Himachal Yatra – Palampur Tea Gardens

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Snowline is the mark from where above, snow remains unmelted even during summers. Normally snowline starts from 4000 meters. I had seen Dhauladhar range in peak summer months of June and everytime I was baffled by its unparalleled beauty. But for the first time Dhauladhar disappointed us. There were barren peaks without any trace of snow. It seems the global warming has already killed Dhauladhar’s beauty.

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Himachal Yatra – कांगड़ा

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Kangra fort was built by Katoch rajputs of Kangra and was almost invincible, due to its mere geography. The fort is situated on a wall like mountain, surrounded by a deep and fast flowing Baan Ganga river from three sides. Fourth side had dense forest. Many Muslim invaders tried to win it but were always defeated.

It was due to treason of one minister of the king that the fort was finally won by Jahangir, the mogul king. The traitor minister asked moguls to make him the king and revealed the secret entry point to the invading army. However, the minister was beheaded by the invading army after conquering the fort. A good lesson for traitors !!

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Himachal Yatra – ज्वालामुखी

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Jwalaji was buzzing with travellers, passing the main bus stand we reached Hotel Jwalaji run by HPTDC. Jwalaji is well connected by bus to Delhi, Haridwar, Chandigarh, Jullundur and Amritsar. If one wishes to come by train, there are two routes.. one is Delhi-Una by train and then Una-Jwalaji by taxi or bus. Another longer but more beautiful route is Delhi -Pathankot by train and then Pathankot – Jwalamukhi Road by toy train, a journey which you will never forget. From Jwalamukhi Road there are regular bus services to Jwalaji, which is 17 Kms from Railway Station.

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Himachal Yatra – Naina Devi

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We reached Anandpur Sahib..brought our car near the main KeshGarh Sahib, clicked some fotos. Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara is a historical place where Guru Gobind Singhji started the Khalsa Panthh to fight against the tyranny of invaders. BUT at the same place Khalistan was also declared by separatists and traitors. The Gurudwara has a complex of many gurudwaras and KeshGarh Sahib is the biggest. Since we had to reach Jwalaji today itself, we postponed the visit to Anandpur Sahib for return journey.

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Portsmouth & Bluereef Aquarium

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Portsmouth is a small port city famous for many famous naval ships for example HMS Warrior and HMS victory. It is old dry port and is situated on an Island.
ome facts about Spinnaker Tower

The Tower has been a huge success and has received over 2 million visitors since opening.
The high speed internal lift travels at 4 metres per second, taking you to the View Decks in just 30 seconds.
The concrete used to build the Tower would fill five-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The Tower is founded on 84 piles, the longest of which runs 50m into the ground – the equivalent of Nelson’s Column.
The total weight of the Tower exceeds 30,000 tonnes.
The 27m spire weighs 14 tonnes and was carefully lifted into place by crane.
1200 tonnes of structural steel used to form the Tower’s distinctive bows is the equivalent weight of 12 blue whales.
115 metres up and in high winds, the Tower can flex approximately 150mm.
There are 570 steps from the base up to View Deck 3, The Crow’s Nest.

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Southampton & Stonehenge

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Southampton is a small city…very quiet, beautiful and attractive. There is nothing much to see in Southampton, but the Titanic Museum and remains of old Southampton fort. Next day we started our exploration of Southampton. We went to the market and saw the gate of Southampton Fort. In WWII, SH was completely destroyed and it was re-built. The pier from which Titanic sailed, was also destroyed and there stands the new port.

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Chasing the Heavenly Lights !!

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We had information that this year Aurora would be in full swing due to high activities in the sun… My daughter had gifted me a new camera (lumix GF3) so I was ready to see and shoot Aurora this year.   One day I woke up at 5, for drinking a glass of water and when I peeped out of my window, I saw a green colored cloud over my garden.  I was excited that I was watching Aurora from inside my house.  I ran and brought the camera, but by the time I fixed it, the green cloud left and a beautiful blue haze covered the sky.

So first attempt failed.   Evening when we were watching our favorite TV serials, suddenly telephone rang and my friend Hilde was on the other side.  She told me to go to certain place, If I wished to see Northern Lights.  It was a wintery night and temprature was -4, with high winds blowing, but that did not bar us from rushing out.  We drove by the downtown, and near the sea and watched the beautiful Reykjavik in night.

