Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Apple Orchard, Lachen

On a recent visit to Lachen in North Sikkim, I had the good fortune of spending one night at the Apple Orchard Resort. Situated high above the town, near the monastery the resort is the best place and location to stay in Lachen.

Beautifully done up rooms, large and spacious with wood paneling fits in well with the decor of the region.

Every attention has been given to small details like tea and coffee machines in the room, abundant hot water, heaters for the cold and a lot more.

Phones +91 94748 37640 
Tripadvisor reviews

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Green Lakes, North Sikkim: Kangchenjunga 1987 and 2014

The photograph on the left was taken in May 1987 and the one of the right in November 2014 from more or less the same location. The lake is now dry and the red line in both photos show how the angle of the moraine of the glacier has also changed.
In the summer of 1987, I was fortunate to join an Assam Rifles expedition to Kanchenjunga led my Major General Kukreti. I was very keen to reach Green Lakes the base camp of the expedition in the Zemu Valley.

So finally in May 1987, I made it to Green Lakes and spend a few days with the expedition, photographing in and around this fascinating valley.

At that time, I decided that I would one day bring a team of trekkers to the Zemu Valley to see this fabulous dress circle of peaks.

It took me twenty seven years to realise my dream. Finally, on 3rd November 2014, our team of seven trekkers reached the Green Lakes base camp on a sunny afternoon.

I walked up to the spot where I had photographed the reflection of Kanchenjunga in the waters of the lake. To my shock I found that the lake had dried up! Where I had seen an expansive sheet of water was now a rocky mud flat!

This was the first time in my life that I had been actually exposed to retreating glaciers and the effects of climate change first hand.

It was a very sobering experience. Other than a small muddy pool there is no water left at Green Lakes.

It is possible that this pool will also soon dry up and then the last water source will have vanished ending the possibility of camping there.

It will also make it very difficult for future mountaineering expeditions who use Green Lakes as a base camp for climbing different peaks in the valley.

The photograph below taken from a high point above the Green Lakes base camp shows the dried up Green Lake and the muddy pool to the left. The peaks are to the east of Kangchenjunga and the Zemu Glacier is below.

Monday, November 10, 2014


The world heritage site of Nalanda is located around 12 km from the town of Rajgir in Bihar. This famous university flourished during the 5th to 12th century AD attracting scholars from all around the world.

Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire as well as emperors like Harsha and later, the rulers of the Pala Empire. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from as far away as TibetChinaKorea, and Central Asia  It was ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Muslim Mamluk Dynasty under Bakhtiyar Khilji in c. 1197.

Some photographs from the present site of Nalanda are below: 

Monday, November 3, 2014

KIrti Guest House: Bodh Gaya

The lobby of Kirti Guest House

Bodh Gaya has a large number of top flight hotels as well as guest houses so it is hard to make a choice. I stayed at the Kirti Guest House for a few days this month and it is possibly one of the nicest mid range guest houses in the town located a stone's throw away from the Mahabodhi Temple.

Owned by a Tibetan T.Namdol and run by the smiling and friendly Dorji, the guest house has five floors. The rooms on the upper two floors have large balconies with sit outs and a roof top garden  and is the perfect place to have your cup of morning tea or just chill out with a book.

The entrance of Kirti Guest House
The new rooms on the upper floors are spotless with clean bathrooms. Some of the rooms on the lower floors have air conditioning but can be a bit dark so opt for the rooms on the fourth and fifth floors if you can!

The fifth floor rooms in Kirti Guest House
The only drawback is the restaurant is not functioning so you need to go out for meals.

Kirti also caters to large foreign groups - there was a Sri Lankan group occupying twenty rooms when we were there!
The roof top garden and balcony on the fifth floor
To contact the guest house call 91-631-2200744 or email


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