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Travel Point…. Experience Corner….. down the lane of Memories


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Spot of the Year 2016 ! #soty

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This is a simple contest to find the best spot of the year 2016 ! The objective is to share the best places across the world and to add new travel goals to the ToDoList.

Before moving ahead, please do the following:

Close your eyes for a minute and think of the best place you have visited this year. Try to be specific. Try to remember the exact spot, time and other environment conditions.

What to do ?

Post a pic of that place with a tagline either on Facebook or on Instagram or you can email at tektriphy@gmail.com

Also provide the following details of the pic. Star(*) marked ones are mandatory.

Tagline*-

Location*-

State-

Country-

Time-

Date-

Details:

Option1: Email – Email the photo with the above details @ tektriphy@gmail.com with the subject line “SOTY – <Your Name>”

Or Option2: Facebook – Go to the FB page https://www.facebook.com/tektriphy/ and like the page.

Upload the photo on your timeline, add the details and tag ‘Tektriphy’ page . Use the two hashtags #tektriphy #soty.

Or Option3: Instagram: Follow @tektriphy and post from your Instagram account with details and use the two hashtags #tektriphy #soty

Benefits:

  • The best three spots will win exciting goodies and merchandise.
  • The top ten spots will get featured at www.tektriphy.com.
  • Others will get a few travel goals for the year 2017 thanks to you.

Deadline: 25 Jan 2017, 11:59 PM

Terms & Conditions:

  • The photo should have been clicked by the person posting it or the person should have the copyright.
  • The hashtags #tektriphy and #soty must be used. Otherwise the post won’t be considered.
  • Only one entry is allowed per person. In case of repetitions, the first entry will be considered.

Reminisce, Rejoice and keep travelling !

Here is a sample:

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#tektriphy #soty

Tagline*-  Junargali, Roopkund Trek,@ 16,100 feet

At right side, the gigantic Trishul ;

At left, the treacherous snowy path;

Below, the mysterious Roopkund;

Up above, the golden sunshine.

And it was bliss.

Location*- Junargali, Roopkund

State-  Uttarakhand

Country- India

Time- 7:45 AM


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My Expedition to Sikkim- Gangtok

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

The year,2015, has turned out promising so far. In these last 6 months, I have travelled and explored more than that I had in last 3 years;- a couple of trips to Mumbai, a weekend trip to Vizag-Araku Valley, a weeklong trek to Har ki Dun and a short international tour. Then I got another opportunity to quench my thirst for travel: a ten-day long trip to Gangtok.  Life is good. 🙂

We, a group of 11 friends, set out on a journey that will be cherished for the rest of our life. The only twist in the plot is that I was jobless by the time we started the journey. I had resigned from the job to pursue higher studies. So this trip was on a tight budget. But the best thing was that I had all the time in the world.

We embarked on the train Puri-KYK Express. This was a direct train to NJP(New Jalpaiguri) via Howrah. I boarded the train at Puri and the rest joined me at Bhubaneswar.

Train Details-

Train No- 15643: Departure from Puri- 10:15 PM  — Arrival at NJP- 6:55 PM   (Duration- 20:40 Hour)

It was a looong journey ! The worst part was that we had booked in SL class in those scorching heat. And we had to pay for that. We have felt the heat each second of that journey. It seemed like a never ending journey. Finally we reached NJP railway station at around 8 PM. It isn’t feasible to go to gangtok during night. So we stayed at a near-by hotel and finalized the next day itinerary and pricing after consulting two-three tour operators. Most of the tour operator won’t include zero point in the itinerary and they will say to pay a lump-sum to the driver directly. Actually, it is an income source for the driver. They normally take INR 200-300 per person to include Zero point, but then only it is the sole discretion of the driver. We finalized with a tour operator and told him to include zero point to the itenary. After a little hesitation, he agreed finally. The itinerary of the first phase was like this…

Day-1: NJP to Gangtok drop – 2 Boleros, 3 Rooms

Day-2: Gangtok to Lachen; Nightstay at Lachen – 2 Boleros, 3 Rooms with Food

Day-3: Lachen-Gurudongmar Valley-Lachen-Lachung; Nightstay at Lachung – 2 Boleros, 3 Rooms with Food

Day-4: Visit to Yumthang valley and Zero Point and Gangtok Drop; Nightstay at Gangtok – 2 Boleros, 3 Rooms with Food

Day-5: Visit to Baba Mandir and Nathula pass and Gangtok Drop

Total People- 11

Budget Per Head- ₹ 8000

Reference- Siddhi Vinayak Tour & Travels , http://www.siddhivinayaktout.com, M-9932418236, 9746848714

(Good Service, but keeps high margin ! Need some bargaining power while booking. If you don’t have any contact, then you can go for this. The office is just in front of NJP Railway station.)

Another good option is to cotact the drivers directly or to go for shared service.  This will save your few bucks without any doubt.!

After finalizing the itinerary we went to the hotel(Hotel Tirupati) and had our dinner. Due to the long train journey, everybody was so tired that within seconds everybody fell asleep.

