Sindhu Ghat , Leh , Ladakh

Sindhu Ghat is situated at 10 km up stream the Indus River from Leh near the Shey , it is a peaceful river bank   The Sindhu          ( Indus ) river originates near Mansarover lake and  Mt. Kailash in Tibet enters in to India and flows through the Leh Valley and the enters into Pakistan , Sindhu is Sanskrit word and its translation is ” Large water Body” . The importance of this river to us is it has given our country the name India and people living here are called the Hindu which is the distorted name of Sindhu in the Arab world. It is one of the seven most sacred rivers in India .

 

Sindhu (Indus) Ghat Leh

Sindhu Darshan festival is celebrated every year on Guru Purnima ( Full moon of June)  Festival which takes place over three days every year is the perfect time to visit the remote regions of Leh and Ladakh. The Ghat is in Shey Manla, about  8 km from Leh. People travel for a Darshan and Puja of the River Sindhu (Indus), this festival is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldiers of India who have bravely fought the odds at Siachin, Kargil & other places. Mr. Lal Krishan Adwani( then Dy. Prime Minister) who migrated from Sindh in 1947  now in Pakistan, visited Leh in 1995  he started the Sindhu Darshan Abhiyan as Sindhi’s worship Indus ( Sindhu).  Festival was first time organized in the year 1997 and now it is a regular feature . In 2006, this popular spring festival of Ladakh was renamed ‘Ladakh Singhey Khabab Spring Festival’ to bring in more Ladakhi flavor and local involvement. The ceremony is conducted by a joint association of Ladakh Buddhist Association, Shia Majlis, Sunni Anjuman, Christian Moravian Church, Hindu Trust and Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. As a part of the ritual, fifty senior Lamas conduct a prayer on the banks of the river.

 

Sindhu ( Indus ) River and snow cap mountains Leh

 

The Greeks called it Sinthus , Romans called it Sindus,  Chinese called it Sintow and Persians called it Ab-e-Sindh , It originates from Tibet enters into India and flows in between the Himalayas and Karakoram , it enters into Pakistan in the Baltistan region flowing through the Skardu , having tributaries from Hindukush , Gilgit and  Naga parbat, Jhelem meets in Kashmir of Pakistan side  it enters Pakistan Punjab plains where it meets Ravi , Satluj and Vyas rivers before meeting the Arabian Sea at Karachi forming the Delta in Sindh .

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Kerala Back Waters

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The world-famous Backwaters are in the state of Kerala in the South of India, the nearest airport Nedumbassery is 25 km North of Cochin city.

The backwaters of Kerala – meandering inland lakes networked by canals the network includes five large lakes – stretch to over 900 kms. man made and natural fed by 38 rivers covering almost half the length of Kerala state there are a number of towns and cities, which serve as the starting and end points of backwater cruises, freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea, at Vembanad lake (Kayal) which is the longest lake in India , a barrage has been built which prevents  salt water from the sea  entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact.

Low surface than water level, Paddy fields around Kerala Back Waters

This fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes, there is rich unique aquatic life as well the leafy plants and shrubs, Palm trees grows alongside the shores, there are places where the paddy fields are below the water  level (Kuttanad) and are surrounded by earthen embankments. The crops are grown on the low-lying ground and irrigated with fresh water from canal and waterways connected to Vembanad lake  Boat trips across these tranquil stretches are an experience unique to Kerala.

Large Kettuvalloms (Houseboats) which were used as grain barges to transport the rice from the fertile fields along the back waters were converted  to accommodate tourists ,these boats are made of Jackfruit wood using the local available raw materials without using any metal nail, these are floating cottages with bedroom,dining area and private facilities, food is cooked on board mostly having Kerala flavor. Ketuvallams are motorized but cruise  at a slow speed for smooth travel. All Ketuvallams have a generator and most bedrooms are air-conditioned, at night electricity is switched off and lanterns are provided to create a rural setting.

There are several cities along the banks of around 200 km  Back Waters from where excursions can be taken best locations are Alleppy and Kumarakom the nearest airport is Cochin or Kochi which is 54 km to Alleppy and 76 Km. to Kumarakom, best place is Alleppy because quite and away from the mad crowds is the Marari beach white sand , neat clean and safe for swimming , the distance between the Vembnad lake and beach is hardly 5 km. all these small towns are now busy tourist destinations with all pocket budget guest houses, hotels and resorts.

In  1952 first prime minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru when visited Kerala was received by the  Chundan  Valloms the (snake boats) a boat race Vallam Kali  was organised in the back waters, a Sliver Trophy which was sent by the Prime Minister since then became the annual function which is held during the Onam festival in the month of August  in Alappuzha , other races are Champakulam Moolam  Aranmula  Uthrattadi  Vallamkali ,  Kallada boat race,  Payipad Jalotsavam  and Indira Gandhi boat race .

Backwaters of Kerala are also called the Venice of East its soothing shoreline, beautiful beaches make it terrific. One may plan  backwater tour  anytime of the year, the best time for cruising is from October to March. Casual clothes in cotton are best suited for the backwater trip to Kerala  journey through the lagoons is interesting, passing through sleepy villages, busy boat jetties and vibrant celebrations makes the trip a memorable one.

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