Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Our first encounter with the Kanchenjunga - A Photo Blog

It is the third highest mountain in the world, and the highest in India. Located on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, the name of the mountain range is written in various ways – Kangchenjunga, Kang-cheng-Dzo-nga and Kanchanjanga, among others. It is most commonly called ‘Kanchenjunga’, and it is one of the few mountain ranges so revered that even now, the peak is never scaled, out of respect for local sentiments.

The mountain’s name is said to come from the Tibetan phrase – Five Treasures of the Great Snow. The number refers to the five major peaks, and also to the five actual treasures  - Gold, Silver, Gems, Food Grains and Religious Texts.

These ranges are famed for disappearing for days at a stretch, behind clouds, showing no sign of existence, but we were lucky. We had our first sight of the majestic mountain range as we approached Darjeeling…

The peaks loomed over Tathagata Farms, where we stayed, far from the madding crowds of Darjeeling…

Over the next few days, as we explored Sikkim, the weather stayed clear, and the mountains watched over us, towering over the region like an omnipresent deity. No wonder the locals revere them!

They are also the biggest draw for tourists in the area, and the most visited places are the points which provide the best view of the ranges. We didn’t go to Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, but managed to the sun rise over the ranges, bathing them in a golden glow, near Baiguney in West Sikkim. I have already written about it here.

At Namchi, the Padmasambhava statue has a superb view of the snow-capped mountains…

and visitors at the TEMI Tea Estates click the mountains more than the plantation!

Around Gangtok, the best viewpoints also double up as temples, the only ones we visited in the region. The Hanuman Tok is, as the name suggests, a shrine to Hanuman. As at many mountains, it is also believed that he rested here while returning with the Sanjeevani mountain. The shrine is a relatively recent one, with an idol of the God installed in the 1950s by an officer posted here. The view of course, is magnificent….

The other point is Ganesh Tok, which is of course, a temple to Ganesha. This is an even more modern affair, but again, the view is what grabs the most attention.

However, the best view we had of the  Kanchenjunga wasn’t from any of these points, but somewhere near the Nathu La pass, when we visited the temple to Baba Harbhajan Singh.

The clouds had begun to set in, and had begun to cover the mountains. Yet, it was an impressive sight. It was here that we could see how the mountains changed as we approached the mighty range, and we finally realized just how lucky we were, that we had seen the mighty sentinels of this region, for over a week, without a single cloud obscuring them!

Here, seeing the mountains so close, and yet so far, so high, almost touching the skies, they did feel divine! 


  1. That's some grand views of Kanchenjunga! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Neelima! It feels wonderful hearing that, esp from you :D

  2. Majestic mountain range. Beautifully explained. Thanks.

  3. So majestic! Mountains like this give me a sense of peace and happiness. As a matter of fact, as I read your blog and enjoyed your photos, I have a postcard of the Grand Teton range in winter propped against my computer. :) The Tetons (in Wyoming, USA) are impressive, but would be only foothills compared to the heights of this mountain range. Thank you for the beautiful post, Anuradha!

    1. Thank you Natalie! I guess mountains everywhere are beautiful, no matter what the size. But of course, the impressiveness increases with size :D which means i have lots more to see and be impressed by :D you know what, you should plan a trip to India, and we should meet!

  4. Hi Anuradha,
    Seeing your post on The Kanchenjunga really captivated me and inspired me to pack my bags and leave for Sikkim. The pictures of the Kanchenjunga truly were majestic and unreal. You are very lucky to get a week of clear skies. I wish that would be the case when I visit, cheers.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

The Power of 8 - The Ashta Dikpalas and Ashta Vasus at Khajuraho

The four cardinal directions form the axis on which a temple is built, and are thus the basis of temple architecture. Leading from them are the eight directions, which are believed to be guarded by the eight guardians, or Ashta Dikpalas . In the temples of Khajuraho, great care has been taken by the sculptors to carve the Ashta Dikpalas on the walls, both inside and outside. They not only guard the temple, but also look over us as we circumambulate the shrine, protecting us by their presence. They are augmented by the Ashta Vasus , celestial beings which represent natural phenomena. Together, they enhance the idea of the temple as cosmos, enfolding within it, all the aspects of nature, both, on earth, as well in space.