Ghumakkar Digest – September 2014

There is a predestined time and place for everything and it was to be at 1645 hrs on Sep 7, 2014 at The Lodi Gardens, New Delhi. After years of procrastination by the so called curators and editors of Ghumakkar.com, one gentle soul decided that enough was enough and threw open the party. Vipin Gaur, in the garb of celebrating a fellow Ghumakkar SlientSoul‘s India coming, created an event and before anyone knew it, it was buzzing with Ghumakkars all around.

On a sultry evening, amid the dripping greens of Lodi Gardens, Ghumakkars demonstrated substantial bravery to put up a good show of camaraderie and brotherhood. Amid the friendly banter, a lot of people got to connect names to faces while enjoying the generously brought delicacies. Before I share more on the audience, let’s first talk briefly about the weather. On the muggy September afternoon, one could almost feel like being trapped in a pressure cooker. Some of us put the blame on two stalwarts viz. Nirdesh Singh, which as per the hearsay, makes one believe that he disappeared from the scene along with the Rain God, here in after referred to as Varun, and the second, not a bit less than Nirdesh, is Sushant Singhal who traveled along with thousand other people from Sahranpur and he stalked on Varun for close to a week. He put so much pressure within the social media space that there was no pressure left for the atmosphere and one could almost float in the moisture-laden ether. But then, who has stopped us Ghumakkars who if you read more about their individual travels, you’d know how incorrigible they are.

Ghumakkars Galore

Ghumakkars Galore

More than 20 Ghumakkars braved it. Tridev Sir and Silentsoul played the role of Sutradhars and helped us introduce each other. Apart from Sushant who came all the way from Saharanpur, the spirit of whom we salute from the bottom of our hearts, Naresh Sehgal joined us all the way from Ambala. As people started to gather, it was difficult to grasp so much warmth in that little a space. I would let the attendees talk more via ‘Comments’ section of this post. For me, it was an overwhelming experience. We didn’t talk a lot but somehow it feels that the connect and bond has suddenly grown much stronger. The first meet was a beginning and I do hope that it carries on, in smaller or bigger way, in different seasons, in various setups and in various cities and tahsheels and mohallas. It need not be bound by the fact that whether someone is writing on Ghumakkar.com or not, but by the sheer heady spirit of traveling. I would take this opportunity yet again to mention that traveling builds tolerance and tolerance builds peace.

Welcome our new authors

If you think that I have already not gotten carried away then please risk reading on further. Moving forward, please take a pause and welcome our new authors. The first one is Govind, who goes by the name of ‘Ramta Jogi’. His first log was this whirlwind trip of Rajasthan (http://www.ghumakkar.com/sheer-drive-to-rajasthan-jodhpurudaipur-jaisalmer-in-4-days/) where he spent more time on the road and less time at the destination. Govind truly symbolises the saying that “Journey is the destination”.

Our second fresh author is Pamela Mukherjee. She took us to the hills of Himachal (http://www.ghumakkar.com/chiller-chilling-summer-trip-dharamsala-dalhousie-khajjiar/) and in her own words, she is “Visionary, dreamer. Creative Thinker. Writing, reader, I like to try and tell my own stories. I am my own biggest critic. By profession into Media, PR, MARCOM. Love to travel, want to share my experience with my friends, with the reader, those who want to explore the mileage with adopting mind. The smell of the new region, the culture & want to be united with new people & new surroundings.”. Welcome aboard Pamela. We hope to read more from you.

Quick round up of travel stories in September 14

And now is the time to share about the places we all went to, something I alluded before.

Booking.com

So now the places we all visited early this month. We went to Amritsar, Manali, Lansdowne, Bikaner, Chail, Rishikesh, Rothang, Chandigarh, Matheran and a few more places one more time. And while it was a second or a third time, each log tells us something new. It is like watching a well-made movie which appears fresh and interesting every time you watch it. Just the other day, someone commented on Mukesh’s series on Himachal. To quote the comment(or) said

“मुकेश जी मैं घुमाक्कर.कॉम पर नया हु. अभी तक आपके दो यात्रा वृतांत पढ़े है दोनों ही बेहद शानदार लगे आपकी उत्कृष्ट लेखन शैली से मैं बहुत प्रभावित हुआ हूँ. मैं भी अभी मार्च २०१४ में अधूरी जानकारी और अधूरी तैयारी के साथ मनाली और मणिकर्ण गया था. आपका आपका लेख पढ़कर यादे ताजा हो आई. मैं मनाली और मणिकर्ण तो घूमकर आ गया लेकिन इनके बारे में जितनी जानकारी आपकी पोस्ट से मिली है वहां घूमकर नहीं मिल पायी थी. पुरानी यादे ताजा कराने के लिए आपका धन्यवाद.”
Source – http://www.ghumakkar.com/मणिकर्ण/

Some of these logs gives us a new perspective and that makes me remember Jaishree’s log on Matheran. Our mariner Naman did a fabulous series on Andamans and if you have not read it, then do yourself a sweet favor and go through the whole series. It is lovingly told and factually detailed with a ‘Did you Know’ kind of school-trick thrown in.

