nature

Bringing Back Some Hues from the Beautiful Valley Of Kashmir

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This time around we decided to travel to Kashmir, the most “in news” state of our country, for all the very wrong reasons though! The Gurupurb holiday clubbed with a weekend gave us the three days to plan our trip. We left for Kashmir, fraught with all the apprehensions in the world, and yet excited. On arrival at the airport we were warmly greeted by Dr. M.H Wani, an academician, working towards nation building in his own humble ways; however we didn’t know how our myopic views about this breathtaking place were to be altered by the end of this trip!

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Self-drive in Central Europe/ Alps – II (Itinerary & Car rental)

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The rule says that Schengen Visa should be sought from the country which you visit for the main business. Rule of thumb is, the country where you plan to stay for maximum period of time should be the one to issue you the Schengen. Maximum number of days rule, however, may not hold good in some cases, e.g. if you intent to spend max time in the country which is not of your main business.

In our case, we approached Czech Embassy for the visa, since we were to spend maximum period (about 6 days) there.

Schengen Visa regime has also altered the procedure for entry into EU zone. For instance, since we took a FINNAIR flight, we changed flight at Helsinki. Now, after landing at Helsinki Airport, we shifted into ‘EU Zone’ part of the terminal. So, it was here in Helsinki that we underwent immigration/custom checks. Thereafter, once in EU part, all flights within EU were like domestic flights, despite flying from one country to the next.

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Kareri Lake ~ a poetic trail

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Gaddis are basically a nomadic tribe who mainly lead a pastoral life depending on their cattle for their livelihood and wander in the high altitude alpine meadows for green and protein rich grass for their cattle and the nectar like pure water. These gaddis seem to be the happiest souls in the world without any worry cheering and living life happily in the lap of mother nature enjoying her eternal and purest beauty to the fullest. You envy at their life for a moment and then wish if you were born a gaddi, maybe in your next life…:)

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Mussorie – My best ever economical trip Day 2

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This place is located nearly 1364 Meter above the sea level . The Kempty Falls, surrounded by high mountain ranges and located at a high altitude of 4500 feet, is a good place for picnic or for spending a couple of hours listening to the music of water in the midst of the Greenery which cover the surroundings This waterfall attracts many tourists particularly from plain areas. Located at a distance of 15 KM from Mussoorie town , it can be visited by conducted tour or by taking a shared taxi near Gandhi chowk taxi stand. We opted for shared taxi.

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Mussorie – My best ever economical trip day 1

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We were really not sure what 6000 ft actually means, so after every 10-15 minutes we used to think Mussorie has come. But we were still not at Mussorie. Then at one particular point we saw a board Mussorie welcomes you and after sometime we reached at a place where there was number of taxi and it was the last point i.e. Mussorie. Weather was now little cold. We had covered our son with sweater and shawl and got down from taxi. We asked for the route to our hotel and a taxi person guided us to a staircase and then to the road. We paid charges to Taxi and was carrying our luggage.

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Valparai Series – Part 4

Valparai Series – Part 4

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To reach the Nalla Mudi view point, one has to walk through where else but the Nalla Mudi tea estate. A rather stern looking Forest guard stopped us with a Sorry, No Entry, Elephant problem. He was not however as fierce as he looked and easily succumbed to our pleading that we had come so far from the distant planet of Bombay, so how could we go home without seeing this place?

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Lammasingi, Andhra’s Kashmir

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Lammasingi (लम्मसिंगी) or Lambasingi (लम्बसिंगी) as the tribals call it, is a tiny hamlet nestling on a ridge at an altitude of 2600 above sea level in the Eastern Ghats, a little over a 100 kilometres to the west of Vizag. It was an unknown, remote tribal settlement till a discovery was made which stripped the place of its anonymity and earned it the sobriquet of “Andhra Kashmir”. A few years ago, weathermen found that it was the coldest place in Andhra, with night temperatures occasionally dipping to sub-zero levels. This news was broadcast by TV channels and overnight, it became a popular tourist.

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A Road Trip to Enchanting Mukteshwar

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With all the theoretical knowledge collected through blogs, we had few recommended names for our stay. We started having a look on hotels. First and the very pleasing one was MT- Mountain Trail. Ambiance/view here was awesome. After discussing about the tariffs we moved on to other hotels. We were more concerned for a captivating view rather than the tariffs. We went ahead to few more lodges along with PWD Guest house. But, we had already lost our hearts to MT. So we called back the manager and asked him to book 2 rooms for us.

We parked our car near the entrance of Mukteshwar temple and started taking a walk towards the main tourist attraction point “Chauli ki jali”. After putting in few efforts in climbing the rocks we finally reached on the top of the cliff. The cliff gave a splendid panoramic view of snow-white Himalayan ranges. Captured the “Orange- setting Sun”, did some archery. As it was getting late and the temperature started dropping with Sun, instead of going for Rock climbing we opted to just give a pose :)

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Valparai Series – Part 3

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Though elephantine in appearance, the Valparai bisons (Indian Gaur) are usually mild creatures who mind their own business. But which fool would proceed further ‘where angels fear to tread’? After taking our fair share of pics, we did an about turn.

Sometimes the wildlife comes out on the main road, much to their detriment. Wildlife killings by overspeeding F1 drivers is unfortunately all too common despite the many caution signs. This huge deer was standing barely 1 foot away at twilight. I realised he was next to me only when some bikers stopped to stare.

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Valparai Series – Part 2

Valparai Series – Part 2

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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!

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Valparai Series – Part 1: An Introduction

Valparai Series – Part 1: An Introduction

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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.

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