Lebanon – Baalbek & blue river

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So there was Baal Temple, there was Jupiter, Fire, Moon, Mars and other temples which were there before Romans and before pheonician re-built them ! I was thinking was it some distorted form of Shakta tradition of Sanatan Dharam, which was followed here, because in Shakta tradition, Fire and other planets were worshipped and sacrifices of animals or even humans were present then.

Our guide was a Syrian and he explained so beautifully in perfect English, all the aspects of Baalbeck, quite patiently and in details.

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Lebanon – Paradise lost !!

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Once upon a time… there was Lebanon which was called “Paris of Middle East”…and then something happened and the Paris and Pearl of the Middle East.. changed from heaven to hell…. Let us have a look and see what Lebanon has to offer now for Ghumakkars !

It was 2004 and I boarded Air India flight from New Delhi to Dubai for my journey to Lebanon.

The coastal plain of Lebanon is the historic home of a string of coastal trading cities of Semitic culture, which the Greeks termed Phoenicia, whose maritime culture flourished there for more than 5000 years. Ancient ruins in Byblos, Berytus (Beirut), Sidon, Sarepta(Sarafand), and Tyre show a civilized nation, with urban centres and sophisticated arts. Present-day Lebanon was a cosmopolitan centre for many nations and cultures. Its people roamed the Mediterranean seas, skilled in trade and in art, and founded trading colonies. They were also the creators of the oldest known 24-letter alphabet, a shortening of earlier 30-letter alphabets such as Proto-Sinaitic and Ugaritic.

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घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी…कुछ मीठी (3)

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नारकण्डा में कुछ देर रुकने के बाद हम लोग वापिस चल दिये. चारों ओर बरफ पड़ी हुई थी, हम लोग धीरे-2 स्कूटर चलाते हुए, गाने सुनते हुए वापिस शिमला-दिल्ली की ओर चल रहे थे. ठियोग ठीक ठाक निकल गया और अब हम फागू वा कुफरी के बीच कहीं थे. प्रदीप आगे चेतक पर था और मैं पीछे अपने सुपर पर. अचानक देखा, प्रदीप लड़खड़ा कर नीचे गिरा… विजय सड़क पर पड़ा था और प्रदीप स्कूटर के साथ घिसट रहा था…मैने जोर से बोला – प्रदीप क्या हुआ, और ब्रेक लगाई… बस हमारा स्कूटर भी लड़खड़ाया और मैं और अवस्थी भी जमीन पर घिसटने लगे. किस्मत बड़ी अच्छी थी कि हम दोनों का स्कूटर ऐसे कोण पर गिरा था कि हम और हमारे स्कूटर खाई की ओर न जाकर पहाड़ की तरफ फिसले और साइड पर पड़े बर्फ के ढेर से टकरा कर. हम रुक गये…
कुछ समझ में नहीं आ रहा था कि हुआ क्या है..

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बद्रीनाथ -Mana, the last village!

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Badrinath is at a height of 11,204 feet above msl. It is around 530 Kms from Delhi and the route is Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh -Devprayag-Rudraprayag – Karanprayag-Chamoli -Joshimath – Badrinath. Badrinath route opens in first week of May and is closed for winters after Deepawali.
If going by own vehicle, one has to reach upto Karanprayag or Nandprayag and take a night’s halt. If there are two drivers, one can easily reach upto Joshimathh and stay there, saving one day.
For train journey, the last station is Rishikesh, from where hired taxis, chartered buses, route buses and jeeps are easily available for Badri Nath.

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Badri Nath – Himalayan Beauty !

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Temples and historical places for the religious & spirituals…. and Auli skiing, valley of flowers trek, Geo-thermal springs of Tapovan and satopanth treks and Nanda Devi bio-sphere park, for the nature lovers but non-religious people.
Yes it is Badrinath. I have already seen so many posts on Badrinath, giving ample description and beautiful photos, but each posts carries a new fragrance of Badri Nath, so I thought I should give my part of the story on Badri Nath, and give another fragrance of this wonderful place.

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घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी…. कुछ मीठी (2)

घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी…. कुछ मीठी (2)

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क्या है घुमक्कड़ी…
पढ़ो तो इक किताब है घुमक्कड़ी
देखो गर तो इक ख्वाब है घुमक्कड़ी
हंसो तो आसान बन जाती घुमक्कड़ी
सुनो तो ज्ञान बन जाती घुमक्कड़ी

Dear friends, in my previous post of the series, you saw how important the reminiscences are in our travelling. Many a times, we forget other details of our travellings and remember it by the sweet & sour memories of that travelling. Travelling is not simply going to some places or reaching the heights of Himalayas… when we rewind the films of our travels and see it frame by frame … we find that it has changed our life altogether. It has made us more confident, given us more tolerance, given us more strength and sometimes even changed our perspective towards life and its aim.

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A quick tour toTarkeshwar  – तारकेश्वर महादेव

A quick tour toTarkeshwar – तारकेश्वर महादेव

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I always have two sets of Ghummakari. One is with my family, where we book good accommodation and with all gears ready and behaving like “अच्छा बच्चा” (or rather achha buddha now LOL). The other set of trip is with group of my childhood friends (Laxman, Awasthi, Vijay & Pradeep).

