Hills

A Little peace and quiet…

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If one is resides in any of the blooming cities in India, one would realize the importance of peace and quiet. Whether it is the constant buzzing of the phone or of the doorbell, there is hardly any time in one’s existence which is peaceful and quiet.

I am a frequent traveler but my travels are generally part of the business tourism category, always rushing from the hotel to the conference Center and back. It is generally a day or two that I get to spend in the city that I am in. But this time I was hell bent to get a decent holiday even if I had to drive close to 600 KM for it.
A small village, by the name of Chafi is the Center stage of this travel. It is close to 10 km from Bhimtal, which is close to Kathgodam, the nearest rail head and also the pretty much, the starting point of Real Mountains, the Himalayas.

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Araku valley

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Araku is a picturesque tribal settlement in the Eastern Ghats, about 120 km to the north of the port city of Visakhapatnam a.k.a. Vizag, which also happens to be my hometown. For me, the drive is an end in itself, a mind-blowing experience as one navigates through umpteen hair-pin bends on a steep mountain road which snakes its way up the Eastern Ghats to an altitude of some 1200 metres above sea level. This is one of those road trips on which one does not feel like driving fast but prefer to gently cruise along the serpentine path, inhaling the pristine air and feasting on the visual candy being proffered so generously by Mother Nature.

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बद्रीनाथ -Mana, the last village!

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Badrinath is at a height of 11,204 feet above msl. It is around 530 Kms from Delhi and the route is Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh -Devprayag-Rudraprayag – Karanprayag-Chamoli -Joshimath – Badrinath. Badrinath route opens in first week of May and is closed for winters after Deepawali.
If going by own vehicle, one has to reach upto Karanprayag or Nandprayag and take a night’s halt. If there are two drivers, one can easily reach upto Joshimathh and stay there, saving one day.
For train journey, the last station is Rishikesh, from where hired taxis, chartered buses, route buses and jeeps are easily available for Badri Nath.

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Leaving Munsyari – The long drawn route

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So with full gusto, I rev-ed the engine and started back amid beautiful landscapes, away from the thoughtful and calm gaze of Panchachuli, the peak which was in the back yard of our stay. The journey from Munsyari to Birthi was spent gazing at mountains, standing tall and quite, looking at the occasional habitat along side the road with Pahadi folk wearing black topis, half jacket over long shirts and pajamas and throwing infectious smiles as they go through with their daily chores. Because of rains, the road was not in its prime so we were a tad cautious; but there was an natural desire to drive a little faster and be able to reach Sattal, which as per our friends from Pahad was not a realistic goal.

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Pachmarhi – In Heaven’s Abode (Trek 2)

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he points in this trek mostly included temple caves and shrines. I was greatly exhilarated because i will be surrounded by mysticism and divinity of Mahadev Shiva for the whole day. Mahadev is a great source of inspiration ,he is a yogi and a warrior bestowed with great powers.
Jatashankar is a cave temple.One has to go deep into the ravine about 200-400 meters with the help of narrow stairways laid down supported by enormous rocks on both sides.These are sedimentary rocks mainly sandstone thus having loose gravel.In simpler words if one throws a sandstone it breaks.

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Our Trip to Kanatal, Uttrakhand

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We were on a 8-10 feet mud track with the rock face on one side and a steep fall on the other side of the track. One of the kids in our group was playing. While running around the child fell and tumbled down the fall. The child’s landed onto bushes growing at the side of the mountain and the child was lying on the bushes. One of the instructors immediately went down with the help of a rope and carried the child back up. The child was in a state of shock and all of us were shaken up too. However the child was perfectly fine physically. We went over to a local doctor who examined the child and reconfirmed that the child was fine. All of us thanked almighty for the grace and agreed to be more cautious. Although shaken we wanted to move forward.
We were back in the camp by 5:30 and were raring to take up many other activities. There were a range of activities including Burma Bridge rope crossing, a ropes course, and a range of sports including football, cricket, volleyball, etc.

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Pachmarhi – In Heaven’s Abode (Trek 1)

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We started walking carrying our backpacks to our first destination .. towards Pandav Caves .
While walking through the city , which is mainly an Army Cantonment area housing many servicemen, we happened to see a church named “Protestant Church” it was bolted and locked with some buffaloes grazing in the area enclosed within the walls of the church. Probably the church only opened on Sundays for public prayers,sermons and religious meetings.
This magnificent structure reminds one of the British annexation of this region and making it a summer hill resort.By looking at the church its medieval architecture and grandeur can easily be apprehended.
A few minutes walk ahead lead us towards the Pachmarhi lake towards the south surrounded by the Golf Course with local habitation around its pockets.

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Pachmarhi – In Heaven’s Abode (Part 1)

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It was the day before Vijay Dashmi (Dusherra) I along with my companion , butterflies in our stomach , an eject button that one calls ,far away from the hustle bustle of this metro polis,in order to embark on an escapade , boarded the Jabalpur bound train from Delhi in the evening of 5th October 2011 heading towards the thick meadows and lush green washed Satpura Ranges to feel the heavens abode in a place popularly known as the “Queen of The Satpura Mountains” — Pachmarhi.

The train was late by 45 minutes . It started staggering at a snail pace at Jhansi till Itarsi but gained momentum steadily towards the destination.The station had only two platforms occupied by almost all locals,many squatted relaxing & staring at the people ,hurriedly we moved out of the station to find a bunch of taxiwallas encircling us ….. I said we’ll return after visiting the town in a bid to get rid of them.

There was a mad chaos towards the streets with cows and bulls roaming in their most fashionable gait.One can push you very easily with an unapologetic face,throwing a sigh at you saying “bhaiya dekh ke chalo” with a dissenting and relentless tone on all your protests.

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Trip to Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal and Nainital.

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After a long and hard discussion we all are agreed for a small 2 day New Year celebration trip to the Lake District starting off with Bhimtal. We decided to book our tickets via train as it is the easiest and most comfortable means of transport. It was 29th December we three started our journey.
The entire night journey in train was extremely good.The whole night in the train was passed by playing cards and we three were too excited as our long time planning is now executed.

Till now we didn’t face any problem in reaching station and boarding on train everything was utter smooth. At morning we arrived at Kathgodam station at nearly 5:30 am and …

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