To 13800 ft and back on foot – Sar Pass – I

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The Sar Pass Trek itself is for 11 days with 3 days at base camp, 4 days climbing and 3 days descending and breaking on the last day. It costs around Rs. 3000/- per head including accommodation in tents at all base camps, Rucksack, Sleeping Bags and food for the entire 11 days (Vegetarian). Participation is very heavy averaging about 55-60 per group at the rate of one group per day for 30 days.

So, I duly made my bookings got the necessary permissions from the Office and patiently waited for D Day. In the mean time preparations were on in full swing – medicines, winter wear, rain wear and most important – Shoes. I did so much research on shoes to wear – Hi Tec, Action, Bata Hunters, Merrel, Woodlands – There were so many brands and so many recommendations on so many websites. I finally zeroed in on Weinbrenner from Bata and I was not disappointed.

Kasol is located about 30 km from Bhunter which incidentally is the airport nearest to Kullu. Any of those numerous Volvo buses from Delhi to Manali will drop you at Bhunter. From there an hours ride to Kasol which is just 5 kms before Manikaran. The camp is located just outside of Kasol with the Parvati river flowing right beside it. The camp is made entirely of tents. There are bout 18-20 tents for the participants, Ladies on one side and gents on the other, A big lounge tent, Reception tent, Kitchen tent and the Camp Directors and other camp staffs tent. The only permanent buildings are the toilets. Each tent is large enough to accommodate 14 individuals – bit of a crush actually but the company is really good.

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Driving from Lucknow to Nainital and Corbett – Road Review

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The road upto Bareilly was generally good and but bad in a few patches. However, Bareilly to Lalkuan was a different story altogether. I believe there is a bypass outside of Bareilly but I couldn’t find it so I had to go through the city. If someone gets to know of the location of the bypass do inform. The number of trucks have to be seen to be believed. Coupled with bad roads it’s definitely a slow track. There’s some kinda factory before Lalkuan and trucks are lined up on both sides of the road. Where there are trucks, there are traffic jams and coupled with atrocious truck drivers the experience is tough. There is also extensive construction work on this sector.

The road improves dramatically from Lalkuan. A stop is advised before the climb from Kathghodham to Nainital. The Drive from this point on is smooth cos the roads are very good, maintained well and aren’t as steep as people would have you believe.

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Glimpses of Santiniketan

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Santiniketan is a name which evokes memories of Rabindranath Tagore and the Nobel Price. Of the Viswa Bharathi University, of art and culture, peace and tranquility. A visit to Kolkatta is incomplete without a visit to Santiniketan. I had an opportunity to visit the place last December and have tried to give some glimpses of the cultural ethos of the place

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Chitrakoot – Hill of Many wonders

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This is part 2 of my visit to Chitrakoot and contains a brief of my visit to the many shrines that dot the district. Part 1 of my visit or the Road Review can be found here. Karwi Railway station is named Chitrakoot Dham. However the actual Chitrakoot is about 5-6 km before Karwi when approaching from Banda. The religious shrines are spread over the town on both sides of the UP – MP border. Since I am not an expert on the Hindu religion I am going to be quoting a lot from Wikipedia, so do bear with me. The photographs though are all mine.The important shrines include the Ramghat, Kamadgiri, Bharat Milap, Janaki Kund, Sati Anusuya ashram, Sphatic Shila, Gupt-Godavari, Hanuman Dhara and the Bharat Koop.

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The Residency – India’s Alamo

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The Residency is a wonderful piece of history. It tells us of the resilience of Indian troops during the mutiny. Studies tell us that they were defeated due to the lack of officers. Any army needs officers to coordinate fire and chalk out strategies. This was sadly lacking and the revolution petered out. The British on the other hand realised that they could not be masters for long in a country not their own. The Residency stands today as a testimony of the rule of that day.

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Kalaa Paani – The Cellular Jail

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Kalapani, Cellular Jail are names which inspire visions  of the freedom struggle and the tortures faced by the Indian freedom fighters immortalized by the 1958 and the 1996 movies of the same name. No visit to the Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar are complete without a visit to the jail and the accompanying sound and light show. History tells us that the construction of the jail was started in 1896 and completed in 1906 with seven wings shaped like spokes of a wheel radiating from a central column.

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