Next morning we wake up with a bad weather again. It rained all night which we could hear pouring on the tarpaulin roof. After breakfast we decided to start for Ajaigarh, a less visited place in Panna. While browsing I read about the hidden jewel and decided to reach there inevitably.
Kalinjar & Ajaigarh are known as twin forts 35 km away, situated on hill tops of the Vindhya Range in UP & MP. Historically, former was constructed during 2nd-3rd century and served for the Gupta Dynasty to the Chandelas until annexed by the British. Later was reportedly built by the Chandelas during their downfall & was unconquered despite many battles hence, the name Ajaigarh.
Forest Check Post
Way to Gangau Sanctuary
While roaming around the gory battlefields in Panipat and Kurukshetra-Sthaneshwar, a sense of gloom prevailed upon my heart and I started sulking under the slightest pretext of any further thoughts of wars and its losses. I could feel the presence of spilled blood beneath the surface of the earth upon which monuments had been subsequently built. Feeling homesick, I wanted to return back to Delhi to enjoy a pleasant evening amidst the cacophony of modern civilization preferably at the beautiful malls and posh restaurants of the present times. However, when I came back, it was the not the same Delhi, which I had known for some time. Wherever I turned my eyes I could see only the trails of the battles that were fought in the past. To my utter disbelief and horror, my eyes saw that the entire old city of Delhi was nothing but a massive battlefield. Strange it might feel but, throughout the known history, either it had remained the cause of the battle or was itself a battlefield. While travelling past the backyard of the old fort, one finds the ancient Mahabharata era temple of Bhairav, which takes one to the 1400 BC, when two clans fought over the reign of epic city of Indraprastha. Presuming that the temple is about 3000 years old, it can be categorized as the mute witness to all the wars and battles that were fought on or over the land mass, called presently as Delhi. So, it is the befitting protagonist of this story in which an effort to see a massive battlefield in Delhi has been attempted.
Sparing a day leisurely during March in our service industry was a challenge for even a short trip. Our anniversary falling on Thursday, 13th March I was wanting a break and my colleagues assured to manage somehow when I sceptically agreed for a short trip to resume office on Monday, 15th morning.
Panna & Khajuraho was in mind hence without digging or boggling much we decided to reach there on 13th morning by starting from Delhi on 12th evening. Road journey was not advisable by many bloggers specially during night on that route. Also, road condition was not much appreciated by many of them hence, we opted train journey. I don’t remember any recent train journey, so it was quite a fun & excitement. Luckily I got confirmed AC-2 tickets in UP Sampark Kranti for 12th but a W/L return ticket for 15th. Pretty confident about its confirming in a week, I booked accommodation in Jungle Camp, Madla& an evening safari in Panna Tiger Reserve on 13th. All bookings were in accordance with the reviews of travel enthusiasts on various sites.
On 12th we boarded the train to reach Khajuraho as early as 7 am, two hours delayed though. Since dawn I was hanging outside, inhaling the cool moist air & captivating the very familiar rocky-hilly landscape similar in Jharkhand, where I stayed, studied & worked for many years. Lost in my childhood memories when I was often scolded by my mother while leaning out the running train. It was irritating to hear those scary cowardly advises when I knew that my fists are tight on those iron bars at the gates. I amused for a while and sad too because she is no more to scream or advise when I am doing the same foolish act again.
Though enquiries about destinations, main attractions and places of interest are very common about any tourist place but they seem to be meaningless for Ladakh! It is beautiful not because of any particular spot or attraction, but for the journey therein which itself makes it a heaven for any traveler. What we saw were splendid! Nothing I described is in exaggeration nor did I find appropriate words in appreciation. The landscapes are stunning, sky- so alluring to take your eyes off and the road- full of surprises!
We drove around 45 minutes from the Likir Monastery and stopped at a place with no name of it. The highway from there looked as if to meet the horizon, a gateway of heaven! Such are the views around everywhere in Ladakh! Such are the feelings that every traveler experience in Ladakh!
The Road to heaven!
28th July 2014 :
This day has been a very special day in my life. We undertook the holy yatra with much excitement and eagerness, which can be compared with nothing. We woke up early in the morning and got ready. Most of the luggages were kept in the cloak room of the hotel, since we had continuous booking there. I took my rucksack and my mother had a handy pack filled with independent items essentially required for the journey. I prefer to do complete home work by going through as many websites as possible for getting maximum information. You don’t know, what information is going to help you in the hour of crisis. So, based on informations collected, we carried woollen garments, gloves, umbrella, complete rain suit, first aid items, important medicines, dry fruits, ORS, fruit juice, LED torch, some amount of cash, additional pairs of garments & socks etc. in separate packs, apart from original yatra pass and voter ID.
From Sonmarg to Domel on 28th July 2014
As soon as we completed light breakfast, Izaj bhai reported with Xylo with his smiling face. We followed the same route, through which we went yesterday. Just before Baltal we left Zoji La and took the right diversion. We crossed the helipad. The road to Baltal yatri camp area was lonely. Only some army men seen to be patrolling here and there. I saw an off duty sardar armay jawan doing pranayama, sitting on the top of a rock, keeping his eyes closed. After a few kilometre, we were stopped by security personnel. We reached Baltal. Security men checked our yatra pass and bags. We departed the car and started walking. I negotiated with a group of doli-bearers for carrying my mother from Baltal to Amarnath cave and back. It was a four bearer doli. Two of the bearers were Hindu and other two were Muslim. They agreed for Rs.9,000/- for the to & fro journey. I started walking and my mother started the journey sitting on doli right at 8.30 am. As it was a bright sunny day, I was in an ordinary full sleeve cotton shirt and jeans. Mother was in normal churidar suit. As the road was dusty, I purchased dust proof musk (lookalike of the ones used by doctors in OT) and a walking stick for the forthcoming journey.
As I started the Yatra