Thursday, December 21, 2017

Everest Base Camp Trek | The Best Season ?

I am often asked which is the best time to trek in the Everest region? Is it April and October? Interestingly things have changed a lot including the weather so this post covers the seasons and the pros and cons of trekking in the Everest region.

This is peak winter -  temperatures at Gorak Shep (5150 metres) would be around -20C at night - water would be frozen but in all likelihood the weather would be clear but snow is on the cards. You need good warm down  jackets and a -20C sleeping bag to be comfortable. There will be few trekkers so you would have the lodges to yourself.

From mid February the weather would begins to warm up marginally but it can be uncertain - rain and hail lower down and snow above 4000 metres. Some days can also be sunny and exceptionally clear with low humidity. Few trekkers again so the lodges would be free. Not a bad time to go if you want to avoid the crowds and don't mind the occasional snow storm!

The trekking numbers would increase by early March. Warmer weather would see possibility of occasional rain and snow. By end March the trekking season would have picked up and flights would start to become busy. If you want to go in spring then mid to end March is a good start.

This is considered to be the second best season after October. It is spring and the rhododendrons and other flowers are in bloom creating a spectacular display of colour. The mornings are generally clear with clouds rushing in by noon and rain and snow possible in the afternoons. The weather is of course much warmer than February- March. This month sees the maximum number of trekkers after October.
The numbers of trekkers start going down as the monsoon approaches. There can be regular pre-monsoon showers in May and mountains can be cloudy and foggy especially in late May. Flights to and from Kathmandu to Lukla also can be cancelled due to weather conditions. However, the floral spectacle especially above Namche is spectacular so if you want to see flowers this is the time to go!

June to September
These are the monsoon months. Flights to Lukla will often be delayed or cancelled due to rains and fog. Mountain views are few as the clouds dominate the valleys and peaks. On some days if you are lucky the sun will break through and you can see a peak floating through the clouds. There will be hardly any trekkers so no crowds. It's very green in the Khumbu at this time and flowers in the high meadows.

This is the peak season for the Everest trek. Flights are packed and so are the lodges. However for the last few years, it has been raining until mid October due to the delayed monsoon and the first two weeks have seen bad weather and many cancellations of the Lukla flight. I would avoid October if you can both for the weather issues and the crowds. Once the monsoon retreats you can be assured of clear skies and sunny warm days.

November in fact is the new October with clear days low humidity few clouds and mountain views every day - this  is the typical post monsoon weather which remains until mid December. It would be the first choice for Everest trekkers - the stability in the weather ensures that the Lukla flight can fly until 11 am on most days. Night temperatures at Gorak Shep would be between -10C and -12C,

It would be colder than November but until mid December the clear weather would continue. Crowds would be thinning as most people would be returning - flights would also not be so busy and tickets easy to get. Temperatures in Gorak Shep would be -15C at night. Recommended with a good down jacket and a four season sleeping bag!

The statistics at the entry point Jorsale for 2017 and part of 2018 is below:

For our fixed 2018 departure for the Everest trek in November 2018  do visit

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Yeti | The Myth is dismissed

Edmund Hillary, one of the first two people to scale Mount Everest, and Khunjo Chumbi, a Nepali village elder, hold what was then thought to be the scalp of yeti, in Calcutta, India, on December 9, 1960. AP Photo

Study dismisses myth of the yeti with bear facts

Purported samples from wild man of the Himalayas are found to be from local bear population

Nearly every time Sujoy Das leads a trekking group in the Himalayas, he gets the question, asked half in jest, half in hope. Has he ever spotted signs of the yeti?

Mr Das guides treks on some of the mightiest Himalayan peaks — Everest, Annapurna, Gangapurna — and through the Nepali valleys that lie in between. This is the terrain where the myth of the yeti — or the Abominable Snowman — first arose, and where it still persists. A hirsute, apelike creature, taller than most human beings, the yeti and its legend grew out of old local tales about wild men living in the mountains.

European explorers seized upon the mystery and expanded it, reporting glimpses of the creature or finding outsize footprints in the snow. Every Everest expedition seemed to keep half an eye cocked for the yeti or its tracks; one British mountaineer took photos of footprints twice the size of the average adult human's foot.

