travelogue

The land of monasteries and mysteries of God……

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I entered the ‘Spiti Valley – The Middle Land’ realizing that i have lost all the contact with the world outside. If everything goes according to the plan, it would be after 3 days i.e. on 7th Oct evening when I’ll get the network back upon reaching Manali. But for now let me enjoy the beauty of the Spiti Valley for the final 27 kms left to cover from Sumdo to Tabo. As the valley now divided into two parts ‘Light & Shade’ looked magnificent in the setting sun….

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Landing in Lansdowne

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Bulla Lake or Bhulla Tal is a well maintained serene lake just 1Km from Lansdowne. It is a perfect picnic spot and very popular amongst children as it also offers boating. Boating facilities at Bhulla lake are good with few ducks swimming around as well in the lake water. One can also find a small souvenir shop, an eating joint, herbal plant nursery

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Spontaneously lazying at San Antonio, Texas

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stayed at El Tropicana hotel, along the Riverwalk at Lexington Avenuejust across the famous Tobin Centre for Performing Arts, by the Riverwalk. The lobby of the hotel is renovated but the rooms are quite old. The locality of our hotel was not so clamorous and the tranquil

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ब्रह्माकुमारी  आश्रम  की यात्रा व आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान  के पल….!

ब्रह्माकुमारी आश्रम की यात्रा व आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान के पल….!

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अब मैं मध्य बर्थ पर था और पत्नी लोअर बर्थ पर. वह महिला जिससे बर्थ एक्सचेंज की थी वह ट्रेन चलते ही ऐसी निंद्रा में लीं हुई कि सवेरे चाय- नाश्ता की आवाजों के कोलाहल और चलकदमी से ही जागी. जैसी मुझे चिंता रहती है मिडिल या अपर बर्थ की ऐसी कोई दिक्कत तो नहीं हुई क्यूंकि एक बार सोने के लिए बेड पर जाने के बाद फिर तो मैं सवेरे ही उठता हूँ चाहे नींद न भी आये. बस बर्थ में शरीर को घुसाना और फिर स्वयं को समेटना– इन दो क्रियाओं के खतरों के कारण मैं लोअर बर्थ को बेहतर मानता हूं। यदि पत्नी के सहमति नहीं होती तो मैं उन महिला को उपकृत करने वाला नहीं थ. लगभग एक महीना पहले बुकिंग कराओ, लोअर सीट के लिए, और एक क्षण में एक आग्रह पर वह बर्थ आप किसी और को सौंप दें, यह तो कोई बात नहीं हुई. हालांकि पत्नी का सोचना इसके विपरीत है, चूँकि वह भी समय-समय पर अपनी यात्रा में लोअर बर्थ को हथियाने में निपुण है, तो उसके लॉजिक के अनुसार उस बर्थ पर किसी महिला को सोने देने में कुछ भी असहजता नहीं है. और यह कि लोअर बर्थ पर महिलाओं का पहला अधिकार नैसर्गिक रूप से बनता है (रेलवे के नियम चाहे जो कुछ हों).

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Bhutan : The Land of Thunder Dragon!

Bhutan : The Land of Thunder Dragon!

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Perched on a cliff-top, Bhutan’s Taktshang monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, is one of the most breathtaking temples in the world. The Buddhist place of worship is built on a rock around 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level and stands above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons. The main temple complex was built in 1692 and is considered to be one of the holiest for the Bhutanese people. There are no proper roads and visitors have to trek for hours to reach the temple. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a tigress’ back to subdue a local demon. Thereafter, he meditated here for three months. It is blessed and sanctified as one of Bhutan’s most sacred religious sites.
Apart from monastry, we visited old fort of Paro and museum and then started for next destination, i.e. Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan Royal Kingdom and power centre of the country (around 50 K.m. away from Paro) taking with us wonderful memories of beautiful Paro. Again following the same pattern, we reached Thimphu in the evening and stayed in hotel to get ourselves recharged for next day’s tryst with the capital city.

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Memories of Mewar (III): Udaipur, City of Lakes and Palaces.

