MCLEODGANJ MUSING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Day 1 :  Delhi – Dharmshala

Wrapping up my 5 days work in Delhi I reached the airport to pick-up my partner in crime. It was nice meeting her after so many days, we rarely get separated. Had stolen few days out for  ourself from all the societal obligations

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Darjeeling Solo Travel

Darjeeling Solo Travel

SAMSUNG CSC

Darjeeling Independence day celebrations……

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

“One can discover the most happy days of our life when one learns to steal time”

 

INDIAN PLAINS SEEN FORM THE LESSER HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN RANGE AHEAD OF SILIGURI

Up Up & Away....;)

    Back in the Mountains “The Great Himalayas: Darjeeling”   

The more we explore new places,  meet new people, the more humble your nature tends to become. Himalaya’s is one such blessing we have received from mother nature, since my childhood specifically my geography learning days my fav. geography teacher “Miss Virgis” & my favourite author his name as it goes ” Bonds…. Ruskin Bonds ” the way our teacher used to explain us about the remote place & people,  I heard the stories of these huge mountains the tallest , the broadest & the strongest, blessing & guarding our subcontinent from the furies of nature & humans both , thus I make it a point to be in theses majestic mountains as many times as I can be t to  get drench in the pure blissful vibes these magnetic mountains radiates.

My stealth mode travel  itinerary from  Pune – Darjeeling – Pune (Via Jamshedpur)

Day One :-16.30 Pune Flight – 18.30 Kolkata 23.55 -Train- 3.00 Jamshedpur (Tatanagar)

Day Two:- 4.00 am Tatanagar  –  Whole day @ Tata Motors (have to help my client’s so I can fulfil my needs) – Train 23.55 – 6.00am Kolkata

Day Three :- 6.00 am reached Kolkata – 10.30 am flight – 11.30am  Bagdogra- Share Taxi – 15.30 Darjeeling. exploration  photos & evening walk in the quaint dusky unknown lanes of Dareeling.

Day Four :-  Exploring Darjeeling & walks . covered almost 20-25 km on foot.

Day Five:- 11.30 Darjeeling- taxi  – 14.30 Bagdogra – 22.30 Pune. Back to pavilion 😉

Day One:-

Fast drive to airport with Aarti on her Activa, always refreshing to be with such understanding & supporting partner in crime.

Early evening Nuclear Blast observed from 20,000 ft. in air seems different what we see everyday on earth from down there,  we should prefer early morning & evening  flights, we get to see the best hues & textures any artist can ever potray I tried to capture a few over kolkata.

IMAG0071

IMAG0080

IMAG0082

IMAG0101

Howra Bridge captured in the evening.

Selfie Time @ 3.00 am in Indian Railways seriously I am not a selfie person these might be the only selfies I have taken as there was nothing else to do @ 3.00am in our 2AC compartment all my fellow travelers were deep asleep, Typical 2AC crowd  unkown of such small township do exist in India

IMAG0109IMAG0104

Opened the doors & waited for some time, soaking in the early morning freshness of Indian villages, on indian railways you see / meet the real people. I was not expecting any company to get down at such lonely station at 3.00 am in morning, Really enjoying the calmness & silence one can feel rarely on the Indian Railways, I was surprised to see a Punjabi dress clad typical Indian girl, “A brave young soul”, I thought to myself, she asked me about TATANAGAR station arrival time, hoping she didn’t missed it. We had a small intro. She had got a job interview in Govt Mining dept & was traveling first time to Tatanagar, She had missed her earlier train and had to take this late night train, she seemed to be a bit worried about the remoteness & safety @ the railway station, I asked her to wait in, First class waiting room or near railway police station which can be safest option for solo women travelers.

We reached the station & she was relived to see the station was not as l

onely as she thought it would be. and life moves on

Day Two:- This day no pics only work finished work at around 4.00 pm, My 2Ac Waiting list tickets were confirmed I and I was at ease my train was scheduled at 23.55 in night had a nice bath in Hotel Kuldeep near railway station a bit costlier but servers good food and accommodation.

