Tag Archives: nature

Interesting Facts about Ladakh

The place brings peace to soul

The Bailey Bridge in Ladakh is the highest Bridge

A Bailey bridge between the Suru River and Dras River in Ladakh, India is the highest bridge in the world at an altitude of 5,602 metres  above sea level. It was built in 1982 by the Indian

Only place in India where twin Humped camel only be found

The Bactrian camel (two-humped) is a large, even-toed ungulate native. The Bactrian camel has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel, they are rare compared to single hump camels

Zero-Gravity Hill

Technically speaking the Magnetic Hill of Ladakh is an optical illusion. Although it looks like an uphill route, it is actually downhill. So, if you leave your vehicle in neutral and turn off the ignition, it would look like your car is being pulled uphill.

Their Own Calendar

While the rest of the world follows the Georgian calendar, the Ladakhis follow the Tibetan calendar. Under this calendar, each year has 12 months with 30 days in each. It looks pretty normal, right? Well, here is where it starts to get weird. Every third year will have 13 months. The months do not have any name and are just numbered. The days are named after the five visible planets, the sun, and the moon. That extra month in every third year is added at the time of any auspicious days and any inauspicious weeks or days are just cut off from the calendar.

Highest Desert In The World

Katpana desert is the highest desert in the world, located 2,226m above the mean sea level. This desert runs between Khaplu Valley and Nubra Valley (Ladakh)

It has the highest natural ice hockey ring:

 The Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink in Ladakh is the world’s highest natural ice hockey rink. This rink comes to life during winters when the subzero temperatures are superior throughout the day. Winter sports are popular on a wide scale on this naturally built rink. Whereas the history of this sport in Ladakh dates back to the early 70s.

The most visited “high grassland lake”

Pangong Tso means “high grassland lake” in the Tibetan language. Commonly referred to as Pangong Lake, it is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at the height of about 4,350 meters. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being a salt lake.

ROOPKUND: SKELETON LAKE

ROOPKUND locally known as skeleton Lake or Mysterious Lake , It’s lies in the Lap of Trishul  Massif , located in the Himalayas. It’s a high altitude glacial lake in the Uttarak hand  Roopkund is one of the important places for trekking in Chamoli District, Himalayas, near the base of two Himalayan peaks: Trisul (7,120 m) and Nanda Ghunti (6,310 m)  The Lake is flanked by a rock face named Junargali to the North and a peak named Chandania Kot to the East. Roopkund lake is covered with ice for most of the year Roopkund is known as a mystery lake and is surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains. The lake is about two metres deep and invites hundreds of trekkers and pilgrims every year

IN 1942 A BRITISH FOREST guard in Roopkund, India made an alarming discovery. Some 16,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake absolutely full of skeletons. That summer, the ice melting revealed even more skeletal remains, floating in the water and lying haphazardly around the lake’s edges.

SKELETON AT ROOPKUND

Something horrible had happened here. The immediate assumption (it being war time) was that these were the remains of Japanese soldiers who had died of exposure while sneaking through India. The British government, terrified of a Japanese land invasion, sent a team of investigators to determine if this was true. However upon examination they realized these bones were not from Japanese soldiers—they weren’t fresh enough. As it turns out, all the bodies date to around 850 AD. DNA evidence indicates that there were two distinct groups of people, one a family or tribe of closely related individuals, and a second smaller, shorter group of locals, likely hired as porters and guides. Rings, spears, leather shoes, and bamboo staves were found, leading experts to believe that the group was comprised of pilgrims heading through the valley with the help of the locals.The researchers concluded that the death was due to a fatal blow on the back of their heads and not due to any wound by weapons, avalanche or landslide. The marks on their skulls and shoulders indicated at being hit by something round, like a cricket ball. The absence of injuries to other body parts indicated that hard round objects, possibly cricket ball sized hail stones or ice balls, fell from above.

Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong God’s own garden ,The cleanest village in Asia . It’s a small village in East Khasi Hills district Meghalaya state in North east India .In 2003 It was awarded the title ” cleanest village In Asia” by Discover India. a mysterious paradise, a place far from city life’s pollution .cleaniless really a great achievememt when whole country is struggle for “swachata” along with this the village has approx hundred percent literacy rate and highly progressive scenario for women.

