Category Archives: Travelogue

Travel Plans – 2014

Its time I should start planning for 2014, not that I could accomplish anything in 2013 but still would plan for 2014.  The idea is to visit new places and the overall expense should not exceed 2/3k INR.

Destination 1: Rural Olympics – Kila Raipur in Ludhiana

indias-rural-olympics9

The dates for 2014 is still not out, should be in Feb/Mar.

  • Distance from Delhi: Approx 310km
  • Travel Mode: Train
  • Cost: 2/3K INR
  • Duration – 2-3 Days
  • When: Feb’2014

Destination 2: Holi – Mathura

Baldev TempleHoli

Baldev TempleHoli

  1. 20th Mar – Ladoo holi in Barsana
  2. 21st Mar – Latthmaar Holi in Barsana
  3. 22nd Mar – Latthmaarholi in Nandgaon
  4. 23rd Mar – Holi in Bankey Bihari ji temple, Vrindavan
  • Distance from Delhi: Approx 200km
  • Travel Mode: Train/Bus
  • Cost: 2/3K INR
  • Duration – 2-3 Days
  • When: Mar’2014
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The Puri, Dana Methee Sabzee & Kesar Kulfi at Choto Motu Joshi – Bikaner

This was probably my 8th or 9th visit to Bikaner and  with every visits I have tried to be at new place. The city is amazing, full of culture at every corner, every wall has a story to tell.4-19-2013 12-10-23 PM

This time I was hunting some authentic food and I was directed to this place called “Coto Motu Joshi” shop, famous for Puri Sabjee and Kesar Kulfi. I had crossed this shop multiple times but never knew about it, yes, I am aloof at times. The actual shop just under hoarding serves only snacks and sweets, the small entry adjacent to the shop leads you to the eating outlet.

The ambience reminds you of a typical India Coffee House outlet, nothing really has changed, not even the cutlery. Look at properly synced plates below, my guess is, the location hasn’t changed since it started.

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After giving a good look at the outlet, ordered Puri & Dana Methi Sabjee, they also have the regular Sabjee to go along with Puri. The service not so quick but I realize it was because of puri, the Dana Methi sabjee was delivered instantly. While I couldn’t wait tfor  puri and this was stuff was looking truly amazing. The sabjee as expected was dark yellow and tastes little tangy, the  taste was little sour and bitter. The most interesting part was that small little mango pickle right in the center.

Finally the puri was served burning hot, straight from the pan. The irony is, I liked puri more than the sabjee…it was made from pure desi ghee and you could smell it.  This entire package didnt come cheap, the same Sabjee will cost Rs. 25/- and Purin Rs 5/- per peice. I ended up gobbling 4 Puri’s 🙂

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As per a Facebook friends recommendation, after Puri Sabjee it was time for Kesar Kulfi. Before I get painted as selfish, I decided not eat Kulfi there, got it the packed for home.

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It was tummy full day!

Saari-Deorial Taal-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila

Before the start of trip, the only place we had planned to visit was Chopta, we never realized we will touch so many places.  Although we had thought about this trip but never actually planned for it and it’s not safe stepping out without reservation with your wife and 1.6 year old kid, but life is all about chances we take.  The initial idea was to go on RE, just me and wife with Shaurya resting at sisters place, that couldn’t happen because of all apparent season. Finally got Harkrishan engaged in our plan, a day before the start of trip he was able to confirm and we were all set!!!!

Day 1:

We left Gurgaon at 4:30 on Fri (25th May), running 30 mins late as per our planned schedule, picked up Harkrishan from Delhi and left exactly at 6 A.M for our destination “Chopta”. Luckily we didn’t encounter any traffic jam till Haridwar, between Haridwar and Rishikesh it got difficult because of traffic and double lane highway come city road. You just can’t avoid that unless you cross between 10:00 P.M – 6:00A.M. This entire stretch of 22 KM took us almost 2 hrs.