Tata Nagar is a typical industrial town, It is ruled by the TATA management & local government they have no municipality, but a CEO and board of members in lines with the cantonments are run in other parts of our country, we can see human cycle Rikshaw which can only be found in text books & museums in the developed cities of India, the town center really dusty industrialized part,  the outskirts are lush green and a typical Indian village hue. The simplicity with which people talk the rikshaw-walas , panwalas , waiters is never found in big cities.

Sea Of Humanity & comfort Our Railways provide the humbleness can be seen in below pic.

IMAG0116

Comfort redefined.

@1.00 am train delayed by 1 hr. TATA NAGAR

Day 3 :- Kolkata start of my photo Blog have bugged you enough in this blog.

SAMSUNG CSC

Welcome to Kolkata the heritage city of India.

SAMSUNG CSC

City of  Trams & Ambasadors heritage Indian vehicles which cannot be seen or found anywhere else

Catch a prepaid  Taxi directly to Kolkata Airport

After reaching Bagdogra, Airport , I asked a guy who was booking a prepaid taxi travelling to Darjeeling on their honeymoon most probably, if we can share the cab fare with me, Its the best bargain you can get,  the guy was from Assam  he said ok, but I missed to clarify to share per head expences. and I ended up paying up for his  newlywed wife’s travel form Bagdogra to Siliguri what a ass the gys was, my wife would had killed me If would had shared taxi on our honeymoon……. anyways the ride was comfortable and fun. We had nice momo’s on the way. it was  very cloudy & the Himalayan region was glowing all out in its glory of green carpet.. njoy the pics.

IMAG0138IMAG0185IMAG0184IMAG0182

SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC

IMAG0127IMAG0180

Had one of the most amazing moms some village near Kurseong.

 IMAG0163IMAG0129IMAG0132 IMAG0133

SAMSUNG CSC

 

The famous Ghoom Station

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

 

REACHED MY HOTEL “THE GRACE INN”

IMAG0118IMAG0122IMAG0121The hotel is owned by a Good friend ( Ritez Chettri Sikkimtours.in) provided me the best view room

SAMSUNG CSC

 

DARJEELING MALL ROAD

Walking down the moist dark narrow lanes of Darjeeling I reached the mall road in 15 minutes, It fun to explore the small lanes & by lanes of such old town, houses owned by some sherpas , retired army majors & colonel, the walk was down hill and provided magnificent view of the valleys glimmering in the night with small houses lit up far in the mountains.

The famous mall road of Darjeeling is a  beautifully maintained public area by the Govt. they have put up a huge screen playing latest song, Its a good way to entertain the tourist. One can just sit & relax at  the mall road I love observing people just having fun with their families.

mall road

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

EVENING VIEW

Day 4 explore Darjeeling Lonely walks in the mountains 

Sprang up form my bed early @4.00 am in the morning listening to the chirps of Birds, ran out in the terrace  to catch  glimpse of  the magnificent Kanchenjunga but my bad as it was rainy season & its really very rare to view Kenchanjunga in this season but the early view is as marvelous as it can get, I was satisfied with some of the hide & seek the unnamed peaks were playing with the monsoon clouds.

Early Morning

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Down the valley form our hotel I could see Inox & all the commercialized this very old hill station Darjeeling the queen of hills.

I had not planned my day ahead was just going to walk out. I was up early so no tea or breakfast available as all the staff was sleeping, I walked down to the mall road & the same scene over there, I nothing was open yet one of the road side

The Road side tea shop owner:

The Thaila owner was just opening & he offered to make tea for me I waited at he asked me about my native place , he told me about his father who committed suicide, made me a bit uncomfortable to carry o with the get to know you routine, but the guy was fine he carried on with his story, he had a elder brother staying I Mumbai who is a guitarist & lead singer trying his luck in the Btown, this guy was in a hurry to get married as he had a girlfriend and her farther was not ready to wait anymore.

I was surprised so easily some people can find comfort talking with any stranger & share the pain of their life with such ease.. cant call him lucky just a simple soul struggling to meet his end meet. I wished him luck & moved on….. I hope to see him with his wife & kids next time I visit his shop.