With friends, our trip is quick, without any hotel bookings or preparations for the way and with minimum budget . It is so quick that sometimes we decide at night that tomorrow morning we are going. I keep a small tent, purchased from Scotland, in the boot of car, , which houses two and can be fitted in 20 minutes… but like our trains we can 3 or 4 slip into that in emergency.

Our trip to Tarkeshwar Mahadev was such a quickie. A day before we decided to dash and lo…next morning 4 am we were on the road with petrol tank full. all five of us packed well in the car and crossed Meerut in one hour. Road from Meerut towards Kotdwar is not easily recognised during traffic hours as it looks like a small bazar, but in the wee hours it welcomed us with open lanes.

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घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी…. कुछ मीठी !!!

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वो दूर टैंट दिख रहा है ? वहीं रहेंगे रात |
पहाड़ी बोला – क्या गजब कर रहे हो बाऊजी, वहां तो रात को शेर तथा  अन्य जंगली जानवर पानी पीने आते हैं

हमारी सिट्टी-पिट्टी गुम… अब नीचे जाने की हिम्मत नही हो रही थी…खैर राम राम करते नीचे पंहुचे। मैने बोला घबराने की बात नहीं, रौशनी देख कर शेर यहां नही आयेगा.  पर विजय रहने को तैयार नही हुआ, बोला वो ढाबे वाले के साथ सो जायेगा.  प्रदीप ने भी कहा कि अगर रात को बत्ती जलाते रहने से बैटरी बैठ गयी तो सुबह गाड़ी चालू नहीं होगी…. उनका बातें सुन कर मुझे भी डर लगने लगा और हमने 2 घंटे की मेहनत से लगाये टैट को 5 मिनट में खोला और वहां से भाग लिये।  आधी रात का समय, कोई गाड़ी नही… कोई रौशनी नहीं..

रात 12 बजे रिषिकेश पंहुचे.. सब होटल बंद पड़े थे… बड़ी कोशिश के बाद 1 बजे के आसपास एक घटिया से होटल में कमरा मिला और अपन लोग, केंचुली मार कर दहाड़ -2 कर सो गये

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Patal Bhuvaneshwar – Paradise regained !!!

Patal Bhuvaneshwar – Paradise regained !!!

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We left Jageshwar around 10, refreshed and forgetting the horrible incident of yesterday night. When we came out of Jageshwar road, there are two ways to go to Patal Bhuvaneshwar. The normal and shorter route is that we turn towards Almora and 5 Kms after Jageshwar turn right and passing Bare Chhina, Shera Ghat and by-passing Beri Nag, we reach Patal Bhuvaneshwar.

The other road, we were told is longer and lonely. So we decided to take this longer route, because we had enough time and I am so happy to drive on lonely roads. We turned to our left towards Gangolihat. The road was Ok for most of the parts and we hardly saw any car crossing us. Occasionally 2 or 3 trucks passed. The scene was beautiful and awesome.

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Iceland – Reykjavik, the capital !(Last part)

Iceland – Reykjavik, the capital !(Last part)

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Reykjavik is a small city having a total population around 120,000. There are very few foreigners here and Indians are hard to find. There are a few Indian families and 10 students in Iceland University. Reykjavik is on the North Atlantic sea. Since the warm gulf stream traverses nearby Reykjavik, the climate of Reykjavik is never harsh. A maximum of 15/16 degrees in summers and around -5/-6 in winters. Some days may see temperature as low as -16C but these are rare. We enjoy 6 months of day and 6 months of night here. Another interesting point is that every other Icelanders vows to have met a ghost or troll or an elve.  There are certain places around Reykjavik known for such entities.  I have yet to meet one !!

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Jageshwar – A Horrible New Year !!

Jageshwar – A Horrible New Year !!

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Hot food was delicious. Families were preparing for good sleep after such long and tiring journey and I was standing at the balcony watching a few people going here and there. The time was around 10 and town was sleeping, just a chai-wala still open. Then I saw New Scorpio and Skoda coming and parking behind our cars. There was loud music coming from the cars and the people in cars started coming out. They were all between age 22-30 and were talking loudly. I smiled thinking they must be some new year seekers and after not getting hotel anywhere , reached here by mistake.

We switched off the lights and went for sleep. Sleep was almost waiting for us to lie down. It was around 11 in night that we all woke up from our sleep with the loud noise. The boys had opened all doors of the scorpion and they were playing the music system at full volume. We tried to sleep but the music was so loud that it was impossible. I assured my family that soon they will be tired and would sleep after 12.

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Iceland – Glaciers , Green and Blue

Iceland – Glaciers , Green and Blue

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Remember the scene of James Bond’s film Die another day, where Pierce Brosnan had a car chase in a lagoon with an ice palace in background ? Voila there we are going now to the Ice-lagoon, One of the most beautiful place on earth.

The Vatnajokull glacier, the biggest glacier in Europe is surrounded by magnificent mountains, slopes… the whole route to Ice-lagoon gives a feeling as if we are in heaven. Beautiful small villages, water-falls and meadows !!!

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