Birding the Neighbourhood

A pair of courting Green Pigeons in Spring 2015

In my relatively short time as a bird enthusiast, I have come across two types of bird lovers – The first kind, ones who love to own birds in their drawing rooms and balconies – Munias (Finches), Budgerigars, Macaws, Parakeets, Mynas etc. The second kind of bird lover are the ones who risk personal health and venture out to watch birds in their natural habitats in biting cold, searing heat, pouring rain and just sometimes in areas where there are floating warnings in the air of a man-eating Leopard on the prowl. Read more

GoechaLa birding diaries – The Quest for Khangchendzonga

Kanchendzonga

It was 2:30 am on the morning of 6th Nov 2015 and we were walking on the Prek Chu valley surrounded by gigantic mountains of the Greater Himalayas lit up dimly by a star studded sky. Mt. Pandim (6691 m) rose high above to our right as our torch lights guided us through the darkness on the land and up the flimsy trail that could barely be separated from the rest of the valley. Up ahead, at quite a distance, a chain of headlamps of fellow trekkers snaked its way towards Goecha La. Read more

Save the Iconic Golden Mahseer (India’s ‘Goldfish’) Again!

Golden Mahseers (Tor sp.) have been a legendary sports fish of India with a very high table value. Mahseer is acclaimed as a world famous, outstanding game and food fish of India. As a sports fish, it provides unparalleled recreation to anglers from all over the world, even better than salmon. The Mahseer is known as a tiger in waters, because of the fight it musters to wriggle off the hook. In the past, Mahseer formed a substantial natural fishery in the major riverine and lacustrine ecosystems of India. In commercial fisheries, it occupies an important position for its good quality. For fishermen, Mahseer is of considerable importance because of its large size. As a food fish, it is highly esteemed and fetches the highest market price in north and northeast of India. Read more

Hangin’ on To My Bones: Tales from Ombattu Gudda

Its been 10 hours since we started from Gundya and at this point I’ve got my index and ring finger dug in to a vertical crack to my right and my feet are flat on a 100 ft, nearly vertical(70-80 degree), rock wall. There’s no room for my toes to hold me up so I’m relying completely on my good ol’ boots and some good ol’ friction. I glance below through my arms and legs to see how bad the situation really is. One wrong move and I would fall through atleast a hundred meters before I even come close to anything to break my fall. 

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Birding diaries | Singalila National Park | Sandakphu & Phalut

Birding diaries| Singalila National Park | Sandakphu & Phalut

We were walking through mystique clouds at 12000 feet altitude, with a visibility of 10 feet in every direction around us when a spotted brownish crow flew past in a flash. There was no mistaking the ID of the bird. It was a Spotted Nutcracker, a rare highlander. We (Me and two friends of mine) were walking from Sandakphu to Phalut through the Singalila National Park, on mountain trails criss-crossing the Nepal and Bengal borders.

The weather had failed us in the last couple of days. We had started from Chitrey, set for Tonglu on a clear morning, 3 days back. Beyond Meghma though, the clouds had started making their presence felt. Occasionally over the next 3 days we found magic windows through which entire Mountains covered with pink Rhododendrons smiled upon us. We crossed foggy jungle trails carpeted with fallen Rhododendron petals and walked past dazzling Himalayan birds, most of who were out harvesting nectar from this spring bonanza.

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Goecha La – A Green Interview with trekker, Shaunak Kar

Goecha La – A Green Interview with trekker, Shaunak Kar


The trek to Goecha La started in mid-October with the primary objective of exploring the region while observing the effect that the multitudes of fellow trekkers have had on the flora, fauna and the general environment of this trail. In other words, to answer a simple question- Have we succeeded to conserve one of the most beautiful treks that the Himalayas have to offer?
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Goecha La Diaries A Walk on The Wild Side

Levitation as a simple noun has the weight behind it to describe what most people hope to achieve at some point of their life.Of ‘course there are herbs and chemicals that’ll get you to it but my more “real” tryst with levitation is what I felt as I followed the pristine trail to Goecha La ,the doorstep of Yeti land, the temple of the Mighty ‘Dzonga.

