Himalayan Wolf, Lynx, Pika, Tibetan Wild Ass, and Snow Leopard.
Kibber Village is a popular place among adventure lovers as trekking and mountaineering are the main attractions of the village. The high altitude and the stunning, pollution free atmosphere of Kibber is a boon for sky gazers and photographers, who get the most amazing pictures of the natural environment of the region.
Dhrubajyoti Saha (Pune, India) writes about his failures in life and how he faced them.
While reading the newspaper, she looked quite confused. “You can take a year drop for your higher secondary exam, I wouldn’t mind. But take a proper decision, so that it can help you in future”, she told her son- Shiv. Shiv was surprised by what he heard from his mother. 5 hours had gone by that Shiv got his Test results before Higher Secondary Exam in which he failed in 3 out of 5 subjects.
His parents always supported him with his decisions. He was asked to score well and not to focus much on being the topper in all exams. Shiv couldn’t pass due to the tensions and struggles that had now become a part of his life. This tension was for his handicapped elder brother who being two years older than Shiv, was his junior in school. So his parents expected good results from Shiv, so that he has a bright future.
As the results were out, Shiv’s girlfriend, his very first love, left him as she thought he didn’t have a good future. But Shiv didn’t give up. “I’m ready to face this, I’ll not waste any more time. I’ll not take a year off”, thought Shiv, with tears in his eyes. He decided to study hard and improve himself. His mother supported and guided her son.
“Mom, do you have money?” this expression and it’s meaning has changed for Shiv now, 6 years after that failure. Earlier the expression meant asking for money from his mom, now it has changed to wanting to give it to her. Working as a software engineer in Asia’s largest I.T firm, Shiv now supports his family, both monetarily and emotionally. He now knows the meaning of love and the relation between love and sacrifice. He understood through his struggles in life that life gives you many hurdles, it’s you who has to cross them and overcome your failures.
Eunoia wishes Dhrubajyoti all the best for his future endeavours.
Sanchayan Chakraborty from Kolkata shares his travel experience to Kasol with us.
State: Himachal Pradesh
Best time for travel: Oct-June
Known for its Israeli inhabitants, Parvati river, trekking base-camp and Malana, Kasol is bestowed with all of nature’s blessings. This remote village is a blessing for adventure buffs, trekkers and backpackers. With pleasant climate all around the year and low population density, this wonderful place will give you an experience like no other. Being called the Israel of India, Kasol is filled with a mixture of India and Israeli culture that is worth a visit.
How to reach Kasol
By air: Almost 31 Kms away, Bhuntar Airport located near Kullu is the nearest airport to the village. It is connected to three cities Delhi, Pathankot and Shimla. You can hire local cabs or private vehicles from there to reach Kasol.
By road:The HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) runs regular buses from neighbouring states of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. In the state itself they run to and fro from cities of pathankot, Shimla, Kangra, Solan and Dharamsala.
By train: Pathankot serves as the nearest railhead at a distance of almost 150 Km, while Chandigarh about 310 Km away is another option you can opt for. Taxis or private vehicles can be hired from here as well to reach Kasol.
The hippie village offers you abundant options from Israeli, Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisines. Some of the popular cafes in the region are:
1. Stone Garden Café
2. Freedom Café
3. Jim Morrison Café
4. Shiva Shanti Café
5. The Evergreen Café
*Photographs by Sanchayan Chakraborty
Shivam Agrawal from Bengaluru, India shares his travel experience to Nandi Hills with us.
Best time for travel: Oct-June
Nandi Hills, also known as Nandidurg or Nandi Betta is an ancient hill fortress situated in the district of Chikkabalapur in Karnataka. Situated near the town of Nandi, the ancient belief is that they are the origin of the Arkavathy River.
Scenic places of interest
At a height of 4851m above sea level, Nandi Hills is a favourite destination for all nature lovers and a popular picnic spot. It is the ideal getaway for you if photography is your passion and nature is your one true love. Striking scenery, rare flora, cool and crisp air and the peaceful atmosphere makes the hills a perfect holiday spot.
“It’s about 65km from Bengaluru, so it’s a two hour journey. It was a very wonderful experience”, says Shivam.
How to reach Nandi Hills
Nandi Hills can easily be accessed by road as well as by the rail as it is conveniently networked with the major cities in Karnataka including Bengaluru.
By air: The nearest airport is Hindustan Airport, which is about 42km away. Mysore Airport is 165 km away. From either airport, you can take a train or travel by road to the Hills.
By road: Drive to Nandi Hills from Bengaluru via the Bangalore- Hyderabad Highway. Other cities from which you can travel to Nandi Hills include Bellary, Mysore and Devanahalli. The nearest bus station is Nelamangala, which is 43km away.
