Sunday, July 23, 2017 

VoF - July 2017

Using an almost defunct blog. I may not be an active writer any more, but can act as a place holder for such posts, which involves writing...

Valley of Flowers

Day 0

I would call it Day 0, because you are still not trekking, or is it the "Digital guy" in me, who would start with zero as start :)
Drive from Haridwar to Joshimath, with a cheerful driver who can give you scare at times with the cell phone driving literally on the edge over mountains.
You start admiring beauty of hills, like any other hills which we drove around, both self drive and others driving me around like in south or north respectively.
After a while all the hill drives look similar, but you keep tracking the same river, in this case Alaknanda.
We rest for the day on the banks of Alaknanda at Joshimath.

Day 1

The real deal starts here.
We continue our drive along Alaknanda, towards Badrinath, but get off the highway at GovindGhat.,79.558965,17z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x39a79ad368949d77:0xd47704a7afc60e7a!2sGovind+Ghat,+Uttarakhand+246443!3b1!8m2!3d30.618549!4d79.5617052!3m4!1s0x0:0x7aebb59ad3887222!8m2!3d30.6247383!4d79.5577875
And continue with this journey towards Ghangaria on foot. Recent developments reduced the walk by a couple of kms by a shared jeep ride.
We start our journey at Govind Ghat at around 5700 ft altitude, and start tracing the Lakshman Ganga river which you see in the map.
We can reach the source in a day if adventerous, but we rest at Ghangaria (aka Govind Dham ) at 10,000 ft
So, we gain an altitude of around 4000 ft in 11 km walk...
Just to put things in perspective, the walk between Tirupati and Tirumala is 2300 ft gain in altitude in 8 km.

Day 2

As you see in google maps, Lakshman ganga as a river doesn't appear in map anymore near you, but we are still trying to tace its source.
Ghangaria is a small village which constitutes traveller amenities of all sorts including basic hotels, restaurants, and a gurudwara, because like us who are leisure travellers, it most importantaly caters to requirements of devout sikh piligrims visiting Hemkund Sahib.
We trek to Valley of flowers or just "Valley", which is around 11500 ft.
That is a short 1500 ft difference, and the trek is around 5-7 kms one way.
But you cover that in around 3 kms, because you would walk upto the entrance, and cross over to the valley by crossing a hill. So, the entire altitude gain is in one hill cross.
Then the valley spans across a couple of kms.
Here the way is not accessible by mules as in the case of Govindghat to Ghangaria. It is paved without cement, rocky, and can get tricky walking down.

Google maps can not trace the distance in this case, as it is not a proper road.

Day 3

The tougher part, we trace the Lakshman ganga, and climb is pretty straight forward, you climb the mountain where the river is flowing, by the river on your right side, and at one point, you cross the river (this season it was still frozen glacier over the valley)
and continue to climb.
The top of the mountain is the lake (Kund) where Guru Gobing Singh has meditated. There is a Gurudwara, and you get great food there at the langar. Khichdi, tea etc.
And, there is a Lakshmana temple beside the temple, where Lakshmana has meditated before Guru Gobind Singh, and hence the name "Lakshman Ganga" for the river.
It is the overflow of this lake which is forming the lakshman ganga river. Both ascend and descent are tough for "not so fit" people like us :)
Hemkund is at 14,100 ft altitude, and hence a 4000+ altitude gain in 7 km.
Compare that with 4000 ft gain in 11 kms on Day1. Its a lot more steeper, and there are minimal breathers like flat stretches.


Repeat of Day1. While Day2, 3 you do ascend and descned on same day, we get to do only ascend on Day1 and only Descend on Day4.
Back to Govind Ghat and take a van ride on the highway to the "last village in India" 2 kms after Badrinath, and have a darshan of Badrinath on the return.
Trace the route back to Joshimath by road, visiting Vishnu Parayag on the way.


We see other Prayags on the way down to Rishikesh. (remember, we saw Vishnu Prayag on Day4)
Prayag is a confluence of a major river.
The common one in all these is Alaknanda river.
Finally at the 5th Prayag of the panch prayags, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi merge and will now be called "Ganga" the holiest.

