Travelothon Story Contest 2017

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The Dream Trip – Leh Ladakh

How to reach:

  1. Drive to Leh from Kashmir valley via Kargil, which is called Srinagr – Leh Highway  (aprx 440kms). Road closes from mid November and reopens by early June.
  2. Drive to Leh from Manali via Serchu and is called Manali – Leh Highway (aprx 473kms). Road closes from from midNovember and reopens by early June.
  3. Fly in and out of Leh.

Travel time:

Road Trip – Both routes would take a minimum of 2 days and will also depend on the traffic and halts taken.

Flight – we have taken flight for both ways. It takes almost 2 hours/way.

Permits:

Indian Nationals do not require permits, but are required to get permit for some of the restricted areas like Tsomoriri, Tsokar and Pangong Lakes, Dhahanu and Nubra Valley, which can be obtained from District Magistrate, Leh, through Travel Agents at Leh.

Common Health issues:

Headache, Nausea / vomiting, giddiness, constipation, breathlessness. It is always better to relax and do nothing the day you arrive, especially if you fly down. This will help you get accustomed to the weather. Do not make a rush trip.

Medicines

I usually prefer Ayurvedic medicines rather that Allopathic. As oxygen level is low, so you feel Mountain sickness, Headache and all.

1. Kapur (Camphor) : It’s a good source of Oxygen, Rap Kapur in your hanky/stole/scarf and inhale Kapur (Camphor) properly. It helps to increase your altitude gradually, and balance ascent with rest to help your body acclimatize.

2. Crocin : For body pain/Fever

3. Cardamom (elaichi) : for vomit sensation

4. Cloves (Laung) : for vomit sensation

5. Electoral (ORS) : For Hydration

6. UV protection Sun Glasses

7. Sun block cream – should have a good SPF rating like 45+

8. Lip balm and Moisturizer / Cold cream (Boro Plus/ Boroline)

Now I am going to elaborate about my journey:

Day 1 : Leh

Day 1 : Visited Leh Local

Leh Palace : The palace is one of the major attractions here.The palace was built in 17th century by Tashi Namgyal and is now dilapidated and deserted.It was the home of the royal family until they were exiled to Stok in the 1830s.Above the palace,at the top of Namgyal peak,is the Victory Tower,built to commemorate Ladakh’s victory over the Balti-Kashmir armies in the early 16th century.

Shanti Stupa: It was built by Japanese order and was opened by Dalai Lama in 1985. From the top,one can view the exotic locales nearby.The Stupa is located at a distance of 3km from the Fort road.

Leh Market: Small/Compact market is very beautiful. You can enjoy shopping for Leh traditional wearing.

Day 2:  Pangong Tso

Day 2 : Visited Pangong

We started early around 8 AM for Pangong Lake

This the most amazing lake. Few bollywood movies have been shot there, like 3 Idiot’s climax scene. I have added few pictures with this article. The Lake has surrounded by barren hills with the backdrop of the snow capped mountains this lake makes an ideal vacation spot.

The crystal clear water and blue colour of the lake will make you fall in love with this place. Another interesting thing about this lake is that this lake was once a popular source of salt. Don’t miss a chance to explore this lake while on your trip from Delhi to ladakh.

Overnight I stayed in camp and enjoyed bonfire, music and waves of beautiful lake.

I reached on 15th -Aug -2017(Tuesday), Taken flight from Delhi to Leh. We reached around 11AM and then take rest in hotel till 4PM.

After 4PM, we have visited local area in Leh: Hemis, Shey, palace, local market and Shanti Stupa.

Day 3:  Leh

Day 3: Back to Leh from Pangong

Back to Leh, prepare Maggie and Tea for snacks and had it. I slept in evening and wake around 10PM to have dinner. I take rest over night the same.

Day 4: Nubra Valley

Day 4: Visited Nubra

Most of you might have heard about the beauty of this destination. Nubra valley is famous among the tourist around the world for its scenic beauty. This magnificent valley lies 50 km north of Leh where the rivers, Shyok and Siachen and separates Ladakh from Karakoram Ranges.

The ultra wide scenes, humongous mountain confronts, exquisite trails, the wide assortment of hues and melodic Shyok stream streaming middle the valley will blow your mind at first sight. The real fascination of an excursion to Nubra Valley is the most noteworthy motorable road, Khardung La Pass Being at a lower height than Leh at a normal elevation of close to 18500 Feet .

Khardung La Pass : The pass is another essential door to Siachen Glacier. A troop of around 10,000 stallions and camels explored this street every year on their approach to Kashgar in Central Asia. The pass is deliberately essential as a result of the strained Indo-China connection. Several bikers take this street day by day.