By rail: The nearest train station is Oddarahalli which is 16km away. Dodballapur is 17km away from Nandi Hills and Chikkaballapur station is at a distance of 19km.
Sightseeing and activities in and around Nandi Hills
Places and Monuments
Temples in Nandi Hills
Vineyards in Karnataka
“The route was very thrilling. We were all scared but enjoyed the nature at the same time. The clouds were touching the hills, it was breathtaking”, adds Shivam.
*Photographs by Shivam Agrawal
By Rashi Pranav Roy (Delhi, India)
This happened to a teacher in our school. She was walking hastily in the corridor, and stepped on wet orange petals fallen all over the slippery floor. She slipped terribly- the most classic fall one can ever see happening to a woman in a south silk saree. She ended up with her legs in full split; she earned herself a pelvic fracture. She could not close her legs due to, you know, the broken pelvic bones. Nor the teachers could bring her legs back together ending the acrobatic stance. Hence, she was put in the same position on a stretcher and rushed to hospital. Just imagine (pause). What a brutal piece of work we kids were! When we were told about her injury, it was an ‘Oh No’ in unison. When we were explained how she fell, and moreover how she was taken to hospital, we fell off the desks laughing hysterically. Not our fault, she made it a legendary fall to remember. Because she could not watch her steps! It was wet, slippery and sprinkled with deep orange petals all over. She should have used her eyes and brain and slowed down.
It’s not the matter of just the steps we take while walking. The pace of everything has switched us to 2X speed. Everything! One morsel of food is there ‘un’chewed in mouth and we are already about to pop in the second. Before the other person can reach the end of his sentence, we interrupt him with our story, “know what…”. There is a new thing called power Yoga which can condense the entire benefit of 1 hour of pranaayama in 10 minutes, ethereal! It’s so crucial to overtake that truck or tempo that dents no more matter for car and driver. Pace and pace in everything, vrooming along the clock without making any sense- back down, just cool down, pacify yourself.
Have you ever seen a mommy who gets up late and gets her kindergarten kid ready for school- polishing the socks along with shoes, while holding the cheeks tight enough to make the child pout like a pig as she combs the hair so hard that scalp bleeds. And I would not explain the phallic catastrophe following a fast and careless zipping up of pants. White icing rather than cherry on the top, she dabs talcum powder all over the face of the dumbstruck kid, finds unnecessary to clean the dust off the brows. Making the child look blonde! And her final kiss before the child boards the bus clearly swipes the powder away in kiss shape on one cheek. The child, too shocked to interrupt the mom, expressionlessly hangs the water bottle by its ribbon around neck and shoos to school. It’s her misconception that she did it so fast and perfect. If only she could give ten minutes more to the chore, the kid could happily go to school looking like a student rather than clown. (But hey, lazy or hasty, mommies still rock)
To some serious side of this, most accidents are a result of illogical race to reach first. How devastating that has proved to be for millions? Just a matter of ten to twenty minutes of time makes one behave like a fast forwarded fool. All the bruised gums, scratched scalp, choked windpipe, bumped cars, unzipped pants, messed up work desk, cluttered shelves, broken ankles, injured elbows (against the doors and walls)- it’s all because of haste. And it is entirely our fault, isn’t that hard to manage if you take a step back, look and plan.
Why not be ready half an hour in prior to avoid that rush? Please keep things at right place (men, have mercy on this point), never ever pull a cloth randomly from the shelf and always, get up early. Getting up early is the first thing which sets every schedule in perfect timing for the rest of day. When you get up at 6am instead of 5:30, it’s a huge loss because the mind is boggled thinking I’m Late, I’m already Late.
One more thing, avoid listening and reacting to people who keep shouting to hurry up. Not asking to be rude, just develop a resistor in your mind. Loud horns, loud advices- these only harm the functionality. I had smashed my car’s rear view mirror against a hoarding once. No, not because I am a woman. My cousin shouted suddenly, ‘Take a Left!!’ I reacted to that in one second and bang! Keep the body, mind and logic in equilibrium. When thes three factors are out of sync, the person ends up looking like an unsolved Rubik’s cube. Take time. You have to be alive first, anything later. Else, no one minds another classic acrobatic pelvic fracture-slash-split to die laughing about.
Writer wishes to remain Anonymous.
People are constantly asking me if something is wrong. It’s as if they can read my mind by merely looking into my eyes. I don’t know what they see, but I believe them. They say I look tired. They say I have sad eyes.
A friend of mine once told me that even though he appeared to be enjoying himself he was really empty inside. He told me that what you may see on the outside does not really relate to what is on the inside. I believe him now. A laugh on the outside, a sigh on the inside. A smile on my face, a lost look in my mind. It’s better to just lie to everyone. To act like everything is in its place.