NJP to Gangtok(120 KM):

As instructed, two boleros reached in front of the hotel at 5 AM. The journey started at around 5:45 AM. After passing through the NJP area, we passed through a long stretch of lush green sanctuary area. Excellent road elongated like a straight line, tall trees at both sides with different shades of greeery and the local music inside the bolero: a nice start I’d say.

After sometime we got the glimpse of River Teesta- flowing like a furious rebeller, a companion that was with us throughtout the journey. Whereever we went, it followed us.

River Teesta

River Teesta

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A Village by the side of the river

 The road was getting rough with so many ups and downs and curvatures with the pass of time. In those turtuous roads, our driver was driving at 60-80KM !! I was sitting at the front seat. It was totally like a roller-coaster ride for me. At some points, I did feel that we were gonna bumped onto some vehicle or gonna shoot from some U-turn like curves. We stopped at Mirik for breakfast. Hotel Anand is a good option there. Then we resumed the journey. On the way, we came across a few landslide points.

Landslide getting cleared

The road was getting narrower. At one point we got stuck  so badly that one had to literally get out of the bolero and to stop the vehicles coming from the other side.

Passing through a tunnel

Passing through a tunnel

Then we entered Sikkim. The security personnel checked our ID Proofs and let us in.

Entry to Sikkim

Entry to Sikkim

The road started getting congested and crowded. The bolero droped us at the Taxi-stop and from there we caught a taxi to the hotel. The taxi dropped us just in front of the hotel. We checked-in at the hotel Sunshine and had some rest. The view from the room was awesome.

View from the hotel room

View from the hotel room

We submitted the Xerox copy of our ID Proof  and 4 passport size photographs to the hotel manager who was looking after our passes for Nathula, Gurudongar and Zero point. Most of the areas are military base. So to visit one must have the entry pass.

Sightseeing at Gangtok:

We had our lunch at a nearby hotel and thought of exploring Gangtok. We booked three sightseeing taxis(Alto) for seven point  Sightseeing. The cost was ₹ 800 per taxi.

1. Bakthang Waterfall:

This was the first point in the route. Not so happening spot, but can be travelled once. There was also rope-way facility available. There was a small Bakthang garden in the front, a good place to click some photos.

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2. Gonjang Monastery:

There are hundreds of monasteries in Sikkim. We went to Gonjang Monatsery. The environment was totally peaceful. One can also see a bird’s eye view of the town from here. A lot of other important monasteries are also nearby Lingdum Monastery, Rumtek Monastery etc.

3. Tashi View Point:

Nothing exceptional here. The view is good and can be visited once.

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4. GaneshTok:

By the time we reached there, it was cloud all-over the place. A statue of Lord Ganesh is worshiped here. The environment is soothing and peaceful here.

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5. Flower Exhibition Center:

A nice place to click some photos and spend some time.

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There was another waterfall and botanical garden on that route. We weren’t interested in those. Then we went to MG Road. This is a very important area in Gangtok. Most of the market place can be found here only. There is also a Lal market nearby. We explored the MG market area, tried some local delicacies.

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A few antique pieces from the market

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The atmosphere was pleasing and it was drizzling continuously. At around 9PM, we returned back to our hotel and called it a day.

I’ll share my experience of Gurudongmar valley in my next post. Due to shortage of time, I’m posting this trip in five parts. Stay tuned !!

My Gangtok Photo Album


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Har ki Dun Trek- A Picturesque Route to Tranquility

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

This is the second post of my HKD Trek. To check the first post Click here Har Ki Dun Trek – Part I

“ Wake up ! Everybody WAKE UP !!” No, that wasn’t an alarm. That was Dushyant’s wake up call.It was the D-day. I slipped out of my sleeping bag and stretched up a little bit. Then I checked my watch and felt amazed at finding even the minute hand and hour hand stretching up at 1800 .Ofcourse the minute hand facing north and the hour hand facing south. I zipped out the camp and found Shravan, the local guide, standing just outside the camp with morning tea. That was the best luxury we had at those 10,000+ feet up there and in those freezing temperature.  Then I gulped down one full bottle of water. It was not the thirst, but the necessity of the body. There were a number of water streams near-by; but taking a bath was out of question. I couldn’t dare to change my clothes, forget about taking a bath. By 7AM, breakfast was ready: Poha, cake with honey, boiled egg and hot milk. The food was very delicious and yummy. All thanks to the Indiahikes cooking-team. We packed our lunch and got ready to touch the HKD summit.

The trekking line up was very systematic. Normally, there are two experienced people/guides at both end of the line: sweeper at the back, guide at the front. And the rest of the crew move in between so that there is least chance of being misled. Apart from this, one has to ensure that he/she can see the next person ahead of him/her and at the same time he/she must be within the visible range of the person behind him/her.

Kalkatiyadhaar to Har ki Dun:

Har ki dun campsite is a 4km journey from Kalkatiyadhaar, but time taking due to heavy ascend and presence of snow in the route. There was a stiff ascend just at the beginning of the journey. And when you are climbing with a 12kg backpack, the distance seems longer.  It’s moment like this when you get a feel of the gravity.

After climbing up for around 20 minutes, the view of HKD peak just got clearer. The route was so scenic that you’d feel like sitting there for some time and enjoying the beauty.

