Tuesday, July 24, 2018

5 Hill Stations Under 300 KM From Delhi For a Quick Getaway

Summers in Delhi can be quite unbearable. Why not travel to hill stations and beat the heat? While you can surely go to Swiss Alps, considering a hillstation near NCR wouldn't be a bad option. Afterall incredible India has a lot to offer. Here is a list of five hill stations under 300km from Delhi for a quick rejuvenating vacation.    


Lansdowne



A cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal of Uttarakhand, Lansdowne is one of the quietest hill stations of North India, popular since British era. 248 km away from Delhi, Lansdowne’s unspoiled beauty enjoys a pleasant weather throughout the year. Bordered by thick oak and pine forests, this hill station is a stunning place for bird watching, relaxing in arms of nature and rejuvenating your senses. Lansdowne has no direct public transport. You can drive from Delhi via Meerut bypass, Bijnor, Najibabad and Kotdwar. The curvy roads at a stretch of 30 km start from Kotdwar ending in Lansdowne.


Place to see in Lansdowne- Tip in Top (bird’s eye view of Lansdowne), Bhulla Lake (artificial lake), St Mary’s Church, Darwan Singh Museum. Go for a spiritual sojourn in Tarakeshwar temple located in the middle of the forest (40 km from Lansdowne) which fills your soul with positive aura.




As the temperature soars to extreme in Delhi, Nainital offers a cool respite from the heat. In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital boasts of serene lakes, scenic landscapes amid the mighty Himalayas. The town was named after Naini Lake which is believed to be one of the Shakti Peeths where Devi Parvati's charred body parts fell. The place where her eyes (nain) fell was Nanital or lake of the eye. Boating in the sparkling water of the lake with gentle breeze caressing you would feel absolutely out of the world. You can easily drive to Nainital since it is only 300km from Delhi. An overnight jouney in a volvo or train would take you to Haldwani and Kathgodam respectively. Further you can hire a taxi or local bus to reach Nainital.



Places to see in Nainital- Nanda Devi temple, Naini Lake (in the shape of an eye and the largest in Nainital), Mall road, Eco Cave Garden (once inhabited by tigers and panthers), Khurpa Taal (lake known to change seven colors), snow view point (to watch Himalayas and Raja Hindistani famed Palankhet). Around 5 km ahead of Nainital lies Kilbury forest which you can visit for bird watching and nature walk. Further ahead lies Pangot, a popular camping site.



Kasauli





Around 290 km from Delhi, the mesmerizing Kasauli lies nested in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Renowned for camping and serene forests, this little cantonment enjoys a pleasant weather throughout the year, making it a preferred terminus for the sun burnt Delhi residents. It is a paradise for nature lovers as it offers breath-taking forests and misty clouds. Soak some greenery in the Gilbert Trail which owes its beauty to the kachha rasta (1.5km long mud track) bordering luscious landscape, chirping birds and serene environment. What more could you ask for?

Places to see in Kasauli- Sunset Point (for jaw dropping sunset view), Manki Point (known to be visited by Hanuman during Sanjeevni Booti search), Christ Church (one of the oldest churches of Himachal built in 1853), Garden of Char Minar (built by Jahangir in 17th century). Don’t miss shopping and local food in Tibetan market. 8 Km ahead lies a sleepy little town of Barog, famous for the "haunted tunnel" which is the longest on the Kalka-Shimla Heritage Rail Line and the straightest in the world.



Renukaji
Pic courtesy HPTDC
Away from the city chaos and touristy cacophony, the lesser known Renukaji is a small village in Himachal. At 290km from Delhi and with temperature ranging from 18-35 Degree Celsius, Renukaji makes a quick holiday destination for all seasons. Known for the lake of the same name, it is an embodiment of Renukaji, mother of Parshurama who was Lord Vishnu’s avatar. The panoramic lake is fed by underground springs and surrounded by soothing green forests. Those looking for peace of mind and a less crowded place to relax, pack your bags and unwind in this lovely little hill station. This picture-perfect place tops the chart as an offbeat place for holiday in Himachal.