Our first major stop for lunch was decided for DevPrayag, we had to cover up for the loss of time between Haridwar and Rishikesh.  I and Harkrishan had a fair bit of idea about the route till DevPrayag.  We reached DevPrayag around 2:30 P.M and stopped for lunch, it was just after Sangam, possibly the last dhabha in DevPrayag and not heavy on pocket. After enquiring about the route which no one really had a concrete idea, we left DevPrayag around 3:15pm towards Kedarnath.  You won’t get confused because till RudraPryag we need to follow one highway.

From DevPrayag we headed towards Srinagar, enquired further about the route and drove towards Kedarnath. You have to change the highway from Kedarnath; one goes towards Badrinath and other one towards Kedarnath. Luckily the policemen in RudraPrayag had a fair idea of route towards Chopta. I had two contacts who usually arrange the trekking trips, I got them from Travelmike.com.  While Harkrishan was driving, I started calling and ended up making contact with Lakhpat Singh Negi. He recommended us to come at Saari, stay a night either in Saari or Deorial Taal and then head towards Chopta. We weren’t completely satisfied but decided to make a decision as it comes.

Our next destination was Ukhimath; the road towards Ukhimath from RudraPrayag is almost single lane along Mandakni River. Before reaching Unkhimath we contacted Mr. Lakhpat Singh again and he was able to convince us for a stay in Saari or Deorial Taal.  We agreed because we had no confirmed booking in Chopta.  Till Ukhimath it’s almost plains, you drive along river Mandakni but temperature remains the same.  From Ukhimath we took a left and headed towards Saari village, the same road takes you towards Chopta as well.

From Unkhimath we were headed uphill, and real joy journey comes into picture. That drive itself was worth all the pain we took so far. Crossing through small villages, we reached a point we had to take a turn for Saari village, more uphill. That stretch was pretty scary, no evidence of human being for few kilometers. Finally we reached Saari village around 7:30 P.M and met Lakhpat Singh Negi.

We had two options there, either to stay in Saari Village (Room Rent 600/-) or trek towards Deorial Taal (Tent Rent – 1000/, two person can stay), it was around 2 Km steep climb and we had to make quick decision as it was getting dark. Mr. Negi gave us more lucrative option which tilted our decision towards Deorial Taal; he suggested us to stay in Deorial Taal in night and have spectacular view of Sunrise and then around 8 A.M trek towards Chopta which will take 5-6 Hrs. I and Harikrishan were convinced; I had to make my wife think the same way.  Finally after a quick discussion we decided for Deoria Taal, potter was hired to take care of the son.  We carried some necessary items and handed over the car keys to Mr. Negi, he had promised to drop our car in Chopta the next morning.

Day 2:

After trekking for almost 45 min under moon light we were in Deorial Taal, too tired but the sheer idea to reach a secluded place made us excited. The moon was pretty close, I had never seen it in such a shape, it was all dark around with two small canteens cooking food, and everything made to order. After gulping heavy meal cooked on choola we retired in our tent for a wonderful morning. The sunrise was amazing and the beauty was taking us away, had never experienced so much virginity J of nature.

After strolling for some 30 min, we got ready for our trek towards Chopta. We had our lunch packed and 4 bottles of water, the backpack turned out be very heavy with so much stuff. We had already hired a potter cum trek guide and we left at 8:30 A.M.  The locals were very sure about the route not to exceed 4-5 hrs but we took double the time. I can’t explain the beauty we experienced in trek, pure nature which we can never experience from road side or while residing in a hotel. The views we saw in that jungle were so untouched and gorgeous that it looked like a jungle from a fairytale with so many mysterious but beautiful spots, lush green grasslands, yellow dried leaves covering the earth was simply breathtaking!  Last few km’s turned out be boring, primarily because we got tired.  We finally reached Chopta at 4:30; yes it took us 8 Hrs.

Our car had already reached Chopta and accommodation booked in advance, after having some snacks we retired in our room. In evening we went to enquire about our next destination Chandrashila. We were told that if we need to get a glimpse of sunlight, we must leave around 3 A.M in the morning and that too on a mule, trekking will take much longer time. The idea of riding a mule scared us but the imagination to catch sunrise in Chandrashila overruled everything.

