Uttarakhand

Unexplored Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains Retreat in Jhaltola, near Gangolihat

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It had been a long tiring winter and a recharging vacation had been on the cards for far too long. Sushil – a close friend, suggested a new retreat in Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains. He had been there with his wife and another couple in his friend circle. The name itself suggested just the kind of place I wanted to go to. Reminded me of the many exotic locales from fantasy books I had read over the years. I was sufficiently intrigued to check out their website at http://themistymountains.in and was soner convinced.

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My first hill ride from Delhi to Dehradun and Mussourie

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While planning for the route, we had no idea about the Saharanpur road conditions and more worse was leaving the highway for a while, anyway, next 40 kms or so were on kind of worse unending roads. You can imagine the roads with the fact that I was not driving straight literally even for a second and there was no road at all but just potholes filled with mud and water. We all were literally praying that when this road would come to an end cursing the local SP MLA.

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Weekend trip to Corbett Tiger Reserve from Noida

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On 29-Jun 2014 morning, we took the bus at 6:30 am from Ramnagar bus stand and reached Nainital at 9:00 am. There were some taxiwalas standing for sightseeing packages but we denied them and thought to roam around on our own. So we walked on our foot till Tallital bus stand and hired a bike on rent for Rs. 1000 and Security Rs.2000. Then we have gone for boating in Mallital and Tallital Lake for Rs. 210. We have done our breakfast and shopping on Mall Road itself which is near to Tallital bus stand.

Then we moved ahead on bike for RajBhawan(Governor’s House). Wow it is a very beautiful place and the gardens, the sightseeing near it is really awesome. The guide there guided us and told us about the history of this place. Then we headed towards Himalayan view point, Lover’s point and Suicide point. Awesome the weather, the scenery, the clouds coming over the hills, just WOW:) And then monsoon 1st rainfall started :D so we moved back to Mall road for some shopping near Tallital bus stand. We returned our bike at 6:00 pm and got our Security money Rs. 2000 back. There were tourists and tourists only all around on the Mall road. No vehicles are allowed between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The traffic management is very good. At 7:00 pm, we booked 2 seats in a Volvo bus. There were agents sitting in some shops on Mall road.

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Kausani and Ranikhet – Mighty Himalayan View

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Kausani: The absence of crowds was a welcome change in this place as well. No mall road to boast about but the available accommodation was good enough. The ‘wow’ factor is the spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas – 300 kilometers of unhindered and unmatched majestic view. Peaks Nandadevi, Nandaghunti, Trishul etc. glistening in the morning sunshine, gives lovely viewing pleasure. On a clear morning as you open your bedside window, the sight of these snow-capped mountains which sometimes seem to be bending towards you, simply take your breath away.

Gandhiji spent a few days here in the Anashakti ashram – which is right in the middle of the town and displays some photographs from his life – and called this place ‘the Switzerland of India’. Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan Pant was born in this place.

Baijnath, 19 km downhill from Kausani, boasts of a 1000 year old temple complex situated on the banks of river Gomti. Children enjoyed feeding the fish here.

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केदारनाथ यात्रा 2014 – सोनप्रयाग से केदारनाथ।

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रामबाड़ा पहुँच तो होश उड़ गए। सिर्फ रामबाड़ा नाम के अलावा  पर सही माने मे कुछ नहीं बचा था। अभी  मैं मंदाकनी नदी के बाएँ ओर चल रहा था लेकिन रामबाड़ा बाद आगे का पूरा रास्ता जिस पहाड़ पर बना था वो पहाड़ पिछले साल ढह गया था। सीधा बोलूँ तो रामबाड़ा बाद प्रशाशन नया रास्ता बनाया था। नए रास्ते पर जाने लिए बाएँ ओर से मंदाकनी को एक पुल के  जरिए पार करके दाएँ ओर जाना था। और अभी तक इस पुल पर काम चल रहा था।

