Saturday 17 December 2011

Road Trip To Heaven : Leh !

I had been waiting for this day since a very long time and now : YES !!! (joy :P) here it is ! The Best Road Trip Ever ! I got myself a Cannon E 60D with a spectacular lens of EF 100-400mm, which doubled my desperation level of going on this trip as Photography was one of the main factors of me, going to Leh.

I had the Best company with me ever, :), i.e. my younger son Sanchit, two of his friends  and my nephew, Abheer.

Day 1 : Target : Manali ( 585 Kms from Delhi)

We started for Manali early morning from home and reached before the Estimated time as we didn't stop frequently on our way. It was Mahindra Xylo and Mr. Driver carrying us all. We stayed at a Guest House in Manali and preferred to Rest as the REAL JOURNEY was still to start.

Day 2 : Target : Jispa ( 133 Kms from Manali)

Made an early start in the morning. Going up Rohtang pass around 51 KM from Manali was a harrowing ride. At the height of 13,051 ft, the view going up was amazingly beautiful, and where one is advised not to make plenty of stop, we experienced one of the longest traffic jams. Were stuck there for 5 hours but finally managed to sneak out and start again for Jispa. Jispa is a small village in Lahaul Spiti District. We reached the destination : Jispa Journeys Camping Site, where Tents with attached bathrooms were waiting for us. Weather there was cold, buffet dinner arrangements, super chilled water in bathrooms and much more, making it a pretty adventurous stay.

Day 3 : Target : Leh ( 346 Kms from Jispa)

Again, an early start and we were ready to experience the best photographic views. I was amazed at every sight which came in front of me and was proud to be born in such a beautiful country. We saw mountains covered with snow, river flowing alongside and our car was above clouds. It was heaven, pure heaven.

We reached Sarchu, 89 Kms from Jispa, a district consisting of a small village, some guest houses and camping sites. Do try the Momos and Sidu in Sarchu. We didn't spend much time there, and came back on track soon. We then reached Pang, again a camping site, where we stopped for Maggie and some rest.

As soon as we started from Pang, series of bends gave way to another marvel on this journey, the Moreh Plains. A plateau at the height of over 14,000 ft. You will be amazed at finding miles & miles of flat surface at such a high altitude. When we drove through this track, initially it was lot of fun as the track was firm & sort of visible for first 20-30 kms on the dirt track, thereafter there are multiple tracks & one can get confused as which one to follow. We then passed those plains, The Talangla pass (17,500 ft), and then Upshi, Hemis, Shey and then finally reached Leh at Sunset and checked in the Oriental Guest House, Just below the Shanti Stupa in Leh.

Day 4 : Leh

After a sleep of about 10 hours, adapted fully to the atmospheric conditions in Leh, we were all set to explore every bit of it. My son and his friends took Royal Enfield ThunderBird on Rent and we started the Monastery Tour. Hemis, Thiksey, Shey Palace, Spituk and Shanti Stupa were invaded by us thoroughly :-P and that was it for the day.

Day 5 and 6 : Nubra Valley (150 Kms North of Leh)

We spent a night there. Major Attractions were The Diskit Monastery ( Gigantic Buddha Statue), The Sumur Monastery and the Double Humped Camel Ride.

Day 7 : Pangong Lake ( 5 Hour drive from Leh)

The Most beautiful lake I have ever seen ! Crystal clear water, showing different colors and shades of blue and green and ecstatic bird view. Drive till there is a little tiring, but it's Worth It ! Other attractions : Yak ride on the way, Maggie Point near Pangong Tso and Chang-la Pass(17,590 ft).

Day 8: Leh : Rafting + Exploring Leh Market.

We took a rafting package, Rs.1400 per person with packed lunch for all. A 16 Km long rafting in river Zanskar till the "Sangam", the point where it meets River Indus. The water is icy cold and also, flow is pretty fast, with whirlpools and just 2 solid rapids in between. In short, a Wow! experience :P

Don't forget the Magnetic Hill on your way to the Rafting Camp.

Day 9 : Back to Delhi by Flight

Some Of My Clicks :

Sunday 26 June 2011

Kanha National Park : The Wild Cat Trail !!

Place: Kanha National Park
Location: Madhya Pradesh
Closest City: Jabalpur
How to Reach: 1043 Kms from Delhi
Closest Railway Station: Jabalpur(175 kms)
Closest Airport: Jabalpur(200 kms)

The first thing which Impressed me was "The Royal Tiger Reserve Resort". They had wonderfully designed rooms, right according to the Tiger theme and the best thing were the curtains in rooms with Pug Marks Print which looked fantastic.The room had a bathroom and at the back of the bathroom a private open air shower was there which was very tempting but did not use it because I was scared of insects or reptiles. :P  . The resort offered a Gym, Spa center and a small swimming pool also. Even the food there was nice. 
That same day we went for a Jeep Safari in the jungle and spotted a variety of animals like the Indian Bison,, dears porcupines , grey colored hare and also a variety of birds. We also spotted a beautiful Leopard resting like a Maharaja on a grand rock stone.

