Tag Archives: Tourism

Travel Diaries: Paragliding at Bir-Billing

Following my guru Bhaskar ji’s footsteps, I tried to live tweet my two day trip to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj last weekend.

Tweets in chronological order follow:

And here’s the link to the shortened video 🙂

Read about my trip to Sikkim, here.
Relive my whitewater rafting experience at Rishikesh, here.

Know more about the trek to the mightly Velliangiri peak, here.

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Travel Diaries: Whitewater Rafting at Rishikesh

Memories are strange. At times, you find yourself under the Lockhart Memory Charm, not being able to recollect memories even from the recent past. There are other memories from 10, 15, even 20 years ago which stay crystal clear in your mind, as if it had occurred yesterday.

I have one such memory from 20 years ago, when I was a 5 year old kid. We had gone to Haridwar for the first time then. I remember taking a dip in the mighty Ganges, tightly clinging on to my uncle with one hand and holding on to the steel ropes with the other. The temperature of Haridwar and that of the Ganges was as contrasting as CSK’s and MI’s performances in IPL games. Ma Ganga was freezing cold. I remember my body and teeth shivering even 20 minutes after the ordeal I had with Her. I vaguely remember walking across Ram/Laxman Jhula, feeling accomplished after crossing them, as if I had conquered the mighty Velliangiri hills (Of course, I was a 5 year old then :P). Well, that was 20 years ago.

Last week, I went to Rishikesh again, this time with a set of 6 colleagues-turned-friends, mainly for whitewater rafting.

A lot can happen over lunch. Our two day trip to the adventure capital of India (yes, that’s what Wikipedia calls Rishikesh) materialized during one of our lunch sessions between Office. Over the past one year of my stay here in NCR, I’ve heard a lot of people talk a lot of good things about whitewater rafting in Rishikesh. So when Parkavi Vasan (referred to as “Paaru” going forward) initiated talks about a two day trip to Rishikesh, I was more than game for it.

Nothing about the trip was planned, apart from the onward train from Delhi to Haridwar. I quote my Guru Bhaskar NH, when I say, “If you want to see the real India, travel in a sleeper class train”. We reached Haridwar Junction, early in the morning.

At Haridwar Junstion

At Haridwar Junstion

The roads were deserted and the climate soothing and breezy, with a sense of holiness attached to the Holy city. Tour Managers Adwait and Sumeet found us a makeshift room near the banks of the Ganges.

Streets of Haridwar

Streets of Haridwar

Ganga hadn’t changed much in 20 years; it was as cold and mighty. All of us barring Lijo took a dip in the Holy river.

Ganga, at Haridwar

Ganga, at Haridwar

Manasa Devi Temple was an enjoyable climb of 30-45 minutes, barring the heat, which had set in by then.

View from Manasa Devi

View from Manasa Devi

After munching piping hot Puri with Aloo and Choley for brunch, we left for Rishikesh, which is an hour’s drive from Haridwar.

Hot afternoon at Hardiwar, with Shyam

Hot afternoon at Hardiwar, with Shyam

At Rishikesh, our tour managers started scouting for the tourist agency guys, to book a package for us. We wanted to take a “Camping + Rafting” package which is generally the most sought after package for visiting tourists. There are a lot of other things one could do at Rishikesh – kayaking, rock climbing, flying fox (800m journey on a rope between two cliffs, with Ganges flowing 80 meter below you), among others.

The tourist agency guy took us to a horrible place initially – a nothing place with our tent facing a small hill, with Ganga nowhere to be seen. I was like, “My two colleges (Amrita and IIM Shillong) offered better views than this!” Others were of the same opinion too. So we ditched that guy and started scouting for camps on our own. Deepanshu, Adwait and Sumeet managed to find a beautiful camp, river facing and breezy.

We spent most of the evening playing in the waters and lazing around within the camp premises. It was a great setting. Hundreds of tents on the banks of the river, white sand, cool breeze and a breathtaking view. Remember those “Diu tourism” ads? Something like that. Welcome break from the drudgery of daily life and the noise of the cities. I didn’t want the clock to tick. Sitting there on a chair outside my tent, facing the river, I let my thoughts take over and felt at ease with myself. It was a good feeling.

