Fujiyama, Japan

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mahabaleshwar

Google Maps: Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India
Trip: Mumbai > MahabaleshwarPanchgani > Bangalore

The twelve of us had gathered from different part of country for a cool-down break. Mahabaleshwar was expected to be cold this time of year. We were prepared but our preparations were never tested thanks to the daily dose of alcohol and a milder than expected climate at this hill station.

View on way to Sydney Point@Panchgani

We stayed at Panchgani, our hotel window opening to a majestic view of Dhom Lake. Morning excursion included trek to Sydney Point for a panoramic view of the lake. Unfortunately I had to take this up alone as everyone was in lazy hangover state.

Waterfall on way to Pratapgarh Fort@Mahabaleshwar

We started for Pratapgarh fort late in the afternoon after brunch. Pratapgarh Fort was headquarters to none other than Shivaji. It has height and defense to suit the resume of great Shivaji's den. We took the nose-side view of this fort. The visibility was another proof why this fort stood tall under attack.

Pratapgarh Fort@Mahabaleshwar

On our way back we visited the Table Land - a large flat plateau in the middle of Panchgani. Sunset was beautiful from here. By the time we came back it was late evening. We refreshed ourselves for another round of merriment at a nearby roadside restaurant.

Ravine Hotel@Panchgani

Next day we had a brief business session before we started for Kate's Point. From here was a view to behold. I could pledge we were in some other world. It was the winner of this trip and the team really enjoyed watching the Balakwadi reservoir from as many different angles as possible.

View from Kate's Point@Mahabaleshwar

We spent a good hour here before returning to cosy hotel room. It was time to say goodbye to our little expedition of fun. The next morning we checked out early and took a flight from Pune to Bangalore.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Nainital

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

We had an ideal start at 4 AM. By 6 we were half way on Moradabad Bypass and racing towards Nainital  Things took a u-turn at Tanda. The road was like a series of speed breakers.

View of Naini Lake@Nainital

It took us couple of hours to cross the bad patch to reach Bazpur after which the infrastructure improved. We entered Nainital through picturesque Kaladhungi route at 11 and were settled by noon.

Tanda route@Nainital

We quickly refreshed ourselves and walked out for a light brunch. Interrogating around for a good pub we were directed towards Manu Maharani. It has a beautiful wooden lounge. We ordered couple of pints and settled at the edge of this lounge from where Lake Naini was visible.

Naini Lake@Nainital

The view changed our plans. We took our car and drove to the lake area which was surprisingly crowded. We walked, shopped, chatted and ate. It was time to go back to our hotel which was offering complementary dinner. The dinner was supplemented with an exciting India-Pak T20 World Cup match which helped us relax.

Main market@Nainital

We slept a little longer than usual and woke up fresh. An uphill trek to Mall Rd warmed us. Later we checked out after a sumptuous breakfast. It was time to explore Nainital a little more and hence we started for the Himalaya Darshan point. It is on Mall Rd only but a little further.

Natural caves@Nainital

A tourist spot made of natural caves was on our way and we chose to visit it. It would have been magnificent  had it been left untouched. The commercialization has killed most of the charm this place had.

Viewpoint@Nainital

On the way, we stopped at a viewpoint which had a grand view of Naini Lake. We had Maggi & tea standing here. Himalaya Darshan was disappointing as clouds spoilt our view. We moved back quickly and started towards Kaladhungi. On the way we halted at Himalaya Botanical Garden.

Himalaya Botanical Garden@Nainital

Returning to Delhi via Haldwani was a bad idea as Haldwani-Rudrapur-Rampur road is worse and longer than Tanda route. Hence we were able to reach McDonalds @ Gajraula by 7 only. Thankfully we had an extra day to relax tomorrow and so we arrived home happily.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Kasauli

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

A digression from Parwanoo lead us on a bumpy curvaceous drive towards Kasauli. Evidence of early Monsoon were everywhere as we passed through the lush green Lower Himalayan Range. As we moved up, the clouds would play hide and seek with us making it all the more difficult to drive on the lonely MDR.


Kasauli is a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. We asked people walking by for a good accommodation. Some dwellers were surprised that we came from Parwanoo instead of Dharampur as the former was supposedly dangerous. With little guidance we managed to reach an HP Tourism Hotel and settled for a brunch.


Post brunch plans were simple - trek around the town-market to burn some fat and cover few landmarks as part of the tickmark tourism. We had two days and Kasauli is not more than a mile from one end to another.


The highest point in Kasauli is Manki Point. It is in the middle of an Air Force camp. Lord Hanuman had put his feet at this place before jumping towards Dronagiri mountain to fetch Sanjivani according to mythology. There are several restrictions to enter the area but it is worth the view from the top. Clouds turn kaleidoscopic here and the ever-changing landscape mesmerizes.


Two days of leisure that was intermittently disturbed by small treks, trip to market to grab eatables and once a customary visit to nearby pub, completed an extended weekend escapade. We returned by the wider roads through Dharampur and managed to have our breakfast at a roadside McDonalds.


Return to Delhi was quick through the newly made bypass expressway from Parwanoo to Pinjore. The roads are really good in this part of Himalayas - not to forget that it links two capital cities - Chandigarh and Shimla.