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13 November 2016 / leggypeggy

The beauty of a new day

early morning, Western Ghats, India

When our host at the homestay near Koppe suggested that we set out at 5am and go for an hour-long drive/hike to see a sunrise from a hill, I was rather ho-hum about the whole thing.

In our extensive travels, we’ve seen scores of sunsets in scores of countries, and only a few have ever really impressed. Perhaps you have noticed that I only occasionally post sunrise and/or sunset photos.

So we put the option to a vote. Anand said he’d drive for those who wanted to do the sunrise, and Deepti said she’d lead a walking tour for those who wanted to bird-watch. Sleep was also an option, but no one ever chooses that.

Western Ghats in morning

Marian and Deepti take a closer look

Marian’s argument tipped the balance. She so sensibly said, I’m doing the sunrise. It’s probably the only time in my life that I’ll have the chance to see the sun come up over this valley.

She had a point. We’d be aiming for a hill in the Nawallakulaguda district of the Western Ghats, the mountains that run down the southwestern side of India. We’d drive for 30 minutes or so and then pick up a guide, Monappa.

He’d show us the rest of the way by road, and then lead us up an unmarked path to the top of a stony hill and the best viewpoint.

When we got out of the van at the base of the hill, I looked to my right and saw a small slice of clouds billowing below us. Hey, look at this everyone, I said, but Monappa (who spoke no English but understood Hindi) indicated that we were to hurry up before we missed the best bits.

Western Ghats in early morning

Western Ghats before sunrise

Poor John and me in the Western Ghats

So on we trudged. By then, it was 5:50 and still on the chilly side. It took just short of 20 minutes to reach the top, and one of the most remarkable views I’ve ever seen.

The hill itself was a mix of intricate colours and textures, but there before us was the breathtaking spread of clouds shrouding the valley below.

The pictures can never do the scene justice, but I share them here for your enjoyment. The sunrise itself was lovely but pretty much unremarkable, but the sea of clouds dotted with close and distant hills was magical. Add temple music that started to play somewhere below about the time the sun started to appear, and we had the perfect start to a new day.

clouds at early morning, Western Ghats, India

Monappa enjoys the view

It must be one of Monappa’s favourite places. Soon after we reached the top, he went to the edge to sit for a few minutes so he could enjoy the sweeping views.

The only cloudy sunrise I’ve seen that rivals this one was about 55 years ago. My dad flew a DC-3 and, as a child, I was often allowed to accompany him. One morning we took off to the east well before sunrise.

Below us was a thick blanket of clouds. I was sitting in the cockpit when the sun lit the clouds from below—flashing red, orange, gold, pink and purple, along with flashes of white. No camera back then, but my mind’s eye remembers it well.

To quote a line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘Mandalay’—the dawn comes up like thunder.

sunrise, Western Ghats, India


Leave a Comment
  1. Derrick / Nov 13 2016 4:23 am

    I like seeing every morning, it proves I have survived another night

    Being above the clouds and looking down on them is special though, even though it might be chilly

    It has always fascinated me being above clouds and still have my feet on the ground

    The morning sun rise in Oz has always been my favourite, it always seemed so dramatic

    Really good photos, I’l pinch a couple of them and use them as wall paper on my PC, okay with you Peg ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:08 pm

      Of course you can use the pics, Derrick. Glad you like them. Hope your house is recovering.


      • Derrick / Nov 13 2016 7:15 pm

        Thanks very much Peg, I always ask before I take a picture, it’s just manners

        Yup house all sorted now

        Good to see you are having a good time, give Anand and Deepti my regards

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2016 3:12 am

        We’re having a great time, and Anand and Deepti send their regards too. They’ll be in London In February. 🙂


      • Derrick / Nov 14 2016 4:42 am

        I guess they might be coming to one of the travel/overland shows (which are very good)

        But they will need everything in place to present the company , flyers, presentations, maps, video shows, I might see them there
        (They know how to contact me if they need to)
        The competition is fierce there, but a lot of operators get 60-70% of the passengers there
        (The biggest exhibitor is Dragoman, with their truck in the hall)

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2016 1:36 pm

        They are coming to one of the travel shows, and I’m trying to advise them on preparations. Fingers crossed.


      • Derrick / Nov 14 2016 7:46 pm

        If they are staying in a hotel/hostel they need to get it booked early, these places get booked up early and of course prices increase

        Which one (s) are they going to ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2016 2:23 am

        Not sure yet. I think they are getting everything sorted as soon as this trip ends.


  2. Victo Dolore / Nov 13 2016 4:35 am

    Awesome photos. Almost like another world entirely. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. christie jones / Nov 13 2016 5:26 am

    Cotton candy came to my mind.. The clouds look like cotton candy shrouding the forest below in the valley Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:12 pm

      Your reference to cotton candy made me laugh. In Hindi, this treat is called ‘old lady’s hair’.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. GP Cox / Nov 13 2016 6:05 am

    What magnificent photos!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rhonda / Nov 13 2016 6:18 am

    That last shot is a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Phyllis Gaetz / Nov 13 2016 6:29 am

    Thank you for taking the time to share Peggy. Beautiful. What a nice memory and experience with your father.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:13 pm

      It is a wonderful memory and one that I cherish.


