With Love from Kashmir…

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Continuing my exploration of the beautiful valley of Kashmir, my second visit was more like returning back to my second home. The enthralling beauty and the warmth of the people haunted me long enough to make me revisit Kashmir and I boarded the indigo flight for a 5 day visit.

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Ethereal North East: Trip to Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrapunji

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We woke up early next morning as per our itinerary with excitement to experience some of the grandest waterfalls of the region. We started by witnessing the famous Elephant Falls in Shillong, The falls which is locally called “Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew” or three step falls, was coined “Elephant falls” by the British due to the rock on the left side that resembled an elephant.

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Weekend Drive to “The City Beautiful” Chandigarh

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The Rock Garden in itself is a maze of tunnels, arches, narrow passages and galleries. At one point of time one would feel there is no further way ahead and suddenly a narrow walkway will open out of nowhere.

With astute sculptures of men, women, Gods and animals, the garden is indeed a delight. Not only vivid sculptures, the garden houses multiple waterfalls, fish aquariums and swings or jhulas that we all have loved swinging on during our childhood days.
Men, women and children of all ages without any tinge of hesitation swing their way through these swings, happily remising the good old childhood days!

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Golden Trip to Sri Harmandir Sahab, Amritsar

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The entire ambience is soothing and spiritual with kirtans being sung by the gurus sitting inside the temple. Even though the entire journey from the start of the line till one enters the actual temple where the Guru Granth sahib is kept and Gurbani is recited takes about three hours, thousands of people from all castes, creeds and ethnicities throng the Golden temple every day. The temple is open all through the day and night except from 12am to 3pm when the routine cleaning takes place. Awaiting their turns to enter the holy chamber the “Ekonkar” mantra is chanted by all the devotees. The environment is extremely divine. Despite of the rush, a true believer in God can easily connect with the creator here. The actual darshan is even more mystical. One feels as if one has attained the ultimate peace.

Making our way out of the chamber, we looked into the sarovar which is house to a multitude of orange and black fishes. We managed to make our way out and sat for a long time in the premises of the temple overlooking the sarovar.

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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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Bringing Back Some Hues from the Beautiful Valley Of Kashmir

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This time around we decided to travel to Kashmir, the most “in news” state of our country, for all the very wrong reasons though! The Gurupurb holiday clubbed with a weekend gave us the three days to plan our trip. We left for Kashmir, fraught with all the apprehensions in the world, and yet excited. On arrival at the airport we were warmly greeted by Dr. M.H Wani, an academician, working towards nation building in his own humble ways; however we didn’t know how our myopic views about this breathtaking place were to be altered by the end of this trip!

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The Sunderban Tiger Reserve -Nature at one of its best

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where one can only see the azure sky merge with equally breathtaking river at a distance, small village boys running around on the “kuchhe pakdandi” of the adjoining villages, million hues created by a lone cloud that tries to mask the majestic sun and the alluring riot of colors created by ripples on the bluish silver water. One is bound to get lost in the soothing effect nature weaves here.
The first stop is at Pakhirala from where the permits are obtained by the streamers and boats to pass through the river. The second stop is Sajnekhali where tourists halt for the night to start the journey early next morning.

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Wildlife encounters- Visit to the Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan

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The roads are quite narrow and at some stretches only one vehicle can pass thus it is advisable to be quite vigilant and drive safely. The villagers alongside are quite eager to help all through. Just at the end of one of the forks one can see a narrow road leading to Bhim ki dungari and the other towards Jain nashea. taking the left road ends on the red sandstone gate leading to the majestic Jain temple. The view of the main temple is quite soothing standing tall against the backdrop of the setting sun straining through the dark clouds. Just to the left of the road leading to the Jain temple is the Mughal era structure which is believed to be emperor Akhbar’s place of rest during his long hunting expeditions

Coming back towards the fork leads one to Bhim ki dungari. The story dates back to Mahabharat times when the Pandavas were sent to exile and had to live with hidden identities or “agyaatvaas”. The caves were abodes of the Pandavas then. It is believed Bhim stamped his foot on the ground to bring forth a stream of water to quench the thirst of his brothers and wife.

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