कितने भयानक रूप से जलजला आया होगा। रामबाड़ा का नामोनिशान मिटा दिया। मेरी पिछली यात्राओं मे मैं और मेरा साथी यहीं पर विश्राम किया करते थे और पेट भर पराँठे खाया करते थे। यहाँ पर रात को सोने का इंतज़ाम भी हुआ करता था। ऐसी ही मेरी एक यात्रा मे केदारनाथ के दर्शन से लौटते वक़्त हमने रात के 2 बजे यहीं रामबाड़ा पर एक दूकान वाले से विनती करके कुछ खाने की पेशकश की थी। उस वक़्त उसके पास सिर्फ आलू की सब्ज़ी थी। हम उस साल 6 दोस्त गए थे। सभी भूखे थे हमारी हालत पर दुकानदार को तरस आया और बोला कि चलो ठीक है अंदर आ जाओ और पहले चाय पी लो तबतक मैं आटा गूँद देता हूँ। गर्म-गर्म रोटी और आलू की सब्ज़ी खाकर मज़ा आ गया था। तो मेरा ये वाक्य सुनाने का तात्पर्य यह है कि रामबाड़ा अपने आप मे एक सम्पूर्ण कसबे की तरह था। जहाँ पर यात्रा सीजन मे लोग हजारों की संख्या मे होते थे।   यहीं पर खच्चर स्टैंड भी हुआ करता था। लेकिन इस बार सब खत्म। जो पहली बार गया होगा वो कल्पना और यकीन अभी नहीं कर सकता कि रामबाड़ा पर कैसा कहर टूटा था।

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केदारनाथ यात्रा 2014 – गुप्तकाशी से सोनप्रयाग – भाग 2

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पता चला कि सिर्फ ब्लड प्रेशर की जाँच हो रही है। मेरा नंबर आया डॉक्टर ने मेरे BP की जाँच की तो मशीन ने 110/140 दिखाया। डॉक्टर ने कहा इस इसाब से तुम आगे यात्रा पर नहीं जा सकते। मैंने मायूस होकर डॉक्टर से बोला इतनी दूर से वापस जाने के लिए नहीं आया हूँ। उसने कहा टेंशन मत ले यार। मैंने फिर से बोला कि अकेले ही ड्राइव करके आया हूँ इतनी दूर क्या यह वजह हो सकती है वो हँसने लगा बोला तुम थोड़ी देर बैठ जाओ 30 मिनट बाद फिर से आना। मुझे टेंशन हो गई थी मैं बाहर गया और सुट्टे पर सुट्टा लगाने लगा। 30 मिनट बाद फिर से मैं जाँच के लिए गया तब भी मशीन ने 110/140 ही दिखाया। डॉक्टर बोला भाई ये तो गड़बड़ है मैं अनुमति नहीं दे सकता। आखिर मे डॉक्टर ने मेरा शुगर की जाँच की शुगर 135 निकली। शुगर ठीक थी। उसने जाँच केंद्र बंद करने से पहले 6 बार मेरे BP की जाँच की थी पर मायूसी के अलावा कुछ हाथ नहीं लगा। उन्होंने अपना सामान समेटा और चल दिए। डॉक्टर के एक सहयोगी ने मुझ से पुछा गुसाईं जी आप तो पहाड़ी ही हो तो ये क्या चक्कर है। मैंने बोला मैं तो समय-समय पर रक्त दान भी करता रहता हूँ कभी भी मुझे दिक्कत नहीं आई क्यूँकि रक्त लेने से पहले भी हमेशा BP की जाँच होती है तभी मैंने उसको बोला आज मैंने सुबह से सिगरेट बहुत पी ली है। वो एक दम से चौंक कर बोला भाई यही तो दिक्कत है यही कारण है कि BP ठीक नहीं है। उसने बोला अब और सिगरेट मत पीना और खाना खाकर सो जाना। मैंने खाना मे दाल, रोटी, सब्ज़ी, सलाद लिया और अगली सुबह पाँच बजे का अलार्म लगा कर सो गया।

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केदारनाथ यात्रा 2014 – नॉएडा से गुप्तकाशी – भाग 1