Outside our tent, Rishikesh

Outside our tent, Rishikesh

Meanwhile, the likes of Lijo, Shyam, Sumeet and Deepanshu were having a ball in the waters, doing some solid stunts. Adwait was showing off his fitness and gymming skills by doing “push-ups” in the water.

At the waters outside our tent

At the waters outside our tent

While the only thing Paaru was doing was shuffling his hair all the time and clicking selfies. Reliable sources reveal he clicked at least 400 selfies of just himself in the tour span of two days.

One of Paaru's 400 selfies of the trip

One of Paaru’s 400 selfies of the trip

There was enough room for all seven of us to sleep in the same tent. The photo session continued in the morning too.

Rishikesh!

Rishikesh!

We had booked for a morning rafting session. We had chosen the 18 km package, which had 9 rapids (part of the river where the waves are high, irregular and fast).

I had to deal with a lot of butterflies in my stomach just before our rafting begun. I had heard stories about the boat capsizing in between a rapid and had visualized that happening to our boat. Our instructor’s introduction didn’t help my cause in any way. He warned us that the waters here were mighty and dangerous and if we didn’t follow his instructions to the word, there were chances our boat would capsize.

At Shivpuri, our starting point

At Shivpuri, our starting point

I kept chanting the “Darr kea age Jeet hai” thing in my mind to ease things up.

Just before the ride!

Just before the ride!

For the first 3-5 minutes when we were riding on still waters, our Instructor trained us to the different commands he would be chanting throughout our journey.

Initial stretch

Initial stretch

There are, I came to know, 4 different grades of rapids. Our first rapid was a Grade I rapid and was supposed to be easy to negotiate. We failed. Our motions were not synchronized and the waters took control of us rather than the other way round. We were pushed to the shore and had to start all over again. This time, we successfully surpassed the Grade I rapid.

Grade I rapid, near our camp

Grade I rapid, near our camp

I was just thinking what Grade IV rapids would have on offer.

When the waters were calm!

When the waters were calm!

The second rapid was Grade III and the most thrilling of them all, I realized later. I can’t quite put down that experience in words. My mind went blank. I closed my eyes out of fear, and realized water splashing onto me from all directions. All of us were shouting our lungs out. Then a lot of other things happened and finally we were out of the rapid, onto the still waters. Our instructor shouted “Ganga maiyya kiiiiiii” and we screamed “Jaiiii” in unison. Somewhere in that rapid, my fears drowned and I felt liberated. We came across a few rapids which were trickier, faster and narrower that that one, but now that my fears were conquered, they were all completely enjoyable. Each of those rapids apparently have names too. Roller Coaster, Hilton, Golf Course, Double Trouble and Club house are few names I can recollect now.

One from the internet

One from the internet

We went to a nearby Gurudwara in the evening. My first. Felt good. They offered free food too. That mess hall reminded me of my Amrita mess and the Amrita culture of respecting food above all else.

“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

Cheers to more such trips with awesome set of people.

The Sikkim Trip 2014

“If fate doesn’t make you laugh, you just don’t get the joke” – Karla, in Shantaram.

Day 0

On a lazy afternoon, Ramprasad and I were strolling through the second floor corridor sipping hot coffee from the college canteen when we bumped into Gourav Sachdeva (Saddy) and Vaibhav Annam (Annam). I came to know that a group of six people were about to leave on a 4-day trip to Sikkim, in the next 45 minutes. Annam asked me if I were game to join them. With an extended weekend with only one class in the coming four days, the offer was too good to resist. I joined them as the seventh member in the trip.

Karla’s lines from Shantaram (mentioned above) struck me immediately. Had Ram and I gone to have coffee 10 minutes earlier or later, I would probably have missed out on the trip.