But time is a bitch and everybody has to obey its rule. After another 20 minutes of walk, there came another small waterfall. There was a small dhaba beside that. One thing that amazed me was that the dhabawala was keeping the cold-drinks dipped inside the water-stream to keep it chilled. A natural fridge. 🙂  There we filled up our water-bottles, took some photos and moved ahead.

A Shot I Longed for...

There was a small wooden bridge after that and a bit of ascending. After this ascend, the route was flat for next 2 km. Snow-covered white mountains at the right side , greener grass beneath and spotless blue sky up above. Then we entered into an area full of cherry-blossom trees. This looked like a red-blanket upon those green grass and white snows. If there is a dreamland, this is it.

Cherry Blossom Tree

After crossing this, I was at an open area. There was a big rock at the left. Sandeep, Shravan , Devesh were sitting there. This must be our lunch point. Though technically Shravan was showing us the path, but for most of the time Sandeep was ahead of him. We waited there for others. The next person to reach was Anandi followed by other menon family members. And at last the group of girls. The last person to reach was always fixed. There wasn’t any deviation in that position. It was always Jyothi. She was the tortoise of our group; slow and steady, but a winner. We had our lunch there. By the time, we were resuming the journey, it started raining like small tiny snow-balls. We put on our poncho and moved ahead. That poncho was giving a devil like ghost look.

After walking for a few minutes, we came across lots of snow. It was fresh and soft. That first step on the snow will always remain special. I was very careful while walking on the snow. Because one wrong step and bhussssh…. You are in deep snow till your knee or even waist. The trick is to step on a step-mark that somebody has already stepped in. After walking through those snow for 30 more minutes, I got a glimpse of the campsite. The location of the campsite was a marvelous one.

HKD Campsite

HKD Campsite

View from the HKD camp

View from HKD camp

The mules couldn’t move ahead. So the camp was set just at a 100m distance from the Har ki Dun site. Just when I reached the camp, it started snowing. I got into the camp and waited for others to reach. It was around 2:30 PM.

Everybody reached the camp in next 30 minutes and started playing. They were throwing snow-balls at each other. Shravan was catching the snowballs thrown at him and re-throwing at the same person.

In the mean time, Anandi and Angad created one master-piece of a snowman.

Supercool Snowman with its creators

Supercool Snowman with its creators

Tea and soup were ready by that time. Everybody enjoyed the hot cup of soup. We moved to the HKD point then which was just a 2-minute walk-away. We reached the point where HKD valley and Swargarohini 1,2 were clearly visible.

The Final Step to HKD

 

HKD Valley & Swargarohini Peak

 

Dushyant briefed on its history. Swargarohini is the same mountain from which Yudhisthir had climbed to Swarg. As per facts, no human has yet able to climb this peak. We took a few group photos and everybody returned.

The HKD Groupie

The HKD Groupie

Anandi & Jovina

But I, Angad & Sunayana planned to climb down to the HKD valley. But we can see a fierce rain coming our way. Though I hadn’t taken poncho, still I took a risk. But Shravan denied and talked us out of it. And it started snowing heavily, just when we reached the camp. There was nothing to do. So everybody gathered in the dining tent for some games. And Dumb charades began. It was fun. A few hot nos were “The shawshank Redemption”, “Pakija”, “Jajantrum Mumuntrum” etc. It was dinner time when the game finished. The atmosphere was getting cooler and cooler. I had my dinner, brought a bottle of hot water and slipped into my sleeping bag.

Next day , we started the journey a bit early as it was a to and fro journey. The destination was maninda lake. We had to make our own route as there weren’t any. And add to that it was all covered in snow. Prakash and Shravan were  making the way and we were following. The route was very treacherous, but scenic.

It felt like walking on a soft white blanket of snow.

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As I hadn’t carried any day-pack, so I was sharing with Sandeep. After walking for two hours through the snow, we came across a small pond like area. But nobody could believe it to be the Maninda lake. As the only person who already have been there was Shravan and he was far behind at that moment. There were hardly any footstep marks ahead of that. So everybody settled there and waited for the others to reach. I and Anirban moved ahead a bit to take some photos and then a little ahead and then a little more ahead.

We could see everybody sitting at the same position and resting.

We waited for 10 more minutes. Only one more living being joined us by that time. It was Fifi- the local dog who accompanied us the whole trek. There was a straight stretch of snow in front of us at least around 3 km. And at the end of the visible sight, we could see a turn of a valley. We thought of reaching that point or till we came across maninda lake. We  moved ahead and ahead. In between we were stopping by to click some photos.

