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The Hampta Pass:
If rocky meadows and galaxial night skies are you thing, then my friend, the Hampta Pass trek is one trek you ought to scale, with a bonus opportunity of visiting Chandrataal. Let this blog post be your guide to the Hampta Pass trek and get your comfy shoes ready!
Hampta Pass sits on the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas at an altitude of 4270 m. It is a corridor connecting Lahaul’s Chandra Valley and the Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh. The pass is mostly filled with grasslands in summers. Vertical rock walls, pinewoods,
waterfalls, hanging glaciers, open meadows, rhododendron forests, peaks and tiny lakes are found along this trek.
HOW TO GET THERE?
BY AIR – The best way to begin this trek by air is to take a flight to Manali and continue by road
there on. Manali Airport is well connected to major airports in India.
BY RAIL – The closest train station to Manali is the Ambala Cantt train station, which is about
200 kms away.
BY ROAD – Several private buses connect Delhi, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Ambala to Manali.
TOP 10 PLACES ON THE HAMPTA PASS TREK
1. Jobra/Jobri – Starting Point
The drive from Manali to Jobra/Jobri is absolutely stunning. One would be glued to the window
throughout the drive. From apple orchards to oak forests to deodar forests,
you can’t miss it!
2. Chika Camp
Chika is a campsite with large patches of green meadows. The Rani River flows through Chika
and one can enjoy river crossing and boulder walking if the weather is grateful
3. Enroute Jwara
Jwara is another meadow site right after the Hampta river. This area provides a bit of rocky
terrain and crossing this area leads one to the more complicated stretches
of the Hampta Pass. This is a campsite for many trekkers.
4. Kullu and Lahaul
The Shea Goru valley, which marks the entry to Lahaul is a sight to behold. For many this view
is the sole reason for doing this trek. The Kullu valley has a lot of dense
trees , tall cliffs, grasslands and flowers. It is a green desert of sorts.
5. Balu Ka Ghera
Balu Ka Ghera along with Shea Goru are popular campsites. The Hampta Pass sits right next to
Balu Ka Ghera, which is right next to the edges of a river delta.
6. View of the Chandrabhanga River
While getting down towards the Lahaul side, the landscape changes drastically within hours with
snow-capped mountains and a moraine- filled gully. Then there is the majestic
view of the Chandrabhanga river, which is an experience in itself!
7. Enroute Hampta Pass
Prone to many frozen avalanches, the Hampta pass provides a very contrasting experience of
walking two different terrains when one crosses it. Trekkers can also view the
Dhauladhar, Mulika and Chandra Bhaga ranges along with a few other peaks from here.
The road to Chandrataal can be quite rough but the spectacular view is all worth the pain. Vast
meadows surrounds the lake with many varieties of wild flowers and many
different varieties of animals and birds. One can see shepherds for Kullu and Kangra grazing
their cattle here.
9. Kunzum Pass
At the end of the trek Kunzum Pass is another pass around the Chandrataal vicinity with access
through Lahaul. Many take a 15 km trek from Chandrataal to this pass. There
is also the Kunzum Mata temple that is quite popular.
10. Return Via Rohtang Pass
The return journey via Rohtang Pass is a marvelous sight to behold and totally worth it,
considering the fact that the road to Chandrataal isn’t the best. The pass is
known for its scenic beauty and provides a view of the twin peaks of Geypan.
By now it is very apparent that Hampta Pass is a trek worth exploring but one question that
might be lingering in everybody’s minds is that when is the best time
to do the Hampta Pass? Mid-June is a great time to do the Hampta Pass Trek with trekkers
getting to experience snow in its vivid forms.
So, what are you waiting for?
Grab your backpack with all the essentials and get ready for June because you are going to live
the time of your lives!!
Himachal Diaries: Bir-Billing
A nice quaint small town in the foothills of the Himalayas, Bir is a para glider’s paradise. Of lately it has gained a lot of fame as it is the second highest parag;liding site in the world. However, Bir is much more than just paragliding. It has monasteries, some nice green woods and a bunch of cozy cafes where one can just have a coffee, read a book and relax after an adventurous glide down the mountain.
