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Monday, April 11, 2016

Mukteshwar Almora Binsar Nanital

To reach to the New Delhi railway station at 6 am, our cab was booked by kavita at 4:45 am (I never take the pain of booking Ola, Uber!). Guggu Singh got up happily at 4 singing wheels on the bus goes round and round, round and... She starts citing rhymes when she gets eternal happiness! Anyways, we boarded in train at right time after listening to the rhymes coming out of guggu's happy soul all the way. Train started at 6 am and reached kathgodam station around 11:30 am. Again the happy excited soul screamed "Mountain aa gaya na... Guggua ka wait kar raha tha na.."


We had already booked the cab for the journey from Kathgodam to Mukteshwar. I would suggest to do it in advance if you are coming on long week ends. It was a real heavy rush despite holi. There are so many cab vendors you can find on net in haldwani/kathgodam. Price varies from 1200 to 1800. Road is really nice from Kathgodam to Mukteshwar via bheemtal with lush green forest. Without any break it took around 2 hours to reach to the destination. We were in our room at 2PM. There are so many hotels/resorts/home stay in Mukteshwar. We had booked Krishna Orchard and view from the room is awesome. You can see Himalaya lying on your bed:

                                          VIEW FROM ROOM: KRISHNA ORCHARD
In the evening we visited Shiva Temple, Choli ki Jaali, Himalay Darshan point etc.

                                          SHIVA TEMPLE, MUKTESHWAR

                                           CHOLI KI JAALI, MUKTESHWAR

Next morning it was holi so we decided to start for Almora in Second half of the day. We played holi and it was worth playing holi there. Real holi is still there in the mountains, here in the city or plains it has lost its shine.

Road to Almora through IVRI is not that good but forest is really dense. Leopards are seen very often.Our driver drove us through the forest and it was amazing traveling through such a nice place. Had tea at the bank of kosi river and reached Almora around 3:30 pm. Our resort- Imperial height was at the edge of cliff so you can see the whole city from there. Kaasar devi temple was also very nearby so we decided to trek 1 km in the evening. This place is one of the three most conducive places in the world for meditation. Vivekananda also came here in 1890s.

                                         ALMORA FROM KASAR DEVI TEMPLE

                                           AT A DHABA IN ALMORA


Next morning we reached to Binsar. This place we chose just to rest in the lap of nature. So, we chose our resort also away from city. We stayed there in Clark Inn.

                                           AT BINSAR

Binsar is a very quite place. Nature is at its best here. On the way from Almora to Nainital visited the temple of Neem Karoli Baba which has become so popular after Steve Jobs and Mark Zukerberg visit.

                                          NEEM KAROLI BABA TEMPLE

Next day we came to nainital to stay overnight as our return train was from kathgodam and this is nearest hill-station.

                                                                       NAINITAL

By 3:30PM shatabdi we were back to the polluted zone again!

Travel Advise:

Mukteshwar: Dont expect it a town. A market with 7-8 shops- thats all. Plenty of hotels, resorts so you can book after coming.

Almora: Do visit some ancient temples of shiva. I could not go because of lack of information.

Neem karoli baba temple is nearly 20km from Nainital and its located in a green valley with river bank.

You will have to book cab for even a small distance so plan accordingly.






Monday, January 14, 2013

Manali


Visiting manali in such a chilly weather is like finding an oasis for myself in the midst of snow covered mountains. Wind touching the open face was cruel enough to tremble the whole body, but I enjoyed this shivering.

FROM ROOM:



Vyas river follows the same route in mountains what we follow to reach Manali. It makes the whole journey so beautiful that you get to see land, water, mountain and sky all at the same time.

VYAS RIVER:



   Manali has got many temples made of wood for tourist attractions. I loved the Hidimba Temple most. Mainly because of dense devdar trees under which the temple is located.

HIDIMBA TEMPLE:


Unfortunately we couldn't make it to Rohtang because it was closed due to heavy snow fall. May be I will cover this while travelling to Leh :) Solang valley was covered with white snow. It has so many snow sports for you. You can ride snow bikes, do skiing and yes the most thrilling paragliding. I would suggest everybody to try it once. You fear only while taking off, once you are in the air under the blue sky and surrounded by snow, snow and only snow- it feels amazing. This feeling stays in the heart for the whole life.

PARAGLIDING IN SOLANG VALLEY:


SNOW SCOOTER IN SOLANG:


Nearby Manali, Few places like Kullu, Naggar etc has also got very natural beauty. Naggar castle has been shooting place for many of the bollywood movies. At 81 km from Manali, Manikarn is there where you can see hot water spring and Gurudwara at such a peaceful place.

VIEW FROM NAGGAR CASTLE:


MANIKARN:


With a warm feeling we said good bye to Manali and promised it to see its green beauty again when apple trees would be laden with fruits.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Singapore


In August i got a 'planned chance' to visit Singapore. Planned because my wife was going anyways on official trip and chance because she asked me to come if i am willing.

Journey begun early in the morning with the book Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal which i bought on jantar-mantar while trying to participate in Anna Hazare movement being a great patriot ;) In the start i was bit shy to open a hindi book in flight when some dude with Ray Ban is fiddling with his i-phone on the next seat. I pretended to be in fond memory of the nation leaving behind but my conscience was kicking me continuously  for not opening the book in turn not respecting the mother tongue. In the war of internal contradiction, good won over bad and the 'Swaraj' suddenly came into existence right in front of my eyes. I was happy from within and smile on the face was best proof of that.

The book is really nice to understand the problems and its causes at the root level of governance (Except at few places). I was enjoying the book till a voice interrupted me... sahi kaam kar rahe hain ye log...I said yes. After some more conversation it was clear that by the grace of almighty i was sitting with a great future numerologist and astrologist.

Our flight landed in Singapore around 3 pm. Mate said- It would be an honor to him if he could be of any use for such a complex journey I am travelling on. Normal human call it life, he smiled.


I traveled through the road full of button sized eyes, silky hair and red cheeks. Cab driver's face clearly showed his Indian origin but when i inquired, he replied I am singaporian sir not Indian. I didn't have courage to repeat the same question.

At night we visited Marina bay. From the top, the view is breathtaking. Its like stars have come down to earth and twinkling right in front of you. Reflection of esplanade on the river, Singapore Flyer, Clarke quay- all look so amazing from here. From Marina Bay we headed to Little India and yes Mustafa centre- Store that holds from needle to ship- everything you need, everything you can think of.




Next day I visited universal studio in sentosa and explored the whole Sentosa. I would recommend not to miss 'Songs of the sea' show in sentosa. Its a life time experience. With the help of laser and water they show 3D picture in the air. Do see it when you visit Singapore.




In my view, Singapore is a symbol of human intelligence and creativity. Everything here is quite artificial yet very natural. No mountain, no forest- still so beautiful.

10 Places to Visit:

1. Marina Bay Sands
2. Little India
3. China Town
4. Singapore Flyer
5. Clarke Quay
6. Sentosa- Never miss "Songs of the Sea"
7. Merlion
8. Night Safari
9. Botanic Garden
10. Bintan (Its small island in Indonesia. Good place to relax. Book ferry from Singapore to reach there.)

Hotels:

Check rating from tripadvisor and booking.com is a good site to book the hotel.