Hills

Amarnath Yatra :: A Journey of Faith :: Pahalgam to Pishutop

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We were climbing the steep ascent through the muddy, rocky and narrow route. Those on foot were making their path upwards according to their own convenience. Every step on such steep ascent of initial trek is the first test of one’s mind and faith. To strengthen devotees’ faith the Military Personnel are there and their presences are felt throughout the route.

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नाथुला पास का यात्रा वृत्तांत

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ऐसी विषम परिस्थितियों में भी सीमा के प्रहरियों को मुस्तैदी से डंटा देख उन्हें सलाम करने का मन हुआ  और हमारी खुशकिस्मती थी कि उनके प्रति आभार और सम्मान व्यक्त करने का अवसर भी मिला। हमारे जाँबाज़ सिपाही जान पे खेल के ना सिर्फ सीमा की सुरक्षा करते हैं, बल्कि हम जैसे यात्रियों की सुविधा का भी ख्याल रखते हैं।

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Padarn Country Park: Wales

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The slate cutting factory with the old rusty machinery al around. Slates were used for roofing, fencing etc. and was big business then. The factory was eventually closed down in the 1969 and now serves as a National Slate Museum.

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Solo Travel, Himachal Tribal Circuit – Kinnaur Valley

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After crossing Simla and its suburbs, the lush green mountains and apple orchards in the valleys were a treat for the eyes. We had a small stop over at Theog. Rain drenched Theog looked all the more beautiful during sunset. I had never been beyond Theog before, so I had a fascinating image of Narkanda, a winter sport hill station of Himachal Pradesh, in my mind. But frankly, seeing Narkanda for the first time was an anti-climax. It is a small non-descript town, with hardly any tourists during the monsoon season. After Narkanda, it was a steep downhill journey with never ending zigzag turns and U-turns.

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The deep forest behind Subhas bowli

Chamba and Mani Mahesh got replaced by Dalhousie

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While checking out from Hotel Asia, we were surprised when we were asked to pay the bill. We told that rooms were booked through Travelguru long back and we handed over printout of booking confirmation with my ID copy. But hotel authority told that they did not receive payment from Travelguru, so we must pay before we leave.

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CHITRAKOOT DHAM : Janaki Kund, Sati Anusuya Asharm and Gupt Godavari

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This is a lovely stretch of water where it is believed that Sita Maa used to take her bath during her exile at Chitrakoot. Janaki kund poses extreme serenity and tranquility to the pilgrims coming here . Pilgrims visiting Chitrakoot seldom spare the chance to take a dip in Janaki Kund since they strongly believe that these waters are blessed to be the bathing ghat of Sita devi.

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VAISHNO DEVI : Hotel and Helicopter Booking Information & Trek to Bhawan

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Next day early morning we woke up and headed towards the Banganga the Entrance to start the Vaishno Devi climb or Trek or foothills of Vaishno Devi Mountain. Before moving towards Banganga to start the Trek , one has to take a darshan receipt (parchi). For that the Shrine Board has made a separate counter. Unless you take the receipt ( parchi) you are not allowed to enter the trekking path or at Cave entrance. Sometimes in festive seasons even to get the receipt ( parchi )requires 2 – 3 hours. Yatra Registration Counter is located in a Town’s main circle called Main Chowk. From here itself one can go to Banganga which is around 1.5 to 2 kms. Here there are lot of Auto rickshaws available to go near Banganga at the rate of Rs. 50 .

After taking receipt we headed towards Banganga to start our final yatra. Initially we wanted to go via helicopter, but due to bad weather Helicopter services were stopped. So we thought of climbing 14 kms on our feet itself.Trek to Vaishno Devi is very steep but smooth till Ardhkuwari ( 5 kms ) . One becomes really tired climbing till here . After Ardhkuwari the road is less steep and can be covered by walking at a constant pace easily. There are two ways of reaching the main Shrine 1) Himkoti Marg, New one 2) Hathi Matha Marg, Old one . In both the paths again there were two bifurcations a) via plain slanting road b) via steps. We chose Himkoti slanting road for climbing and Hathi Matha marg via steps for climbing down.

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Visit to Lansdowne – A journey unforgettable

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I don’t know why but it stuck to me like super glue and the first thing on reaching office was to google Lansdowne. Within 10 minutes I had decided that our weekend destination would be Lansdowne and not Rishikesh as they are at the same distance from Delhi.

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Munsiyari – A bowlful of beauty

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It was getting darker by the minute. The road went up and up in loops quickly gaining height so we felt the vehicle ahead of us is almost above our heads. Narrow roads didn’t leave much room for manoeuvring on either side. The gorge to one side was so deep it sends a shiver down the spine of anyone who is not attuned to such heights especially if there’s an oncoming vehicle. There weren’t any, thankfully; no human beings in sight either.

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GANGOTRI – The Origin of Holy River Ganga

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Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the river Ganga, including Haridwar, Allahabad and Varanasi. During the Loy Krathong festival in Thailand, candlelit floats are released into waterways in honouring the Buddha and the goddess Ganga for good fortune and washing away sins.

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Enchanting Sikkim

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Sikkim is a state in East India in the Himalayan foot hills. We started our journey from Delhi, where we took Deccan Air flight to Bagdogra, which is the nearest airport to Gangtok and is around 4 hours drive. At the airport, we took a local cab service (that we had booked in advance), the driver was waiting for us at the airport and thus began our tour of the exasperating Himalayan abode.

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