Charaiveti, charaiveti – Hiking into desert landscape!

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt – John Muir

In every walk with nature, one recieves far more than he seeks – John Muir

We share this Earth with flora & fauna and the elements of nature. We humans think we are the most intelligent of all, while there is a lot for us to learn from nature. While we are a tangled mess of emotions, pride and predujices, nature is real, simple and pellucid. Hence, it is important that we connect with nature once in a while so we don’t forget our real nature.

Like someone rightly said, “If we were meant to be at one place, we would have roots instead of feet”. The more we move, the more we seek and the more we learn. And how wonderful is it when you can learn from the greatest teacher, Nature.

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Here is a beautiful Suktha चरैवेति! चरैवेति! from the Aitareya Upanishad.

Charanbai madhu vindati charantsvadu mudambaram.
Suryasya pasya sreemanam yo na tandrayate charan.
Charaiveti, charaiveti – Aitareya Upanishad, 7.15

The honey bee, by its motion, collects honey, and birds enjoy tasty fruits by constant movement. The sun is revered, by virtue of its constant shining movement; therefore, one should be constantly in motion. Keep moving, keep moving on!

So, myself and my friends decided to march along and do a little hiking in the unique desert wilderness of Arizona. As the sun rose up the distant mountains, we marched up the hilly trails of Dreamy Draw listening to sounds of the gentle zephyr. It wasn’t just a fantastic workout, but also a soul searching experience.

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Not really in hiking boots! 🙂

Do you love to hike? Do share your experiences 🙂

 

 

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Beyond the blue sky – Astronomy, my most favourite Science! – Guest Post by Nikul

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another” – Plato.

I am happy to introduce our first guest blogger, Nikul, who happens to be an Astronomy Enthusiast. How cool does it sound? Read on to know what Astronomy, one of the oldest sciences means to him. We hope you get inspired. Do not forget to leave comments or start a discussion, the more the merrier 🙂

Beyond the blue sky – My most favourite Science

by Nikul Suthar

I’m writing this column to express my love for and my journey so far in one of my favorite hobbies – Astronomy. I believe that I achieved Astronomy as my love-by-birth quality like all the other natural qualities. This is because I realized it by myself and no one has ever made me realize it. I remember my very early childhood days when STAR-TREK and COSMOS original series were telecasted and I watched them with great awe and wonder. At that time I did not realize that its something I would be loving for the rest of my life. My grandfather, even though he was little educated is the first Astronomer I knew in my life, as he told me that the twinkling light in the night sky are called stars, they’re very big but are very far and therefore appear very tiny. It happens to many people that as and when they go through different stages in life their likes and dislikes keep changing. It’s the same for me, but my love for Astronomy has never changed and in fact it has ever been increasing only with the passing of time. I’m a Mechanical Engineer in undergrad studies, I did Computer Science in post graduation and have been working as an IT professional since last 10 years. I could not pursue my studies in Physics and then Astronomy or Astrophysics as my specialization subject in post graduate studies or PhD studies because of lack of job prospects at the time when I was seeking admission post 12th grade. So I decided to pursue Astronomy as an interest for the rest of my life.

Why is Astronomy important?

I believe that the subject Astronomy is one of the most important subjects ever known to human beings. Astronomy is considered as a mother of all subjects. It encompasses the whole creation, the Universe and all the knowledge within it. We humans, at one point or the other get eager to know who we are, where we  are and what is about everything surrounding us. The answers are limited to world under the blue-sky and when the sky gets black at night, we get indoors forgetting much about our surroundings. But the real fact is that the world beneath the blue sky is not even a spec of the whole Universe. The Universe beyond the blue sky matters much more than the world beneath. The world beneath the blue sky is extremely different from the Universe and that world exists in the Universe and therefore we also exist in the Universe.

We have very very limited knowledge about the Universe. There’re potential dangers as well from the outer space to the planet Earth. We all now have enough convincing evidence that the extremely big Chicxulub meteor crater happened about 65 million years ago in the Yucatan peninsula triggered a huge change in Earth’s atmosphere making it extremely difficult for the Dinosaurs to survive. Most of them went extinct and the rest evolved to nowadays known birds and reptiles. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 165 million years but since they did not had ability to think like we humans do, they were completely defenseless against such a big climatic change. If such an event to occur right now, then humanity is also more or less defenseless and is likely to perish or evolve by a big change.

