Category Archives: #Travels

The Grain’s Call

In India, there is a famous saying ‘daane daane pe likha he khane wale ka naam’, which in English would probably mean that each and every food grain comes with the fate of being eaten by someone specific’.

And yeah sometimes, it just fits so perfectly that you are automatically forced to believe the wisdom of ancestors.😮

One day, I got attracted to a picture on the street, thinking this place looks interesting, but carelessly heard the whereabouts of which I got a faint idea, and soon, I forgot the thing. 

Then one day we were going somewhere else and just near that place I enquired my mate, “isn’t it the same place I told you about”???
Supposed to be!”

Let’s go and check it out then.”

 and we turned the wheel to end up in a perfect weekend destination!!!!

Wow! This seems to be a happening place considering the masses having fun,” I said.

Then we headed to the main attraction the inviting gateway, a very old bridge leading to Shiva’s hidden abode.
Awkward thing-I was not dressed to the occasion.

Interesting thing-the brief conversation with the priest.

Actually there was a separate stairway leading to a platform, just in front of the temple, probably to have glimpse of God. The priests directed Mr CoolHead, “You go to the temple through main gate,” and then he pointed towards us, “and they will go up the stairs.

It was something new. 🤔🤔🤔
 Priests either allow women in some temples or they just don’t! 

What is this new system??? Or may be I misunderstood, so, to double check, I moved my index finger and asked him again, “May I?

He was  blunt,”Go if you wish to!

Difficult to keep mum to such directions, “I definitely wish to, that’s the reason I am standing here,” the words came automatically, and I climbed the stairs, bowed my head and came down.

He again called out to me,”Take the blessings.

I spread my hands and received the prasad, immediately mother came forward,and she too extended her arms.

Use your dupatta when you have one! Can’t say anything to those who don’t wear one!” He appeared like commenting to me!

I was like excuse me Panditji! This is all ‘mohmaya’. No one came with a dupatta during birth. God sent us without one. Then why do we need it now to seek his blessings???

He didn’t expect this, I guess! He became politer,”No… no, there is something good in it. You don’t know!”

May be but…

What’s going on? Why do you always have to argue with everyone?” Mr CoolHead interrupted to close the topic, and we left the premises…only to receive an exciting offer to have food along with those who were aptly dressed (I assume, God is happy. He doesn’t mind my not wearing dupatta!). This invitation was unexpected but pleasant. And moreover, who are we to say ‘No’  when God himself is taking care of everything?? 😃😃

The food was delicious especially because it was lunch-time or May be because it was absolutely free or probably because it was made with Grain’s having our names on !! 🤓🤓 Whatever it is, it was perfect!!!!

However in the arguing engagement, I could not ask about the history of the place which needs to be known…possibly next time! 😊😊

Shimla; The Countryside

Summer’s at its worst at places. Every time I think about the heat…I bow my head and close my eyes to thank God for making this time of the year, bearable actually…pleasant, by calling me back to my place. Life seems normal now. I haven’t kept water in the fridge yet, you can well imagine…it’s heaven!!!

Mr Coolhead though is losing his cool; he has still some business left with heat 😌😌.

Recently, we the wanderers, managed to steal a deal and had some best of the moments with each other in the lap of Nature. 
Here are some glimpses of excursion in to the emrald green upper Shimla Hills of Himachal Pradesh, India.

Pabbar Valley

Apple Orchards in full foliage

A bunch of old traditional houses

And the stairs to heaven 😊😊😊

An obscured water body; a delight to one’s eyes and heart

The green cover

Touch the clouds

A royal abode of once upon a time Hill’s Princely States

Mr Coolhead catching a breath

Horses in the mid of nowhere…awesome!!!!

Aamod (Paradise Unplugged)

Most of the people know Shimla partly because of its British Connection, and partly because of being a popular Hill station since many years. A lot of credit for promoting Shimla also goes to Bollywood. If you have watched old hindi movies you’ll understand.