  7. afterthelasttime / Nov 13 2016 6:40 am

    Awesome, Peggy! Thank you very much!
    From the top of the hills at my maternal Grandparents ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska looking east over the canyons a couple miles there is a very similar effect just before sunrise. Some of my family began camping out there last night, they do this annually, as deer hunting season began at sunrise today.
    It’s also the same look west towards their ranch house however it’s one large valley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:14 pm

      Maybe I can get there one day to see the views you’ve had. Thanks for the description.


  8. ralietravels / Nov 13 2016 7:09 am

    Beautiful. I am a morning person, love the sunrise. and like Derrick am always glad to be here for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:15 pm

      Me too. I almost used a headline of ‘The gift of a new day’.


  9. lmo58 / Nov 13 2016 7:43 am

    A lovely adventure Peggy and, as always, spectacular photos. Who knew that fog and trees intermingled could look so beautiful! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:16 pm

      Excellent point. They do make for a magical setting.


  10. beetleypete / Nov 13 2016 7:55 am

    Well done for choosing not to sleep. We can all ‘sleep when we are dead’, and the experience was worth rising early for.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:16 pm

      Oh gosh, I’d never choose the sleep option. My mother used to say I didn’t sleep as a child because I was afraid I’d miss something.


  11. Dorothy / Nov 13 2016 8:16 am

    Another great post Peggy. Must have felt like being on top of the world being above the clouds watching the sun come up. I do enjoy following your adventures.


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:17 pm

      Great description—it was like being on the top of the world. So glad you’ve come along for the trek.


  12. luckyjc007 / Nov 13 2016 9:14 am

    Great photos! I especially like the last one..😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. lexklein / Nov 13 2016 9:14 am

    I generally have to be dragged from my bed in the early morning hours, but the few times I have been, I’ve seen scenes that were worth every lost minute of sleep. It’s not always an impressive sunrise, but the dawn of a new day is usually a hopeful, fulfilling time. Thanks for sharing these ethereally beautiful shots.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:19 pm

      My pleasure. So glad you’ve enjoyed them. And you didn’t even have to get up early! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Curt Mekemson / Nov 13 2016 9:25 am

    We live in a canyon/river valley, Peggy, and the mist often comes slipping over the nearby mountains and down our canyon, climbing up hillsides and hiding the forest. It is always magical. I imagine Big Foot out there watching us. 🙂 I really like your last photo. As a young person, I memorized Mandalay. Bits an pieces still jump out at me on occasion. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:20 pm

      Big Foot probably is watching you. Now I’ll have to get to your neck of the woods to have a look. By the way, we lived in Burma for several years so the poem, Mandalay, means a lot to us.


  15. theunassuminghiker / Nov 13 2016 9:27 am

    Absolutely beautiful pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Nov 13 2016 10:00 am

    When I saw the first photo, I thought it was a painting, Absolutely beautiful photos, thank your for all the explanation. I can’t imagine sleeping in and missing all this wondrous beauty. Monappa must feel his is sharing the best thing on earth – it certainly seems to come close.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:22 pm

      Monappa was especially pleased that we loved his ‘slice of heaven’ so much.


  17. Vicki / Nov 13 2016 10:15 am

    Those clouds/mist filling the valley are just beautiful. It’s the sort of view you often see in Chinese watercolour paintings and one that I’ve never really encountered on my own travels.

    I’ve seen a mist filled valley but never dotted with the hilltops like that.

    The actual sunrise shot makes for a lovely composition with the tree silhouette.

    I think it was well worth the early rising. Marian made a very wise statement is saying she’d never get to see that sight again.

    Reminds me of that quote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:24 pm

      Wow, Vicki, I have never heard that quote before. It’s perfect. Thanks so much for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. BoomingOn / Nov 13 2016 10:38 am

    I am soooo not a morning person either, but I do force myself to get up early for a sunrise, and usually pleased I do. Good on you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2016 4:25 pm

      Thanks. We’ve been up before 6am for at least half of the trip. We need to do that to start the safaris on time. I’m almost used to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Julieann Dove / Nov 13 2016 11:26 am

    I very much enjoyed this post. If only I could see places like this in my lifetime!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. calmkate / Nov 13 2016 6:51 pm

    Brought back truck loads of memories from when I camped for a couple of weeks on a ridge outside Kathmandu last century. Overlooked a valley where most sunrises were similar to this! And during the day the noises and sights of villagers going about their daily business was simply fascinating. As was the old man snow monkey who came to visit …. ah, those were the days.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Midwestern Plant Girl / Nov 13 2016 11:51 pm

    What a beautiful area! I’m not a morning person, yet have had to be one for work. I would have certainly voted to view this, rather than sleep. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sascha Darlington / Nov 14 2016 8:24 am

    Amazing pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. mommermom / Nov 15 2016 2:14 am

    The beauty of the new morning is almost always worth getting up, I agree. …but the sunrise makes it all the more special. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Alison and Don / Nov 15 2016 8:58 am

    This reminds me that it is *always* worth getting up for sunrise even when I’d always rather sleep. What a grand experience you had. And me too every time I dragged myself out of bed early enough – remembering climbing a volcano in Bali for sunrise – magical!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Norbert Haupt / Nov 16 2016 1:50 am

    Very, very cool. Makes me want to make a painting of it.

    Liked by 1 person


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