Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – January 2014

The cold is almost on the way out. Out here, in the National Capital, we witnessed a lot of action, both on and off the road. Suddenly Delhi is abuzz with a new Government, and almost everyone wants to talk about politics. However, it is a low season for travel since most of us are just back from the year-end vacations. Kids are back to school and grown-up are getting busy with the chores. Though it is a low season for travel, we were able to churn-out some real gems of travel writing, and a few from the forgotten years as well. I would take you through the stories in a while but first things first, our Editor-on-sabbatical went the Mom-way early this week and the baby and mom are doing fine. And our Editor-on-Desk is working hard to finalise the Featured Story of the month so that I can include it before finishing this piece.

January is also a time for new resolutions and I am hoping that Travel has a firm and steady place in your resolutions for 2014. In the words of Gustave Flaubert, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Once you know this well, it is never hard to leave your place for some place else.

Time to introduce new Authors and this time we have Shrinidhi Hande and Munesh Mishra.



Shrinidhi, in his own words, “I am a Business Analyst by profession and blogger by passion. Blogging since 2006 at I enjoy travel, photography, chess and long drives”. That is indeed true because he recently did a long ride in Thailand and you can read all of it here. Welcome aboard Shrinidhi



Munesh, in his own words, “जीवन के बीते हुए क्षणों को याद करने से जो ख़ुशी मिलती है, उससे ज्यादा ख़ुशी उन पलों को दूसरों के साथ साझा करने से मिलती है. इसी धारणा के साथ अपने यात्रा-भ्रमण की कुछ यादें …”. Munesh took us to the charming and romantic city of Udaipur. Welcome aboard Munesh.

January also saw a good mix of re-published stories viz. Lotus Temple by Ram, Garh Mukteshwar by Shubham, Roopkund Trek by Ajeet (go and read it now), a church in Prague having bone-artefacts as well as a lot of new stories. Interestingly, even though these are old experiences but probably the places have not changed much. I bet Roopkund as well the church in Kutna Hora would smell same, even today.

Brahma Kamal on the way to Roopkund

Brahma Kamal on the way to Roopkund

Among new stories, my personal favourite is Aurojit’s road trip in Europe, almost giving company to Shrinidhi who was riding in Thailand, though in a different continent. In India, we moved from Kasauli to Gandhi Nagar, braved the floods of Uttrakhand, zipped in Neemrana, paid obeisance at Rameshwaram and after learning more about Nainital (for someone who must have been to that area at least 50 times in last 5 years), we all indulged in the historical delight and got lost in the ruins of Morena. Sometimes I pause and wonder that all these years of reading these magical tales must have made my mind fuddled and very soon I would lose track of places where I physically visited or through Ghumakkar. But lets keep them coming.

We would talk briefly about the interview with Doctor Taher, by our back-in-business Editor Vibha but here is some news around a online resource called, Started by Shreya Vakil, the site aims to equip students with all the right information. I am putting a plug for him here hoping that it would lead to more awareness. Good luck Shreya.

Coming back to interview of our Featured Author, Vibha early this month had a gala time interacting with Doctor Taher. The interview usually spans multiple modes of communication so while she spoke to Dr. Taher when he was either in Singapore or Saudi, he responded to our emails when he was in Mumbai. Here is an excerpt from the interview

Ghumakkar: You have been with Ghumakkar for more than two years now. Which are the writers here that you admire?

Dr Taher: Well, there are many. I like to read stories that are about discovery and exploration. I like the writing styles of Vishal Rathod, D.L. Narayan, Sanghamitra, Vibha Malhotra, and Nandan Jha. I love reading their stories.

Ghumakkar: You are too kind Dr Taher. And to conclude, What would you want to tell the Ghumakkar community?

Dr Taher: I must thank all the admins and readers of Ghumakkar at the outset. Without your abiding co-operation, enthusiastic involvemnent and reading of my travelogues, I would amount to nothing on this amazing website. I say: let’s keep it going, guys. Travel is not just about visiting other places. It is a strong method of acquiring (and later, sharing) knowledge, spreading love and understanding, and mostly, it is about self-development. It is only when we travel that we learn that no matter what the differences between peoples of the world, our hearts beat as one. We have the same rainbow of emotions, the same likes and dislikes, the same loves and hates, and the same worries and insecurities. By understanding others, we understand ourselves better … and also … we are better able to cope with our own problems.Travel also brings us closer to the Almighty. Haven’t we all looked at His creations with awe and wondered at the Great Scheme of Things that He seems to be not just controlling, but also orchestrating so brilliantly all over the World that we know about … and the worlds that we probably will never know about.

Yeah, that is Dr Taher in Kashmir and not Shammi Kapoor

Yeah, that is Dr Taher in Kashmir and not Shammi Kapoor


Read the full interview here –

I have a feeling that I have a lost a lot of you and you are now on some other page (in a literal way), reading more about Doctor Taher, or may you are counting bones in that church in Prague. But if you are still here, then you get to know the ‘Featured Story’ of the month. And it is none other than, “Morena Magic – The temples of Bateshwar, Padawali and Mitawali”. Nirdesh Singh does it again with his spin of words and his control on frames. To quote from the story

…………About 100 temples have been restored so far. Work continues on some bigger temples. Tip toeing around the ruins gives a fair idea of what has been achieved and the degree of difficulty encountered. You do feel proud of ASI. It is us people who are greater enemies of our heritage – whether it is the casual tourists littering and defacing walls or the mafia here bent on obliterating the hills.
Yes it is not the end of story – first it was time and elements, now it is the human greed that is threatening the temples. On the way you see tractor trolleys loaded with probably illegally mined stones from the surrounding hills. Hills shake and reverberate with the sounds of explosives. The new danger is the mining that is going around relentlessly. It is the same place where an IPS officer was run over and the collector shot at. According to Muhammad, several reminders to MP Chief Minister elicited no response forcing him, a government officer, to write to RSS Chief Sudershan. It was then that the government woke up and created a buffer zone of 750 metres around the site instead of the usual 200 metres. Of course we would never know if other obscure temple sites have already been wiped out before the government gets wise.

