Mesmerizing Ladakh – Part 2: The Ancient Leh Palace

The construction of this place was initiated by Tsewang Namgyal, the founder of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh in 1553 and was completed by his nephew Sengge Namgyal, the most illustrious king of Ladakh. It resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, though in comparison much smaller. The palace has nine storeys and the upper floors accommodated the royal family while the lower floors held stables and store rooms. The palace was abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century and the royal family moved to Stok Palace.

The material used in the construction of the palace is stone, mud bricks, poplar wood, mud mortar and wooden rafters. The mud plaster utilized locally known as Mar-kalak.

The palace is in ruins and being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and surrounding areas and in the back ground is the rising Ladakh mountain ranges. The imposing structure, speak of the royal glory of the bygone era.

Leh Mosque and in the backdrop is Leh Palace
Leh Mosque and in the backdrop is Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace
Leh Palace top
Leh Palace top
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
View from the top of the palace
Around the palace
Around the palace
Locals dressed in traditional style, posing for the camera
Locals dressed in traditional style, posing for the camera
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Mesmerizing Ladakh – Part 1: Manali to Leh, the most adventurous road trip in India

This is without doubt the most adventurous road trip in India, the highway which connects the Manali town in the state of Himachal Pradesh and Leh the erstwhile capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). This highway was designed, built and maintained entirely by the Boarder Roads Organisation (BRO) of Indian Army. This highway plays a major role in reaching the supplies to the Indian army units which are stationed in the international border with China in the north and east and the Line of Control along the Pakistani- administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north- west.

The highway is open for only about four and a half months in a year during summer between end of May when the snow is cleared and to Mid-October when the snow fall again blocks the passes. The highway has an average elevation of more than 13,000 feet and its highest elevation is 17,480 feet. It is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides featuring some stunning sand and rock natural formations and breath taking sceneries.

This 500 km highway crosses many small streams of ice-cold water from snow-caped mountains without any bridges which demands driving skill to negotiate fast-flowing streams. After passing the Rohtang Pass, the landscape changes as this region lies in a rain-shadow and the slopes become brown and arid. The highway is generally two lanes wide without a road divider but has only one or one and a half lanes at some stretches. This highway is very tricky due to many damaged stretches and under maintenance portions, where little rainfall can cause landslide making it very dangerous to cross that stretch of the road.

Travellers may experience acute mountain sickness due to high altitude on this highway and is advised to stay at Manali one night and minimum one night at either Keylong or Darcha to get acclimated to lower oxygen levels. Travel time on this highway is unpredictable though minimum three days are advised for ordinary tourists because the real fun and pleasure is in the journey itself and not reaching the destination.

Around Manali Town
Around Manali Town
Around Manali Town
Around Manali Town
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway at Marhi
On the Manali-Leh Highway at Marhi
On the Manali-Leh Highway, between Marhi and Rohtang pass you can see paragliding activities
On the Manali-Leh Highway, between Marhi and Rohtang pass you can see paragliding activities
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway, rock formations
On the Manali-Leh Highway, rock formations
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway, reaching Rohtang Pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, reaching Rohtang Pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, traffic jam at Rohtang pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Baralacha pass
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway, Sarchu
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
On the Manali-Leh Highway
Tso Moriri  Lake
Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri  Lake
Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri  Lake
Tso Moriri Lake
A long way to go
A long way to go
Wild flowers
Wild flowers
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
Tso Kar lake
On the way
On the way
Gracing yaks
Gracing yaks
Gracing yaks
Gracing yaks
Gracing yaks
Gracing yaks
At Upshi
At Upshi

ladakh-manali-to-leh-81

Jorchung Guest House where our accommodation is arranged
Jorchung Guest House where our accommodation is arranged
Jorchung guest house
Jorchung guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Around the guest house
Leh Town - Street view
Leh Town – Street view
Leh Town - Street view
Leh Town – Street view
Leh Town - Street view
Leh Town – Street view

Feathered Friends – II

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
Black Kite
Black Kite
Black Kites
Black Kites
Asian Koel - Male
Asian Koel – Male
Black Drongo
Black Drongo
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Red-wattled lapwing
Red-wattled lapwing
Red-wattled lapwing
Red-wattled lapwing
Black-winged stilt
Black-winged stilt
Red-wattled lapwings
Red-wattled lapwings
Red-wattled lapwing
Red-wattled lapwing
Red-wattled lapwings
Red-wattled lapwings
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Black-winged stilts
Red-vented bulbul
Red-vented bulbul
Green bee-eater
Green bee-eater
Indian Roller
Indian Roller
Oriental magpie-robin
Oriental magpie-robin
Oriental magpie-robin
Oriental magpie-robin
Rufous treepie
Rufous treepie
White-bellied sea eagle
White-bellied sea eagle
White-bellied sea eagle
White-bellied sea eagle
White-throated kingfisher
White-throated kingfisher

Afghan Church, Mumbai – A British legacy

The Church of St John the Evangelist better known as Afghan church is located in Navy Nagar in the Colaba area of Mumbai. This Anglican Church was built by the British to commemorate the dead of the First Afghan War and the disastrous 1842 retreat from Kabul.

When we entered the church compound it gave a deserted look. But we could locate the care taker of the church in the nearby cottage who with reluctance agreed to open the doors of the church for us to see. But the grumpy guy refused to switch on the lights inside so we could not take good pictures of the interior of the church.

The foundation stone of the church was laid in December 1847 by Sir George Russell Clerk, Governor of Bombay. The church was consecrated on January 7, 1858 by Bishop of Bombay, John Harding. The imposing edifice was constructed using locally available buff-coloured basalt and limestone. Wide gothic arches and beautiful stained glass windows, decorates the interior of the church. The floor tiles were imported from England.

