Category Archives: Travel

Amritsar Diaries | Day 1

Amritsar is great weekend gateway form Delhi-NCR region, now a days. Its just 400km approx and takes 8hrs approx excluding stoppages. You can plan early to leave on friday evening and enjoi your weekend there.

We planned our Amritsar trip over 26th Jan long weekend. We had a big family with kids, so we have to plan safely and properly. We left From Gurgaon at 5am in the morning and followed the Delhi→karnal->Ambala-> ludhiana→Amritsar route, as mentioned on many blogs.

Our first stop was at Jhilmil restauarnt for our breakfast. Its a humongous place with proper car parking, clean washrooms and most of all quick service of delicious food. You will just love it there. Nearby you have karnal Lake too, if you wana stop by and have a small picnic there.

After we left from here, we had heavy brunch, so no more stoppages required. We yet stopped at petrolpump and many tolls of worth (125,75, 75, 26 etc). So be prepared with lot of small currency money.

We reached Amritsar at 3.30 pm approx and moved to our Sarai (booked previously). Always ensure to book your rooms in Amritsar , before traveling and try to check pics of its room first. We booked a Sarai near Golden temple, to ease our stay, but it turned bad. Way to Sarai was so thin, that we have to park our car like 3km away and take local e-rickshaw’s. So advisable is to book room in Amritsar new city and then travel via local mode.

About Amritsar: Amritsar is home to the Harmandir Sahib (commonly known as the Golden Temple), the spiritual and cultural centre for the Sikh religion.According to the 2011 census, the population of Amritsar was 1,132,761 and it is the second most populous city of Punjab. The main commercial activities of Amritsar include tourism, carpets and fabrics, farm produce, handicrafts, service trades, and light engineering. The city is known for its rich cuisines, culture & history. Places of attraction here all related to History, like Golden Temple, Ramteerth temple, Durgiana temple, Jallianwala bagh.

We had our itinerary ready and upcoming was Gobindgarh Fort, which was 4km from our sarai. We freshened up , left using local rickshaw. It charged us Rs.10 per person. After reaching there, we enquired about Light & sound show there & 7D shows. Ticket price is approx 160Rs per person. It includes only sightseeing and shows, museum entry. No food or photography allowed inside.

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Initially we were sceptical visiting this place, but it was worth the time & money. Light & sound show was dedicated to Amritsar History and era. Loved watching it. It was for approx 30mins. Then we enjoyed folk-dance, Gidda and many more items. Next we headed to History museum inside. Its newly opened and displays many kind of talwars, gidda history and much more. Worth a visit.

Major attractions at Gobindgarh Fort :

Sher e Punjab – A glorious history from the past depicted through the means of technology, to entice, enlighten, educate, enthrall and inspire. A 7D show based on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that transports you back to the 19thcentury in an immersive way leaving you enchanted and is aptly called Sher e Punjab.

The Bungalow – Ancient Warfare museum – The grand building of the Anglo Sikh Bunglow has now been converted to an Ancient Warfare museum and today has several replicas of instruments and attires of warfare. It has many real, lifelike figurines that are so realistic they seem they would come alive if touched.

Spirit of Punjab – A stage that keeps the fort alive all day long with live performances of bhangra, gatka, gidda, comedy, games, dholi etc. Several prizes are here to be won each day.

A stage with live performances.

Ambarsari Zaika – People here engage themselves in the various food shops and stalls that offer the choicest of Amritsari and Punjabi cuisine along with some other eatery options as well.

Haat Bazaar – You can feast your eyes as you roam the well located Haat Bazaar that offers fares right from phulkaris, juttis, shawls, antiques etc. for you to purchase from.

Whispering Walls – Kanda Boldiyan Ne or Whispering Walls is a show using state of the art projection mapping technologies and laser lights. A show of this quality has never before been seen pan India and we can certainly state that it will surely take your breath away. This show is held every evening post sunset. There is a Punjabi as well as an English show each day.

