Monthly Archives

April 2016

Soul Search

20 Places You Miss if You Don’t Take the Manali – Leh OFF-Roadtrip

April 26, 2016
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” Fortune Favors the Brave”

 

I was lucky to have done the complete Manali – Leh – Srinagar Roadtrip in July 2010 in an all boys group, Back then I was sort of afraid of being judged, I was younger and less surer of myself. Gender steorotypes need to change and it is high time. Traveling has got nothing to do with gender or the no. of boys and girls in a group. I end up traveling either solo or mostly in an all boys group and all we all care about is the place and the culture, trust me, no body cares about the gender ratio in a travel group.

I know with direct flight routes opening from all Major cities, flying into Leh is an easier option, however you end up giving all your money to large scale airline companies, and don’t even get to see the best of the journey. Won’t you much rather take the road trip, ensure the money goes to local taxi drivers and enjoy fully rather than half. Here are a few places you miss if you don’t take the road trip πŸ™‚

 

Manali:

Manali needs no introduction, a hub for travelers and backpackers around the world, a vibe you cannot forget. This is were it all begins.1

Rohtang Pass:

The first high altitude pass you cross the the high to Leh and trust me the view changes every 15 mins after crossing Rohtang Pass. Rohtang Pass in itself is majestic and extreme.

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Gramphu and Koksar

The next hault soon afterΒ Rohtang, here the road cuts for Spiti Valley incase you didn’t know πŸ™‚IMG_0482r

Keylong:

The last fuel station, the HQ of Dist. Lahual and the last hault to fix all your problems, there is nothing after this until Leh

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Jispa,

A perfect hault incase you are tired, you still see greenery

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Darcha,

Here is where you start feeling the altitude πŸ™‚

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Zingzingbar

Getting higher and higher and you start feeling lighter and easier.

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Baralachla Pass,

The second high altitude pass you cross after Rohtang Pass, there is not a single soul who is not hit by AMS here, I don’t mean to scare you πŸ™‚

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Suraj Tal

Yes, you cross this beautiful high altitude lake after Baralachla, and the sight is magnificient πŸ™‚

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Sarchu,

The border between Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, one of the most peaceful and beautiful borders you will ever come across

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Gata Loops,

And suddenly you will notice the landscape changing, you are at a constant height of 15000ft and above from here

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Lachungla

The next high altitude pass, which is at a height of 17000 ft plus,

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Pang

I stayed here and it was surreal and unreal

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More plains,

How does a high altitude plain looks like? it looks like this πŸ™‚

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Taglangla, the second highest recorded pass of the world.IMG_0631

Last but definitely not the least Upshi

Upshi gives you a feel like Kashmir valley, pink mountains

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Hope I have been able to ignite the wanderlust in you,

please feel free to touchbase with me if you wish to know more, I’ll be happy to guide.

 

Solo Journeys Soul Search

Last Year This Time – 12 Months – 12 Soul Journeys

April 23, 2016
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“The best feeling is when you go beyond your fears and survive, happily”

This is a long pending blog that I have been waiting to compile. 2015 was a year of ends and beginnings, 2015 gave me alot and took away some real friendships. Traveling solo into my soul has always been my savior in life. Some people call it escapism, I call it loving yourself, because you are all that you got.

So here goes my travel journal for 2015:

January 2015:

Rann of Kachchh, Gujrat

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Reaching Rann of Kachchh is hardly a 6 hour drive from Ahmedabad and 1.5 hours from Bhuj. There are direct trains to Bhuj from all major cities. The best time to visit is Nov-Feb, for people who would like to explore the culture could visit during the Kachchh festival from December to February. It is a very safe place for women to travel. Kachchh has village homestays that only allow women travelers since they do not disturb the village culture and the women in the rural.

 

February 2015:

Sula Festival, Nashik, Maharashtra

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I didn’t even know something like this happens, thanks to a friend who booked this for me, who ultimately fell sick with dengue and I ended up going. I never had wine until Sula festival happened to me. A must must must experience, totally safe of solo women since its far away from Haryana πŸ™‚ a crazy musical and wine experience.