The fascination has not died down. “In Nepal and in the Everest region, this question always comes up. Has anyone see a yeti?” Mr Das said, who lives in Kolkata and runs South Col Expeditions. "The local people say they have, but we don’t know if it is actually one. I always say: ‘No, I haven't seen one.’”

A new genetic study of nine purported yeti samples, however, may put the legend into deep freeze forever. The results, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggested that eight of the samples were from a different sort of shaggy, wild creature: a bear. (The one remaining sample came from an even less elusive creature: a dog.)

Charlotte Lindqvist, an associate professor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Buffalo, New York, who led the study, called it “the most rigorous analysis to date” of relics of the so-called yeti.

Ms Lindqvist first became involved in the yeti myth in 2014, when other researchers contacted her to compare the genes in two purported yeti hair samples with those in a 120,000-year-old polar bear fossil she was working on.

“But the data was very limited, and it made me suspicious about the speculation that the yeti legend represented some strange, hybrid bear roaming the Himalaya mountains,” Ms Lindqvist said. “So I agreed to follow up on this study with a more rigorous approach based on more genetic data from more purported yeti samples.”

The samples came from everywhere: hair found in Tibet in the 1930s; a fragment of leg bone, coloured a toasted brown, recovered from a mountain cave; a tooth and a lump of petrified faeces, which had been carefully stored in an Italian museum devoted to the alpinist Reinhold Messner.

Mountaineers and explorers have hunted for the definitive yeti sample throughout the 20th century. In 1961, Edmund Hillary, one of the first two men to climb Everest, led an expedition to Nepal purely in quest of the yeti.

“He went to Khumjung, a monastery above Namche Bazaar [in Nepal], where a yeti scalp was preserved by the headman of the village,” Mr Das told The National. “Hillary got the headman’s permission to take the scalp, to get it tested.”

One of the villagers accompanied Hillary on his trip. “They thought: ‘Hillary is a foreigner. He doesn’t know what this is, or what the value of it is to them,’” he said. “So they did this world tour with the scalp, meeting anthropologists and so on. The net result: the experts said it was the scalp of a Tibetan blue bear.”

Others have also advanced the theory that the various bits of the yeti — footprints, hair, bone samples — came from a species of bear. In his new book yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery, the conservationist Daniel C Taylor, who has searched for signs of the yeti ever since he was a child growing up in India, concludes that the footprints most probably belong to an Asiatic black bear.

Ms Lindqvist and her team compared their nine samples with 15 others that were known to be from local bear populations. Previous research had hinted at an unknown type of bear, but eight of the nine yeti samples proved to belong conclusively to well-known types of black and brown bears.

An inkling of this ursine identity has existed all along. In 1921, the British explorer Charles Howard-Bury, having found footprints in the snow, was told by his Sherpa guides that they belonged to the “metoh-kangmi”, a wild creature living in the snows.

Later writers misinterpreted “metoh” as “filthy” and replaced it with the more elegant “Abominable”. But a knowledge of the Tibetan language would have provided the clue, for the words “metoh kangmi” translate to “man-bear of the snows”.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mustang Nepal | The Trans Himalaya

Cultivated fields of Chuksang

Mustang (from the Tibetan möntang (Wylie: smon-thang), Nepali: मुस्तांग Mustāṃg "fertile plain"), formerly Kingdom of Lo, is a remote and isolated region of the Nepalese Himalayas. The Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic languages. Tibetan culture has been preserved by the relative isolation of the region from the outside world.

The Upper Mustang comprise the northern two-thirds of Mustang District of Dhawalagiri Zone, Nepal. The southern third of the district is called Thak and is the homeland of the Thakali, who speak the Thakali language, and whose culture combines Tibetan and Nepalese elements. Life in Mustang revolves around tourism, animal husbandry and trade.

