Fujiyama, Japan
Showing posts with label Landscape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Landscape. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Miyajima, Japan

Google Maps: Miyajima, Japan
The ferry transported us to another world. The matter-of-factly Japan somehow vanished across half the mile of sea as we entered Miyajima. In front of us was a green island with lofty mountains that invited you for a trek. The foothills were not bad either - the gigantic orange coloured Grand Torii Gate being the crown jewel. We were told this was one of the top three most scenic spots in entire Japan. I believe it now.

Grand Torii, Miyajima


Monday, 10 April 2017

Shivpuri

Google Maps: Shivpuri, Uttarakhand, India
  • Shivpuri is home to rafting. White sand river-side used to be perfect for camping as well although recently that has been prohibited by Green Tribunal.
  • Stay at a nearby resort or makeshift camps close to Ganges. It is better than Rishikesh for those who come to avoid the hustle of city.
  • Rishikesh is 20 minutes drive from here. You can plan for evening aarti and dinner at chotiwala and comfortably come back by 9.

We reached Rishikesh at 2 and immediately hit traffic. The way Rishikesh has developed, a bypass merges into the city right at the middle of the busiest road. We crawled and reached Shivpuri at 3. To our utter disappointment, the riverside camps were moved sideways away from the Ganges. Now it attracted mostly bachelors. We decided to go back to Rishikesh but found a good resort called Bull's Retreat close by.

View from near Bull's Retreat Resort

Monday, 6 March 2017

Chail

Google Maps: Chail, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Visit during March-April for 3 days. Nights are cold but it is less crowded and more pleasant weather wise.
  • Stay at Chail Palace for a royal experience. Plan a visit to nearby market for lunch as the lazy morning and cold evening are mostly to be spent inside the resort.
  • Drive / trek to Kali Tibba, Cricket Ground and Wildlife Sanctuary. Chail is small town for a relaxing weekend. 

Taking a detour from Kandaghat, it takes one hour to reach Chail - a small hill town near Shimla. Being small works in favour for those seeking seclusion amid a decent infrastructure. We had booked two rooms in the Himneel Block of Chail Palace which is an actual palace converted into a hill resort by the Himachal Tourism. We were the only ones staying in this block and the sense of freedom this gave us was a very happy one.

Sunset from Chail Palace

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Golkonda Fort

Google Maps: Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, India
  • Golconda Fort is a major attraction of Hyderabad. Trek to the top on an October morning is heavenly. The whole city is visible.
  • Take as little baggage as possible. Take water and some food. The top of fort is a huge terrace where one can sit and relax for hours.
  • A digression from main path will take you to one of the edges from where view of the city is uninterrupted. Steep fall below and chill air with the landscape in front is a view to behold.

We visited Golkonda Fort first thing in the morning. Still it was 11. Thanks to the incessant rainfall for last four days, the air will chilly and there was ample greenry around. In front of us was the grand Golkonda, famous for its sound system.

Golkonda Fort

Friday, 17 June 2016

Darjeeling

Google Maps: Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
  • You need to walk a lot given the traffic situation in Darjeeling. Tea estate will take a good half day. Toy train will take another half. Carry an umbrella for sure.
  • Glenary's is a complete food destination. A restaurant at the top and a bar at the bottom complement the bakery at the ground floor. Sit at the balcony and enjoy a pastry.
  • Avoid Tiger Hill. The itinerary is too tiresome - waking up at 3 and counting on a clear sky is too much for a cloudy Darjeeling.
Darjeeling was once the queen of hill stations. The world heritage toy train was a marvel. The tea estates were part of many a travel wishlists. No more. Old buildings, dirty narrow walkways and congested roads support a crowd of tourist who come to see the glorious town of old but leave disappointed.

Happy Valley Tea Estate

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Namchi

Google Maps: Namchi, Sikkim, India
  • Take a cab to cover Samdruptse and Char Dham. They are in opposite directions so it will take couple hours each to cover them. We paid 10$ for this.
  • Stay in Namchi although its a small city. A better plan is to move to Darjeeling or Gangtok and spend the evening there. Both are three hours away from Namchi.
  • Start early if you are not staying at Namchi. Late in the evening the availability of transport options to move out of the city simply dry up.
Namchi came up on tripadvisor as one of the top five destinations within Sikkim. It was roughly on our way from Gangtok to Darjeeling so we went for it. How wrong we were. Not that Namchi disappointed us, but the road from Namchi to Darjeeling is so much in tatters that we were jittery all the way.