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Then  we lost the sight of our trek-group. But we weren’t coming back. Then I remembered I had Sandeep’s bag with me. His watter bottle and other belongings were in it. I thought of returning, but with the same effort I could reach our marked destination. And once I returned back, I couldn’t come again this far. So finally we decided upon moving ahead till 11:30 AM, because then it’d take 3 more hours to return back assuming  a 25% increase in speed. We walked and walked and walked till we could. The snow was totally virgin-snow. There weren’t any mark of foot-steps. Totally pure white untouched snow. At one point, we found out that we couldn’t move ahead. There was not any trail or path beyond that. Not at least visible to us. The maninda taal was still out of our sight. So we sat there on a small stone, took out our refreshments: Orange and Biscuits. After having those, we regained some energy to walk back. And we started the return journey. After walking for 30 mins, we heard a sound. Anirban thought it was a wolf or something. We looked everywhere, but there was not any in sight. After walking around 30 more minutes, we came across Dushyant moving in our direction in search of us. Just the sight of him, charged me up. He told us that it was Badassu pass route and we had covered almost half of it. He also told that that small pond like thing was Maninda lake 😛

@Maninda Lake

 

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Had he been with us, then we could have marched ahead. But it was also the first time for him of coming this far. Then we returned back to the camp and reached at around 2:15 PM. Everybody was sleeping after having a hearty lunch. We had our lunch and got some rest.

In the evening, I, Anirban and Sam went to explore the HKD valley. We climbed down to the valley and went near the water-stream to take some photos.

HKD Valley

 

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After some time, I saw a rain moving in our direction. So packed up and returned. I was the only person who was not wearing any rain-coat or waterproof jacket. So literally I had to run till the campsite. Maggi was ready when I reached the camp. Add to that hot delicious soup with papad. Then I took some rest in the camp. At around 7PM, we had dinner and went to sleep.

Har Ki Dun to Puani Garaat via Kalkatiyadhaar :

The return journey started the next day. We started early as we had a long distance to cover i.e. around 11km. We passed through the same snow, meadows, water-streams and bridges. Descending was fun. “A cake-walk in a park”- as per Anandi. We had our lunch break at kalkatiyadhaar site and moved to Puani garaat via the other route. That is not through osla village, but through the other side of the river.

As this was a long distance walk, so everybody was spread up a bit. I was in the middle. At one point we had to climb down to the level of river and cross a bridge.

Shades of Nature

 

At that very moment, it started raining and wind was very heavy. I had to take out my poncho from the bag and put on. Till the time, I was ready to move ahead, there wasn’t anybody in my sight in the front. So I just kept on walking. I walked for 20 mins, but still nobody was in sight. I was bit afraid. Was I lost ? Then I saw a person in a poncho waving at me. I moved ahead and she was none other than Anupama. I was relieved. But the relief was temporary. Soon I got to know that she was in the same situation as I was. Were we both lost ? We kept on walking. After 15 minutes of walk, we came across Devesh resting under a tree. Now we were relieved. We walked till the Puani garaat camp site.

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But it was already occupied by another group. So we had to choose another spot. It was a blessing in disguise. We found a better spot just near the river. I got freshened up in the river and changed my clothes that I was wearing for last 3 days.

Puani Garaat Campsite

 

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Puani Garaat to Sanki via Taluka:

Puani Garaat to Taluka is a 13km journey and from taluka to Sankri a 12 km journey. We started early due to the long distance. The path was simple and soothing. It was a straight walk till taluka. A few snaps from the return journey…

Bholu

 

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Gangad Village

 

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That nap after Lunch

 

From taluka, we travelled by bolero till sankri and reached there in the evening.

Rooftop Journey to Sankri

Rooftop Journey to Sankri

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The Final Sun-Set of the Journey @ Sankri

 

After reaching sankri, I got a bucket of hot water from a nearby shop at the cost of 30 rupees and took a bath after 6 long days. In the evening, the briefing session was held where everybody shared their experience. Then there was a cake-cutting ceremony for successful completion of HKD trek. Later certificates were distributed to each one.

TrekLeaders.. Saranveer & Dushyant

 

The Group that Conquered HKD

 

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Everybody had dinner and went for a sound sleep in the coziness of soft bed after sleeping for 6 nights inside a sleeping bag.

In the morning, we started our journey to Dehradun. That was also a hail of a journey. The tire got punctured thrice on the way to Dehradun. Luckily, we reached on time. We went directly to Doon Darbaar :A must visit place for all the non-veg foodies.

The Heaven of a Non-Vegetarian

The Heaven of a Non-Vegetarian

Then I moved to Haridwar railway station from Dehradun railway station where I had to catch the train to Bhubaneswar.

It was  an experience of a life time.

Tips:

  • Try Rhododendrons’s juice at the local area. Rhododendron is a red color flower and is only available in some particular season.
  • Bring some chocolates with you to distribute to the local village children.
  • Bring some booze and save it for the return journey. You aren’t allowed to take those to the trek with you. Enjoy after coming back from the trek. At sankri, you won’t find anything.
  • The less you carry, the more you enjoy. So make sure to take only those with you that you can’t manage without.

 Awards of the Trek- (Unofficial, my personal view: fun intended 😛 )

  1. The Energetic Trekker- Sandeep
  2. The Tortoise of the Group- Jyothi
  3. The Backpack Trekker- Me 🙂  I was the only person in the group to complete the whole trek with my backpack.
  4. The Drama Queen- Jovina 😛
  5. The Best TrekLeader- Dushyant
  6. The Best Guide- Shravan
  7. The Man of Patience- Prakash

Signing off…. Till the next story…..  Adios Amigos  🙂

Photo Repository:

Click here to see my Flickr HKD Photo Album 

Info. Repository:

Click here for HKD Trek Details


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Har Ki Dun Trek – 8 days of awesomeness in the Himalayas

HKD Camp Site

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I had been planning for a trek in the Himalayas for quite a long time. But the idea was far from reality due to scarcity of time and resources. One single opportunity.. i.e. what I was looking for. And I got it this April finally. I registered for the Har Ki Dun(HKD) trek with Indiahikes team at the eleventh hour and managed to turn it into reality within the stipulated time. The rest is pure bliss. It was a trek of a  lifetime.

