September, 2010 Archives

Weekend drive to Renukaji (Sep ’10)

This was an unexpected trip to Renukaji. Initial plan was to stay in Nahan and explore around, but the staying options & other circumstances pushed me to move beyond Nahan. So, here I am with another weekend trip from Delhi.

I have decided to go for a weekend trip for sure, as my wife has gone to Chennai for a wedding. So, I am free to decide on the destination and initial thoughts pushed me towards Madhya Pradesh and the place I decided to be Maheshwar. So, all set but then I got severe cough & cold on Thursday, which doesn’t allow me to choose public transport to MP. Then looked for nearby places around Delhi, and finally zeroed on Nahan, due to its proximity from Delhi.

All set and left home as early as 5 AM and took NH1 and crossed Karnal in no time. As GPS suggested, took a right turn at Shahpur, 30kms before Ambala. The road journey from here on was an awesome experience with beautiful green villages. Since, rain was so kind this year, there was Green everywhere. At few places had to do water crossings on the road as water flows from one side of the farm area to other. The experience was bit scarry but enjoyed a lot on the driving front.

Reached Nahan around 12 PM and found there were no good staying options. Due to Eid, there was a big gathering of people to offer prayer on the main market road. After seeing all this I decided not to stay there and thought of checking out ‘Grand View Resort’ at Jamta, which is located 14kms from Nahan.

From Jamta, one has to take a steep upward road to resort for a km and you must admit it’s a beautiful resort. The views are awesome and the lawn was simply superb. You have swimming pool too, so head there to have a relaxing weekend with your family. To pay and stay there for a night was too much for me. Called up HPTDC in Renukaji and came to know there are no rooms available. Now, all my plans go for a toss and finally decided to pay a vist to Renukaji to see the lake.

The first thing I did after reaching Renukaji was to check with the Hotel manager about the availability of room, and much to my delight room was available. Checked out the A/C & Non A/C rooms and finally settled to Non-A/C room on 1st Floor. The time was 1 PM and I dozed off immediately. When I woke up at 4, the sky was so cloudy and it started raining. I had no options other than to stay in the room and watch the rain for sometime. Not much photographs on the first day and after having light snacks dozed off again and woke up the next day, culprits being the cough & cold.

Day 2 was no different as rain doesn’t seems to end at all. But the intensity has reduced and it was drizzling, took my gun and went for shooting (it’s my camera, don’t think otherwise). The atmosphere was amazing and the reflections on the lake were simply superb. It’s like a dream setup for a film shooting. It’s sad that I couldn’t do a boat ride due to rain as I don’t want to spoil my gear once again. After capturing some superb moments thought of leaving the place as I can’t do much here with rain playing spoilsport. Checked out the hotel at 9 AM, against the warning given by the Hotel manager that there might be few landslides due to last night rain, and it will take atleast noon to clear that.

Left the hotel at 9.30 and found myself staring at a landslide just 4kms from the Hotel. But, the restoration work in progress, so waited there for an hour and proceeded towards Nahan. After travelling for another 7-8 kms saw another couple of big landslides and god was not kind enough on me that day. Cursing myself for choosing Renukaji as the weekend destination during Monsoon, I waited for another 30 mins to see some humans at that deserted place. When enquired they said, it will take at least a day to clear, and suggested me to stay for the night, as the labourers might not come to work as it was Sunday.

Waited there for an hour and decided to go back to Renukaji and spend sometime there. So, headed back to the hotel and the first person, who saw me coming back was the Hotel Manager. Headed straight to the temple complex and shot some photographs and rested there for sometime. Thought of visiting the zoo, but the ticket price seems to be too high (Rs. 250/- for vehicle + 100/- for camera), dropped the plan and started my journey back to Nahan. When I reached there are few more vehicles lined up and the cleanup in progress, so had to wait there for another couple of hours to start my journey back to Delhi.

After this stretch, the journey was uneventful and took the route back to Delhi via Naraingarh, Saha, Karnal and reached home by 9 PM. An exciting weekend trip ends there with monsoon at its best in Renukaji.