Horse stable opposite to the tea shop. horse ride can be a good option to roam around mall road area.

Came back to my hotel clicked some more pics of the gorgeous valley & time to start hotel staff suggested me to walk or take a taxi to peace pagoda.

I chose the second option & started off in the chilled calm morning, just in time I realized

I have lost my way & ways moving down hill where as the peace pagoda is up hill. since its a hill town all the houses are built extremely close & vertically cutting through the hill I just don’t understand how can the structures be so stable with multilevel buildings built next to each other with a distance of less than one feet between the two.

A traveler never gets lost  around people taking help with the local jolly hill people who are always ready to help you out I crossed the by lanes and reached the main road & the rest of the story will be described much better with pics.

Darjeeling the Rustic beauty:-

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

Independence day celebrations….

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

IMAG0182

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

IMAG0177

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

IMAG0178IMAG0182

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

IMAG0134IMAG0135IMAG0172

SAMSUNG CSC

Dense Green Foilage

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

Peace Pagoda….

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

More photos & stories coming up soon ………… have fun till then………….

Golden Temple a Spiritual Connect…..

The Great Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara ( the abode of god)

20170805_235614

The Bliss you feel here is out of world

20170805_212102

20170805_230951

As usual after finishing my weeks work in Delhi I had decided to move ahead some where in the mountains…. As it was monsoon season, I had doubt of going ahead in the Himalayas after whole week running behind the clients

I had no strength to look up to the Himalayas, web portals skymet & weather.com were showing heavy rains in the mountains, I cancelled my Himalayan adventure.  though it always pains to not being in the mountains. It  definitely would had been  Tosh or some where near spiti valley any ways there always will be a next time.

I had pre-booked my Delhi Amritsar ticket on Punjab Govt. bus online portal. After reaching ISBT I realised it was such a good decision to book online, no seats were available for travelers on the go… all the booking are done online. Punjab Govt.  buses are comfortable, I always do prefer to  travel in a State govt. run buses they seem more disciplined & reliable compared to the private bus operators.

I left delhi at 9.00 pm reached Amritsar next day morning at 5.30-6.30 am. Ha it felt fresh bus stand was empty, I sat calmly out side a close tea shop thinking of where to stay & google was working for me in the background. pop came a notification on some travel site I zeroed in on hotel sapphire which was located very near to the temple As I had decided to just relax at the Gurudwara. Have some good Punjabi lassi amazing Kulchas & other delicacies….

Day 2 was planned visit to jallianwala baug memorial & museum just reminds us the price our ancestors had paid for the freedom we enjoy today.

Next was a visit to Wagha Border ceremony my hotel guys quoted for private taxi Rs 1300, I enquired on the streets there are  shared rikshaws cost 60 Rs per pax. I happily jumped on it, the border closing ceremony is greatly co-ordinated by our BSF, just It was too hot to stand in the queue for 2 hrs gates open at 2.30 pm but our time gates were opened at 4.00 Pm. It was hell of a experience to one and all, old & young, with the scorching hot sun over head and we Indians breaking the queues fighting among our-self. Well that’s the beauty of our country.

Now came the fun part Stadium has two sections, one is reserved for VIP & Genral Public. the genral public had no place to sit so some were standing in the middle so all others were standing, marathis, punjabis , gujrathis, haryanivs, biharis, bengalis, all stuffed up together with no co-ordinated seat allotment. I wont explain any further you can imagine your self what I  would have experienced.

A note :- please do get a VIP pass & enjoy the show.

I wont make this write up any longer just love to share the bliss of this amazing marvel created by man devoted to the selfless divine creator.

20170805_122820

 

20170805_104130

20170805_11285520170805_102720

 

Food joints In Amritsar near the gurudwara are all equally good I did not realised any diffrence between the so called famous hotels online and a next door thaila , so guys untill my next blog take care stay healthy.. dont worry be happy.