Har ki dun peak is one of the most beautiful valleys in the western Himalayas ans is accessible through Govind National Park. Sankri is its base camp. HKD site is at an altitude of 11,700 feet. The route has all the flavours that a nature lover would like to experience.

Bhubaneswar to Dehradun:
The journey started on 24th April from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Luckily, I managed to book a cheap flight ticket to Delhi just before two days. The flight was in the evening.
Spicejet- Flight No- G8162
Departure: 07:05 PM
Arrival: 09:15 PM
From Delhi, I had booked NANDA DEVI Express which had the best suitable timing for me at that moment. Because the pick-up was scheduled at 06:30 AM from Dehradun Railway Station.
Train No- 12205
Departure- (NDLS)- 11:50 PM
Arrival- (DDN)- 05:40 AM
Dehradun to Sankri:
The train reached Dehradun station right on time. I could feel the chill right from the moment I got off the train. The first thing that I did is I dialed the phone no of Pravin who was assigned to pick up from Railway station. He was right in front of the railway station. There were also another group of trekkers from same Indiahikes who were going for Kedarkantha(KK) Trek. The base point for both HKD and KK was Sankri. As I had registered a bit late, I had little knowledge of my group members. There were six vehicles from Indiahikes. I got into one and got settled for a long but wonderful journey ahead. Dehradun to Sankri is a journey of 10-11 hours. The route is a blend of splendid scenic beauty, chilled  waterstream, fresh greenery and a bumpy ride. The journey started around 7:30 AM. The initial part was a ride through the Queen of Hills, Mussoorie. The view was magnificent.

A Snap during the journey

A Snap during the journey

One thing I noticed is that most of the buildings had car parking area at the top of the building i.e the total reverse of usual case. This was because the houses were on the down side of the hill. The rest of the route seemed to revolve around river Yamuna.
We stopped near Kempty waterfall for breakfast at around 9:15 AM and then the journey continued.
A view near Kempty waterfall
The higher you go, the cooler you feel. The breeze was getting cooler and cooler. And the picturesque at both side was getting good to better.

A Glimpse of Yamuna River A Snap on the route

We stopped at Purola for Lunch at around 1:45 PM. One could feel the calmness and freshness around the city. There was absolute Z.E.R.O hustle and bustle of the city.

It took three more hours to reach Sankri. On the way, one could see a glimpse of HKD and KK peak.

A View of HKD

It also started to drizzle just before the check-gate of HKD. So by the time we reached Sankri, the sun was about to set. The climate was totally chilled and the weather was totally cool. Hot n sweet tea was the call of the hour.
Document verification was carried on by the Indiahikes people. They checked the medical fitness certificate and photo-Id proof. After that, hot soup and papad were served. Then there was an introductory session. There were total 13 members in our HKD group: A Nature-Lover Daring Menon Family(Ashok, Anupama, Angad, Anandi, Jovina), A Four-group of Adventurous girls(Jyothi, Sunayana, Sanjana, Blossom), One Ex-Army Person(Devesh), One Media Person(Sandeep) and one independent soul(Anirban) and ofcourse me. Only 2 or 3 persons were the first time trekkers. I was obviously in that list. Our group leaders were Dushyant, Shravan and Prakash from Indiahikes team. All three of them are awesome persons. It just seemed like those are the best guides one could get. Dushyant gave some useful tips to the team on trekking etiquettes and rules and a brief detail on the trek. Then I charged my batteries as this was the last point to have electricity. We all had dinner and went for a sound sleep.
Next day timing was 6-7-8 i.e 6 AM- wake Up call , 7 AM- breakfast & 8 AM- Start journey. I woke up right on time and got freshened up. The water was freezing cold, but still I managed to get along with it. Everybody gathered at the roof top of the hotel for morning tea. There Saranveer(The trek-leader of KK team) showed us how to pack the trekking bag with proper optimization of space. He showed how to uniformly balance the weight of the bag at both side to do away with the shoulder-pain. And a brief on what to take and what not to take. We packed our backpack accordingly, had breakfast and took packed lunch for the journey ahead.
Sankri to Puani Garaat via Taluka:
From Sankri, We drove to Taluka which is a 12km journey by Bolero. The route is extremely scenic, but rough. The bolero passed through a few waterstreams, a many up-and-downs and a real treacherous path.

From Taluka, the real trek began. The major part of the route revolved around the Supin river. I blissed out throughout the journey. Below there was a layer of wide spread soft green grass; up above there was clean n clear blue sky; to the left the continuous babbling buzz of Supin river and to the right a stretch of mountains.