Dikshit: this is the oldest and largest monastery in Nubra valley, belonging to Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Day 5: Leh

Day 5: Back to Leh

Back to Leh in evening and taken rest for whole night.

Day 6: Leh

Day 6: Sight Seeing in Leh

Hall of Fame: Don’t forget to visit this Museum.

The Hall of Fame, situated close to the Leh Airfiled, is an exhibition hall developed and kept up by the Indian Army in the memory of the warriors who had lost their lives amid the Indo-Pak wars.It is additionally named as a remembrance for the war saints. This building comprises of two stories. There are relics of different wars for the most part Kargil war, like the weapons utilized amid the war and some imperative archives, identified with the same.

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib: Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is located 25 miles from Leh in Ladakh area in Jammu and Kashmir. This manage by Army only. The best part is, Langar is very tasty

Sangam Point: The meeting point of the Indus and Zanskar is known as the Sangam Point. As the water of the Indus River is very warm and the Zanskar is frozen, this becomes an amazing sight for the onlookers. The two rivers meet at this point and then flows to Pakistan. The conevergence of these rivers takes place at a distance of 30 km west of Leh.

Leh Market: Leh market is small but very beautiful. you can have coffee/Food etc and its good for shopping.

Day 7: Back to Delhi

Reached Delhi, but don’t want to leave beautiful Place Ladakh.

I have great experience with this trip. The trip was awesome.

Lavasa – A Perfect Monsoon Weekend Destination

The Petrichor has the captivating power to spellbind me. After coming to Pune, I realized that nature has various forms to entice me. And, this season is just incredible to explore the nature around Pune. Lavasa is a small township stylistically based on the Italian town Portofino, cuddled in the foothills, and a quick drive from Pune and Mumbai.

Mountains calling

That evening, brewing the coffee cup in mess, we decide to go to Lavasa the very next morning. It was a Sunday morning, 9 am, and we all were delighted to embark our bike trip to Lavasa. We rode off with the help of google navigator, one after another, on three bikes. We took a halt in between (around 17 km from Lavasa) just to serve our selfie-mania. It was a breathtaking view of hills all around. The weather was a bit cloudy, and the breeze was cold, I absolutely enjoyed every bit of the brush of the wind against my cheeks.

Bike trip

Selfie mania

Then we moved ahead. Pleasant rain started near Temghar Dam, we kept driving, and the view was beautiful. There were a lot of “bhutta-walas,” (roasted corns on the cob), and a lot of people were enjoying the tangy bhuttas. A lot of mango trees on the way, having ripe mangoes, suggested it was June end already. As we crossed the Dam area, the roads took sharp curves, and we zoomed on the steeped roads to reach Lavasa in the soft rain which grew thick in some time. We halted at a tea point again to grab some delicacies. We could see the valley from the tea point and stood at the corner to observe and absorb the majesty. As we kept reaching up to the height, the rain grew more and more deluge. I was shivering, so were all, because of the windy rainfall. The feeling was just marvelous. We took a cessation and chuckled in the lap of nature in the wet jackets. We reached Lavasa at around 1 pm.

Lavasa Lake

A single road and numerous colorful buildings greeted us. We posed at the lake and enjoyed a live singer, sitting at the lakeside. We were famished and devoured delicious “Pav-Bhaji” and coffee at one the stalls. Bored of the daily mess food, this was a tantalizing deal, and I ordered extra pav to gratify my appetite. It was already 6:30 pm when we started back with the soft rains over us. In the dark, we rode back on the steep turns, and it was chilly by then. We reached back around 9:30 pm only to stop at our one of the favorite eat-outs near the college. We ordered hot cups of cutting tea and had our dinner at Rasoi. We reached back at our college after having our meal around 10:30 pm, which is the way before ‘in-time’ for a weekend which is 11:30 pm. Yes, we were not supposed to be out of campus post 11:30 pm on weekends without permission of authorities. Yes, I know it is sad! Being in Pune.

The Group on the way
Absorb what all you can

The greenery refreshed me from within, a much-needed break, a wholesome outing, and fed me with new energy and doctrines to move forward. It was an excellent monsoon long drive I would suggest all to traverse.

Mesmerizing Mountains

Beach Trek Gokarna

Beach trek : Gokarna->Gokarna beach->Kudle beach->Om beach->Half moon beach->Paradise beach->Bellikan

Gokarna is know as temple town and famous for Mahabaleshwara temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva also called as Athmalinga. Gokarna is also famous for beautiful beaches. There are five beaches in Gokarna.