March 2015

Tarkarli, Malvan, Maharashtra

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India is beautiful and unexplored, not many people know of Tarkarli exactly 95 kms before Goa on the Mumbai – Goa highway. For lovers of food, sea and peace, one can relish exquisite Konkan Cuisine for prices you cannot imagine. Tarkali also has beautifully beach homestays that are very affordable and offers beginner level scuba diving. If you are lucky you get to spot dolphins too.

April 2015

Kareri Lake Trek, Kangra,Himachal Pradesh

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Kareri lake is a beautiful Alpine lake trek in the Kangra dist. of Himachal Pardesh. This trek gave me the lesson of my life and made me realise that no matter what never challenge nature. Inspite of heavy rainfall predictions I still went head and got stuck, to our luck we found shelter, couldn’t complete the trek but soon again:)

 

May 2015

Chaderkhani Pass Trek, Kullu, Himachal Pardesh

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Did this trek with a group, a fairly easy trek ideal for first timers that follow a fitness regime. I went on my menstrual cycle on this trek, which was certainly effecting my stamina, drinking alot of hot liquids on a trek is the key to survive through when you start on your period. It might sound horrifying, it is not, you will survive. However, do not ever dispose used tampons in the mountains, carry them back, I did that.

 

June 2015

Beas Kund Trek, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

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This was the first time I was taking a group, as a trial. It was an experience, this is one of the most beautiful and recommended treks for all trekkers, the beauty of the valley just keeps getting better. Very doable by everyone, go for it!

July 2015

Deoriatal, Sari, Uttarakhand

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I always ended up going to Himachal and never Uttarakhand, so I decided to. Uttarakhand takes you to beauties with less physical effort in most treks. The beauty of the valley is raw and untouched. This was a solo trek, didn’t have a very good experience in terms of people but in terms of landscape, mind blowing!

 

August 2015

My Mini Tibet

Spiti Valley, Dist. Lahual Spiti, Himachal Pradeesh

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I would want you to read my blog – Lost trails are Beautiful, as this trip is very very close to my heart

 

September, 2015

Chandratal, Spiti Valley

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I missed chandratal in my first round in August, so I went back again, just to trek to the Moon Lake.

 

October 2015

Bhrigu Lake, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

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A not so easy trek with steep ascends, ideal for people who like to challenge themselves, the weather went bad again, so we couldn’t finish.

November, 2015

Puskar Festival, Rajasthan

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Read my blog on Pushkar here

 

December, 2015

Har Ki Dun Trek, Uttarakhand

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I wanted to do one multi-day trek unsupported and eco-friendly before the year ended, so I did πŸ™‚ read my blog on Har-Ki-Dun.

 

Eco-Tourism Solo Journeys

A Walk the Talk with Myself – A No Footprint Trek To Har-Ki-Dun

April 21, 2016
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“Life is Either a Daring Adventure, Or Nothing”

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For some odd reason, I cannot get over the quote I mentioned above. It is hard to practice it, very very hard as we always feel insecure, about so many things in life. But letting go, is a really good space to be in.

It was the end of 2015, Har-ki-Dun had been on my list since long. Since it is a tea house trek, I could think of doing it unsupported, without a guide, so I did. But what was the challenge here? There wasΒ two actually – One I had to carry all my stuff myself, and second it was December end and that was the scary, challenging and exciting part.

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I was working full time, and had a very hard time to get my leaves approved. I realised that a boss probably doesn’t’ deserve to know the truth when an employee asks for a leave, my friend, a lie always gets you through better. I did manage to get away, as the Himalayas were calling me, and nothing comes in between me and the Himalayas πŸ™‚

 

Left on the eve of Christmas for Dehradun, arrived there early morning and I cannot describe the cold I felt. Changed 4 local transports and finally made it to Sankri, the hot-spot for several treks in Uttarakhand. Taluka is from where the trek to Har Ki Dun begins, and I had also booked accommodation with dorms of Garwal Mandal Vikas Nigam at Taluka, these accommodations were cheap but questionable on hygiene. I knew I wasn’t going to bathe for the next 5 days so it didn’t bother me. Taluka, a very quite village with limited population. I decided I will not eat anything that is packaged, I only ate eggs and freshly cooked local food. I also was carrying nuts and dry fruits. Not to mention I was carrying my own water bottle and filling natural water.

