Manali Winter Trek – First adventure of 2015

My brother, few of his classmates, and I decided to welcome this year with a trip to Manali and experience the cold winters of North India. The trek was organised by Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) and lasted 4 days (Jan 4 – 8). This was a mellow trek and the sights were incredible. There were snow covered mountains in all directions (Foothills of Himalayas) , the days were pleasant and the nights, freezing! Let me tell you more about it through my pictures.


The Red Fort in Old Delhi


The Indian flag flying high in Central Park, Delhi.


Delhi covered in fog at 9 am


The International Youth hostel at Manali


View around the hostel at Manali


One house stands alone amidst leafless trees


Had we been here a week early, the entire region would have been filled with snow.


The days were pleasant despite the harsh sun.


Looks like a wasted garden, but I’m sure they’ll be colourful once again soon.


I wish to trek there some day in the near future


The tree that lived alone.


The Dogs here are extremely friendly. They jog along by your side throughout the trek, and expect nothing in return.


My brother and his friends contemplating about snow balls.


My brother, his friends and I (Family Portrait).


Trees awaiting change.


The descent (Photo – Kaushik)


The long and winding road (Photo – Kaushik)


Hachiko keeping me company (Photo – Kaushik)


Smiles and frowns (Photo – Kaushik)


Serious snow balling happened here. (photo – Kaushik)


Guardian of the mountains


Buddhist prayer flags


Sunset in Manali


Huge statue of Lord Shiva at the Gurudwara in Manikaran. The fumes in the image is from the hot water spring below the statue. The water is so hot that rice and channa are cooked here.


Enroute Dharamsala


View from one of the hotels in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala.


View from the museum window at Dharamsala


The cemetery at the Church of St John in the Wilderness, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala.


Somewhere in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala


Back to International Youth Hostel, Delhi, and then to Bangalore.

A hilarious start to 2014

This post is about how two people trolled my friends and me, on 1 January , 2014.

Vinod, Sachin, Jayanth and I are 4 innocent guys (atleast some people think that way). We were headed to Goa on Jan 31st to take part in a trekking expedition organised by YHAI (Youth hostels association of India), in the Western ghats starting from Jan 2nd.
We boarded the Vasco express from Bangalore, Karnataka on Jan 31st and celebrated the New year 2014 on the train. How you ask? Well, we stood near the charging points in train, hooked to our cell phones and responded to calls as the train sped ahead, over 120kmph. Then we took a bland group photo at the Hubli railway station after which we slept through the night.


We reached Goa (Madgaon railway station) at 6am. The base camp for the trek was situated far far away from the train station. We enquired few early morning souls who were around and then headed to the bus station. We walked few kms and then had to get on and get off three different buses and then we were, at the YHAI base camp.
With high spirits we entered the camp and we were greeted by the camp leader Mithun Das.
He welcomed us into the camp and asked us if we were there for the Trekking or the Cycling expedition. After we said trekking,

Mithun – Oh! Weren’t you guys sent an email regarding the change in camp site?
We – No! What change in camp site?
Mithun – Actually the trekking base camp is 80kms away and you’ll have to report there.
We – (HOLY F** SHIT MAN ? WTF ? ) That was the expression on our faces, but I managed to say an “Ohhk” after a long pause. ( I mean we reach there at 6 am and then take 3 buses to reach the other end of Goa and this dude over here tells us we need to go to some other forbidden castle where a princess is waiting. SERIOUSLY? )

Mithun – Anyways, there’s a vegetable truck coming over in the afternoon, and you guys can go with him in the truck and he’ll drop you to the other base camp.
Vinod is overjoyed hearing about the truck and says – Oh cool! we can ask the driver and hog a carrot or two.

Then comes another camp leader Vineet. Now this guy too, plays along with Mithun and asked us to be seated in the registration tent, where our registration was done by a friendly lady (whose name I don’t seem to remember anymore). She assigned us a tent but we are seated at the same desk for a while even after the registration was complete.

Then I ask her, “Mam, when is the vegetable truck coming ?‘.
She – What vegetable truck?
Me – The truck that would pick us up from here and drop us at the other base camp.
She bursts out laughing and says, “There’s no vegetable truck. Those guys have been playing with you all along“.

The expression on our faces was priceless she would have felt. It was January 1 , 2014.
We laughed at ourselves and then headed to our tents.

Expression on Jayanth and Vinod’s face moments later, still unable to comprehend what had just happened.

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Walking into the Sunset

This was one evening in Goa when I was clicking pictures of the sunset and I clicked one picture after another continuously in order to not miss out any good picture possible.
But then for a second I felt, ” All this is rubbish ! “. I was just clicking away pictures meaninglessly and was missing out on a beautiful moment. Then I just walked ahead, unable to resist the temptation, I clicked one more picture and then stood quietly with my camera turned off for a while. I felt the beautiful sunset as the colours changed shades from yellows to reds and then faded away. It felt amazing to just stand where I was standing, to look at the sky and feel the waves touching my feet.


Photo by Jayanth Kumar (That’s me in the photo btw)

Sometimes it just feels good to stay still and enjoy the moment than click a button on the camera. Even if it is just for a few seconds, those seconds count !

Here are few photos which I captured that day,