Archive for ‘Nainital Trip’

July 1, 2008

Day 8 – Delhi – Hyderabad (24/05/2008)

This is the last day of the trip and we will go back to Hyderabad tonight. It was a hell of an experience for total 1 week of holiday. Today we decided to go around Delhi. We broke into 2 groups and depending on interest we went in 2 different ways. Seshagiri Rao uncle, Urmila Aunty and Radhika aunty planned for Akshardham Temple. I, brother, bhabhi, mom and gopal uncle planned for shopping.

As the program for today was set we all woke up early by 6. Bhabhi prepared Tea & Coffee for everybody. At around 8.30 AM she made some break fast. We all had stomach full of breakfast and were waiting for the vehicles to pick us up. After breakfast one group started to go to visit Aksharadam and others except dad for shopping.

We went for shopping and bought some bags, kerchiefs, dresses, t-shirts etc. It was fun doing shopping there. I also had pani poori there which was very much different to what I used to have in Hyderabad. It was very tasty though. On the way back home I wanted to buy Levis Jeans for me. We went to Levis showroom where I bought 2 t-shirts and 1 Jeans. We then returned back home by 3. Bhabhi then prepared some lunch with curry, sambar, Rice, curd, mixture etc. I took some photographs and mean while mom packed everything in bags and we were ready to leave.

We started from home at around 3.45 PM in two vehicles and reached Delhi Domestic airport by 4 PM. Our flight was schedule at 5.25 PM. We had many bags to do the check in. It took some time for brother to take care. We then did the security check and reached the waiting lounge. We waited for sometime and once the announcement was done we boarded the flight. We all got seats in different rows. As the flight was in the evening time the view of the cities on the way was spectacular. We reached Hyderabad by 7.30 PM. We booked a vehicle and Seshagiri Rao uncles office vehicle was also there. We all were tired so just jumped into the vehicles and started back home.

So that’s the end of the week long holiday trip.

July 1, 2008

Day 7 – Ranikhet – Nainital – Delhi (23/05/2008)

Today we were returning back to Delhi. We started off from Ranikhet at 7.30 AM. As there was no hot water, we had to take cold water bath. Even in the morning the weather was cloudy. Hence we lost the final chance of witnessing the icy Himalayas ranges. But we were all a bit satisfied as we saw the snow capped mountains at least once during the trip. On the way back, we stopped for breakfast after driving for 10km. everybody other than Seshagiri Rao uncle and Urmila aunty ordered alu parota. As it was Friday they both ordered Puri with sugar. As usual in the trip the food was good.

We droved further and reached Naintal at 10.30 AM. Our actual schedule was to stay tonight in Nainital along with the other group and go to Delhi tomorrow morning. In Nainital we wanted to go to all view points. But as the weather was not good, Subash said we cannot see any of these view points properly. So we decided to go to Delhi in the afternoon itself. We were given 2 hours in Nainital to go around and mean while the whole luggage was transferred into another vehicle in which we were supposed to go to Delhi.

In the mean time we all went to Mata Naina devi darshan. The temple is located adjacent to the Naini Lake surrounded by hills with lush green tall trees. In the temple Shiva, Krishna Pada, Santhoshi mata and Sri Anjaneyaswami temples were there. The rope way was visible from the temple premises. Meanwhile I was asked to go and check with the driver as where he is going to come and pick us up. I went for the driver and everybody else was busy in shopping. I couldn’t find the driver so I came back and on the way took some pics of the beautiful flowers in the garden.



We booked a Tata Sumo to go to Delhi. We booked only one vehicle, it was a bit uncomfortable but at the same time it was nice to have everybody at one place during the journey. While coming down the Naini Peak we stopped for a while for Maize corns and a view point there. We also had a shooting point there. We ate lot of Maize corns which were sold at the rate of Rs. 10/- each. They were very tasty and we cherished having the corn.

We traveled for more than 4 hours and we were almost 100KM away from Delhi. We stopped for some snacks at the petrol bunk. Had some coffee and snacks and got fresh. We further traveled in the heavy traffic coming ahead. The driver (Shekar) drove so fast and so well. He had to go back to Nainital that night. So he drove very fast but at the same time very safe. We the stopped for dinner at a dhaba just in the outskirts of Delhi. We ordered Jeera rice, Veg fried Rice etc., had stomach full dinner and again started for Delhi. We reached Delhi by 11.30 PM.