Not only an asteroid impact, but there are other bigger dangers to the Earth that could destroy it, like a rogue or wandering planet in the Milky Way coming closer, or is on a collision course to the Earth. If a wandering Black Hole comes closer to the Solar System then it’ll swallow the Sun and the whole Solar System. If in a distant Supernova explosion, the emitted high energetic Gamma ray jet hits Earth’s atmosphere, then momentarily all the atmosphere will get extremely hot like a hell making it impossible for us to survive. Our Moon is going away from Earth by around an inch every year. Millions of years ago the Moon was much closer to Earth than now is. Earth’s axis of rotation, the high tides and the seasons are very much influenced by our Moon. A time will come when the Moon will leave revolving around the Earth and will revolve round the Sun and we will not be able to stop it. Then the Earth’s polar axis will change directions continuously, the ocean water will not have tides any more and the seasons will change very often. Around 5 billion years from now the Sun will begin to die and enter a phase called Nova. In the Nova phase the Sun will bloat so much that it will engulf at least three inner planets – Mercury, Venus and Earth.

Even if we assume that human beings evolve to physical and mental capability such that they’re able to survive all the above mentioned and other plenty more dangers, there is one entity of the Universe called the Dark Energy which is not only going to destroy the Earth but the whole Universe as well. Dark Energy is a property of empty space-time to keep increasing itself from nothing. So essentially all the space-time in the entire Universe is increasing itself since last several billion years and it’ll continue to increase exponentially. A result of this right now is that all the extremely distant galaxies several billion light years are going apart from each other. A time will come several-several billion years from now that all the galaxies, nebulae, stars, planets, molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons and quarks inside them will be ripped apart and there will be nothing left out other than pitch dark Universe. The question is can we stop this apocalypse? There is no way we can stop the Universe getting ripped apart and we have only several billion years to do it. Nothing will be there to be done in the whole creation. This Dark Energy is the biggest problem of the whole Universe and there is not much known about it. I hope this Dark Energy entity either entirely is a big misunderstanding or we get a solution to save the Universe from it.

All of the matter we see including ourselves, plants, animals, birds, planets, moons, Sun, Stars, galaxies, nebulae – all of that total in the whole universe comprises only about 4.9% of the total content of the universe. Around 26.8% of the matter called as Dark Matter is not being seen even if it is there in front of us. The scientific evidences indicate that it is there as it exerts gravitational force. Rest 68.3% of the content of the Universe is the Dark Energy which is essentially the entire fabric of space-time in the whole universe.

Dark Energy is expected to expand the universe to an ever accelerating rate beyond control which is called a Runaway Universe.

My Activity in Astronomy

So far, I’ve done some very small Astronomy projects, participated in several Star parties, have been operator of a computerized fully automatic telescope observatory and having small size automatic telescopes as well. I’ve been looking at our Moon, planets, Nebulae, Star clusters, double stars and galaxies. Years ago when I started using telescope I did not know much about it. In recent years, I learnt how to operate it as well as take some photographs using it along with a DSLR. Though I’m not a passionate photographer I like Astrophotography. The reason being that there’re so many beautiful deep space objects in the sky that are not so nicely visible through a human eye as it has an exposure time of only 1/12th of a second. With Astrophotography it is possible to capture a lot of details of the object and do scientific research on Spectroscopy as well. Humans have never gone beyond our Moon and therefore Astrophotography (visual, radio, X-Ray, infrared) and Spectroscopy are the only ways to know more about the celestial objects. So here I’m sharing some of my night sky photographs and my automatic telescope setup photographs.

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The Pleiades cluster
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Planet Jupiter and its moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto
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Planet Jupiter and a couple of its moons

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Our Moon

And, here is my automated telescope setup with a Canon DSLR and a laptop hooked up, taking photos of the planet Jupiter when it was at a closest point to Earth during year 2017.