Himachal Diaries: Dharamshala Mcleodganj
The Dalai Lama resides here. A sacred place for Buddhism, Dharamshala is much more than just a monastery. It’s a place where you can live a hippie life.The cafes are brimming with a variety of dishes, the weather is awesome almost throughout the year and there are a lot of options for trek and hike.
Himachal Diaries: Dalhousie
This is a gem in the lower Himalayas. Originally found and explored by British General Dalhousie, the beautiful hill station is named after him. With a lot of activities to do nearby, this place is worth having on your travel list. Whether it is summer or winter, sun, the rain or snow, this place doesn’t miss enchanting you.
Devrai Art Village , Panchagani
If you are an art lover then do visit “Devrai Art Village” situated in a beautiful landscape of small hill station of Maharashtra known as Panchagani. It’s a unique museum where you can meet the artisans and know the art of bonded metal and stone. Here you can also learn the procedure of designing these beautiful pieces, basically it’s a non-profit initiative for the development of local Adivasi artisans. With this if interested you can also buy some beautiful artifacts and local produce such as honey in good price.
Cavalry Tank Museum, Ahmednagar
Cavalry Tank Museum is a Military museum situated in Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra, India and one of it’s kind in whole Asia. It was established in February 1994 by the Armored Corps Centre and has collection of about 50 plus exhibits of vintage armored fighting vehicles. vehicles are from both second world war and first world war period. This museum is excellently maintained by military and you have to pay nominal entry fees to see. So go and see this one of it’s kind museum and if you have kids then it’s must.
Chandrapur: A Vacation!!!
My Karnala fort trek review
This beautiful place is close from Panvel on Mumbai Goa Highway – NH17, precisely about 12-15 Km form Panvel Bus stand . You can take a panvel city Bypass at Kalamboli Junction to avoid mad’ning traffic of the city . The early you are its better! Reach with sufficient water bottles and snacks stuffed on you bag-pack as there is no hotel or supply as you enter the sanctuary . each bottle / plastic can however attracts refundable deposit of rs 100/- at the entrance .
Talking about the scenic beauty. It is undoubtedly one of the most natural and beautiful place that I have ever been to. Trekking here is fun and tiring both, but you will never feel like stopping in between, because the place is so enchanting. The pathway towards the top is pretty challenging for amatures and tests your physical abilities and teamwork( of course in group) . The jungle is thick and has many surprises such as giant pods dangling on treetops, giant mushrooms and thick creeper and climbers with very unusual formations around trees . once you are at the top its simply breathtaking view of the entire region.
Average time to reach till base of the Karnala Pinnacle is 2 and half hours and back journey can be accomplished in 1.5 hrs .
The arrangements provided by forest department are no no! you can stay close to this place on various resorts facilities such as panorama, Woods, Kamats, etc .
The joy of reaching the top of the hills and viewing the rest of the area is just a heavenly feeling. It looks all so foggy. You can click some of the best pictures here. There isn’t really anyone to guide you how to get where, you’ll be all on your own. So make sure you go there in a group.
So Good luck! love Nature love life!
River Rafting: The Most Popular Adventure!!!
Rafting is an adventure sport that has off lately picked up in a country like India. Although water transport was in existence since the prehistoric times, it has been tried as an adventure not that long ago. Rafting is thrilling adding to the adrenaline rush that adventure seekers are looking for. In India rafting has recently kicked up with many people taking up the sport. Although it requires a lot of training and experience under expert supervision any amateur can pursue it. In India rafting was started in Himalayan regions at Manali and Rishikesh. Himalayan rivers are swift and have enough water throughout the year and often offer the best rapids.