But this article is not about Shimla; it is actually to talk about one of the places which is gaining popularity among tourists, and people especially from the plains, prefer to come here, enjoy Nature, and have some memorable moments with family or friends. Plus point, it subtracts the congestion and hours long traffic jams in the city. Moreover you can go to the city and come back if you want as this is just 13 km from Shimla towards Chandigarh. 

This place is entitled, ‘Aamod‘ which also means ‘Pleasure’. 



However we weren’t there to stay; it was just a temp halt. The parking is at the level of NH, and you have to walk some 150 mts or so.The guys at the gate were too kind to offer us a drop at the restaurant. Mind you, it was free!!!!
The restaurant is open to all, you don’t necessarily need to stay overnight.The outlook is catchy and pleasant.


Tried Veg platter which was good and heavy too, so, my little tummy refused anything else. The hospitality is worth appreciating though.


The platter costs Rs 600. True, I have had better than this but no problem, it was fine. And yes later they do offer you complementary dish and bread of your choice. That was surprisingly good!!!

Just for the information, they do provide some local Himachali dishes here. Do try some.

Move out of the restaurant, and start climbing uphill to explore the surroundings. (You need a walk to digest all the cheese you just ate.)


The Reception


Nature friendly Cottages

Activity Area

Way to Nature walk on your on

View of NH 22 from the top

All in all, it is a good place to hang out. The ambience is peaceful (except for those Cicada songs), air is fresh, food is good, and best thing it is very approachable.

PS. Just before this we went to Barog camping site, it was quite hidden in the jungle and we kind of lost interest after reaching almost there, we returned and ended up at Aamod.For more information about the place you can click on the link.

Gaura (Giri River)

Nature has no bounds when it comes to surprise us…and you won’t disagree if I call it the best healer of all. 

So whenever there is slightest possibility to be in company of the Nature, this family of Wanderers leave everything aside and immerse wholeheartedly in its enchanting beauty.

By now, I hope it is evident that I have shifted back to Hills-the place I would never have enough of and herefore starts my old romance.

Recently explored some marvelous locales…

Have a look 😊😊😊

Morni Hills-The Only Hill Station Of Haryana

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If you stay near or around Chandigarh, and have an urge to get a break from the monotony of city life, just raise your gaze, cause there is an incredibly quiet place just up the hills. I am talking about the Morni Hills’.

First thing that comes to mind while thinking about this place is that it might have Pea-pheasants in plenty, and who knows; the region is so blessed with diverse flora; I am sure there’s a hidden faunal treasure too, glimpses of which you get en-route.

The ride uphill was a gradual one. First we moved along the almost dry Ghaghar river beds witnessing the curvaceous carvings on the soft land that makes turn heads once or twice. For a moment, I felt like, it’s a different world altogether. The road is such a relief; you never realise that you are heading the countryside. The vista on the sides of roads is eye-catching. The rifts and valleys try their best to give some awe moments. The slope takes you to the lush green pine covered hillside; the needles swaying with a typical sound in the hilly breeze. We saw many unseen birds and heard many sweet songs of the vivid birds. Its spring season, everything is emerging slowly from the winter sleep.

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Morni hills is famous for its two lakes separated by a hillock. Though I was expecting more, what I got was not that bad. The water was little muddy but nothing compared to beauty of nature combined with some human innovation. The Lakes offer scenic view and a place for the love-birds to have some quiet moments. Haryana tourism offers very delicious, hygienic and cheap food choices. According to me, it’s a good option for weekend camping. And if you desire, you can paddle into the lake water at your ease.

The lakeside also has an adventure park however sadly it is not being maintained. But we had great time with a naughty kid along and clicked some memories too.

There’s also a fort at the hilltop which was closed for renovation purpose.

The forest seemed calling us in, to savor its real beauty but due to lack of time and no paraphernalia, we the wanderers headed back home with a promise to come back in the monsoons when I am sure the beauty will be in multiples.