The beauty of Astronomy

The universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere is so different and every human being has a natural eagerness to know about it. Renowned Astronomer Carl Sagan said that we’re made of star-stuff. Meaning that all the matter we’re made up was once existing in a star. It is believed that the matter from which we’re made up once existed in a star much bigger than our Sun. For stars it is a fact that the bigger they’re the younger they die in a Supernova. That star must would have exploded to a Supernova emitting a huge nebula of gas and dust of most of the elements of the periodic table. That core of the star must would have condensed to a Black Hole and must be wandering in the Milky Way not known where it is right now. From that nebula our Solar System was born – our Sun, Planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

The Universe is so vast that it’s extremely difficult to imagine it. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe is estimated to be around 13.8 billion years old. The fastest any object can travel is at the speed of light even though the speed of light is extremely small than the size of the Universe. Therefore, the farther we look into the Universe we are looking that much backwards in time as well. So the age of the Universe of 13.8 billion years limits our capability to look into the past whereas the Universe is expected to be around 93 billion light years across and still growing. This is because the Universe is growing much faster than the speed of light. In such an enormous our Milky Way galaxy itself is insignificantly small in our Universe, our Solar System is insignificantly small in our Milky Way galaxy and we’re insignificantly small in our Solar System. There are more stars in the Universe than the total grains of sand in all the beaches on this world. But still we live in this Universe and it is our home as well. Till now no evidence or indication of extraterrestrial life outside our Earth is known. But looking to the estimated count of galaxies, stars and planets it can never be ruled out that the origination of life on places other than Earth has not happened or will never happen.

There is a Multiverse theory without any evidence stating that our Universe is not the only Universe but there’re infinite other Universes getting born and then either get much similar to our Universe or way too different from our Universe. Based on Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger’s thought experiment (paradox situations) so called “Schrodinger’s cat” theory all the possible outcomes at any point of time are not in-correct. One may think this at first as stupid. But according to the Multiple Universe theory out of those multiple outcomes only one outcome is witnessed in our Universe and others are happening in other Universes slightly different from our Universe. There’re infinite such Universes and the whole creation is also called a Multiverse. So essentially our identical clone must be existing in other parallel Universes and can start behaving different from us at any point of time. The beauty of our Universe is endless and timeless.

Following are some Astronomy related quotes by great scientists and philosophers:

“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” – Socrates, Philosopher

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.” – Plato, Philosopher

“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.” – Stephen Hawking, Astrophysicist

“Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away, if your car could go straight upwards.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, Astronomer

“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan, Astronomer

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.” – Lawrence Krauss, Astrophysicist

Astronomer Carl Sagan requested NASA to take photo of Earth when Voyager 1 space craft reached 4 billion miles away from us but still within the Solar System. In the photo the Earth appeared not even to the size of the smallest pixel. He then explained that everybody born and everthing done by everybody is there in this insignificantly small portion of the Universe called the “Pale Blue Dot”.

I’m going to be in this hobby for the rest of my life and will be doing it with utmost interest, dedication and purity. I’ll spread awareness of Science and Astronomy to the people without any interests. This is because Science is evident only and which is not evident is not Science.

Shiva, the Limitless and His tranquil Trimbakeshwar!

Ask me what intrigues me the most. My prompt reply would be ‘the transformer, the supreme concept of Lord Shiva‘. I feel that Shiva is there but no where. How simple, soft, compassionate, straight-forward and formless and yet so powerful, infinite and fascinating is He? He is an enigma.

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Ask me where I want to go all the time. In my mind there is this ancient stone Shiva temple tucked away in a deep forest and with a river burbling by its side, bringing me a whole lot of tranquility and inner peace taking me far from this tumultuous world. Yet, the question still remains. Can inner peace be achieved only by running away to a serene place? What is the idea of Shiva telling me..to run away or to flow with life? And I think, the answer is this simple – “Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected”.

My today’s post is about one of my most favourable places on this earth, the ancient Hindu Shiva Temple and one of the 12 Jyothirlingas, Trimbakeshwar.

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Jyothirlinga, the infinite pillar of light means ‘The Radiant Sign of The Almighty Shiva‘. Trimbakeshwar is surrounded by three hills namely Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri. River Godavari originated in these hills and can be seen distantly from the Lord’s abode. A very serene place, it gets more verdant during monsoons. About the temple, read more here on wiki.

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It is a very positive experience visiting Trimbakeshwar. You will be given yourself after the visit. You will be left with some new questions in mind and you will get some answers too. You will be left in a unique peaceful state of mind to continue your quest for the light. The simplicity and stillness of the place combined with the aura and holiness of the formless Jyothirlinga radiates good vibes and shows you the right direction.

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Did you ever visit Trimbakeshwar? Leave a comment with your experiences. Will see you later 🙂

The unfathomable Grand Canyon.

Let me be frank. I don’t get it when people say what’s in Grand Canyon except for the rock. Personally, I get very philosophical every time I visit it or think about it. May be it’s just me, as it is said ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder‘. So, here is my little ode to this magnificent natural wonder that awe-inspires me every single time I visit it.