Later in evening, we went to Ksar dhaba for food, and must say its Dal Makhani is worth the visit. After our meal , we had lassi and phirnee, which were no second to delicious food.

We ended our day , visiting the Golden temple , as its most peaceful place on this earth. Sri Harmandir Sahib (lit. “the abode of God”), also known as Golden Temple and the Darbar Sahib, is the holiest Gurdwara and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism It is located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India.The temple is built around a man-made pool (sarovar) that was completed by Guru Ram Das in 1577. Read more about our 1st day lesuires here

Tips from Day 1:

  1. Its a long less stop journey ,so carry food items and water. Even if you forget, you will get many dhaba’s on way but its not worthy
  2. Dont forget to keep toffees & mouth freshners to keep you awake 😛
  3. You got many tolls on the way , so be prepared with lot of small currency money, as sometimes they dont have change, and you lose. Cards are not accepted on many tolls
  4. Travel light as its a new city and you cannot trust anyone
  5. Book your rooms in advance and try to stay in city, rather than staying  near known places, as there the roads are thin and you face lot of trouble, taking in and out your car.
  6. Parking is not free, as people demand there 100 rs for just 1 night and day charges extra.
  7. Prefer local transport there, or you can walk by, as everything is not much far. Charges are not too high, so max Rs10 per person.
  8. Travel wearing comfortable sandals or juttis as max places you have to take them off

Read my further experiences here and stay tuned for more adventure stories, unknown places covered !!

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Niagara Falls of India..Hogenakkal Falls !!

Hogenakkal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the Kaveri river in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu.It is located 180 km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri.  It was shown beautifully in the movie Roja in the Choti-si Asha song and also in Raavan movie, where Abhishek Bachhan scene is shooted !

Hogenakkal is also called Smoking Rocks ( Hoga meaning smoke and Kal meaning rock). Hogenakkal is the place where the Cauvery river meanders itself through a lot rocks. As a result of water falling on the rocks, it creates a smoky ambiance and hence the name. There are numerous falls all around ranging from as small as 5 feet to more than 20 feet.

Best time to visit: Post Monsoon (Aug to Dec)

Route: Bangalore- Hosur- Dharmapuri- Hogenakkal

Distance: 180kms
Duration: 1 day

Things to do there:

  1. A ride in coracle ,taking it underneath the falls.last thing is swirling the coracle.
  2. A swim and a dip in the river end ( small island)
  3. sit along the rocks to enjoy the smoking effect of falls
  4. Oil massage from locals
  5. Having freshly fried fish, packed stuff, maggi

Stuff to pack:

1) Travel with no food stuff as you gonna eat there
2) Wear clothes comfortable in water, as its considered medicinal to take bath there
3) no camera, just mobiles, as your boat will go via water to a small island and no place to keep anything.
4) wear leg covering shoes..no chappals
5) towel and extra set of clothes
6) no costly things as no place to keep them
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Staying in bangalore without family, means friends are your family.So we decided with our new family to go for weekend outing. All decided to go to Hogennakal as its a 1 day trip. So we left at 7am in morning with our cars.The travel route has smooth roads ,full of green pastures all around, driving through hills.We took a stop in mid to enjoi food at a south indian dhaba serving idli/sambhar/dosa/vada. Amazing food , must say. We reached Hogenakkal falls at 11am.

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Being a weekend, it was quite crowded with kids, families, weekend trippers etc. all over the place. After parking the car we went inside to talk to a coracle owner for charges of the ride. Since they understood we came from far, they started charging us 1000 per person. Trust me, plz bargain, but dont argue. Local people give only 100 per person, so you can finalize at 150 or 200 pp. A coracle ride on the Cauvery waters is a must for all the visitors as it takes you closer to nature and gives a feel of the surroundings and the environment. A boat can have 5 people in max.