Day 3: 

We left Chopta at 3:15, and headed for Tungnath on the mule. From Tungnath we had to trek towards Chandrashila. The ride was getting scary, it was steep climb and very cold. Wife decided not to go further due to son’s discomfort and took shelter before Tunganath. It was getting difficult to beat the cold with child on a mule. I and Harkrishan went ahead, reached Tungnath around 5:00 A.M and without resting, stepped up towards Chandrashila. It was really a STEEP climb, it took us 1.3 Hrs. to reach and I could feel the challenge of breathing due to lack of oxygen. Reaching Chandrashila peak was a surreal experience, I had never experienced such  height. You can see all snow clad mountain ranges provided you get a clear sky, we were fortunate to catch sunrise and a view of snow clad mountains.

It was getting difficult staying at 13000 ft, I was feeling little uncomfortable and headache caught me. After staying on top for 30 min, we had headed downwards. You must experience this piece of land; I had only seen this beauty in pictures. We really couldn’t click good pictures as our DSLR was dead, since there is no arrangement to charge batteries or even almost all the cellphones. There is no electricity in Chopta and nearby places, they live on solar lamps. And so we regret of not carrying an additional battery. The trek towards Chandrashila offers you the real beauty of mountain; you will feel like standing atop of world, everything beneath your feet.

The downhill from Chandrshila to Tungnath for some odd reasons was getting more difficult; I wasn’t able to maintain distance but managed to do it. We took a good look at Tungnath temple and headed towards the place where wife and kid had taken shelter. For me the downhill continued to be a difficulty but Harkrishan was almost running, I need my legs to be strong.  I forced myself in to take a quick nap to overcome my headache after reaching shelter, yes I still hadn’t recovered from headache.

We were back in our room around 10:00 A.M. got freshened up and were ready to take the return journey. We still had a day left, we after exploring ideas we finally accepted the stay in Rishkesh, wife’s choice prevailed. We were back in Rishikesh around 7 P.M, stayed there in a camp and after enjoying some time in the lovely cold ganges water we headed back towards Delhi in the morning.

Day 4:

Our return journey was from a different route, this was to avoid the traffic in Haridwar, Ghaziabad and border areas. From Rishikesh we went to Dehradun and then headed towards Yamunanagar. From Yamuna Nagar we were able to catch NH2, this took directly to our main land – Delhi.

Route: Gurgaon –Delhi –Ghaziabad – Meerut – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath. Take left before entering Unkhimath city; this will take us to Saari, Deoria Taal & drive ahead for Chopta. Total distance 467 kms.

Temperature: Till Unkimath you will experience normal temperature, just like plains heat and humidity. We get elevation beyond Unkimath. No idea about winters.

Accommodation: You can stay in any village en route to Chopta, do negotiate the price.  In Saari village, stay is around Rs. 600, in Deoria Taal its Rs 1000 per tent and in Chopta Rs 1200 (4 Bed Room).  You can negotiate it as per your need, I couldn’t do it.

Any other details, please write to manishsinghm@gmail.com , would be happy to help.

Jim Corbett Marathon & Beyond

I dont often do this but the running kick these days are giving me extra push to try things haven’t done before. While browsing through Running & Living , saw the marathon happening in Jim Corbett in April end, the sheer idea of running in wild was enough to go for it.

I had the registration done at least a month in advance and enough time to plan everything to perfection, but usual me, got the hotel booking done just a day before which turned out to be little expensive.  Lack of knowledge  cost me, and I truly believe there is real dearth of travel consultants available for middle class urban population.