And so we began “The Sikkim Trip 2014” at 5 pm from IIM Shillong campus premises. A Maruti Ertiga carried us to Guwahati Railway Station, in time for us to catch the Kanchanjunga Express at 10 pm. En route to the railway station, we halted for dinner at Makhan Bhog Palace, which serves top-class authentic veg food at affordable prices. Highly recommended for people living in and around Guwahati.

The seven of us (including Photographer Annam)

The seven of us (including Photographer Annam)

Day 1

Kanchanjunga Express reached Siliguri (New Jalpaiguri) early in the morning where a driver from Sunflower Tours and Travels was awaiting our arrival. The journey from Siliguri to Gangtok (113 km) takes around four and a half hours by road. After breaking for a tiffin at Hotel Hi-way, located an hour’s distance from Siliguri, we were well on our way to Gangtok, oblivious to what was coming up for us.

Mid-way through the Siliguri-Gangtok journey, we were caught in a traffic jam that Bangalore denizens could be proud of. Remember the Padayappa climax scene where tens of hundreds of vehicles are shown in an aerial shot when Thalaivar says, “Idhu chumma trailer dhaan ma!” ? Something similar to that. An army truck had collided head on with a lorry, causing the commotion and the jam. When Saddy and Annam went to the accident spot with their DSLR, the locals mistook them to be people from the press. One guy even gave a short interview to Annam. 😛

We reached the State Capital late in the afternoon. Gangtok paints a very good first impression on the visitor – neat litter-free roads, fresh cold air, breathtaking views and well maintained footpaths on either side of the road. We checked into Hotel Magnolia, a decent hotel with very ordinary service. The Hotel was located pretty close to MG Marg, the happening area of the city. After a quick bath in ice-cold water, it took us a 5 minute drive in the taxi to reach the Gangtok ropeway.

The ropeway was similar to the ones I had been to in Mussoorie and Dehradun, offering a good view of the roads and settlements beneath us.

Gangtok ropeway

Gangtok ropeway

A local monastery at walking distance from the ropeway was our next destination. We spent a good half hour there and then headed straight to MG Marg in search of good food. I noticed that the taxi wallahs in Gangtok (unlike in Shillong) do not accommodate more than 4 people. They also follow a fixed price. Here in Shillong, it is possible that there are already 6 people in a Maruti 800 and the driver still stops the car to accommodate more people.

MG Marg is easily the best area in Gangtok. Being the central market of the city, it has restaurants, shopping complexes and gift shops. It is a no vehicle zone, which makes it a walker’s paradise. The cool breeze and zero vehicle noise makes it an awesome hangout place.

Gangtok like most cities in this part of the world, sleeps very early.

View more pictures of MG Marg, Ropeway and the local monastery, here.

Day 2

Day 2 marked the beginning of the two-days-one-night package to Lachung village – Yumthang Valley – Zero Point. We were gifted with an awesome driver, Laxmi bhaiyya from Sunflower Tours and Travels. He is a Sikkim local who speaks very good hindi and has an infectious smile. Rajiv bhaiyya, the cook, also accompanied us in the Bolero to Lachung.

The first leg of the journey from Gangtok to Lachung Village (110 km) took us six straight hours. In that stretch, we traveled through all kinds of roads – concrete, beach sand, gravel, huge stones, wooden bridges, etc. Most parts of the road were pathetic, thanks to the frequent landslides that occur there. BRO (Border Roads Organization) was courteous enough to keep “Inconvenience is regretted” boards every few hundreds of metres (sometimes adding “deeply regretted”, rightly). We could notice continuous road construction work going on at many places.

With a local kid, as a dog inspects me - On the way to Lachung, Sikkim

With a local kid, as a dog inspects me – On the way to Lachung, Sikkim

Our backs got a break when Laxmi halted at three different waterfalls during different phases of the journey. The first falls, named Seven sister falls, was a disappointment. I am still not sure how they actually made a tourist spot out of it. One could see tens of such falls during an evening walk here in Shillong. The second falls, called the Naga falls was better; much better.

Naga falls, Sikkim

Naga falls, Sikkim

Amitabh Bachchan falls was the best of the lot, though. True to its name, it flowed majestically from hundreds of feet above. It wasn’t just about the falls; the view of the ice-capped mountains from that point was incredible.

