Solo trip – Work from Himalaya (Chakrata)

Logging after a gap of a month, though there were 2 trips that happened in the month of April, but nothing worth mentioning. I have a big group of people who love to discuss and plan trips, but that is just limited to discussion and planning, not everyone is keen to join. Mostly not likeminded, even in the family I have different taste for travel than others, where I love going places away from hustle while others love to go places which is a different concrete jungle or bustling with people. I did ask everyone about this trip as well, but as expected, the answer was the usual one, that they are busy this time or have so and so commitments but they will plan again soon.

Working from home gives an advantage that I just need a good internet connection and can work from anywhere. though I was doubtful as mountains often do not have good internet connectivity, especially in the area where I was thinking to go (Chakrata, Uttarakhand), to my surprise I have noticed many telephone towers on the way.

It was cold but I have managed with the clothing which I have carried with me. I think the monsoon will be a better time to visit there. Compare to Delhi NCR it is greener but still, the lush green I was expecting was not there yet. The good part about the Chakrata trip was that I just need to drive approx 60 KMs on mountains and the rest of the 565 KMs were on plains. Road conditions were great, also notices that roads on the mountains were made safer by putting fencing on the ridge side.

The air is fresh and I was able to wake up at 5:30 AM without any effort, utilized the morning time, and spend a couple of hours walking in nature before starting my regular daily office work. Took a few pics as well, and posting them here –

A village and farmland
A small hill and farmland
A traditional house

Though kids were excited after seeing photos that I was sharing with them, I am sure they will get bored in a place where there is no market and other kids’ company. But I truly enjoyed the stay and felt rejuvenated. Looking forward to another solo trip in the months of July and August when the beauty of the Himalayas is at its peak.

My review of The Kashmir Files

I was assuming that it is Holi evening and most halls will be empty, I was wrong, came to know from the ticket counter that all shows are booked for today. I was lucky that I have planned it yesterday and booked the ticket online. Not a single seat was empty when I enter the hall. 

This movie is in news a lot lately. There is a preconceived notion of an empowered and weak section in our society, whether its religion where Hindus are considered majority or gender where males are considered strong, same with casts. This movie is a great attempt to break that preconceived notion. When those considered empowered face the harshness, media or intellectuals do not find it appealing enough to get attention and do not talk about it much. Probably that is why it did not get the attention needed when it happened. 

I have seen so many movies of the holocausts done by nazi Germany, in spite of being so brilliantly portrayed, I was unable to connect to those, as the holocaust did not happen on this land or with our own people. While watching this movie I tried to divert my mind that it was just a movie so that I can disconnect from it for some time, but at the same time I was recalling that news that I have read, viewed, or heard over time, I watched the movie till the end even though I did not want. Are those considered majorities are really empowered, empowered enough to stand on their own against any group which creates terror? Though there is awareness spreading but still people are not ready in my opinion.  

There are only a few who create terror, even though they are small in number but their voice is so loud and terrifying that the majority who wants to stay away from trouble remains silent or expects the government to act on that. Law enforcement establishments can not reach everywhere yet, so should we consider ourselves prone to this terror and be ready to be victimized? The movie has left me with some big open-ended questions. 

To conclude, I will only say this kind of movie which is based on raw truth should come into the mainstream, this will truly educate people and make them aware of ground reality.

Scary stuff

While our road trip to Bandhavgarh, we have stopped on the way to the tiger reserve and took a few photos of deers roaming around, then a few photos of each other, spent like 20 mins there out in open.

A deer crossing the road

A tour guide from a passing-by car scolded us and moved without stopping, we could not understand what was wrong, as we were not inside the tiger reserve. A few days later, a friend went to Bandhavgarh tiger reserve and capture this video of around the same place where we were roaming in open. Scary stuff !!!

A tigress and her cubs crossing the road

Exclusive on wordpress blog

Posting a few photos here which will be only posted on WordPress, not posting these anywhere 😀

Freshly roasted, grams, peas, rice, and corn flex, best snacks ever!
A lotus bud, ready to flower

I found it very challenging to shoot with my 70-300 mm handheld, this is a cheap lens that adds a lot of noise even at ISO 400, most of the time I shoot at ISO 100 but low light conditions never gives satisfactory results. Photographing in the tiger reserve in the early winter morning, on dirt roads and fog, when both I and the tiger were moving and the camera was hand held has confirmed that I need to get L telephoto lenses for wildlife and avian photography. 70-300 mm is just not good enough.

Most of the photos I am posting here are taken using 70-300 mm, so bear with me on the sharpness of those.

A Fawn in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
A very agile bird, probably a flycatcher
Same bird as above but more close and different angle
The light was great on this kingfisher but it is not sharp. Was not even thinking to post this but finally posting
A grazing Chital
Morning mood at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Sunrays, a piece of grand tiger reserve of Bandhavgarh

Lesser Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilos javanicus aka bald-headed stork). The stork is classified as vulnerable.
A Chital on the walk across grassland
Fishing in Narmada river in Bhedaghat, MP
An elderly woman selling berries at Bhedaghat, the light was bright, she was kind and berries were really tasty
A tea-stall owner warming himself with a bonfire, covered his head to prevent cold

My Evolution in photography

We had our trip to Bandhavgarh and Bhedaghat after a gap of 11 years, while exploring old photos found these 2 photos of the same landscape captured 11 years apart. I have upgraded my equipment, post-processing tools and also learned a lot about the technicality of composition and lighting.

I will keep on learning and improving myself, never know I will be traveling to the same place again after 11 years and posting another blog with some improvement.

2010
2022
2010
2022

Motivation

There is no recognition or award for fighting his or her own hardship, few are successful in staying afloat while others are having a hope that time will change for good. How this pandemic hits the restaurant business is not hidden from anyone, this hardship often makes people bitter, but few still maintain a smile while fighting to stay afloat. This is what makes Mr. Shukal special to me, he is running a mid-size restaurant (Shree Krishna Dhaba and Restaurant, near Jabalpur) and was very courteous and cheerful. Though we were the only customers during our hour-long stay and probably one of few for the entire day, still his 4 person staff had done everything at their best in hospitality and food. He even offered us a free tea as well.

After thinking about his hardship, got a lot of motivation and hoped for a better time …

https://goo.gl/maps/kj59PXvqCb3dovQw9

Mr Shukal

64 Yogini Temple

64 Yogini temple of Bhedaghat has 81 statues of yoginis rather than the usual 64, located at a hilltop offers a great view of river Narmada and its surroundings. The temple was built early in the 11th Century AD by King Yuvaraja II, of the dynasty of the Kalachuris. It’s a rounded temple with having Shiva temple in middle. It’s the only temple that has Lord Shiva and Parvati sitting on Nandi.

Main temple
A Yogini
A Yogini
A Yogini
A Yogini
A Yogini

Bandhavgarh fort

Bandhavgarh fort is located at the height of approx 800 meters and spread across 560 acres, the hilltop is a plateau and visible from every corner of Bandhavgarh tiger reserver. As the fort is in mid of tiger reserve. The only place we were able to make was the statue of Lord Vishnu along with Shivling and the statue of Lord Bramha. It has a small pool of spring water. Unprepared stay at this place is risky due to tiger moments.

Stork Billed Kingfisher

Found in almost all habitats with water, including rivers, lakes, rice paddies, etc. Sits still for long before diving into the water to grab the prey
Found in almost all habitats with water, including rivers, lakes, rice paddies, etc. Sits still for long before diving into the water to grab the prey