Recent Stories

Ghumakkar Digest – August 2014

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Over the last 7 years of Ghumakkar’s existence, one common and often repeated request was to have some kind of face to face interaction within the community. Many of our community members have met with each other, and have developed long lasting friendships. In fact, at times it is very humbling to know that someone met someone else at Ghumakkar and now both the families not only interact and meet each other but also travel to new places, together. That gives the Ghumakkar crew a feeling of true accomplishment. I, myself, have met many of you and each experience has been a rewarding one. But we never had a so-called ‘Ghumakkar Meet’. What better way to start this monthly digest than to share with all of you that first such organised meeting is finally happening in September 2014 in Delhi. This meet is a brain-child of one of our seasoned trekkers and someone who just moves on with a travel with little to nil planning. Gives me immense pleasure to announce that Vipin Gaur has graciously invited all of us to be together on September 7.

Here are more details, right from the event which Vipin created at Facebook.

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Setting Sail to the Three Islands

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Always remember to carry your ID Card along with you as it is need at almost every tourist spot in the Andamans. The ferries depart every hour and we were to go by the 0930 one. We were not offered any lifejackets and the ferry setup made me worry. Safety was on compromise but yet again one doesn’t have any another option. Recently, a ferry sailing from North Bay to Ross Island sunk and as many as 21 people died. Why can’t we follow safety guidelines rather than waiting for accidents to take place? As soon as the boarding began, I was the first one to step in and occupy the seat ahead of the wheel room.

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Visiting Kaluk in West Sikkim

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If you are an aficionado of history, then Rabdentse is a place not to be missed if you are on a trip to West Sikkim. Located on a ridge near Upper Pelling, Rabdentse was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. It was destroyed by the Gurkha invasion and now only the ruins of the palace remain. The remains of the palace have been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. The ruins offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchendzonga.

Vikram dropped us at the point from where we were to trek about 1.5 km through forest to reach the ruins. A huge decorated gate leads to the trekking path. We started our journey through a stone-cobbled path through the forest. The path was narrow and dark. The forest was deep. There was not a person to be seen anywhere. It was super-thrilling!!

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Amarnath Yatra :: Sheshnag & Wahbal (Babbal) Top

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For the first time at Sheshnag we felt shortage of oxygen, we were breathing short while climbing the nearby areas, that’s due to rapid climbing of altitude, more than 2000 feet in less than 5 hours, that’s for sure was against the general norms of mountaineering which suggest climbing of not more than 1500 feet a day. We knew that, and therefore were on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) preventive drugs “Diamox 250mg” (not to be taken without consultations of physician) from the previous day. We took the second dosage immediately here, because higher the altitude, greater the risk and ahead of us was the Wahbal Top and then Ganesh Top at an altitude of 13500ft and 14500ft respectively. Not to get dehydrate we took plenty of water and ORS. I am writing this not to make anyone scare, but to let all know that there is a little scope for heroic action in climbing high altitudes.

True that, every single life is precious and it is the responsibility of the Government as well as the authorities organising the pilgrimage to care for that, but we must also know how precious the life is to ourselves and to our families who pray every day back at home for our safe return. So it is essential that one have the knowledge of AMS, first aid medicines and their uses before undertaking the pilgrimage or otherwise they should go slow, get acclimatized, not over stress the body and report immediately to the nearest medical camps on the route in case of physical discomforts.

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पवित्र गुफा और हिमलिंग दर्शन (Part 4)

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गुफा से बाहर निकलते ही मोह माया फिर से आपको जकड़ लेती है। मैं भी जैसे ही गुफा से बाहर आया तो मुझे भी अपने साथियों की याद आई. जाने वो कहाँ रह गए? यह सोचता हुआ और भोले नाथ से अगले वर्ष फिर बुलाने की प्रार्थना करता हुआ सीडियां उतरने लगा। जूताघर से से अपने जूते लिए । उस समय ठीक 2:30 बज रहे थे यानि की मैं किसी भी हिसाब से लेट नहीं था। नीचे उतर कर एक लंगर से बेसन का एक पुड़ा मीठी चटनी के साथ खाया और दूसरे से एक कटोरी खीर। तीसरे लंगर से गरम चाय पी और फिर से तरोताजा हो वापसी शुरू कर दी।

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Welcome to Andamans!

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The pilot announced “Crew, Ready for takeoff!” The flight from Chennai took off sharp at 0500 hours. It is advisable to opt for a windows seat as on the approach towards the beautiful Islands, one gets a visual treat offered by Andamans.

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Amarnath Yatra :: Pishutop, Zajipal & Nagakoti

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These Bhandars provide tea, snacks, breakfast and hot vegetarian foods to the pilgrims, free. They camp all major places on the way to the Holy Cave to serve hot foods to the pilgrims. A holly attempt, I must say, may be the path, to their belief, to receive grace and blessings of Lord Shiva. The holy songs of Lord Shiva in the tunes of most modern bollywood songs were playing in these Bhandaras and were lifting up the spirits of pilgrims.