Mawlynnong is located 90km from Shilong , along the India Bangladesh Border. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the local population. Here weather is pleasant all throughout the year, still the best time to visit is Moonsoon. During rainy season village and it’s surroundings become lush green .

each and every house of this village has functional toilets and the whole locality is provided with baboo dustbins,every waste product even dry leaves go into dustbin . Plastic and smoking strictly prohibited here. The Khasi tribe is the biggest attraction of this small village. This is a famous tribe and is well ahead of the patriarchal notions. In this tribe, children inherit their mother’s surnames and property is also passed through the matrilineal lines. Mawlynnong with all these features, proves that women empowerment is completely possible if people are convinced enough.

Living roots bridges,This natural wonder has been declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The living route bridges are a phenomenon in itself. The bridges connect the aerial roots of one giant rubber tree and make a bridge hanging above the river. These bridges take years to self construct and can accommodate fifty to seventy people at a time.

Khasis in Mawlynnong are devout Christians. Surrounded by orange and palm trees, stands a 100-year-old church in the village called ‘Church of the Epiphany’. Narrow stone paths with plants bearing orange flowers reach out to the Church, which is a black and white structure exuding an old-world charm. There are no houses that rise above the Church spire.

natural beauty , simle people ,culture, local dishes , a strange blissful peace and” cleaniness” makes MAWLYNNONG a destination of relief .

SHILLONG

Location

Shillong is a hill station in the northeastern part of India and the capital of Meghalaya, which means “The Abode of Clouds”. Shillong lies on the Shillong Plateau, the only major uplifted structure in the northern Indian shield. The city lies in the centre of the plateau and is surrounded by hills, three of which are revered in Khasi tradition: Lum Sohpetbneng, Lum Diengiei, and Lum Shillong.

It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district. Shillong is the 330th most populous city in India with a population of 143,229 according to the 2011 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the British of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the “Scotland of the East”.

Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is just 100 km from Guwahati, which can be accessed by road along NH 40, a journey of about 2 hours 30 minutes through lush green hills and the magnificent Umiam Lake in between.

History

The Shillong Municipal Board has a long history dating back to 1878, when a proclamation was issued constituting Shillong and its suburbs, including the villages of Mawkhar and Laban, into a station under the Bengal Municipal Act of 1876. Inclusion of the villages of Mawkhar and Laban (Lumparing, Madan laban, Kench’s Trace and Rilbong) within the Municipality of Shillong was agreed to by Hain Manik Syiem of Mylliem under the agreement of 15 November 1878. But, there is no trace of Shillong in the British era maps dating back to 1878, up to 1900.

Shillong was also the subject of the great earthquake that occurred on 12 June 1897. The earthquake had an estimated moment magnitude of 8.1. Twenty-seven lives from Shillong town alone were lost and a major part of the town was destroyed.

How to go

By air: Shillong Airport in Umroi is a small airport that is available for the flights and is located at a distance of 40 km from Shillong. Bus services are provided by Meghalaya Transport Corporation from the airport to the various cities of the state. There are regular flights from Shillong to Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and various other destinations.

 By rail: There are as such no proper rail lines in Meghalaya. Guwahati railway station is the nearest railway station situated at a distance of 105 Km from Shillong. The city is well connected to all other major cities of the country via rail medium. There are also taxi as well as bus facility for Shillong.

By road: Assam State Transport Corporation and Meghalaya Transport Corporation run buses from Guwahati to Shillong. The main interstate bus stand is located near to Guwahati railway station. Reasonable prices for different types of buses like AC, AC Sleeper, luxury and Volvo buses are available for Shillong. Some of the places nearby which you can visit are Cherrapunji and Jowai.

Places to visit

Umiam Lake: Umiam Lake, a mesmerizing man-made reservoir, is located at a distance of 15 kilometres north of Shillong which is the capital of the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya. The lake was formed after a dam was constructed to generate hydroelectric power. The scenic Umiam Lake is encircled by lush green East Khasi hills that form one of the best panoramic sights for nature-lovers in the country. The sunrise at the lake is a treat to watch and shouldn’t be missed. The Umiam Lake has a park adjoining it which is a hotspot for picnics and frequented by locals for a getaway from their busy scheduled.

 Elephant Falls: Named after an Elephant like stone at its foot, the Elephant Falls are amongst the most popular falls in the North-East, situated next to Shillong. It is a tourists’ paradise with three layers of the falls accessible to the layman from different vantage points. The Britishers named this fall so owing to the presence of an elephant-shaped rock on one side of the fall. However, the stone disintegrated and was washed away due to an earthquake in 1897. Elephant Waterfalls is a superb place for spending some time in the midst of nature while capturing the incredible moments for your keepsake.

