Dunagiri, Uttarakhand – The Land of Mysterious Mountains

On a recent trip we went to Dunagiri  (also called Drongiri and Doonagiri) to a place called Dunagiri Retreat which is at an astounding height of 8,000 feet surrounded by lush forest overlooking scenic snow peaks. Its situated 400 km North of Delhi,  and it takes about 10-11 hours to reach.

The retreat offers organic vegetarian food, fireside dining, inspiring walks and treks to the nearby mountains, and modern bathroom facilities in the middle of nowhere. It truly is an amazing location, with a beautiful view.

When we met the owner of the retreat, it was revealed to us that the place was famous for its temple of Shakti known there as Dunagiri Devi. Apparently, this location is where “Bharat”,  the son of Shakuntala, was born. The mountains were said to have special energy.

In one of our conversations with the owner, we shared that almost every night we randomly woke up between 3 and 4 AM, which he found to be normal since that was the time “Mata ki chowki” landed on the adjacent mountains.  On one of two days I spent there, I even stumbled upon a medium-sized snake, and when we shared this with the owner, to my surprise he found it rather odd. Why? Because he has been living there for years and never once saw a snake in his campus. Weird, right?

Here are a few pictures from my trip. (all self clicked, some edited via snapseed app)

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Two-day trip to Datong, Shanxi Province, China (2012)

So we finally went on our much delayed trip, Datong is a quiet city, such a contrast to Beijing.

  • datong china

Trip to Datong

We left shortly after classes and reached this city which lies in Shanxi province after a 6 hour train ride with the locals who could not stop talking to us. I have never seen more curious people almost too fascinated with foreign skin. We reached at night and roamed the city streets after checking in a recently opened hotel. We managed to find a restaurant open and ate whatever we could find normal on the menu which was quite a task.
The next day, we started our journey early morning and took a taxi to The Hanging Monastery located outside the city. This amazing temple happens to be lodged on a cliff-face with rooms linked by mid-air walkways. Just the feel of standing in the middle of mountains was enough to take my breath away.

After this we head towards our next destination – The 1500-year-old Yúngāng Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These mountain-side caves and recesses are filled with 51,000 Buddhist statues – the largest being a 56-foot Seated Buddha while the smallest is only a few centimetres tall. The thought of how such accurate and precise buddha statues were made back in the ancient times is bound to cross your mind several times. I cannot question enough how people then could carve through stone and make such gigantic statues. We saw the Nine Dragon screen next located in the middle of the city, followed by fortification ruins which was just huge and beautiful!

Later we also made a visit to a local noodle shop but I ate KFC instead [no judgement please] because i don’t like noodles thankyouverymuch. Got back to Beijing the next day which felt great. Out of all the other cities in China this city is home to me. And it feels great to be back here each time.