Uttarakhand

Braving the chill – Gwaldam, Uttarakhand

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Sonu and I are well capable of lifting more than 100 kgs. The rock couldn’t be lifted. It felt like it was bolted to the ground but strangely, it could be rolled easily from one place to another. The high priest smiled at our embarrassed looks and called Paahji and one more guy to join hands. Together we put nine fingers under the rock and chanted ‘9-9-9-……’ and stood up slowly.

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To Chakrata, with my family and two dogs

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We , walked uphill and reached a lonely, newly built cottage which was uninhabited at that moment. We sat on the porch of the cottage and watched the color of the sky slowly changing as the sun started descending. The valley down below looked so beautiful. Smoke was coming out of the chimneys of some mud huts. The villagers have lit up the chulhas

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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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Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part III)

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By 7:30 in the evening the passage got cleared by JCBs, and as soon as the vehicles started to enter Damta the police authorities started announcing: Aap sabhi yatriyon ka Damta gaon mein swagat hai, apke bhojan ki vyavastha school aur mandir dharamshala mein ki gayee hai, kripya ghabrayein nahi aur bhojan grahan karein We were overwhelmed with this gesture of the authorities of this small village who were offering free food to stranded travellers. The local villagers also offered places for night stay to travellers at very nominal prices, and all the shopkeeper were warned not to overcharge any travellers for any food items. After having dinner at Sharnarthi camp, we also took the shelter in the house built over local Police Station.

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Kedarkantha – The Winter Trek

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This one sentence accurately defines the trekking experience 19 of us had in our recent trip to Kedarkantha. Kedarkantha peak at 12500 ft. seem to be too remarkable, but as the name says shaped like Shiva’s Neck, (Kedar means Lord Shiva and Kantha means Neck), actually one of the most scenic trek and offers great views to the Himalayan ranges, reason behind making it to one of the Top 10 treks in India by Conde Nast

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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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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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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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Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part II)

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With loud jaikaras of mighty Lord, journey was resumed. It was going good for 10 odd kilometres, our car was leading the show with Atit car following us. Soon the task of clearing boulders and rocks from road started as they were all on the road due to landslides. We all were going mad by getting out of the car in the rain after every 200 m to get various kinds of blockages cleared. We were actually afraid by not seeing any human existence in the entire stretch of road and having not seen any vehicle crossing us in the past 3 hours. It was not a journey of 22 kms, it was manifolds, and appearing to be never ending due to disastrous hurdles coming our way. To add to our fear and bring our jaws out of the mouth, we saw a mighty river flowing over a bridge that we were supposed to cross. There was no point of going back, and crossing that flooding river over the bridge was a task we have never ever imagined, so after much courage both the cars decided to keep accelerating without any thought of applying brakes. Both the cars managed to cross the river but that courage comes with a price, and the bumper of our car was washed off by the river flowing perpendicularly to the motion of car with mighty pace. Had we even thought of applying brakes, we could have been flowing in river along with cars. We celebrated our victory of crossing the hurdle by clicking a photograph and moved ahead.

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Serene Naukuchiatal & Bhimtal

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Sattal is another pristine and less polluted natural place in the area. Seven lakes interconnected and bounded by many hills from different sides never allow viewing the entire lakes together. The hillocks in the water obstruct a wide angle vision however, the greenery around with clear water beautifies the area mystically. Few good resorts and one KMVN TRH are located here offering a pacific stay in wilderness. Camps are also organized by locals on the back drops of the hills amidst the water, now gaining popularity gradually. Evening is very calm and solitary here since, it is located far from any near by localities, feelings of adversity may engulf family tourists. We however, enjoyed a boat ride, a red duck shaped paddle boat, yellow was not available but the kids were generous and happy with a red one too.

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Rain Fury in Chakrata, Uttarakhand in June 2013 (Part I)

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We made ourselves comfortable in the tents, opened our bags to change the clothes but got the shock of our life as all the clothes inside the bag were equally wet like the clothes we were wearing. I decided to continue with my present set of clothes which got dried with my body heat in next two hours. The camp guys brought a battery driven LED light which ware barely emitting any light, some pakoras and masala tea by 7:30 pm in the evening. Our gang enjoyed these snacks and felt a little relieved and energetic, since we have not ate anything after breakfast. The Sun was setting behind the hills quickly and with the absence of electricity and inability to light the fire outside due to rain, darkness was building up inside the camp and outside. The sound of rain smashing against the camp started to scare us. Rajesh the dabangg, got dumb struck, the thing that was enthusing voice in him were the never ending songs of Gurdeep ‘Dil ro raha hai…’ to which Rajesh was getting irritated and saying ‘yaar chup ho ja, tere aise gaano ki wajah se hi itni barish ho rahi hai‘. Rest of us were enjoying this cat fight between the two and were trying to be back in holiday mood. Sanjay and me were quite sure that rain will subside by morning and we will be able to visit Tiger Fall. All were keen to visit Tiger Fall, but there was no voice coming out from dabangg bhai’s mouth. By 9 pm dinner was served, and post-that we slipped inside the quilts after closing the zipper inside tent. Very soon the camp got quite warm inside assuring us that atleast we will manage to have a decent sleep. We keep chit chatting inside our camp and occasionally across the camp of Gurdeep and Arun. The rain kept turning mightier with the darkness of night, and at a point we were not able to hear each other’s voice because of deafening collision sound between rain drops and tent. With prays for God, we slept in a hope of better tomorrow.

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अन्नू भाई चला चकराता …पम्म…पम्म…पम्म (भाग- 3 ) टाइगर फाल (TIGER FALL)

अन्नू भाई चला चकराता …पम्म…पम्म…पम्म (भाग- 3 ) टाइगर फाल (TIGER FALL)

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बिलकुल थोडा सा आगे जाते ही मन एक दम खुश हो गया होता भी क्यूँ नहीं …हम एक बेहद ही खुबसूरत सफ़ेद झरने का कुछ  हिस्सा जो देख रहे थे। मन एक दम लालयित हो उठा चलो जल्दी …अरे पर जल्दी तो चले लेकिन चले कहाँ से सामने तो दोनों पहांड़ी नदिया मिल रही रास्ता कुछ दिख नहीं रहा था। एक बार लगता के इन्ही नदी में पड़े पत्थरों से होकर जाना होगा। लेकिन २ दिन पहले से बंद हुयी बारिश अब तक हमें इसी और खड़े रहने का इशारा कर रही थी।

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