When you think of an island, rarely does a rainy day come to mind. But, as you can see from this series of images, a rainy day on an island can be fun too. I’ve just returned to Mumbai from a short visit to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states on the incredibly lush island of Borneo.
Sapi Island, a 15-minute speedboat ride away from Kota Kinabalu, is the nearest place to get away from the city if you want to enjoy a bit of adventure. Essentially the home of the popular 250-metre island-to-island Coral Flyer Zipline, this island receives visitors by the dozen everyday. The beach is small and perfect to lounge around before or after you go zip lining, snorkelling and scuba diving. So, you can pack in a good bit of fun before you head back on a speedboat to the Jesselton Jetty on the mainland.
This photo, of a traditional Kinnauri home, was shot during the first leg of my trip to Kinnaur in the eastern part of Himachal Pradesh a few years ago. We first stopped at Sangla and then moved on to Chitkul and Kalpa (more on those towns in future posts!). While Sangla is a small town, its main market road can get very busy. So we didn’t really spend too much time there except for the few meals we devoured at the tiny restaurants serving local vegetable preparations and momos.
We prefered to walk further down the mountain that houses a tiny hamlet made up of charming houses and plum trees. Most of the houses in Sangla and other districts in lower Kinnaur are two-storeyed wooden houses with stone roofs. This technique, also known as the Kath-Kuni style, alternates layers of wood and stone for better longevity of the home.
This particular house, with its conical gabled stone roof, intricately carved walls, decorative ram skulls and a carved wooden dragon, stood out among the others. It looked much like many of the temples (Buddhism and Hinduism are practiced in tandem here) I had seen across Kinnaur. Woodwork is largely practiced in Kinnaur and the dragon motif seems to be a favourite among the locals. It’s also interesting to note that the houses here, this one included, incorporate Tibetan elements due to the proximity of Kinnaur to the Indo-Tibet border.
I like to take a break from words, sometimes. And I love to visually document stuff when I travel, try out new dishes or do something new. So I thought it might be nice to share it with you all.
This all-new section on A Delightful Space, called Snapshot Saturdays, will bring you one piece of imagery from the recent past, every Saturday. Hope you enjoy it!
This photograph was shot in Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. We were on a safari trail that took us along the famed Jogi Mahal, when we came across this ancient structure.
Jogi Mahal, a guesthouse solely used by officials and dignitaries, lies in the middle of the forest! We later learnt from the owner of our guesthouse that the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his family stayed here for a few days in 1986. In fact, it was the first real break that he took since assuming the office of PM. Indian film actor Amitabh Bachchan and his wife, Jaya was also invited to Jogi Mahal at the time. Word has it that Mr Bachchan even sang a song after the then PM requested him to do so.
While I don’t have a picture of Jogi Mahal (you’ll be able to find a lot of them online), here is some information about these stone ruins that can be found on way to the Jogi Mahal gate of the national park that plays home to around around 60 tigers at present. You’ll find a number of such ruins as this, each one different from the other.
There are so many ruins in Ranthambore because the national park houses the ancient Ranthambore Fort, a World Heritage Site. Before Indian became an independent state in 1947, the Maharajas of Jaipur, who often used the Ranthambore National Park as their hunting grounds, inhabited this 700-feet-high fort. But before that, the fort was associated with Jainism during the reign of Prithviraj I of Chauhan during the 12th Century CE. The Nagil Jat clan built this fort two centuries before this.
Besides being excited at the prospect of seeing a tiger or two (which didn’t happen, by the way), it was amazing to spend a few hours in the lush and paradisiacal national park with its ancient ruins and fort that still stand strong.