We were going to stay at bhabhi’s cousin brother Dattu in Dwarka. By the time we went to his place he was waiting for us downstairs in the cellar. He received us warmly. Even though we were a large group he did not mind giving a stay at his place. We all slept in the bedrooms in A/C while he and my brother slept in the veranda. That night we all missed Shekar the driver who was with us through out the journey. He was a wonderful guy with lot of life. He addressed everybody as didi, bhaiyya, uncle etc. Today he drove us for 400 km from Ranikhet to Niantal to Delhi and tonight he left back to Nainital. As the day was tiring with long journey, we all fell asleep very soon and tomorrow was a shopping day.

July 1, 2008

Day 6 – Bageshwar – Baidyanath – Kausani – Ranikhet (22/05/2008)

Though Bageshwar was a beautiful place and had a great experience, we all felt we wasted a complete day at that small place. Rather we would have seen many more places. We spoke to Subash and decided to start early today and reach Delhi early, so that we can do some shopping. So this is where we got detached from the other group.

To day we all got up very early by 4 AM and get ready by 5 AM to get started by 6AM. Today’s first destination was Baidyanath. Finally we managed to start by 6.30AM. After going for 20 or 30 KM we reached Baidyanath temple. It is located adjacent to a river. It has two main temples of Lord Shiva, apart from some small temples. It is believed that Pandavas has constructed this temple in just 1 day.

Before entering the temple we were guided to a pool which has many varieties of fishes of different sizes. We bought “Pelalu” for feeding the fishes. From there we took some pics of fishes and the temple from outside. The temple was small but very beautiful. We performed Puja in two temples. The Panditji here was an employee of Archaeological dept. He performed special puja for about ½ hour. He looked very knowledgeable and told us the history of the temple. Inside the main temple we saw goddess Parvati with Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha studded on either side of the idol. In the center Shiva Lingam is there where we performed Abhishekam and placed Maredy palm leaves and flowers.




After performing pooja we had a small photo session where we took the group photos out side the temple. From there we headed to Chamatkari Shila. We were told that this is a miracle stone and has some specialty. We went there and saw a stone which was not so big that it cannot be lifted. Our guide asked us to try if we can lift the stone. I tried first and failed. My brother tried the same and failed. I and my brother both tried and we were able to lift it with great difficulty. Now guide asked for 5 people to come together to lift the stone, but with just the folder fingers tips touching the stone.

Then he wanted us to chant “Now Now Now Now” (Its not the English Now I am referring to, its 9 in hindi) while lifting the stone. To everybody’s surprise a miracle happened. The stone which we lifted with four hands with great difficulty was lifted with much ease with just the finger tips. So we interchanged with in the group and lifted the stone.

From there we traveled along hill side. On the way we saw some stunning views of mountains and valleys. We then came near the Kausani Tea Estate. Just out side the Tea estate there was a tea kiosk (chai bandi) and above which had a wonderful view point of Himalayas. From this view point we can see Nanda Devi, Trishul, Mrigthuni, Nanda Ghunti, Nanda Kot, Capsadhura and Panchachuli Group. Now now don’t get excited we didn’t get that viewL. There was a huge cloud before us which was spoiling our view.




We came down the roof and sat at the Tea powder selling point. Here they had a tea powder which would cost nearly 25K per Kg. We all purchased Tea powder (not the costly one). We also bought Fruit Juice of Himalayas which was good for Heart. We then proceeded to KAUSANI, another place from where we could get a wonderful view of Himalaya ranges. We actually didn’t really have the hope to see them because of the thick clouds covering the area. We stopped on the way for breakfast. We took breakfast of Alu and Muli Parotas. The taste was awesome. We had stomach full and then started to Ranikhet where we were having the night halt.

On the outskirts of Ranikhet we came across a Kalimata temple. We stopped there for darshan. It was nearly 200 steps up there so not everybody came. I, mom, Radhika aunty, Urmila aunty and Seshagiri Rao uncle were the people who went for darshan. After temple darshan of Kalimata when we came out of the temple it was heavily raining. By the time rain stopped the whole region was covered with thick pile of clouds. Even the people couple of feet away were not visible. There was another temple on the way down where the pujari cleverly tricked us and took 250 for each family and performed some pooja. Though I didn’t like the way pujari took money from us but still we kept the belief in god and did the pooja.