Mustang's status as a kingdom ended in 2008 when its suzerain Kingdom of Nepal became a republic. The influence of the outside world, especially China, is growing and contributing to rapid change in the lives of Mustang's people. from Wikipedia

Some images from Mustang are below:

Monastery Tsarang

Ploughing the fields outside Drakmar village

Entrance of Drakmar

Man made plantations Gheling

Pass of Mui La 4170 m on the road to Ghar Gompa

Village of Geling

North of Lo Manthang

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Himalayan | November 25th 2017 Kolkata

A program hosted by ‘THE HIMALAYAN’ 25th November (Saturday) at the Gorky Sadan, 6pm.

THE HIMALAYAN’   was  conceived in 2017,  to attract  like-minded people in the promotion of the Himalaya through  lore and its  preservation, through Travel, Expeditions, Explorations, and Adventure, and support of its Nature, Ecology, Culture, as well as the  well-being of its people.

The primary inspiration has been a vision that encompasses the incorporation of a balanced, incisive as well as interactive dissemination platform for the reporting of Himalayan Activity–Of Climbing, Science, Literature and the yonder, in a manner befit to stimulate the Intellectual yearning of the erudite mountain lover, as well as to kindle the fertile mind of the incorrigibly romantic young mountaineer.

 ‘The Himalayan News’ is the flagship Newsletter that is being globally distributed. We, take great pleasure in providing to you novel features and reports on the latest happenings, viewpoints and insights by our Editorial team as well as renowned contributors, in an unfettered and unbiased metre and form. We further plan to organise regular & novel lectures by experienced speakers, hold seminars and exhibitions on Himalayan and allied matters, arrange expeditions into the high altitudes, and much more.

Mustang, formerly Kingdom of Lo, is a remote and isolated region of the Nepalese Himalaya. The Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarised area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetan languages. Tibetan culture has been preserved by the relative isolation of the region from the outside world. Renowned photographer and veteran Himalayan  traveller Sri Sujoy Das will take  us on a journey through his lens of this rarely travelled area and much less seen by Kolkatans. His talk, ‘Mustang – A lost kingdom  would be followed by a presentation by AVM (Retd) Apurba Bhattacharyya , veteran mountaineer entitled ‘To the Top of Everest ‘ – 1856 to 2017’  - a rare presentation that would reflect how Everest mountaineering has evolved over the years in terms of Technology, Techniques and philosophy, since the beginning.

We solicit your presence to this program

Priyadarshi Gupta , President , THE HIMALAYAN

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Banff Mountain Book Festival Winners 2017

Grand Prize$4000 - Sponsored by Alpine Club of Canada
The ClimbersJim Herrington, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)
"Representing the fruits of a twenty-year photographic quest, Jim Herrington's stunning black and white portraits of climbing luminaries of the mid-20th century confer a quiet dignity on their aging subjects.  He has somehow managed to capture in their eyes the visionary zeal of their youthful climbs.  The photographer's tone might be summarized in a single word: respect, and you can't help feel that in the best of these shots something like the climber's soul has been revealed."
David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Adventure Travel$2000 - Sponsored by Fjällräven
The Names of the Stars
Pete Fromm, St. Martin's Press (USA, 2016)

"A deep meditation resulting from a month in the Montana wilderness, The Names of the Stars conveys the calm that solitary time grants us.  Pete Fromm uses his isolation in a Forest Service cabin, with a daily routine of walking a ten mile loop to monitor hatching fish eggs, to share his thoughts.  How does his life as a married father of two compare to his youthful discovery of his love of wild places?  Surrounded by ever-present wildlife, how could he share his passion with his sons?  With delightfully straightforward prose, the author portrays his small corner of the natural world.  Through repetition and carefully observed detail we share in the experience of a life well considered.  Neither of Mr. Fromm's sons were lucky enough to share his cabin, but through this wonderful manuscript both we, and they, go along for the journey."
- Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountain Fiction & Poetry$2000 - Sponsored by Deuter
Rising Abruptly: Stories
Gisèle Villeneuve, University of Alberta Press (CAN, 2016)