After doing a through research for a low budget hotels, got hold of Corbett Tref Hotel. It was decent, 7000/- for 2 nights/3 days with Breakfast and Dinner.  Looked decent and after speaking to manager, was comfortable enough to book it. Then came me, delaying the booking process and doing the money transfer late and to my dismay, they had no room available at all. Suddenly it looked like I was about the cancel the plan considering I was travelling Wife and Kid, had to plan everything in advance. Nonetheless,  MakeMyTrip came to my rescue,  and finally ended up booking Corbett Heaven Resort.

The Trip:

Day 1 (Apr 22nd):

We left early in the morning around 7 A.M, expecting to reach 11 A.M with just 250 Km’s of drive it was very much in reach. It was all fine till we crossed Ghaziabad toll, things started getting bad after that. There was heavy trafic because of accident, just before hapur which followed up with massive jams in almost all toll collection centers.

It started looking fine after Ghadmukteshwar, highway was well maintained and traffic free. Ironically a wrong decision lead to spend 45 min on road, I took a decision to leave NH and take a turn into Moradabad city, rational was my past experience with Rampur city. I had the impression that to touch Kashipur, we will have to cross Rampur which was not true.

Anyways, we reached Ramnagar at 1:30 and directly headed for Mapple Resort for bib collection.

View Near Mapple Resort

 

After bib collection we directly headed for Corbett Heaven Resort without realizing the distance we had to travel.  This was turning out to be most tiring drive for Day 1. Marchula is exactly 35 km’s from Ramnagar and that too after crossing forest and hills.  Anways  we managed to survive the drive and reached resort without any problem. The resort is scenic  no doubt, we had to cross a bridge to get into it.

The lunch was served in our room which was nice, in evening we just spent couple of hours in open are and headed for dinner without any delays. Waking up in morning is always difficult that too at 4 A.M and for running.

 

Day 2 (Apr 23rd):

Day started off at 4 A.M and I was really impressed with the resort manager. He personally ensured that we are awake for the marathon and tea is served.  After driving for an hour, we reached our destination. Driving in dense forest in dark was not fun, definitely not.

Morning in Jim Corbett

My 10 km run started sharp at 6:30 A.M and I was just in time and yes I did complete it.  Thanks for running and living for medal and certificate and yes little boy for cheering me.

I was able to complete the race in 1:27 hrs, not bad. Anyways after collecting certificates and medals, we headed back to our resort. We reached there at around 10:30 A.M, right at breakfast time. Just couldn’t think of missing my breakfast.

Just after the breakfast we were given the surprise, we had to travel back to Ramnagar for safari, that was terrible but we had no option. After lunch we headed for Ramnagr and at around 3:30 went for Jeep Safari. I am not going to write about it, it was just waste of money and not recommended at all. What you see is drama, what you hear is drama.

Center for Job Corbett

Around 7:30 we came from safari and headed back to resort. The evening was spent at the resort in piece with beer. Thankfully the services provide by the resort had a friendly, otherwise it would have been a horrible stay.

Day 3:

We left resort exactly around 10 A.M and went into river for few clicks, the water was cold and was working like a massager. We could have spent couple of more hours there.

The drive back to New Delhi had no surprises, but few hiccups near Gharmukhteshwar. We had actually leave highway and take village off roads because of jams, but the nonetheless it all turned out to be fine.

The Highway Travel Pleasure & Beyond!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~St. Augustine

How apt this quote is, with the recent travels, I can truly feel about it. While we can document and create a wonderful travelogue, but you really can’t capture the real experience. Few things camera can’t capture and discussion can’t be held on, those are moments/emotions unexplainable. That thin cab driver, tiwari jee tempo waale, tiwari hotel wale, excellent customer service skills!…leaves you mesmerized.

With this trip another taboo was broken, my family is getting in road experience. Historically, train was only considered for travel, this time my sister;s family also drove from Delhi to Allahabad!

The entire road map!

Day 1 (Mar 15, 2011):

We were planned to leave at 5 A.M but usual delays and we finally left around 7 A.M. Was little nervous about the trip considering Shaurya but I was confident. I have already taken this route (Delhi – Kanpur) so wasn’t a big problem, road was familiar and we knew it was excellent. Read the rest of this entry

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