Next day, our plan was to reach Manali, another 450-500 km or so drive, but there were two routes: either via Chandigarh-Mandi-Manali or via Panota sahib-Nahan-Dharampur(Solan)-Sabhathu-Arki-Barmana-Mandi-Manali. These two routes meet near Surendernagar, but the first leg is what makes difference. We thought we wont travel through the plains and avoid the rush so we decided to go via Nahan. We started at about 9.30 which was a bit late, but nevertheless.. I don’t know whether it was a mistake: the road was bad for quite a bit but traffic wasn’t much with sparsely populated places and the scenes were gorgeous. Soon after Panota Sahib, the beauty of mountains started and we started working, busy with the our cameras or busy looking at the nature. Worst was to be the person driving the vehicle in this situation, for whom it was an excitement as it was his first real mountain driving experience and he did very well, 100/100. We reached Dharampur after driving for about 4-5 hours at about 2.30 pm and after covering about 175 km. Dharampur is a junction for people going towards Solan or Shimla from plains or Chandigarh/Delhi, so we faced a bit of crowd there. Had our lunch and then proceeded towards Sabathu and Arki. The roads in this stretch were basically state or district roads, traffic wasn’t much but roads weren’t good either. We couldn’t drive fast enough, and by the time we reached Darlaghat, to join NH-88, it was quite late, about 6 pm and we hadn’t traveled enough, almost 70km in about 3 hours. We realized that it would be tough to make it to Manali on the same day in good time. We then switched over and I started to drive, my first real experience of driving on mountains. However, the road towards Manali was good as except at some places, so not much of an issue. We could not much of scenery as it was getting dark, except the visible forest fire at certain places on the high hills.Read More
I had fallen in love with Rewalsar Lake when I saw Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film “KAREEB”. I had travelled on Manali route many times, but no one ever told me about this lake. After seeing Kareed, in 2004 I alongwith Laxman while coming back from
Jwalaji visited this beautiful lake and missed our families then.
Rewalsar lake is initially connected to Lomash Rishi, who had been searching for a place for his tapasya, and who was told by Lord Shiva about Rewalsar, which is abode of gods and various gods reside there as flowers, trees, fishes and water bodies. Rishi Lomash came to Rewalsar and did his penance. There is an ancient temple of Lomash Rishi on the bank of the lake, and perahps the first ever temple here.Read More
The estates brought prosperity for the new settlers but ‘development’ also meant massive deforestation of once pristine forests with the attendant depletion of indigenous fauna and flora. In those days
of abundant natural wealth, this was not a matter of concern.
In recent times, the Nature Conservation Foundation – an NGO, has engaged the estates in a successful conservation programme to maintain wildlife corridors and regenerate the forest. Consequently, you never quite know who you might meet in and around those Valparai tea gardens!Read More
The Day came to an End at the Mount Abu market … there is something so unique about these markets on Small hill stations … the Pop Corn, the Ice Cream Cone, The Corn … yeah … we loved it. The finally came to a close with everyone shopping, that was also amazing fun … Someone from our group had just changed his facebook status from single to committed … and he had to buy something for his girlfriend … and OH MY GOD … Everyone was giving him suggestions … and it was real fun … Ayush had to buy some gifts for his wife, and me too … after 6 days and 2400 kms, if we reach without a gift .. we will be killed. So we finished our shopping around 9:00 pm and headed back to our hotel … we were all hungry and decided to get some food delivered at our resort … where we had to discuss the plan to go back, which was not same as it was while coming … !!!
