Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part II)

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With loud jaikaras of mighty Lord, journey was resumed. It was going good for 10 odd kilometres, our car was leading the show with Atit car following us. Soon the task of clearing boulders and rocks from road started as they were all on the road due to landslides. We all were going mad by getting out of the car in the rain after every 200 m to get various kinds of blockages cleared. We were actually afraid by not seeing any human existence in the entire stretch of road and having not seen any vehicle crossing us in the past 3 hours. It was not a journey of 22 kms, it was manifolds, and appearing to be never ending due to disastrous hurdles coming our way. To add to our fear and bring our jaws out of the mouth, we saw a mighty river flowing over a bridge that we were supposed to cross. There was no point of going back, and crossing that flooding river over the bridge was a task we have never ever imagined, so after much courage both the cars decided to keep accelerating without any thought of applying brakes. Both the cars managed to cross the river but that courage comes with a price, and the bumper of our car was washed off by the river flowing perpendicularly to the motion of car with mighty pace. Had we even thought of applying brakes, we could have been flowing in river along with cars. We celebrated our victory of crossing the hurdle by clicking a photograph and moved ahead.

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Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part I)

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We made ourselves comfortable in the tents, opened our bags to change the clothes but got the shock of our life as all the clothes inside the bag were equally wet like the clothes we were wearing. I decided to continue with my present set of clothes which got dried with my body heat in next two hours. The camp guys brought a battery driven LED light which ware barely emitting any light, some pakoras and masala tea by 7:30 pm in the evening. Our gang enjoyed these snacks and felt a little relieved and energetic, since we have not ate anything after breakfast. The Sun was setting behind the hills quickly and with the absence of electricity and inability to light the fire outside due to rain, darkness was building up inside the camp and outside. The sound of rain smashing against the camp started to scare us. Rajesh the dabangg, got dumb struck, the thing that was enthusing voice in him were the never ending songs of Gurdeep ‘Dil ro raha hai…’ to which Rajesh was getting irritated and saying ‘yaar chup ho ja, tere aise gaano ki wajah se hi itni barish ho rahi hai‘. Rest of us were enjoying this cat fight between the two and were trying to be back in holiday mood. Sanjay and me were quite sure that rain will subside by morning and we will be able to visit Tiger Fall. All were keen to visit Tiger Fall, but there was no voice coming out from dabangg bhai’s mouth. By 9 pm dinner was served, and post-that we slipped inside the quilts after closing the zipper inside tent. Very soon the camp got quite warm inside assuring us that atleast we will manage to have a decent sleep. We keep chit chatting inside our camp and occasionally across the camp of Gurdeep and Arun. The rain kept turning mightier with the darkness of night, and at a point we were not able to hear each other’s voice because of deafening collision sound between rain drops and tent. With prays for God, we slept in a hope of better tomorrow.

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A Weekend Trip to Agra

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Next day we checked out of hotel to visit Taj, and as we were approaching Taj Mahal, a number of people stopped our car seeing the Delhi number plate, and tried to lure us on some pretext or other. Some said, “Bauji, Taj Mahal se 4 km tak koi parking nahi hai, main apki car bhi park kara dunga aur auto se le chalunga” -“Sir, there is no parking within 4km of Taj Mahal, I will get your car parked and take you there in the auto”. We overheard all those guys and parked our car at Shilpgram parking, buy tickets from the counter, hired a battery cab in just Rs 10, that dropped us close to Taj. Battery operated cabs hop between authorized Taj parkings and Taj Mahal.

Reaching there, we were welcomed by a long queue of tourists getting restless to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The guards were checking the entry tickets of each visitor and randomly asking for identity proofs of tourists (There was no standard rule for checking authenticity of individuals). Soon after entering, there were rooms made of red sandstone which used to be the rooms of guest of the Shah Jahan, made in almost the same manner as the ones in Fateh Pur Sikri. After entering a huge gate, the sight of marvel made of white marble got visible. The Taj is magnificiently built structure of equal dimensions from all four side and even its distance from the mosque at both its sides are at same length. The entire dimensional symmetry of this architectural marvel is a treat for viewer’s eyes.

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A Drive Through the Hills-Mukteshwar

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We checked into our room by 6:30 pm, took bath and slipped into the quilts as it was quite dark outside and there was no mall or market to stroll around. By 8:00 pm, we thought to go out of the hotel and check the nearby areas. It was so dense dark just outside the hotel that even the valley on other side of the road was not visible. There was no light glow coming even from a distance as the entire population of the region is just 3,000. We went back to our room, ordered the food, surfed television for sometime after having dinner and slept thinking to wake up early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise at Chauli ki Jali. As usual, my slumber broke late at 8 in the morning, so we hurriedly took bath, packed our baggage, checked out of hotel and move towards Mukteshwar Mahadev temple—a famous temple of Lord Shiva. We parked our car at its gate and decided to first visit Chauli ki Jali and explore the surrounding areas. We started climbing up the hills from a pathway aside the temple periphery, and after half a kilometre distance the view of the Himalayas were unbelievably stunning. We were at an altitude of 8,000 ft. with a 180-degree viewing sight of Himalayas and as we moved on, reached a place where there was no road ahead except the deep valley and the lush green surroundings. I had never experienced such a beautiful view of mountains, even though I have travelled to a number of hill stations.

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Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part III)

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By 7:30 in the evening the passage got cleared by JCBs, and as soon as the vehicles started to enter Damta the police authorities started announcing: Aap sabhi yatriyon ka Damta gaon mein swagat hai, apke bhojan ki vyavastha school aur mandir dharamshala mein ki gayee hai, kripya ghabrayein nahi aur bhojan grahan karein We were overwhelmed with this gesture of the authorities of this small village who were offering free food to stranded travellers. The local villagers also offered places for night stay to travellers at very nominal prices, and all the shopkeeper were warned not to overcharge any travellers for any food items. After having dinner at Sharnarthi camp, we also took the shelter in the house built over local Police Station.

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