A Travel Blog from India


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A Travel Blog from India: August 2013

Friday, 30 August 2013

Skywatch Friday - Last View of Kashmir Valley

No. We did not go on Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir as planned. 

Torrential downpour in the mountains put paid to our plan of weeklong trek covering five lakes. We did not want to take a chance after hearing stories of previous groups who had got stuck in the rain. 

We quickly made Plan B, hired a cab and covered Srinagar, Vaishno Devi Temple near Jammu, Dharamsala and Amritsar. It was a memorable trip.

The vistas on the Srinagar - Jammu highway are very picturesque. This highway must rank as one of the prettiest. ( We could not do Mughal road which is supposed to better) This picture below is the last view of Kashmir valley as you leave the valley and head towards Banihal tunnel. The paddy fields - Kashmiris are rice eaters - interspersed with poplar trees with hills in the background was picture perfect. 

We spent few minutes at this spot which is dedicated to the memory Maj Bhupender Singh who died fighting Militants. 

When you are driving on this highway next time, spend few minutes enjoying the nature.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Back of the Blog - "A Walk in the woods" by Bill Bryson

Back of the blog. Here we will share tit-bits and snippets on India Travel which may be useful for a traveller in India. It may be some new information about the place, a new cuisine one can explore, a bit of history, a funny anecdote or a good travel book. Anything connected to Travel in India. 

When we were packing the bags for the Great lake trek in Kashmir, the first thing we packed was an old copy of Bill Bryson's classic on trekking Appalachian Trail in America. I have read it many times and each time it provides a new insight. On a long trek covering more than 50 KMs in Kashmir, this would be the best companion. It is funny, serious and typical Bill. 

This book has no connection with travelling in India. But it is a story which every trekker feel, wherever they go.......Himalayas, Western ghats.........

Relevant to this date, we in India can definitely relate to the insights provided in the book .

Some pictures of the trail from the Net.......

Here is what Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, the reviewer in New York Time wrote when it was first published in 1998.

"A Walk in the Woods" is a funny book, full of dry humor in the native-American grain. It is also a serious book. Nothing really terrible happened to the author, but by playing on our fears, he captures the ambivalence of our feelings about the wild. We revere it but we're also intimidated. We want to protect animals but we also want to kill them. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but they also "choke off views and leave you muddled and without bearings." He continues: "They make you feel small and confused and vulnerable, like a small child lost in a crowd of strange legs." 

For full review, click here.

NYT Review

Bill takes you through the trail without you sweating a drop. Just pick up a copy from somewhere and read it. You won't regret the time spent with him!


Friday, 16 August 2013

Skywatch Friday - Twin lakes in Himalayas

This week's picture is that of Vishnusar and Kishansar lakes in the Himalayas.
We are off this week for the "Great lakes trek in Kashmir" with India Hikes, the same people with whom we went to Valley of Flowers last year.
We will will be without any communication for a week while trekking in the Himalayas visiting five different lakes.
We will be walking through some lovely landscapes.

We are excited. More about it when we come back on 27 Aug and share our experiences.

Till then, if you want to know more about it, take a look at this link

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek



Monday, 12 August 2013

Back of the blog - Everest @ 60

Back of the blog. Here we will try and share tit-bits and snippets on India Travel which may be useful for a traveller in India. It may be some new information about the place, a new cuisine one can explore, a bit of history, a funny anecdote or a good travel book. Anything connected to Travel in India.

It is Sixty years since Mount Everest was conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. I have been reading a fantastic book by Mike Conefrey on the first ascent of Everest. The book captures the complete account of the ascent, the grit and determination of the whole team in trying circumstances.

Here is a review of the book in "The Guardian"

If you love mountains - who doesn't - then take a look at this lovely video on Mt Everest

Celebrating Everest - AlJazeeera video

Also read the brilliant first hand account of covering ascent of Everest in 1953 by Peter Jackson, the Reuters correspondent.

Assignment Everest

And of course, don't forget to read experiences by famed mountaineers, see outstanding pictures on National Geographic. Published to celebrate fifty years of first ascent in 2003, it is still makes one get goose bumps!