Mitawali Temple - Widening our travel horizons

Mitawali Temple – Widening our travel horizons

Read the complete story here –

And now time for some commercial break. Being on road, gives you less time at home and if you are looking for resources for ordering some food then head for FoodPanda, an aggregator for take-aways. They have a rich inventory of restaurants and provide a good service. Try it out.

With Featured Story done, time to share our ‘Featured Author of the Month’ for February 2014. This guy has the stamina to drive for months, without making a lot of fuss about it, and can delight you with his fluid and fine narration, often through long sentences. Please join hands to cheer for, Ajay Sharma, our featured author for February 2014. We would be catching up with him and we hope to bring all the inside stories. Congratulations Ajay.

With just 11 more months to go, we need to catch up on lost time and travel far and quick. I hope to come back in a month with more exciting news around everything, hopefully with a bigger set of stories, more car stickers (limited time offer, just an email away, shoot now before those who I have lost over the log come back and grab it), more readable digest, better jokes and what not.

Wishes to Shrinidhi and Munesh and Congratulations to Nirdesh for the winter Morena Gajjak and to Ajay for his inspiring drives.Amen.


  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi Nandan

    Its great to find one more editorial with a blend of fluid and juicy style.
    Really interesting to read!

    Congrats Nirdesh ji, you really deserve this and finally got the due.

    Congrats Ajay ji, hope to get a nice and detailed interview as your journies.

    Wishes for the new writers.

    Gud luck team gumakkar!!!

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear All!
    My heartiest wishes to all here and also those who drop occasionally to benifit with the rich write-ups and often leave their kind messages.
    I am overwhelmed with this unexpected, pre-matured honour and with utmost humility bow down to accept it. This happened with the learnings from all my dear friends and respectable seniors who have taught me write every bit with their rich skills.
    My deep regards to Ghumakkar team and particularly Nandan and Archana who have nurtured me with care and boosted my moral.
    @ Avtarji, I am always a sincere fan of yours ever since I started reading your narrations. My heartiest regards to you too.
    Many congratulations to Nirdesh, who is a natural writer and an excellent traveller.
    A warm welcome to our Ghumakkar Family to the vibrant Ghumakkars Srinidhi and Munesh.


  • SilentSoul says:

    congrats to Prof Nirdesh and Ajay Sharma… both deserve this honor

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Mr Singh – Thank you for all the praise. My job becomes more rewarding since it entails reading these brilliantly written logs and feasting on them

    @ Ajay – I think the recognition is very rightly timed. :-) Hope to know/learn more about you. We would also be re-publishing your first and a story of your choice during the month, to continue the celebration.

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Hi, Nandan!
      Thanks for everything. Just FOUR months since I happened to submit my first log on Bharatpur with trembling hand, half hearthed & lack of confidence . I never knew I will come so far so soon and will be so well appreciated. Like all human beings I too had a dream of being honoured as the featured author some day. Honestly, for me it was a yet to be a long journey and never thought of it so early if not so easily. Planning to quit everything & start travelling and writing only, what do you say! Ha Ha ha. Thanks dear for showering the utmost pleasure. My best wishes to Ghumakkar.


  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Thanks for the honour! I really enjoyed the trip to Morena and writing about it. Thanks Vipin for the heads up!

    Every trip to MP makes me want go back there with a new list of places to see. The choice is mindboggling.

    Thanks again!

  • rakesh bawa says:

    Captain Namaskar. perfect write up by the master and perfect choice of the author of the month. Congrats Ajay Ji

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Heartiest congratulations Nirdesh Babu and Ajay. Richly deserved honour. Many more to come.


    NAMASKAR Nandan Jha ji,

    Heartiest congratulations all the editorial team of Ghumakkar. Your hard work and love to ghumakkari is visible.

    Thank you very much to giving me space on your editorial which encouraging me to share more experiences on ghumakkar.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Nirdesh and Ajay,

    Congratulations to both of you, highly deserved.

    @ Shrinidhi Hande and Munesh Mishra – welcome aboard.

    @ Nandan, congrats for another well narrated piece. Also, kindly convey Congrats from GHUMAKKARS to Editor-on-sabbatical for this great news. We wish her all the best.



  • Thanks for the introduction

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Prof Bawa – Thank you for your gracious words Professor.

    @ Munesh – Welcome , once more

    @ Auro – Would do.

    @ Shrinidhi – Looking forward to read more from you.

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    Good monthly digest Nandan Ji……………..

    Congrats to Ajay Sharma Ji for the featured author & Nirdesh Ji for his story though still I have not read the story as it is very difficult to read the story of Nirdesh Ji in a single time………

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