A walk into the Cloulds- Dharamshala , Mcleodganj and Triund !

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Silhouette at Triund Peak !

Bored from the daily monotonous routine, to beat the Delhi heat and to celebrate one of our friend’s birthday, we decided to move out of city. It was Wednesday already and all we knew was we were heading towards some Hill Station. Yeah, ” Some Hill Station ” Which, it wasn’t decided yet because of the heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It was Thursday morning and we were still looking for options. I could feel what once a great philosopher said ” Jitne Mu, Utni Baatein ” , yes, the great philosopher is none other than my MOM ! 😀 The urge with which we wanted to leave the city was so high that we also made a (Escape) plan of visiting Rajasthan in this part of the year. (hahahah ! yes, it was ~45/46 deg in Rajasthan ) Excitement you know, ” Josh me hosh kho dena shayd ise hi kehte hai 😛 “ . Thursday night, people were still confused, exhausted, frustrated, leaving Whatsapp group one by one, making it even worse that we had to think would there would be a trip? Then came our saviors, a few masterminds from the groups gathered together, discussed, took decisions and shortlisted a place on Thursday late night ! It was the famous trio ” Dharamshala – Mcleodganj – Triund” which won the tough battle of ” Best Hill Station to visit in month of June in India 😛 “.

The Doom’s day (Friday it was) – the greatest ever search program of finding a Tempo Traveller was under the hands of laziest person in the group, it was me 😛 . We were a total of 10 people and it was a tough job to get a Traveller at the last moment and especially with me on the acting committee(suddenly promoted from the relaxing committee to acting committee with obviously no extra perks :-/ ). It made me learn by heart the quote ” with great power comes greater responsibilities” 🙂 A person who was more content than the inert gases suddenly became Na(Sodium). I did what every other guy would have done at this situation ” Google Baba ki Jai ! ” , googled Tempo Traveller in Delhi NCR and The Almighty Baba flooded my screen with a million searches(1,88,000 results to be exact ~ not even close to a million :P). The next one/two hour, it was a surprise test for my superfast Moto G 2nd Gen, contacted every other tempo provider on my screen and finally got a Traveller at 17 rs/km. It was no less than a a great battle win for my Moto G, as it performed seamlessly without getting restarted, the only thing I was worried about was its temperature though 😛 ( It was so hot that I had to use hands-free after 30 mins/could have cooked maggi in 1 min 😛 ). The news that we finally got a Traveller spread like wildfire (GOT fans, I feel you), it was a moment of joy for the masses (masses = 10 people 😛 ).

Note : Please don’t mind my chemistry, I was an average student 😀

People were so excited for the trip that their bags were already packed before even knowing the venue. Infact, a few of our friends left from Gwalior on Friday Morning (when we didn’t even had a cab confirmation) with the hope that they will be at Dharamshala, chilling the next day. So, it happened.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” We believed, and yes we were on NH1, all the way cruising in our 12 seater Tempo Traveller. We left Delhi at around 11 P.M. and reached Dharamshala by 12 P.M. It was sunny, humid and hot, but as were approaching Dharamshala, it started to rain heavily, making the place perfect for love birds to come out (or they may prefer staying in rajai, ” priorities ” you know ). 😉

TIP : You will not find a decent, hygienic multi-cuisine restaurant after Anandpur Sahib until Kangra open early morning. So, plan accordingly.

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Dharamshala, HP

I believe everything God does, there is always a hidden message and by everything I mean anything that any human isn’t capable of (neglecting the mutants around 😛 ). Yes, I’m taking about the rains, it was hot and humid, we were exhausted, tired as it had already been 12 hours journey but the unexpected rain took all the fatigue out of our bodies. We were feeling fresh again, singing songs and the enjoying the great weather and view in front of us until we noticed a long spiral network of cars crawling along the majestic mountains. Yes, we were now in a traffic jam and we could hear people saying it has been the biggest jam they have ever witnessed. Dope Man ! we were making History. 😛 The rains as I said, gave power to a few of our friends, who decided to move out of the Traveller and take pictures rather than sitting ideally. It was 1 P.M. , the Jam wasn’t moving at all. 😦

Himachal Pradesh tourism won’t mind that at all. 😉

Once everyone had their share of selfies, DP’s and whatever picture they wanted to click, they decided to take the long walk and search for hotels instead (kisi ka toh dimaag chala 😛 ). Yes, we didn’t make any bookings in advance. 😛 After another very long and intense search operation, we managed to get three rooms in a decent hotel for 10,000 bucks. Yeah, it was costly, it is indeed if you don’t have advance bookings and look for hotels at the last minute.

