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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kinnaur - 03

I Continue From Here.....

Day - 04

As I got up the next morning, the site was amazing. The clouds were slowly uncovering the mountains and the view was splendid. After an early breakfast we started our journey back to Sangla.



Beautiful Nako!

Apples Have Arrived

On the way we stopped at Kalpa and Reckong Peo. At Kalpa we visited the temples and monastery and caught some excellent view of the Kinner Kaliash parvath. (Kinnaur’s version of Kailash Parvath) We visited a nice monastery in peo with a big idol of standing Buddha and walked on a narrow road to a temple where the daily procession was in progress.


Kinner Kailash View From Kalpa


Procession At Temple in Peo

We had a great lunch at Recong Peo in a very good restaurants. Finally some good pulkhas and paneer butter masala. After a good and satisfying lunch we drove back to Sangla.

The camp was getting crowded with so many new visitors, Dada’s. One of them from the old men group walked to me and began a conversation. He mentioned to me that the group of friends are classmates from 10th at a boarding school from Rajasthan. Some joined army, some became businessmen and so on but this alumni group meets every year to recollect the fun days. They also do lot of charity work and where the first to reach some remote villages during earthquake at Gujarat. They have a neat website where they publish their updates. It was a very interesting story.

Next morning, we packed our bags and were ready to leave. Few others from the group walked to us and wished us all the best. We thanked all for making our stay memorable and left the amazing valley not willingly.

The drive from Sangla to Chandigarh was long , almost 8 hours, it was boring too. Shimla was crowded and we did not wish to stop there. We reached Chandigarh at around 6:00 PM. Even though the road are wide (8 lanes) and complexes are neat, they all look so same and hence to me boring, may be I should explore other parts of the city to talk more. We had a walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner and I had some good food and excellent lassi.
We left to Mumbai next morning. The trip to mountains was over with some interesting story of nature and inspiring people. I wish to return back to Kinnaur for trekking. I was so tempted to take a detour and explore the mountains rather than driving on a car. So that’s the plan for next time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kinnaur - 02

I Continue From Here.....

Day 03


Next morning we got ready by 7:45 AM and we drove to Chitkul which is the last village on this side of India, past the mountains was Tibet. We took a small walk along a trail that leads to a small chekpost called nagasthi. We did a short walk till the Bassapa river and returned. On the way back Jagir took us to a new hotel at Ruksom. The owner of this hotel is a trekker and during one of his guided trek couple of the foreigner customers had a troubled stay in sangla, hence he leased out some land and built a hotel himself. He was eager to show us around and tell his story.

At Chitkul

Next stop was a fort in Sangla. We had to hike up a small hill which is densely populated. The watchman was out for lunch but returned on time and was extremely nice in his speech. He opened the temple, gave us caps and let us into the Kamakshi temple. A Buddha and Badri temple too is situated in this village.

At Sangla

Most or almost all the tourists were Bengali’s and our Jagir called them – Dada’s. A big group would be seen almost on every place. We returned back to the camp and took a walk to a small village near the camp. Bastri village is very neatly maintained with concrete roads and good drainage system and logos of cleanliness is seen almost everywhere in Kinnaur. Unfortunately a beautiful temple which is a major attraction for this village was closed while we went. But while we were waiting there a friendly lady came an spoke to us and offered some snacks called Muri. We took a walk along the village and a nice gentleman from neighboring village showed us the way back to our camp. We walked through the apple orchids and farmhouses to get back.

Walk Back To Camp

There were some new visitors at the camp, a group of 12 old men lighting up the atmosphere with their fun talks. They seemed like a group of friends from army or something. They read out poems written by one of them and kept playing old Hindi movie songs as they reminisced their past. Some inspiring truth about them I would only know after I return from Nako.

Next morning, we left early after having some excellent paratha’s and curds. Drive to Nako was brilliant; we were literally midst the mountains, at the center and in the middle. Most of the roads are being worked on to widen them so there were some delays. People get only 3 months a year to work after the rains and before the snow hence a lot of quick work of blasting was in process. Nako took us by surprise. It’s one of the most amazing places I have been to. Luckily we got some Maggie here.

