Saturday, August 31, 2013

Himalayan Trek in My First Trip to North India...

I think it had rained an hour ago. Chill in the air and stagnant water at the roadside were clearly indicating this fact. After acclimatizing to temperatures ranging from 2 to 40 centigrades for over 2 weeks, I was back to the city that boasts a constant weather of around 20 centigrade, Bengaluru. I was walking towards home with a bagful of stories to tell- some adventurous, some philosophical, some controversial. Here it is- the travelogue of my first trip to North India!

This entire trip was very very well planned in paper with all hotel and travel bookings already done.Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani”. A week after watching the movie, with official nod from parents we had booked the complete itinerary while having an icecream, sitting in the Corner House of Kasturi Nagar, Bengaluru. Our trip had a disastrous start as the main trip planner, Manu met with an accident a day before our departure. We were given a royal send off by Vijay and Yashu, after a tasty dinner (Thank you, Aunty!) at Yashu’s place. Did I feel that I won’t return forever? Nah!
Hadimba Temple

I’ll traverse through the states of India that I visited in this trip. I have provided links for complete story. Enjoy, as much as I did!

#1. Himachal Pradesh, a romantic state that shares it’s borders with Tibet. I visited two districts- Kullu and Shimla. The charming skin tone and excellent physique of the citizens deserves special mention. I got down in Shimla with a 20kg luggage, looked around to find no auto rickshaws, instead plenty of man labor. I and my friend decided to walk to Hotel Chaman Palace. 5 min after we started, we realized that it was a mistake! 70 degree slopes and stairs took out all the energy as we reached the hotel located close to Mall road. Mall road is the busiest and the most happening with lot of eateries and shopping outlets. Veg momo’s and burgers of Krishna Traders are the best I have had till date. Street food- channa kulcha and chatpati chat- I recommend. This city was incredibly disciplined with no smoking and
Toy Train
no plastic policies followed till the last dot!

Kullu, on the other hand is more ethnic with localities wearing the vibrant “Himachal ki Shaan” topi and apple sellers everywhere. Base camp for our trek was in Manali. We visited a Tibetan architecture influenced Hadimba and Ghatodgakch temple, built atleast 500 years ago. Beas River flowing along the canopy of Pine trees gives this city an artistic look. We got to visit Nicholas Roerich’s museum in Naggar, 25kms away from Manali. His breathtaking paintings of Himalayan inexpressible beauty and the peace flag (harmony of religion, art and science) that he designed for “League of Nations” (current UN) is the highlight.

Remember Kareena in “Ye Ishq” song of “Jab We Met”, we were at this serene place- the Naggar Castle, built in 16th century. We had delicious snacks in the hillside view balcony of the hotel there, Cutlets, yummm!! We made sure to visit the famous Johnson’s cafĂ©, and of course, had a great
With Bishi and Gursagar
evening with 11 buddies!

I have deliberately put the best part of Himachal in another blogpost. Trek Hampta pass (Click here) yourselves!

#2. We entered Punjab, land of 5 rivers, through the UNESCO heritage narrow gauge toy train from Shimla. Toy train to Kalka, running since 1902, brought us best of landscapes. We made our way to beautifully planned Chandigarh from Kalka via couple of auto rickshaws which run like public buses here. We visited my friend, Bishas and Gursagar (Thanks a ton guys, you rock!) for dinner and they redefined hospitality, we set off to explore Punjab the next day (Click here, yeah, story is long enough for another blogpost)!
Golden Temple

#3. The Delhi Honeymoon was a dream come true. As we keep hearing the daily happenings of Delhi, I was excited to see how it really lived, the capital of “The India”. My experience that changed “Delhi” to “Dilli” (city of heart) is indeed heartening, I suppose, why wait, read here The Delhi Honeymoon!

The trip plan was executed almost near to perfection, all thanks to the 3 hours delay in “Hirakund Express” from Amritsar to Agra, because of which we had to skip Agra since there would be little time left to explore Agra that Thursday evening and Taj Mahal shuts down every Friday. Dear Taj, will see you soon!
Whenever I achieved some small feats,
Hampta Pass
People blessed me that I’ll go places…
I sit and contemplate on what it meant,
Realizing answers are sole aim of our life… 
May be a different perspective of new place,
In the thick thread of cobbler’s spool…
Showing the life that I never lived,
In the kaleidoscope of a roadside kid… 
Today, I really want to achieve more feats…
Today, I really want to visit more places…
Today, I really want to find more answers…
[Heartfelt gratitude to Manu, Akhilesh, Bishas and Archi for planning this out. Cheers to Thomas, Tanja, Parijat, Naaga, Harsha, Sowmini, Spurthi, Chandrashekar V, Neerav, Niladri, Akshat, Bharath, Shushanth, Saranbir, Thakur Saheb and IndiaHikes for making the trek super awesome. Photo Credits: Akhilesh, Parijat, Chandru and Harsha.]