Note: We checked into our hotel at 6:45 P.M. , it took us 390 minutes to reach Mc’Lo from Dharamshala. Yeah, 6 Hours and 3o Minutes ! :-/

TIP : Always plan your trip and book your hotels in advance. It surely does helps a lot, if not helps it doesn’t make a crater in your pocket. 😛

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View of Dhauladhar Mountains from Dharamshala !

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Cars, Cars and Just Cars !

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Our Room, Hill Top Hotel, Mcleodganj !

As it was getting dark, We took a cab and headed straight towards the famous Bhagsunath Falls. The driver dropped us near the Bhagsu Temple. The Swimming pool in the front of the Temple was so tempting that we decided to take bath and then go inside the Temple. As soon as we entered into the pool, the water was so damn cold, it didn’t took a second for us to come out (sabke hosh ud gae the, I think it was mountain water, wahi jo Bisleri 50 rs mei deta hai 😛 ). I could hear Linkin Park playing their very famous track – NUMB in my ears ! However, everyone gathered courage and took bath one by one. We dropped our plan to visit the falls and decided to cover the monastery and falls the next morning. We then headed straight toLhasa Restaurant, above ICICI bank atm, Main Square, had dinner and then came back to our hotel.

TIP : 1) You’ll get a lot of taxis to take you to the Monastery , Bhagsunath falls and each will charge you 100/150 rupees.

2) It was a tough time to find a decent family restaurant, Lhasa Restaurant provides you everything you need. The food is delicious, staff is cooperative and economical as well.

3) If you are planning to visit Bhagsunath Temple and falls, do keep and extra pair of clothes.

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After a long tiring day, we slept like babies in our rooms. We got ready around 10 A.M. , checked out, bought raincoats, water (lots of it), fruits and left for the Triund Trek. We booked a package from Himtrek and was priced at 1500/head. It included lunch, evening snacks , dinner , tents, sleeping bags , breakfast and every other essential thing you require. Most of us were already exhauted in the first 3/4 km’s walk from Main square toHimtrek office, then from office to the starting of the trek. We started the trek at around 1 P.M. It looked like, most of us will not be able to complete the trek as it was turning out to be difficult with every meter covered because of the hot, humid weather and the heavy backpacks we were carrying.

IT engineers, you know how much exercise we do on daily basis ! 😛

TIP : 1) http://himtrek.co.in/ – You’ll find the details of package here.

2) Don’t carry un-necessary stuff, carry water, carry fruits.

3) There are a lot of cafes along the way, no need to carry any packaged food. The Chai of Hemraj Cafe at best view point was the best we had along the way.

As were on our trek, the weather changed completely at around 2:30 P.M. It was drizzling and extremely foggy. The drop in temperature made our tough trek easy. We reached the top at around 6:30 P.M. and believe me the view get from here is worth every calorie burnt. The great Dhauladhar range in front of you with a hint of ice still present, clouds flowing in and out, sunset, everything was so amazing about the place it can’t be explained in words. So, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-16ji5x5jM) which highlights our trek.

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The Blue Tent !

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Another Silhouette !

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The Triund Peak !

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One of my Fav from the Trip !

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It was tough time getting the sticks and tougher making a bonfire in heavy dew !

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En’route the trek !

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Somewhere in between!

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We could have easily played hide and seek !

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The Fog and the clouds !

Most Important Tip : If it’s cloudy or raining you wont get your mobile networks at the top if the hill. So, make sure you inform you parents or anyone who knows where you are going and by when you’ll be back. If the weather stays clear, you’ll get only IDEA network, however the probability that you’ll be able to answer a call is very less.

Thank you guys for reading this blog till the last, hope you’d have liked it. If you have any suggestions or queries do post them in comments section. 🙂

My First Bike Ride !!

12th April’16 – This was the date, I had waited for, since the time I purchased my bike(Bajaj Pulsar RS200) to go on a long ride. It was obvious, it was my first ride so it involved a lot of planning and preparations. I made a list of all essential things, tools, everything and I was ready to ride on. As per my plan, I had four days; in those four days I had to cover Chandigarh, Kasauli, Shimla, Kufri and Chail. The more I discussed my plan with people, the more they were curious to know how am I going to ride a bike for approximately 900 kms that too alone(though with a pillion). But, you know that feel “When you want to do it, no one can stop you from doing it“, Right? , this was the fact that kept me motivated throughout my ride. People gave me suggestions to get car, they said it’d be more safe but I wasn’t able to explain them the feel you actually get while riding a motorcycle. It seems so easy to explain it now after the ride, so here it is

“Have you ever driven in a convertible? Do you remember that feeling you had of the top being down? The wind in your hair? Well, imagine that times TEN. That’s what it’s like on a bike.”

