Love and Gratitude for the Himalayas

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen.” – Rene Daumal

Nature has that power to enable unburdening of our hearts leading to joyous experiences of inner peace. What better place to experience nature than the higher reaches of glorious mountains!  My sincerest gratitude to the mighty Himalayas, to whom I humbly surrender each time I set my foot on them.

Coined from the Sanskrit words of ‘hima’ meaning snow and ‘alaya’ meaning abode, the Himalayas are the loftiest mountain system in the world. With more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 ft. (7,300 m.) or more above sea level, the Himalayan Range includes the highest mountains in the world.

My first encounter with the magnificently regal Himalayas happened rather abruptly – one fine day, I randomly decided to go for a trek. It was just an impulse act and I had no clue what high altitude trekking entailed. In fact, I had never trekked anywhere before. I have been a nature-lover forever and that was all I knew. That incident turned out to be the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

I will not hesitate to say that the mountains changed me in ways more than one and I have become a much better person today (at least I’d like to believe so). Many things I do today, I owe to the Himalayas – this blog for instance.

The snow-clad Himalayas are mystical mountains associated with divinity and spirituality. And, I do find the divine in them. They seem like a living-breathing entity to me watching over me, blessing me, and helping me. Possibly, it’s their tall and grandiose appearance or perhaps just the initial intimidation when I look up at them.

I always feel they have a mind of their own. I firmly believe that you can set foot on them only if they allow you do so. You can plan and desire and do what you want but in the end it’s their wish and not yours. With that in mind, I truly feel fortunate and privileged. In the last two years, I have trekked in the Himalayas five times. Without blessings from the majestic mountains, that would have never happened. Each time the mountains ensured that everything worked in our favour, which is especially true with respect to the unpredictable weather.

Earlier this month I discovered the Northern Himalayas as I trekked in Kashmir savouring the gorgeousness of the high altitude glacier-fed alpine lakes. Here are some pictures of Kashmir Great Lakes. I will write a detailed post later.

[All of these are unedited photos clicked through iPhone-6.]

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Pic 1: Vishansar or Vishnusar glimmers in the late afternoon soft sun.
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Pic 2: A flock of sheep at Vishansar Lake – blessed they are to graze on such heavenly grounds.
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Pic 3: The purity of Kishansar Lake can be felt through the sweet taste of its pristine water.
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Pic 4: Kishansar Lake as we walked away climbing the mountain along the sides.
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Pic 5: The twin lakes of Vishansar and Kishansar as seen from the top of Gadsar Pass.
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Pic 6:The green tinge of Gadsar Lake sets it apart from the bluish tinge of Vishansar and Kishansar.
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Pic 7: Shepherds with their flock in one of the Satsars. Satsar literally translates to seven lakes. 
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Pic 8: Another Satsar. Out of the seven, we could see only three. Two lie behind the mountains and are difficult to access. Two others had dried up as it was the fag end of monsoon.
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Pic 9: The twin lakes of Gangabal (R) and Nandkol (L) as seen from the top of Satsar Pass.
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Pic 10: Gangabal up close, peace and quiet reigned all around!
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Pic 11: Nandkol up close, its closer to civilisation and I was saddened to see signs of that as one side of the lake lay littered with bottles and plastic.

 

 

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

44 thoughts on “Love and Gratitude for the Himalayas”

    1. It entailed long walks with steep ascents and descents. We started from a place called Shitkadi, which is a little before Sonamarg as you travel from Srinagar. The route was really pretty especially those meadows that were carpeted with flowers of various colours. I am sure you would have gone crazy seeing all the flowers :)…I will post more later. Have been caught up with personal and official travel entire September. Leaving tomorrow again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The pictures are enchanting! I haven’t set foot in the Himalayas but I have been fortunate enough to experience the same emotions in their counterpart, the Sahyadris. The first time I climbed a hill in the range, I felt a sense of belonging but awe as well. Over the years, I have treated them with deference and in turn, they have let me explore their nooks and crannies with the occasional tap on the head when I tried to get a little too far ahead of myself 🙂
    I had heard of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek but I’d always thought the charm of the pictures was down to clever post processing. However, if they look like this in unedited pictures, I cannot even fathom their beauty in person! Amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And I haven’t been to the Sahyadris. The pictures I keep seeing and the stories that I read are so alluring and compelling that I really want to be there and see them in person someday.
    I echo your thoughts and feelings about the mountains.
    Yes, those are unedited pictures indeed as I mentioned. And that too clicked with phone and not camera. However good a picture is, it can never do justice to the place. You click one part while other parts get left out. And, how can you ever capture the other aspects like the feel of the wind, the smell of earth, etc. It was indeed very beautiful and correctly called the prettiest trek in India.
    Thank you for reading and posting your thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree! Howsoever good a picture turns out, it can never do justice to witnessing the scene in person 🙂
      I’ll try to visit the Himalayas soon and at the same time, hope that you visit the Sahyadris very soon too!
      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! Simply wow! The landscape is so beautiful that one need not try much to make photos stand out! Nonetheless, your shots are pretty well composed & framing is sensible too. Given the fact that you haven’t devoted much time in trying to learn much about photography 🙂 That makes photo enthusiasts like me “feel safe” 😀 ….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. og god!!!! waaw!!! im in love with the photography, you don’t know how much, I loved it more when I learned these photographs were taken from iphone 6 and unedited just woooooooow!!!
    Glad to know you have been influenced by Himalayas. That is such a nice thing, thank you Neel for sharing your journey, I loved it, Im going next week, this I took it like a teaser, a call of the nature, I had to share this with my friend.

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    1. Oh next week you are going! Great, have tonnes of fun. I hope you will write about it. Really looking forward to reading your experience. Kashmir is so very beautiful, anything you click from any angle just turns out to be fantastic. Thank you for visiting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like it’s a Kashmir great lake trek. These high altitude lakes are incredibly beautiful with very little human footprints except shepherds! Your pictures are beautiful, Neel. I feel pictures represents two things. One it is for your memories. Two, it is all about composition. When I look at pictures being posted on IG with high likes they have something in common. They are all highly saturated and “artificial” pictures. Something that I don’t agree with. My pictures on IG are all mobile clicks but altering it to an extent that it looks more like an art than the photo is not my idea. So where are you off to, next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that is Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Very pristine and virgin. Except Nandkol being closer to civilisation. People were fishing and there were camps right on the Bank of the lake. One side was littered very badly. I did not expect this and was disheartened especially after seeing the other lakes.
      Pictures are the best memories. Though I am not too well versed with composition and all other technicalities of photography.
      I am on way to North Carolina today for official work.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What a wonderful experience. We have just spent some time in the U.S. Rockies, foothills by comparison but beautiful nonetheless. We would love to see the Himalayas, but it is not to be. Alie does not do well at higher altitudes — an I admit a short trek left me a bit breathless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you come to India, you can see the Himalayas and feel them from the foothills somewhere up north. Those places you can drive up to and are not very high in altitude. I would love to experience the Rockies but perhaps that won’t happen for me during this lifetime 😊
      Thank you so much for reading and leaving behind your thoughts.
      I will write about Kashmir Great Lakes in greater detail later. You can see more pictures then.

      Like

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