"The narrator of 'Assiniboine Crossing', one of the seven stories collected here, observes: "Even the unassuming day trips deliver their moments."  The stories, too are unassuming, quiet even.  The worlds they portray are at once familiar and fresh: we know them but have never quite viewed them through Villeneuve's lens.  And, "the moments"?  The author delivers them: glinting shards of glass scattered throughout her fields."
David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountain Literature (Non Fiction) The Jon Whyte Award$2000 - Sponsored by The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka
Bernadette McDonald, Rocky Mountain Books (CAN, 2017)

"Art of Freedom beautifully portrays the life, values, and ascents of one of the most incredible mountaineers in history.  McDonald seamlessly interweaves gripping accounts of Voytek's minimalistic climbing expeditions, with his thoughtful approach and almost poetic philosophies on life, in a way which gives the reader deep insights into who this man is."
Mayan Smith-Gobat, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountain Environment and Natural History$2000 - Sponsored by Backroad Mapbooks
Tracking Gobi Grizzlies
Douglas Chadwick, Patagonia Books (USA, 2016)

"Over five years Douglas Chadwick and a dedicated crew tracked these rarest of bears, the Gobi grizzlies, through the harshest Mongolian landscapes.  He returned with this hard-earned testament, evidence that he has remained faithful to his self-imposed directive: 'Keep working to fix what's broken'.  Both survival story and cautionary tale, Chadwick provides a sliver of hope, not only for the bears but for all of us."
David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountain Image$2000 - Sponsored by Lake O'Hara Lodge
Racconto D'Inverno - Eine Wintererzählung
Albert Ceolan (ITA, 2016)

"Stunning and beautifully laid out images which flow seamlessly into each other, taking the reader on a journey through the different aspects of winter...from quite untouched beauty, to quirky, humorous ice formations.  A work of art which has already found a permanent place on my coffee table!"
Mayan Smith-Gobat, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Guidebook$2000 - Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
Chasing the Ephemeral: 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter
Simon Richardson, Mica Publishing (UK, 2016)

"Heard that Scotland is the birthplace of mixed climbing, the last bastion of naturally protected dry-tooling, a challenge to even the best world-travelling masters?  Considered a visit but scared off by the notoriously fickle routes and the abysmal weather?  Quintessential local (though, truth be told, an Englishman), Simon Richardson has the solution.  Organized into conditions-dependent groupings, Chasing the Ephemeral will get you to 50 classic routes when they are 'in nick'.  Full of colour action photos, local lore, and essential beta, there is no excuse for missing out on one of the best winter climbing venues on the planet.  Just remember, the locals won't consider it a valid ascent if your photos aren't white, so shoot from the top down.  Here's to a Successful Scottish Winter."
Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountaineering Article$2000 - Sponsored by the University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada
Threshold Shift
Nick Bullock, Alpinist Magazine (USA, February 2017)
"A threshold shift is the ear's defense against loud noise; Nick Bullock's years of experience defend his mind from registering the mortal hazard he and his compatriots face, and all too commonly perish from, in the mountains.  Equally, a life climbing and writing has insulated Nick from the 'rush and push and strain...(and) disappointment' of a more traditional lifestyle.  Elevating moments from a first ascent in Nepal contrast with the difficult final journey Nick makes with his aging widower father.  In spite of a life spent in search of 'something better' through climbing he realizes he shares traits with the old men he swore he would never become.  Not a lighthearted tale, it addresses mortality with on honesty which must be admired.  Breathtakingly written, Threshold Shift is on a different frequency from what passes as climbing writing in today's social media feed."
Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Mountaineering History$2000 - Sponsored by Sherpa Adventure Gear
The Climbers
Jim Herrington, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)

"Representing the fruits of a twenty-year photographic quest, Jim Herrington's stunning black and white portraits of climbing luminaries of the mid-20th century confer a quiet dignity on their aging subjects.  He has somehow managed to capture in their eyes the visionary zeal of their youthful climbs.  The photographer's tone might be summarized in a single word: respect, and you can't help feel that in the best of these shots something like the climber's soul has been revealed."
David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury
Special MentionThe Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits
Tommy Caldwell, Viking Books (USA, 2017)