Pic courtesy Tripadvisor
Place to see in Renukaji- Renuka Lake (The largest natural lake of Himachal), Parshuram Tal and Renuka Temple, Lion Safari, Mini Zoo, Jamu Peak . You can further visit Nahan (45km from Renukaji) to view the magnificent Churdhar Peak, Jaitak Fort, Suketi Fossil Park and Simbalwada Wildlife Sanctuary.


Mussorie
Image courtesy Expedia
Mussorie, the crown of Dehradun in Uttarakhand, is also known as the “Queen of hills”. Founded in 1820 by Caption Young of the British Army, Mussorie got its name from Mansoor plant which grows in abundance here. Just 33 km from Dehradun and barely 280 km from Delhi, this place is a great escapade for short breaks. The hills with green sheen against the misty view of Doon valley, breezy weather and several tourist attractions get a large footfall the whole year. You can drive from Delhi, or board a bus/train terminating at Dehradun railway station and continue the journey to Mussorie in a taxi or local bus.




Places to visit in Mussorie- Kempty falls, Gun Hill (ropeway), Bhatta Falls (mountain-rivers and waterfall), Camel Back Rock (Called Camel Back Road), Mall Road (shopping). You can enjoy the old time charms in Landour (7 km from Mussorie) while indulging in the best bakery of the country. If lucky, you may just bump into the legend Ruskin Bond who has his residence in Landour.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wowsomeness from Nusa Dua in Bali will leave you awestruck



Nusa Dua, the southern most region of Bali is known for its scenic water bodies and pristine beaches. You cannot miss this little peace of heaven if you are looking for some relaxed carefree time surrounded by the beauty that would amaze you. Here is a photo blog on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali, Indonesia.








Quiet beach on a lazy afternoon

Crystal clear

The mandatory dip pic


Right at the beach, 100 meters from the Nusa Dua Beach, there lies a spot called Waterblow. The high sea waves fill into a rock cavity and blows up with full pressure like a volcano. The waves go as high as 20 meters during high tide. Tourists flock to this place to witness the force of nature. Following is a photo story from Water Blow-


Across the parking twoards water blow 

An event destination on the way to water blow
The entry to Waterblow






Local fish sometimes

Safe boundaries to watch water blow

Water creeps into the cavity

Gradual rise of water



Waves splash up slowly

Boom-The splash
Water blow- The place where it got its name from


Watching nature's fury from the boundaries


Watch the water change its color after the waves retreat


A temple near Nusa Dua beach


Temple close up



Husband in foreground and splash in background, near the temple



My cool blue shades facing the blue ocean



My "hat-wati" resting in the shade on the beach

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Postcards of magnificence- Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur


The towering Mehrangarh Fort

Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, Mehrangarh fort towers at 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing beautiful thick walls. Spread over a huge expanse, the fort houses large museums on different floors with artifacts from the past. From paintings and weapons to palanquins  and queen's palace, you cannot help but marvel the astonishing pieces of History. The entry to the main complex of the fort is done through seven gates, each symbolic of victory over enemies. Here are glimpses of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in this post:

The approach road towards Mehrangarh Fort
On the left of the main entrance is the cenotaph of the brave solider Kirat Sing Soda who died on this spot defending Mehrangarh Fort, The chhatri or memorial was made in his honour.

On left of the entrance-  chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda

Royal bygone era- The walled fort

Entertaining guests near main entrance

Jai pol or gate of victory was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 to celebrate his victory in a war with Jaipur and Bikaner. 
Old time charm- Jai Pol 

Traditional welcome

Symbol of sacrifice- Sati queens' handprints

These handprints are on the left of Loha Pol, which is the final gate into the main part of the fort complex. In 1843 the queens had immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.


Peek a boo into the city



One of the entrance passages where several movies have been shot


Part of the fort closed for public
Jharokha for the queens



Mesmerising work of art

Horse chariot seats for king

Paalki for elephant ride

Palace for queens
The baby paalna in the palace of queens



Armours section- Spears

Yesteryear's guns

Desi Indigenous Swords

The smaller ones for close combat


Once in use, Canon on wheels 

A watchful eye on guard
The view of blue city from Mehrangarh Fort





P.S- This trip of mine to Jodhpur was in Jan 2015.

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