I’m not a cliched romantic, I only casually believe in destiny and my inclination towards any sort of religion inches towards Zero. Surprisingly, this was before I tread on this journey, this walk, that has touched me right at the very core of things. It makes you laugh because you build a shield around you for the numerous years of your scattered life and that comes crumbling down first when you fall in love and as if that is not humbling enough you are showered by the inexplicable beauty of nature again.

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A Mighty Glacier Gangotri & Vasuki Taal trek: An eye-opener

Gangotri & Vasuki Taal trek

A buzzing city, glitzy shopping malls, air-conditioned comforts, high risers and two misfits with lot of ideals of freedom and a fading belief of socialism , a perfect Molotov cocktail of alienation. That’s when Bangalore based software engineer Anindya and his Hyderabadi counterpart and long-time co-wanderer Arnab decided to take mountaineering and high-altitude trekking seriously; that was the only escape-route known to them.

Himalaya was not totally unknown to them. These two had traversed the eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim like their backyard. As Anindya chips in: “Given a chance I would rather marry a Sikkimese gal and settle down in a high-altitude village”.

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Taking Care of Your Climbing Knees

Taking Care of Your Climbing Knees:
A COMMON CLIMBER INJURY is tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and/or meniscus. One of the knee’s four major ligaments, the ACL is a connective-tissue cord about 8 or 9 mm at its narrowest; it connects the distal femur to the tibia’s top. The menisci are C-shaped, gasket-like pads at the perimeter of the knee’s two weightbearing compartments — medial (inside) and lateral (outside); they absorb shock, lubricate/nourish, and expand load distribution. As shown in the illustration.

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Accelerated Free Fall

Young generation of sports are appearing fast, opening the horizon for adventure. Gravity and acceleration are one of biggest truth of this planet & we are not shy anymore to explore this new frontier. With micro light parachutes and high safety features gravity sports have arrived.

Around 90 miles from the capital city of Dublin, Ireland, lies the small village of Edenderry, home to the Irish Parachute Club. Read more

Wildlife of Karnataka

Karnataka is a South Indian State with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It has a forest area of 43,356.95 sq. kms. Still Many parts of Karnataka are remaining unexplored. The mountains of Western Ghats are a biodiversity hotspot. Wildlife Protection Act was enacted during 1972 by Government of India to protect wild animals, birds and plants and with a view to ensuring the ecological and environmental security of the country. Animals like Tigers, Bears, Leopard, Elephant, Dhole, Giant squirrel, Gaur, wild boars are majorly found here. Read more

How to grade a trek?

How to grade a trek?

It’s important to make an accurate assessment of the level of difficulty of a route in advance, to ensure that it is within your current capabilities and be equipped. The grade of a trek can tell about it in brief .But “Easy” and “Difficult” are relative terms. These quality measures, to grade trekking trails, need to take quantitative approach to standardize our information. So that, all of us remain on same page, when we say ‘Easy’ or ‘Strenuous’.

It is also important to convey précised information when it’s going to be used by others and results can reach till death. Read more

outdoor Manners and Best Practices for a Responsible Eco-Tourist

Many of us visit mountains, forests and other natural areas for trekking, hiking, and mountaineering. There are certain essential practices or outdoor ethics that travelers should take care while visiting these places. These include certain basic outdoor manners and best practices which are documented as follows. Read more

Viking Journal

I always wanted to go Sweden, the land of the Viking, moose, elk, wolves and untamed European wilderness. The last foothold of nature in Europe.

Why Sweden?

The seventh richest country in the world is a model of social and gender equality, high industrial productivity and international reputation. The Swedish Economic and social model is a case study for lesser developed countries.

With pioneering inventions, progressive thinking, social / political & economic reforms built a country like Sweden.

