Holi is popularly known as the festival of colors and is celebrated with full enthusiasm in north Indian states. This is the time to prepare special sweets called gujiya; sing and dance on folk tunes; apply colors and throw color water on each other. This festival comes every year but this year it was special for me. I celebrated this with the villagers of Sarmoli village.
Here is the sneak peak into the Holi I celebrated with these lovely people through the pictures.
Mother and daughter are here to celebrate Holi together!
“Take me to Kamla Pandey’s house” I tell my driver as we enter Sarmoli village in Munsiari. This is not a surprising thing for us who live in the cities but a woman’s name being known in a village is a symbol of her empowerment who otherwise is addressed as so and so’s wife, mother or daughter. Kamla lives with her husband and son and like many other women in the village has participated in the Homestay program.
Sarmoli is a village in Munsiari which is a hill station in Kumaon region of Uttrakhand. The Panchachuli peaks of the Himalayas welcome you here and present before you a spectacular landscape. Sarmoli tells the story of transformation of lives of women in particular and community as a whole with the help of tourism. Apart from giving the community a source of livelihood; the model is also helping to preserve the environment and biodiversity of this fragile ecosystem.
When I was young my parents used to take me to Tirupati; a famous shrine in the south belonging to Lord Vishnu popularly known as Lord Venkateshwara. I used to like going to that place as we used to stay in Dehradun and that was the only opportunity to venture out from my lovely town and see the world outside.
At that time we didn’t have much money to spend extravagantly and we used to cut our costs everywhere. We used to travel in sleeper class in railway, take an ordinary bus, eat from local vendors and take cheap accommodations. We even slept at railways stations, bus stands and roadside at Tirupati and Tirumala hills to save on money.
Those things taught me to be adjusting to every kind of situation. We used to walk upto the hill and have darshan of the Lord and wait for long hours in a queue before we had our turn to see the Lord. This taught me patience to wait and gave me stamina to walk. When I travel, I can sleep anytime anywhere be it bus, train or roadside in scorching heat when other people need a comfortable mattress.
With temperatures rising day by day, many of you would be trying to make a vacation plan to the higher altitudes. Leh-Ladakh is becoming a popular summer destination because of the unique landscape it offers to the travelers.
I have been getting lot of queries regarding planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh and thought I would put this useful piece of information on net. First I thought of writing it in a form of article but I thought I would rather improve on a recent conversation on facebook with a friend. I think the reader can get a clear grasp from the conversation and get idea for planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh. The conversation goes as follows:
A: Hey hi; how are you?
impreeti: hi, i am good
The pristine waters flowing in the rivers and streams, the large expanses of emptiness surrounded by mighty bare mountains and the mystic blue sky above; all blend perfectly together and form a heaven called Leh – Ladakh!
Om Mani Padme Hum, the Buddhist mantra adrift with the flow of the wind, the aura surrounding you all over Leh. Asking around what the meaning is of the sloka would be in vain for it is inexplicable. Besides the colorful panel of rectangular prayer flags representing five elements to the enchanted prayer wheels, engraved rocks, this mantra keeps following you, or should I say travel along with you.
The place is full of chortens and large prayer wheels at every corner which gives the feel of the rich Buddhist culture and its glorious tradition carried through the ages. All these, in the midst of the magnificent Himalayas appear and give a sense of a portrayal of a great painter’s imagination on his imaginary canvas.
A Chorten in Ladakh…
After being in such heart capturing scenic beauty, the language spoken by the natives of the place soothes your ear. For a while I stood still to realize whether it is because of the place from where I had come. The conversation which lands in your ear, intentionally or unintentionally, adds as nectar to the whole thing. The greetings of the natives with the word julley, wearing a smile comforts you to the core.