Pilgrims, who climbed up on foot the first steep mountain ‘Pishu Top’, were standing exhausted there. But they had an aura of achievement too, the aura of victory over the first hurdle, ‘Pishu Top’ and for some of them it was no less than the climbing and conquering of Mount Everest. They were proud pilgrims, posing for snaps before and on the stone painted with welcoming message “Swagatam Pishutop”. They deserved that too, but for us who came here on horseback, it was not a party time yet!

We set off again and it was now an easy road along the East Liddar River. Soon we left behind the beautiful Pishutop, I looked back, may be for a last sight in my life. I was enjoying every bit of this route and realized beginning of the most beautiful journey of my life.

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बालटाल से पवित्र अमरनाथ गुफ़ा : श्रध्दा व श्रम का अनोखा संयोग (भाग 3)

बालटाल से पवित्र अमरनाथ गुफ़ा : श्रध्दा व श्रम का अनोखा संयोग (भाग 3)

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हम लोग सामान्य गति से चल रहे थे लेकिन धीरे -धीरे राजू और उसके परिवार की गति कम होने लगी. शुशील उनके साथ ही चल रहा था और मैं उनसे काफी आगे निकल आया था. दोमेल से 1.5 किलोमीटर आगे रेल पथरी नामक जगह पर दो भंडारे हैं। मैं वहांरुक कर उनकी प्रतीक्षा करने लगा और बीस मिनट बाद बाद वो भी पहुँच गए। चढ़ाई चढ़ते हुए लम्बा विश्राम करने से शरीर शिथिल हो जाता है और मुझे इससे परेशानी होती है। यहाँ भी ऐसा ही हुआ और मुझे लगा की अगर ऐसा ही चलता रहा तो शायद शाम तक ही गुफा पर पहुँच पाउँगा। मैंने उनसे कहा मैं आगे जा रहा हूँ तुम थोड़ा आराम करने के बाद चल देना। अब मैं तुम्हे बरारी टॉप पर ही मिलूंगा और तुम्हारा 11 बजे तक इंतजार करूँगा। अगर आप इससे लेट पहुंचे तो समझ लेना कि मैं आगे चला गया हूँ। ऐसा कहकर मैंने दोबारा चढ़ाई शुरू कर दी।

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Montreal City tour

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On Saturday we had started our journey.Our train departure time was 0645 from Toronto (Union station ).Business class coaches were quite good , spacious and clean . We were given warm welcome and assistance by VIA Rail friendly staff.The difference in Business class and Economy class here is only food.In Business class food is included where as in Economy class we have to buy food.As a usual routine we got our tea , biscuits and later breakfast in train.In the end they had served complimentary wine.It was a 05 hour journey and we reached Montreal at 1200 noon.As we were entering in the Montreal City we can feel just by looking at the road , houses and other infrastructure  that it is a completely different city not similar to Toronto.
When we were booking our Hotel we thought of two factors; one is cost/location i.e. distance from railway station as our return train was also early morning train.Secondly as were not able to decide on Hotels as per reviews posted in Google we decided to go for a chain and brand Hotels which are tried and tested.Thus we finally booked our room in Sheraton Hotel Montreal.Our decision of choosing a Hotel Near Central station and close to city centre helped us a lot as we have not used any public transport / Cab service in Montreal.So we walked from station to Hotel.It was a 06 minutes walk.

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Unexplored Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains Retreat in Jhaltola, near Gangolihat

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It had been a long tiring winter and a recharging vacation had been on the cards for far too long. Sushil – a close friend, suggested a new retreat in Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains. He had been there with his wife and another couple in his friend circle. The name itself suggested just the kind of place I wanted to go to. Reminded me of the many exotic locales from fantasy books I had read over the years. I was sufficiently intrigued to check out their website at http://themistymountains.in and was soner convinced.

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Amarnath Yatra – Jammu to Baltal base Camp

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जम्मू से आगे पुरे रास्ते में जगह-जगह अमरनाथ यात्रियों के लिए लंगर लगे हुए हैं। खाने-पीने की कोई समस्या नहीं। क्योंकि हम लोग नाश्ता करके नहीं आये थे और अब तक हमें काफी भूख लग गयी थी। हमने गाड़ी वाले से कहा की किसी लंगर पर गाड़ी रोक दो, नाश्ता करना है। ड्राइवर ने बटोट से थोड़ा आगे एक लंगर पर गाड़ी रोक दी। लंगर राजपुरा के पास का था। लंगर में डोसा, पानी पूरी, आइस क्रीम, कुल्फी, कोल्ड ड्रिंक, जलजीरा, दाल चावल, रोटी सब्ज़ी, पॉपकॉर्न, हलवा, खीर और गरमा गरम चाय सब कुछ मिल रहा था। जितना चाहे प्यार से खाओ पर झूठा बचाना सख्त मना है। खाओ मन भर, न छोडो कण भर। वहां ड्राइवर सहित सभी लोगों ने नाश्ता किया, गर्मागर्म चाय पी और पौने घंटे बाद ठीक 12 बजे दोबारा से यात्रा शुरू कर दी।

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Khajuraho - Beyond Temples

All that you can do besides the temple sojourns in this beautiful city Take me here