Police Bazaar: Police Bazaar is the major market of Shillong, and a popular shopping haunt for locals and tourists alike. In addition to an array of restaurants, hotels and big brand stores, the Police Bazaar also has a flea market section which is pocket-friendly and draws the maximum number of tourists owing to its traditional handicrafts stores, exquisite Meghalaya merchandise, regional apparels, junk jewellery and the like. The colourful market is thronged by shopping enthusiasts as well as foodies.

Laitlum Canyons: Perched on the East Khasi Hills, Laitlum Canyons is a less explored but one of the most picturesque tourist and trekking destinations in Shillong. The canyons are located about 21 kilometers south of Shillong which is about a half-hour drive away. Literally, translating to ‘End of hills’, this exotic viewing site offers the best panoramic views of the whole of Meghalaya embraced by the majestic hills and valleys. The spot is secluded and serene, ideal for quiet and peaceful getaways. It can be visited by families, friend groups as well as couples. To catch this place at its best, visit Laitlum Canyons either during sunrise or sunset.

Shillong Peak: At the height of 6449 ft or 1965 m above sea level, Shillong Peak is the highest point of Shillong. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire city, the Himalayas, its waterfalls as well as of the Bangladesh plains. A telescope is available for tourists to get a bird’s eye view. Trekking up to this semi-circular Shillong Peak is highly recommended for the best views but it is often bounded by heavy fog.

Mawphlang: Mawphlang, home to Meghalaya’s Sacred Forest, is a beautiful village situated 25 kilometres away from Shillong, the capital city of the north-east Indian state of Meghalaya. The village lies in the district of East Khasi Hills and is famous for its sacred groves. The village is named Mawphlang as it is one of the several monoliths in the Khasi Hills. The name Mawphlang means Grassy Stone and is a land of legendary stories, sacrifices and unique culture. For the ones who want a glimpse of the tradition, culture and lifestyle of the Khasis that is fading away in the modern world, Mawphlang is the place to visit.

Ward’s Lake: A pretty artificial lake surrounded by gardens is an ideal evening get away! Also known as the Polok Lake, it is usually flocked by couples, picnickers and locals.

Don Bosco Museum: Hailed as Asia’s largest Museum of Indigenous Cultures, the Don Bosco Museum is the house of the beautiful culture and tradition of North East India. It is conveniently located in the Mawlai area, near the Police Bazaar. With its seven storeys, it rises into the skyline of Shillong and flaunts 16 laid out galleries that showcase artifacts, paintings, figures significant to the Northeastern culture. Not only do these provide a feast to the eyes of the visitors, but also give an insight into the lifestyle of the North-Eastern people.

David Scott Trail: Most popular trekking routes of Meghalaya, this path was originally laid by David Scott, a British officer as early as in the 1800s. It is still used to commute between Assam and Bangladesh.

Mawlynnong: Mawlynnong is a small village situated around 90 km from Shillong in the East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya and is also known as God’s own Garden. It was declared as the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 by Discovery India which certainly which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Indian state. Mawlynnong village is a community-based ecotourism initiative where the entire community made collective efforts in making and maintaining the cleanliness of the village.

Why visit Shillong?

Rarest and friendly tribes: The Shillong population mostly belongs to the Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christian. There are also a significant number of Assamese, Bengali and Nepali minorities. An interesting aspect of the Khasis is that they are a matrilineal society. Therefore the mother’s surname is passed on to the children and the youngest daughter inherits the ancestral property.

Can you imagine the celebration the birth of a daughter entails? And the special pampering the youngest daughter receives?

Thrilling peak: Located at a height of 1,496 meters above sea level, Shillong is a great destination and a treat for nature lovers. Situated 10 kilometers from the city, the Shillong Peak offers spectacular views of the city from a lofty height of 1,965 meters above sea level. Being the highest point in Shillong, it gives impressive views of lush greenery and cascading waterfalls. On a cloudless day you will be able to view the majestic Himalayan peaks and the forever inundated Bangladesh plains in the distance. The Indian Air Force has its radar station here.

Cherapunjee: Meghalaya or the Abode of the Clouds is famous for Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, which are the wettest places on earth. This makes it a popular monsoon destination. Cherrapunji, which lies 15 kilometer to the east of Shillong, offers guest houses, resorts, cottages and home-stays for visitors. Eating in Cherrapunji is a great experience. You can enjoy the succulent Khasi cuisine like pork rice. Sohra Pulao, which is rice cooked with oil and vegetables without spices, should not be missed.