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The sparkling lake was happy to have us, I guess. 🙂

Shivpuri Camping Site: Embracing The New Year Dawn

Camping was one of the to-do things in my travel-list. What better place to do it than Shivpuri further upstream from Rishikesh? The imagination of a tent-house, sand, river, bon-fire, music, and dance is enough to sensitise one’s receptors!

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Moreover, the countless websites highly boast of their itinerary which makes it a difficult job to decide which one to pick and which one to drop! So we decided to take available offers on the spot, and hell yes, we got the tents even after massive immigration from plains for the New Year Celebration.

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In contrast to what I expected this camp was located in an obscured place with a few enthusiasts sprinkled here and there. As boring it sounds; our desire for a beach camping was fading. But hey! We are wanderers so why be content? A hunt for a almost desired place soon took us to ‘Explore the Himalayas’ camping site.

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You only come to know in the end that no camping site actually exists along the main Ganga beach anymore due to ‘Clean Ganga drive’. Fine, but don’t you think it should be updated on the website? Anyway, when you pay bucks you try to get most of it, so did we. A rivulet was all we had and nothing could stop us from going for a fake swim (better call it sway).

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img_20170101_091424The Food was okay. The package included a musical night and people kept waiting for the beats to shake their bodies; sitting around the bon-fire, getting boozed. Good thing the camp tried to keep families and singles separate.

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As the Clock ticked 00.00, the sky tinkled with fireworks, and the chirping people mingled on turf and jingled, ‘H-a-p-p-y N-e-w Y-e-a-r’ and the bash went on….:)

Rishikesh: The Yoga Capital of World

If we go by words, ‘Rishikesh’ would mean the ‘Locks of Sage’ but I am not sure if it is relevant or not but what I know is that this city has definitely something to do with sages…🙂

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Rishikesh from a distance

Drive some 25 km upstream from Haridwar and you find yourself amid variety of people: Learners, Adventurers, Relaxers, Seekers and Wanderers. Yes, this is what ‘Rishikesh’ is known for. Located on both sides of emerald river Ganga, Rishikesh has succeeded in maintaining its spell on the natives as well as foreigners, equally; I too went there as a wanderer or probably was yet to discover my purpose.

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Rishikesh: The adventurer’s Paradise

Initially there were attempts from my side to book some hotels but as the destiny had it, due to New Year Celebrations, the ‘sold out’ board is all I got! Still we, ‘the family of wanderers’ endeavoured the venture, and this came as a surprise when we pulled the breaks exactly in front of the hotel which denied accommodation on phone for the sake of renovation in the first place but now they were more than willing to take us. Wow! I won’t say the stay was fabulous but adaptability is what defines us! Blame the still ongoing work or what, I would not really recommend that hotel. Hello! Putting an affordable cost for the rooms is not enough; you got to provide some basic facilities, forget everything else!

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Me and GlowinGal trying to measure the Width of mighty Ganga

However the best part is that the Hotel was on-road, located near ‘Laxman-Jhula’ and many spa centres. The local sight-seeing was feasible but a bit demanding for us due to kids along as there are hardly any points to cross the river except for two distantly located Ram and Laxman Jhulas (Suspension Bridges) and not to mention the bothersome two wheeler traffic on a narrow strip cum bridges. You can hardly stand and enjoy the gigantic water body underneath. You can still witness some symbols of past tragedy when the calmest river got furious.

In the afternoon, it was time to discover the jungle which is a part of Rajaji National Park. Many picturesque points were waiting to be admired. An uphill ride to ‘Neelkanth’ was exhilarating too.

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Pausing for a Swing

On the way, ‘Neer Waterfall’ was a treat to watch and we happily indulged in some soaking. It is a three-step fall aptly hidden from the populace.

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The beginning point of Neer Waterfall Climb

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Budding Travellers resting in the Mid

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Inviting Crystal Clean Water (Main Fall)

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Hard to Resist

We spent the evening by roaming in the locality, and witnessing another moment of the ‘River worship’ at the thirteen-storied ‘Tryambakeshwar Temple’– an awesome structure.

