Recent Stories

Ghumakkar Digest – April 2014

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Within them, they took us to entire Kumaon, most of Kashmir, villages of Switzerland, a large part of Rajasthan and finally to snowy Shimla. A respite from the heat that we’re folded in with intermittent reminders of the ground realities. Welcome aboard.

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Amazing trip to snow covered Shimla

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Next morning when we woke up, the view outside our hotel room was awesome. We had our tea and a small walk on balcony of our room just to have a view of Shimla at that time. The only thing which I can say now is White White White everywhere. Now the next problem which we never thought of was that the water in pipes freezed. So we asked hotel manager to have plan B executed in such situation. He told me that he is going to serve warm water in a bucket for each person. That was a good news for us. After getting ready, we checked out of our Hotel and moved till Ridge. It was bright sunny day. When the sun light was reflecting on snow, it was very hard to see anything because it was shining very brightly. After 20 mins of walk we reached Ridge. Good crowed over there as everyone was busy in capturing the moments in their own camera and having fun in snow. We took some pictures out there also as never wanted to miss any single moment.

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Road Journeys – Dwarka to Jamnagar: Narara Marine National Park & Sanctuary

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Finally we reached at a point with a gate with board of No-Entry. The forest office on the left with a guard welcomed us. Mr. Thakkar’s references again worked and we were greeted with a cup of tea and snacks. The Delhi Plate car was a surprise to all and was more astonished to know that we were driving all the way from Delhi. He informed that the marine park is a restricted area and only allowed with a guide. Surprised! Please don’t, because there wasn’t any official guide, locals in company with the forest guards, engage in guiding the seldom visitors for Rs. 100/- only. They are generally students and natives of nearby villages. The forest guard asked us to pay Rs. 100/- each as entry fee the vehicle can be parked only just after entering the No Entry gate. We paid the same with official receipt, the guide may be paid in cash.

The entire area is a protected place and well guarded by CISF, posted on watch towers with sophisticated weapons because of its proximity to the international borders and the port. We were asked to wear shorts and slippers because of the mangrove and swamp ahead. After abiding by, we started our very exciting journey towards the sea. After traversing the bushes we reached the infinitive vastness of the shores with mangroves spotting here and there. During low tide the sea water recedes to as far as five km and gradually creeps back inundating the entire vast emptiness and the mangroves by noon.

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Road Journeys – Dwarka to Jamnagar: Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary

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Excitedly, without caring I entered through the bushes and soon found a wide spread wet land with thousands of birds hovering, nesting, feeding, fishing and swimming. A dusty path on the right leads towards the wet land with ample water for the water birds for their activities. A little further is a watch tower where the track ends at the banks. The tower was almost abandoned, but the view around was so enticing that I cynically could not stop myself from reaching atop despite my wife’s skepticism. My extra-zoom camera captured whatever within range and my nature crazy mind was carried away with inveigle of ensnarement.

It is pertinent to mention that once you happen to visit the park, don’t forget to carry good quality binoculars and extra zoom cameras. Most of the photos clicked by me are on digital zoom, despite of 50x compatibility. It is wise to carry a tri-pod to avoid blurred results due to trembling on digital zoom.

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Road trip to Rajasthan: Chittorgarh-Mount Abu-Haldighati-Udaipur (Part 2)

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Guru Shikhar is the highest point in Mount Abu and Rajasthan and is about 18 km from Mount Abu town. Mount Abu is on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat and from Guru Shikhar one can view both Rajasthan and Gujarat. After the 18 km drive, there are steps to the top (something like Vaishno Devi) with shops on both the sides. There was a 360 degree view from the top and a small temple.

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Outstanding Orchha

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Orchha is breathtakingly beautiful. Regal on appearance and serene in ambiance. Apart from Jehangir Mahal, the Raja Mahal, Rani Ki Mahal, Rai Praveen Mahal and Sheesh Mahal adorn the dusty hill tops of Orchha. The last named has been converted into a heritage hotel by M.P. tourism with limited accommodation and unlimited scope for improvement in maintenance. There is an interesting anecdote about the Rai Praveen Mahal. Rai Praveen was a courtesan and an accomplished poetess in the Orchha kingdom. For her legendary beauty, she was once sent to the “Harem” of Emperor Akbar against her wishes, as she was deeply in love with Raja Indramani of Orchha. On a face to face meeting with the great Emperor in the Mughal court, she recited one of her poem telling that only “a crow and a dog eat off the used plate of another”. Akbar was too smart and generous to understand the subtle hint and immediately ordered Rai Praveen’s return to Orchha in full honour. All other palaces have their attendant history as well.

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Road trip to Rajasthan: Delhi – Chittorgarh (Part 1)

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Somewhere around Ajmer our GPS asked us to take a left turn on an elevated road and we dismissed it to continue ahead. We stopped about 25 km ahead from that point for petrol and enquired about directions to Chittorgarh. To our dismay, we had missed the turn and this mistake could cost us over an hour.

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How I got the real flavour of Switzerland

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On top of all this it had started drizzling, I still remember the walk. With my phone serving as the music player and torch and the hood of my rucksack as a pseudo rain coat, I walked across the dark pathways hearing distant bell tinging which was coming from nearby farmland. I walked across “cows” and saw “PRIVAT” sign board, and heaved a sigh of relief after meeting the hosts.

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Kids’ day out to Mahabaleshwar

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We started from Pune on Christmas morning at 7AM and it took me about an hour’s time to touch the Mumbai Bangalore highway. Mahabaleshwar is all of 110km from Pune. I am fairly new to car driving so I was at my cautious best all through the drive. It was a smooth ride on the Bangalore highway, but the trip from Shirwal, where you take a right turn from beneath the flyover up to M’was was quite chaotic, since it was a narrow village road.

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Khajuraho - Beyond Temples

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