"In The Push, Tommy Caldwell gives the reader an honest and heartfelf view into his life and what shaped him to become of the world's best climbers.  A riveting book, which I found hard to put down, will appeal to climbers and non-climbers alike."
Mayan Gobat-Smith, 2017 Book Competition Jury
For more information on the Banff Festival 2017 please do visit   

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Raghubir Singh - A Retrospective The Met Breur New York October 11 2017-Jan 2 2018

Raghubir Singh was undoubtedly one of the greatest colour photographers of his generation. He produced  around fourteen books -  all of them on India - the country where he spent the major part of his life. He was only 56 when he passed away in a massive heart attack in New York in 1999 - at the peak of his career. The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York is showing a collection of 85 photographs from his collection titled  Modernism on the Ganges.

The exhibition shows Raghubir's work right from the sixties to the early nineties including some unpublished photographs from his collection.

Some of the great photographs which are on display are reproduced below. All photographs in this post are copyright © Succession Raghubir Singh .

Useful Links

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bhutan | Arrival and Departure Formalities for Indian Citizens

Paro airport
I visited Bhutan recently flying into Paro airport from Kolkata and I have been asked a lot of questions regarding entry formalities into Bhutan for Indians and whether any visa or permits are required.  Firstly no visa is required for Indians.

I am giving the current procedures below.

There is an arrival form which is usually given to you on the flight which you should fill up and keep with your passport.
On arrival in Paro airport you walk from the aircraft to the arrival building greeted by this photograph of the Royal Family

On entering the arrival hall there is separate line for SAARC passports - please join this line.

Present the arrival form and your passport at the counter. You may be asked where you are staying so have the hotel information ready. It was earlier reported that the hotel confirmation voucher was required at immigration but I did not find  the Immigration Officer asking for this.

After completing immigration which takes only a few minutes, if there is no long line, proceed to collect your baggage which is just behind the immigration area. Paro is a small airport so everything is easy and close by. You will see a sign prohibiting the use of Rs 500 Indian currency and above

After collecting your bags proceed through the green channel if you have nothing to declare and your departure form will be collected by customs at the exit. There is also an x-ray at the exit for baggage but all bags are not x-rayed only some of them at the discretion of the officials.

You are then out of the airport in the beautiful Paro valley! Enjoy your stay!

On leaving Paro, you will need to x-ray your bags at the entrance of the airport and then proceed with your ticket and passport to the check in counter. You need to fill up a departure form below:

Present this departure form and your passport to the immigration - it takes only a minute to get the passport stamped and you are through the the boarding lounge which has free wifi for you to browse while you wait for your flight.

Enjoy Bhutan - it's a beautiful country!

For information on some of the hotels where we stayed in Bhutan do visit
For photographs of Bhutan do visit

Monday, October 23, 2017

Annapurna Foothills Trek December 23-30 2017

The Annapurna foothills provide tremendous trekking with delightful trails connecting villages and ridge tops. This picturesque trek winds through enchanting villages with ochre thatched houses, terraced rice fields and rhododendron forests, which are spectacular in the spring when whole hillsides are cloaked in colourful flowers. The ridge top village of Ghandrung provides one of the finest viewpoints of the Annapurna Mountains with magnificent views of the four Annapurnas, and Machapuchare with its fishtail summit. It is a  good walk to the top of Poon Hill 3150 metres with a dress circle view over the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri as well. 
Who should do this trek?

  • Suitability: A good choice for most  walkers, reasonable level of fitness required.
  • Walking times: average 5 to 7 hours walking per day 
  • Altitude: up to 3150m
  • Terrain: for most of time following well-travelled trails, there will be daily ascent and descent on steps which are part of any Nepal trek.
  •  Remoteness: usually not too remote and often there is a reasonable level of infrastructure such as lodge accommodation and cell/ mobile phone reception and wifi reception every day at the lodges.

