It takes a lot to dazzle a seasoned traveller. After years of travelling to extraordinary places with unsurpassed beauty–rocky seashores, highland meadows, snowy slopes, river valleys, abloom wilderness, pristine lakes and silent woods–a jadedness slips into the once curious explorer. Yet, the traveller often continues to travel and see places as the addiction can’t be curtailed. And much like any other addiction, the high isn’t experienced anymore even when it is impossible to stop. There are times in my journeys where I have felt something amiss. Luxury never feels like it should, streets in a new city do not have the excitement that it had, the waves from the sea don’t seem to have crests and a new experience doesn’t seem new anymore. But there are always places that make you indefatigable, refresh and rejuvenate time and again, and never lets familiarity dominate the spirit. When I think of it, one place rules the mind space – Himalayas.
It is more than a decade since I have been travelling in the Himalayas, seeking its length and breadth, going into the expansive snow-fields of Arunachal, happy kingdom of Bhutan, evergreen foothills of Sikkim, deep valleys of Uttarakhand, wooded Himachal and deserted Ladakh. Each visit is demanding on the body, making me endure the thin air, brave the cold, bear with the aching muscles and survive the lengthy road journeys. Despite all this, the mountains fill the eyes with their grandeur, instill a sense of peace and perpetual awe in the mind. There is no getting tired of Himalayas. Here is a collection of cherished moments that have lingered over the years from many visits to the Himalayas.
Walking in a forest full of colourful rhodondron flowers in Sikkim
On my very first visit to Himalayas, I decided to make a moderately difficult trek to Gochela Pass in Sikkim. I was unprepared and did not know what to expect, and took things the way they came as we trekked up. On the second day of the trek, crossing above ten-thousand feet where the vegetation had long since changed from tropical to coniferous, even the deodars vanished and the woods were filled with rhododendron trees. It was summer, a time for the flowers to bloom. The trees generously bore bunches of pink flowers and splashed their presence in an otherwise green expanse. The sudden splurge of colours numbed my mind, paused my feet and left me mystified. It was a spectacle no less then seeing a star-studded sky on a clear moonless night.
I walked in the company of rhododendrons for several hours, admiring every bouquet that stretched towards me, often looking down at my feet and seeing with a sense of wonder the splash of colours that covered the forest floor. I wanted that moment to last forever. Little else mattered. click to read more »