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Tryambakeshwar Temple

The very famous ‘Jumping heights’ asked for lots of guts as well as bucks, so it was kept on less priority than Camping for the next day.

With this, we called it night. 🙂

 

These Hills Definitely Have Eyes

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Sometimes people tell things, you have no idea of! And then suddenly information start coming from every possible source as if some supernatural power wants you to know all about it or may be I am just imagining it! 😉

Once I was in a conversation with a colleague…about the life of hill people which obviously for them seems ‘impossibly hard’. I am done explaining to people that it’s actually the opposite provided you are making good money, there’s no better place to live than hills! (By hills, I don’t mean hills, they do have houses 😉 )

It no more surprises me when they ask silly questions like, “How do they even live there? How is it possible to make a house on a mountain? Don’t people fall down from their balconies when it’s dark…?”

I don’t know why but most of contemporaries from the plains not only think but firmly believe that it’s just impossible to live there. They further add, “Do they get vegetables and fruits to eat there?”

I can’t believe. They live in mountains not on some hanging pole! And as far as I remember, the hills have many fruits which are not even seen in plains! If given choice, I would love to spend my whole life there but…

Forget it…that’s not my point. What I am saying is, one day one of my colleagues said, “We have heard there’s a village in Himachal where the Aryans have still managed to maintain the purity of their race. They are tall, fair and blue eyed people. They marry amongst themselves, and speak a very different language!”

This wasn’t totally something new. Most of the people there are fair, many well heighted, and very few also have blue eyes. I never heard about these ‘pure lines’ ever, but knowing the fact that I am just a human, and there’s limit to my knowledge, I just responded with a ‘may be’ at that moment.

But the curious history-loving brain kept bothering me, “Is it true? Who knows! When News Channels can show the way to Heaven (with steps) right through Himalayas, how did they miss it, or  was it me who was deaf and blind!”

Slowly I got busy with other stuff of life, only to hear a similar thing about the height, beauty, and the exclusiveness of a human race in the interiors of ‘my state’ from a visitor. He was talking about Kasol. I thought …hmmm, interesting!

And the very next day an article came in the news paper… “The Residents Of Malana Claims Themselves To Be The Descendants Of Alexander The Great.

Okay… that’s the thing. The Jumble got solved. So this is Malana people who were being talked about above. Well, I have never been there, so I am yet to see the ‘exclusiveness’ but Malana has surely once again succeeded in making it to the headlines :).

(For those who don’t know…Malana is a remote village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Supposedly, the oldest democracy in world. They have a peculiar judicial system; the word of their village deity is final and no one dares to go against it. No one! If you want to know more…Go Google it. And remember I am not exaggerating; it’s a major hit among foreigners travelling north ;))

Picture credit:

Holy smoke

 

I Dare To See Dreams!

You have to dream before your dreams can come true. - A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Travelling is not everybody’s cup of tea. As a child, I never knew, I would ever love it! As life kept unfolding its pleasant ‘presents’, I started dreaming…dreaming about the places unseen. It seems impossible to stay untouched by the charisma of diversity that this Planet holds- natural or man-made.

In my childhood, ‘The Wonderland of Alice’ and ‘Gulliver’s Lilliput World’ seemed so real, so fascinating. Later, years added many new interests, and my dreams of seeing the novel lands, only intensified. When I first heard about ‘Ram Setu’ in Ramayana, I thought it’s just fictitious. But when the issue got highlighted in media and was noticed consciously by me, the desire to see it in real raised its head. Then Biology books mentioned ‘The Great Barrier Reef’ near Australia. Mere imagination of the place used to give me goose bumps. I wondered, how one would feel after being ‘actually’ there? Only one word echoed in my mind- probably, out of this world!

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The Da Vinchi Code’ described the beauty of Paris so beautifully that I almost went there once virtually but as they say, ‘Seeing is believing’, so one day, I dream of witnessing each and every place mentioned in it without forgetting to pose in front of the grand ‘Eiffel Tower’!