The rafting in the holy Ganga at Rishikesh is one thing everyone should do at least once in their lives. The Zanskar river in Ladhak offers one of the most breathtaking views during rafting. A few places in South India have also been developed as rafting spots. Dandeli in Karnataka and Kolad in Maharashtra are amongst the spots for rafting in South India. Rafting near Kolad takes place in the Kundalika river where the water is fed by the incessant rains in the monsoon season and through the release of water by the dam in the other season. About 18 km of pure joy the river rafting is an all-season all age activity here. About 140 odd km both from Mumbai and Pune it offers a one day retreat from both these destinations.
If you want to experience nature and get some thrill do try rafting…
Hidden Gems Of North East!!!
North East is one of the important gem of our country. Major historical landmarks, heritage buildings and rich bio diversity landscape . From houses on contours to mystic fruit orchards on slopes, the unforgettable tea plantation on the slopes of the mountains are filled with rich and unique experiences.
Hidden gems of North East highlights more on the places, people, tradition and culture. The efficient design of the houses on contours with blend of context responsive landscape is mesmerizing visual that can never be seen in the entire world.
Tawang, Arunanchal Pradesh– Its located on the mountainous terrain of the north east. Most of the time snow covered, this place becomes an eye catcher for bike riders and ice sports lovers. The snow caressed trees and varied high flying large bird species are predominant sightings of this place.
Majuli – From being home to monk placed here is the spiritual essence of monasteries. Built by the use of local materials like bamboos, these places carry historical cemeteries and parks of spiritual power. The boat ride is very famous here especially during the evening time as traditionally people return their homes via this water route. Bamboo huts become a relaxing point, and give you opportunity to soak yourself in the lap of nature.
The great canyon, Shillong – One of the unexplored gem of north east. This place situated on the rocky terrain of tallest mountains of shillong . Breath taking experience of natures beauty in the bounty of Himalayan ranges. The sunset and sunrise point of this place is celebrated throughout the year. Perfect spot for trekkers to soak into the mountainous terrain.
Kamakhya Devi, Guwahati, Assam- One of the prominent spiritual places know in India for its super natural energies. Among the 52 shakti peeths, this one being the most important attracts people to visit from all over india. Tantra practitioners consider this place very powerful. Amidst the natural hillock the architecture of this temple premises is unique as it imbibes the elements of Bengali style and the local assami style. On the foothills flows the river Brahmaputra which also is interlinked to the mythological story of kamakhya temple.
Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya- it is considered as the wettest place in india as the annual rainfall here is very much high. The heavy rains here has given rise to one of the worlds most premium rain forest. Having species which won’t be found anywhere else. The forest and the water streams are the experiencing points. The fragile looking local bridges to cross these streams attract the trekkers from across the world. Waterfall and lakes is found at most of the places to soak onself into the lap of nature.
Hidden Gem chapter doesn’t end here. Many other gems are awaiting your exploration.
5 BEST PLACES EVERY HISTORIC LOVER SHOULD VISIT!!!
India has the world’s longest history. From the rule of Mughals to British colonization and to the princely states, every city in India has their history. This evident history is still visible in the places which are speaking its tales since generations. India with its rich traditional, cultural and architectural heritage is setting out for heritage awareness by the Incredible India foundation. In midst of every city, one comes across the ancient historical place which are known even today. Though among the listed following are the must visit places for historic exploration.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India– Here relies the first ever dynasty of Mughals in India, starting from the very famous Fathepur Sikri which is situated on a hilly terrain. This piece of historic settlement of king Akbar is visible from the architecture of the dynasty which exist. Apart from this the Shajahan’s palace is also one of the marvel during the golden era. Taj Mahal being one of the prominent immortal creation of this era, which is among the one of the seven wonders of the world symbolizing love.
Delhi, India– The Capital of India was ruled by Mughal and later on by Britishers. After Agra delhi became the capital of nation and making it the very important point of historical reformation to happen in india. The final resting place of mughal dynasty and also the king second settlement after Agra is seen here. Akbar’s tomb, Sikandrabad, Purana killa, Humayuns tomb are one among the evident mughal mausoleums seen here. Later on the British established there power and the Lutyents era started emerging from the India gate to the Parliament house.
Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India– Sanchi is well known place for the relics of Buddha at the Stupa of Sanchi. Situated in the heart of India, it connects India to varied religious and monumental forms of identity with the help of landscapes.
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India– Well known for the glory of Rajputs . The Maharaja Mann Singh Palace is the attractive point where one can perceive the only living monarch rajput family. The pink city also show a different urban pattern of living. The first cosmic instrument for mapping sun and moon movement was developed here, which still works with great precision.
Mumbai, Maharastra, India– Mumbai the city of seven Islands, is known for its British port rule. Mainly used for trading. The British colony architecture is very visible in South Bombay. The Portuguese dwellings in Bandra and Charni Road. The gaothan temples of Bhuleshwar and Caves of Elephanta . Mumbai with its rich historical settlements is endless for completion of any exploration.
Apart from all these India being the mother of heritage speaks her story in every place around the world. Incredible India we so call. Our nation has people of all religion and faith living in harmony making the country the largest democracy in the whole world. We owe respects to her heritage and her identity.
Goa…rise in Hostel Culture
It is a place I love to go, not to see anything new , but to do the same thing again and again and again. All I want to say is that this place is simply exquisite in terms of visiting and is a boon for people staying near by.I am talking about Goa, a tropical paradise which a more than only beaches and beer. It kicks you high with energy and pushes your adrenaline to the next level. An awesome getaway, Goa takes you beyond imagination. If you are travelling through Mumbai by train, the journey in itself is enthralling. A host of tunnels, bridges and deep valleys take you through the majestic Konkan landscape before meandering across the backwaters of Goa. In Goa, whether you just sip a cocktail in a shack at the beach watching the enthralling sunset or trek the famous Dudhsagar falls your holiday is well spent. Irrespective of the season Goa hosts tourists all round the year. A lot of foreigners often visit this place to enjoy and chill themselves.
I love Goa. Have been here umpteen number of times with different sets of people and it seems like its another home to me.I have seen a change in the flair and the mood. Of lately the tourists, a major chunk of which are youngsters are preferring to stay in backpacker hostels so that they can socialize.
even if they come as a couple of in a group they would stay in a hostel as it is affordable and often the atmosphere is quite vibrant. It also gives them an opportunity to interact with people who they would not have otherwise interacted with, as they are so busy with their regular work life.I myself met a few people who stayed in my same locality a few blocks away but never met them.This trend is catching up with a lot of Indians. Hostel culture is up and running……and definitely for the better good
Humanity and tourism
How many of us feel that we should travel more. Man by nature is a traveler. Ever since the prehistoric time man has been a nomad, traveling the length and breadth of the planet, making beautiful discoveries. The potential of travel becoming an industry was seen quiet early. Tourism today is one of the most important businesses in the service industry. However more than that it is a way of living, its a way of life.
Today people are travelling freely across countries and propagating and promoting the most important thing….Humanity. Let me tell you this through a story. There was a girl named Stella . A British girl,she was on a trip to India, in the beautiful region in Himalayas. She met a few local Indian travelers there. They were on a local sightseeing tour of the city when they saw some garbage lying on the slopes of the hill to the beautiful shrine . So she quickly sprung into action and initiated the cleanup drive.The gang joined her in the same. Now tell me what was her concern in cleaning up that place. She had certainly no incentive.It was sheer humanity that was displayed.
Another instance that comes to my mind is when I traveled to God’s own country Kerala. a mix of tradition, religion and culture, Kerala is a state where people of various religions coexist. So I met this person who actually took us around the town in a rickshaw, he belonged to particular religion but went to all religious places irrespective of them not being from his religion. He was very good to us and made us feel very comfortable. He was highly sensible and showed respect and care for everyone, even to the underprivileged. His act of kindness was displayed when he gave half of his meal to a beggar and also fed biscuits to the street dogs. Being an auto rickshaw driver he would definitely not be doing a great in terms of income, but his act of humanity was certainly commendable.
