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Showing posts from June, 2014

ALMA-ATA IS NOW ALMATY

Kazakhstan Diary
Day 1; Almaty, Kazakhstan: 07/06/2014


That we would be visiting a new city in a new country, I had not planned it. I had been thinking for some time to visit Uzbekistan (if I was to visit any of the CIS countries, other than Russia) for its sheer historical significance for India. Samarkand and Bukhara had been important cities on the silk route, and Mughals had originated from here. But we had not thought of Almaty in Kazakhstan, and that too this year. But it was all made possible by Shammi and Sonia, and their good friend, Rakesh Gaur, who has been living and working in Almaty for more than 8 years. To come to think of it, Almaty is only 3 hrs away from Delhi, and if you take the distance as crow flies, it is 1600 km! Return air fare @ Rs 25K is less than what you pay for your flight to Bengaluru or Chennai. The only hitch in it not being a tourist destination is that it does not welcome tourists. Obtaining tourist visa is arduous, and it is possible only through an…

Visiting Nagaland

Nagaland


Visit to Nagaland happened just by chance. I had missed the chance to avail the LTC for the block year 2010-13 (it was to be availed by 31 December 2013), when I realized a number of staff members from the Department were applying to go to Srinagar for the same block. On enquiry, I was told that the block has been extended by a few months if you plan a visit to the hills. What a blind man would ask for; the summer vacation was round the corner, and I planned a visit to Nagaland. Srinagar also has breathtaking beauty, and you realize that with each visit to the valley. Last I visited Srinagar was in 2003, when after a visit to Leh, Vasuman and I descended on to the valley from Leh by road traversing Batalik, Kargil, Dras, and the treacherous Zozila pass. I had exclaimed that only after a visit to Srinagar and the surrounding areas, one realizes why we could not part with Kashmir. We chose Nagaland since we know so little about it, and it is shrouded by mystery that Nagas are …