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Weekend Trip to Rohtang Pass (Sep ’10)

This trip was basically for my in-laws who flew from Chennai to witness snow as it’s impossible in South. As I had exhausted all my holidays, I had no choice other than utilizing the weekend for this trip. Our primary target was Rohtang Pass where we can witness Snow for sure. As the trip got planned, another family joined us and we booked a ‘Tempo Traveller’ from Delhi. This was the first time I engaged a third party for travel and it turned out be a quite disappointing experience. The main reason being the driver incapable of driving smart, who took 19hrs to reach Manali, which could have been easily done in 14hrs max. There was no traffic jam at all except a small landslide near Kiratpur, which was also cleared in 30 min. I can keep on adding the disappointments we faced along this trip with these inefficient drivers and it deserves a separate post. Let’s leave that and move on to the exciting part.

We reached Manali at 3.30 PM and checked into the Hotel near Vashist, located around 3kms from the Mall. The views from the hotel were majestic and it would have been fantastic if the weather was clear to witness snow peaks. On a clear day, you can witness snow covered peaks from the balcony with the Beas river flowing just below it. So, after a tiring 19hr journey from Delhi, every body begged for some rest. We all rested for an hour and moved on to the restaurant, which served some delicious North Indian dishes. Once we were done with late lunch, we started for some sightseeing & shopping. Group of people moved on to ‘Hadimba Temple’ and another group went hunting for a vehicle for next day trip to Rohtang.

Finally, we found a sumo driver who accepted to carry all of us to Rohtang the next day. We decided to start as early as possible. After few negotiations, he agreed to start at 6 AM. Once this was done, we joined the other group in Hadimba Temple and offered prayers, followed by a short photography session. The last agenda was to spend some time in shopping on the mall road. Groups parted on the Mall road and entered different shops. Couple of hours passed and everybody was done with their shopping and seemed tired and hungry. We all headed to famous ‘Madras Cafe’ for dinner where we were served ‘South Indian Thali’. Day 1 was quiet hectic and everybody wanted to hit the bed ASAP and we did so.

Day 2

We all woke up around 4.30 AM and everyone got ready by 5.45 AM. We reached the mall road where we were supposed to meet the sumo driver and we all boarded the vehicle at 6.10 AM. All were excited about the travel and were eagerly looking around for snow clad peaks. The road till Gulaba was somewhat OK and we alighted there to get our snow dress. Once done, we proceeded our journey towards Rohtang. The rest of the travel was so tiring, as we had to do a couple of water crossings & traverse through the slush roads. When we reached the zero point, disappointment awaited us, as there was no sign of snow. The driver demanded extra bucks to get us to a bit far away place where one can witness snow. We agreed to that, as we didn’t have any other choice and eagerly awaited the destination. After travelling a couple of km, driver stopped near a turn and asked us to get down.

As said by the driver, snow was there but one had to trek around 1.5km to reach the place and the path was also not so good. It was too steep to climb as well. Once we reached, we saw a bunch of men doing some decoration work with snow, preparing for skiing activities. The snow was not fresh and the area was covered by black ice. Walking into the snow seemed to be difficult, as there were a few pot holes in between the snow covered area. We enjoyed some moments there and took few snaps and returned to the base. We didn’t have much time to spend there, as we had to reach Delhi by early morning on Monday. So, we left the place with no heart and reached Manali at 2.50 PM.

We boarded our ‘Tempo Traveller’ and started our journey back to Delhi. Mission accomplished with a bit of disappointing experience with the travel agent. All in all, we did our best to keep our spirits high and enjoyed every moment in Rohtang Pass. This place requires at least a couple of days to explore. The most disappointing part was that, there wasn’t any photography stops in between from Manali to Rohtang. Had I taken my car, I would have stopped not less than 50 spots where I found the nature at its best.

But there is always a second chance and I will conquer the pass leisurely.

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In & Around Chennai – Flight Pictures (Nov ’09)

Shooting photographs from flight always fascinates me. I don’t miss any chance of doing this even the stares from air hostess couldn’t shut my camera at times :). Here is a compilation of pictures taken during my visit last year. It was raining quite heavily at that time and can see water all over.

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