Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Friday, 26 December 2008


Google Maps: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Trip: Rishikesh > Mussoorie > Old Mussoorie

It was the first long drive from my car. I was excited. Piyush and Animesh agreed to share the risk and hence we started on the weekend of the Christmas of 2008. Disaster struck within 2 hours of our departure. Thanks to low visibility, my car was hit by a Santro and all of us were down - the fun was supposedly gone.

We reached Rishikesh by 1 and realized that the damage was not much. That somehow lifted our spirit. We booked for a riverside camp and ate our lunch there. By 4 we were flowing on a raft in the Ganges. 

There were several rapids and most of them were able to push us flat on the floor of the raft however we tried to balance ourselves. That was hair-raising fun.

We came back by 7 and dried ourselves in our respective camps. A bonfire was prepared at the centre of the camp and delicious snacks were being served. That it was a cold December made the arrangement perfect. Later we had a tasty dinner far superior to our expectations. We slept hard as the day was exhausting.

Next morning we woke up in the middle of hills and a river. We left the camp by 8 and reached the Rishikesh city for breakfast by 9 AM. it was planned at the famous Chotiwala. The servings were average. We tried Gita Bhavan for some sweets and became instant admirers of the place. 

Post some photo-shoots on Ram Jhula we started back for Delhi and were back to our respective homes by 5 in the evening.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Tughlakabad Fort

Google Maps: Tughlakabad Fort, New Delhi, India
It was Bachcha's idea to go for the Tughlakabad Fort. Google maps suggested it was almost in our backyard. It was a mistake and we realized that after an hour of leaving home when there was no fort nearby to us. Eventually we reached the gates and realized it was on the Mehrauli Badarpur Road although not very conspicuous.

We entered the fort area and after some shoots, tried to do something different. The walls of fort are tricky. We started moving on this and reached one corner of the fort complex. The view from there was awesome. We could see the walls of Tughlakabad Fort going for miles. It was time to take few royal pictures.

We did not return back and kept moving forward on the walls seeking an exit. It came after some exploration and it directly took us to the top of the fort which was kind of a plateau. We could see the entire complex from here. In the shade of dying sun, the ruins looked all the more enchanting.

We tried to visit another part of this fort which was at some distance and captured various shades of twilight before deciding to go for the Chicken Parathas and Macaroni at Tankoos.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Google Maps: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

No city represents true India better than Mumbai. The disparity in every dimension of life is breathtaking here. Visit a night club and you may find the most expensive luxuries of life in abundance. Visit a slum and you will have a lifetime of pictures and images to remember. So what should a tourist do here?

Lion Point @ Lonavala

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Google Maps: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Trip: Delhi > Chandigarh > Kasauli > Shimla > Delhi

My cousins from UK were in India - Naveen, Seema and Rishi. We decided to visit Shimla. Its close to Delhi and thanks to its capital status its accessible through a highway. We booked an Innova and decided to drive overnight to the hill station. It was a mistake.

View from the Lift Shaft @ Shimla

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Google Maps: Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, India
Trip: Delhi > Nainital > Pithoragarh > Delhi

I call it the mother of all trips. So many incidents happened during this three day trip that it is worth a novella only that nobody will buy it. We started on a breezy night of July. The moment we crossed Haldwani, it started raining while visibility deteriorated to few meters. We had to stop the car and decided to sleep for few hours before dawn.

The land of Bugyals, thats where we were going. Pithoragarh is a small town 90 kilometers from Almora. It should take at most 14 hours of drive to reach this place from Delhi. It took us 22 hours. As it happened, our driver fell asleep while driving and we hit the hill side. Fortunately it was only the two side tyres that got punctured. On the other side of the road was a river flowing deep. We reached Almora for breakfast after repairs and then moved forward for Pithoragarh  The driver was told not to hurry up and hence we were able to reach our destination by 5 in the evening.

Piyush had asked for arrangements at cantonment area and we were treated like royals. The subsequent drinks & dinner settled us for a good sleep. In the morning we left for Chandak. It is the highest point in Pithoragarh.  The view from top is unimaginably beautiful. Its surreal in real sense.

We left Pithoragarh after a brief breakfast for Patal Bhubaneshwar. I had heard a lot about it from my friends. Yet what we were going to see cannot be described. We were guided to a slit shaped opening at Patal Bhubaneshwar temple. The slit took us down for some 60 feets before it opened up into a large cave. Stalectite formations were visible on the ceiling. We moved from one part of the cave to another. At the last cave there was a huge head-shaped structure shimmering in the low lighting of the cave. Water was trickling from thread-like structures coming out. We kept looking at it for a while.

As we came out it started raining. We had to move quickly so as to reach Almora before dark. The next morning was planned for a short stay at Nainital before I would separate from Piyush and Prateek to attend the wedding of Yagesh Da. The best thing about the trip was that we survived seven tyre punctures and every time  the driver stopped for repairs, there always was a beautiful surrounding to engage us.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Jim Corbett

Google Maps: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand 244715, India
The seven of us started on a midsummer night for Ramnagar. Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve has several entrances, the most accessible among them is Ramnagar. With few hiccups we reached there by 5 AM. It was critical. The booking for rooms/dormitories within the jungle start at 6 and one has to be among first few in the queue to get them. Manas took care of that. As a temporary arrangement, a circuit house was booked for us to rest and relieve ourself in the morning. By lunch we finally entered the gates of reserve and were settled in a large dormitory in the middle of the jungle.

The evening was spent in a jungle safari which proved more adventurous that expected thanks to a female elephant which started running towards us. Those were few scary moments. We were not expecting to see tigers. It is a rare sight even in Jim Corbett.

Later in the night we were surprised to be served delicious homely dinner by the servants. The seven of us then fell asleep after some chit chat and bantering. I woke up at around 4 AM with some noise that was coming from outside. It was still dark. As I came out I realized that two of my friends were already standing outside. It was raining hard. The entire area was almost flooded.

That delayed our exit till 9 AM. Just before we were leaving, two jeep full of girls alighted and the look on our faces was worth a mention. We couldn't believe we were leaving with a worst possible timing. Later we went to Gharzia Temple and had a dip in the flowing river while it was still raining. We were back to Delhi before 9 and a compact weekend holiday was well spent.