Tagged: Weekend Breaks from Delhi

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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Monsoon Drive to Chail (Aug ’10)

The climate in Delhi nowadays seems to be quite good with regular rains keeping the city cool. So, we decided to go for a monsoon weekend drive to Himalayas. Also, there was a discussion going on in my favorite travel portal BCMT and people are discussing about the possibility of spending the Independence day weekend in Himalayas. Finally after have a voting system in place, the place was decided to be ‘Chail’.

I have been there already but haven’t visited in Monsoon. So we all geared up for the trip. They have formed a 7 member team and planned to come with a Qualis and we as usual with our Zen. Another couple has plans to join us in Chandigarh as they reside there.

So, everything was setup and we started our journey to Chail by 14th of August around 6 AM. The climate was very pleasant and there was an indication that it’s about to rain anytime. The drive was quite relaxed and beautiful with less traffic. The entire road stretch was good and we reached Ambala in quick time, where we met our friends. Just had a chit chat and continued our Journey to Kalka as they headed to pick up another friend.

We started from there and headed to Kalka, and around 9.30 we reached Pinjore where we had breakfast. Very close the hotel, you can see ‘Pinjore Gardens’ and slight drizzle made the atmosphere quite beautiful. We spent an hour shooting photographs and headed towards Kalka.

We all assembled at Kalka where another family from Chandigarh joined us. Then we all headed towards Chail via Kandaghat. We planned to have lunch at Sadhuphool but then the restaurant doesn’t have sufficient food for 11, and we had no choice other than head towards Chail.

We all reached Chail at 3.30 PM straight away check out in the hotel. As everybody was hungry then, all freshened up and went to the main market to have lunch (late lunch). As usual had Onion & Aloo paranthas with curd and it tasted divine :). Once done with the lunch, everybody discussed about the next plan and after a lot of discussion, all agreed to pay a visit to ‘Kali Ka Tibba’.

I haven’t visited the temple during my earlier visit and so eagerly awaited to see. Once we reached the temple, the 360 degree it offered was fantabulous. Everyone started shooting the view around like crazy and no camera can capture the views it offered. The pictures can’t do justice to what we have encountered there. It’s an amazing place and a must visit if you are heading to Chail.

The climate changed dramatically in half an hour and the entire place was covered by mist in no time. We all feared about our return as we have to navigate through the jungle road with less visibility. But we all reached safely and retired to our rooms. After some chit chat session we all headed to have dinner to the mall road and had the same paranthas for dinner. Needless to say we were all in bed in next 10 minutes.

Morning we woke up at 5 AM and decided to visit the place again, but no one has woke up at that time and we started alone to view the place in golden hour. The place was so divine and the views around are impeccable. After couple of hours of photo shoot headed towards the hotel and joined the rest of them. Had breakfast in the hotel itself and took a small nap and by the time others got ready and they had plans to visit the Cricket ground, which is located at the highest point.

So, we all headed towards the ground and after having shot some photographs, left for the Sidh Baba temple. It’s another beautiful temple located in a quite place. Once done, we all bid good bye as the other family went to Chail palace and the other gang headed towards Delhi. We reached Delhi around 10 PM with frequent stops in between for photography.

Places of Interest:

Kali Ka Tibba (Must see)
Sidh Baba Ka Mandir
Cricket Ground
Sadhupul (between Kandaghat and Chail)
Chail Palace

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Weekend ride to Deeg – Rajasthan (Mar ’10)

This ride happened when I took a day off from office. When I was searching for a short getaway from Delhi, bumped into this destination and initial information looks interesting. Moreover, it is one of the lesser known destinations and couple of hours ride from Delhi, which pushed me towards this place.

It was hot outside and traveling in bike seemed a bit difficult as most of my travels done in my car. But then I love to ride bike that too alone and hence started without any big hesitation. The plan was simple, ride to Deeg, spend few hours and ride back to Delhi. It doesn’t look simple as I was riding on a hot and humid day and consumed couple of water bottles before reaching the destination.

To my surprise, not a single soul was around the Deeg Palace and I doubted my decision for choosing this destination. Got the entrance ticket and entered the palace. Once entered the palace, I am lost in the beautiful architecture in front of my eyes and started shooting with my hungry camera.

Few places are not maintained well and monkeys occupied most of the places near the entrance. The place was stinking so much but the views it offered are quite beautiful. Then visited couple of exhibition halls, but to my disappointment photography is not allowed inside the halls.