Trek Leader: Sujoy Das

Day 01   Kathmandu to Pokhara  by early morning flight and the drive to Kande and trek to Tolka  
We fly into to Pokhara 30 min and then drive for 75 min to Kande.   From Kande we climb to Austrian camp in around two hours and then walk to Pothana in half an hour for lunchh. . From Pothana the trail climbs uphill to Deorali from where it makes a steep descent to Bichok. From Bichok it is a level walk to Tolka where we stop for the night.  
Day 02 Trek to Ghandrung  (1950 metres) 5-6 hours walking 
The large village of Ghandrung can be seen directly across the valley from Landrung.  It is a n hours walk in the morning from Tolka to Landrung. This is a short walking day allowing time to explore Landrung and Ghandrung. From Landrung we descend to the Modi Khola River and cross on a large suspension bridge. The ascent through terraced fields to the picturesque town takes around 2 hours. Ghandrung is largely a Gurung town and is the headquarters of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Many of the lodges here have the more environmentally friendly features that ACAP encourages such as back boilers, solar panels, etc.  The views of the Annapurna Mountains and Machapuchare from here are stunning.
Day 03 Trek to Tadapani (2595 metres) 4 hours walking 
From Ghandrung the trail climbs gently to the village of Baisi Kharka where we stop for a cup of tea and then make the final ascent to Tadapani. Overnight at a lodge in Tadapani. The views of the Annapurna Mountains and Machapuchare from here are stunningly close.  
Day 04 Trek to Ghorepani  (2750 metres) 6-7 hours walking 
The trek from Tadapani to Ghorepani involves a number of ups and downs! We pass through the villages of Banthanti and Deorali before reaching Ghorepani. Overnight at a lodge at Ghorepani.  
Day 05  Ghorepani to Tirekedhunga/Hille  (1515m) -5 to 6  hours walking We visit Poon Hill at sunrise to watch the views over Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. After breakfast we begin our walk down to Ulleri (1960m)  We stop for lunch at Ulleri and then start descending the 3000 steps to Tirkedhunga ( take it easy!). Night at Tirkedhunga or the neighbouring village Hille.

Day 06   Tirekedhunga/Hille to Birethanti to Pokhara to Kathmandu (885 metres)  2.5 hours  walking 
We leave early for Birethanti around 7 am. We gte there by 9 am and then cross the river to Nayapul. We drive from Nayapul to Pokhara 90 min and are in Pokhara for lunch. After an early lunch we go to the airport and board the afternoon 3 pm flight to Kathmandu. Night at a hotel in Kathmandu. 
Day 07   Kathmandu to home destination by flight 


 The cost of this trek is  USD 900 for foreign passports and INR Rs 46,500  for Indian  citizens. Meals not included. Please budget an additional US $ 200-250 for meals, battery charging in lodges, wifi charges, hot water in flasks etc.  Exclusions apply. 
  • Costs include:
  • Two internal flights Kathmandu to Pokhara return. 
  • Micro bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara
  • ACAP national park permit and TIMS permit for trekking in the Annapurna region
  • Travel from Pokhara to start of trek and back
  • One  night accomodation at Pokhara (Hotel Gurkha Haven) and   two nights  accomodation in Kathmandu on the way in and out  on twin sharing basis
  • All accommodation on the trek on twin sharing basis
  • Cost of porters/guides for the trek. Please note that porters will carry one duffel bag or backpack not exceeding 10 kgs in weight for each trekker comprising of personal items, clothing, sleeping bag etc.
  • Please budget an extra USD 25 per day for meals not included in the cost above
Costs not included:
  • Meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara and fooding on the trek is not included
  • Airport taxes at Kathmandu and Pokhara airports in case of flights
  • Desserts, drinks, and exotic items listed in the lodge menus are not included.
  • Alcohol, cold drinks (coca cola, sprite, beer), juices, ice cream etc on the trek and in Pokhara.
  • Client travel and medical insurance of any kind.
  • Emergency evacuation costs if needed.
  • Video camera fees in National Parks (where applicable).
  • Bottled drinks; boiled, filtered or bottled water; alcohol; snacks; tea/coffee;
  • Hot showers (Rs 200-300 per shower);
  • Personal clothing and equipment; sleeping bag; douvet/down/goretek jacket, medicines for personal use etc.
  • Air fare from home country to Nepal and back
  • Tips to porters/guides at the end of trek estimate at US $ 50 per person
For more details email or call +919831054569.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bhutan | Hotels - Some Recommendations

Tenzinling Resort at dusk
On a recent visit to Bhutan I stayed at some very nice boutique properties in Paro, Thimpu and Punakha. I am reviewing these hotels below as this would be useful for visitors to Bhutan.

