Friday, July 27, 2007

Our honeymoon - Day 2


We had a plan made out by the 208 battalion and we left to check out the monastries around the Leh town on the second day of the trip, i.e on 16th July. While we were driving to Hemis Gonpa we saw a very different kind of mountain range. Havaldar Rahul Upadhyay was with us and he is a map instructur in the army. It was very smart of 208 to ask him to come along with us as he was able to explain us every mountain's terrain and the peak height.


Just see the mountain here. Looks like a lot of slates have been kept and at an angle the mountain was formed. Nature at its best.


Hav Rahul always told us to walk slow and climb with a rest every 10 steps. Even a small climb to the Gonpa looked like we were scaling 50000 ft.

The Drukpa lineage was celebrating 800 years. So decorations and celebrations were all around!

Me admiring the insides of Hemis Gonpa. Its the biggest in the world.


We inside the gonpa. Look at us, it was so cold that our skin was completely rough and dry and chapped, we couldnt even smile! Here we looks like along with our clothes our skin was also starched hahahahha


Me with Hav. Rahul


Celebrations in all Gunpas!

You turn this clockwise its like saying the Buddhist main mantra some 180 times. Trupti is boringly religious that she kept turning each one of them, multiple times! They have written shlokas on pages and kept inside these drums. Nice idea.

They build gonpas right in the middle of mountains! No contractors or labourers, the lamas do such work themselves. Brave and strong!


Trupti posing near the "gopura" of the Gonpa. Wah wah kya pose!

In the nearby mountains they have hoisted the flags of the monastery. I found one but was not able to find out how someone climbed that high.

See Trupti stood with a big golden gopura and made me sit near a small one :( Not fair! And I'm in the corner in this photo! Not fair not fair! But see the lovely mountains behind me! Check out the surface of the mountains!

Admiring the statues inside the monastery.


Here she goes again! Turning each one of those everytime! What does she want from God?!?!?!! Well, God doesn't seem to understand that because its very hard to understand women you see.


They have a huge wall around the mountain on which the monastery is situated. the wall is called "Maane". The is made out of stones collected around Ladakh and every stone has this manuscript on it. It says "Om Maane Padma Hun", the Buddhist mantra .


They have this small temple kind of thing near the wall. This is called "Choutan". It has the ashes of the Lamas who have died serving the monastery.

The lovely backdrop of Zanskar Valley behind the lovely couple, we saw this on the way back from the Hemis Gonpa.

Next stop, Thiksey Gonpa. Its the oldest gonpa in the world.


The govt. protects it too.

Beautiful flowers and beautiful biwi. :-) I like this photo lots.


The Lamas make this flower kind of thing from butter and decorate the Buddha Statue, which is offered for pooja.




Video of the Zanskar Valley.


Please read what Dalai Lama says. Its really beautiful and if we give a thought its really very true.

The Buddha Statue was really pretty.


Also the carvings inside the monastery were terrific.


Exit gate of Thiksey Gonpa.


Thiksey Monastery from a distance.


Trupti with some sweet kids. The kids were guides for a group of foreigners. The people in Leh are very hardworking. For 6 months in winters, everything is closed - school, shops everything. So the remaining 6 months, everyone works. Yes everyone. So that enough is saved for winter.


Next we went to Shey palace.


The Shey Palace roof top.


Next we went to the shores of Indus river. This is the river on the banks of which Humans made the first city. Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilizations. The water came down from the melting ice and it was veryyyyyyyyyy cold. Feet got numb in 2 minutes. We met thes kids here. Cool they look.


Superb Pose Biwiiiiiiiiii !!! :-)


Shanti Stupa above Leh city. This was made by the Buddhists from Japan. There is nothing much to see but the view from top is really great.


Me and Hav Rahul.


Look at me. I was all red due to extreme cold weather and Trupti was making fun of me and cracking jokes about me :/ "See your cheeks, nose tip all red" she kept saying and laughing. Then she took this picture and laughed some more. I didnt find it funny, and neither it was in the same zip code as funny. (Don't ask what the last sentence means, my biwi keeps saying that. Women!!!)


Suggestions:
  • If you have to go to Ladakh please split all these into two days.
  • Please have the first two days for acclimatizing. We were dead tired at the end of the day.
Next post, Day 3. Read this before reading the next post.

V...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Leh Trip Day 1

We went to Ladakh for a week and it was marvelous.

Me and Trupti at the Madras airport

We met this cute kid at the airport and he didnt stop showing his tongue at everyone. Looks really cool.

We reached Delhi airpot at around 11.30 PM and our flight to Leh was at 5.20 AM. We spent the night at the airport and slept at the empty benches. Its like they say "Maine poori Raat railway station pe bitayee hai"


Our aircraft leaving the plains finally. Next stop LEH that is Last End Of Himalayas. Most of us dont know that LEH is the abbreviation of Last End Of Himalayas



First view of the snow capped mountains from the aircraft. Couldnt resist myself for taking this video. There was one foreigner and he wasn't able to see the mountains. Me being a good Indian host offered my window seat for few mins. Made brownie points in front of my biwi. "Wow what a helpful man"
We landed around 6.30 and it was around 10 deg C. It was very cold and dry. It was very beautiful.