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After visiting the Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranakpur, the Krishna Temples at Kankroli and Nathdwara, and the Sajjan Garh Palace, we were now on the last leg of our trip to Mewar, Rajasthan, and had two full days to take in the beauty of Udaipur, the City of Lakes and Palaces. This beautiful city is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, ‘Most Romantic City of India’ and ‘The Kashmir of Rajasthan’.

Udaipur was the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, ruled by the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. The founder of Udaipur was Maharana Udai Singh II, father of Maharana Pratap. Udaipur was founded in 1559, when a hermit blessed the king and asked him to build has palace at a spot on the east ridge of the Pichola Lake. In 1568, the Mughal emperor Akbar captured Chittaurgarh, and Udai Singh moved the capital to the site of his new residence, which became the city of Udaipur. As the Mughal empire weakened over the years, the Sisodia Maharanas recaptured most of Mewar district. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818.

After India’s independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Udaipur acceded to the Government of India, and Mewar was integrated into India’s Rajasthan state.

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Memories of Mewar (II): Kankroli, Nathdwara, and Sajjan Garh (Udaipur).

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The temple of Shrinathji at Nathdwara is among the most sacred places of worship for the followers of Lord Krishna. The idol is made of black stone and is said to have been brought here from Mathura in 1669 to protect it from the marauding Moguls under Aurangzeb’s rule.

The temple opens its doors to the public for worship seven times a day for just about half an hour each, and there is a huge crowd always waiting to rush in. Inevitably there is some pushing and jostling and you barely get a minute for darshan before you are pushed out to the exit, just like in a Mumbai local train. This makes the whole experience quite unpleasant, and the temple authorities should take the initiative to organise it in a better way. Some touts promise to get you in through the VIP channels, but they only serve as paid guides, and can do nothing when the push becomes a shove.

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Memories of Mewar (I): Kumbhalgarh and Ranakpur.

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The fort is built on a hill at a height of 1100 metres and requires a considerable effort to climb to the top. But once you are in the palace at the top of the fort, also known as ‘Badal Mahal’, you are rewarded with awesome views of the forested Aravalli hills, with the Mewar region on the eastern side and Marwar region on the west. The forests surrounding the fort comprise the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to leopard, sloth bear, monkeys, wolf, jackal, sambar, peacock, jungle fowl and a host of other birds and animal species.
[caption id="attachment_94003" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Badal Mahal. Badal Mahal.[/caption]

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Visiting Kaluk in West Sikkim

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If you are an aficionado of history, then Rabdentse is a place not to be missed if you are on a trip to West Sikkim. Located on a ridge near Upper Pelling, Rabdentse was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. It was destroyed by the Gurkha invasion and now only the ruins of the palace remain. The remains of the palace have been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. The ruins offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchendzonga.

Vikram dropped us at the point from where we were to trek about 1.5 km through forest to reach the ruins. A huge decorated gate leads to the trekking path. We started our journey through a stone-cobbled path through the forest. The path was narrow and dark. The forest was deep. There was not a person to be seen anywhere. It was super-thrilling!!

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Chandigarh

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“Try the pancakes, with honey – they are good” She suggests.

I nod and add a masala tea to the order. Her phone rings while she is scanning the menu. “An omelet for me…” she rushes out of the café to talk.

I find a corner table and start scanning my mobile for morning news. The café rings with laughter suddenly and I pull my face to see some young girls giggling their way in. She’s still talking on the phone outside the door, shifting herself from one leg to other.

There’s cassia blooming outside on a tree behind her. Surprised at its own fertility his young flower laden branches are struggling against the bitter January wind. Perhaps, the nature wants to have spring early this year.

My eyes focus back to her slightly troubled face. I wonder…

The tea arrives and while I soak in its aroma, the pancakes too. They are good – these guys at Nik’s – they won’t serve the omelet until she’s here.

She comes back in pulling her warm coat closer; her face is back to her usual blank-happiness state.

“How is it?”

“Ummm… pancakes are good, masala tea is better at CCD!”

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