Living Root Bridges: Deep in the dense tropical forests of Meghalaya, and shrouded in cloud and rain for much of the year, are some astonishing natural wonders. Known as living root bridges, and preserved as UNESCO heritage site, these roots of ancient rubber trees or Ficus Elastica have been trained by the Khasi tribesmen, to grow in a tangled mess, which have then been intertwined and intermingled to form double and single decker root bridges that are intriguing the world. Strong as they are, the bridges take 10 to 15 years to become functional enough to hold the weight of more than 50 people at a time. The wonderful bridges are alive and still growing and thus get stronger over time.

Mawsmai Caves: Meghalaya has the longest cave system of India situated in the Jaintia Hills. Of them all, Mawsmai are easily the most favourite caves for many travellers, as it is one of the few caves one can explore without a guide. Just about 6 kilometers from the main town of Cherrapunji and an enchanting drive through golden autumnal grasslands, one finally reaches a thick grove. Mawsmai, the limestone caves, lie hidden beneath these trees! The cave has a wide opening but it soon gets narrower and is best avoided if one is claustrophobic, has health issues or weight problems.

The cave is a one way road, so the adventurous visitor enters from one end and goes out of the other. In the middle, there are places where you’ve to bend and squeeze yourself out. The channel gets narrower and the walking pace is slow, but there is no turning back! The cave is well lit with electricity and you can see each and every detail of the rock formation.

The colours and shapes come alive and you can interpret different figures for the fun of it. Rocks glint in the light as water drips down from the stone tips. It’s a marvel how these tiny drops change the appearance of hard rocks, working on them tirelessly for decades like a patient artist. With bats and insects flying around, tiny passages where one shrinks and crawls, shadows and shapes filling the air and the thrill of being inside a cave, the mere 150 meters of the cave length appears unending and hugely exciting.

So what are you waiting for? Pack up your bags and set out to seek the unknown!

Who Does This Body Belong To?

Remember the Magic Mirror from Snow White? The one who always answered in the affirmative that the Queen was the fairest of all in the whole world?

I feel this was specifically scripted for young little girls who are coming of age just so they could understand that each of them is the fairest (read: unique).

Whenever you look into the mirror what do you see? Is there anything about your appearance that you like? Is the anything you want to change, or maybe alter in some way? Is the number of things you want to change more than the number of things you like?

Most people see at least one aspect of themselves that they don’t like. Worrying about the body image has been rooted deep in our minds from a very young age. Constant media exposure of flawless human beings without an ounce of shortcomings has been fed to our minds since birth. Magazines are filled with articles on how to get a toned stomach or six-pack abs, those sharp cheekbones or, a sexy summer body. No wonder there is an increase in the number of people facing body image issues.

body1

Someone is slightly annoyed by a tiny birthmark above her left eyebrow. Someone spends all her time to exercise for leaner legs. Then there is almost every other girl not happy with her flabby stomach. Many-a-times people develop an obsession with a small body part that comes to rule their lives. These flaws intrude every waking moment of the people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is a mental health disorder, characterized by a continuous obsession a body part. This is the cause of severe distress that interferes with their daily functioning and the worst part of it all is the flaw that is affecting the person so much may even be nonexistent or barely visible to others.

The issue is so deeply ingrained in the minds of people that they don’t even realize they are body shaming someone. A little remark here from your grandmother and a little poke there your brother could make all the difference. Even if at first you feel there is nothing wrong with your body, the frequent gibes and quips add up one day and you slowly give in to the cultural expectation that everybody is inherently flawed.

Then there comes a point when, if something cannot be changed, you simply accept it for what it is and stop wishing for something different before it consumes you wholly. This is your moment of acceptance.

body2

Even if you feel you are flawed in some way, be grateful that you are still breathing. Listen to the needs of your body; no one knows it better than you do. It is the home of your soul and it needs nourishment and nurturing. Rewire your brain to interrupt your negative thoughts. Most importantly, re-evaluate your self- worth. Meditation makes you more aware of your body and soul. A radical shift in self-worth can be experienced in a few days’ time.

People get so caught up in one small thing they don’t like about themselves. You need to remember that salt and baking powder go into a cake and those things taste funny alone but the cake turns out to be pretty delicious.

Image Courtesy: GOOGLE

Limbo of the Lost

Growing up you solve so many puzzles – picture puzzles, riddles, and word quizzes – so that your mind gets accustomed to questioning everything around you. This develops in you an inquisitive nature and you start to see mysteries in everyday things around you. You try to question the existence of some things and the non-existence of others. In this world full of mysteries, one such mystery is that of the Bermuda Triangle.

bermuda

Also known as the Devil’s Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle is a section of the Atlantic Ocean, roughly bounded by Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Mythical literature revels in the stories of ghost ships, of airplanes disappearing forever, and of instruments going haywire around the Bermuda Triangle. But these are just fanciful theories; there is no solid proof that these types of mysterious disappearances occur less in the other well-traveled sections of the ocean than they do in the Bermuda Triangle. As a matter of fact, there are many people who navigate the Bermuda Triangle on a daily basis without any incident. So why do we still think of Bermuda Triangle as an unsolved mystery?

