Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali!

Today is Diwali, the celebration that rivals a combination of Christmas and New Year's in the west. The school is closed for the day and there are firecrackers going off most of the night.

This is our last day in Mussoorie. We will be leaving in the early afternoon to catch the train to Meerut to visit friends for the weekend. We fly out of Delhi late Wednesday night and arrive home mid-day on Thursday.

Thanks for reading my blog. I expect to begin again in early April when I return.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Pushta is the Hindi word for retaining wall. Living in the newest mountains in the world (which are still moving), there is a lot of need for them around this area. The first photo shows what most of them look like after surviving a monsoon.

This is a place that didn't have a pushta before the last monsoon, but will probably get one soon. You can see how crumbly much of the hills are.

This is a brand new pushta on the back side of the chakkar, not far from the new Lal Tibba overlook. The holes allow water to drain out during the monsoon, helping to prevent bulging and breaking.

This is the same place, showing how the construction looks.

Here's a longer view; this is one of the biggest pushtas around.

Here are the men working on it. Every stone is painstakingly laid by hand. If the rocks are too large, they are hit with hammers until they break apart.

In this photo you can see the pyramid shape of the pushta from the side.

The large one below Landour Hospital is making good progress. It is quite far out from the side of the hill; it looks like they are doing that to widen the road (you can see the crumbly edge of the road at the top of the work area).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Miscellany

Today, a few pictures that I've downloaded because they are interesting, but they aren't held together by a theme.

These rugs airing on the fence just before Mullingar must have been from a hotel or some establishment other than a home. I hope no one trips over that hole!

At the end of every restaurant meal, the bill comes on a tray with saunf (fennel seeds) and sugar to mix together and chew. It clears the palate very well. The sugar is often like this, in very large crystals.

Along the back side of Kulri hill, you can see why there are sometimes breaks in the water lines...

Right near the hospital tea shops, I looked down to see this boy trying to retrieve a red sweater that had fallen from the road. The perspective is a bit difficult, but the stone wall at the bottom of the photo is vertical. The whole area was extremely steep and it was fortunate that he didn't slide further down the landslide. People on the road kept throwing stones at the sweater on a ledge, trying to knock it off (he couldn't have reached it). Eventually a large rock did dislodge it, fortunately not hitting the boy.

Here is he is with the sweater, trying to climb up the steep side of the landslide, which was loose dirt and gravel. He did make it, with his family helping him over the fence at the top.

One of the most interesting things here is the phenomenon of the winterline. It is caused by refraction in the cold air. The line is very distinct and is not a horizon. I'm told that there is a place in Switzerland where it also occurs. The sunsets are very colorful. A photo like this is a classic in the albums of almost all winter visitors to Mussoorie.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Picnic Photos

Today, a random selection of photos from the picnic. This is the farmhouse just above the fields where the oxen were plowing. Definitely vertical acreage!

Mr. Chopel took a walk up toward the farmhouse and purchased two large pumpkins from the farmer. On his return, Immu helped him with the pumpkins so he could get back across the creek. This is the same man who saved another staff member's life at a previous picnic. That one was held on the Yumuna River and many went tubing. One man who couldn't swim slipped out of his tube and got caught in the swift current. Mr. Chopel jumped in and managed to drag him to safety. He won a national award for bravery that year. People still talk about it.

Nasturtiums growing in the garden.

A vine that climbed up and into the opening at the top of the gazebo.

Pretty pinkish-red flowers. Maybe someone else can identify them.

Playing badminton without a net in the open area.

Strawberry plants in the garden!

I kept hoping someone would take the challenge and climb this tree with the rope ladder, but I don't think anyone did.