Tenzinling Resort, Paro
Located about six km away from Paro town up on a hill the Tenzinling is a stylish resort with large spotless rooms, wooden flooring and modern bathrooms. Most of the rooms have a small balcony as a sit-out with views overlooking the valley. Breakfast is usually included in the tariff and is a fairly extensive buffet. There is a bar as well. During our visit the wifi was working only in the reception and lobby areas but not in the rooms. However, this is likely to be resolved soon. Recommended.
Tariff - Nu 4000 with breakfast plus taxes  for a double room Tel: +975 8 272503
Tenzinling Resort
Kisa Villa Thimpu
This is one of the finest small boutique hotels that I have stayed in. Having only fifteen rooms in two small buildings, it has a lovely small garden overlooking the Thimpu Dzong which when lit up at night presents a fairly tale view. The double rooms are large some with a small kitchen unit with refrigerator and microwave, toaster, and electric kettle. The bathrooms are large and perfectly well equipped. Wifi works perfectly both in the lobby area and in the rooms. The small restaurant has a surprisingly well equipped menu with excellent Chinese food. Highly recommended.
Tariff - Nu 5,500 including breakfast for a double room plus taxes. +975 2 338811/22 and +975 17115580.

Lobby Kisa Villa

View of Thimpu Dzong from Kisa Villa garden
Meri Puensum  Punakha
This hotel set up in 1999 is one of the oldest establishments in Punakha. Situated above the river about 6 km from the Punakha Dzong it has rooms in cottages located on the hillside. Punakha has a semi tropical climate with an altitude of only 1275 metres so the garden has tropical bougainvillea, hibiscus, poinsettia and other tropical plants. The rooms have fans and the bathrooms though small are equipped with bathtubs.
Nu 4,000 plus taxes without breakfast; ; Tel: +975 2 584195.

The main building of Meri Puensum 

The rooms are in separate units around the main building 

Terraced paddy fields near Punakha
 Hotel Olathang, Paro
This is one of the oldest hotels in Paro built in 1974 to accommodate guests at the time of the coronation of the 4th King. It is built in a grand dzong style with corridors and rooms around a central courtyard. There are also separate cottages on the expansive grounds for families and couples. The rooms are well appointed and have definitely been refurbished - the downside is that the rooms in the main hotel tend to be a little dark which is accentuated by the dark colours used on the walls and the ceilings.
Tariff: Nu 4,500  to 6,000 per night depending on the rooms/cottages plus taxes;; Tel: +975 8 271304/271305
Olathang garden 
For more photographs from Bhutan please do visit

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Puppet Theatre of Indonesia

Wayang (Krama Javanese: Ringgit ꦫꦶꦁꦒꦶꦠ꧀, "Shadow"), also known as Wajang, is a form of puppet theatre art found in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, wherein a dramatic story is told through shadows thrown by puppets and sometimes combined with human characters. The art form celebrates the Indonesian culture and artistic talent, its origins are traced to medieval era spread of Hinduism and the arrival of leather-based puppet arts called Tholu bommalata from southern India.

Wayang refers to the entire dramatic show. Sometimes the leather puppet itself is referred to as wayang. Performances of shadow puppet theatre are accompanied by a gamelan orchestra in Java, and by gender wayang in Bali. The dramatic stories play out mythologies, such as episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana, the Mahabharata as well as local adapations of cultural legends.Traditionally, a wayang is played out in a ritualized midnight to dawn show by a dalang – an artist and spiritual leader, and people watch the show from both sides of the screen.

UNESCO designated wayang kulit, a shadow puppet theatre and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. In return for the acknowledgment, UNESCO required Indonesians to preserve their heritage. Wayang has also been a significant historical art form in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some photographs  of puppets and puppet making are below:


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