Then roamed around the Garden and shot some colorful trees. By the time I finished 3/4th of the palace sightseeing, legs started begging for rest. Also, felt hungry as the time was around 2 PM. Hence packed my things and started my ride back to Delhi with a short lunch break enroute.

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Weekend travel to Almora-Kausani-Baijnath-Jageshwar-Nainital (May ’09)

This trip happened all of a sudden after my trip from New York during first week of May. One of my close friend from Chennai visited me (didn’t know it would be the last time we would be spending time together as he passed away in another few months) and we planned for a short trip. He is supposed to arrive on Friday night and we had sometime before we pick him up in airport. So we went for a tamil movie released recently in Gurgaon and went him to pick up around 10 pm. As usual the flight delayed and he arrived at 11.00 PM and we reached our residence in Faridabad at 12.00 AM.

We planned to start around 4 am, so that we wouldn’t need to rush but my friend had other plans. I brought one of his favorite drink from US and after normal chat with my family I persuaded my family members to have a nap we went to balcony and started speaking while he started having his drink. It went on till 2 am and I was feeling tired and he has no plans of sleeping that night (would never forget that night in my life). I told him to take some rest and went on to sleep for an hour. At four I woke and got ready and we all five got ready around 5 am.

We started from home around 5.15 and as I am feeling fresh started riding fast on the not so crowded roads. Road after Bareilly was not so good and couldn’t drive much faster. But negotiated that stretch and quickly caught the uphill road to Kathgodam. The first views of Himalaya peak was too good and you can see that some 7 km before Almora. Reached Kausani around 4 PM and visited Anasakthi Ashram. View of Trishul peak from the Ashram was too good. Spent some time lazing around the ashram and started to move towards Bageshwar.

At Bageshwar you would be welcomed by a group of temples called ‘Baijnath Group of Temples’. Offered our prayers to Lord Shiva and spent some quality time there watching sunset. After that went to Almora and booked an hotel on the mall road itself and retired for the day.

Next day we woke up a bit early and decided to checkout Jageshwar. The drive to Jageshwar was quite beautiful with clean roads combined with early morning freshness. Like Bageshwar, here also one will find a group of temples each consists of idols of Lord Shiva and others. It is one of the beautiful architecture and to an extend maintained well. Offered prayers and took some photographs and returned to Almora to rejoin with sleeping friends.

Then all of us got ready and had breakfast in the hotel itself and started towards Nainital our next destination. The drive from Almora to Nainital was a relaxed one and enroute we spotted a sign board indicating an waterfall just couple of kms away from the main road. We decided to checkout the place and it turned out to be a quiet and beautiful place. The waterfall was located some 100ft below the road level and the path leading towards the waterfall was quiet steep.

There was no one around except the security personal and we spent couple of hours drenching ourselves on the small waterfall with the chillness we needed at that time. We left the place with some hesitation as no one like to leave the place so early. But then we had the return Delhi the same night so took photographs and left the place and started our journey towards Nainital.

Reached Nainital around 3 PM, by the time we reached Nainital everyone felt hungry and had lunch near bus stand. Then went for a boating at Naini Lake spent some good time and started our journey towards Delhi. Rest of the journey was uneventful as we all are exhausted and reached Delhi around mid night.

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In search of snow – Delhi – Mandi – Jalori pass – Ani – Narkanda – Shimla – Delhi – (Jan ’10) – Part II

As planned we managed to start at 5.50 and headed towards Jalori Pass. While nearing Jalori, we saw some drizzling, initially thought it must be rain but then realized it’s snow showers. We stopped by a qualis near Jalori and he asked us if we have some water as his radiator got boiled. We had a bottle of water then offered him After that headed towards Jalori. At jalori took few pics with the use of tripod as it was very dark.

We have no heart to leave Jalori as it just started snowing. But then we had high hopes that we might get some snow in Narkanda. So we proceeded towards Narkanda via Ani. Road till kanag was bad and then it got better and better with the distance. While nearing Narkanda there was slight drizzle, and then when we entered Narkanda it started snowing. Our prayers got answered as it just started snowing this time around it was a bit heavy. Stopped for sometime and enjoyed fresh snow and headed towards Hatu peak.

The climb to Hatu peak was steep and when travelled about some 2 km we saw snow all around. Needless to say we were pretty much excited and felt really lucky to be there. As we proceeded further we got bit worried about the conditions as we saw patches of snow on the road itself which made driving bit difficult, add to that there was not a single soul there. It was exciting as well as bit worrying.