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Day 1: Taluka to Seema:
Next day early morning, I began walking towards Seema- 16kms from Taluka, I had my rucksack on and as I kept walking the view kept getting better, the first half I survived happily, but the second half, the weight started to get to my back, I had to go on. As I kept walking I finally sight Osla on the other side, a sigh of relief, I knew Seema was almost there and made it to Seema after walking for 9-10 hours. By then it was evening and was getting cold. Snow was prevalent and I had crossed patches of frozen ice without crampons. As I reach there I met a few professors and a student from IIT Roorkee, they had decided not to go further and warned me too, I did get shaken for a while, I thought I’ll take a call next morning, again crashed in the GMVN post a locally cooked dinner by the local Chowkidar.

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Day 2: Seema to Har-Ki-Dun:

Woke up next morning, and yes I decided to move ahead, had fresh aloo paranthas and took off. I started with great energy and speed, and was lucky to meet a good friend and Founder – Himalayan Shelter – Mr. Bachan Rana. Bachan is a true delight, full of positive energy, he had a group of few people and honestly what amazed me the most about him is the way he was handling first time trekker. There was a girl in his group who had a sprained leg, Bachan did not let her give up, he walked the whole trail with her at her speed ensuring she completes the trek and goes back with a feeling of accomplishment. Looking at that I thought I am not a first time trekker, hence I should certainly not even think of quitting. I moved on, and once I started gaining altitude I started feeling uneasy, there was something in my head that was not letting me breathe, I didn’t know what it was. I kept walking slower, took breaks and had a break down too. Yes! I did. I want to tell people that even strong people break down emotionally, but what makes them strong is that they face their fears and emotions, they break down, they cry but they get up again, and I did exactly that.

In no time, I had reached Har-ki-Dun and I cannot explain the beauty that was in front of my eyes. I kept looking and looking the white mountains so close to me. I felt like I was in the arms of my lover which I didn’t wish to leave, ever! I had made it there, completely Eco-Friendly and unsupported.
The temperatures at night went to negative 6-7, it was freezing cold.

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Day 3 Har-Ki-Dun to Osla:
Woke up next morning to a mesmerizing sunrise, I swear I didnt want to leave, but it was too cold! Started walking towards Osla, this was the easiest 15 kms of the trek, made it there before time and decided to stay in a villagers house. Olsa has no electricity and most people there are poverty struck. I thought this will be an excellent Eco-tourism project and I wish someday I can change the course of life for people in Osla.

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Day 4: Osla to Taluka:
And so, with that thought of doing something for Osla, I slept and when I woke up I found my Iphone missing, someone had stolen it, and people there were getting offended for me blaming them. Thats when I felt that for some strange reason I am way more comfortable traveling in Himachal, I had never had any sort of strange experiences there. I was sad, upset on not finding my phone and I left Osla, this was the last leg too. This is when I came back to thinking what was bothering me, I broke down my emotions to myself and I realised that being tied was bothering me, professionally and personally. It was time I quit and start working towards my dream, I had decided I wont let anything tie me anymore, my freedom was my most priced possession, I wanted professional freedom and personal freedom. Professional freedom was a clear, struggle-sum and no looking back path, which I have taken on now and every day is a new day! personal freedom was to stop expecting and stopping attaching to people, no matter how close they are to you, and this is the harder part of life, to detach. We can never detach ourselves from fellow humans, but we can always do our bit, give them love and move on.

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Today, 5 months post the trek, I am on the path that I decided to take while hiking Har-Ki-Dun. I urge who ever reads this blog, to if not anything decide on what path you want to be on and stick to it, life is not waiting, life is happening, right now! as long as you are alive, live it with all your heart and give as much love you can, and trust me the Universe will always love you back, even if fellow humans don’t πŸ™‚

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Not to forget, this was an Eco-Trek, I left no plastic footprint, and gave all the money I had along with an Iphone to the locals πŸ™‚