Among the international destinations, all of us enjoyed the Kenyan Safari. It seemed as of all the animals have come to meet Mayura, who took us on this special safari. Jaishree’s hike to Montellegro and Rohit’s ride to beaches close to London, were a highlight. But the month belonged to a duo. Both are accomplished travellers and honest writers. Naresh Sehgal and Anupam Chakraborty took us to the grand Amarnath Pilgrimage, step by step, via two different routes, almost back to back. While the former’s log was in Hindi , the latter’s was in English. In the holy month of Saavan, we honestly could not have asked for more. And for the first time, the whole editorial team was unanimous in selecting both the stories as the ‘Ghumakkar Featured Story of September 2014’. Congratulations Anupam, Congratulations Naresh. A big thank you from our side and we hope to continue to travel with you.

Featured Story of Sep 14

Here is an excerpt and a picture from Naresh’s log

अमरनाथ यात्रा के लिए पहला बेस कैंप जम्मू में ही है जहाँ से यात्रियों के लिए बालटाल व पहलगाम के लिए बसें और छोटे वाहन मिलते हैं। यह बेस कैंप भगवती नगर में है। इसे यात्री निवास भी कहते हैं यह काफी बड़ा बना हुआ है और एक साथ दो हजार यात्री यहाँ ठहर सकतें हैं। यात्री निवास के अंदर ही स्टेट रोडवेज़ काउंटर , मेडिकल सेंटर तथा एक कैंटीन भी है। यहाँ वो ही यात्री पहुँचते हैं जो जम्मू तक बस या ट्रेन से आते हैं और उनको बालटाल व पहलगाम के लिए बसें और छोटे वाहन यहॉ से मिल जाते हैं । अपने वाहनो से आने वालों को यहाँ आने की कोई आवश्यकता नही, वो सीधा उधमपुर के लिये निकल सकते हैं । रेलवे स्टेशन से भगवती नगर की दुरी लगभग चार किलोमीटर है और बस स्टैंड से लगभग दो किलोमीटर है. वहां जाने के लिए दोनों जगह से सीधे ऑटो भी मिल जातें हैं।

पवित्र गुफा

पवित्र गुफा

You can read the whole log here – http://www.ghumakkar.com/अमरनाथ-यात्रा-2014-amarnath-pilgrimage-प्रथम-भ/

And here is an excerpt from Anupam’s log

It would be my second journey to the holy cave. I wanted to undertake the yatra though the traditional Pahalgam route. It is the route Lord Shiva chose to reach the Cave. This route would remind me of the Journey of Swami Vivekananda. The experience of my last journey in 2011 was not fulfilling as the Ice-Lingam melted early and I was not fortunate to have the Darshan. So, for this year, with my finger crossed, I wanted to get yatra permit of an early date. At last breathed easy, I got the yatra permit of 09.07.2014 for me and my two friends. We were then waiting! waiting! And waiting! to start of the Yatra for the year from 28.06.2014.

My Yatra Permit

My Yatra Permit

You can read the whole story here –
http://www.ghumakkar.com/amarnath-yatra-a-journey-of-faith-pahalgam-to-pishutop/

Ghumakkar Insights

Apart from these two jewels, we also published a ‘Ghumakkar Insights’ story this month. Our vigilante Anupam, writes this thoughtful log on being a responsible and active traveller. It all started with a small email exchange between us and Anupam and it grew into a rich, useful Insight article on how we need to act more to ensure a safe travel for everyone.

To quote from the story
Before I write what went wrong during the yatra, let me share with you a little piece of information. In the year 2012, expressing shock over growing number of Amarnath pilgrims’ death, which went over 100, the Supreme Court observed, “We are worried and want to ensure that no more deaths are caused.” Thereafter, a committee was set up and as per its recommendation the age criteria for pilgrimage was fixed as children not below the age of 13 years and persons not above the age of 75 years to undertake the Amarnathji Yatra. However, there were other recommendations too. Amarnath pilgrimage ended on that year with a record death toll. How sad was that!

and here is the link of the complete story –
http://www.ghumakkar.com/ghumakkar-insight-lets-wander-but-be-vigilant-too/

If you want to read other insights, you can do so by clicking here. But keep some time handy since it is a really a treasure trove of useful information – http://www.ghumakkar.com/category/insights/

And that takes us to the end of our September 2014 Ghumakkar Digest.