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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Valley of Flowers - View from the sky!

We were browsing the pictures of this trip and suddenly realised that i had not posted the lovely pictures we had taken on our way back from Gangaria to Gobind Ghat.

We flew back from Gangaria in a chopper. The flight exactly took seven minutes to cover! We done the same distance by foot while going and it had taken us 12 hours.

The views from the chopper were awesome. The flight is through Alaknanda valley covered by mist with myriad of waterfalls.

It was a cloudy morning with constant drizzle. In fact the flight was delayed by almost two hours and were not sure whether we would be able to take off. Finally we did around 10 In the morning.

Take a look at these pictures.

The bird has arrived, finally!
Gangaria helipad must one of the most picturesque in the world. It is in a bowl surrounded by cloud kissed mountains. When mist clears, you can see some lovely waterfalls.
We now take off. The tented accommodation of one of the travel agencies. The flight though only for seven minutes is memorable for valley views. I have had similar experience while flying in the Siang valley of Arunachal Pradesh.

The first glimpse of Gobind Ghat
We come closer....
The milky waters of Alakananda
Safely landed...... By the way, the helipad has been washed away in recent floods.
If one does not want to trek back, taking a chopper is a good option. You can book ticket in Gangaria. It will give a different experience while saving time. But the weather being fickle, one need to keep a buffer day if planning to come by chopper. 

For other posts on Valley of Flowers Trek, please click on the following link.

Valley Of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Monsoon in India - Celebration of Transformation!

Monsoon brings rain to the Indian Subcontinent. 

The dried and parched land of this tropical country get a thorough washing by torrential rains. It is the time of transformation, rejuvenation. The rains bring smile on the face of Indian farmer who is largely dependent on rain gods for his survival. The rivers and streams swell, the mountains are suddenly bedecked with myriad waterfalls. 

It is time to celebrate the rain gods.

Who else is better suited to showcase Indian monsoon than Sandesh Kadur? The award winning filmmaker and photographer captures spectacular images of Indian monsoon in the mountains......from Meghalaya to Malnad. 

Take look at this photo feature by him and enjoy the monsoon melange across the country. Please click on the link below.

Monsoon - A celebration of Transformation

For experiencing monsoon in India - road trips, treks, waterfalls etc - you may take a look at this post in this blog which has all details.

Celebrating Indian Monsoon - A List!

So what are you waiting for? Go and experience the Monsoon!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Skywatch Friday - Temple Chariot @ Udupi, South India

The temple chariots in Indian temples are always huge. Normally, the chariots get decorated during the important festivals.

On one of the numerous occassions we have been to the temple town of Udupi, a festival was being celebrated. It was spring and the sky was clear. The chariot was decorated and was colourful. We clicked the picture with the turret or Kalasha towering into the blue sky.

If you want to explore Udupi, you may look this post in this blog.

Karavali Vistas II - Udupi, Mangalore and Bekal


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Road Trip Vignettes - The Paddy fields and a Prayer wall

Pluses of a road trip is the freedom it gives to enjoy the journey at your own pace. Many times we have noticed that journeys are more interesting than the actual destination itself. When these vignettes are captured on the lens, they remain cherished memories forever. We will share some of these in our blog and hope you like it.

We never expected beautiful vistas of greenery when we drove from Melkote to Madikeri. 

The temple town of Melkote is a small little town rich with history and is well known for the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The landscape of this place with lovely valley and undulating topography is an eye candy, especially after the rains.

After a brief halt in Melkote we drove to Madikeri via K R Nagar. This stretch between Melkote to K R Nagar was a big surprise. Lush green fields, backwaters of Krishnaraja Sagar Dam makes it pleasant drive. 

The Mysore - Hassan highway near K R Nagar is surrounded by paddy fields on either side. This place is known as "Rice bowl" of Karnataka. When we were cruising on this excellent highway we stopped when we noticed this picture postcard landscape. 

The small prayer wall with white-green colour was a nice complement to the green around and the cloudy sky above.