On the way, we came across Gangad Village. The picturesque scenic route made me spellbound. There was hardly any sign of fatigue though I was carrying a 12 KG backpack. We stopped by a dhaba, had our packed lunch, rest for a while and moved on. After walking around 13km, I saw a glimpse of the camp sight. That was the best feeling in the world. It is like you walk , walk and walk……… think of giving up in between….. but still you move on……and then you see your destination. Just the sight of the camp site charged me up. I reached the site after a 5-mins of walk. I was the third person to reach. Sandeep and Devesh have already reached there. This place was Puani garaat and our camping site for the night. It was a perfect camping site. The supin river flowing by the side of the camp, skytouching mountaions at both sides and the glimpse of HKD peak at the front.

trekkers in action

Camp Site- Puani Garaat

Camp Site- Puani Garaat

I chose a camp and settled down with Sandeep and Anirban. After a while everybody reached the site. We were served refreshing tea and hot soup. Then Dushyant checked everybody’s oxygen level and pulse rate. We explored the nearby areas in the evening. The water of the nearby river was super-cold. I was thinking of having a bath, but the chill of the water changed my mind.

Then Dushyant showed us some relieving exercise and briefed us on the next day plan. He also showed us how to pack/unpack sleeping bag. By 7PM, dinner was ready. Rice, Dal, Chapati, Sabzi, salad and pickle were in the menu. In dessert, there was mouth-watering sweet seviyan. And at last a glass of milk-bournvita before going to sleep. I was so tired that I was asleep with a blink of an eye.
Puani Garaat to Kalkatiyadhar:
Next day timing was 6-7-7:30. Dushyant showed us how to pack the tents. The breakfast was awesome: Paratha with butter/jam/honey , boiled egg and cornflakes with milk. By 7:30 AM, everybody was ready to move on. I put some sunscreen lotion, took my packed lunch, filled up my water bottle and began the journey. After walking for a while, we crossed the river across the bridge. Then there was a little ascend…. Well not that little though :p After ascending, we reached Osla village. The village people were so simple. There wasn’t electricity in the village, though on a few roof top one could see small solar panels . All those village boys were keep asking for chocolates, sweets, toffees to each trekkers/outsiders. I had a few chocolates with me. I distributed those among a group of children and took some photos of them.

There was a temple in that village, but there wasn’t any deity at that time. There are 22 villages in that area. All of them have one single deity. The deity moves from one village to another village throughout the year and gets worshipped.

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After the village, there was a long stretch of flat grassland.

Then we came across a small waterfall. There was a canteen beside that. We stopped by and had our packed lunch. Tea, biscuits and Maggi were also available at the canteen. After a short rest, we marched ahead. It was a stiff ascend. Only after a 20 minutes of ascend we reached the Kalkatiyadhar camp site. As per the instruction from Dushyant, the tents were not pitched sothat we could do it ourselves. We pitched our own tent and relished on the refreshing tea and soup. Beside the camping site, there was a high base. I decided upon exploring that area. Angad joined me in the exploration. We climbed up and reached on that top base. It was a long stretch of flat grassy area. There was a small waterstream up there, which was totally covered with snow. The view of Himalayan mountains was splendid from up that point. When the sun set behind those mountains and the clouds got washed away, we got a clear glimpse of the Black peak(Kalang).

Camp Site: Kalkatiyadhaar

Camp Site: Kalkatiyadhaar


When we got down to the camp site, maggi noddles was ready. We played some games and then Dushyant did his daily routine of exercising, briefing and oxygen level and pulse rate checking. By 7PM, dinner was ready. After a hearty dinner , everybody went to sleep. The temperature was around 2 Deg C and freezing cold. I quickly got into the tent, slipped into my sleeping bag and went to sleep with a hope of putting my footsteps at HKD site the next day.

                                                                                                                        ……. to be continued….

Click here to go to the second post Har ki Dun Trek – Part II

Photo Repository:

Click here to see my Flickr HKD Photo Album 

Info. Repository:

Click here for HKD Trek Details


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A Wonderous Day at Wonder La, Kochi

Wonder La, Kochi

Wonder La, Kochi

After two days of invigorating and refreshing sightseeing at Munnar, it was time for some Kick-Ass action. What could be a better place than Wonder La !?

Journey From Munnar to Kochi-

We had planned to catch a direct bus to Ernakulam(also known as Kochi) that was scheduled at 5:10 AM. The toughest task in this world must be waking up early morning. We were staying just in front of the bus stop; from where the bus stop was clearly visible. So I did get some extra time to sleep. As usual, I was the last one to wake up. My friend was almost ready by the time I woke up. I  finished my daily routine as fast as I can and got ready within minutes. It was 5:00 AM. We checked the bus stop from our balcony. There was only one bus and it was going to leave. We checked out from the hotel and went to the bus stop. It was 5:08 AM and there was no sight of any bus. Even at this early hour of the morning, a few shops and tea-stalls had opened. We went to one of those, ordered two cup of coffees and enquired about our bus. “The bus had already left!” came the reply. Ya. that was the same bus we had seen from the balcony. It had left before 10 mins of its schedule departure.

