Monk at Chele La Pass

Monk at Chele La Pass
Monk at Chele La Pass

Chele Le pass is the highest point in Bhutan at 4000 mtrs. Yet it is easily accessible by a motorable road. We, a group of senior citizens, went near the peak in a van and trekked a few yards. Though we avoided the highest point we had a very good view.

A number of monks were also there enjoying the scenery. Here a lone monk walks through the ubiquitous prayer flags.

Badami

On the way to Shivalaya temple, Badami
On the way to Shivalaya Temple, Badami

On the way to the Shivalaya group of temples Badami, Karnataka.

Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town in  Karnataka, India. It was the capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for its rock rock-cut structural temples. See wikipedia for more….

Newspapers in Sri Lanka

 

Newspaper vendor in Colombo
Newspaper vendor in Colombo

Unlike Chennai, Colombo wakes up late, especially on a Sunday morning. There was only a handful of shops open. This newspaper vendor was one of them. He gladly posed for the photo. There were only two English papers – Sunday Observer and another. They cost LKR 60 on Sundays (INR 25- 30) There were several Sinhala publications

 

Sri Lanka’s Mango man

Mango vendor Ratna Kumar at Nuwara eliya
Mango vendor Ratna Kumar at Nuwara Eliya

This is Ratna Kumar. He is a Sri Lankan Tamil. He sells mangoes from a van parked at Devon Falls, near Nuwara Eliya on the road to Bentota.

Though he is vertically challenged he is brisk and pleasant. He speaks Tamil, Sinhala, and English. He introduced us to Sri Lanka’s “best” mango ‘Karutha Colomban’. We were hooked.

Digitalization

A wall painting on the way to Baijnath
A wall painting on the way to Baijnath

With demonetization and the consequent shortage of currency in the market, the debate on digital money has been revived. We hear about how petty traders have switched to digital money.

The above scene was captured from a running car using a Lumix point and shoot on the road to Baijnath from Kausani, Uttarakhand, a week before the demonetization.        The M-Pesa ad juxtaposed against the old tailor quietly reading the newspaper tells its own story.

Incidentally, M-Pesa has been a great success in Africa where it has captured quite a large percentage of the bottom of the pyramid. A positive move towards financial inclusion.

Dhaba

Dhaba Jim Corbett - Ranikhet road
Dhaba Jim Corbett – Ranikhet road

Driving around in Uttarakhand or anywhere in North India, you can be assured of tasty treat of hot parathas in the wayside eateries for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Though the taste is not uniform, you can be sure it is palatable and wholesome. Dahi and pickles are the standard accompaniments. You can get a variety of vegetable curries too.

This is a dhaba we stopped at soon after leaving the tony resorts of Jim Corbett National park for Kausani, via Ranikhet. The fact that we were hungry made us ignore the ambiance and enjoy the food.