Standing royal, the Grand Canyon reiterates the power of nature to us. Every glance at its dimensions takes our breath away and each attempt to peruse it reminds us how tiny we are in this Universe. It inspires us to be undeterred by the trivial problems of life and to stand sentinel to protect ourselves and those who trust in us. Here is my Grand Salute, to The Grand Canyon!

This photograph was taken by me a few years ago when we visited the Canyon during winter time. Isn’t it more stunning to see it dotted with snow, and don’t you agree that no camera can beat the naked eye’s view! 🙂

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Do share links of your blogs on Grand Canyon, I would love to read!

 

My tryst with Madhubani!

Let me begin with this quote, Art takes nature as its model – Aristotle.

I have been longing for a while to get my creative self explore the surreal yet very real Madhubani/Mithila Art. Like they say some days Motivation finds you, today I let my monochromatic black and white imagination flow and take the shape of a Katchni style Madhubani Painting. Before I brief you about this art form, here is the small painting that I finished today…and I thoroughly enjoyed doing every detail, and especially since I chose my favourite Sun God as the subject.

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Mithila or Madhubani Art is a very old art form originating from the Mithila region of India and Nepal, the majority of which falls within modern day Indian state of Bihar. This fascinating folk art which was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts is characterized by the use of geometric shapes and patterns to depict nature and mythology. The themes represent scenes of courtship, wedding and other folklore, and revolve around illustrating devotion, love, prosperity, fertility, valor, good luck etc in the form of specific symbols like fish, the Sun God, peacocks etc each of which has a specially associated meaning. The modern day Madhubani Paintings are being done on paper and cloth also, using colors that are plant derived and paper that is hand made. If you are an avid reader and an art enthusiast and want to know more about this specific art form, this book ‘Madhubani Painting by Upendra Thakur’ is quite a good read.

What captivated me about this art form was the remarkable usage of elements in nature to depict life events stating that nature and man are inseperable. The striking and distinctive style involving geometric patterns for detailing makes it easy to read these paintings. Be it the monochromatic black and white line work called the Katchni style or the Bharni style where subjects are filled with vibrant solid colors or the less detailed Godhna style where figures appear in symmetry and concentric, Madhubani paintings are sure to leave you in awe-inspiration, and like Leonardo da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

And, I end my small write-up on Madhubani Paintings leaving it all to your art hungry soul to research more about this fascinating art form and if possible encourage. Have a wonderful day readers, and painters. 🙂

A happy day with the Arts People!

Last weekend, as the sun shone bright, I reached the venue where I was supposed to volunteer as a Vendor Relief, and was so looking forward to it. With not many expectations in mind, I checked in to the Phoenix Festival of the Arts and took my badge and t-shirt.

Spotting this mom-dotty duo who were volunteering at the entrance welcoming guests and just began to have their lunch, I took a quick chance to approach them and ask for their company as I was already starving. So, that’s how my day began, with very pleasant and welcoming lunch partners. Is this how life feels in a strange land, with strange people? Yeah, I think being in the company of total strangers is one of the nicest feelings in this world. No prejudices, no barriers, no opinions, no distances and no strings attached. We enjoyed lunch together while we spoke about what and why the volunteering, etc. Also, I got to see this Christmas Parade by some pretty  children in the Fair Grounds.

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My next stop was the beginning of my volunteering. So, this event was an Art Festival held by the Phoenix center for the Arts every year.

As a Vendor Relief, my job was to go around booths asking if they needed some break and I could watch the booth for them. “When you help others, you actually help yourself”, said Swami Vivekananda. And yes, how true is that! Every time I volunteer, or help someone, or do good, it comes back to me. And what is it? The positivity, the goodness and the satisfaction. And also I get a good exposure of the world, the people in it, their stories, their joys and their sorrows. It opens up my mind to wider arenas and my heart to acceptance. This time also, I am so thankful to the Universe that I had a fantastic experience and I got to learn many new things from all these artists. So, why don’t do you join me and share my experience? 🙂

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First things first. Dressing up to the occasion. Well, it is definitely a choice, if you don’t want to. But, dressing appropriately to an occasion connects you to the event, puts you in the right mood and also changes the way people look at you which is important if you want to ‘connect’.