Travel has also enchanted me. I have learnt a lot. It has made me understand the true essence of humanity. It has made me realize that materialistic world is not something that one should aspire. I can indeed say that there are many tourist who actually propagate humanity through tourism. I wish to be one of them
What tourism means to me
Tourism is not an activity. Its an addiction.Probably one of the best in the world.It happened to me first in my school days.Or at least that is the one I remember. I was very young. My parents took me to a relative’s place by train. I was eager to get the window seat and luckily I got it. Also the the fact that it was a non AC sleeper coach meant that I could easily look out of the window, feel the breeze brushing my brow and try to stick my head out as much as possible to see the engine and the tail end of the train. I got love struck with traveling, instantly. Much of it, do I owe to my parents. My stint with traveling continued to my native places in central India. From counting the electric poles to watching the green fields and the huge mountains go by was something I enjoyed. A few snacks here and there, particularly at stations which were famous for them gave me immense joy. I was growing up traveling in the countryside when I had the opportunity to take a seat on my first flight. We were a middle class family in India and at that time air travel was not so affordable. So I was on my first flight and for bonus I was with my granny. Again my wish to sit in a window seat was fulfilled. I was happy to see the birds eye view and imagined what it must be to be a bird. Travel has always enchanted me. My bucket list keeps on ever increasing. Coming back to the story, I vividly remember that was in my junior college when I first solo traveled.I was going to a cousins place. At that time I was not allowed to travel solo for sightseeing,citing security reasons.Also I was too young to travel solo according to my parents. And they were the source of money for me , so I had to listen to them.
During graduation I explored the adventurer side of me. I went trekking and camping a lot. It was a good getaway from city life, less time consuming courtesy the proximity to the beautiful Sahyadris and most importantly, fit the budget as I still relied on my parents for money. I met certain people on treks, who became soulmates and changed my life. Slowly but surely it became a way of life and I cant imagine myself now not going for a trek or camping in any season.
Then came another interesting twist where I got to travel internationally. It changed my perspective about life. I met different people, explored different places and experienced different cultures.
It has been more than a decade now, ever since I have started traveling. As a tourist life taught me many things. The humility to share when I had money but dint find someone who could sell me food, the humanity in helping total strangers, the joy of building real relations while interacting with people face to face when there was no network in phone, the love that developed between us strangers, that connects us even today and that will remain eternal….I think I was a born traveler…………
Ladhak Diaries – 1
A long approach journey
An unknown group
An unpredictable climate
A pictures cue setting
An interesting encounter
An unintended contract
An unprecedented finish
Highlights of my Himalayan trek
On the way to Zojila
Kalsubai – Everest of Maharashtra
A lovely evening,tall mountains in the background,lush greenery all around,bright sunshine,an amazing rainbow and the hand of a beautiful girl in ur hand,isnt it a very romantic setting,not to be when u r finishing a tedious trek.Yes a trek it was to Kalsubai(tallest peak in Maharashtra).
It all started when I got a suggestion from one of our expected group members.Unfortunately she couldn’t make it to the trek but we pay her tribute for it as the trek was not on our original list.
So we started on 25th Sept night at about 9’o clock.Actually we were supposed to have dinner.But then there was high disinterest shown from a generally committed friend.I managed to sneak into a restaurant and hv some rice.I wasant tht hungry but had to pass time.I also managed to force my friend to grab a bite.Meanwhile a guy came there searching for us.He was a friend of one of our friend.
Well if I go like this I myself may get confused.So d names,me S,my friend K,our friend D,her friend C and our other 2 frnds P and V.It was K’s plan to meet at Vashi at around 9 and hv dinner.Nyways d post is ntbout d dinner.
