Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Google Maps: Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India
Trip: Manali > Rohtang > Keylong

Tens of thousands of tourists visit Rohtang every year but only one in hundred ventures further. How eactly the view pans out beyond Rohtang? We were going to check. After a couple of hours stay at Rohtang Pass, we decided to move towards Keylong  It was a bold move. In the very first mile, our car was stuck in the ice. I can never forget those minutes when I walked through the thick layer of ice barefoot - wet shoes were of no use.

6th Milestone from Rohtang@On way to Keylong

However the other side of Rohtang was heaven and worth the pain we went through. A ravine was visible deep into the valley. The green slope on its side was not the regular green.

Valley view after crossing Rohtang@On way to Keylong

We drove another 4 hours before deciding to halt at a point where two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga were meeting. It took us another hour of drive to reach Keylong  The town was peaceful. Monasteries were visible at height. The place had a calming effect. We forgot all the pain we took reaching here. A room was booked for the three of us in Hotel Chandrabhaga.

Bhaga River@Keylong

Night at Keylong is an unusual mix of calm mountains and noisy river. We loitered around on not so busy streets while searching for snacks for our late night party. Next morning we visited Shasur Monastery. It was at some height and the view of Bhaga Valley from the top was surreal. We spent some time talking with young monks and then moved back to Keylong

Shashur Monastry@Keylong

By noon we were on our way back to Manali and then to Delhi. The return trip reminded us what we were going to miss. Although Keylong had little in terms of popular spots, the way this town exists in itself is worth a visit.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


Google Maps: Rohtang La, Himachal Pradesh
  • Rohtang is the most visited pass in India, only people don't actually pass it unless they are going to Keylong, Leh or Key. Its more beautiful beyond.
  • Maggi and a hot cup of tea are a must at Rohtang. Do take a picture while eating. It's a ritual.
  • Away from the crowd, the ice capped pass does expand further that an adventurous traveler may explore. Nobody stops you.

Rohtang, possibly the most famous pass in India, was on our way to Lahaul Spiti. Rohtang is the gateway to Leh via Keylong and also to the pristine natural beauty of Chandrataal region.

Beautiful Rohtang

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Google Maps: Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
Trip: Manali > Rohtang > Keylong

It was the regular group - me, Piyush and Prateek. This time we decided to go for a long one. Our last trip of Pithoragarh was fun. We wanted to continue from that experience. It was the night of 27th May, 2009 when the three of us started. We chose this time of the month because we wanted to go beyond Manali to Lahaul Spiti which opens up during the peak of summers only.

The last few miles before Manali are remarkable when the road moves along the river. Manali is not a very large town, most of the hotels and residential area being located in one side of Beas river. Fortunately we found an accomodation in Hotel Beas (an HPTDC hotel) which was just on the bank of the river. In fact our room was on the ground floor and we could distinctly hear the flowing water. In the afternoon, we paid a holy visit to Hidimba Temple.

We spent the evening roaming around the bazaar area. We packed some snacks and came back to our room as it got darker. After some drinks and all it was time for dinner. The restaurant named Chadrabhaga was impressive with old woodwork and a decent food.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


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

Mussoorie has always been close to me. Bhaiya completed his high school from boarding school here and I have pleasant memories of the trip we used to make to drop Bhaiya. The last time I was here I was alone. I wanted to know if I can enjoy it that way - and I did. This time, however, I was with Mom and Dad and it was much more fun as we explored places we used to go in old times. Mussoorie is the most accessible hill station to Delhi. A morning Shatabdi arrives at Dehradun around 12.30 and within 2 hours one can reach Mussoorie taking a taxi.

On the first day we settled in the familiar Jain Guest House. We were to stay here for a good four days and hence there was nothing to hurry about. Our purpose was to breath fresh air for a while. In the evening we strolled on the Mall Road as slowly as possible. The next day we went for Gun Hill. Dad was already complaining about the 9 times price rise since he last bought the tickets to the ropeway. We avoided Kempty Fall in our trip. We couldn't bear to see what commercialization had done to once a pristine waterfall.

Next day we walked to the other end of Mall Road known as Library End. Most of the new hotels and restaurants were coming up in this end of Mussoorie only. We had our lunch and then we walked around. Coming back to our abode, I decided to go for Laltibba. It is the highest point in Mussoorie. I wrote a blog there and posted it. It goes like:

"Writing a blog on my mobile at 7000 ft above sea level with a stunningly colourful view of himalayas in the background and bun-butter-tea in front of me. Can life be any better? Unfortunately yes :( and thats cos I am missing good company ..."

The next day our train was scheduled late night and so all the three of us wake up late and paid a final visit to Mussoorie. Ma spent time in a temple on Mall Road. The height at which it was made kept the place windy. We were in Dehradun by 2 and had to wait for an hour for our train.