Mountain Biking 67km through the high altitude villages of Spiti

“So I have two mountain bikes”, said Mr. Tsering Bodh, “You can take them and reach this beautiful village called Langza the first day and from there you can move ahead to Komic the second day and then you can decide if you want to come back via Hikkim or continue ahead to Demul and then reach back to Kaza.” This casual conversation was happening in the dim lit lobby of Sakya Abode in the month of October two years back. ARead more

8 pictures from my first trip to Spiti

Two years back me and my friend drove across Kinnaur to reach the high mountains of Spiti. After crossing the river at Sumdo few hours after Malling and Chango, the last villages of Kinnaur, the sense of approaching a different land is quite prominent. Rudyard Kipling in kim felt the same and wrote this. “Surely the Gods live here. Beaten down by the silence and the appalling sweep of dispersal of the cloud-shadows after rain. This place is no placeRead more

What to expect when driving to Spiti valley in winter?

Hidden in the Trans Himalayan range between Tibet and Ladakh, Spiti valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, attracts the peace-loving and the adventurous from around the globe. The tourist season starts from the end of May till the month of October, just after the famous rally, ‘Raid-De-Himalaya’ passes through the valley. In early November, when the temperature dips down to -10˚C, the hotels are closed for the tourists and the first spell of snowfall stops the government bus serviceRead more

I am living in Spiti this winter

So here I am, after a solo drive from Kotgarh to Kaza, sipping green tea in the living room of my favourite property in Spiti, Sakya Abode. They receive a special mention because its the only hotel open in Kaza right now. Though the staff has left for their winter season in Goa, the owner Mr. Tsering Bodh is doing all the hotel chores. I checked the outside temperature yesterday before entering the hotel. It was 1.3˚C and the windRead more

Product Shoot for Kotgarh Fruit Bageecha

The Product Kotgarh Fruit Bageecha is started by a husband wife duo, who left their corporate jobs to do something more worthwhile. They moved to Kotgarh, the place where India’s first Apple trees were planted by Samuel Stokes and started producing jams and preserves with the help of the local ladies.  The organic jams are delicious and the taste and quality is better than any competing product available in the market today.  I was particularly impressed by the beautifully designedRead more

Life in Spiti – Website documenting Spiti Valley

Sometimes we arrive in unknown places and they feel like home. That is how I felt in Spiti. The valley is so silent and still, mostly cut off from the rest of the world. In these modern fast-moving times, it is rare to find oneself in such a place, which has no distractions. The hospitality of the people of Spiti is amazing. The locals welcome you warmly into their homes, offering you cups of steaming chai and freshly cooked food,Read more

Life in Shimla – Documenting my hometown through pictures.

A place that is so deeply entrenched in you that you could walk its streets blindfolded. That is Shimla for me. It is where I belong and it is here that I find contentment, evoked by a certain sense of familiarity, feeling completely at home. While growing up, Shimla was the only world I knew that existed. As a child, I remember walking on winding roads lined with pine and deodar trees. On many mornings, I would wake up toRead more

Faces of Rajasthan – Year 2009

Although natives of the Indian state of Rajasthan are rapidly adopting modern culture, there are still a lot of them who prefer to live in the traditional way, specially in the rural areas. To experience the rich culture, you will have to leave the luxury of your hotel rooms in urban cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur etc. and travel deep into the distant villages to see beautiful people wearing bright colourful dresses. Men wearing dhoti, kurta or puckered trousers with aRead more

Off the beaten path : Stories of life and land in Arunachal, Assam and Meghalaya

After a tormenting flight full of very strong tremors, landing at Dibrugarh Airport in Assam was a bit of relief for me. In fact, the flight made me care even less about the news of insurgency in the region. Soon after landing,  I followed the direction of my friends and I took a shared cab to Tinsukia. On reaching Tinsukia, while I was just meeting my friends who came to pick me up from the market, we heard a loudRead more

The city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan

February, 2009 Jodhpur, Rajasthan Five year ago, when I was supposed to pack my bag with books and notebooks to leave for my 8:40am lecture of Political Science in my college, I was dodging the thick fog on Chandigarh-Delhi Highway to reach Rajasthan. I had to meet my friend and switch cars at Kurukshtra. After driving for a day, and stopping at numerous tea shops to chat with local people, we reached Jodhpur. For the foodies might already know this but evenRead more

Finding Nino

Max Bearak and I are on a month-long journey through Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya, documenting cultural  and environmental transformation in the region. Max is a journalist with The New York Times based in Delhi. Look out for his articles with my pictures on the NYT’s World section in the coming month. This is the first guest post on my blog – hope you enjoy. December 17th, 2013 DIBANG VALLEY, ARUNACHAL PRADESH – Ninety kilometers of a rutted road andRead more