Miss D who was our trek leader reached d scene at about 10.Poor C had been w8ting for us since 8-8 30.I was although not fascinated by d nos was happy enuf that at least 6 of us made it.We moved 2 Thane at bout 11.We had a train 2 Kasara which was around midnite from Thane .We had a lot of fun in d train.We entertained ourselves & a few others by playing cards.Time passed by a whisker and we reached Kasara by 2 30 a m.We started searching for any vehicle that would take us 2 Bari.We got 1.But rate was equivalent 2 a return flight.The plan was immediately dropped.D suggested we go further to Igatpuri whr there was more probability of getting a vehicle.We hopped on to a train in an illegal way.We dint hv ny other option.We reached thr by 3 30 and walked our way down an isolated lane which would hv otherwise been a busy 1 had we gone thr some other time of d day.We spent some time in a small temple besides d bus depot.The temptation for playing cards was resisted by us as we were in d temple.We got d bus by some 5 30 and were on our way to Bari.We took a nap on d way and when we woke up to see the picturesque scene with the sun coming out of d mountains in a hazy setting.We were enthralled by the site.We reached Bari by about 7 and got the 1st site of our Destination.It was high as we had imagined and thought would be tough enough to climb.It wasant.We set out for the trek grabbing a quick bite at some poha laden with worms and of course a sip of lemontea.
The trek was easy but tedious.We had climbed some 500ft when d first signs of fatigue emerged and it was no other miss K.Hands on waist she stood as if there was nothing else left in this world.I had expected this to happen,although not so early.With a look of discontent I inquired whether evrything was f9.With a slight grim on her face she said she s f9.I was concerned about reaching d top.We moved on.It was father than we thought.Meanwhile a cloud on the opposite side caused an illusion that made us believe it was a higher mountain than d 1 which we were climbing.We got over it and continued.Soon we reached the 1st man made intervention to the place,a ladder.We all climbed it with ease.Me and K were soon left behind by the others as we were quite slow.It was evident she was struggling.To be very frank even I was struggling after d long hectic week,but it was not as evident from my body language as it was from her.But even after all this her determination to reach the top did not shatter 1 bit.Hats off for that.I have seen so may people give up but she didn’t and I thought it was a great quality to possess. Anyways moving fwd we reached a well from where the top was visible.It was like a pit stop.By this time the others had already reached d top.I dished out some water and splashed it on my brow.It was cool and refreshed me to carry us both further,some 200 ft 2 go.Our fatigue was overcome by our jubilation to reach the top.Finally she made it despite of the hitches,we made it.I shouted a cry of joy.Yes we were there,top of Maharashtra.I paid a tribute to d 1 who gave this idea and regrets for all those who couldn’t make it to such a wonderful place.We sat together in peace for some time observing the enchanting view of the surroundings. After having a brief photo shoot we opened our lunch boxes.We had cumulatively brought at least twice the amount of food we would hvrequired.Nyways we made our best efforts to finish as much as we can,but all our efforts were futile.The sun was already on our head by then.We wanted to rest but there was no place to relax under shade.So we decided to move down.Our way back was a long 1 but we were confident we would make it preety soon.So we made a move.It was decided K would lead us followed by the others,but d order soon reversed.And by the time we approached the well on d way they were already thru to the resting place.We reached d cool shady place some 10-15 mins later thn they did,and hardly got to rest as P was pushing us all d way.I was a bit jittery,may be nt as much as K but was still feeling d heat.I almost slipped twice-thrice.To make things worse a cloud hovered above us for about a while and then finally poured.We were unprepared for d sudden downpour.I quickly put my mobile and cam in d plastic bag to avoid them from getting wet.But d shower stopped as soon as I put it in my bag.And to our surprise we saw a stunning view.There was a rainbow right across d hills in front of us.It was as clear as we used to draw in our childhood days.It was an enchanting site 1 which I would nt forget throughout my life.It gave us a puff of energy to move fwd.We reached d base again by about 5 pm and rested for sum time.We caught a bus to Kasara and a train back to Mumbai.Yet another incredible trek.
