A World of Colorful Tents and Incredible Sceneries

Monday, April 29, 2013

How would we ever have been able to go to such beautifully inaccessible places without the super invention called tents?
For the past four years, I have been actively hiking in the many different terrains of India. While in the tropics, we rarely used tents. Tents, in the tropics, only seemed to be a hindrance getting in my way of a clear view of the night sky. For the cold, a sleeping bag sufficed and when it rained a tarpaulin did. But it was only in the Himalayas I fell in love with camping and was awed by the sturdiness of these tents. It didn't matter if it was a hailstorm or if it was snowing or if it was heavy rain with heavy winds, these wonderful tents protected us from all. It used to get scary when the howling winds sounded as if they were threatening to uproot the pitched tents or when raindrops/hailstorms hit the surface of the tents with such force that it felt like all hell was breaking lose outside, but they tents hardly gave in. They stood their ground, and we could happily hike from mountain to mountain reaching the most inaccessible places on foot. 

Keeping that in mind, here's my ode to the lovely tents that helped me reach places!

Camping in Stok Kangri, Ladakh, Himalayas
While getting up early in the morning is tough, beautiful sunny days like this are a welcome change from the cold chilly early mornings. On such mornings, I usually get up and quickly survey my surroundings for views like this. Taken on the second day of the trek to reach Stok Kangri Summit in Ladakh. 

Camping at Sunset, Kashmir
On the many occasions where we set up camp by sunset, no points for guessing what's my favorite thing to do. I find a vantage point and enjoy the changing colors in the sky! Taken while returning from a trek in Kashmir

Kugti Pass, Camping in the Chamba Valley
While trying to cross the 5000m Kugti Pass that separates the green Chamba from the barren Lahaul Valley, we were ascending quite rapidly. In 3 days we reached from an altitude of 8000ft to 14000ft and the next day would see us crossing the 16000+ft  high pass. In order to acclimatize better and because of the rain in the morning, we took rest in this beautiful glacial valley for a day. As you can see, we were the only occupants around and till date it is only of my most memorable camping experiences  Taken in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh.

Camping during Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh
Another benefit of camping is it let's you get you far away from the pollution and light pollution. Saw the milkyway for the first time when I was also camping for the first time, since then I have been always waiting outside the tents in the cold, just to witness the stars and the galaxy! Shot while camping on the way to Stok Kangri Summit, Ladakh.

Camping in the ice, Kashmir
It was in Kashmir that I encountered so much snow on almost all days. We had to cross this snow ridden pass twice and walk on steep slippery snow slopes of the mountains. Camping with so much snow around was another memorable experience, snow sure makes the surroundings look good. This was taken when we were camping on the second day in Kashmir. 

Hailstorm while camping in Gharwal, Uttarakhand
During my first trek in the Himalayas, after about 3-4 days we were camping at a high altitude of  14500+ ft. The afternoon brought a storm of hails covering everything around us in little snow balls of white. And as always, we were crouched safe inside the tents watching the hail storm and listening to the scary noise of tents and metal plates being hit by the hail. This was taken during my trek to Roopkund in the Gharwal Himalayas. 

Lightpainting and milkyway galaxy, camping in Kashmir
Light Painting in the darkness can be a lot of fun. In Kashmir, after darkness fell, we came out with a powerful flashlight and light painted the entire campsite while the milkyway was slowly rising to create this image. With the faint glow from within the tents, photographing night scenes around campsites is one of favorite things to do now-a-days. Taken while trekking in Kashmir.

Crowded basecamp of Stok Kangri Summit Trek
This is the base camp for Stok Kangri Summit. The number of tents pitched in that small flat land surrounded by high peaks shows a small glimpse of how crowded the Everest Base Camp could be. Tents of all shapes and colors can be seen pitched here along with people of many nationalities attempting 6000+m Stok Kangri Climb. 

Camping near Sonmarg, Kashmir
Well you'll hardly find images of tents set up in the day light from me. That is because usually in the mornings, we are in a hurry to pack up and start the days's trek. And by afternoon or evening, we are so tired  from the day's trek that all we want to do is to rest more. Only by evening, after some tea and snacks does the energy is regained. Hence all the night shots of camping. :) Image taken near Sonmarg, Kashmir. 

Kashmir camping
Because there's no such thing as too much of milkyway, so here's one more celebrating the awesomeness of tents, camping, mountains and the milkyway! Image taken in Kashmir. 

Have you ever camped in tents? How has your experience been?

Also I have updated the Advertise and Work with me pages, do have a look and share with those who you think might be interested. :)

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40 comments

  1. Awesome! Planning to go to Ladakh in coming June - hope it'll be exciting and will be able to experience the spectacular milky-way. Thanks for sharing.
    Regards

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    1. Thanks. It will be damn cold but venture out in the moonless night, you should be able to see the milkyway. Ladakh has some of the clearest skies. :)

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  2. Very captivating photographs. I'm a tent man, literally. Most of the places I travelled, I carried my tent whether i pitched it not. However, this May I think I don't want to carry because for the first time, I want to experience work from hills. So, hotels would be better places rather than obscure jungles.

