great Shinge paro tsechu bhutan
The Paro Tsechu and other Bhutan Highlights Overal Impressions One of the great impressions of Bhutan is the observing their historic culture and customs interacting with the rapid globalization of our modern world. This can be seen in the  new buildings of Paro and more so in the capital Thimpu which struggles to maintain its reputation of being  the only traffic light free capital. But it is during their Tsechus, the annual religious festivals, where one can sit with the locals dressed in their finery, and experience the pomp and ceremony of an ancient Tibetan Bhudist festival. The largest of these Tsechus is held in Thimpu and in the  5-day Tsechu of Paro.   The Start of the Paro Festival The beginning of the Paro festival starts in Dzongdrakha a small village situated at elevation 8,300ft, over looking the terraced fields of Bondhey, some 30 minute drive from Paro on the road to the Ha valley. The Tsechu is held on a flat field, a short distance from its Dzong whose four 16 Century temples cling precariously to the side of the mountain. It is a smaller version of the Tiger Nest monastery (Taktsang), founded by Guru Rinpoche. Although this Tsechu is much smaller than at Paro, it is more […]
Read More
kolkata India

Kolkata Revisted India

by lesadmin· June 18, 2015· in · 0 comments
Kolkata Revisited I have visited Kolkata three times. The first being in 1965, then in 2002 and the latest in 2013. Over this time, I have witnessed dramatic changes to the life of the city, and although it still generates a powerful, attractive -repulsive spell on my psyche, the overall impact is now more subdued. There is much less begging, particularly the extreme forms involving disfigurement, and there are far fewer people sleeping on the streets. The cows have been removed from the main thoroughfares, so there is less poop on the ground and in general the streets are cleaner. I also noticed a more confident and upbeat atmosphere than in 2002, and a vast improvement from the despair that was evident in 1965.On the other hand, the streets are now more crowded with many more cars whose exhaust pollution burns the throat and stings the eyes, particularly when the temperature rises is in the 40’s. So whereas, in 1965, Kolkata was a major cultural shock in every respect, the cultural impact to the casual visitor is now much less. Don’t get me wrong, it still generates a significant impact. It is after all a large teeming chaotic metropolis seething with […]
Read More
varanasi the ancient city of india

Varanasi India

by lesadmin· June 17, 2015· in · 0 comments
Varanasi the Ancient City, India Forty seven years on, and our recent trip to Varanasi felt the same. Of course, the population has increased and new suburbs have expanded outward since our first visit, but the old city, the crowded Ghats along the river, and the ominous haze from the burning pyres generated the same powerful, emotional impact. At the Dashashwamedh Ghat, there was frenetic activity; boatman were touting for rides, the faithful were cleansing their bodies in the holy river, barbers shaving  heads, holy men dispensing blessings and offerings, astrologers reading horoscopes, stray dogs scavenging the banks in packs, and beggars sought alms and charity along the entrance road.  All this humanity was clothed in a medley of brilliant reds, yellows and whites, the iridescent colours contrasting with the pastels of the surrounding buildings and the dull blue-grey of the river itself. Along the western bank of the Ganges, the old city extends backwards some two kilometres in a maze of narrow alleyways and lanes. It encompasses the ancient residential quarter, some tiny shops and temples, a few local markets and a Muslim section housing a cottage industry weaving the finest silk. The closely packed buildings protect the lanes from the harsh sun keeping the alleys cool and dark. Walking the lanes is certainly fascinating, presenting a view of former times, although many of the buildings are in a state of […]
Read More
tigers of Rathambhore india

Tigers of Rathambhore India

by lesadmin· June 17, 2015· in · 0 comments
Tigers of Ranthambhore India Tigers are difficult to observe in the wild, due in part, to the small number that remain, their preferred habitat of tall vegetation that obstructs viewing, and restrictions imposed by the parks on the number of visitors allowed and their access once inside the reserve. There are some 45 Tiger reserves in India, see, but I have only visited the reserve at Ranthambhore. The Ranthambhore national park is divided into 5 central zones (zones 1-5) known as Ranthambhore NP, see Fig1. Ranthambhore zones map, and 3 overflow zones (zones 6,7,8) known as Chidikho, Kundal, and Balas;  the latter areas having few reported tiger sightings. The five central zones cover a variety of habitats, from steep escarpments and perennial lakes and streams to large areas of Savannah and tall broad leaf forests that are deciduous providing good viewing conditions. A special feature of Ranthambhore is its ambiance deep within the forest where a strange stillness evokes a sense of apprehension  and anticipation; a feeling that a tiger must be close at hand. Another positive feature, is that the nocturnal behaviour of the tigers in the park is gradually changing, becoming more active and visible during the […]
Read More
Dhaulagiri sunrise nepal

Dhaulagiri Sunrise Nepal

by lesadmin· June 09, 2015· in · 0 comments
Dhaulagiri Sunrise-best location. There is a place which provides an expansive view of the Dhaulagiri massif. Looking down from its 8,167m peak, one can see its massive north snow face, leading to a large glacier that tumbles a further 2000m down the mountain to the snow covered rock band at 4600m.  At lower altitudes the rock band gives way to barren alpine slopes which in turn morph into forest covered foothills that reach above the villages of Khobang and Larjung at 2,560m above sea level. A visual expanse of 5,600 vertical metres. The best location is across the stranded river of the Kali Gandaki between the villages of Khobang and Larjung as shown in fig2. The image of the sunrise over Dhaulagiri show in the featured image was taken at position A, but I think position B would be slightly better. At the time it was a feeling of pure exhilaration at  witnessing the moment of dawn over the 7th highest mountain in the world, wisps of snow blowing sideways from its peak. At the same time it was a moment of great frustration and despair, as at this particular instance while bracketing exposures and changing lenses the camera jammed- […]
Read More
view into tibet from high camp above Na

Rolwaling Valley Nepal

by lesadmin· May 30, 2015· in · 11 comments
Rolwaling Valley Trek across the Tesi Lapsa Pass Introduction. The Rolwaling Valley is one of the great treks of Nepal along its northernmost border with Tibet, (see Rolwaling valley satellite map fig1, and Rolwaling trekking map Fig2.) The Rolwaling Valley is remote, with a sombre and foreboding ambiance.  There is a potential danger on the approaches to the Tesi Lapsa pass 5755m (also called Teshi Lepsa pass or Trashi Labsta pass), spectacular mountain views on the approaches (4850m) to the Yalung La above Beding, and there is the opportunity to climb the tourist peak of Pachermo~6250m  (aka Parchamo, see route map Fig3), with spectacular panoramic views. The difficulty ranges from moderate in the lowlands to strenuous along the approaches to the Tesi Lapsa pass requiring crampons and ice axes up the Drolambao Glacier and down the eastern exit to Thame. Rolwaling Trek  Requirements . Trekking permits are needed for the Rolwaling Valley, which require the trek be organised through a government registered trekking agency. This is a prudent condition, as the trek in parts is potentially dangerous.    There is the opportunity to climb one the two tourist peaks in the area, Parchamo (6187m) and Ramdung RO (5930m).  A climbing permit […]
Read More