We had lots and lots of Dinner … and started the discussion in the Cold Night @ mount Abu … !!! here is where the real fun starts …Read More
आज सुबह करीब 2 बजे अलार्म बजने से पहले ही मेरी आँख खुल गयी, लगता था जैसे हमारे मच्छर मित्र भी चाहते थे कि…Read More
Green Hills has a restaurant that is dingy and uninviting but their food is delicious. Some of the home stays provide meals, some do not have this facility. There are several restaurants, food stalls and messes along the one and only main road where you can enjoy a cheap and delicious meal. Besides this there are umpteen bakeries serving hot snacks, cakes and locally grown tea. The problem arises for strict vegetarians who will not eat vegetarian food in a non veg establishment, and as we all know there are many such good folk not just in Tamil Nadu but all over India. I have seen only one place near the Gandhi Bus Stand – the Sabari Mess – which proclaims itself to be “Veg Only“. No personal experience but you can not go too wrong with the local food. We dined at the Plaza on the main road opposite the Police Station. It was consistently good with excellent service and spotlessly clean. For us, once we are on to a good thing, we are reluctant to experiment with something new so as with the home stay, the staff at Plaza now also treat us as long lost friends. I did notice a Mary Matha Mess in the adjoining building on the first floor which seemed to be popular. Mess in these parts means restaurant or a place where meals are served.Read More
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.Read More
Early morning at around 6 o’ clock, when rest of the family members were still asleep, I attended to daily routine and then decided (as usual) to wander and acquint myself a bit with the geography of Shimla. The first important thing I discovered was the fact that you didn’t need to go through the Victory tunnel to reach other side of the town. The tunnel is for automobiles only (but you won’t get fined if you do venture into it). Even if you walk towards the Bus Stand, you would find lanes at your left side with very stiff heights to scale, which promise to leave you at other side of the hill i.e. Mall Road side. However, without going to the Mall Road side, I walked roughly 1 km. in the opposite direction of the railway station and discovered that I had reached Bus Stand. Well, I was as happy at my discovery as Vasco-de-gama must have been after discovering Bharat Varsh aka India! Regarding it enough achievement for the time being, I made a U-turn and arrived at the hotel. Since I didn’t find any group of pahadi girls singing as I often see in Hindi movies, I had to hum a song myself and that too without any tabla or dholak (no it was not Abida Parveen this time but someone else which I don’t remember! ) First rays of the Sun peeped into the room and blessed us with very exhilerating and invigorating feeling. Technically, these were not first rays of the Sun because when the Sun ascended high enough in the sky to defeat the hills and throw its rays directly into our room, our watch was already showing 8 a.m.Read More
दोस्तों जैसा कि आपको ज्ञात है पिछली गढ़वाल यात्रा विपरीत परिस्थितियों के कारण अचानक ही समाप्त करनी पड़ी. केदार हमेशा से ही मुझे बद्रीनाथ…Read More
A team building activities is an ideal way to take a break from your daily routine and there is something for everyone as the combination of Team Building and Sports Activities. Recently, I had attended a Training Program at Pegasus Institute for Excellence at Dibli, a small hamlet in the upper Dehradun. It was a great learning experience as an Individual & professional.Read More
While clicking through the window of my compartment, I couldn’t help admiring the beautiful curves. (Again, don’t get me wrong please! I am talking of the curves our train was taking ! ) The sharpest curve our train took was of 48.12 meter radius. As regards fastest speed of the train, please don’t ever think that it can compete with Chinese Bullet Train. It can run at the maximum speed of 25 km. per hour. In case you are not happy with this speed, try the Rail Car which has an admirable speed of 30 km. / hour! From Kalka to Shimla, in all there are 20 railway stations. Although our train was labelled as Express train, it stopped at most of the stations especially in later half of the journey. It was as if it was a private bus wherein the cleaner had the moral obligation to halt the vehicle to enable an old lady to disembark. I think the guard of our train was going an extra mile by accompanying her up to the road and seeing her off before flagging the train to move on.Read More
रास्ते में हम लोग लोग थोड़ी देर रुद्रप्रयाग में रुके और फिर चल दिए श्रीनगर की ओर. श्रीनगर पहुँचते पहुँचते हमें काफी देर हो चुकी थी और आज रात इससे आगे जाने का कोई साधन नहीं दिख रहा था. कोई जीप या बस मिलने की तो संभावना बिलकुल भी नहीं थी क्योंकि यहाँ हिमाचल की तरह रात को बसें नहीं चलती. ऐसे में हमारे चालक साब ने हमें रात श्रीनगर में ही बिताने का सुझाव दिया और हमें रात गुजारने का एक ठिकाना भी दिखाया. हमने ठिकाना तो देख लिया पर अब किसी का भी यहाँ रुकने का मन नहीं था और सब जल्द से जल्द घर पहुँचना चाहते थे. उत्तरांचल में वैसे तो रात को कोई वाहन नहीं चलते पर सब्ज़ी फल आदि रसद पहुँचाने वाले ट्रकों की आवाजाही रात भर चालू रहती है, सोचा क्यों ना इसे ही आजमाया जाए. आज शायद किस्मत हम पर मेहरबान थी, थोडा पूछ्तात करने पर ही हमें एक ट्रक मिल गया जो हरिद्वार तक जा रहा था. ट्रक चलने में अभी लगभग आधा घंटा बाकी था और सुबह सिर्फ आश्रम में ही भोजन किया था इसलिए एक ढाबे पर जाकर थोड़ी पेट पूजा की गई.