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मसरुर – mini Ellora of Himachal

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Masroor temple complex is about 22 Kms from Ranitaal. RaniTal is a Railway Station for Jwalamukhi. If going to Dharmshala then Ranital comes in way a few Kilometers before Kangra. From RaniTaal one has to take direction of Nagrota Suriyan and on this road one can see directions for Masroor.

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Madrid – Amsterdam in bonus !

Madrid – Amsterdam in bonus !

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The tram brought me back to Centrum and I still had about 1 hour to wander so I walked towards the Dam area, which is a famous touristic spot, with lot of fun, museums, shops etc. There was Madame Tussaud wax museum also, but before the wax museum of London, it is quite small,…but still there was long que before it.

I entered the shop and saw one dark niece of Cleopetra silently deep frying the Pakoras, which are stuffed in Falafel. I asked her to make one for me by stuffing with some onions and other things. She quite rudely told me that she will give the falafel and I have to fill the garnish myself. In Lebanon, the Falfel is wrapped in a thin roti, like mexican tortillas. But she took a bread like “बंद” cut it from half and put the pakoras inside and handed it over to me for filling it with other things. I put the garnishes inside and tried it. The taste was no where like Lebanese falafel, but it was sufficient for a poor veg animal like me. Seeing my face, she asked If I did not like it. I told her that it was ok, but not like the one I ate in Beirut.

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Madrid – tour of the city !–(part 2)

Madrid – tour of the city !–(part 2)

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Crossing one side of the garden and after walking for about 2 Kms, we came out of one side of the garden and found ourselves before another famous landmark of Madrid – La puerta da Alcala…. on in desi style the India Gate of Madrid.

The Alcala Gate is a National Monument and it was designed by famous Italian architect Fransesco Sabatini in 1764. It took 9 years to complete this 19 meter high granite monument. This was a real gate to enter the city of Madrid and was erected to welcome King Charles-III into the city of Madrid.

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MADRID — Bienvenido a España !!

MADRID — Bienvenido a España !!

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Hailing from southern Spain’s outcast populations, flamenco dance and music drew early influences from Greek and Roman and later from Indian, Moorish, and Jewish cultures. With the arrival of the Moorish and Jewish populations to the Iberian peninsula centuries ago, Andalusia’s already thriving music and dance inadvertently began extracting characteristics from the newly-arrived populations. The flamenco dance and music that we see today are the dazzling results of centuries of absorbing and flawlessly sewing together elements of this myriad of diverse cultures.

So due to some Indian connection and to watch beautiful girls, in place of fighting bulls or human animals, I opted for flamenco in a famous hotel nearby and was soon drowned into the dance. See a small clip of flamenco dance on youtube to know about this beautiful art :

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घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी – कुछ मीठी ( इस बार विदेशों से)

घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी – कुछ मीठी ( इस बार विदेशों से)

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भगत सिंह 22 वर्ष फ्रांस में रहने के बाद भी, गाड़ी होशियारपुर स्टाइल में ही चलाता था… फ्रैंकफुर्त पंहुच कर उसने सीधे हाथ का  इंडिकेटर दिया, और इसी बीच हमारे बीच एक और गाड़ी आ गयी.  जैसे ही हमें सीधे हाथ पर बाहर जाती सड़क मिली, हमने अपनी गाड़ी हाइवे से बाहर निकाल दी… ये सोचकर कि भगत ने कुछ देर पहले इंडिकेटर दिया था….बस यहीं हम पंजाबी ड्राइवरी को समझने में भूल कर गये….भगत सीधा निकल चुका था और हम फ्रैंकफुर्त शहर में प्रवेश कर गये.

हमें न तो ये पता था कि भगत के मित्र का नाम क्या है और न ये कि उसका पता क्या है…. अगर तब तक mobile phones का आविष्कार हो जाता तो हम यूं न गुमते.  खैर हम कुछ दूर चलने के बाद सड़क के किनारे खड़े हो गये और ये सोचकर कि भगत हमें पीछे न देखकर शायद  यहां पंहुच जाये और हमें मिल जाये…पर भगत सिंह को न आना था न आया.

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