Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Monday, 17 August 2009


Google Maps: Shivanasamudra Falls, Karnataka
Trip: Bangalore > Shivasamudram > Bangalore

We planned the one day trip to Shivasamudram well in advance. It was an extended weekend so Kishore had no problem. Nidhi was the mastermind behind the planning. We started early morning on 16th August, 2009 for Kanakpura Road. The distance to cover was 160 kilometers ans we were expecting ourselves at the waterfall by 12 noon. Shivasamudram is one of the largest waterfalls in India in terms of throughput of water.

Gagana Chukki@Shivasamudram

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Kanheri Caves

Google Maps: Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India
Trip: Delhi > Jaipur > Udaipur > Ranakpur > Ahmedabad > Mumbai > Davangere > Chitradurga > Bangalore

To have something like Kanheri in the middle of Mumbai is incredible. The place reminded me of Ajanta which by co-incidence I visited 5 years ago with Bhaiya only. It was a warm afternoon of June when we visited Borivali National Park. In terms of location, it is almost at the backyard of Bhaiya's home.

The first impression of this place is that of few remarkable structures carved out of rock. The is a giant statue of Budhdha in the very first cave. However this part is just a warm-up. What lies beyond these is unimaginable. There is a bridge which one needs to cross. A monsoon river flows below it during June-July. Taking a flight of stairs, the entire area is visible. The view is unthinkable. 

There is chain of small and large caves built up in ancient times for the 'bodh bhikshu' is visible. The planning is another amazement. There is a common mess,  a sitting place for the senior most monk, a series of wide caves possibly constructed as a guest house. Then there are 100s of caves of varying sizes built on both sides of a narrow gap.

At the top, there is large area with smooth slope where, I was told, people come at evening and find peace in the middle of the commercial capital city.

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.