It was some 5 o’clock in d morning when the alarm rang.Considering it was a Sunday it was 2 early 2 get up even though going for a trek.I limbered out of d bed somehow by 5 15.Then I wound up and got set for the trek.On reaching Dombivali I found that I was not d last 1 2 arrive & more importantly I could hv slept for an hour more taking in account the circumstances.
We started d actual journey at something pasd 7.Although I was going with a familiar group thr wer hardly any familiar faces,4 2 be precise.For a target oriented person like me it tough to get acquainted to the situation nd find a new target.Nyways,we reached thr by about 9 nd initially did a gadpradakshina before reaching d base village.We had a small intro thr.Then we set our foot for d climb.The initial path was around a huge pond,u can call that a smallish lake actually with a picturesque background.Me nd a friend of mine were busy clicking pics and in d process zeroing on our target for which I had to pay later.Meanwhile d leader had lost path nd misguided us along some other path.But soon we were back on track nd continued the climb.It was an easy 1 nd took us hardly an hr nd a half 2 climb up.When we reached at the top it was cloudy.As soon as the clouds cleared we saw n awesome sight.
We explored the area a bit n sat 2 hv lunch.I wasant well so restricted myself from eating much.We had a small contest type after tht,for which we dint evn get a prize.By this time we all hd already gelled with each other nd wer chilling out on our way back.It suddenly started 2 rain heavily.Some1’s shoesole came off,some1 fell,some1 had a cramp,all this adding to the tension of d leader.In spite of such minor problems we came down easily nd wer ready 2 come back home.We freshened up sat in d bus n d started our return journey.I was at my tricks again.But this time I got quite a weird response.Meanwhile the bus got stuck in traffic.By d time we reached it was 2 late nd I almost caught d last local for home.
It was a gr8 experience filled with excitement.I made many new frndsnd hope to continue this journey further.
Istanbul – center of world history
So I have been not writing for a while now.But I couldn’t resist writing about this beautiful place.Istanbul where literally the world history meets, was a great experience; one worth cherishing the whole life.
Istanbul a city filled with culture and heritage inspires you to bring in the artist within you to life.I was lucky to get an opportunity to visit this famous city(famously known as Constantinople in the past).I was there for five days and I wished I had more.I really wished.
I had booked the ticket with Emirates which is considered to be one of the best airlines in the world (Well initially it lived up to its reputation: You will come to know how) I was happy to get upgraded to business class for my flight to Dubai. Unfortunately the trend dint continue and I was in the economy on the onward flight.The transit process at Dubai was very smooth though.I had a layover time of only 2 hours while going which is very comfortable.
I landed after sunset in Istanbul. a mesmerising view of this great city was worth it.I caught a cab to the hotel which was in the heart of the heritage city,Sultan Ahmed area.I checked in received my Istanbul tourist pass, the museum pass and Istanbul-kart(city travel card) and the wifi device.the service of the tourist pass is awesome .It lets you travel the city and get hassle free entry to most of its attractions by saving a lot of money.So I relaxed walked through the streets, took a stroll by the sea and planned my schedule for the days in Istanbul.
My main purpose was to attend a conference on Management and Policy,but I had a couple of days before it started. So the next day, I started with my visits to the museums. started with the Sultan Ahmed mosque also known as the blue mosque which is also known as the blue mosque for its blue interiors. The huge structures are appealing to the eyes.This mosque was constructed in 16th century and lies right opposite to a 6th century wonder called Haiga Sofia.