The next bus was at 5:40 AM. On that chilly foggy morning,  we found a few other travellers moving here and there at the bus stop, waiting for a bus. After 20 mins of impatient waiting, the bus arrived at 5:30 AM. The most irritating fact at Kerala is everything written in malayalam(or Tamil.. I don’t have a hint!) In the bus, everything was written in some foreign language. We found one comfortable seat and got settled. The bus left right on time .. at 5:40 AM. At the side of our seat, there was written something in that alien language. We were assuming it right, but only confirmed when the conductor arrived. It was written”Ladies Seat”. 😛 We had to change the seat . And in kerala, they were very perticular and strict on that unlike a few other states. And I like this fact. As the temperature was nearly at freezing point of water, the shutters of all the bus-windows were closed and we all lost to sleep again.

We were descending from high altitude. Due to the snake-like curved and down the hill road and change in altitude, I was feeling uneasy and uncomfortable. Which was the case for most of the travellers. I felt like vomiting, but controlled. We reached at Adimali nearly at 7AM, got out of the bus, breathed some fresh air and that really felt better. The bus moved ahead… Kothomangalam-Perambavoor-Aluva and then entered Kochi. We saw St. George’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church(Edapally), Lulu International Mall, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium just at the side of the road. Then we got off the bus at Kallar bus stand and had a needy small breakfast at a resturant near the bus stand. Again be alert..!! As here also beef is a common food item. Make sure before sitting at a resturant. In stead of water, they had some redish liquid in their jugs. We were totally bewildered and went out of the resturant without drinking any water.It was already 10:50 AM. Luckily, we found a direct bus to Palikera. After a 40 mins ride, we got off right in front of Wonder La. The excitement and thrill knew no bound.

Wonder La, Kochi Main Building

Wonder La, Kochi Main Building

The Wonder La Ride

“Adventure is the pursuit of Life. Wear it or Get Lost !!” – Baba Jhunjhunwala

The entry time to the amusement park is  from 11 AM to 6 PM. We reached there by 11:30 AM. So it was not much of a loss. A bus took us from the entry gate to the main entrance. We booked two tickets and went inside.  There is two ticketing systems-Normal, Fast-track.

Ticket Price-
Adult- Normal-Weekdays -INR 510/- Normal-Weekends&Holidays- INR 660/-
Child- Normal-Weekdays -INR 400/- Normal-Weekends&Holidays- INR 520/-
Adult- Fast-track-Weekdays -INR 1020/- Fast-track-Weekends&Holidays- INR 1320/-
Child- Fast-track-Weekdays -INR 800/- Fast-track-Weekends&Holidays- INR 1040/-

Locker Price-
Small- INR 45/- (plus security money INR 200/-)
Large- INR 70/- (plus security money INR 200/-)

Group offers and special offers are also available. If you are going on weekends, go for Fast Track without a thought. For weendays, general ticket is sufficient.The benefit of Fast trach tickets is that you don’t have to stand on queues for each activity.You’ll have direct entry. They have Locker Facility(Small, Large, Group), Dress Changing Rooms, ATM counters, Wheelchair, Driver’s Rest Room, Lost & Found, Resturants, Toilets etc. Seventy activities are there in total. We booked three Large Lockers and kept our luggage and got ready. WO.. La.. La… !! It was time for action..

Wonder La, Kochi-  Park Map

Wonder La, Kochi- Park Map

The first one was “Snake Rides”. The first ride gave me a shaky  feeling. At some instance, I thought , I was gonna topple. But the ride is designed like that. After 5 rounds of it, we moved to “Fun Glides”. Then we tried a few other water games like Bullet Rides, Wave Pool, Play Pool, Water Pendulam, Rain Disco and finally reached at Vertical and Wavy fall. The entry point for the game was from the top of a four-storey building platform. There was two entrance. One for wavy fall and another for vertical fall. The wavy fall was excessively crowded and around 25 persons were in the queue . We also joined in the queue. We saw that  the vertical fall entrance was totally deserted. Hardly one person was there. So I moved there. The instructor told something in malayam. Hardly could I decode any of it. Then she asked me in english.”Are you sure you want to go for it ?” I was bit confused then why was she talking like that. But I went for it. It was just a slide-fall. What could happen ? I reassure myself and left my hands. For a few seconds, I slided smoothly. After that what happended, my heart was in my mouth. I was totally thunderstruck. It was a single steep fall from a four-storey height and with an angle of around 25 Degree with vertical. It was totally like a free fall. My heart was pounding like hell. After a few minutes of slide, when I reached ground , I displaced much water to create a pond in the desert. I just couldn’t imagine what if there weren’t any water. After the first ride, I had immense confidence and went for 4 more round at the same monstrous fall.

Inside Wonder La

Inside Wonder La

Then we started Land Amusements like Castle Jet, Pirate Ship, Jumping Frogs, Vintage Tornado, Spave Gun. Dancing Wheel, Thunder fall, Spinning Coaster, Flying Ammu. We watched Cinemagic Ride(a 7-D animated Movie). Then the real monster struck us. It was “Twin-Flip Monster”. A monster with two hands rotating,  flipping & turning like hell. Thank God !! We had ridden this monster at last. Otherwise we wouldn’t be in a state to ride any other game. The 10 minute of Human-Shake(ya.. it was like a shake in the grinder :p) will displace you from your brain to toe. Make sure , you go for it at the end and also make sure you don’t miss it.

