Dawki: A river paradise

I was a little undecided between going to Dawki or making a long trip to Tura. And my Airbnb host in Shillong had almost decided to convince me to head to Dawki. He got his phone and scrolled down to show me pictures of Dawki. An established photographer himself, he didn’t have to put much…

Inside the sacred forests of Mawphlang

In every turn in Meghalaya nature has a story to tell. Amongst the brooding mountains and the fiery skies, living root bridges, and natural swimming pools, the dark Khasi forests have a completely different story to tell. Among the gushing rivulets, whispering trees, and sacrificial stones, there are cultural secrets and sermons that have been…

The monoliths and old tales of sacrifices from Nartiang

A magical waterfall straight out of Kipling’s pages – that’s how my friend Brad described Krangshuri falls. His words were enough to transport us to that dreamy landscape. And his words inspired a lot of imagery in my mind. One thing about Meghalaya is that there is never an overdo of waterfalls. After all, you…

The pristine Pelling

Trust me, in Sikkim, you desire nothing more than clear views of the Kanchenjunga range. From the time one arrives in Gangtok, one can feel the pull of this snowcapped, lofty range. You wake up in the morning to capture the orange hue of the rising sun over the mountains and in the evening the…

The magical ride to Yumthang valley

I could not visit the Yumthang valley when I came to Sikkim six years back. That thought lingered somewhere, and that wish to be here in a magical valley strewn with zillions of wildflowers swinging and swaying along a gorgeous riverside, remained. And while I didn’t make it in the spring which is touted as…

Sikkim secrets: Learning to slow down in Kewzing

I took a detour off the main road and followed a narrow, slippery trail that cuts through a forest of chestnut, birch, and other deciduous trees. The narrow trail went on, and I continued believing in my instincts and the instructions of the locals who had led me here. At some time, a soft voice…

Hornbill Festival: A cultural cauldron

Nagaland hung in my mind like a dream. With all its history of cordite and crackle of gun, Nagaland is a compelling place, a cultural cauldron of 16 tribes and numerous sub-tribes, hiding the world of animism: head heading, feathered, bearded, horned with warrior mettle; in their sleek jeans and chic hairstyles. But the warrior…

Khonoma: The land out there…

This historic Angami – Naga village was the site of two ferocious Anglo – Naga war in 1879 – 80 and Indo-Naga war in 1956. Fondly tucked between towering mountain ridges, with emerald paddy fields carpeting the valley, Khonoma looks artistically traditional. Ever heard of a village that twice, brought the British army juggernaut in…

Tales from a headhunters’ land

Conversing with a nonagenarian is like collecting some pages off the calendar or redrawing some history from a person who barely remembers what he had in the morning for breakfast. Indeed a tedious task. But, the moment you ask of his good old fighting days, the geriatric time machine turns a raconteur; the years dissolve…

Quiet mountains of Namchi

Think of Sikkim and the images of snow clad peaks, terraced rice fields, lushly forested hills, misty clouds setting in the deep valleys, whispering falls and mesmerizing cascades fall before your eyes. Sikkim is a painter’s dream – a beautiful landscape sketched by the creator. With these thoughts we set out for this land of…

The indescribable: Lake Loktak

Never before had escapade to the countryside been so quixotic than one to countryside of Manipur. The vibrant images of blue-green hills, cascading rivulets, canals dotting the landscape, and carpet of flowers adorning the hills followed us. The smog of the Imphal city had thinned, sky turned azure blue and the plains were hued with…

Living on the edge: Imphal

A chubby faced Ima in the Imphal’s sprawling Ima’s market was talking in sing song Hindi and insisting me to buy her traditional Manipuri shawl. By then I had spent all cash I had with me and I chose to quickly drift through this group of sharp eyed Imas’ calling out from beside their towering…

Shillong: Walk among the clouds

Perfect landscapes with a complementary offer of an eclectic mix of nature, culture and history and a hint of friendliness in every face, well do you need anything more to make your vacation more romantic. Hmm, just add long walks on clean, decked up footpaths and manicured lawns alongside a lake, a ride through gushing…

Mawlynnong: Gods own garden

Welcome to Mawlynnong or ‘God’s own garden’ reads a simple metal board on the edge of a curve as we drive through serpentine roads of East Khasi hills. All along my drive, beautifully laid brooms made out from locally grown soft grass and some happy faces carrying this load on their backs can be spotted….

Iced in April: North Sikkim

A valley of stark landscapes with snowy peaks touching the sky, gurgling rivers dotting the highlands and an ancient civilization that has survived for thousands of years preserving its cultural heritage against the onslaughts of modernity; North Sikkim offers such a panoramic natural and cultural vista that can keep a travel photographer in a click…