The next day started with a visit to Madame Trussades wax museum located near Takshim square,which in itself is a historic place. Many revolutions and public processions have marked this venue in the past. Its a place where people gather in huge numbers for celebrations festivals and national events.The museum boasts of some exquisite wax models of some of the finest celebrities of the world across the field of entertainment, sports ,science, history and politics. A nice place to take selfie with near replica of your favorite celeb. Then I went by bus to the naval museum located at Besiktas. On the way you cross the famous Besiktas stadium,home to one of the best football clubs in Turkey. The naval museum boats of naval relics dating back to thousand of years.It is definitely worth a watch.From the port besides the museum I hopped on to the hop-on hop-off boat tour of the Bosphorous strait. Its a very important strait connecting the black sear to the sea of Marmaray and a very busy channel for sea trade.The boat trip included 5 stops including a couple on Asia side. The whole journey lasted for about two hours. The European side was prominently predominated by commercial properties and yachts lining the sea shore whereas the Asian side consisted of beautiful homes with their private waterfronts.I wish to have such a wonderful house. i just got mesmerized by the scenic beauty and relished it till the boat reached the port of Kabatas after which I took a tram on the blue line to go to Gulhane station which was the stop where I alighted to go to the world famous Whirling dervish dance show.It was a great performance in which the story of human being is depicted through dance.Inspired by the works of the famous poet Rumi the show is not worth missing. After that I had local dal chorba(lentil soup) and Turkish rice and went to my hotel to rest.
Istanbul was seeping in and I was already in love with the city.I had a conference to attend the next day.
The next day after attending the conference I went to Rumeli Hisar which is a fort in ruins. The fort is situated at a very strategic location where the Bosphorous strait is the narrowest. With panoramic views spanning almost from the mouth of the Black sea to the sea of Marmaray the Hisar sets for a beautiful backdrop. The cannons and huge minarets adorn the fort.I found myself in traffic while returning by bus as it was a weekend and people were moving out for enjoying themselves across the shores of the strait. I reached in the palatial hotel and got freshened up to go for the Bosphorous dinner cruise, but to my surprise the driver failed to pick me up.There were serious communication lapse between the cruise operating agency and the hotel staff. The operator made it up by offering me the tour on the subsequent day,which I had luckily kept free . To relax myself I went to the pavilion between the two great structures, the blue mosque and Haiga Sofia. The dancing colorful fountains just spread a serene sense of calmness.
The following day after the conference I visited the famous Egyptian spice market. The fragrance of the spices was mesmerizing.After moving around the market I went back to the hotel where luckily this time the driver came to pick me up for the dinner cruise. It was a nice cruise in the Bosphorous where beautifully lit structures were seen. we were treated with a nice 3 course meal including starters, mains and Bakhlawa dessert(famous Turkish dessert). I met an India settled in Canada , who was a good company. We enjoyed different events including belly dance. The cruise ended post midnight after which we were dropped at our hotels.
As the last day arrived I had already started missing the place. Incidentally I had the Big bus tour remaining. The big bus operates 2 tours through the historic city . These tours are guided hop on hop off tours. I got to relive my moments spent in the city through these tours.Finally my time had arrived to leave the city. With a mixed bag of emotions I board my pick up vehicle and which drops me to the airport where my tedious return journey begins. i have a long 8 hr stopover at Dubai……
I really enjoyed the trip to this beautiful,scenic and safe city for visitors.
On the Way to Roopkund
The day was setting and so was my time with Div, only for a couple of weeks though. She had been such a great company for the trip concluded.But we had to move away.It was a self imposed test actually, which I had taken for myself, coz I had serious doubts about my capacity to endure myself. I chose the Roopkund trek which is a moderate level trek and should not have posted that great a challenge for an experienced person like me.But to go there without Div was not a very desirable choice.I however had the motivation of having a very good old friend Devayani, one of my besties actually, with me in the journey.So I was not worried at all.
Anyways, this is not my story…So I ll just cut the crap.
So there I was landing at IGI airport in Delhi after a great flight in the dreamliner, which I was lucky to get. A superfast Delhi metro and an hour later I was in familiar company. Our train departed old Delhi station at around 11 pm and reached Kathgodam at about 5.45 in the morning.
We got opportunity to take a bath at surprisingly reasonably clean bathrooms at the station.It was a much needed refreshment after a couple of days of travelling.
We met a few people who would be our companions for the next week or so. Actually
Chandu was with us in the train.So we had already met him.Karthik, Sandeep, Gayatri and Garima met us in the Tempo traveler which took us from Katgodam to LohaJung
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