View more pictures of Seven sister falls, Naga falls and Amitabh Bachchan falls, here.

It became dark by the time we reached Lachung village, our final destination for the day. Rajiv bhaiyya made soupy maggi for snacks, along with tea at our request. We had fun playing Boys vs Girls Dumb Charades in the time Rajiv bhaiyya took to prepare our dinner. Being the sole cook for all of us, Rajiv did a commendable job with the dinner – Roti, Rice, Dal, Aloo Gobi and Paneer.

Having to get up pretty early the next morning, we curled into our kambals soon after dinner.

Day 3

Not all days do you get up to see the mighty Himalayas through your window. Lachung gave us that opportunity. The road from Lachung to Yumthang Valley was far superior compared to the Gangtok-Lachung one. Yumthang valley was about 25 km from the village, and took us about an hour to reach. We stopped at a mini-marketplace to have breakfast and also to equip ourselves with boots, gloves and coats which were available for rent. We needed them to brave the cold and to walk on ice.

View pictures of Lachung village and Yumthang valley, here.

Travelling on the road from Yumthang to Zero Point gave us a splendid view of the valley, with a turquoise blue stream of water flowing through it. Laxmi said that the valley looks best in March-April with a full bloom of flowers.

AR Rahman’s god-level BGM from the movie Baba started playing in my mind as soon as we reached Zero Point. There were ice-capped mountains on three sides and a small hillock in the centre. Though the boots helped a bit, the ice was still slippery. Laxmi gave us a maximum of 45 minutes at Zero Point, warning us that it might be difficult to breathe beyond that.

Saddy who was flaunting a mega sized ice-proof jacket, tried in vain to slide on the ice. Annam didn’t fail to play football even there, at 14,600 feet. There were some dudes who were posing with a bare body and cooling glass as a few of their friends rubbed ice on their bodies. Seriously?!?!?!

Football at Zero point, Sikkim

Football at Zero point, Sikkim

After spending close to an hour and clicking loads of pictures (both with the camera and mentally) at Zero point, we began our long journey back to Gangtok, with a halt at Lachung to have lunch and check out from our rooms. We bid adieu to Rajiv bhaiiyaa before we left Lachung.

Top - Annam with Laxmi bhaiyya; Bottom - Yours truly with Rajiv bhaiyya

Top – Annam with Laxmi bhaiyya;
Bottom – Yours truly with Rajiv bhaiyya

This trip was more about the journey than the final destinations, I realized. Frozen streams, frozen water falls, bumpy roads and beautiful views – it was all there.

We reached Gangtok at 7 pm and went to sleep early, after having dinner at Apna Dhaba in MG Marg.

View more pictures of Zero Point, here.

Day 4

“When you go home, tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today”, read the war memorial at Nathula Pass, the Indo-Chinese border.

Nathula is located 60 km from Gangtok, at a height of 14000 odd feet. The place was very very calm and serene despite a number of people being there. We got a majestic view of the mountains of Tibet from up there. Someone told us that the closest civilization from Nathula on the Chinese side was some 570 km away. It was only mountains and forests and more mountains till then.

View from Nathula Pass, Sikkim

View from Nathula Pass, Sikkim

The cafeteria there was aptly named “14000 Cafe”. From Nathula, we could see the roads we had just traversed to reach there; it was as if a huge basilisk lay on the mountains, twisting and twirling.

View more pictures of Nathula Pass, here.

The driver (a new driver, not Laxmi bhaiyya) told us that a Baba Mandir located close by is very famous. He also added that not visiting the Mandir is like going to Agra and not visiting the Taj. I thought it was a temple for Mahavatar Babaji of “Baba” fame. The driver cleared my doubt by adding that it was a temple built for a Late Sepoy Harbhajan Singh, who lost his life at the age of 26, in the hostile conditions of Nathula while guarding the India-China border.

The Legend behind Baba Harbhajan Singh Ji is very interesting. Read this comprehensive piece on Baba Harbhajan Singh ji to know more about him and the samadhi.

