Category Archives: Treking

With Alpine Accentors in the Polish Tatra mountains

SOM_0629 headerI was nearing Kondracka Kopa, a small peak in the Tatra mountains. This was my fourth day of treking in the Polish Tatra mountains. The last few days had been wet and cloudy, but the weather forecast had promised that it would get better from today. The birding had been quite slow till now, probably due to the weather conditions. But now it had stopped drizzling and the sky was brightening up. 

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The White Throated Tits – A Painting (Acrylic on Canvas) 15″ x 18″

White Throated tits SOM_4536 headingIt was a crispy cold December day. I was on an assignment, to photograph the Forest Rest Houses of Uttarakhand. After photographing the Janaki Chatti Forest Rest House I had decided to trek up to Yamunotri. Although the pilgrimage season was over and the shrine would be closed, I was curious to visit the source of the mighty Yamuna.
After a long and steady walk I was at the highest point of the trail. The track passes through a very old oak forest, crosses a ridge and then descends to the Yamunotri shrine. The forest was silent and the birding had been quite slow.

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The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling : Some memories

Header CRW_5781In May 2004, on a sudden whim, I signed up for the Basic Mountaineering Course at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling (HMI). In retrospect, it was a great decision. Although I was well past my prime, I was older than most of my batch, I was also physically quite fit and very keen. I enjoyed the course and I have very fond memories of the time I spent at HMI.
 

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White Throated Tits (Aegithalos niveogularis) of Yamunotri


We reached Janakichatti on a clear and crisply cold December evening at 4pm, about and hour and a half before sunset. Janakichatti is the road head for the trek to Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna river, and one of the four major centers of Hindu pilgrimage in Uttarakhand (The other three being Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath).

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Har-ki-dun, a trek in the Govind National Park, Uttarakhand

This trek was the result of another off beat assignment. I was asked by a relative, who is also a publisher, whether I would be interested in working on a coffee table book covering the Forest Rest Houses of Uttarakhand. I jumped at the opportunity and volunteered to shoot the remote and less accessible Forest Rest Houses (FRHs). The first trip was to the Northwestern regions of Garhwal and the trek to Har-ki-dun was a part it.

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Birding in the Raksham Chhitkul Wildlife Sanctuary, Baspa Valley, Kinnaur

A tributary of the Sutlej, the Baspa river originates at a point near the tri-junction of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Tibet. It flows due west for about 60 kilometers before joining the Sutlej at Kharcham. This is the Baspa valley.

A part of the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, the Baspa valley lies in the lap of the great Himalayas. Sangla is its largest town, and therefore the Baspa valley is sometimes also referred to as the Sangla valley.

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Kalapathar – Everest base camp – Image Gallery

Ama Dablam

During the Everest base camp – Kalapathar top trek we were treated to two spectacular sunsets. This gallery contains images captured on these two evenings. According to our guide, spectacular sunsets on Everest are quite rare. The best time for a good sunset is late November or early March.

We witnessed the first sunset while at Lobuche. We had reached Lobuche well in time and after checking into our hotel, we had gone for a short walk towards the Khumbu glacier. After the walk we had almost reached Lobuche again when the sky suddenly cleared up and as the sun went down it gave us a fine display of alpenglow on Nuptse and Pumori.  The second grand sunset happened when we were at the Kalapathar top.

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Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) at the Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary

It began with a chance meeting in Sarahan with the Divisional Forest Officer, Mr. B.L. Negi. When I told him that I was a keen birder he casually asked whether I would be interested in doing some research on the Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) ? Off course I would be interested in doing research on the Western Tragopan, I almost shouted. (A PDF  of this survey can be downloaded from a link at the end of this post.)

For anyone interested in Himalayan birds the Western Tragopan is like the Holy grail. With less than a thousand breeding pairs left, it is the rarest of five types of Tragopan. It has been voted as one of the top 10 “must see” birds in the world.

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Everest Base Camp – Kalapathar trek

A closeup of Mount Everest

In November 2010 I went on a trek to the Kalapathar top near the Everest base camp.  The path winds up through some amazing high altitude scenery to one of the best view points in the Himalayas, the Kalapathar top. The trek was not very difficult. If you love mountains and are reasonably fit this is a “must do” trek.

I am posting a brief travelogue of this trek in this post. You can also download a Google Earth kmz file containing the treking routes and locations mentioned in this post from a link at the end of the post.

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