Twin Flip Monster

Twin Flip Monster

We watched another two show . A movie on Chiku(The Wonderla Character) on xD-Max at 4 PM and a Laser and fountain show at 4:30 PM. The fountation show wonderful. Then we had lunch at one of the resturant and went to the changing room. I had a refreshing shower and checked out from the locker room. I then clicked some photos. I was going to click some more photos. But my friend was too worried about out catching the bus to Allepeey. As we had no idea, where to catch the bus . So we had planned of going to Ernakulam bus stand and catching a bus to Allepeey. My panic-stricken friend dragged me out of it . But when we reached at the gate, our joy knew no bound. We were totally exhilerated at the sight.Whoaa !!  A bus was standing right in front of the gate and on the board it was written “Alleppeey”.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen”- Paulo Coelho

It was 5:30 PM. The bus was scheduled to leave at 6:30 PM. The bus was going to Trivendrum via Alleppey and Kollam. We still had 1 hour at our hand. But we couldn’t go into the park, as we had already checked out. We clicked some photos out there.

Wonder La, Kochi

Wonder La, Kochi

Finally the bus left at 6:30 PM. After an exhilarating and tiresome , but wonderous day at Wonder La, we moved ahead to our next destination- ALLEPPEY-The Land of Backwaters.

Tip of the Day-

  • Take one pair of spare clothes with you.
  • Go for the “Twin Flip Monster” at the end.
  • Don’t forget to take your camera to the Laser & fountation show.

Good Bye from me and Chiku !

See You at Wonder La Soon.

See You at Wonder La Soon.


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Fact File – Munnar

Located at- Idukki district, Kerala, India

Altitude – 5000-8000 feet above sea level

Area – 26.2 sq kms

Temperature – 0 – 30 Deg C  [Summer= 15-26 Deg C, Winter= 0-10 Deg C]

Rainfall – 275 cm

Best Time to Visit – October to March

How to Reach here ?-

Nearest Airport-

Kochi – 130 km
Coimbatore – 170 km
Madurai – 180 km
Trivendrum – 295 km
Bangalore – 480 km
Chennai – 590 km

Nearest Railway Station-

Aluva – 110 km
/Angamali (AFK) – 110 km
Thrisur (TCR) –  131 km
Madurai Jn (MDU) – 152 km
Palakkad (PGT) –  153 km
Coimbatore Jn (CBE) –  170 km

By Bus-

From Coimbatore – From Coimbatore-Ukkadam bus stand, one direct bus plys to munnar everyday at 8:14 AM. Or One can go upto Udumulapet from Ukkadam bus stand(bus in every 10 minutes) and catch another bus to munnar from there. One can easily get a cab or a taxi from Udumulapet. This will be the most scenic route.

From Kochi- Direct buses are there. Or one can book a cab.

From Banglore– Direct overnight buses are there.

From Chennai– Direct overnight buses are there.

Sightseeing at Munnar-

A. Madupatty Direction

1. Flower Garden
2. Forest Honey Bee Hive
3. Photo Point
4. Elephant Park
5. Madupatty Dam
6. Elephant Arrival Spot
7. Shooting Point
8. Echo Point
9. Kundaly Lake
10. Top Station

For sightseeing, booking a cab(Indigo or Indica) costs around  RS 1100/- for a day.

B. Coimbatore Direction

1. Tea Museum
2. Nyamakad Water Falls
3. Eravikulam National Park(Rajamalai)
4. Anaimudi Peak View
5. Luckom Water Falls
6. Marayoor Sandalwood Forest
7. Thuvanam Water Falls
8. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

For sightseeing, booking a cab(Indigo or Indica) costs around  RS 1500/- for a day.

C. Kochi Direction

1. Blossom Park
2. Pothamedu View Point
3. Cardamom, Coffee & Pepper Plantations
4. Attukad Water Falls
5. Sunset View (IInd Mile)
6. Rose Garden
7. Spice Plantation Visit
8. Kallar Water Falls

For sightseeing, booking a cab(Indigo or Indica) costs around  RS 700/- for a day.

D. Thekkady Direction

1. Lockhart Gap & Rock Cave
2. Tea Plantation View
3. Trekking Point
4. Chinnakanal Water Falls
5. Resort Village View
6. Anaiyirangal Dam View
7. Spice Plantation Visit

For sightseeing, booking a cab(Indigo or Indica) costs around  RS 900/- for a day.

Fun Parks

1. Fun Forest Adventure Park
2. Dreamland Fun park

 

Tip Of The Day

Travel-Hire a bike if you want to enjoy the beauty to the fullest. Normally, they don’t provide bikes to indians(Don’t know why !!?) But you can arrange via third parties. And for non-indians, bikes can be hired through your passport.

Food- Be Alert of BEEFS !!!

Reference-

Mr. E. Selvam
M- +91-8547662066
Lodge- Kali Nivas (Located just in front of Munnar Bus Stand)

(PS- I’m just sharing the reference because we had stayed at this lodge. Mr. Selvam is a very good person. He has good network at Munnar. I have no personal connection with him.)

Don’t forget to share your experience here after the trip. Wish you a marvellous vacation. Enjoy !!!