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

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Devprayag

Google Maps: Devaprayag, Uttarakhand, India
  • Devprayag is a half day trip from Rishikesh although to be fair, it needs a full day to appreciate the drive and the point. 
  • Roads are in perfect condition and well managed. There are very few good restaurants and no petrol pump before Devprayag so plan accordingly. 
  • The river Ganges flow to your right all the way to Devprayag which throws multiple viewpoints to saviour. Take a break now and then and appreciate the work of mother nature on these hills.
Devprayag is one of those gems that are not hidden but surrounded by bigger gems and hence ignored. In itself it is worthy of a day trip as we figured while standing at the merging point of two distinctly coloured rivers. The holy incantations and energetic crowd only help create a captivating zone around this point which is in a shape of cake slice.

View of Devprayag from top

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Bhopal

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

  • Most of the spots are around the lake, be it the museums, the mosques or the magnificent Van Vihar. So better stay somewhere near the lake.
  • Weekends are crowded specially near the lake and at Sanchi so plan for a hectic Friday and an easy Saturday before leaving on Sunday.
  • Bhopal can be hub for visiting Sanchi, Bhimbetka and Panchgani. Bhimbetka and Panchgani are in same direction but not possible to visit in one day.

We reached Bhopal early morning and quickly settled for breakfast at the Shahnama restaurant of our grand stay - Jehan Numa Palace Hotel. By the time we finished, our plan had been formulated to cover both Sanchi and Bhimbetka the same day.

Upper Lake,  Bhopal

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

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

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Baijnath

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

We reached Baijnath at around 10 from Kausani. Breakfast on the way was complimented with a breathtaking morning view of Nanda Devi range from our table and that made our day. Baijnath was the bonus.

Fishes in the flowing river @ Baijnath Temple


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

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Om Beach, Gokarna

Google Maps: Gokarna, Karnataka, India
Trip: Bangalore > Jog Falls > Gokarna > Murudeshwara > Bangalore

  • The landlocked Om beach is the place to stay in Gokarna. Two more beaches are adjacent although less fun - Kudle beach & Gokarna main beach.
  • Namaste Cafe is famous for seafood and fresh juices although everything else is equally tasty. The place even has few rooms for stay although you need to book in advaance.
  • Murudeshwara and Jog Falls are a day trip from here. Both can be covered if one starts early. Mudureshwara holds the largest Mahadev statue while Jog is the tallest waterfall in India.

The bright morning sun was blazing in front of us when we reached Namaste Cafe Hotel in Gokarna. Earlier we had booked SRS Travels Sleeper bus from Bangalore and the journey was not disappointing. Namaste Cafe is located right on the Om beach but to reach here either you have to trek 3 miles or pay 150 bucks to the autowala.

Gokarna Main Beach

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Chikmagalur

Google Maps: Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India
Trip: Bangalore > Shravanbelgola > Chikmagalur > Belur > Halebidu > Bangalore

This time we were more planned than last time. An advance booking at hotel and a bottle of scotch in the car was there before we started.

5 points @ Chikmagalur Tourist Map

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Jog Falls

Google Maps: Jog Falls, Karnataka
  • Best time to visit Jog Falls is during monsoon but on a weekday. Weekends are generally crowded and security around the fall is enhanced.
  • There are very few options of accommodation around. Best way is to cover Jog Falls during a circuit of Gokarna and make a day trip to this place, Shimoga is nearest city with few hotels.
  • Visiting the Jog Falls from other direction is unofficially possible, We didn't explore it. Going down the fall is strictly prohibited.


We started our trip to Jog Falls without much planning.  It was a mistake. Although we had a blast in the eventful way this trip turned up, not to forget the super lush greenery of Konkan region, we did  learn few hard lessons on the way. To begin with the only good stopover on way is a CCD some hundred miles from Bangalore.

Behind a veil of clouds@Jog Falls

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Pondicherry

Google Maps: Pondicherry, India

  • Pondicherry can be covered as part of circuit that starts from Bangalore and goes through Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram.
  • Stay near the beach and enjoy the French architecture that is reminiscent of the alien occupation of this beautiful beach town.
  • Beach near the main area is stony. Go for nearby Paradise beach or sit near Gandhi statue with a pint of beer. Pondicherry University area also has a beautiful sandy beach.
The decision was so whimsical that I was typing my leave application in the middle of journey sitting at a McD some 40 miles before Krishnagiri. Road between Krishnagiri and Tindivanam is in tatters. Hence we reached Pondicherry by 2 only.

Sand Coast near Senghazunir Temple, Pondicherry

Friday, 1 February 2013

Sariska Tiger Reserve

Google Maps: Sirska, Rajasthan, India
Trip: Sariska > Jaipur

Sariska fell in the first leg of our team outing. We started at 8 AM ans settled at Haldiram@Manesar at 9 for a quick breakfast. At 10 we had crossed Dharuhera and were racing towards Alwar on SH25. It is a newly constructed toll road hence we were able to hit Alwar at 12 Noon. The Sariska Tiger Reserve Booking Office is another 20 miles from here.


Two safaris were booked and we entered the realms of Sariska. There was a placid lake with crocs right in the beginning. We were told that seeing a tiger was rarity but I was surprised by the abundance of wildlife in the form of Nilgai, Peacocks, Deers, Barahsingas, Wild Boers and Sambhars.


We settled at the end of the road at Pandupole Temple. Legends says here Bhim was tested by Lord Hanuman for strength and humility. The place draws hundreds of worshipers on Tuesday hence the reserve is open for personal vehicles twice a week (Tue, Sat).


While returning on the same track we saw a freshly wounded deer. The tiger that did this must have been around. We waited but to our disappointment, nothing came. It was getting dark and we had to figure out where we will stay for the night.


There is an RTDC Resort (Tiger's Den) right at the gate of Sariska but it was looking dull. We wanted to sit around bonfire and sing and booze. Thankfully we got that in Jaipur which is hardly a 3 hour drive from here.