With salutations to the new and old authors and readers, I close this digest with the rekindled joy of meeting some of you, hoping to meet hopefully all of you. Wishing everyone a joyous, prosperous and blissful festive season. May the sweet smell of October flowers fill your homes and travel all round the year.

  • Avtar Singh

    Hi Nandan

    Congratulations! You summed up all the activities, in and outside of gumakkar, very beautifully.

    We must thank, SS Ji for providing the occasion and Vipin for taking the initiative to make it possible.
    It was really a wonderful experience to meet your fellow gumakkars in real world. Definitely, it was successful to ignite the wish of more such formal gatherings outside the virtual world.

    Congratulations and welcome to all the new writers.

    Congratulations to both @Naresh and @Anupam for the acclamation ! This duo deserved this for their extremely difficult journey and then writing their logs with the same passion.

    • ramta Jogi

      Cheers for all Ghumakkar fellows..!!

      Heartily congrats to Naresh & Anupam

    • silentsoul

      ????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???????… ??? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????…? ?? ?????-????? ??? ???… ??? ???…??? ?? ??????? ????…?? ???? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?????…

  • Dear Nandan, Team Ghumakkar and my fellow Ghumakkars,

    I am humbled by this Honour. I am glad and happy that Amarnath Yatra stories have acclaimed the featured story of Sept.,2014. I am very much happy to share the space with Naresh, my facebook friend and a fellow Ghumakkar. Naresh is a veteran Amarnath yatri and before my this yatra I sought for his suggestions on couple of things which he gladly gave. So seeing my story featured with his story on Amarnath is really pleasant.

    Congratulation Naresh!

    I thank Nandan and Team Ghumakkar for selecting the story as featured story of the month. I also thank my fellow Ghumakkars for reading, liking and for all your motivating and encouraging comments on the story.

    Now coming back to this months digest, I welcome again Ramta Jogi and Pamela Mukherjee at Ghumakkar. I wish their journey as an author would be as pleasant as their journey is.

    Commenting on Ghumakkar meet on 7.09.14, I thank Mr. Silent Soul for remembering me and sending me a mail enquiring about my availability during September, when he actually visited India.

    Yes Nandan it all started with the exchange of email with you. I never thought it will be published as Ghumakkar Insight. A big thanks to you, team Ghumakkar and to all my fellow Ghumakkar friends who have encouraged the initiative. I hope this is the beginning at Ghumakkar and many like that to follow in future.

    Thanks everyone once again and Happy Durga Puja and Nabratri and Dasera.

    Regards
    Anupam Chakraborty

  • Shefali Arora

    No doubt, Anupam Ji and Naresh Ji deserved it. Congratulations to both of you.
    Welcome new ghumakkars and well done fellow ghumakkars and above all thanks Nandan and Vibha for creating this platform for all ghumakkars around the world.

    • Thanks Shefali. The credit goes to Nandan for creating this platform and also to the fellow Ghumakkars for keeping it alive and kicking. It is a great place to be.

  • Naresh Sehgal

    Ghumakkars Galore Participants :
    Standing (Left to Right): Manjeet Singh, Neeraj Jat, Anand, Pradeep Kumar, Vishal Chopra, Nandan Jha, Amitava Chatterjee, P.s. Tewari, Avtar Singh Pahwa, Tridev Charan, Deependra Solanky

    Sitting (Left to Right): Sidharth Bhan Gupta, Vipin Gaur, Naresh Sehgal, Mahesh Semwal, Manish Khamesra, Jaishree Khamesra , Smita Dhall, Urja Choudhary and son of Deependra & Urja

    Behind the Camera: Sh. Sushant Singhal

  • Naresh Sehgal

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    ??????? ??? ?? ???? ??? ????????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ????? ???
    ???? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ?????? ?? ????? ???????? ???? ??????? ?????? , ?? ?????? ?? ?????? , ?? ??? ?? ??? ??????? ?? ??? ???????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ???
    ????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???????? ?????
    ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? -? ?????

  • Mukesh Bhalse

    ???? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ???? ……….???????? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ???, ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???????? ??????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???. ???? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ….

    ????????

  • Arun

    OMG……I missed an opportunity to meet all my respected authors…..it seems that I was not as lucky as other ghumakkar fellows since its only half an hours drive from my residence to Lodhi Garden…Really hard luck for me.

