Sikhs and Swords

Harry and I rush, like fools, into the stuff of rebellions. Smack bang, face-first … hurt and angry young men rise from the ground and stop us … We ride peacefully in the agricultural region of the Punjab. Then out of the blue, clusters of branches lie across the road. They stretch-out and alternate from…

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Mending Borders

Every afternoon just before sunset members of the Indian and Pakistan military meet at the border post between Attari & Wagah to engage in a display of military showmanship. Officially the purpose of the ceremony is to lower the national flag and close the borders but what really happens is a mix of formal marching,…

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The Tibetan Government in Exile

                                                        In Dharamsala we visited the Tibetan humanitarian museum to gain insight into their side of the story as exiles. Spare a thought for the plight of Tibet and…

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The last of the Tibetan highway

Kaza is one of only 2 villages in the Spiti valley and sits on the eroded flood plain of the Spiti river. It is also a spring board to the Ki Gompa. Perched on a hillock at 4116m , it is one of the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world. In Spiti there is a…

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! A Mother’s Reach !

LOSAR looms LARGE in our minds. It’s the last village before the hardest stretch of the Hindustan / Tibetan Highway. A riverbed of a road that separates two icy passes; the Kunzum La and the Rohtang La. The last translates as ‘pile of dead bodies’. Yikes! – After the hundreds of travellers who freeze to…

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The Buddhist village of Tabo

Tabo, hemmed in by scree slopes is one of only two villages in the Spiti valley. It is a windblown place riddled with caves once used by local hermits as meditation cells. The Tabo Gompa, a world heritage site was established in AD 996. Behind its mud walls are said to be some of the…

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The Hindustan Tibet highway part 4- The Spiti valley

As we travel west we enter the Spiti valley, one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. The landscape is one of rugged interlocking river valleys and high altitude deserts ,hidden in the shadow of the Himalyas, a stark contrast to the Kinnaur valley from where we have come. A chunk of Tibet…

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The Hindustan Tibet highway part 3- the medieval village of Nako

Nako (at an alitiude of 3600mm) is a small remote village in the Kinnaur valley, Himachal Pradesh. It lies in the sensitive restricted zone along the border with Tibet and is said to date back to the 8th century, when Buddhism was first introduced here. The extraordinary difficulties travelling to Nako were already reported by…

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The Hindustan Tibet Highway -Part 2 Chitkul to Rekong Peo

The Kinnaur valley, stretching from Sangla to Chitkul, is a deeply carved cleft between high mountain slopes covered by evergreen forests. Chitkul is the last stop on the old trade route to Tibet and remains the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters it is covered with the…

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The Hindustan Tibetan Highway- Part 1

The old Hindustan-Tibet Highway, built by the British as a potential invasion route into Tibet runs NE from Shimla through the Kinnaur valley’s apple  orchids, temples and villages that have not changed over the millennia. Our plan is to travel along the Sutlej river towards the greener Kinnaur valley (part 1 & 2) and then onto the high altitude…

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