Cost :- Delhi – Amritsar bus -Rs 1500, Amritsar hotel- rs1500, amritsar – wahga border tuktuk-120 Rs, hotel – airport tuktuk-300 Rs. Food- 800 Rs

Wahe Guru…Wahe Guru…Wahe……Guruuu…..wahe Guruuuu……..!!!!!!!!

 

 

Hamptapass Hermits Journey to Roof Top Himalayas

DSC04370 DSC04366  DSC04376 DSC04378 DSC04377 DSC04408summit DSC04383 DSC04376DSC04354 DSC04319 DSC04322 DSC04358 Pune-delhi- manali-HamptaPass After lots of yes & no’s regarding the trek goin with a trekking company or with a local guide, weather to trust the guide why to pay more to the trekking company, all these questions were settled one by one, I zeroed in on Mr Polu Thakur from Manali, one of the most experienced guide, I found his number from indiamike.com a very helpful travel community. Mr Polu Thakur Ph Number :-09816891591, he is one of the most knowledgeable & wonderful trekking  guide in this part of India.We landed at Delhi in the morning HPTDC Volvo is the only reliable mode of transport which leaves from  Himanchal Bhavan  in evening. We have to book tickets from HPTDC office which opens in afternoon at 2.00pm.We strolled around in Delhi which was real fun totally unplanned delhi tour here are the pic of dil walo ki delhi. DSC04154 DAY 1   Way to manali from delhi one of the best road journey photo taken near Aut. over night journey was amazing early morning got up at near Aut and was surprised to see such beautiful highway serpenting around  a huge dam.the view was mesmerizing. Wifey was still sleeping .  DSC04204 Scary Highway  along takes you from one the best Scenic valleys on earth. Running away from the heavy city traffic opening your eyes to such beautiful morning was real awesome feeling. DSC04197 DSC04213 DSC04196 Manali first glimps of the quaint hill station. DSC04225 Tallest deodar ever seen in life IMG_20140713_093838 IMG_20140713_085727 IMG_20140713_090940 Manali Monastery IMG_20140713_092924 IMG_20140713_090933 IMG_20140713_090901 IMG_20140713_085727 IMG_20140713_090854 IMG_20140713_090844 IMG_20140713_090830 IMG_20140713_090828 IMG_20140713_091125 IMG_20140713_091049 Best flowers seen in Manali monastery Day 2 Left form manali to Jorba via pirni Jorba village IMG_20140717_152343 . DSC04233 Our Guide Polu Thakur. Day1  of trek  Jorba to chika DSC04270 DSC04242DSC04258DSC04271 As we started our Trek form Jorba hydel project into this no mans land we were greeted by huge deodar & pine trees, Our trek started off with a mild welcome shower from mother nature it just purified my soul I felt welcomed by the Himalayas. First days walk was only for 4-5 Km but the terrain soon changed from forest to vast grass lands to huge boulders, we reached our base camp in an hour or so. As we unloaded our luggage, our trek lead took us for a small hike for acclimatization. I was worried not to wear my self off by over exertion. We were full of excitement never been in such wilderness. no smoke, no vehicles, no sound machine, the only music played in the back ground was of the calm river Rani Nala flowing in its full fledge glory, I had planned to do this trek with my guide & wife, being in the group brings all the human feeling of groupism, regionalism,  all other crazy human feelings from which I am always running after in our real life. DSC04281 Our base camp at Chika pic taken from our small hike to near by mountain. By evening we had settled in our tents we had our first & last campfire as there wont be any dry wood found in next few days of our trek. Next day morning was amazing feeling early morning getting out of our warm cocooned sleeping bags & tent. It was difficult to get out in the chilled Himalayan morning, brushing our teeth in ice cold water sittin g near the river silently & watching the wild terrain, was just I dreamed of. I was so happy to be there, we had a very nice heavy breakfast hot tea in such cold is pure bliss. DSC04328DSC04278DSC04277 DSC04280 Delicious Wild strawberries DSC04294DSC04293 DSC04254DSC04289 DSC04283 First view of snow amazing DSC04271 Polu Thakur & me relaxing DSC04270 IMAG1038 Day Two Chika to Balu Ka Gera We left from Chika to balu ka gera, the terrain now was changing form grasslands to  hard core rock valleys. the terrain was difficult to cross as one wrong step & definitely one lands up with plaster for sure, still it was