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श्रीनगर कुछ देर मे आने ही वाला था अब जाकर कुछ ट्रैफिक नज़र आने लगा था। महिंद्रा बोलेरो, टाटा सूमो, लोगों की पर्सनल गाड़ियाँ सटासट दौड़ रही थी। किसी पर बीजेपी तो किसी गाडी पर आप(आम आदमी पार्टी) के। तभी एक पुलिस वाले ने हाथ दिया, मैंने सोचा हो सकता है दिल्ली कि गाडी और अकेला सवार है कहीं ये सोचकर रोक रहा हो। मैंने गाड़ी रोकी, एक पुलिस कर्मी मेरी तरफ़ आया और दूसरा गाड़ी के आगे खड़ा हो गया। मुझे डरने की कोई लोड नहीं थी गाड़ी के कागज़ पूरे थे।

पुलिस वाला – कहाँ जा रहे हो ?
मैं – केदारनाथ।

पुलिस वाला – अकेले ?
मैं – हाँ।

पुलिस वाला – बड़ी हिम्मत है।
मैं – बस जि मूड़ कर गया।

दूसरा पुलिस वाला – क्या आप मुझे श्रीनगर तक छोड़ दोगे ?
मैं – मोस्ट वेलकम। आजाओ।

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Chasing the Rain

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Vishal and I rarely disagree on anything. So, when Vishal proposed a bike trip, the excitement got to me instantly. The last trip we made was quite a while back and the longing for the next one was getting stronger by the day. The Independence Day falling on a Friday gave us a long weekend and we made it longer by taking the Thursday off as well. The initial plan was to go up to Joshimath and back, but that had to change.

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Week long Kumaon Trip – March 2014

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Fortunately clear skies gave us a chance to say proper goodbye to mighty tops. Chukhamba, Trishul, Nandadevi and Panch-chuli were among many shikhars visible today morning. It is said, only from Kausani, distinct trishul shape can be seen on the equilateral triangle shaped Trishul peak. In fact these are three peaks on one massif. Though we might be seeing mountain tops still from our next points of visit but not all of them in one go.

We started descending for Ranikhet. The valley was green with wheat and mustard farms. Most of the farms were carved in hill terraces. Different shades of green were splashed on round curved fields. Apple trees were leafless but were bearing white flowers. Some of the other trees were total yellow and some red. But many others had shed their leaves in the winter and were waiting for warmer weather. Spring has almost arrived but frequent unexpected snowfall has delayed blooming season. Anyways, fall does have its own beauty. I could not resist myself from comparing seasons with life-cycle.

On the way, we visited a kalika temple. Next was a Golf Course which was covered with yellow grass. It was noon time so couldn’t stand in open for long and moved ahead. One more temple, a shawl factory and a barren empty fruit orchard could not interest us much.
Ranikhet is basically an army cantonment area. Lots of training facility buildings and practice grounds occupy most of the town. Security connected jawans and their families form majority of population. Cleanliness and environmental care was visible in the town. Civilian areas had not matched that standard.

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A Himalayan Pilgrimage – 1

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When we entered the valley of Badrinath it was a sight to cherish and worth all the efforts. The sun was in full view, though clouds were meandering around. The snow-clad peaks were shining in full glory above the valley. There was not a hint of discomfort which most of us felt at KN, though the altitude of BN at 3411m is only slightly less than that of KN at 3584m. We felt as if we are at Hardwar!

When we reached Srinagar, we thought of it as a lowly (in altitude) place, whereas in the past, on our way up, we thought we were up in heavens when we reached here. Srinagar is indeed a beautiful place with a wide riverbed. One wished one had an extra day for this place.

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Driving from Lucknow to Nainital and Corbett – Road Review

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The road upto Bareilly was generally good and but bad in a few patches. However, Bareilly to Lalkuan was a different story altogether. I believe there is a bypass outside of Bareilly but I couldn’t find it so I had to go through the city. If someone gets to know of the location of the bypass do inform. The number of trucks have to be seen to be believed. Coupled with bad roads it’s definitely a slow track. There’s some kinda factory before Lalkuan and trucks are lined up on both sides of the road. Where there are trucks, there are traffic jams and coupled with atrocious truck drivers the experience is tough. There is also extensive construction work on this sector.

The road improves dramatically from Lalkuan. A stop is advised before the climb from Kathghodham to Nainital. The Drive from this point on is smooth cos the roads are very good, maintained well and aren’t as steep as people would have you believe.

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