A “Naya Baba Mandir” was constructed recently for the convenience of tourists who cannot visit the old and original one. We visited both.

We next halted at Changu Lake. a frozen lake, on the way from Nathula back to Gangtok. A cabinet of Yak stood there in front of the lake, dressed wonderfully. By the time we reached the lake, we were pressed for time, since we had a train to catch from NJP at 10 pm. Niveditya was disappointed that she wasn’t able to try out the Sikkimese costume which was available at the lake. We spent a maximum of ten minutes there.

Changu was the last place in our agenda for the 4-day trip.

A back of the envelope calculation showed that we had traveled 1840 km in total (920 km on the road). At the expense of two classes and not able to see my team win Kopda matches, this trip was totally worth it!

 

 

 

 

Sikkim framed: Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

 

Tibet in the background - Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Tibet in the background – Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Tibet - Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Tibet – Nathula Pass, Sikkim

 

War memorial - Nathula Pass, Sikkim

War memorial – Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Left - India; Right - China

Left – India; Right – China

 

 

Sikkim framed: Zero point

Zero Point, Sikkim

Zero Point, Sikkim

Climbing the mound - Zero point, Sikkim

Climbing the mound – Zero point, Sikkim

Zero point, Sikkim

Zero point, Sikkim

Zero Point, Sikkim

Zero Point, Sikkim

Zero point, Sikkim

Zero point, Sikkim

 

Atop the hillock - Zero point, Sikkim

Atop the hillock – Zero point, Sikkim

At Zero point, Sikkim

At Zero point, Sikkim

Sikkim framed: Lachung village and Yumthang valley

Lachung village, Sikkim

Lachung village, Sikkim

View from Lachung

View from Lachung

Early morning at Lachung, Sikkim

Early morning at Lachung, Sikkim

 

Breakfast at Yumthang valley, Sikkim

Breakfast at Yumthang valley, Sikkim

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

Vikash, Saddy & Annam @ Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

Vikash, Saddy & Annam @ Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

 

Divya di @ Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

Divya di @ Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

 

Sikkim framed: Seven sister falls, Naga falls and Amitabh Bachchan falls

At Gangtok, Sikkim

At Gangtok, Sikkim

Seven Sister falls, Sikkim

Seven Sister falls, Sikkim

Naga falls, Sikkim

Naga falls, Sikkim

Annam at Work - Naga falls, Sikkim

Annam at Work – Naga falls, Sikkim

Amitabh Bachchan falls, Sikkim

Amitabh Bachchan falls, Sikkim

A view from Amitabh Bachchan falls, Sikkim

A view from Amitabh Bachchan falls, Sikkim

Amitabh Bachchan falls
Amitabh Bachchan falls

 

Sikkim framed: MG Marg & Ropeway, Gangtok

Gangtok Ropeway

Gangtok Ropeway

Inside the ropeway

Inside the ropeway

The local monastery at Gangtok

The local monastery at Gangtok

Inside the monastery

Inside the monastery

One of the over-bridges in the city

One of the over-bridges in the city

MG Marg entrance

MG Marg entrance

MG Marg - no vehicle zone

MG Marg – no vehicle zone

MG Marg

MG Marg

 

Man's best friend

Man’s best friend

MSD P47 – Delhi Diary III – Akshardam

After spending a lazy morning, sleeping and celebrating a friend’s birthday in the afternoon, my friend and I headed towards Akshardam, without knowing what was in store. At the entrance, we were asked to keep all our belongings (phones, cameras, etc.) in the cloak room, followed by thorough frisking. It made me wonder why there’s so much checking for a temple.