We came down and started off to the township of Ranikhet. On the way we saw a huge Golf club which was naturally formed. It was there in the Military camp area. The driver also showed us the tree and guest house that were used in the Raja Hindustani movie.



We further traveled down to the hotel through the local market which was located in the narrow lanes. We were then taken to Hotel Tribuvan in Raniket. This hotel was popular for its wonderful view point of Himalayas. But as it happened through out the journey, the weather again played the spoilsport. We took some snaps of the clouds and also some videos. Later Mom, Bhabhi, Radhika aunty and Urmila aunty went for Shopping. As we all felt heavy stomach and no hunger due to sumptuous break fast, we skipped lunch.


As the weather was cold Dad, Seshagiri Rao uncle and Gopal Uncle enjoyed the afternoon session with Royal challenge along with Muli, mango apart from mixture. Me and brother watched T.V in the other room. After drinks session dad and uncles went to see the bazaar. The rooms were not so good. Added to this there was a power cut in the hotel room. We ordered dinner at the hotel itself and took dinner in the candle light. There was no hot water provision. The hotel guy who served us was also not well disciplined. Over all the day went fine.

June 24, 2008

Day 5 – Bageshwar (21/05/2008)

It’s the 5th day of the trip and we are at the main destination of the trip. As usual I shall give a little introduction about the place. Bageshwar is a small town on the way to Almora from Kausani. Recently it was announced as a district. We were told that the temple here called as Bagnath temple is 12th century temple. The belief is that Lord Shiva roamed here in the guise of a tiger and hence is the name Bagheshwar. Here we can also see the confluence of the Gomti and Sarayu rivers. There are also other temples like Chandika Temple and Shri Haru Temple.

We got up very late and were lazy today. This was because we had a full day to spend at this place and there were not really much places to see. Everybody wanted to go and do a holy dip in the river. The river was flowing right behind the Bagnath temple. The flow was water was fast but it was not so deep. While we were taking the dip in water dad was busy doing the anniversary ritual for grand father. The Brahmin performed the pooja at the river bed.

I have heard a lot of polluting the holy water like Ganges. I also heard that there were dead bodies floating in Ganges. I could see the same at this place. I saw some dead bodies being burnt at the river. When the dead body is burned and once everybody left some people come there and stop the fire and simply throw the dead body into the water. This was a real shock to see such things happening at these holy places.


Holy Water

View of Temple from the River
View of a bridge on the river

After the bath at the river and once pooja is done by dad, we visited the bagnath temple. By the time we reached the main temple, the other group who came with us was performing Abhishekam followed by Homam to Lord Shiva. We along with the group chanted Vishnu Sahasranamam in the temple premises.


Some baba at the temple

View from the Temple entrance
View of the main temple Entrance

We took walk back to hotel through the narrow lanes. We saw some shops and eateries on the way. We stopped at a small hotel for breakfast. We had hot Jilebi which was being prepared freshly before us. We also ate samosa chat.


Shopping place

Hot Jilebi

The Narrow market lanes

As there is no other schedule for the whole day we wanted to go to some place nearby rather than sitting at the hotel room. We heard that there were no great places near by which we can go by evening and come back. I and brother thought of going to Pindari Glacier which was just 40KM away. We got disappointed when we came to know that we can only see the glacier after trekking for 16KM onto the mountains.

As there was nothing really to do, we all decided to sleep till evening. In the evening we had the Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam. It was 6.30 PM and everybody left for the pooja other than I, brother and bhabhi. We got fresh and went to the temple at around 7.30PM. I did not take my camera here and later blamed my self for not taking the camera. The other group members performed Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam. The procession with the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi was taken grandly with crackers and chanting of “Om Namashivaiah” on the streets upto the river. After dipping vigrahas in the river went to Bageswar Temple and all together witnessed Shiva Parvati Kalyanam performed by temple pujari.