We started at dawn, 05:30 hrs sharp, it was dark and the the sky was getting lit up with the very first sun-rays. As soon as we covered the first 100 meters, we had problems with the saddle bags, the pillion was struggling as with the bags there wasn’t any room left for the pillion to keep feet on the footrests. We took our first stop, minutes after we started, it took me 45 minutes to adjust the bags again. Though the sun was still at the horizon it was hot, here in Gurgaon, I could feel the sweat inside my heavy jacket. It was 06:15 hrs and we were ready to go, as soon as we took NH8, we were cruising. The view was magical, sky was still dark with hint of Sun rising up from the horizon, long wide roads, cool breeze flowing through my jacket, the cool breeze flowing through my helmet and kissing my cheeks. I was already getting high after such a wonderful start of the trip. The feel of going on the first solo ride was just amazing, we left Delhi, took NH1 and reached Murthal. It was our first stop(didn’t consider changing bags as a stop), 70 kms done, we were all pumped up. The ride was good so far, though we had some trouble finding route on google maps but as soon as we left Delhi, it was all clear.(yeah, I know we were on highway 😛 ).

TIP : If you stop at Murthal, have saddle bags and don’t have locks, don’t worry about it, just ask the guards to keep an eye on your luggage and they will very politely answer you “Kuch nahi hoga sahab, hamara yahi kaam hai ! aap jao aaram se khana khao !”

The bike felt good, it was for the first time I was riding a bike on a longer route and with every km I covered on it, it gave me more confidence to push the throttle a little harder. It was amazingly stable with those two heavy saddle bags(Rynox Nomad V2.0) at the back the bike was easily doing 130+. In the parking lot, we met a couple who were also solo riding to Shimla on their Royal Enfield. They were leaving so, we gave them a thumbs up, to which they stopped and asked where we were headed to. We told them our plan so did they, we wished each other luck and they left. I still remember the number plate on the bike, it read “GJ10 “, DAMN! People are enthusiasts, they have been travelling from Gujrat to Shimla. It’s always a great feel to meet riders on your way, it gives you a sense of longing, affection towards the biking group.

The next major stop we took was at Karna Lake, Karnal. We had coffee, relaxed, clicked pictures and left. As we were about to leave, a group of people stood across our bike and they all had the one common question,” how does it feel to ride a bike for such a long distance ” , they were so excited to know about us, our journey , our experience. It is indeed one of the best thing you experience while going on a bike ride ‘the way people talk to you’. They are anxious enough to ask , you excited enough to answer and as you recite your story they love to listen more and more.

TIP: Karna Lake is a nice place to take a stop, it has a small lake, cafes and rest rooms.

The next stop we took was at Ambala, got tank filled up and left. We reached Zirakpur in no time, and yes it was the time I started feeling elated, our first day ride was about to end. The road seemed so nice and wide, surrounded by yellow and red trees on both sides and the cool breeze. Yes you guessed it right, we were in Chandigarh, reached there at 11:30 hrs. We quickly headed towards our hotel, checked in and took some rest. In the evening, We went to the famous Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake and Sector 17, then we had dinner , came back early and slept early.

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Reached Chandigarh

It was our second day, we had four more places to cover, we woke up early, checked out hotel at 08:00, had our breakfast and left for Kasauli. It is around 60 km’s from Chandigarh. As soon as we left Chandigarh, We were on the “Himalayan Highway” ! Boy ! ohhh, Boy ! The feel you get while riding on the highway was just spell bounding. I had dinosaurs killing each other in my stomach ! Till now, I have had only seen Himalayan Highway in pictures , and this was the day, I was riding on it, taking every feel of the great landscape, it was worth a moment for me, going for a trip for the first time and that too riding on Himalayan expressway. Gasp ! I can’t explain it in words. 😀 Eighteen km’s before Kasauli, you’ll find a nice food court on the left side of the road. It has a lot of options, McDonalds, Chawala’s and South Indian food as well. We then reached Kasauli, had trouble finding parking space, yes even for our bike. We then went inside the Air force base, way to Manki point. The shop on your left as you enter the Air Force base, has lockers. So, if you want to keep your valuables(as nothing is allowed inside the base, phone,cameras etc) you can keep them there. However, please be aware of the Shopkeeper, the standard rate is of 50Rs/Locker, he tends to ask 100rs sometimes depending upon his mood. The Manki point is at the top of the hill, which has Lord Hanuman’s Temple. The climb is through stairs and slopes, a tough one but the view you get from the top is worth every calorie burnt. 🙂 We sat inside the Temple, relaxed, came down , had some snacks and left for the next destination.