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Since it was an Art Festival, I decided to give an Ethnic touch to my ensemble by wearing a Red Cotton high-low kurti with white printed designs on it that I got in India paired with blue jeans. Wearing an Indian Kurti, when you are in an Art Festival on a Foreign land is for sure trendy and classy, and makes it look unique. I paired this attire with big cream colored Stone ear-hangings, and a knitted scarf to beat the cold in case. But, tee hee..once I got the volunteer t-shirt, I had to layer myself up with it that’s a different story though 😉 To perfectly complement the outfit, I carried my favorite Fossil Explorer Straw Cross Body Bag and wore my perfect colorful Mojdis bought in a craft expo in Hyderabad, India, though replaced them later with my comfy Crocs as my walking time increased. Ta da! Didnt I pretty much nail the outfit?

My first stop was this booth where a lady was exhibiting her hand made jewelry. Call it an act of Universe or not, a particular blue resin pendant caught my attention and it had etched on it, Dancing Ganesha with eight arms. I am a Hindu, and all our prayers and Pujas first begin with praying to Lord Ganesh. You can read more about the significance here. Isn’t it interesting that you are alone on a strange land, with complete strangers around you and how the Universe makes you feel that you are still connected and belonged. I asked her if she needed a reliever, to which she said No and then we had a brief conversation about her beautiful jewelry creations. It was a fun start!

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Moving on further, I found this very creative artist Kelly, who is a graphic designer and also creates her own designs and prints. Her designs were beautiful and after discussing about both of our interests and goals in life, what and how etc, I watched her booth for a while and she took a quick break. This meeting is so special to me because of late I was looking for some answers regarding Graphic Design and related fields, and voila I get to meet with this awesome artist specialized in the same field! Visit her website here to know more about her works.

As I kept walking further down the aisles, the talent and creativity of the various artists and artisans enthralled me and the variety of stalls that lined up amazed me. The diversity of arts included Pottery, Canvas Paintings, Glass Art, Hand Made Jewelry, Homemade Bath and Body Products, Arts and crafts made of Recycled metal, Handmade bags, Custom Printed T-shirts, Pashmina Scarves, and what not! There was live music and food trucks served up delicious warm food. Kids played around in merriment. It was a fun-filled warm sunny Saturday.

In another brief meeting, I met this lovely couple from Berrie Creative who were selling their unique and creative vibrant colored lampshades made of glass and wire. And I did not know that a small conversation with them would give me a hope for a life-time! They told me how to never give up on an interest and keep experimenting. Trust me, I have never seen such creative glass art in my life. The lamp shades were mesmerizing.

Later, I relieved a couple of artists so that they have their lunch. They were very kind and appreciated me for helping them out. Isn’t is wonderful when people realize your effort and good intentions and respond back to you positively. Ohh, what would I do without all these beautiful people in my life!

My next stop was Reflections in Metal, a unique art handcrafted out of rolled steel. Their display had amazing pieces of art and in quite large numbers. The vendors were so welcoming and were explaining well about their art to the guests. I couldn’t remember their names, but after talking about their work I took a photograph with them which made them very happy. And when I waved them Goodbye and Merry Christmas, the eldest gentleman of the two stopped me and gifted me a Metal Cross that was among the items being sold! Wow! What was that! Does affection and appreciation has any bounds? I was so elated, particularly when someone fondly gifted me a Cross, and that too during Christmas season…like I always believe, connections don’t happen without a reason. Now, this Cross is in my Puja room along with the other Gods. I am Hindu, and what Hinduism teaches is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means “The world is one family”, and I believe in it. 

My next meeting was with Mr. David Jarvinen of The Mosaic Guys who stunned me with his Mosaic Art work! We exchanged a few pleasantries about India and its vivacious culture, and how David conducts workshops on his art teaching different skills. He has a great knowledge and understanding on art, culture, diversity of India and even Hinduism..so we talked about it for a while. It is very important for an artist to know about different cultures, don’t you think? This awareness widens ones horizons and helps in becoming more creative by drawing inspiration from a multitude of talents. I am so looking forward to meet David in one of his workshops some time in future. I would love to learn various mosaic art techniques 🙂

Taking a stroll asking vendors if they needed a break, I witnessed their passion for art and had many beautiful conversations. Me being an art lover, and a beginner in Acrylic Canvas Art met many Canvas Artists, Muralists and appreciated their work. Some of the muralists were donating the money from their sold murals to a humanitarian cause. It was a therapy to watch the paintings come alive! I made new connections, new friends and drew new inspirations 🙂

A special mention is needed about ‘Paintings by the disabled’ stall. All the paintings were unbelievably lively and excellent! We bought a miniature Canvas Painting of the Prickly Pear Cactus.

