Tag Archives: India

Paradise tales – Visit to Kashmir! #AtoZChallenge

One fine summer, I had visited the paradise of Kashmir and smitten by it. I have shared a photo blog about my Kashmir trip earlier here. This post is in continuation of the Kashmir travel tale series.

I had taken a flight from Delhi to Srinagar and stayed there for 6 days.

Day 1 – Srinagar

For the first day of our trip we had stayed in a houseboat on Dal Lake.  Our houseboat had intricate wooden carvings and an astounding view of the mountains in background. The houseboats are well equipped with all the bare necessities & the luxuries.

We were welcomed with sumptuous meal & cup of customary Kahwah (Kashmiri tea). Each sip leaves you rejuvenated. To be honest, I had bought several packages of the Kahwah & also visited shops back home for the same taste. But nothing matches the tea I had in Kashmir.

Unlike, the Kerela houseboats, these boats stay stationary. In the evening the lake buzzes with activity of the local market and we had taken a trip in the lake to visit the floating market.  I was amazed by the variety that the market offers jewellery, food,photo studios, clothes and the list is endless.

The day was well spent on the houseboat & enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day 2 – Enroute to Pahalgam

On the second day we had planned to visit Pahalgam. It was approximately 2.5 hours drive. In between we had also visited ruins of  Awantipura.  It has ruins of ancient Hindu temples and maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.  Awantipura temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One can only wonder how such massive beautiful architectures were created in old times.

The evening in Pahalgam was relaxed and we did not wander out much for the day. Be sure to tune in to the blog tomorrow to continue with my Kashmir travel.

If you have visited Kashmir, then do share your travel experiences about it! 🙂

Trek to Dolphin’s Nose, Kodaikanal !

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”   –   David McCullough Jr.

As a traveller, I cannot decide whether I like mountains more or beaches. One thing for sure is that I like trekking. In Kodaikanal, trek to Dolphin’s Nose is a must do activity. It took us around 3 hours to climb till Dolphin’s nose & back, which included our time for rest too ! Forget rest, it was more of munching break 😀

Way to Dolphin's Nose
Trek to Dolphin’s Nose

Tips for trekking

  • Know your health – Keep necessary medication for emergency
  • Research about the terrain
  • Check weather conditions of the area
  • Wear appropriate clothing & shoes 
  • Stay hydrated
Toward’s Dolphin Nose

The trek leads to a protruding flat rock at approx 6600 ft resembling the shape of the nose of a Dolphin. We had undertaken the trek in the morning time & the weather was pleasant. The route in not much strenuous & is covered with trees. It passes through a small village with eateries along the way.

Somewhere in between trek at Dolphin's Nose
Somewhere in between trek to Dolphin’s Nose

The start of the trek may disappoint you due to garbage around it. But, as you descend the path gets clear & better. Flat rocks tend to be slippery at some locations, so we had to be careful while walking.  Enroute, there is a Mountain View Point, stopped here for catching your breath. We were unable to spot any mountains due to the weather.

Even if at some point you feel tired, the people around keep you motivated enough to walk further. I had gone for the trek over on a long weekend, there were different group of students & professionals chit chatting. It’s always fun to watch people enjoy life !

View from the top covered in clouds
View from the top covered in clouds

The view from the Dolphin’s Nose was breathtaking. Standing atop the cliff look around to capture the mountains & town below. Further ahead is Echo Point. This also gives you astonishing view. You need to climb a small path of rock to go till the end. I did not go till the last point here. I was more of ‘I-will-stay-back-see-you-enjoy types people here’. To be honest, it looked scary to me.

Echo Point, Kodaikanal
Echo Point, Kodaikanal

By the time my friend returned from Echo point after her solo adventure, I had spotted just the perfect place to relax with noodles & coffee. We sat there for around an hour before heading back.

Back in the city, we had enjoyed our sumptuous meals for the day at Cloud Street Cafe & Ten Degrees. Both the cafes are nearby & provide great service.
You can visit the previous posts here & here. If you like the post, then do like, share, subscribe & comment.I am taking part in the #DailyChatter challenge by Team Blog Chatter.

Weekend Wanderlust – Bangalore & Kolar Highway

kolar 1.png

Deccan Plateau of India has astounding views. I am amazed by every nook & corner that I travel here. Last Saturday I went for a long drive on the Bangalore-Kolar Highway. Soon enough we were greeted with open roads & minimum traffic on the national highway.

kolar3.pngFor all the romantics out there, I would insist for a drive on this highway. The distant hills in the background give it a picturesque look. It gives you all the pleasures of the Indian countryside.You will pass through small villages and communities at certain intervals.Farmers working in the fields, coconut trees along the both sides. Flocks of sheep grazing the grass & group of kids running along with them. 

kolar 4.png
Let’s go to those hills !