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In front of Air Force Base , Kasauli

TIP : The food of the shop(2nd /3rd from the starting) where an old lady sits is best of all. 🙂

We were riding towards Chail, the road was not so good, we were barely able to manage an average speed 20km/hr on that treacherous terrain. We had to face the same terrain for almost 30 odd km’s. At around 16:00 hrs, we reached a place, 18/20 km’s before Chail, it had a small tea shop at the right end of the road. We stopped there, as we were riding continuously for 3 straight hours and were tired.  The guy at the tea shop is so polite, we had our tea and relaxed for a while. We started again, and after minutes of riding we reached a beautiful place “Sadhupul”, it was a nice place to sit and relax with friends. They have river side cafes, adventure sports and tents. As we were running late, we skipped to stay at Sadhupul and rode towards Chail. The road now was good, surrounded by pine trees, the landscape was so lovely and beautiful, it was filling me up with positive vibes as I was nearing Chail. We were struggling before because of the rough roads, I had acute pain on my left wrist, the pillion was getting uncomfortable, but my map said 12..11..10..5..3..2 km’s more and so did I, I pushed my limits, encouraged pillion to just hang on, and the next stop we took was the resort I had booked. The moment I had a  view of our resort, I fell for it. ” Hotel Grand Sunset” and yes as the name suggest, It was Grand in its own way, the feel was grand, the view was grand, the service was grand. You’ll never regret anything about this Resort once you enter into it, I bet if you plan your next visit to Chail, you’ll come directly to this place. Our experience with this resort was just amazing.

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Hotel Grand Sunset, Chail

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View from my room 😀

We checked into our hotel room by 17:30 hrs and it was the best time to be in the resort. The view from the room was so luring, that without even changing, we went outside to the attached balcony, stood there and watched the sun go down. It was one of the most beautiful sunset I have ever experienced. It made us forgot all what we have been through, we were totally enjoying our evening. We then had our dinner and slept like babies. We woke up at around 08:00 hrs the next day, had our breakfast, checked out and left for sight seeing. We had plans to visit the wildlife sanctuary of chail, but we were informed that it’s entry has been closed, so we had two places to visit, Kali ka Tibba and The Chail Palace. The road to KKT was all broken, it was very in a very bad shape when we visited. There is a temple at the top of the hill with an astonishing view. For the first time I got to see “The White Mountains”, the view was startling. Next we visited to TCP , it was also a nice place to visit ,sit and relax. We clicked photographs, ate apples, gathered our stuff and left for Shimla.

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Kali ka Tibba, Chail

TIP : Beware of monkeys in this area, they can even smell mint you have taken out from your pocket through miles. 😛

We went via Kufri to Shimla. Kufri is at a distance of 40 kms from Chail and Shimla is next 15/20 kms from Kufri. Kufri is famous for horse riding sight seeing and the Kufri zoo. We quickly traversed each and every corner and left. We were on our way to Shimla, the road was good and so was the view. We reached the Shimla Valley, took photographs and left again. We were about to enter Shimla, as soon as we entered the place, it was overly crowded with people. We were hungry, irritated with the traffic, finding a place to eat, we managed to get to the mall road. We climbed up, went to CCD, got fresh, my friend had coffee and a veg puff and we left. We came here for peace, but it was all lost in the way. The place has been way more commercialized. It was my personal experience regarding Shimla, people may think differently, but this was what I thought, so I shared. We reached Shimla at around 15:45 hrs and left at around 16:30 hrs. We were on our way back to Chandigarh. It was 120 km approximately and I wanted to cover it before the sunset. The road from Chandigarh to Shimla is great, the view you get all along your ride is spell bounding. We managed to reach Chandigarh safely and well before time, before sunset. 🙂

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At Shimla Valley

TIPS : (a) Kufri has a parking, near to gate no 1 of the zoo. (b) If you are a rider, have saddle bags and plan to visit Mall Road, Shimla directly, then please be aware of the fact that they don’t allow you to keep those bags  with the bike, you have to either carry them or submit in the cloak room(near to bus stand).

The next day we did some shopping in Chandigarh and then left for Gurgaon. It was my first ride and a successful one. One of the best thing you learn after completing your ride, is that it makes you “Content”. Being Content, is one the best feel in the world and the more your travel the more content you feel. Travelling actually makes you modest, it certainly does, if you don’t believe me, go try it yourself. Travel, Explore, discover and live. 🙂

It was my first blog of my first ride, please feel free to give suggestions, comment and like. I’ll very generously accept all your comments and reviews. Thank you for your time and interest. 🙂