Aah see who we saw at the airport. Trupti even took his autograph. And me as a man wasn't even bothered. But I couldn't resist myself, I went to him and said "Nawab Saab, Langda Tyagi was great" and gave him a thumps up. He said "Thanks" with a look of "fuck off!!" And Trupti said "yes yes no one else said anything to him in the last 2 years and he was just waiting to listen to your great comments" :-D ha ha ha ha ha ha
Everything was arranged for us by Collonel Nair and we had two of the army men were at the airport, to take us to the army camp at Karoo. Some 40 Kms from Leh.

We lived in the make shift camp and was all tin roof and wood.

Tanks !!!! Holy shit we were really in an army camp !!! Scary !!!

View of the mountains around the camp from our room. We were asked to take rest all day so that we can acclimatize to the low oxygen. We were living at 11,000 ft above sea level and by evening we started having chest pain and head ache.

Second Photo. Killing time yaar.

To kill the time we took photos of the furniture around the room. The wood work was fantastic.

Very well maintained. Didn't look like just "some guest house". Even the decorations were having Ladakh as the focal point.

Beautiful dining table. Killing time you see.


And me all dressed, covered with jacket and all, just sitting in the room and having some dry fruits. Few things we should remember when we land at Leh:
  • Dont drink for first 4 weeks.
  • Dont smoke for first 1 week.
  • Relax for 2 days. Sleep as much as you can. If you dont have time sleep for one full day.
  • Eat well. Helps keep your body temp on the higher side.
  • Drink tons of water. Oxygen and water content is very less in the atmosphere.
  • Your cell phone will not work. Only J&K sim cards work in J&K. Only BSNL and Airtel connections available.
Next post, about our trip to Hemis Gonpa, Thiksey Gonpa, Shey Palace, Shanti Stoopa and the Indus river. All these places are in and around Leh. the army guys didn't allow us to travel much on the second day also. But believe me we were dead tired even if we walked 10 steps.
V...

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Monday, July 09, 2007

EAT - SON IN LAW !!!

Well I went on a trip to my in laws at Hubli in Karnataka. Small but nice place. My in laws had just one aim in mind, "Feed this fellow!!! Don't leave him!!! Feed him till he starts weeping!!!"

Me, biwi and mom in law went out to eat. See we are eating again.

Went to meet mom in law's sister and guess what?? They made me eat and just kept feeding me. "Why doesnt he eat? Are you sick? Why dont you have some rice? Why dont you eat some more sweets? You should have milk. In our time I used to drink 2 liters of milk at one go." They just wanted to kill me. Its conspiracy. Because I took away your daughter from you doesnt mean the Kulkarni clan has to kill me.

Trupti's cousin sister, Pooja, was cool. She is doing her medicine and we used her stethoscope to listen to the heart beat. Bloody I have a very small heart couldn't even hear it beating.


We also took a trip from Hubli to Dharwad. The drive was nice and yes they do have cows in Karnataka. Sorry I was taking photo of the lake and the bloody cow spoiled the photo. :-)

Well we went to Dharwad and guess what. Eat and talk to the grand dad of the family !!! I met Trupti's grand father and he asked me "So what do you do? so how much you earn?" Cool Young Man!! He was some 90 years old and talked fluent English. Later biwi told me he served the Brits. Hmmm. Traitor !!!

Well we met some 30 brahmins chanting shlokas, everyone was singing his own tune. There was a small pre-marriage ceremony of Trupti's cousin and everyone and I promise every single person didnt talk a laguage which I knew. It was fun. Some kid running here and there, and as soon as I said "Hello How are you?" The kid replied in Kannada and ran away. And later another kid, mummble jumble in Kannada and ran away. Trupti just kept laughing at me. Yes right laugh at me. Dont help me.

And its marriage time. Why are people not drinking??? If it is marriage time we sardars start filling our liquor drums, two weeks before the marriage date and two weeks after the marriage date. Different culture. Shut up surd!!! :-)

Nice photo of both the sisters together. Really liked the photo. But I wish Trupti had some cousin brother of my age. We could go out for a drink or so.

I looked at the old albums of Kulkarnis and all I could see is some temple some worship, again a new temple and a new kind of worship. Prayers and hello to god all the time. My in laws really keep Vishnuji and Brahmaji, busy all the time, I say. ;-)

Moms get very senti when kids are going back. :-( Ok ok . No senti fundas but best thing before you reach your in laws place is wear this board around your neck "LOOSE MOTIONS"

But yeah if mom in law wont feed the son in law then whom?? :-)

V..

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