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Towards the end, my family joined me in the festival. They enjoyed live music and chilled out on the lawn watching Muralists painting murals under the warm winter sun. The whole environment was fun and frolic lifting up spirits.

And then while finishing up my shift, I met Amelie. With a calm face and a gorgeous smile, she invited me to her booth. Her paintings were so full of life, spirituality and love. I am so glad I got to know her and could make friends with her. Visit her website here to see more of her brilliant and life-changing artwork.

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Finally, I wrapped up my evening at the festival by taking my family around. My son goofed around all the while and really enjoyed each and every aspect of it. There were these folks from circus entertaining kids and adults alike, walking around the place.

We came back home after purchasing a lamp shade and a face balm from Flower Song Soaps.The lampshade now lights up our Puja/Meditation room. Every time I see the lamp, I remember that lovely couple, their smiles and the encouragement they gave me. I am using the face balm daily post scrubbing my face, and it gives me the perfect moisturizing for Arizonan winters along with an exquisite fragrance.

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So whenever I say I believe in Fairy tales, I mean it. Look what all this love gave me in the middle of an ordinary life – in deed a Fairy tale!

Thank you Phoenix Festival of the Arts for having me and thank you for everything. These moments will be cherished forever.

Thanks readers for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed sharing my experience. Do you have any such fairy tales in your life? Did you ever experience such happy moments. Please don’t forget to leave it in the comments 🙂

On a final note, I would like to appeal to you, please encourage and appreciate handcrafts and local made.

Dochu La & Chele La – Bhutan’s sacred mountain passes!

Hello! Welcome to the third and final post on my Bhutan tour experiences. If you haven’t already read the previous two posts, please read them here at

Bhutan’s Thimpu and Bhutan’s Paro.

In this post, I am going to brief about our trip to Bhutan’s sacred mountain passes, Dochu La and Chele La.

When mountains call you, there are no excuses. There is a reason behind it, a purpose behind it. And what do the mountains tell us? To stand still and strong against the blustering winds. Mountains are unyielding protectors, they show us the righteous way of life. They inspire us with their patience and perseverance. They are unconquerable, but they leave the passes for us, humans to go closer to them, and reach them for the fillip. I witnessed the same kind of spirit going closer to the holy Himalayas during our Bhutan trip! We visited Dochu La and Chele La, the two mountains passes in the Himalayas of Bhutan.

Dochu La Pass

Located at an elevation of 3,100 metres, Dochu La is located on the road from Thimpu to Punakha. To the east of the pass, the snow clad mountain peaks of the Himalayas are seen prominently and among them is the Mt. Masanggang at 7,158 metres (23,484 ft) which is the highest peak in Bhutan, known in local language as the Mt. Gangkar Puensum. The road further runs into the scenic Punakha valley.

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Druk Wangyal Lhakhang
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Druk Wangyal Chortens

The environment is calm and religious, with 108 memorial chortens called the Druk Wangyal Chortens built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. There is a monastery called the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honor of the fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Also, there is the country’s first Royal Botanical Park located adjacent to the chortens. While this whole scene on the pass is a colorful feast to the eyes, the backdrop is often claded with a moving blanket of fog obscuring and revealing the Himalayas along with the near-by verdant greens leaving your mind and soul in tranquility.

It is an indelible experience for me to meditate inside and outside the Lhakhang overlooking the Himalayas.

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Chele La Pass

Chele La Pass is one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. It is the highest point with an altitude of 3988 metres. The road to Chele La is flanked by dense forests, and the trip to reach the pass takes you on a non-stop jaunt. Chele La, unlike Dochu La is very jagged and is surrounded by hilly terrains covered with vegetation that changes colors with seasons. The pass roughened by the cold gusts signifies a different side of Mother nature. Colorful prayer flags can be seen fluttering on the rough slopes making the view bright and pleasant. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of the beautiful Haa and Paro valley.

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‘The best dreams happen when you are awake’! And yes, my dream to feel closer to the Himalayas came true this way. I will await to witness this heavenly experience once again in my lifetime.

So, did the mountains ever call you? If yes, please leave a comment and tell me all about it. I would love to connect with like-minds. 

Thank you for reading. More on our interactions and conversations with folks in Bhutan, and why I think Bhutan qualifies for a happy country in the upcoming posts. Stay tuned, and stay connected. See you later!