Roads

Dodital – The Trek

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Another motivating factor was the leeches. They wouldn’t let us stop anywhere. Every stop we had to check for them on the path first and then on our shoes and then take off the ones which had had some luck with our blood.Balloo kept us occupied with his “jokes” all along.

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Delhi Nainital Road Review

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NH 24 – Delhi, Ghazibad, Hapur, Garh Mukteshwar (NHAI)
NH 24 – Simbhavli, Gajraula, Moradabad, Rampur (NHAI)
NH 87 – Rampur, Bilaspur, Rudrapur (mostly UP)
NH 87 – Rudrapur, Haldwani, Nainital/Bhimtal (Uttrakhand)

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अन्नू भाई चला चकराता – पम्म पम्म पम्म – लाखामंडल

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कभी गाडी से इधर झांक, कभी उधर झांक | देखते के कुछ समझ आ जाए , क्यूंकि आगे तो हम लगातार देखे ही रहें थे आख्ने फाड़ें ,    हा हा हा …वहां गाड़ी की हेड लाइट की रोशनी में जो कुछ एक दो मीटर तक दिख रहा था बस समझो उस समय वही हमारी दुनिया थी बाकी तो कुछ दिख ही नहीं रहा था,थोड़ी देर बाद हमें खुद मालुम नहीं की कब कहाँ दो चार मकानो के बीच से होकर हमारी वो पथरीली सड़क गुजर रही थी (अँधेरा होने के कारण ) तब गाड़ी रोकी … वहीँ एक दो आदमी मिले। एक सज्जन से परिचय होने पर उन्होने बताया के वो रहने वाले तो बड़ोत (UP) के ही हैं।   यहाँ उनकी  पुरानी जमींन है, सो यहाँ भी रहते हैं।  वहीँ एक घर में भी बनी छोटी सी दूकान से दर्जनों  “पारले जी ” की बिस्कुट के पैकेट खरीद अन्नू और प्रवीण बाबू तो बिजी हो गए …..मै  वैसे भी भी बिस्कुट नहीं खाता और गाडी भी चला रहा था।  सो उन साहब से बातचीत कर आगे का हाल चाल और रास्ते का ब्यौरा ले चल पड़ा।

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Yuksom – a peaceful abode in the laps of Eastern Himalayas

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Yuksom is still regarded as the base camp of Kanchenjungha, although ascent from Sikkim side has stopped over a decade ago. The mountains are revered as God by localites and stepping foot on the sacred slopes amounts to desecration of the divine forces. Kanchenjungha is abode of the Gods. We came across camps of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Their basic and advanced mountaineering courses are conducted at Rathong Glacier, the starting point of which also happens to be Yuksom.

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A weekend trip to digha. The Journey.

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When in Doubt, ask again. Ask someone else if you feel that the shmuck you just asked for directions was an inebriated nincompoop. I believe that even now, in the age of GPS and other bond gadgetry, the ultimate GPS is still the roadside paan wallah. Such is the level of accuracy & dependability, that i think they should be hired to proofread the local Google maps data.

You stop by a tapri/ khokha (as referred to in mumbai), light up a smoke, order a sweet paan, strike up a light conversation about how good or bad the weather is, and that’s it. Camaraderie set. The paan wallah will now easily divulge even the most complex info about the routes to take, routes to avoid, probable shortcuts & other awesome places to see in between. Screw you, GMaps !! I got my own local wiki/GPS/navigator/tour-guide.

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गढ़वाल घुमक्कडी: कर्णप्रयाग – विष्णुप्रयाग – बद्रीनाथ

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चूँकि आज हमे सिर्फ़ बद्रीनाथ ही पहुँचना था (जो की यहाँ से मात्र 125 किमी ही है), इसलिए हम संगम पर काफ़ी देर बैठे मस्ती करते रहे. संगम का आनंद लेकर और दोनो नदियों के जल से विशुद्धि व उर्जा पाकर हम लोग आगे की यात्रा पर निकलने को तैय्यार थे. ढाबे पर नाश्ता करने के बाद, हम लोग सीधे बद्रीनाथ की बस लेने आ पहुँचे. थोड़ी देर इंतेज़ार के बाद, एकाध बसें आई पर सब खचाखच भारी हुई, पाँव रखने तक की जगह नही थी, यात्रा सीज़न मे ये एक आम नज़ारा है.

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Chandratal to Sarchu… a picturesque drive through Lahaul

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Just this morning I was overwhelmed to see the abundance that water has bestowed in the southern part of Lahaul. I thought that is glorious. And now I stand awestruck in this dry and desolate landscape where soaring mountains surround a vast high altitude rolling plain through which is a deep gorge and a river flowing through it… We are a little short of Sarchu and these are the Lingti plains where there is virtually no precipitation even in the winters…

And finally, Sarchu! There is virtually nothing in the place except a few tented camps during the summer months and a small army detachment year round. The wind howls making me burrow deeper into my jacket the minute I step out. We take a walk around the place and soak in its unique charm. But nature has been kind in all its adversity. Or maybe it is the stark unspoilt and unpolluted beauty that I am so taken with. Such places need no adornment, no embellishment. Just this raw, unadulterated nature is enough. This is a place one must travel to at least once in this lifetime!

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Road to Leh!

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This July, I completed a motorcycle ride from Gurgaon to Ladakh, covering Spiti Valley, Leh, Kargil and Srinagar – one of my many trips to this part of the world. Despite having done these rides multiple times earlier, why do I keep riding to these crazy terrains, where unless someone has actually travelled on a motorcycle? They wouldn’t believe what one would experience. What’s the lure of Ladakh still, when everyone and their mothers-in-law are riding/driving/flying there these days? When

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Spiti valley, a caravan diary

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Woke up with a terrible headache and nausea on the Day 3 of the voyage to the once forbidden land, Spiti Valley. Outside it was just another dawn in Kaza, the snow is reflecting a tinge of orange in the early morning sun; the spotless blue sky in the background is arched over the town. The Gong inside the head continued meanwhile; I needed oxygen then.

It’s the primary state hospital of Kaza where I met Serine and the fellow patients. An ugly looking machine was pushing oxygen through my nostrils and I was trying hard to concentrate. Serine teaches english in a local private school, where tibetian is hardly taught seriously, she frowned. Her mother was lying sick on the bed adjacent; they have ultrasound machine here but nobody knows how to operate, looks like she will have to take her mother to Simla, a 500 kms and a strong determination away from Kaza. She had once travelled to Delhi though, her sister works as a hotel receptionist there. The Metro escalators are amongst worst inventions of the human kind; and she frowned again…it continued and the other patients joined in no time. Soon I was being invited to their homes; for tea, thukpa and country liquor ! Never felt more disappointed on leaving a hospital; was feeling better already. Affection works better than the oxygen may be…who knows !

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Heavenly Dooars – Kolkata to Moorti Drive

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he pot hole patches, were horrible, near Biprit at least 3 Km stretch was practically same full and just before touching to highway at Islampur a particular stretch was just nightmare.I was really thinking of a breakdown. After reaching highway to Siliguri the last 95 Km was a bliss. The most awaiting good features of highway.

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