Kinner camp at Nako again is situated at a beautiful place overlooking the mountains. After a small nap, we were ready to explore the small village of Nako which I don’t thing housed more than a hundred people. On this day was a major celebration at the village monastery. Their Lama was to arrive in few minutes, hence villagers were dressed traditionally ad stood on either side of the road holding bowls full of dry fruits. We were invited to have tea and busicuits there. After a short walk around the village and the lake we walked back to the camp. The village experience was very special and will be the best of the trip.



Beautiful Nako....Busy People at the Monastery

At camp the care taker is a Nepali boy Sonu who is always smiling and yes always listening to music and singing aloud. It was fun talking to him. He was nice enough to get us hot water jackets for the night which was extremely cold.

Continued Here -  Kinnaru - 03

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kinnaur -01

Day 01

The trip to Himachal surfaced sometime in June or July and I wanted to visit some place which isn’t much traveled by tourists. Shimla and Manali were somewhere last in my list. :-) Kinnaur is the district I came across and soon I began making my plans. From July to almost October is a long time within which so many things happen so the excitement of travel was not as much as it was while planning. (This happens to me always!)

We boarded an early morning flight to Delhi then to Chandigarh on the 26th of September. Glanced through the beautiful streets, complex and houses of Chandigarh, neat but seemed very monotonous. We had a tough time at the bus stop catching a one to Shimla. People stood in queues but no one was at the counter for booking and other buses were unreserved types which kept filling as it arrived. Finally there was one bus and with very difficulty we dragged into it tackling the crowd. The bus journey was supposed to be for maximum of 4 hours but due to the traffic at Kalka (Major Dasara event in a temple) we reached Shimla at 10:00 PM with around 6 hours of tiring drive but Shimla seemed crowded and well lit even at that hour. We boarded an expensive taxi for 2km drive downhill to our hotel.

Shimla

Next morning at 7:30 AM our transportation for rest of the trip arrived, a Toyota innova. Our driver Jagir was a nice gentleman from a village between Shimla and Manali. He kept the drive to Sangla busy with his stories about the hills, apple orchids, landslides etc. We took a small deviation to Sarhan and visited the famous Bheema Kali temple. The temple has two towers, one of which is open for common people but the other is only open for the royal family. In every temple we visited here, we had to cover our head with a cap or some cloth as a mark of respect.



Bheema Kali Temple, Sarahan

The only issue we had during the trip was food. Everywhere the menu was common. Roti, sabji, rice and dal. There was nothing else available. The road to Sangla passes through a dam construction site and the hence are now in poor condition. It was a bumpy ride midst the mountains. Bu the valley where our camp was situated was amazing. When we drove in we had excellent reception from the proprietor himself- Mr humble Dileep. I had book Kinner Camps, a tent house for our stay in Sangla and Nako. The tents where pitched in the valley overlooking the mighty mountains. The music from the Bassapa River flowing very close kept singling all the while. We had a small camp fire along with another family who had driven a i10 from Delhi. Dinner was served with similar menu but a little better tasting food. Even in the dark, the snow capped mountain shined from the top.



Kinner Camps at Sangla Valley

Continued Here -  Kinnaur -02

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coimbatore & Mangalore

During the weekend of Sep18th I had a good travel filled plan to Coimbatore and Mangalore. While in Coimbatore we visited Murugan temple at Pallani. The drive was very nice along the paddy fields and wind mills. We took cable car on the way up to the temple and a winch ride back. The temple was decently crowded as it was a week day.




View From the Top

Winch....

Next day we visited Perur temple which had beautifully stone carved and painted interiors. Our next stop was to Dyana Lingam, a peaceful meditation center at the outskirts of the city. On the way back thanks to P’s grandma I found the “Golden Shower” saplings at a nursery. I had been looking for this for over a year now.

On Saturday we took the train to Mangalore. Next two days was spent in Mangalore with family and relatives. Many relatives came home for a function and it was fun talking to them. Navratri is the best time to be in my home town. Two temples near my house have yakshagana shows all nine nights. I watched yakshagana till around 1:00 AM and recollected several childhood memories of fun involved during this time of the year; took a bicycle ride by the beach which was very refreshing.


Yakshagana....

The weekend was fun with lots of travel and family reunions. I was excited about the Himachal trip soon to come.