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Sunday, November 13, 2016

How difficult is it to climb Tiger's Nest in Bhutan?

Before I ventured to climb to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan, I searched the internet to find the level of difficulty. All that I got was subjective information like if you are an experienced trekker then it is not so bad, or if you are a novice, it's very hard and so on. I wanted to judge for myself but nowhere did I get the photographs depicting the climb. In fact I got some erroneous information that the steps to the temple had no railings, and I almost gave up the idea of the climb. Luckily our guide assured us that there were railings and told us that these railings had not existed some years earlier. The info I had got from the net was outdated.

When I climbed to the Tiger's Nest temple, I took photos for the explicit purpose of providing the right information to those who want to do this climb. 

This what it looks like from the bottom, before you start the climb. The small white building is the actual temple. You have to go up one mountain (the base from which I took this photo) and then climb down again. Then you have to climb up the actual cliff to the temple. (from here on there are steps, and this makes it easier).



The way up is steep. Take a trekking pole or stick. Loose rocks large boulders and sudden elevations are hard to do. It took me, an inexperienced trekker, a little more than 3 hours.




At the half-way point there is a cafe where one can have a cup of tea. Only tea and biscuits available here. Best not to stop here as the monastery is shut for lunch from 1-2 pm and we wanted to reach before 1 pm.

It is possible to take a pony up to the half way point. The ponies always walk on the edge so it is scary but if it is dry then it is fairly safe if you are comfortable riding. Avoid ponies if the track is wet. Also avoid ponies if you really want to get the satisfaction of the climb.

After the cafe comes the second leg of the journey. It's similar to the one in the photograph above, with very very steep parts. This second leg of the climb can take half an hour at least.

Then you come to the third leg of the climb - the steps. These take you down the mountain you just climbed. Some parts are very steep. Already tired with the exhausting two hour climb, these can be a relief, if your knees are good! Without good knees you can take the help of two sticks or a least one.



There are good sturdy railings so do not worry on this score. However, best not to lean on them.




A view of the tigers nest monastery as you come near the bottom of the first mountain.


After you reach down, you reach the area inbetween the two mountains. The photo below depicts what it looks like between the two mountains or cliffs. And no, that little bit of white you see is not the actual temple. There is still a very steep way to go!



Still a long way to go! But there are steps to go up so it is okay. Steps with railings.



Almost there.

For a novice like me it took about about 3 hours to reach right up to the temple, from the start to the finish, with short stops to take my breath! It can also take three and a half hours, depending on whether you stop at the half way point. My recommendation is not to stop here more than a few minutes, as you are likely to be so tired, that you could be tempted to give up!

The way back from the temple takes about 4 hours, with a longish half hour break at the cafe. It's easier on the way down, at least easier on one's heart. But not on one's knees. Carrying two sticks on the way down helped me as my knees are not that great.

Take plenty of water and high protein snacks like cheese. There is no lunch available there. Use caps to protect your head as the sun is strong. Do this trek after a few days in the high altitude area.

If you are reasonably healthy you can do it. Take your time if you are not used to climbing. It's okay to take even 4 hours to climb. The main thing is to do it!

Also, if your companions are athletic and go up faster than you (it is possible to climb in 2 hours if you are athletic), then you could be tempted to give up. If your companions are less motivated than you, and decide not to go up to the top, then too you could give up. So be prepared to go it alone. Take a guide with you.

The main thing is that if you make this wonderful journey you will never regret it. The experience is almost spiritual. It will stay with you all your life.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Tech savvy Indian Rickshaw Driver

This is a photograph depicting how India has changed. To say that everyone has a cell phone is passe. What has changed is how people are using their mobile phones. A cell phone is no more just an instrument to communicate. Cell phones are being increasingly used for entertainment and shopping

In this photograph a three-wheeler driver is watching a movie on his cell phone during his lunch break.





Monday, April 27, 2015

Deodorant Displays

Deos displayed.
Deodorant Display


Deodorants displayed in a cluttered shop

Deodorants in a shop


Deodorants Display




Friday, April 17, 2015

Rajasthanis - the old and the new

An imposing mustache on a Palace guard in Udaipur.

Man with mouchtache


A local man juxtaposed against a Raja's painting.

Man and Raja

A tourist outside a palace gate in Udaipur.

Tourist and Palace door

More posts about people from Rajasthan: Old Rajasthani lady or Palanquin or Doli, which has a Rajasthani bride traveling to the wedding venue or a Rajasthani Bridegroom on horse or check out any of the labels below this post.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bridegroom on horse

These are a few photographs taken in Pushkar, Rajasthan, of a bridegroom atop a horse, in a baraat. It is a traditional custom in North India for the bridegroom to travel on a horse to reach the house of the bride. Family and friends accompany the bridegroom in a procession which often includes a live band. Dancing and singing in the streets during the wedding procession is the traditional way. Fireworks are common.

The procession takes place in the evening. It's a crowded street and the procession blocks the road.

wedding procession


The baraat making its way through a crowded market.

Bridegroom on a horse


A closer look at the bridegroom in his splendour

Bridegroom

You might also like Palanquin or Doli, which has a Rajasthani bride traveling to the wedding venue.
Another post about Rajasthanis: Old Rajasthani lady.
Or check out any of the labels below this post.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Pune Tekdi

When you say Tekdi (Hill), any Punekar will know what you are talking about. There are many such tekdis (hills) in Pune, and they offer a respite from the crowds and pollution. Punekars climb these tekdis regularly and it is not just an exercise routine but also a spiritual experience in a way.

On top of the Tekdi.


Top of the Hill

Jogging path.

Pathway on the Hill

Sun rise from a Pune Tekdi. It's a world in itself.

Sunrise from a Pune Hill

Vishram Bag Wada Pune - Photos or check out all the photos on Pune.
Serene scenes from the life of rural India or check out all the photographs on Nature and Scenery.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sale Season in India

These last couple of years sales are a regular feature at the malls and in fact all shops. Prices on left over apparel for example are slashed to 50% or less. A few years ago in India one was suspicious of these sales, convinced that the shop keepers hiked the prices and then then cut prices in a fake sale. Today, most of the sales are genuine. The reasons are that the marketers make their money on the high priced items they sell during the non-sale season, and then want to simply get rid of the rest of the stock as fashions change. Consumers are no longer content with last season's clothes.

Sales of popular brands create a huge rush as is seen below.


Sale season in India


When sales are in season, there are sales in almost all shops in a mall. Can get confusing for consumers.

Sales in a mall

Related Images: Inexpensive shopping in Bangkok or Dubai Mall Photos
Or for images of shopping complexes in India: Mumbai Malls in the Suburbs of Mulund and Malad or Mumbai Malls Exteriors or Interiors of Vashi Malls or Pune Malls - Photos