Soon we reached Sangla. However, by the time we reached Sangla, the light was diminishing quickly and the cloud cover was slowly spreading across the valley.

By this time, my daughter had started becoming little cranky and suddenly out the blue, she demanded to get her balloons. Luckily, a shop in Sangla market had some balloons. Here we did some more purchase (food, water, fruits). We then left Sangla behind and headed to our destination, Rakcham.
On our way, we noticed a terrible sight of an aftermath of cloudburst which had taken place in the month of July.
This cloudburst and the ensuing rubble flow had destroyed acres of apple orchards. Huge boulders and rocks had now spread across the right bank of river Baspa.
The famous Banjara camp had luckily escaped this terrible calamity by a whisker.


Soon after, we reached our destination, Hotel Rupin River View.
We had not made any prior reservations here. Luckily there were hardly any rooms occupied and the care taker present at the counter, happily provided us a room on the first floor. Most rooms here have tiny balcony .
The room was not very spacious but it was adequate for three of us.
This was the view from our room's balcony in the fading light:

This was such a pretty sight. Baspa river making a gushing sound. Clouds descending and dark green trees getting engulfed by these clouds.
My wife had never been to this part of Himachal Pradesh therefore for her it was a thrilling sight. Even for me, this monsoon glory was weaving it's magic.
After having a delicious coffee and quick, hot snacks, we decided to take a quick walk before it got too dark.
We quickly crossed that tiny bridge and walked along the bank of Baspa river. It was such a blissful feeling. My daughter now had forgotten her exhaustion and was excited.
Following is a pic, my wife clicked with her Iphone 6s. #nofilter

In a happy state of mind, we returned to our room.
Dinner was served soon. Food was served hot, in ample quantity and with enough options. Taste was nothing special though. The staff, specially the care taker (I guess his name was Narendra) was polite and helpful.
While we were dining, I noticed a firang guy entered the dining room and sat near a corner table. He was accompanied by his driver and soon one of the staff from the restaurant joined him in chit chat. It appeared as if this guy was a regular here. (more about him, later)
After a long day, we were quite full with dinner and dessert and soon retired to our room. That was the end of our day 2. Tired but content :)
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Day 3: 12th August - Sangla - Chitkul - Sangla

Day 3 began early for me. This time, I wanted to take a walk and do some bird watching. Previous evening, on my way from Sangla to Rakcham, I had noticed quite a few commonly found birds in this region, like finches, oriental turtle doves, buntings etc. I thus set out with my 400 mm f5.6 lens.

Alas! it was all cloudy at 6 am. The light was poor although there was considerable birds activities. Spotted russet sparrows, Common Hoopoe, Laughingthrush however it was too dark to get a decent shot.
I took a walk for about 3 kilometers towards Sangla but the light hardly improved. Bird photography in such conditions was not possible although I tried a few as I spotted a pair of Plumbeous Water Redstart near a stream.
Plumbeous Water Redstart female
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Plumbeous Water Redstart male



After coming back to the hotel, we had our breakfast. This is when we again bumped into the firang guest. He introduced himself as Bernd Zangerl. He was from Austria. As I guessed, he was a regular here as the mountains here offer some of the best rock climbing set ups. Bernd was going to stay here for 4 months. It was amazing interacting with him over breakfast.
My kid was all geared up for a 'little trek' on the other side of the Baspa river. The light had improved by now. Soon enough, I was able to click a few birds:

Russet Sparrow:

Common Stonechat:


Rock Bunting:


Walking along the Baspa river that morning was such a pleasure. It was pleasantly cool, breezy and the surrounding was so fresh after a light drizzle. Birds chirping, cows mooing, little school kids greeting us with smile. We walked along small paths through bright pink patches of Okara flowers. It was extremely refreshing. It felt as if it was the best remedy to deal with all the stress in our daily corporate lives. I could feel a connection with this surrounding.
And the best thing was to see my child enjoying this new environment to the fullest.






Spotted this beautiful Common Rosefinch, which is actually quite common in this region :)


Yellow Breasted Greenfinch:

Oriental Turtle Dove pair:

Rock Bunting:

Variegated Laughingthrush:


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