Covering about 500,000 square miles of the ocean, the area was sailed through by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage. He reported that a great flame of fire crashed into the sea which was probably a meteor. Also, his observations about the erratic compass readings could be explained by the fact that at that time a sliver of the Bermuda Triangle was one of the few places on earth where the true north and the magnetic north aligned together.

Reports of unexplained disappearances started capturing people’s interest around the early twentieth century when the USS Cyclops, a 542-meter long navy ship with 300 men and thousands of ton of manganese onboard, sank somewhere between Barbados and the Chesapeake Bay in 1918. Although they were equipped to do so, the Cyclops never sent an SOS distress call and the extensive search yielded no wreckage.

After that, an alleged pattern started to form when five navy bombers carrying 14 got severely lost in the area in 1945. The nave bombers were forced to ditch at sea when they ran low on fuel. A rescue plane with 13 men also disappeared while searching for them. Even a weeks-long investigation failed to turn up any evidence.

triangle

In a 1946 magazine article, author Vincent Gaddis coined the phrase “Bermuda Triangle” for the first time after which it became a sensational legend with reports of planes going down despite having just sent “all’s well” messages. Paranormal writers blamed the triangle’s lethality on everything from aliens and Atlantis to time warps and reverse gravity fields while scientific theories, on the other hand, pointed to magnetic anomalies, waterspouts, and methane gas eruptions from the ocean floor.

In all probability, however, many don’t recognize the Bermuda Triangle as a hazardous place. There is no single theory that solves the mystery but there has been nothing discovered indicating the casualties were a result of anything other than physical harm. No extraordinary factors have ever been identified.

Image Courtesy: Google

Ring of Fire: Mystery of the dark sky

Solar eclipse captured by a professional photographer.
An image of a solar eclipse captured on a camera.

Nature has hundreds, thousands, and many more of underlying mysteries unsolved. It has left us astonished, including the researchers, scientists, and even us, while endorsing the creation of the beautiful environment around us. Let us decode the riddle all about the ring of fire. Ring of fire may confuse you with the area in the Pacific Ocean, but here it’s about the solar solstice.

This year, you will observe one of the rarest eclipses, the ring of fire. But what is the solar solstice, you might have come across this term while you’ve studied environmental science in your childhood. The word originated from the Old French solstice and from the Latin sōlstitium where sōl means the Sun and sistō refers to stand still. The solstice happens two times every year in June and December when the Sun arrives at its one of the unique positions in the sky as we can see from the North Pole or the South Pole. Solar Eclipse, on the other hand, refers to when the Moon is directly between the Sun and the planet Earth, which usually occurs twice in a year and can go up to 5 of them in a year occasionally.

The most significant thing is that how do you observe this spectacular event. During this occasion, wearing proper eye protection is a must, or else it can cause retinal burns. Even a slight revelation to this light can destroy cells in the retina: vision, one of the essential senses through which we can watch the world around us through the brain, you cannot risk to lose it. We can use a pinhole projector, which can be your next science-related DIY project, as one of the methods to observe it properly. There are other methods like telescope attached with solar filters, or you can even watch them online when the various astronomical organisations broadcast it around the world.

We always had a desire to look into the Sun directly in the sky and go blank for a while, unable to see things for the next few minutes. But this opportunity allows us to see the Sun in its most enthralling form. On June 21, 2020, the first solar eclipse in the year full of events like the recent pandemic, which affected everyone directly and indirectly. Now when Mother Earth has been recovering to its fullest, this will be one of the most awaited moments of the year to capture and create some positive memories. You can check the path of the eclipse on the official NASA site mentioned below.

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2020Jun21Agoogle.html

Eclipses have occurred several times throughout the history of humanity. There are several myths which leads to a reason that some of us take it in a positive manner or vice-versa. In the end, it teaches us the fact that there is always a way to light after every darkness, no matter how deep or bad memories do you go through, there is still a way to recover from it. In the 21st century, where science and technology are advancing day by day, but watching out nature’s fantasies, is what still keeps us connected to the field of astronomy, history, and beliefs and can be a motivational factor for the growth of a positive character within you.