While the kalyanam was going on we were supposed to tell our names and gotras to the pujari so that he will perform pooja on our names also. The situation there was so bad that we had to tell our own names in mind and pujari would say just “mama”. Pujari could not spell over Gotras and names. There was full of gags and laughs going on while pujari was making kichdi of all the names. The day ended with good and rich experience in Bageswar. We had our dinner and hit the bed.

June 9, 2008

Day 4 – Pathala Bhuvaneshwar – Berinag – Bageshwar (20/05/2008)

Patal Bhuvaneshwar is the place where we are in today. As told in the previous blog entry we have got the best accommodation that we could expect. We had that great view of the Himalayan Mountains. Only thing is the weather that is playing the spoil sport with us. Last night we were told that may be today morning we can see the snow capped Himalayas if we wake up early in the morning at 5AM. I hardly slept as I was so curious to see those snow mountains. Finally today I got up at 4.30 AM. I took my camera and the tripod and went up the hotel room. I was waiting for the best shot to come. The clouds were clearing and the excitement in the group was growing as we were almost close view the Himalayan Mountains.

Meanwhile the sun was also coming out of the clouds. I could get some wonderful pics of the Sunrise. I also took the pics of the group members. Now the time was almost 6.30AM and still we were not able to see the Snow Mountains and once again the clouds started covering the whole scene of mountains. This disappointed us a lot. I took some more pics of those mountains and the beautiful blue sky and went back to the hotel room. Even though we were disappointed for not seeing the snow capped mountains, we all enjoyed the beautiful view of the sunrise, the clouds and also the cool morning breeze.










At around 8 AM we all had some very good break fast of Aluparota. We also had some tea that was served for us. Here in the hill station, tea is served in large quantity near ¾ of big glass or full cups. We were all set to leave for Patal Bhuvaneshwar temple. We took some group photos using the tripod and setting the timer.

History of Patal Bhuvaneshwar

Let me first give some introduction to you all about this temple. Amidst of the beautiful mountains of Uttarakhand is this village in total silence, distinctively confronting the Himalayas. Inside this village is a divine temple which would depict the work of Nature and give some inside truth of Hindu mythology.

I was told that the earliest reference to this Patal Bhuvaneshwar temple was made in the Manaskhand 103rd Chapter of Skandpurana. Veda Vyasa, gave an elaborate description of this auspicious cave in the realms of earth where gods and goddesses rest. It is said that at this place gods from other heavens visit Patal to worship Lord Shiva. It is said also said that this is the only place on earth where such a large gathering of gods takes place. This would include a huge number of Gandharvas, Apsaras, Vidhyadharas, Yogis, Rakshasas and Nagas.

In this chapter it is very clearly described that the first human to discover this cave was Raja Ritupurna who was a king in Surya Dynasty who was ruling Ayodhya during the Treta Yuga. The story starts with Ritupurna playing a game of dice with his counterpart, King Nala. It is said that once, King Nala was defeated by his wife, Queen Damayanti. In order to escape his wife’s prison Nala requested Ritupurna to hide him. Ritupurna took him to the forests of the Himalayas and placed him there. While going back home he became fascinated by a deer which ran into woods and went after it. He could not find it and took rest under a tree. In his dream he saw the deer and it told him not to chase him.

Suddenly he woke up and went to a cave where a guard was standing. After enquiring about the cave he was allowed to go inside. Right at the entrance, Ritupurna met Sheshnag. It agreed to take him through the cave. It carried him on his hood. He saw the marvels of gods taking place inside. He also saw all the 33-crore gods and goddesses including Lord Shiva himself. It is said that after his visit, the cave was closed for ages with a slight prediction in the Skandpurana that it will be reopened again in Kaliyuga. Shankarcharya in Kalyug, during his temporary visit to Himalayas re-discovered this cave. Since then regular worship and offering are being done at this place.

Our Journey Inside

As the original entrance was very narrow and dangerous an artificial entrance with some form of staircase was built. We felt even that was dangerous. I and my brother both guided the whole group inside the cave. The entrance was a narrow doorway, leading to the inside of the earth. Steep stairs and chains were there to balance along the narrow passage down to the Patal which was nearly hundred feet inside. We had a guide who was directing us in the right path. With out any local guide it is very difficult for someone to actually go into the cave and understand what is what inside. Along the route, we saw the claws and jaws of Lord Narsimha emerging out of the cave in natural rock. This was signifying the story Lord Narsimha and Hiranyakashipu. Each and every rock structure in the cave was narrating some or other tale of the Hindu mythology. The amazing part of these structures was that they all have been formed out of natural rock inside that dark cave.

