Tag Archives: Spiti

Chhering – A Guiding Star

This article has appeared in the June issue of Terrascape

Travelling with a knowledgeable guide makes a trip worth it. And if the guide is someone like Chhering, you’ll cherish the trip all your life.

Kee Monastery, Spiti
Kee Monastery, Spiti

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of human beings, the inquisitive and the conformist. It is the inquisitive kinds who try new things; experiment, ask questions, make most discoveries, travel to unchartered territories and constantly venture into terrain, geographic and cephalic, where angels fear to tread. The conformist does none of the above. They travel only the well-trodden path, visit places where the food, the hotel, the weather, in fact nothing whatsoever has the potential of throwing up a surprise.

The world cannot exist without either. The inquisitive opens up the world, both physically and in terms of ideas, while the conformist fashions new territories – geographical and cerebral – habitable and familiar for others and prepares the ground for the next generation of the inquisitive to venture beyond what has by then become familiar.

It is a fact that I am not one of those who can be included among the ‘inquisitive’, not in the sense in which I use the term here. It is equally true that I do not want to belong to the category that I have chosen to describe as the ‘conformist’. Why I do not want to be placed in the second category will be revealed once you go through this episode placed below. Your perusal of the same would perhaps justify my reluctance to be counted among the second category. Continue reading Chhering – A Guiding Star

The pasts in our present

This piece has appeared in the May issue of Terrascape

A quest for those mountains where a true seeker of truth can find solace and solitude – and a lesson in geology

I had grown up being told, as were most children who grew up in the times when I did, about great spiritual seekers, sanyasis, sufis and such like who had chosen to seek truth and to give up everything that tied them to the mundane concerns and attachments of this world. The stories of all these seekers of truth invariably ended with many of them finding what they sought in the mountains.

The mountains they visited were not the mundane, run-of-the-mill mountains, that ordinary mortals like us visit. They went in search of mountains that gave meaning to words like desolate, forsaken, remote, impassive, distant and words that created similar impressions. It was mountains such as these that the gods had chosen as their abodes, it were these that invited the seeker of truth within their folds. The seekers immersed themselves completely in the contemplation of the unknown and the unknowable, and emerged years later wiser and all-knowing.

As I and other children of my age grew up, we were drawn away from the spiritual and into the thick of the knowledge of the ‘this worldly’. We studied the secular sciences and gradually came to acquire a totally different understanding of  the mountains.


Continue reading The pasts in our present