“you must be november”

november3
different shades of blue
adorns our november sky
as the drying leaves indicate
the coming of winter in these hills

november7between age old trees
and cold colonial concrete
daily visit by these snow clad peaks
is a mesmerising sight that makes me believe

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Hatu Peak

Whenever we travel, we might have a destination
but along the way there are many stops and detours
that often determine how we got to our final destinationhatu4On our way to Hatu peak
our first stop was for chai in theog

thereafter we made an uphill climb
to hatu peak where the entire himalayan range
was lined up against the blue sky and dragon clouds
hatu5

there were these amazing rocks and
yellow wildflowers smiling on the hillside

hatu temple was up for a big event
as the chief minister of himachal was
visiting that day and i got to see him too

on the way back we stopped by this small pond
hatu11

near the pond was a Gujjar dera for the nomadic Gujjar tribe
who would set up temporary shelters when they passed through
but the driver told us it becomes a shop-stall during tourist season

then we stopped at narkhanda for lunch
at the new himalaya negi dhaba for raajma-chawal

the most interesting part of the trip was buying apples
from this boss-lady who was selling from the hood of her jeep

another discovery on the way
was this high altitude training centre

all in all, quite a good one-day getaway
from shimla to hatu and the in-between places.

 

flying visit to pokhara

in between europe and kyrgyzstan
i also made a quick trip to pokhara

and lakeside never gets old
didn’t go boating but it’s a good
reminder when i drowned in this lake

i really want to paddle board someday soon
but this trip i only looked at adverts and fantasized

we went to white rabbit coffee for brunch
and the breakfast was filling and reasonable

lakeside has a lot of good bookstores
where they also sell second hand books

since it was monsoon
the rains were inevitable

but my favourite part was a ride to the other end of lakeside
away from the touristy facade where people lived their simple lives
pkr9

victory park

we chanced on victory park
because it was just across our
air bnb in aaly tokombaev street.
since we reached while it was still light
we decided to walk around and what a find

victory park had lots of flowers and memorials
but since it was written in kyrgyz or russian language
its was difficult for us to understand but we didn’t need to
know the script to know we had arrived at a beautiful place.

the centerpiece is apparently dedicated to the blockade of Leningrad
but i loved how young people were playing cards at the bottom of it.

there are a few interesting statues
and well manicured garden with roses

i especially liked how the place transforms
to a local hangout as the sun sets and dusk settles

we too ate some horse meat wrap
and became part of evening encounters

 

osh bazar

last afternoon in bishkek we headed to osh bazar
because we needed to buy souvenirs before leaving
oshb8
and as soon as we saw this kyrgyz bread
i knew we had arrived because whenever
i would google ‘osh bazar’ images of this bread
flood my screen but as we moved around we found
horse sausages and some really good cheap dried fruits too

the souvenir stalls were interesting
they seem to use a lot of coarse wool
which feels itchy just by looking at it..

the dresses had lots of ruffles and frills
apparently to be worn during special occasions

for the men, you have the kalpak
which is a traditional kyrgyz hat and
men wear as a sign of their masculinity

of course there are other random things one can buy
from old Russian military uniforms to floppy beach hats

i wish i had more time to explore osh bazar
but what i saw and experienced was far from
what people had been saying about tourists being
randomly asked for IDs and cops demanding money etc.
oshb17
(so if you are in bishkek, do not leave without visiting osh bazar:)

 

yurt camping

yurtone thing i wanted to do in kyrgyzstan
was to spend a night in the traditional yurt

so we headed to issyk kul and
finding a yurt was our top priority

lucky for us we met aaieta -a gentle lady
who gave us food and let us camp in her yurt

yurts are the traditional tents of central asian nomads
and the kyrgyz flag even has a depiction of the yurt roof

the next morning, i was lucky to catch sunrise in yurt camp
all these tents were pitched facing the sealike issyk kul lake

and luckier for me i got in the water and
did not miss this chance to swim in issyk kul
yurt11

for breakfast, aaieta first served us chai
as she cleaned her plastic tables and chairs

the best part however was when she brought out
the issyk kul fish she had fried as we savoured its taste
and enjoyed the watermelon we got on the way to issyk kul

since it was a weekend
many locals with their families
had also made way to issyk kul beach
and we were privileged to have this experience
(because we were the only tourists there otherwise)

i only wish we could stay longer and
maybe write poems about issyk kul too
yurt23

 

 

 

Rukh Ordo at Cholpon-Ata

Rukh Ordo is a cultural center
located in the north shore of Issyk Kul lake.

It houses structures of different world religions

There are also various artwork, statues and monuments

This cultural center was constructed in honor of Chingiz Aitmativ
-a Kyrgyz writer, ambassador and a literary figure for Kyrgyz people.

Chingiz is a hero in many ways
and this place is dedicated to him

The place also included various other paintings and artwork

and there was an exhibition on Kyrgyz women’s attire

somebody told us that you can learn Kyrgyz history in this place
and one could spend hours in this center that tells the story of Kyrgyz people

besides all the history, the place also exudes serenity
so one can sit, reflect and enjoy the peaceful environment too.