Journeys never really begin or end, they are in constant motion, each destination leading to the next !

-Kerry Bingham in mudBALL

From the stark landscapes of Ladakh to the lush forests of Bandhavgarh and Corbett, from the dry yet abundant wildlife of Kenya to the impregnable greens of Sahyadris, our travels have been our inspirations from the beginning.

Be it travel to explore the works of master architects like Geoffrey Bawa, Santiago Calatrava and Antonio Gaudi or travel to remote locations to seek refuge in nature, each journey has been a teacher.

Our explorations have led us to experiment the joy of growing organic vegetables on a farm and a terrace where we can study the natural processes at close proximity whilst growing our own food ! These in turn reinforce our belief in ‘design with nature’ and help us interact better with enthusiastic students when we interact during design studios.

Subconsciously we have tried to bring these learnings into our designs in terms of scale and proportions, context, response to site and natural and biological processes.

Dandeli – Into the land of Hornbills !

It was at Dandeli that I fell in love with birds !

For a complete novice ( like me ) as far as our winged beauties were concerned, the visit to Dandeli turned out to be nothing short of a life altering experience ! From someone who barely managed to see birds that were pointed out, to someone who now has to go birding as often as one can, I am now fascinated with birds !

The enticing yellows
A glimpse of red
The blast of blue
And a sly white tail….

The swishing of the wings as the Ficus beckons
The rhythm of the dance as if from Heavens…

A splash of orange
The covert greens
A naive purple
And the subtle pinks….

A furry brown tail chasing another
Leaping and taunting each other….

The bamboos bend
And the teaks sway
The winged beauties
Are on their way….

The golden hues on the hills so high
A musical wave across the sky…

A symphony played
A song sung
A beat missed
With The only One…

The skies pour
On the forest floor
Drenched to the core
Yet …wanting more….

Springing roots in to the ground
One with the forest all around…
One with the forest all around….

– Manjiri Mahajan

 

 

 

The Land of High Passes – LADAKH

Keep close to Nature’s heart…
And break clear away, once in a while….
And climb a mountain,
Or spend a week in the woods…..
Wash your spirit clean…

– John Muir

A visit to Ladakh does just that !

A week well spent in the lap of natures barren beauty and one feels like a new person. The mere presence of the Himalayas make you modest . I will always remember Ladakh for its colours, textures and stones that change dynamically. One can’t have enough of the stark landscape and the majestic Himalayas towering above you. The magic begins during the flight itself as the snow-capped Himalayas soar up to meet you ! The whites suddenly make way for a bare brown valley with a few scattered buildings.

It is critical to be rested for getting acclimatized to the high altitude destination before one ventures out. Simple tips like keeping hydrated to walking slowly and taking it easy and eating in moderation if diligently followed help one at the high altitude. For every destination in Ladakh, the journey is as beautiful as the actual place. The stark mountains were coloured in all possible shades of brown, grey, violet and more. The mountains are made of sedimentary rock and are brittle and turn to fine sand which rolls down to form flowing dunes. Huge rock formations have interesting patterns developed as a result of erosion and look as if they are straight out of a SciFi movie.

It is interesting to observe the high altitude fauna like Marmots, Blue sheep (Bharal), Tibetan Wild Ass(Kiang) , woolly hare and Yaks. Birds like Tibetan Partridge, Chukar, Red and yellow billed Choughs and water birds like Seagulls, Brahminy Ducks are also seen.

The ubiquitous prayer flags, Chortens, Llamas and monasteries on hills reiterate Buddhism as the dominant religion. A visit to the 14th-century Diskit Monastery and Thikse Monastery fascinate with their beauty and traditional Buddhist architecture. Located on vantage points on hills, they command spectacular views of the surrounding valley. With each step one can experience the serene calmness that sets in, thus unifying oneself with the surroundings.