Inside, Swaminarayan Akshardam was a city in itself. Till today afternoon, I had not even heard of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. But now, I know so much about Him that I can write a book on Him. Thanks to the various exhibitions in Akshardam.

mandir

First, we were asked to go to Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values). The 50 minute experience was one of a kind. It was an audio animatronics show that consisted of a series of dioramas. Exquisite settings and statues in each diorama are brought to life through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting us to 18th century India. Sculpting one’s life for happiness, success and peace of mind is the principal theme of this exhibition. This show reminded me of the movie, “Night at the Museum”

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The Boat Ride reminded me of my History books! In less than 15 minutes, the ride tries to showcase the entire Ancient Indian History, right from the Vedic age. There are very interesting depictions of Vedic Bazaars, Takshashila (World’s first university), Rishis who shaped the world and other depictions of Indian culture.

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The 15 minute Musical fountain is a treat to the eyes and ears.

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Akshardam has an Imax theatre inside, where a 40 minute movie on the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan is screened. Apparently, at the age of 11, He began a pilgrimage across India, covering 12000 km on foot. The movie beautifully depicts this phase of His life.

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Read about Bhagwan Swaminarayan, here

The Mandir is the best part of Akshardam. It is deemed by Reader’s Digest as one of the seven wonders of the 21st century and rightfully so.

The inner sanctum looks royal and inspires peace and happiness.

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Each of the nine domes are magnificent.dom

The external praharam of the mandir is multi-layered. The external wall has thousands of ornately carved stone sculptures. There is one separate layer completely made of bronze, depicting incidents from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s life.

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The most striking layer is the Elephant plinth, that has 148 life sized elephants, weighing close to 3000 ton.

elephant10fWe spent close to six hours in the campus and yet couldn’t cover it fully!

By the way, you can find all this information and more, at www.akshardam.com

MSD P46 – Delhi Diary II – Agra

Our agenda for the day included two main places: the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.  We left our room as early as 5:30 am to catch the Taj Express at 7:00 am. Train journeys can be interesting. I came across a brilliant blog post on Train journeys in India. Read it here. During our train journey, we came across “The-Kindly-Adjust-Family”. One of my friends even “kindly adjusted” and sacrificed his seat for the family.

We reached Agra at 10:30 am. Thankfully, Surya Bhagawan was kind enough to take rest during most part of the day.  We took a pre-paid auto for the entire day’s travel. The driver, Roghubeer Singh also acted as our travel guide. Roghubeer shared a few funny anecdotes about his previous experiences with tourists!  He also told us a lot about Agra city.

Some facts that Roghubeer shared about Agra:

  • Agra is very famous for its silk. One of the seven leading silk producing destinations in India
  • Agra is world famous for its sweet Panchi Petha.
  • Prisoners in the Agra Jail make handicrafts and sarees which are sold in the market at subsidized prices
  • There are no factories or power stations in and around Agra. This is to avoid pollutants from damaging the Taj

It was disheartening to hear Roghubeer mentioning Jayalalithaa as “M.G. Ramachandran’s stepney who used to wear slippers worth Rs. 1 crore.”

After visiting a local Balaji Temple, we headed straight to the Taj. Need I describe its beauty?The first view of Taj that one gets from the Darwaza-i-rauza (The great gate) was breathtaking!

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The plant motifs on the walls of the main mausoleum were a treat to the eyes. It also makes one wonder how they managed to pull it off as early as the 1630s. No wonder it’s a world wonder.

Two hours at the Taj and a sumptuous lunch later, we headed to the Agra Fort, Asia’s largest fort. Roghubeer informed us that what we are allowed to see is only 5% of the entire area. Other parts are under military control! But even this 5% area had a lot of history attached with it! Shah Jahan’s obsession with white marble was very prominent in Agra Fort as well. The Guide we hired told us that  Shah Jahan had demolished some parts of the fort built in red stone by his grand dad Akbar and rebuilt it with white marble.

We could feel Shah Jahan’s sorrow when the guide showed us Musamman Burj, the small place where Shah Jahan spent the last eight years of his life under house arrest by his son Aurangzeb. From Musamman Burj, Shah Jahan could have a clear view of the Taj.

In the picture below, you could see both Musamman Burj (in the right) and Taj Mahal (in the background, very minute).

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Apparently, Mughals had some amazing engineers in their court. Agra Fort is enough proof. The Diwan-i-am (Hall of public audience) was built in such a way that anyone in the huge hall seated anywhere could hear and view the King very clearly when he was talking.