Gokarna Beach:

Gokarna beach is very famous among pilgrims since the beach is very near to Mahabaleshwara temple.We started our trek from Gokarna beach. After spending some time on the beach we searched for the way towards kudle beach but we didnt find any way . We enquired about the same with the police beach guard. She said there is a way near Ganesha temple which takes us to kudle beach.There are may autos which takes us to kudle beach. As were on trek we walked from Gokarna beach to Kudle beach.

Within few minutes of our trek we missed our way and very useful information is that google maps wont help us here. We asked one person to guide us way to kudle beach. He said that there is no such beach here, there is only beach called Gokarna beach, visit that and go home. We were like what, thinking okay Mr.Google map thanks for information. We started to walk back, again we asked a lady she guided us correct way to kudle beach.

Follow the road path to reach kudle beach

View of beach on the way to kudle beach

On the way there are few small hills we climbed one of them

View from the hill..

From the auto drop point walk downwards to reach kudle beach.

 

Kudle beach

Kudle beach is awesome place for leisure there are many shacks beside the beach and also few resorts and restuarants. To enter the beach we have to step on few small rocks which are covered by sand and waves splash through. Very pleasant and calm sea. After spending some on the beach we started towards OM beach. We have to trek up small hill and follow the road path to reach OM-beach.

 

 

view on the way to OM beach

 

Om beach

Om beach was very much crowded when we reached. There were hotels,resorts,shacks in this beach too but were limited. We found this place very dirty compared to other beach. When we entered we were searching for OM symbol. We were able to identity but not exact view. We brought enough water and juice and continued our trek.We walked from one end to other end of OM beach on sand and again we have to leave sand and climb hill to reach half moon beach.

From the hill we can get best view of OM beach and we were happy looking at the beach. As were getting late and have to cover 2 more beach we started to trek after few min of rest. We can observe there are many foot paths on the way to reach half moon beach . We can follow any path that will take us to same path at one point. Just follow the paths. At one point we were stuck as we found three ways and were confused to select which path. After few minutes another gang of people crossed and we followed them then came to know all three ways meet at one point.

  

Half Moon Beach

Such a beautiful, calm and clean beach. We hardly found 5 to 8 people in the beach. We spent some time in the beach. suddenly it started to rain , there were few huts where we took shelter. It was getting late for us , we have to cover one more beach and reach back to hotel. So we started to walk towards paradise beach.

When we crossed those huts we just saw few big rocks hiding the other side. We thought we have to cross this rock to reach next beach. It was slippery due to rain. As soon we stepped into rocks 2 guys came our opposite way and we stood aside. They asked way to half moon beach , we guided them and asked how far is the paradise beach they said it took them 40 minutes and rocks were slippery its difficult to cross.

Again it started to rain , we were blank due to their words. We went back to the hut and was waiting rain to stop completely. After rain stopped we walked towards paradise. When we crossed that big rock, found the hidden secret its nothing but rock beach. We have to walk on the rock to reach next beach. There were so many crabs , shells, insects , many more and rocks were slippery. We took more time to cross, slipped, fell down and got hurt too but it was great experience.

 

 

After crossing those rocks again there a hill , this time it was bit difficult due to rain. Water flowing and was very much slippery.

  

Even here we found 4 ways and thinking this all will take us to same path we took one way and walked that was not right path , there were so many bushes grown on that path so we came back and took another way. We walked walked walked so long taking different ways at one point we didn’t find any way to go ahead other than a rock which was covered by tree branches and bushes where even rain water was flowing. Only thought came in our mind was  we three girls lost on the way between Half moon beach and paradise beach.

If we want to go back , we have to walk too long and also we don’t know the way as we selected ways by inky pinky ponky method.

Finally we decided to get down from that rock holding tree branches.  There were only insects all over and red color ants which got stick to our hands and legs we were not able to take them off as we were holding branches to get down. To our surprise we were on the right path and we reach paradise beach.

Paradise beach

Paradise beach is nothing but heaven , its just a awesome beach and here too we didnt found many people. There were only few around 5 to 10. We felt relaxed and sat there few minutes after washing all dirt. Again we saw hill which we have to cross to end our trek. There is no way to go other than climbing the hill. We started to trek but this time it was not slippery and single way through out to reach Bellikan. Finally we reached Bellikan and took auto back to Gokarna.

  

Kalsubai Trek

Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra and one of the most sort after treks. So when we had planned our trek for Kalsubai, I was very excited and up for it. We were group of 20 people who were looking forward to it.

We started our journey on Saturday night from Thane station by boarding 11:34pm slow local to Kasara where our transport was waiting which would take us to Bari Village which is the base for Kalsubai trek. Local was little crowded at Thane but as it reached Dombivli we got seats and after sometime we realized most of the guys in train were up for some or other trekking. A group we met was going for Harishchandragadh trek.

