Photo Story: Jageshwar, Uttarakhand

The grand grove of deodar in Jageshwar mirrored my idea of paradise. An undulating turn brought us to the Himalayan valley. Beside the concrete road, I heard a reticent stream trickle. And the ancient deodar trees rose stately from the earth to high skies. I stared at them from a half-opened passenger window of the…

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Photo Story: Could Winter be the Most Beautiful Season?

Many versus in poetry and references in literature had led me to believe that winter is probably the most desolate and monochromatic season. Between Virginia Woolf’s ‘Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night’ and PB Shelley’s ‘If winter comes, can spring be far behind?’ I was convinced that winter was made of sorrow and…

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The Bedni and Ali Bugyal Trek, Uttarakhand

Sometimes I wonder if heaven is real. And then I witness the most incredible sight ever. I find myself taking shelter from snowfall under a grand oak tree somewhere in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. I am hiking to Bedni and Ali bugyal from a small village called Kuling, via Dedina. My companions are my elderly, experienced…

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Testing the Travel Trails 

Have you read about the marshmallow test for kids? It is psychological test done by a Stanford professor back in the 1960s. He welcomes nursery school children in a room one-by-one and tests them for grit and self control. He puts a marshmallow or a sweet treat in front of each child and gives them…

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People of Kumaon, Uttarakhand (Part 2)

It is difficult to escape their charm. Every time I travel to Uttarakhand, the loveliness of the people I meet seem to only increase. I recently wrote about the women who I met in Kilmora and Chirag and as a continuing part of my conversations with the people of Uttarakhand, I’d like you to meet two…

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The Kilmora Women of Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Two of my three travels to Uttarakhand, last year, introduced me to some of the most enthusiastically independent women I have met. The first bevy was in Chirag (Central Himalayan Rural Action Group) in Kasiyalekh. Chirag is a social enterprise that works with local communities by diversifying and creating various livelihood opportunities. In Chirag, I…

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