After traveling another couple of kms we witnessed a frozen pond. It was an amazing experience to there at that time. Didn’t stop there as I thought of reaching Hatu Peak ASAP. But nature has other ideas as we traveled another km we saw snow has covered almost entire region. No visibility of roads as it was covered by heavy snow. I tried to my car little further into the snow and started feeling the car was out of my control and dropped the idea of taking risk.

Hence our search for snow ended there and we took photographs and enjoyed the snow for 15 mins and started our descend towards Narkanda. On our way back stopped at the frozen pond for small photo shoot.

Drive from Narkanda to Delhi was not that much exciting except some heavy rains near Shimla, and we reached home around 12.30 AM.

3rd Day Photographs

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In search of snow – Delhi – Mandi – Jalori pass – Ani – Narkanda – Shimla – Delhi – (Jan ’10) – Part I

This trip was planned as we got a long weekend and the destination decided was ‘Jalori Pass’. Initially we wanted to visit Tirthan Valley but couldn’t get an accommodation and hence tried in Shringi Vatika and luckily got the accommodation. So we booked over the phone.

Unusually this time couple of my collegues wanted join us and it was decided we would be taking two cars and the total head count came to 9. As usual the day before there were lot of confusions like people backing off, joining in and again backing off and it went on till 10 PM. Finally we 5 of us decided to start.

We planned to start around 3AM but as usual got late and we were able to start only around 4.30. Early morning start means heavy fog/smog. It was a pleasant drive till Ambala. When we entered Ambala, the visibility nearly comes down to less than 5mtrs. It was difficult to drive on those conditions. But after sometime got used to it and crossed that section.

After some nonstop driving we felt hungry and stopped somewhere on the roadside Dhaba. From then onwards it was some continuous driving and we reached Aut tunnel around 4.30 PM. We took the route to Ghiyagi just before the tunnel and traveled towards Shringi Vatika. Enroute we spotted some beautiful houses located on the hill side, but due to bad light couldn’t take pictures.

We reached Ghiyagi at 5.45 where we planned to stay for the night. We were so tired and felt very cold as the temperature was below zero. Immediately we sat near the bonfire and made ourselves little bit warm and then had some delicious veg/egg pakora.

There was some discussion going on between the friends about going to Jalori by Car. Couple in Shringi Vatika advised not to travel by car as the roads are in very bad condition. Also she suggested to return by the same way and not to go via Narkanda as it was not safe. Friends who joined us for the trip got scared and tried convincing me to visit Jalori by Bus and also return via the same route. I didn’t say anything and finished our dinner and went for sleep.

The temperature was freezing cold and 3 layers of woolen doesn’t seems to be enough. Somehow managed and slept off. In the morning woke up around 6 AM and decided to checkout Jalori pass alone without telling anyone. So took the car and went to Jalori pass and the route seemed ok to me. It was not good but one has to be very careful while driving as the road was full of gravel and dangerous curves. Had to be content with first gear for some 15km as the road was very steep and curvy.

Reached Jalori in 45 mins and the views are spectacular. No one was around the place and enjoyed some quiet moments there. After five minutes one of the dhaba owner opened his shop and inquired about my travel. Then took some photographs and came down to the hotel.

It’s now time to shoot some pictures of the little beautiful waterfall just located at the back of the hotel. By the time I finished my photography, the couple inquired me where I have gone that much early. I told them that I went to Jalori and came back. He was surprised and appreciated me. Then I woke my friends up and told them we will be going to Jalori by car. Everyone got ready around 9 and we had some delicious onion/aloo parathas for breakfast. Mr. Manoharlal the owner of Shringi Vatika said he will join us for the trek and we all started at 10.15 AM and reached Jalori pass at 11.00 AM. Lazed around for sometime, took photographs and had a chit chat about the trek ahead.

We started our trek around 11.15 AM and thought it would be an easy outing. Also, we have been told its 4km one way. All 5 started the trek and within a km 2 of them including my wife stayed behind. So, the remaining 3 started walking towards the lake. The trekking route was beautiful and have some good views of the places around. We took 2.5 hrs to reach the lake and as expected the lake was frozen. We spent some 30mts around the lake taking pictures and walking a little bit above the temple to find fresh snow.

We completed the trek in 5.5 hrs in total and I am sure the trek was around 6-7km one way. Then descended to Jalori and had a small walk near the hotel. Atmosphere changed dramatically and it was freezing cold. Kept bonfire near the hotel and warmed for quite sometime and had delicious dinner once again and went for sleep. Next day was quite hectic as we had plans to visit Narkanda on our return journey to Delhi.

To be continued in Part II.

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