ट्रक पर वापस लौटे तो देखा की चालक के साथ वाली सीट पर पहले ही दो लोग बैठे हुए थे. ऐसे में वहाँ हम तीनों का एक साथ बैठना संभव और सुरक्षित नहीं था. इसलिए दोनों की बुरी हालत देखकर मैं ट्रक के पीछे चला गया जहाँ कुछ अन्य लोग पहले से ही लेटे थे. इस ट्रक के ऊपर एक बरसातीनुमा दरी थी जो शायद सब्जियों को धूल और बारिश से बचाने के लिए डाली गयी थी और नीचे खाली प्लास्टिक के डब्बे रखे हुए थे जिनमे सब्जियाँ रखी जाती हैं. इन्ही हिलते डुलते प्लास्टिक के डब्बों के ऊपर हम सभी मुसाफ़िर लेटे हुए थे. ट्रक चलने पर कुछ समय तो बड़ा मजा आया पर जैसे जैसे रात गहराती गयी और नींद आने लगी तो इन हिलते हुए डब्बों पर सोना बड़ा दुखदायी लग रहा था क्योंकि एक तो ये डब्बे आपस में टकराकर हिल रहे थे और टेढ़े मेढ़े होने की वजह से चुभ भी रहे थे. खैर मेरे लिए तो ये सब रोमांच था, लेकिन रोमांच धीरे धीरे बढ़ने लगा जब इन्द्रदेव अर्धरात्रि में जागे और हम पर जमकर मेहरबान हुए. तिरछी पड़ती हुई मोटी मोटी बारिश की बूँदे हमारे ऊपर एक शॉवर की तरह पड़ रही थी जो एक मंद मंद शीतल रात को एक बर्फ़ीली सी महसूस होने वाली रात में बदलने के लिए काफी थी. ऐसे में ऊपर रखी हुई दरी ने ठण्ड से तो नहीं पर भीगने से तो बचा ही लिया. ठण्ड में किटकिटाते हुए, बिना सोये जैसे तैसे करीब चार बजे के आस पास ट्रक चालक ने हमें हरिद्वार में एक सुनसान मोड़ पर उतार दिया. जितना दर्द मेरे शरीर में उस ट्रक में सवारी करते हुए हुआ उतना पूरी यात्रा कहीं नहीं हुआ, शरीर इतना अकड़ गया था कि ट्रक से बाहर निकलने के लिए भी हिम्मत जुटानी पड़ रही थी. ठण्ड के मारे बुरा हाल था, सुनसान गलियों से होकर गुजरते हुए हम लोग बस स्टेशन की ओर बढ़ने लगे. ऐसे में रास्ते में एक चाय का ठेला देखकर चेहरे पर कुछ ख़ुशी आयी, भाईसाब के हाथ की गर्मागरम चाय और बंद खाकर शरीर में कुछ ऊर्जा आई. फिर तो बस जल्दी जल्दी कदम बढ़ाते हुए हरिद्वार बस स्टेशन पहुँचकर, दिल्ली की बस पकड़ी तो लगभग दस या ग्यारह बजे तक दिल्ली पहुँच कर ही राहत की साँस ली. यात्रा समाप्त!Read More