Shiva Statue, Namchi

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tsomgo

Google Maps: Tsomgo, Sikkim, India
  • Nathula is closed on Monday and documents are to be submitted (including passport size photographs) one day in advance so plan accordingly.
  • Better come with warm clothes else you will have to take reused ones on rent. The trip goes to a height of 14k feet. At this altitude even oxygen is thin.
  • Go for the bunker of Baba Harbhajan Singh beyond Kupup. There is shrine much before the bunker where most people go but thats not real.
A trip to Nathu La is expected when you visit Gangtok. We didn't take it. In fact we crossed Nathu La from a mile and didn't take it. We were told its overhyped - being one of the three motorable roads to China from India does not mean you will see something out of the world. Instead we went for the farthest village called Kupup beyond which lies the shrine of soldier Harbhajan Singh.

Tsomgo Lake

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Gangtok

Google Maps: Gangtok, Sikkim, India
  • Book an early flight to Bagdogra and take a cab from there for Gangtok. Else you will reach late and tired and the day will be lost. Cover Banjhakri Waterfalls on first evening. Its refreshing.
  • Cover the three viewpoints and MG Road on second day. You may want to cover one of the monasteries (Rumtek, Ranka) the same day.
  • Sikkim Rum is a local brand which has become quite famous. Numerous shops sell it on MG Road. Try it with pastries from Baker's Cafe.
As we settled on our table in the restaurant located on the top floor of a hotel, hunger became secondary. Across the window the clouds were playing with mountains and our entire span of view was filled with this landscape. It was our introduction with Gangtok and I immediately fell to it.

View of Gangtok from Ganesh Tok

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Tehri

Google Maps: Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
  • Tehri is only fifty miles from Rishikesh through a spectacularly tortuous road. We happened to be in Mussoorie which is equidistant but uphill.
  • The relocated town of New Tehri is unique  and on the way. It is reminiscent of the historic town that had to be flooded to provide for the reservoir dam.
  • Tehri is growing into a water-sport hub at Koti. Don't miss the speed boating at Tehri reservoir among the high hills.

The road to Tehri is among the most tortuous one. A whole living city was dismantled and rehabilitated to accommodate a man made reservoir. New Tehri in that sense is a rare specimen of human ingenuity. It was close to noon when we passed the strikingly uniform houses of this city. Our destination, however, was a place called Panch Koti at the banks of Tehri dam.

Expanse of Tehri Reservoir

Friday, 1 January 2016

Kanatal

Google Maps: Kanatal, Uttarakhand, India
  • Kanatal is less than 30 miles from Mussoorie via Dhanaulti. Start from Mussoorie after lunch so you don't miss the sunset.
  • Its good for an overnight stay with and a short trek in the morning, covering both sunrise and sunset.
  • Tehri dam is another 30 miles and is a must visit. Stay at Rishikesh on the way or take a holy dip in Haridwar if you are returning to Delhi.

It was dusk when we reached Kanatal. The setting sun was throwing vibrant colors across the horizon and to add to that beautiful hue were snow capped mountains on one side and deep valley on the other side. One can come to Kanatal just to spend the evening.

A view from Kanatal

Everest House

Google Maps: George Everest House, Uttarakhand , India
  • Road to Everest House is little tattered. Take left from Library End of Mussoorie as the road is better from this side compared to Company Bagh side.
  • Trek to the peak near Everest House is recommended although it takes upto couple hours uphill and down.
  • Snacks and beverages are available. Best time of day to visit is between breakfast and lunch in the morning half. 

Everest House is one of the treasures that Mussoorie keeps for the travel worthy. You have to look for it to find it. A tortuous drive, digression to a broken path and a small trek will take you to the house of Sir George Everest and you will rejoice the moment as if you have found a treasure.

Everest House

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur)

Google Maps: Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India
  • The best time to visit is in October. However from August to November, migratory birds keep flocking the sanctuary.
  • Stay overnight in one of the nearby hotels and start as early as 5.30AM for best experience. By 7 it gets hot and little less pleasent.
  • Bicycles are available on first come first serve from the reception. It the best medium of transport. Battery driven vans are also available but they are so boring.

We reached Bharatpur, the host city to Keoladeo National Park (KNP), late in the evening. We had covered two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and had just brushed the third, Fatehpur Sikri, before settling at the edge of our fourth that day.