Home to the last surviving European wilderness, comprising of rare species of plants and animals, Sweden is worth for spending some time.

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There Is Something About Paris

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.

Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.

Nothing is more sublime.”

                                                     ― Victor Hugo

I hope I won’t be caught exaggerating when I say that the one city I wish I was born would be Paris. Read more

The Noah’s Ark (Or so be it ) ~ Deep into East of Turkey

b2ap3_thumbnail_WP_20140501_11_56_01_Panorama

The Noah’s Ark (Or so be it ) ~ Deep into East of Turkey

And the story begins with a Great Flood.

When it rained for forty days and forty nights , God (citation needed) instructed Noah to build an ark and

bring his family and each pair of all animals in the world with him in a specially made boat.

” And Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” – Genesis 6:8 Read more

The Ghost Who Lives High, snow leopard

snow leopard

“They wait for the twilight to betray themselves. Armed with lethal weapons they attack quietly on unassuming grazers in semi darkness, with ruthless precision and predatory power. The enemy is killed and consumed”.

The night was setting in on our high altitude campsite at Thachungtse, Ladakh. All the tired feet were ready for a dinner. Couple of semi-wild yaks in the near horizon and a troop of blue sheep high on the opposite mountain slopes, no one imagined that the stage was set for a predatory intervention. The big cat, the holy guardian of the land was watching us and especially the blue sheep. Read more

Climbing Annapurna, The Killer Mountain

Climbing Annapurna, The Killer Mountain.

Mountains have always mystified mankind. Venerated as gods and goddesses, worshipped through centuries, they continue to challenge man’s indomitable spirit to conquer nature. The great mountaineer Mallory, asked why he wanted to climb the world’s highest mountain, gave his legendary answer: “Because it is there!” The reality is that he gave his life in the attempt. Among the peaks that have claimed more human lives than others the most lethal has been Annapurna-1, infamous among mountaineers as the Killer Mountain. Yet attempts to conquer its summit continue to this day …

On the morning of 17th May, 2010 the news spread like wildfire. Everest had been conquered by India’s First Civilian Bangali mountaineers – Basanta Sinha Roy and Debashish Biswas – both members of the Mountaineer’s Association of Krishnanagar. Basanta works for the Punjab National Bank, while Debashish is an Income Tax Officer.Just a year later, on 20th May 2011, they again became the first Indian civilian team to reach the third highest peak in the world – Kanchenjungha, famous as the Mountaineer’s Mountain. Read more

When Fantasy Turns Real, climbing Mount Everest

When Fantasy Turns Real, the story of climbing Mount Everest.

Could God be called an artist? Or are these mountains entirely accidents of Nature? How could one account for these mountains sculpted into such wondrous shapes? How is it that man’s wonderment of their magnitude goes along with his appreciation of such breathtaking views? The mesmerizing beauty and magnificence of the Himalayas cannot be captured in words that remain forever inadequate.

Mount Everest. Peak fifteen in the vast Himalayan mountain range. In terms of measurement it is a mind-boggling 8,848 meters. Since the middle of 19thcentury this has been known to be the highest point of the world. For the 100 years that followed intrepid and adventurous men tried to climb this peak. Eventually, after many failures, it was Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary who were the first mountaineers to reach the summit. Yet human endeavour remained unsatisfied by the first success. Read more

Why Should You Try ‘Local’ Cuisine?

Why Should You Try ‘Local’ Cuisine? In recent years, we have witnessed a social phenomenon around a hobby. “Traveling” is the new public obsession. That’s the word in the market. And social media, in its humble way, has already marked travelers to be the new “cool”. And as expected, in India, there has been a surge of travelers or even better put, ‘wanderlust’ – the urge to see new places. All this is extremely heartening and encouraging, as travelling is indeed an institution in its own – all forms of life’s education rolled into an experience that builds perspective. Traveling, without a doubt, is a great hobby (and, where applicable, profession).

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