This church is a Grade I, heritage structure. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a Remembrance Sunday service at the church during their visit to Mumbai in November 2013.

Afghan Church - Sign Board
Afghan Church – Sign Board
Afghan Church - Sign Board
Afghan Church – Sign Board
Afghan Church - Front View
Afghan Church – Front View
Afghan Church - the view of the bell tower
Afghan Church – the view of the bell tower
Afghan Church - The main door
Afghan Church – The main door
Afghan Church - another door
Afghan Church – another door
Afghan Church - A memorial in the church compound
Afghan Church – A memorial in the church compound
Afghan Church - A view from the back side of the church
Afghan Church – A view from the back side of the church
Afghan Church - Interior
Afghan Church – Interior
Afghan Church - Interior
Afghan Church – Interior
Afghan Church - The altar
Afghan Church – The altar
Afghan Church - The original stained glass designs
Afghan Church – The original stained glass designs
Afghan Church - Interior
Afghan Church – Interior
Afghan Church - Interior
Afghan Church – Interior
Afghan Church - Interior
Afghan Church – Interior

Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) and Railway Heritage Gallery Tour

Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (CST) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai, India. This historic railway station is one of the busiest in India. Built in 1887 this gothic structure is the most photographed monument in India after the Taj Mahal. Originally it was called Victoria Terminus and was intended to house the main station and the administrative offices of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway the predecessor of Indian Railway. In March 1996 its name was changed to Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus and known simply as CST. The CST has 18 platforms out of which 7 are reserved for local suburban trains and 11 are for long distance out-station trains.

Very few people are aware of the the existence of a Railway Heritage Gallery in the CST building which has a nice collection of old engines and other artefacts used by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. This gallery is functional since December 2012 and is open to the public along with a guided tour of the heritage CST building. The areas covered in the tour are:

a) Heritage Gallery at Ground Floor
b) Dining Hall at Ground Floor
c) Central Dome View from Ground Floor
d) Star Chamber view from Ground Floor
e) Heritage Lounge at Second Floor
f) Four-Court at Ground Floor

The tour also includes tea and biscuits in the Heritage Lounge at second floor.

Heritage Tour Timings: 3PM to 5PM on Week days only.
Price: Rs. 200/- per Person & Rs. 100/- per Student

Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – Front view
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – View of the central dome
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) - The Heritage Gallery
Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) – The Heritage Gallery
Exhibits in the corridor
Exhibits in the corridor
The corridor
The corridor
Exhibits in the corridor
Exhibits in the corridor
One of the doors
One of the doors
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery

cst-victoria-terminus-17

Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery - a model of the CST building
Exhibits from the heritage gallery – a model of the CST building
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
Exhibits from the heritage gallery
The stained glass door
The stained glass door
The main door of the building
The main door of the building
At the entrance
At the entrance
The central dome from inside
The central dome from inside
The staircase
The staircase
One of the doors
One of the doors
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
The staircase
The staircase
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view of the central dome
Interior view of the central dome
Interior view of the central dome
Interior view of the central dome
Interior view
Interior view
View from the second floor corridor
View from the second floor corridor
The spiral staircase which leads to the top floor which is not opened for visitors
The spiral staircase which leads to the top floor which is not opened for visitors
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
Interior view
View of the second floor corridor
View of the second floor corridor
Interior view
Interior view
Second floor corridor
Second floor corridor
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
The heritage lounge at second floor, where visitors are served tea
The heritage lounge at second floor, where visitors are served tea
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
View of the star chamber from first floor
Closer view of the central dome from the first floor balcony
Closer view of the central dome from the first floor balcony
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
View of the BMC building (another heritage structure) from the first floor balcony
View of the BMC building (another heritage structure) from the first floor balcony
An ornamental window
An ornamental window
Closer view of the structure
Closer view of the structure
Details
Details
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The dining hall at ground floor
The main entrance
The main entrance
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
The main entrance view
The main entrance view
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court
View from the fore-court

Just below the clock was a statue of Queen Victoria which was damaged by a lightning many decades ago and was never replaced.

The visitors pass
The visitors pass
From the forecourt
From the forecourt

Feathered Friends – I

Observing them is bliss…

Purple Sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple Sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Common Myna - From Seawoods, April 2016
Common Myna – From Seawoods, April 2016
Common Myna - From Seawoods, April 2016
Common Myna – From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Pond Heron - From Seawoods, April 2016
Pond Heron – From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt - From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt – From Seawoods, April 2016
Little Cormorant - From Seawoods, April 2016
Little Cormorant – From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt - From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt – From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt - From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt – From Seawoods, April 2016
Ashy Prinia - From Seawoods, April 2016
Ashy Prinia – From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt - From Seawoods, April 2016
Black-winged stilt – From Seawoods, April 2016
Green bee-eater  - From Seawoods, April 2016
Green bee-eater – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (male) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (male) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (male) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (male) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (female) - From Seawoods, April 2016
Purple sunbird (female) – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Terns - From Seawoods, April 2016
Terns – From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret - From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret – From Seawoods, April 2016
Brown headed tern in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Brown headed tern in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Brown headed tern - From Seawoods, April 2016
Brown headed tern – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos in flight – From Seawoods, April 2016
Heron - From Seawoods, April 2016
Heron – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos – From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos - From Seawoods, April 2016
Flamingos – From Seawoods, April 2016
Plovers - From Seawoods, April 2016
Plovers – From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret - From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret – From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret - From Seawoods, April 2016
Egret – From Seawoods, April 2016