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    1. Yeah, that would be awesome if we could work from the tent, like best of both the worlds. Thank you!

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  3. Superb..Camping, and staying in the remote corner of the world..where the landscape, the sky, the stars, the moon, and of-course the mother nature...gives a great refilling energy. Superb pictures, and a nice narration about each pic. Hats off to your energy level.

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    1. Thanks Srikanth, that's the best thing I like about camping. Let's me get so close to the pristine nature.

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  4. Tents are homes which help us remain nomads! Brilliant captures.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/04/vythiri-gateway-to-wild-wayanad.html

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  5. Beautiful breathtaking pictures. I have myself stayed in tents very less but now I am tempted to try it out more often.

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    1. You should try it out soon, setting up the tent and spending the night under the stars is something else. Thank you.

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  6. goose bumps as I read this and see your photos! may your writing always have this power!

    Gouthami

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  7. Wow...The experiences sound great! Nice to read about your travel anecdotes.

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  8. Yes, I have lived in a tent in Rajgarh (it's a beautiful place in Himachal Pradesh) Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures to share, but it was an amazing experience...except for I was scared to find a cat sitting on my bed!!!

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    1. Ha ha, I can understand because I share that fear too. :)

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  9. As usual colorful writing.. And the tent in Ladakh especially milky way… No words..!

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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  10. Beautiful photos - how I miss the Himalayas!
    These pictures are making me want to plan a Himalayan trek again... :)

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    1. I know, I miss the Himalayas too, it's been almost a year since I last visited my home! ;)

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  11. Nice photos, and nice idea about trekking ideas in India. Just one question, how do dispose the plastic wastes (mineral water bottles etc) while you are trekking a long path. These places are awesome and hope there are some ways to collect trash from the trekkers so they don't destroy the valleys and mountain ranges.

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    1. Well, to begin with, I don't carry plastic bottles. I carry two bottles which I refill, so there is nothing to leave behind. Also all the garbage is stored in my backpack until I reach civilization where I can dispose it off. Since trekking in India isn't that organized yet, onus is on the trekkers to keep the trail as it is, might take a while before the concept of trekkers hut and garbage collection etc evolve here.

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  12. Neelima, these photographs are outstanding. I am guessing you are the one behind the camera? Have they been photoshopped? Such perfect clicks are rare, and believe me I have seen many pictures, but none so lovely and clear. Maybe it's the unpolluted land too.

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    1. Thanks Nishi, yes, I am one behind the pictures. :)
      Mountain sky is awesome, one can easily spot galaxy on clear moonless nights.

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  13. Hi , Some very nice pictures . Keep shooting !
    Well , If I had a choice I would never carry a Tent on a Trek. It is extra weight and one more element to take care of .I would prefer staying in Villages with locals , with Gaddis . Many years ago I did a Trek to Roopkund starting from Bhageshwar in Kumaon i.e from Loharkhet to Dhakuri cutting acroos Badiya Kot and Barakande and Himani Villages into Auli Bugyal withoout a Tent from One Village to the Other staying in Villages and with Gaddis/Shepherds along the way . It was one of my most beautiful treks ...

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    1. That must've been one amazing experience! To live with the locals and listen to their stories, but I wonder, how did you communicate with them? They all understood Hindi?

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  14. Awesome Post Neelima! And yeah, the pictures are really great. Especially the milkyway one, it really seems like a painting...Awesome!!!

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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  15. Amazing pictures. Loved the ones with milkyway and stars..Have done camping, but never on a high altitude. Your pictures are simply persuading me to trek Himalayas !

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    1. Camping and trekking in the Himalayas is something else Anu! You should go soon and also welcome to my blog. :)

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  16. Pictures looking amazing with stars light.

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  17. wow its really awesome photography i have never seen this type of photography it encourages me to visit these type of places and do photography.

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  18. Neelima, the more I read your blog and stories the more I'm in awe of your courage and devotion towards travelling. Handful of us realise what we really want to do and being an Indian girl, going after your dreams is something you have showed us many can do. I sometimes think we might end our lives in fear of not crossing our comfort zone and dont challenge whats out there.. many of us just dream of traveling, but getting out, not getting that enough courage and faith keeps us bonded and we just end up dreaming which eventually will not help us...acting on them will surely do.
    Anyways .. keep up the spirits.you inspire me and many others I'm sure.

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  19. Outdoors is one of the colossal approaches to appreciate the outside and make tracks in an opposite direction from unpleasant city life. For any outdoors trip, picking the right outdoors rigging can go far towards figuring out whether your outing will be a fun unwinding time or on the off chance that it will wind up destroying your outdoors encounter. So before you take off to your neighborhood donning products store, ensure you know about some the most widely recognized errors that individuals make while picking a suitable outdoors tent.

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