Saturday 6 July 2013

The Cold and The Beautiful

Hallooo there!! Oh please, walk right in.....I can see you peeking in, wondering where I have disappeared. Well, I am right here...alive and kicking, or should I say alive and crocheting!  :)

After coming back from a wonderful vacation it took us some time to slip into our regular routine. But once we settled down, calender pages just seemed to fly and before I knew it June had made way for July. And I had not written a single post!!! You have to forgive me for that, but I guess once in a while everybody gets caught up in domestic duties. I did finish a lot of new crochet projects but those are for another post.

First things first, I want to share the lovely pics of my trip with you. As Aishwarya and Preeti rightly guessed in the last post, my holiday destination was the Cold and the Beautiful Ladakh. "La" means pass and Ladakh - meaning Land of High Passes is a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. Ladakh is known for its scenic beauty and enchanting culture. Buddhism is the predominant religion.

The very first glimpses of Ladakh from the plane, had everybody scrambling for their cameras, mobile phones and what not, and then rushing from window to window to get the best photos. I was fervently praying that the plane would not tilt to one side, as in the movies. :) Truly breathtaking!

The first day was spent inside the hotel room, lying in bed to get acclimatized to the high altitude (3000 ft) and the low level of atmospheric oxygen. This is absolutely necessary as otherwise the consequences can be fatal.

Our hotel  - Hotel Grand Willow, Leh.

Sightseeing started from Day 2 onwards.

Shanti Stupa at Leh

Apricot Blossoms:

Sankar Gompa monastery with its gold spire

Leh Palace - built in the 17th century in the grand tradition of Tibetan architecture.

Day 3: We proceeded to Nubra Valley

Brrrrr..... it was freezing and it was a relief to finally reach the Diskit monastery....

the giant statue of Maitreya Buddha - the tallest in Ladakh

The white sand dunes at Hunder

We reached the camp at Nubra just before nightfall. Good thing those tents were sturdy and waterproof as it rained cats and dogs during the night.

Most of Day 4 was spent on the return journey to Leh via Khardungla Pass, said to be the highest motorable pass in the world at nearly 18000 ft.

Day 5
 Shey Palace and monastery, the 15th century summer palace of Leh's royal family

 No visit to Ladakh will be complete without a visit to the Druk White Lotus School. Confused?? Well, maybe it is better known as Rancho school from the Hindi movie "3 Idiots"  :)

The entrance to the museum at Thiksey monastery. I loved the painting and the Leh costumes.

Changla Pass the third highest motorable road in the world at 17586 feet.

Finally we reached our destination camp for the night - Pangong Lake. The lake is 134 Km long and 60% of its length lies in China.

This was our camp for the night. It was directly facing the lake and you wouldn't know from the photo but icy winds were blowing and as you can see the terrain, there is no place to hide. There was a small, teeny weeny, embarrassing incident with someone crying "I want to go HOME". Okay that was me.....hehe. What can I say.....I don't like being cold.

If this place looks familiar to you then you are a confirmed Hindi movie buff as scenes from "3 Idiots" and "Jab Tak Hain Jaan" were picturised here.

A gazebo at Pangong lake

The Brown headed gull - a migratory bird from Central Asia.

Day 6: Return to Ladakh from Pangong Lake

   Tibetan Wild Ass

    Grazing Yak

Day 7:
We proceeded to Alchi - a small quaint village in the Indus valley. Enroute we saw the majestic Sangam (which means confluence), here one can see the Indus river flowing and becoming one with the Zanskar river. Can you see the different colours of the water before they merge?

Alchi village - after days of seeing bare brown and white snow covered mountains, this greenery was a sight for sore eyes!

This path leading to the Alchi monastery was lined with 80 prayer wheels. (And yes, I turned each one of them).

Prayers wheels and stupas are common in Ladakh and you can find them just about anywhere. Giant prayer wheels are seen alongside the streets and marketplaces. It is believed that spinning the prayer wheel is equal to reciting the prayers and hence helps accumulate good karma.

