Journey to Nongriat village

This post is about our visit to Nongriat – a village near Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya. Accessible only via a foot path, one has to climb down 3500 steps from a village called Tyrna to reach Nongriat. But, let me start from where I previously left off.

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Umiam Lake, Meghalaya

Umiam lake, also called Barapani, is actually a reservoir – a man-made entity to harness the waters of Umiam river for generating hydro-electricity. We spent a day, staying at a boat-house in Umiam lake and explored the surroundings, also witnessing pre-monsoon showers in the process.

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Another evening, another lake

There are beautiful places, untouched yet to the extent which might start decaying the place. All these places need, is anonymity. I’ve always believed that the beauty of a place is proportional to how far away from a major city it is. But then, there are places like this – so close to a city like Bangalore – yet, it has managed to remain untouched to a large extent. The villages leading to this lake, are  true old-school places – using turmeric mixed with cow dung to clean their house surroundings, enjoy a quiet nap outdoors, under the shade of voluminous Banyan trees. I could sense the true charm of the quintessential village life. Beyond these villages was this lake. Though it was not empty – there were a few city dwellers who were already there – it was not teeming with throngs of loud people around. Between the time the sun set and a near-full moon took over the duties, we spent a blissful couple of hours there. Towards the end, it was disheartening to see a couple of people screaming their lungs out and making plans to camp for the night – I’m sure they’ll light a fire or two, have some drinks, make a mess and leave. Its perfectly ok to have fun, as long as you do it responsibly, while not harming the environment and making a mess with litter strewn around. I’m intentionally not disclosing the location of the place to avoid just these kind of people messing the place...

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Glimpses from Andaman islands

In early January this year, I undertook a much awaited vacation to the Andaman islands. I was earlier slated to visit the islands in early December 2016, but had to postpone my plans due to the prevailing cyclonic conditions at that time. It was a memorable week spent in the Andaman islands. I could not have asked for a better, more relaxing way to usher in the new year. Now, I’m composing a picture-heavy post showing glimpses of places I visited in the Andaman islands. Here they are, for your viewing...

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Cellular Jail, Port Blair

The cellular jail in Port Blair, was an erstwhile prison from the British colonial times. Known as Kaala Paani back then, it was used to cast off political prisoners the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands. Today, it is maintained as a national memorial.

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Kalapathar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman

Kalapathar beach is an east-facing beach in the Havelock Island in South Andaman. The beach is situated in the south eastern part of the island.

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Gundamgere lake on new year’s eve (2017)

On the eve of the new year (2017), everyone seem to be congregating in groups and crowds to start parties, both small and big. But we were headed to low key place where we can quietly spend time doing what we love most – photographing the last sunset of 2016 by Gundamgere lake.

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Winter mornings in Bangalore

There are couple of obvious candidates for capturing the essence of winter mornings in Bangalore – Lalbagh and Cubbon park. There is, however, another place that presents an equally compelling case. Though not publicly accessible, this place takes up almost 100 acres in the heart of Bangalore. If you still could not guess the place, I’m talking about the IIMB campus.

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An evening at Kovalam Beach

Kovalam is a beach town, located just 14km from the city center of Thiruvananthapuram. There are 3 prominent beaches in Kovalam – the Hawa beach, Samudra beach and Lighthouse beach. The lighthouse beach is the largest among the 3 beaches and also the most sought after beach in Kovalam. A 30 meter lighthouse sits on the southern edge of the beach on a small hill-rise.

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Chitradurga and nearby

Chitradurga is a fairly well known destination, specifically for the famous fort. On a visit earlier this year, we learnt about other nearby places which are less touristy and better – Jogimatti and Chandravalli. We made a mental note to ourselves about these places for a later visit. The visit to Chandravalli materialized last week, during the long weekend for Deepavali and Karnataka Rajyotsava.

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An evening at Vani Vilas Sagar dam

Vani vilas sagar dam is situated about 200km from Bangalore and close to the town of Hiriyur on NH-4. Its popularly known as Mari Kanive in Kannada. Imagine a body of water snaking amidst hills around, the dam cutting across the water in the heart of the valley. The hills have lush green cover draping them all around, giant windmills rest atop the hills harvesting the wind energy.

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Shettihalli church ruins

A 200 year old church, today lies in ruins at Shettihalli. About 20 km from Hassan, is the village Shettihalli – where, about 30 years ago, the agriculture-focused village was turned into a backwaters’ area with the commissioning of Gorur dam across river Hemavathi. The church is situated bang in the middle of a vast expanse of land, leading up to the Gorur dam.

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A weekend in BR Hills, Karnataka

For quite sometime, there was tension within the extended family of not having been successful in getting everyone together for an outing. Some of us were getting edgy, not being able to get out of the city. Push came to shove, and we had to go ahead and plan a small getaway with only a subset of people. That’s how it is sometimes. Anyway, cutting to the chase, we picked BR hills as the destination and made the necessary travel and stay arrangements almost a month in advance – to kinda lock in the people who had signed up and not letting them slip away again. Now, we just had to wait for the travel dates.

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An early morning in Nelamangala

Most of us will associate Nelamangala as nothing more than a transit point on the outskirts of Bengaluru, en route to more popular destinations on NH-4 (Tumkur, Chitradurga, Hubli, Belagavi, Pune, …) and NH-48 (Hassan, Mangaluru). To this effect, on the first day of a long weekend, the cars heading out of Bengaluru on the Yeshwantpur-Nelamangala tollway either went on straight on NH-4 or turned left onto NH-48, at this transit town. We had other plans – exploring a less known lake close to this very transit point. Thus the plan was made to spend an early morning in Nelamangala. I came to know about this place because of a tip from friends and we all set out, starting at 4am from Bengaluru. To start at 4am, means waking up at 3:15am, and this, is akin to midnight to many people. And they might say, what’s to see in the night? Its dark! Well, that’s not incorrect. But, the night turning into day is not a spontaneous event. Its a gradual transformation, one that is both beautiful and calming. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the night, starts at the ‘V’ end of the VIBGYOR and slowly progresses towards ‘O’ (yes, it skips some colors in between – good to know you’re actually reading 😉 ). The time spent in this transformation are aptly named blue hour and golden hour (no, they do not necessarily both last a full hour each). Enough of my generic rant now. We reached the lake by 5:30am. It was still dark, and everything was in gray-scale. After going thru a village, disturbing some cattle on the way, we seemed to literally be on the lake bed. The summer heat is already at full swing this year and the water levels were low. Even though, this was a rather decent sized water body, the water had receded quite a bit and was shallow for most of the area. There were lots of barren trees jutting out of the shallow waters. There were lot of birds happily camping on the lake bed, a fact we realized after our footsteps managed to disturb a flock of winged creatures to startle and fly away – sigh. Good morning...

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St Mary Island boat ride

A short boat ride takes one to/from Malpe – St Mary Island. One can either take a public ferry or hire a smaller private boat. We chose the latter and made a small video on the return leg – coming from St Mary Island back to the mainland Malpe.

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Quest for a perfect sunset in Singapore

So, I tell my friend who’s hosting us at Singapore – I want to shoot sunset from some nice vantage. He said he knows just the place. We set about to get to this place – on the way, his vivid descriptions of the place we’re headed to, is raising my expectations and I already have images forming in my mind’s eye. Over the last five days, I’d spoken so much about colors, hues, post-sunset-color-riot in the skies and he was using the same language to sell me on this place and how it’s going to be the best sunset I’ll ever see in Singapore.

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