  • silentsoul

    It was really wonderful opportunity to meet you people. The weather was hot and humid and it is evident from my Dukhi face, becoz I saw such climate after 4 years. I am very thankful to Vipin Gaur for conceiving the idea and then taking it to its “Anzaam”, although coming late due to some obvious reasons. Thankful to all who came in such **** weather… and special thanks to Naresh & Susantbhai for such a long journey and that too in such weather…

    Congrats Anupam and Sehgal ji… a well deserved honour !!!

    Naresh – that was a gr8 name give to vipingaur…. Baoli Baba LOL :)

  • Congratulations Anupam and Naresh . You deserve it.

    Thanks Nandan for putting up Ghumakkar Meet in such a nice words. As usual though :)

  • ??? ?????????? ???????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ? ?????? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ? ????. ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ???????? ??? ?? ????????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???????? ???? ?? ????, ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???????? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????. ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????????? ?? ?? ????? ?????????? ???. ???? ?? ?? ?? ????????? ???????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ?? ??. ???? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ??????????/??./????????? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ??????? ? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ??, ?? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ???? ????????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ????-???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?? ???? ????. ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ??. ??? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ????? ????. ??? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ?????? ???.

  • ????? ?? ? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ????.
    @ ??????, ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ??? ??.

  • Stone

    Congratulations Sehgal Sahab and Anupam ji – I really enjoyed reading your parallel stories about the same place. Both of them were so nicely written that it I always looked forward for the next installment. Thank you.

    @Nandan – As usual, what to say, only you can compile a monthly digest the way you do.

    It was lovely to see all my favorite authors in the same frame, and though I’ve never written a single post here but always feel as if I know each one of you personally. Thank you everyone for sharing all the wonderful stories. And of course special thanks to Vipin bhai for bringing everyone together.

    @SS sir – How is Luanda treating you? Looking forward to see and hear stores from there soon. :-)

    • SilentSoul

      Thanks Bhaskarji…. Luanda till now has proved to be a colorless, tasteless place… will go to South Africa and perhaps then will present its story..

      And yes although you never wrote any story but your comments are always awaited… the bond is already there.. :)

  • Tarun Talwar

    Wow, a ghumakkar get-together and I missed it. Appears all of you had a great time. Will try to be there for the next one.

    Congratulations Naresh and Anupam.

  • I always used to day dream ever since I became an integral part of ghumakkar dot com, as to how it would feel to really see, meet, interact with and enjoy the wonderful company of fellow ghumakkars. The day dream metamorphosed into reality which I got Vipin’s invitation to join the informal meet at Lodhi Gardens on the occasion of Silent Soul’s arrival and what a great occasion it was! It was a game for me to sync actual faces with the virtual faces and hear actual voices with the imagined voices as ghumakkars started pouring in.

    By the time, we formally sat on the ‘silky grass’ as Vipin called it, it had become a no-wind zone and therefore unbearably humid and hot. Despite the unkind weather which caused untold sufferings to Silent Soul – the ‘Guest of Honour’, the magical effect of meeting our favourite authors was clearly visible on everyone’s face. There were people whom I admire as a travel writer but fight tooth and nail on Facebook for his political views and there were also whom I have come to regard as great photo artists besides being wonderful story teller. Overall, even though detailed heart-to-heart talk was not possible with each and everyone, we returned elated and with a sense of accomplishment. I certainly look forward to more of such occasions which would allow us more time time to interact with each other.

    Not being able to visit ghumakkar dot com is costing me a lot in terms of missed travel stories. It was only after this digest by Nandan that I went through the great stories by Naresh and Anupam. Heartiest congrats to them for this well-deserved honour.

    Rgds,
    Sushant Singhal

  • Ignore the typos please!

  • Thank you Ghumakkar to provide me an opportunity to share my experience here. I always dream about writing my story & experience. You are the one who support me & encourage me to fulfill my dream.
    Kudos !!!

  • @ Avtar – Thank you for your appreciation.

    @ Anupam – The pleasure is all ours. I think all said, at the end you chose to write your thoughts on how things can be improved and that makes all the difference. Kudos.

    @ Shefali – Thank you.

    @ Naresh – Many thanks for tagging everyone. Sometimes I think that what fun it would be to look at this picture 5 years down the line. :-). Thanks again for your gracious words.

    @ Arun – Next time for sure. Weather is changing for good. Plan a meet at the same location, if you are up for it.

    @ SS – Oh, I hope that it as not that bad. Weather was at worse on that afternoon. Some gentlemen from SRE was praying for no-rains and see what we all got into.

    @ Deependra – Thank you.

    @ Tridev Sir – If you are short of words then I should take a break.

    @ Stone – Thank you.

    @ Tarun – Sure. Insha Allah.

    @ Sushant – I have ignored all the typos.

    @ Pamela- Thats the little we should all do. Hope to see more of you.