We got down at Kasara at around 1:45am and it was raining like cats and dogs at that time. I was worried at that moment hoping rain doesn’t play spoil sport in our trek in morning. We completed our first head count and moved towards our transport which was kind of mini Vans we normally get for such treks. The base village was somewhat 80 odd km from Kasara station and we reached there by 3:15am. There was a small house where we rested for till around 4:30am and later having breakfast of Poha and Tea started our trek around 5:00am. We kept unwanted things in our Vans itself which helped lighting our backpacks.

Trek starts by crossing small stream of water which has farming land around of most of the villagers. It was drizzling when we started, which was not helping our cause. Initial 20% of the trek is easy where you just have to cross rocks, muddy tracks and shrubs. Path for the trek is laid out so very well that it is kind of impossible to get lost.

I would advise you to wear good quality sports/trek shoes for this trek as during rain, path gets very slippery and needs some good grip for safety. There are various small shacks build up by villagers throughout the trek where you can re-energize yourself but I would advise you to carry at least 2litres of water per head and energy drinks to avoid cramps.

Once you reach around 50% of the trek comes one of the difficult part which is climbing up an iron ladder. It is an extremely tricky part of the trek which can prove fatal. Ladders are at an angle of around 70degrees, so you need to be extremely cautious. It took us around 4hours to reach the peak of the trek which included resting at regular intervals. At the top you have small temple of Kalsubai. The view from top is extravagantly awesome, it just mesmerizes you in its beauty and leaves you awestruck the whole time you are at the top. Unforgettable experience was of the lightning being struck just a feet away from us which left me shocked and surprized at the same time. After clicking some memorable photos and cherishing beauty of Mother Nature, we started descend around 9:45am.

You need to be extra cautious and careful while descending as one wrong foot can be dangerous. It took us around 2.5hrs to reach our base where we had our Vans parked. We cleaned ourselves by using water from hand pump and changed to clean and dry clothes as it was raining during our whole trek. We had our lunch at the same place which included roti, veg, dal and rice. We left the base village around 3pm along with some wonderful memories and friends with whom I had trek which will always be cherished (Our Gang below. You guys rock).

An Eventide at Sula Vineyards Nashik

Nashik is near Pune and famous from grape farms and of course Sula Vineyards. Being in Pune or Nashik, you can’t miss this weekend destination for some fine dine and wine. It can be a day’s trip but hazy evenings and gloomy sky anyone would not want to miss. So was the case with me!

We started in the morning on Saturday and traveled a distance of 210 Km. Sula Vineyard provides one with a luxurious stay, but we got Army Mess booked. Yes, we were students, and we had limited budget for this awesome trip. We freshened up and gulped some tasty food and moved forward towards our destination and we were all thrilled and excited.

Country’s leading manufacturers of wines, Sula vineyards are positioned beautifully amid the mesmerizing hills of Nashik. The Vineyards offers a different and peaceful yet luxurious experience. They have the winery, and we went for a tour followed by wine tasting session. During the session, we could see the big barrels and the processing of grapes to convert them into sparkling water. Monsoon weather is one of the best whether to visit the Vineyards along with on Sula Fest, India’s one of the most popular fest where we could enjoy to the core. The winery tour and wine tasting sessions were informative as the staff shared insightful information.

Post the session, we went up to sit in the open, but the place was crowded. We came back downstairs and sat in the open area outside amid beautiful ambiance. We ordered some snacks and wines. Nachos and chips were delicious. The haze was all around. The dusk suddenly seemed exotic, and the fairy lights in the sitting area over the plants made us drool over the mesmerizing setup.

We all occupied one table and sat there for long. We had conversations heartily and enjoyed every bit of the atmosphere soaked in the evening dusk silently running into the night. All I could think of the place and the situation,
Evening soaked in hazed glares and heart to heart conversations.
Those unstable steps and sparkling and sprinkling wine in hand,
Made the surroundings more happening,
All I could do was fly high and Feel good.

The Group at Sula Vineyards

As the time passed and a pleasurable time spent with friends away from chaos in the tranquility of the circle, and, yes, the ambiance was just perfect for the thoughts in my heart:
Eyes were saying a lot, which I could never
The sparkling fluid did, what I couldn’t ever
I missed you at the very moment, wished you to be there
This feeling would stay with me, now and forever

On the way back we went to Neopolitan Pizza to grab the buffet to gratify our hunger with a tasty feast. A good restaurant in decent spending, we had salad, soups, pasta, garlic bread, different kinds of pizza and dessert was a delicious brownie. We all were full but wanted to go back to the yards.