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                                                                                                       Image credits: google

After a lot of haggling,all of us jumped into the bamboo tub and got ready for a ride. This area is on borders of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Boat guy took us under a couple of waterfalls and we got drenched while still sitting in the coracle. That was an exhilarating experience. Water here is believed to be therapeutic,so we also took medicinal baths in the river along shores at end.The nearby boatman sold biscuits, wafers, water bottles, tetra-pack juices to the people passing by in other coracles.

Ours was stopped at a bank, where we enjoyed good oil massage in just 100 bucks pp. And after that it was time for a dip in the free flowing Cauvery.  We enjoyed fried fish, maggi, everything being inside the water only. The fishes were caught and instantly prepared by the ladies on the banks. We enjoyed for 5-6 hours there. Our boatman waited for us. Then while returning, he gave us a final feel of Cauvery by swirling the coracle at a good pace in the middle of the river. That swirling of the coracle was the icing on the cake which cannot be explained but only experienced. So close your eyes then and feel it.

If you still have time left and not tired with so much fun, you have some beautiful mandirs/temples in vicinity of 15km. You can visit them before leaving.
Follow me for more traveling experiences !!

Himalayan diaries..Explore Himanchal Pradesh with me (Day 1)..Ghumarwin

Top Places To Visit In Himachal Pradesh !! Explore the Himalayas !! Must Visit Tourist Places and Attractions in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas. It’s home to scenic mountain towns and resorts such as Manali, Solang, Kasol. Himachal Pradesh has a strong Tibetan presence. This is reflected in its Buddhist temples and monasteries like in Riwalsar, as well as its vibrant Tibetan New Year celebrations. The region is also well known for its trekking, climbing and skiing areas.As the name connotes (‘Him’ means snow), it is a land of snow-clad mountains, snow-fed rivers and sparkling streams.

Sometimes words fall short and our eyes are the only witness penning the essence of scenic beauty of nature.Beyond the emerald green meadows and evergreen forests, HP holds a destiny where the horizon is the zenith. HP Tourism Dev Corporation has divided the State into four interesting regions or you can call them as Circuits. I read about it on google and many other tourism blogs. They are namely Beas , Sutlej ,Dhauladhar & tribal Circuit.

We planned to travel and cover the BeaS circuit. This 1335 km circuit includes: Delhi, Mandi, Rewalsar, Kullu, Swaraghat, Manali, Manikaran, Naggar, and Rohtang. The Beas River, with its clear water gurgles and sloshes through the landscape adding to the picture perfection of this circuit. One can witness well-defined snow-capped peaks, Deodar and pine trees, tiny alpine fields, rocky slopes amid grassy meadows carpeted with wild flowers and Terraced field of apples orchards across the way.

so i jolted down the places from the entire beas circuit which seemed interesting and were feasible to cover in 7 days holiday trip. The list looked something like this: Ghumarwin, Naggar,Manali, Rohtang Pass, Solan,Gulaba,Kasol, Mandi ,Rewalsar, Manikaran.

So here my journey begins !!

Day1: So we started our journey on 24th of Dec from Delhi in morning at 7am. We planned to travel via National highways and reach our first destination “ghumarwin”. Its in a different HP circuit, but since we had childhood memories tagged to it, we visited there & stayed overnight at a relatives place.  This place is a small town & major cultural and educational hub of District Bilaspur, HP. Ghumarwin is also famous for its variety of sweet preparation and local cuisines.HRTC buses and Taxis operate to nearly all possible routes on each sides.

On our way we saw Naina Devi temple at very high peek. It is dedicated to Goddess Sati, who was an incarnation of Goddess Durga. It is surrounded by Govind Sagar Lake and Bharka Dam.Nanina Devi as the name suggests is believed to be the place where the eyes of Sati fell.

In the evening weather was really pleasant and we went out to roam around the town. You have local market here, and sweets are very famous. specially Jalebi..We had hot jalebi’s with rabri. Since poeple here have local farms and grow vegetables for their daily supplies, the food quality is amazing here. Will post the pictures soon.

(courtesy : google/wiki)

Continue to read Day 2…visit to Naggar and Manali