fun , the snow was melting & we could see the remains of tiny glaciers, with snow patches DSC04268 DSC04309   . DSC04315 DSC04316 DSC04306 After navigating our way through rocky  steep & deep valley’s we reached Balu Ka  Gera  know as  heaps of sand no such heap was seen but the area is a flat grassland with residual of fine sand carried along the Hampta nala trapped between valley two huge Himalayan mountains on either side  the view was one of those from the lord of the rings or harrypotter movies. DSC04338 As we ascended and gained altitude I was feeling a bit of pain in my head & was its not the start of  Altitude sickness(AMS) , Our guide told us it might be due to weight we are carrying. By the time we reached our camp I had a sever head ache & had to help my self with some crocine. We reached our base campby 3 O Clock, I had a nice 2 Hrs of sleep woke up fresh & was fine . the evenings we spent were trolling & exploring the nearby area. We just could not keep ourself away from snow since childhood I had seen snow only in pic & movies to to see such quantity of snow & glacier I was just astonished, we went for small hike in snow , Our guide gave us a short training on how to walk on snow since next day we would be crossing snow & river, we were shown different techniques of walking on snow with crampons. After our hike we just relaxed  exploring the nearby valley.the dinner as always was served hot & delicious. I could not take the pics of night sky. If you just stand & stare in the dark sky I felt like I was looking at our milkyway, never in my life have I seen such huge number  of  twinkling stars staring down at you one fell if you stretch out your hand you can touch them, the terrain make the so beautiful it just gets the calmness inside you to new high. That was one of y most peaceful night in my life. Setting up camp at Balu Ka Gera. Day3  Balu ka gera- sheaogoru via Hamptapass. I just in love with the Himalayan mornings there is unique freshness in the air I the morning. We were asked to use the toilet tents but I could not resist the pleasure of downloading in the open skyies of Himalayas.  The only problem I faced at Balu Ka Gera was to find a morning spot,  as the terrain is such that from anywhere anybody can be seen. Our morning breakfast a long with the kadak chai in our tent was the best ever leisure I can get …. This day was long & the trek was treacherous , We were excited as we we were gonna cross Hampta Today along with it we also had to cross a bone chilling Ice cold treacherous Hampta river. Today were give a light lunch and few candy bars. DSC04328  DSC04301 Early morning view from our tent. DSC04320 Leaving Balu Ka Gera DSC04321 DSC04336 DSC04341 Huge waterfall seen on our way to hampta this was gonna be our longest hike in the trek , I was have problem of breathlessness so unloaded my luggage & foolishly gave away all my reserve food & gloves & caps. DSC04342  DSC04346 Snow Snow & lots of snow……….. just astonished we were doing this trek I was not expecting so much snow in the month of july 2014 DSC04343 DSC04344 DSC04348 DSC04366  DSC04346 After the patch of snow ended We traversed through a beautiful valley of flowers. DSC04349DSC04355 DSC04354 Our life support our chef & his friend. DSC04350 DSC04319 DSC04349 After these grasslands we crossed a rocky terrain and then were face by worst fears of my life .We had to cross the hampta nala barefeet in a freezing cold bone chilling water rivercrossing horserivercrossing Warming & Drying off our feet after crossing the streme. W had lunch & moved on ahead with our mission Hampta. Trust me the hike is treacherous & dangerous It just oes not end the beauty is also mesmerizing. here are our hampta & are pics At Last with the lve of my life @ 14500 Ft Hampta Pass we are through.the visibility was 5 mtr we could just could not see any mountiain or the terrain, it was freezing cold, but to reach there & achieving the highest point of our trek. summit

Descending Hampta Pass  was one hell of a daunting task ahead of us the terrain suddenly changes from zero visibility snow covered mountains to clear rugged mountains, it connect lush green  kulu valley to ice cold arid lahaul valley,  as we crossed the cloud cover and started our descent we had a majestic view of deotibba