Inside KNP, Bharatpur

Friday, 14 August 2015

Rock Shelters, Bhimbetka

Google Maps: Bhimbetka rock shelters, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Bhopal > Sanchi > Bhimbetka > Bhopal

  • Nestled in the deep forests, this place is a true jewel. Plan at least a half day excursion through the whole area. It takes time to cover and more time to appreciate.
  • The road is not in a good condition and there are not many road-side restaurants. Visit  after the monsoons if you like greenary. The month of August is ideal.
  • Read about the place before you go. You will appreciate the rich heritage more. It is one of the 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India for a reason.

We reached Bhimbetka at noon from Sanchi. A slight detour on way to Hoshangabad from Bhopal and nestled in the Vindhyas is this ancient home to humankind that most of us are unaware. I guess most of those including me realized the special position this place holds in world history is when it was a declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Domestication of animals, Bhimbetka

Stupas, Sanchi

Google Maps: Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Bhopal > Sanchi > Bhimbetka > Bhopal

Sanchi was as calm and serene as we had left it in our Class IX history book. While in Sanchi one realizes why a secluded place built on a hillock suits the purpose of meditation and learning. The place is as picturesque as possible with a panoramic view of the Vindhyas.

Gateway to Stupas, Sanchi

Monday, 29 December 2014

Rameswaram

Google Maps: Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Kanyakumari > Kovalam > Trivandrum > Rameswaram > Bangalore

Rameswaram was long awaited and frankly it didn't disappoint us. In fact the trip that started from Kanyakumari to this pilgrimage via Kovalam had an almost perfect ending in Dhanushkoti. We arrived at this island by train early morning. Crossing Pamban bridge created enough excitement in fellow travellers that we woke up with the noise.

Main Entrance @ Rameswaram Pilgrimage

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Kovalam

Google Maps: Kovalam, Kerala, India
  • Best time to visit Kovalam is Dec-Jan. Christmas and New Yr celebration here is grand and looks exotic given the number of foreigner tourists.
  • Beach is shallow and among the most playful in India. Hotels are numerous so a deal is possible on last minute booking.
  • Dont miss top view from lighthouse. It closes down early. Dont miss the Poovar Island trip. It adds to the charm of Kovalam.

Last time I came to Kovalam was with college friends on the eve of new year of 2008. It was a short and not so sweet stay at this lovely beach town. The way foreigners, specially white people, are preferred by restaurants here will give you a pretty good feeling of how apartheid felt like in South Africa. This time around the plan was to stay longer and experience a little more. Kovalam is more of a landmark in the 5000 miles long sea shore that belongs to India.

Sea View from Lighthouse @ Kovalam

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Kanyakumari

Google Maps: Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Kanyakumari > Kovalam > Trivandrum > RameswaramBangalore

Kanyakumari is like one of those beautiful Russian spies. Allow them to nudge you and you will bleed dry. Stay game and you will be allowed to play a little. Fate let us arrive at this southern most tip of peninsular India on a Christmas morning.

Vivekananda Rock & Thiruvalluvar Statue

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lonavala

Google Maps: Lonavala, Maharashtra, India
Trip: Bangalore > Pune > Lonavala > Mumbai > Gandhinagar > Udaipur > Ranakpur > Chittorgarh > Ajmer > Jaipur > Delhi

Last whole day we were driving from Bangalore to Pune and it had taken its toll. We wanted to relax today but fate had other plans. By the time we entered Lonavala, it was 2.

Lion Point @ Lonavala


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Kausani

Google Maps: Kausani, Uttarakhand, India
Trip: Delhi > Nainital > Kausani > BaijnathDelhi

Kausani is a secluded hill station in Uttarakhand famous for comprehensive view of Nanda Devi range on a clear day. Trip to Kausani was eventful. We booked an overnight bus for Nainital from Kaushambi Metro Station. Direct bus to Kausani was not available and Nainital being less than 75 miles, we thought we will find something to hop from there.

Nanda Devi range @ Kausani

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Raneh Falls

Google Maps: Raneh Falls, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Delhi > Gwalior > Khajuraho > Raneh Falls > Delhi

We reached Khajuraho by overnight train and booked a comfortable room in Ramada Hotel. The day had begun well but temperature was soaring. We were told about a majestic waterfall and we quickly went for it. Although the choice was simple, the route was deserted. We were in MP for the first time and it did scare us. The last part of road is dark into a jungle.

Raneh Waterfall near Khajuraho