Adventure

Sonamarg, Golden Meadow of Kashmir

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We enjoyed the morning amidst the splendour around the hotel and decided to see the view points in the afternoon. Here, all the viewpoints come on the way to its main attraction ‘Thajiwas Glacier’. To reach the glacier, one may go either by riding pony from Sonamarg town or by a cab which drops near the spot “Ram Teri Ganga Maile”. A nice motorable road is available upto this spot and thereafter one has to hire pony or walk down to the base of Thajiwas Glacier. Walking from there is much preferable to riding pony because it is only a short distance to cover and walking is mainly through the plain roads.

Like most tourists places, pony rides as well as the cab rates are overpriced here and one has no other option but to accept an unreasonable price after much bargaining. How tough it was to agree with a price of Rs.2100/- for a ride of 6kms, to and fro! But did we have any option?

We started the journey and soon saw the beautiful Sonamarg Club, a popular staying option for the bollywood stars when they are here for shooting. Surrounded by the giant conifers and beautiful mountains it locates on a hillock by the side of the road to Thajwas Glacier.

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रोहतांग की कठीन राह…..बर्फीले पहाड़ और प्राकृतिक सौन्दर्य से भरपूर सोलांग घाटी (भाग- 2)

रोहतांग की कठीन राह…..बर्फीले पहाड़ और प्राकृतिक सौन्दर्य से भरपूर सोलांग घाटी (भाग- 2)

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पिछली कड़ी में मैं आपसे जिक्र कर रहा था की किस तरह से मुसीबतों को पार करते हुए अंततः हम लोग रहाला फाल पहुंच ही गए, और फिर सिलसिला शुरू हुआ बर्फ में खेलने का, बर्फ में फिसलने का. उम्रदराज प्रौढ़ दम्पतियों को बच्चों की तरह बर्फ से खेलते हुए देखने में जो मज़ा आ रहा था उसका वर्णन करना मुश्किल है. लगभग सभी लोग बच्चे बने हुए थे, हर कोई इन यादगार पलों को जी लेना चाहता था. हम सब भी अपनी ही मस्ती में खोए हुए थे, किसी को किसी का होश नहीं था. बच्चे अपने तरीके से बर्फ से खेल रहे थे और बड़े अपने तरीके से, मकसद सबका एक था….आनंद आनंद और आनंद.

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A hike to Montellegro

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A few more photo-stops and we realized that by the time we would reach up, it would be well above three hours. The hike was relentlessly steep but we had no way out now. To aggravate the difficulty, path was paved with rough stones and we had to look where we put our feet.

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रोहतांग की कठिन राह…..बर्फीले पहाड़ और प्राकृतिक सौन्दर्य से भरपूर सोलांग घाटी.

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दोस्तों, पिछली पोस्ट में आपने हमारी मणिकर्ण यात्रा के बारे में पढा और मुझे उम्मीद है की पोस्ट आप सबको बहुत पसंद आई होगी….

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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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An Ode to Radhanagar Beach

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I had just arrived and a mere look at the beach is what made me fall with it! Let me describe what Radhanagar beach was like. The place was super clean and had a handful of tourists. Radhanagar beach was guarded by police officials who were also responsible for the safety of the tourists. Next to the beach was a famous hotel chain which provided accommodation in beautiful huts made of bamboos and natural products. The place was serene and calm.

The view of the blue sees was amazing and I had never seen such a beautiful shade of water. The sand was perfect and was near to white. Radhanagar beach also had tourist huts made completely of bamboos. Radhanagar beach is not for the ones who are looking for some action. The beach doesn’t have any facilities for snorkelling, scuba diving or boating.

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Hello Havelock!

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The Phoenix Bay Jetty is situated in the city and is home to all merchant vessels which are responsible for trade and commerce. The Jetty is the boarding point for the ones who want to visit Neil or Havelock Islands. We had our tickets in hand which were booked prior by Mr. Ravi (Tour Manager, Contact: 09434261219). The tickets for Havelock Islands are sold out within minutes. It is advisable to ask your agent/tour manger to get the same booked as soon as you land up in the city. There are private as well as government ship operators which provide connections to Neil and Havelock. Being the off season (August) the private operator (called as Makcruzz) was closed down and the only available option a government run ship.

The tag ‘Government’ automatically lowers the standards and gives me a bad impression of what so ever even before I see it. Anyways, the ship that we had to board was called ‘M.V Jollybuoy’. We were booked in the only available option of seating lounge. One needs to spot his vessel and then proceed for boarding. As we stepped inside the ship, we were greeted by the Chief Officer of the ship who also checked our tickets. He later on transferred us to the seating hall. The so called seating hall had three rows and seats faced opposite to each other. It also had a television set which was cleverly hidden in one of the compartments. The hall seemed more like my seamanship class room with lots of safety boards and demonstrative visuals. Good enough! The ship departed right on time at 0630 and that is when I got to know that we can go on the bridge.

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Baratang: A Tribal Treat

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Long back, a group of tourists shot a video of the Jarawas and uploaded the same on the web. According to the United States, this act was not justified and it was classified as hindrance to the tribal life of the Jarawas. The issue was raised out loud and was finally brought up to the Indian Government. After all sought of discussions and panel meetings, the government decided to offer protection to the community. The jungle was then handed over to the police and CCTV cameras were also installed amidst the wild. A convoy system was setup wherein a convoy of vehicles at specific time will be accompanied by the Police officials to cross the jungle from Jirkatang to Baratang and vice versa. The government also banned the use of mobiles and cameras in between the journey. The first convoy had to depart at 0600 hours and we were to go in the same.

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Setting Sail to the Three Islands

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Always remember to carry your ID Card along with you as it is need at almost every tourist spot in the Andamans. The ferries depart every hour and we were to go by the 0930 one. We were not offered any lifejackets and the ferry setup made me worry. Safety was on compromise but yet again one doesn’t have any another option. Recently, a ferry sailing from North Bay to Ross Island sunk and as many as 21 people died. Why can’t we follow safety guidelines rather than waiting for accidents to take place? As soon as the boarding began, I was the first one to step in and occupy the seat ahead of the wheel room.

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Welcome to Andamans!

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The pilot announced “Crew, Ready for takeoff!” The flight from Chennai took off sharp at 0500 hours. It is advisable to opt for a windows seat as on the approach towards the beautiful Islands, one gets a visual treat offered by Andamans.

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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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A Yatra to Takstang Monastery

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Here winds are blowing strongly, carrying everybody’s prayer with it and bringing blessing for all- truly a heavenly experience. We enter into the monastery. There are small temples inside, each of them with images of Buddhist deities. The smell of incense fills the air, a divine atmosphere altogether. We are now near the Tiger’s Nest, a small board indicating that, the cave where the Guru Padmasambhava meditated. We peep into the cave one by one and feel great to witness such a sacred monastery.

On our way back down we stop in the cafeteria for our meal. But they charge Rs.460/- per head for buffet lunch, of course a vegetarian meal, so we remain happy with a bottle of cold drink at Rs.60/-. It takes less than an hour to get down. We thank God for blessing us with the opportunity to witness such a sacred place, to view such an architectural wonder and to accomplish the YATRA once in this life.

We are driving to Chelela Pass, the highest motorable roads in Bhutan which locates between the Haa and Paro valley. We are passing continuously through oak trees, at times glimpsing wild fowls with long tail feathers and free roaming yaks, then through snow capped roads climb slowly to the Chelela pass. A milestone placed along the road indicates the highest point on Dantak Road at an altitude of 3988 meter above the sea level. We see a perfect white Himalayan Mountains view from here.

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