There is also a resort Amoon Glamour Resort along the way, but its closed for renovation now.After about an hour drive we came across a Cafe Coffee Day outlet. Nestled in a cozy spot on this highway, shadowed by a hill in background & small lake on opposite side. Just the perfect place to plan a date!

We had spent some good time sitting there & admiring the beauty with a sip of coffee. As the sun set, we also took leave and started our drive back home. Next time I plan to visit it with a picnic planned – basket of sandwiches, fruit juice & the view of sun rising above the horizon.

 

Do you have a similar experience of a random drive which had left you spellbound ?

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The Chosen Ones

You were there when I was trekking at high mountains,
You were there when I was camping in the desert,
You were there when I was enjoying on the beach,
You were there when floods & earthquakes strike,
You were there guarding the Land, Sea & Air.

You are the sons & daughters, brothers & sisters,
You are the ones who leave their families to save ours,
You are the best amidst bests of men & women,
You miss the Diwali, Eid or Christmas celebrations at home,
But your happiness to serve the nation surpasses it all.

Salute to all the soldiers guarding our borders,
You are the true heroes – The Chosen Ones!


join-indian-defence-forces
(Image copied from internet)

Mystic Baratang Island

Baratang Island – part of Andaman Islands is a place just out of the Nat Geo & Discovery documentaries. Andaman Islands are one best place to visit in India. Best time to visit would be from October to April. I have been there twice, but the second time was marred by sudden cyclonic disturbances. As excepted the beaches are one of the best ones. My favorite place for the whole trip was Baratang Island. It is like nature’s hidden secret which someone accidentally stumbled upon.

We had left 04:00 am from Port Blair to reach the Baratang. Journey is divided into three parts –

  • Port Blair to Jirkatang
  • Jirkatang to Nilambar Jetty
  • Jetty to Baratang Islands

We had hired a private cab for one day. Government run buses are also available for the journey.

First part was covered in approx. 1.5 hours. We reached Jirkatang where Forest Department officials have a check post. To be honest, I was sleeping for this part of journey. At Jirkatang Check Post, the refreshments are available. So wake up yourself with a sip of tea. There is an old temple on the roadside which reminded me of all the Bollywood movie temples with bells ringing. 🙂

The second leg of the journey is interesting. You have to pass through the Jarawa Reserve Forest. The vehicles are only allowed to move in convoys, heavy vehicles in front with policemen accompany them. This area is inhabited by the Jarawa Tribe, native of Andaman Islands. Stopping on the way & photographing is strictly prohibited. Even talking or giving any food items to Jarawa is forbidden. The road passes through patches of dense forest. Tall trees on both sides of the road & scattered sun rays all along the way. Pictures wont to justice to this beautiful sight.

andaman

It leaves us to ponder about the strange ways of life – some are busy with all the modern amenities & then there are tribes still untouched by all this fuss.

The third leg of the journey is a short distance covered by Jetty boats to reach Baratang Island. You are welcomed by loud voices of tour guides promising you the best services. Places to cover in Baratang –

  1. Mud Volcano
  2. Limestone caves
  3. Parrot Island

I did not visit Parrot Islands as they cannot be covered in single day trip.

We took motorboats to visit Limestone caves. I was left awe-struck by sheer beauty of Mangrove forests. Mangrove trees have formed a natural path which leads to the caves. At places the mangrove trees have covered the area as if to form tunnels. This was the highlight of the day for me.

Mangrove forest

The limestone caves take you back to the geography lessons about stalagmites & stalactites. The water seeps through the rocks crevices and forms amazing structures. Well, the guides there would show you all the possible figures in those structures – fountains, humans & even holy deities. Even though we understand the science behind the cave formation, it is a natural wonder.

Limestone caves

The Baratang Island did not have many options for food. Better to be prepared & carry light snacks. Remember to wear covered clothes to avoid mosquito bites & a big no to open toed shoes. We took return Jetty from the islands at 4:00 pm & followed back the same route to return to Port Blair.

After visiting this place, I often find myself thinking about the inhabitants of North Sentinel islands. They are one of last known tribes in the world with no contact. They have discouraged all attempts to be contacted by outside world & remain a mystery till date. People about whom we know nothing, unheard & unknown. Does anyone else also wonder that some more secret tribes would be existing today?  Do let me know to assure me that I am not alone with all these weird thoughts.