Magnetic Hill - alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull cars uphill, which was demonstrated to us by the driver of our vehicle.

Our sightseeing ended with a visit to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib (a Sikh place of worship) where one can see the huge boulder (pathar) hurled at Guru Nanak Dev ji by a demon while he was meditating. The rock turned soft like wax and did not harm him and one can see the imprint of Guru Nanak ji on the rock.

And the Military Hall of Fame, which is a MUST visit place.

A farewell gesture by the travel company - a cultural program which showcased the various song and dance forms of Ladakh.

What an incredibly long post!!! I have tried (with great difficulty) to keep my jibber jabber to a minimum, hoping that the photos will speak for themselves. I hope my pics have captured your imagination and your hearts and that Ladakh will be on your list of places to see.

Lots of crochet goodies to share with you in my next post. Until then, take care and happy crafting.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Crochet Pineapple Neck warmer

Hello gorgeous people, how are you today? I hope the month of May has begun well for you. For me, this is a special month as today I complete 365 days of having a blog. Yes, my blog is one year old and Today is my Blog Anniversary!!

Seems like it was just yesterday that I gathered all my courage and decided to put my thoughts onto the blogosphere and share my crochet handiwork with the whole wide world. Of course there was a lot of apprehension and also doubts whether I would be able to keep it going. But now at the end of one year it all seems so easy and certainly lot of fun. Here is a link to my very first blog post, just for nostalgia. Sometimes when I go back and read some of my old posts I do laugh out aloud at some of the things I have written. But, you my friends have made it all worthwhile. What is a blog without its readers. So today I want to thank all my readers, followers, Facebook fans for your encouragement, comments and love. 

The best part about this one year of blogging has been the countless friends I made along the way, all over the globe, across continents, across language and age barriers. Bloggers are so generous, loving and warm hearted, inviting you right inside their homes, sharing their life, their lovely pics, their wonderful recipes and of course their gorgeous patterns.

Yes, a blog anniversary is definitely a milestone. But as we are busy planning and packing for our big vacation which was due for a long long time, all celebrations will have to be put on hold until the month end or maybe even the first week of June. Of course a giveaway is in order, and I hope to gather something lovely on my travels.

Even though we have been looking forward to this vacation for a long time, I am a bit apprehensive about how we will adjust to this place. You see, the present temperature in Ahmedabad is 43 deg C and this place has daytime temperatures in the range of zero to minus 4. Also as it is high up in the mountains (almost near the Himalayas) the air is thin and has low levels of atmospheric oxygen, so fingers crossed that everything goes well and we come back only with pleasant memories!! (Hehe....... yes I am still being mean, and not divulging the name of my holiday destination.)

What I am going to share, is this lovely pineapple scarf I made from a Portuguese crochet site. It is actually a scarflette or neck warmer. 

So, Ta-dah.....

Crochet Pineapple Scarf

I call it the Handsfree neck warmer because of its keyhole feature. 

Just insert one of the pineapples into the keyhole and your hands are free, to  ride your bike, hang on to your kids, hold your shopping bags, whatever....

This is not a new concept but I just loved this pattern. It is so feminine and delicate. The scarf pattern comes with a flower to hide the crossover, which I feel makes it look really elegant.

I used a regular safety pin at the back of the flower so that it could also be used as a brooch without the scarf. Next time I will hunt for one of those brooch pins which are actually used.

I love the shimmery cream rose. Looks

The stitches between the shells are worked as Fpdc forming these two lovely 3D ridges.

My trusty Tupperware bowl has agreed to model the scarf for me, so drumroll.......

Hehe.... looks so

That is all for now. I cannot really predict when my next post will follow as we will be leaving soon and I may not have access to internet. So until then buh-bye. I hope to have lots of lovely photos to share with you.

Take care and keep crafting.


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