Saturday, May 01, 2010 


A semi aerial view of Kollam town.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010 

Home made

Do not ask me the recipe for it. I just took picture before eating it.
Cake made at home, some time back.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009 

Hill station closer to home...

Another one from the misty day of Nandi hills.
The previous one was on the same day, after day break.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009 


At Nandi hills, after a long gap. Went there at the inspiration of a few colleagues, who were on a wild goose chase of "sunrise" on a misty November morning.
I was amazed with the inspiration and commitment which they displayed to start at 4 to reach there before the gate was open.
Result was some satisfactory misty pictures.

click on the picture to see the full image...

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Thursday, November 26, 2009 

I "happened to see" my blog while I was searching for something else, and realized that the previous blog post was about media and 26/11.
I just happened to realize that today is 26/11. Even though I am not watching television these days, and completely banned news channels, I occassionally bump into them in cafeteria or even at home once in a while. Did it change from the previous post, answer is NO.
Will they change, time will tell.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008 

How do you feel?

Below is an excellent piece of article which appeared in Deccan Chronicle today.

Before that,

Here is a very good article which appeared in TOI today.

New Delhi Dec. 2: India’s best-known television journalists appear to have finally beaten Ekta Kapoor in the battle for TRPs. In six days flat. The all-out war witnessed editors being paradropped, reporters lying prostrate on the ground when not blaring into the cameras, and a thousand “breaking stories” every day. Here’s how the TRPs were garnered, shot by shot, starting around 10.30 pm on Wednesday, November 26:

* Close in on the woman in tears — show her from every possible angle
and deliver a soul-wrenching commentary of what might be going through her mind.

* Repeatedly flash shots of the adorable, crying child. Shove your mike in his face. Oh! hasn’t learnt to talk yet, not even Yiddish? Ask the woman carrying the child how she rescued him from the carnage. Not maudlin enough? Ask how many dead bodies she saw, get a blood question in. Ask if she was scared, ask what she was thinking while bullets were being sprayed around.

* Download all background scores of Ramsay and his brothers —especially Khooni Shikanja, Vehshi Aatma and Shaitan Khopri — and play it every time (that is at least 25 times a minute) pictures of the terrorists are flashed.

* Catch a victim. Chase him. If it’s a “her”, then your channel’s reputation depends on getting an arousing account of how she felt — when she saw the bodies, the terrorists, when she heard the screams. Feelings. And get her to tell viewers what she was feeling when she saw her best friend’s body.

Remember, all world-class reportage always begins with that one question: “How are you feeling?” But it wasn’t just on borrowed ideas that the news channels competed for TRPs. The skills these news channels have been honing for a long time came in handy too. In order of priority:

* Flash “exclusive” — even if the reporter is sending in reports from outside the Taj Mahal Hotel, where at least 400 reporters are stationed. And for viewers gone blind while watching blood-curdling reportage, scream “exclusive” after every nine words.

* Forget that commandos are in the hotel trying to rescue innocent people. Scream into the mike and tell the world that you, and only you, have an “exclusive” bit of information from your source, now on the hotel’s 19th floor.

* Get your reporters to lie down, ducking killer bullets, even as the cameraperson is standing next to him, recording histrionics.

* Ask anxious relatives if they think their friends and family members, who are still inside, will be able to walk out alive.

To finally clinch the TRP race, many top television editors were paradropped and the story was turned around. It became all about them and their trauma. Barkha Dutt took viewers on a tour of the Taj Mahal Hotel, choked up and emotional, gesturing violently, shrugging, crouching, hand on her aching heart. Rajdeep Sardesai rescued a foreigner from other reporters, to ask, “How are you feeling?” Arnab Goswami, of course, was kept in the studio. No one shouts “breaking news” louder than him.

When it was all over, after the commandos had gone home and the funerals had run their course, some passers-by were collected, handed candles, and in the glow of burning wax, victims were hugged, preferably Muslims, and asked again, for a final boost to TRPs: “How do you feel?”

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  • From Bangalore, KA, India
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