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Since we had the Punjab mail to board at 6 pm, we couldn’t visit other places in and around Agra.

Roghubeer was so cute when he gave us his number and asked us to save it as “Agra Auto Uncle”.

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MSD P44 – Delhi Diary I

It’s been ­three weeks’ stay so far in the national capital (also called the crime Capital of India). I’ve heard my parents say that I had been here when I was a kid, though I don’t remember most of it.

Delhi is not as hot as people told it would be; at least not as yet. I stay a metro station away from my workplace, in a place called Ashok Nagar, with four friends/colleagues. Pani Puri and Momos are very common here – so common that you could find at least one Pani Puri vendor in your LOS wherever you stand. During our walk back from the workplace to our PG, we ensure that our tummy is kept busy, constantly feeding it with Pani Puris/Aloo Tikkis/Samosas/Fried Nuts. Evenings are invariably spent watching/following IPL matches.

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Delhi Metro was one thing that I immediately fell in love with. No one can guess that it’s 10 years old; it’s so well maintained.

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People are well disciplined (I tell this in spite of losing my Smartphone in the metro) and always follow the queue.

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Red Fort, Qutb Minar, National Museum and India Gate are some notable places that we’ve visited over the three weeks (weekends, rather). We also went to Connaught Place (“hi-fi” area with shops of you-name-it brands selling over-priced products), The Great India Place (supposedly India’s biggest mall) and Bengali Market (Nomoshkaar!).

Red Fort was way bigger than I had imagined. I thought Red Fort was just the front wall that we see in the Red Fort Crackers during Diwali; thoroughly mistaken. You could spend an entire day inside the monument.

India Gate is an excuse for Marina Beach. You could see hundreds of families having a mini-picnic, tourists (like me) clicking pictures, kids playing around, ice cream vendors and sundal boys swarming the place. All these happen on the lush green lawns that sprawl for hundreds of meters on either side of the road. On the opposite side of the road lies the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament and the Central Secretariat Buildings.

Okay. Let me stop sounding like a Tourist guide. 🙂

Not only in Chennai, Autokaarans are mosamaana fellows in Delhi too. We got fooled by an autokaaran today. For a distance that Usain Bolt would have traversed in less than 30 seconds, we paid sixty. I think I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have worn the sun glasses while negotiating terms with the autokaaran.

On a different note, ecstatic that CSK are ruling the roost in IPL. That 67 off 37 by MSD in a chase against SRH was chance-less. And Huss, take a bow! Consistency at its best!

I got the shock of my life today, when a Bengali friend of mine told me that he thought Lungi was the traditional wear that Tamilians adorn themselves with, during auspicious occasions. Dei.

It took me a lot of time to explain him the difference between Veshti/Dhoti and Lungi.

2:00 am

29/4/2013

MSD P15 – Mawphlang Trip !

Mawphlang is one of the most picturesque locations that I’ve been to. We were asked to report at the entrance of the Campus at 5 am. The picture below was taken at around 5.15 am. 

The buses were late by an hour and a half and so we left campus only by 7 am, after having breakfast. Mawphlang is just an hour’s drive from Nongthymmai. We reached there at 8.

We were divided into groups of 10 and each group had a Guide. Throughout our walk in the forest, I thought our Guide was speaking in Hindi/Khasi and I din’t listen to even a word of what he said. Only when we came back did I realize that he was actually speaking English. 🙂

The forest was quite similar to the Forbidden Forest from HP; only that Aragog and Grawp were missing.

Our walk in the forest lasted for close to two hours. Everything was green – the rocks, tree trunks, path.
The thick forest was a stark contrast to the vast expanse of the plains outside.

 

We returned to the comfort of our rooms by noon and slept till Snacks.
Then, I had to get out of the Mawphlang mindset and start working on QT Assignment and Committee Inductions.

Happy Friendship Day !
However, I personally feel that Friendship is eternal and doesn’t need a particular day to celebrate it.

4:00 am
5/8/12