The very same day, I was amused on seeing the Tribal Dance performed by a local Aadhivaasi group, organized specially for us at the resort lawn. It was a very delightful entertaining sight.

The next day, we were lucky to spot a Tigress during just the starting 10 minutes of the safari. And yes, I would like to point out a negative point about Kanha, i.e. when the tiger was spotted, around 100 jeeps were around him and he had no place to turn to. I personally feel they have too much of jeeps which definitely disturbs the habitat. :(
We also visited the Sunset Point, one of the main USP of Kanha National Park.

In all, I had a blast, missed my camera- canon E60D (which is yet to be bought :P :P). I rate Kanha National Park as a 1 time must go place now. !  So, start planning NOW !!!
signing off !

Saturday 14 May 2011

Ecstasy For Wildlife Lovers : Ranthambhore !

The private hunting grounds, for the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambhore, near the township of Sawai Madhopur, now rightfully serves as a national park and one of the dream destinations for wildlife lovers like me !

A rare tiger yawn sight
Place: Ranthambhore National Park
Location: Rajasthan
Closest City: Jaipur
How to Reach: 362 Kms from Delhi
Closest Railway Station: Sawai Madhopur
Closest Airport: Jaipur

It was starting of November 2010 when we decided to go on a family trip, just the four of us, and I am so lucky that we came up with Ranthambhore as the final destination. It was not the first time for me, but I always get excited before going to wildlife sanctuaries. 

We reached there after staying one night in Jaipur, and started searching for a good wildlife resort. There were ample of options like The Pugmark Resort, The VanyaVillas by Oberoi, The Nahargarh Resort and many other hotels and camping sites. Over all these options, we chose The Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge, which was only 5 minutes drive from the main entrance of the park. It was fully worth staying there as they provide a lot of activities for children as well as adults throughout the day, a small swimming pool is there, the beds in rooms are really comfortable and also the staff there is very courteous. The room rent includes the buffet breakfast and ya! Don't forget to have Caramel Custard during desserts in the dinner. :P

So now, we were all set to explore the national park so we hired a private Jeep for four people, which cost us Rs. 2500 [including the guide's charges]. The Jeep took us directly from the hotel to the park, and I was ready to capture some great photographic views. We saw a diversity of species of birds in the initial phase of the safari which included Owls, numerous Peacocks who were in their mating season, Storks and many more. 

Finally, we were lucky to spot a lazy yet Regal Tiger resting in the waterhole. It was a scintillating sight and a chance for me to press the capture button as many times as I could ;-) . This was not all, while returning back to the park entrance, we spotted another Tiger going uphill, and that scene was a "cherry on top" for the safari ! 
Tiger resting in waterhole
Another Tiger spotted

Other animals such as Monkeys, Spotted Deers, Neelgai, Langurs were a common sight there. Here are some random pictures which I managed to click during the safari.

Returning to the hotel, we visited the castle "Jhoomar Baori ", where the other RTDC hotel in Ranthambhore is located. It is a must see place in Ranthambhore.
After the safari and visit to Jhoomar Baori, one can always buy Tiger printed T-shirts or posters as souvenirs.

P.S. : You gotta visit Ranthambhore even if you have 0.001% interest in wildlife ! ! !

P.S.S : All these pictures were clicked by me using Panasonic Lumix FZ30.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Tranquility Of Nature : Landsdowne !

A pure case of roads better than the destination !
Place: Landsdowne
Location: Uttarakhand(Gharwal)
Closest City: Haridwar
Best Season: Mar - Oct
Weather: Summer 15 to 30°C, Winter -4 to 17°C
Altitude: 1706 m
How to Reach: By car (six hours drive from Delhi)
Closest Railway Station: Kotdwar
Closest Airport: Jollygrant (Dehradun)

Being one of the most quietest hill stations of India, Landsdowne is a perfect weekend destination for pure leisure and comfort. I personally encountered such breathtaking views, that one feels like stopping at all the curves on the roads and click some more pictures. The city is surrounded by lusting greeneries and magnificent views of snow-covered mounts and forests, and a soothing atmosphere, making it such a perfect place for eco-tourism. It is far away from any disturbance of traffic and is never crowded. It is the best place for one to go if they are looking for peace, comfort and rest from the daily routine. Having the most pleasant climate and tranquil environment, Landsdowne will leave an immortal impact on you as it did on me. It is a must-see destination and start planning your visit this weekend, NOW !!!!  :)

Monday 21 March 2011

Get Set Go ! ! ! !

Wanderer = Ghumakkad=Someone who leads a wandering unsettled life, someone who likes to be on the wheels all the time!
If u are one of the species,Welcome to the Gang !

I have been to so many places, every time I came back home, I started thinking about the next place I would like to visit. I think what a great ghumakkad I have become...and I have now decided to share my experiences, thoughts, pictures with all of you. I'll be posting one of my first doze of "awaargi" very soon.
and I would love to get feedback:positive or negative ;-)   from you guys.
so au revoir.