I dream to see all the wonders that this world reveals or hides, and be amazed at the work of the biggest architect ever-‘The Nature’. Its every aspect makes me wonder- Just imagine… in spite of being continents apart, how the oceans give us the feeling of oneness; how the life rejuvenates after rains and the Mother Earth wears soothing attire, or how snow bestows a boon of fair complexion to its beloved land. Who doesn’t dream to explore the mysterious dense rain forests of Africa, and fly like a swift over the Savannah, and likes. Even the absence of rains has proven to be  a bounty at places and tanned the panorama beige, in the form of never-lasting desert. Oh, it’s difficult to explain, How I long to see the deserts of Egypt, holding myriad secrets of history! How could one suppress the yearning not to witness them all?

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I have spent a great part of my life in a hill station; I have breathed the freshest of air and I think no-one can ever have enough of it. Even today the mountains keep calling me and I desperately wait for a refreshing rendezvous. Honestly, it’s an entirely different feeling to conquer a mountain and be on top of the world; everything looks meagre!

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Yes, I am a dreamer, and my dreams are the staggered ones. Yet I treasure them. One day, I dream to hike through ‘The Grand Canyons’ in North America; fly over far-reaching grasslands in a hot air balloon; roam over the ‘Great Wall of China’; watch the Sun going down on the peaks of Alps; touch the stunning corals in the land down-under; share white space with boisterous, gregarious Penguins in Antarctica; and get wet under the showers of gigantic Niagara Falls. I am damn curious to see how red is the Red Sea and how dead is the Dead Sea, in real sense!

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I won’t say I am fascinated by the wonders of Nature alone; there are countless man-made marvels that act like magnets and keep distracting me time and again, and I am like, ‘Why all the places had to be so far?’ These are breathtakingly beautiful and desired by one and all. This Planet is so gorgeous that one life seems too small for seeing it in entirety, and moreover, how can I forget- I am a middle class woman, a wife, a mother and a teacher. In short, I have many ‘ifs’ and ‘hows’!

I also know that I might not be able to see even half of the things mentioned above in my entire life but what I know is that I am alive right now, and I see a lot of dreams…

And over and over again, I have this dream… of going on an exciting voyage around the globe.

May be someday! For now, I am happy seeing the ‘Possible’ and dreaming about the ‘Probable’. 🙂

Mann.

(I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the club Mahindra #dreamtrails activity at Blogadda.)

Photo credits:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/apjabdu379489.html?src=t_dreamhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/karolos-trivizas/5706949267

http://www.ewamannssafaris.com/joomla/index.php/kenya-safaris-packages/masai-mara-hot-air-balloon-safari

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eOne TV Dives Into ‘Great Barrier Reef’; Goldcrest Boards ‘Stonewall’

 

An Unusual Date With Nature

Last month, I put my feet on this marvellous land mentioned in ancient scriptures for its unknownness, and in current books for its difficult life conditions. I entered the gateway to the cold desert of India and celebrated some of its amazing and unique  hues. Lately, it was a dream and now fulfilled, though partially. I still yearn to explore the valleys on foot, may be some day!

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Our first halt was ‘Reckong Peo’- the town, surprisingly with every amenity necessary for a comfortable life. Earlier, I had the opinion of its being backward and tough (the result of its such portrayal by criers). The location is wonderful and sunny, and the climate, all pleasant. It is also known as ‘Land of Gods’. The visuals here, certainly make it ONE!

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‘Kalpa’ is another beautiful hamlet near ‘Reckong Peo’.

The ambience is miraculous. The canopy of glistening pine and apple trees catch your gaze, the crawling  ice-cold water streams freshen your senses, and the picturesque snow laden Himalayas in front, leave you spellbound.  The walk through the village sends you back in time, far from the hustle and bustle of modern era.

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Once there, the desire to come back to the animated life, vanishes…

(until of course you realise that the clock it ticking and you are running out of ‘leaves’ 😉 ).

(It is summer. For more mind-blowing winter pictures, go google it. The above photos are taken by ME except for the ones with date. Their credit goes to a  friend, Umesh Chandel, MD.)