I could see the happiness in the eyes of mom and dad as they were able to complete this difficult journey of 100ft. At the end of this staircase we saw a spacious hall. Here there were myriad rocks which were directly exposed to the eye. Just the bare glance didn’t really reveal the significance of these rocks. The guide explained us the mythology embedded in every piece of rock here. He showed us the jaws of Shesnag on the roof. As told in the story we walk over a stair-like path which was nothing but the back of this mighty snake.

When we went further we saw the place where we could see the story of the son of King Pareekshat. It depicted the curse that he had and the place he was killed by the snake Thakshak. We them came across a rock which was in the middle of the pathway. It was representing the body of Lord Ganesha without his head. Here we can see that the water drips down over the head of this idol from the lotus that comes out of the rock. This signifies the legend about Lord Shiva cutting the head of Ganesha. So before the head of elephant was replaced, the body was supposed to be preserved by the holy water of Sastradal Kamal (lotus flower).

We then came across the replicas of the idols of the famous pilgrim centers of Kedarnath, Badrinath & Amarnath. It is believed that one visit to this cave is equivalent to the famous Char Dham Yatra. Even these idols were emerging out of the rock inside the cave. We also saw the cave in shape of mouth of the dog of Lord Kalbhairav. It is said that this is the route to moksha and if a person enters into cave and reaches to the tail, he would attain moksha from the cycle of birth. However, nobody has ever succeeded in doing so and we were not even allowed to try that. We also saw the idol of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari which was around three metres high. Her face, body and her weapons could be clearly pointed out.

Then the guide showed us the 4 entrances which were ‘Randwar’ ‘Paapdwar’, ‘Dharamdwar’ and ‘Mokshadwar’. We were shown that Randwar and Paapdwar were closed. Only the Dharamdwar and Mokshadwar are open. It is believed that the Paapdwar was closed soon after the death of Ravana and the Randwarwhich was the road to war, was closed down after the great Mahabarata war.

We then saw a tree- shaped rock which was a representation of Kalpavriksha, which is supposed to grant wishes. We were also shown the udders like structures which were believed to belong to Kamadhenu. The water drops coming out of them are whitish, it is a fine representation of milk. These drops fall over ‘Bharamkapali’. This is the representation of Brahma’s Skull. We were told about the legend behind this. The water was in white colour before it touched the earth. This was because the swan that was appointed by Brahma to separate water from the elixir got greedy and tried to drink the elixir. It was cursed to turn into stone with head turned side wards. A perfect head turned side ways can be seen with great clarity in this stone. The head of the rock is exactly like that of a swan.

When we went further inside the cave on one of the walls of the cave we were able to see something similar to the entire universe. It has been represented including the ‘Sapthrishimandal’ (the Seven Rishis). A huge number of small stones projecting out of one of the cave walls represent the 33 crore deities of the Hindu pantheon. The games played by the Pandavas are shown in one of the corners of the caves. The Pandavas during exile used to meditate here under the ‘jatas’ of Lord Shiva. They also visited Badrinath through a secret passage of this cave. Since water keeps seeping through the jatas of Lord Shiva, it is considered to be a representation of the river Ganga falling from the heavens and Lord Shiva trying to withhold her waters in his jatas.

While returning back from the cave we were shown four projections coming out of the rock which are believed to be Satyayuga, Tretayuga, Dwapar, and Kaliyuga. However, the first three projections have stopped their growth, indicating the end of those eras. But the stone representing Kaliyuga is gradually growing in its height. It is believed that once it touches the roof of the cave it would be the end of the world. On the way back at the entrance we saw some stony projections coming down from the roof. It is referred to as the thousand feet of elephant Airavat.

There are further so many caves within this main cave leading to different far off places. Each route has its own significance. The mystery continues, and you can see that there are many unsolved questions in the cave. Veda Vyas, while describing this cave had said, this cave is as old as the earth itself and its beginning and end are not known. They are all sculptured in those shapes from the natural rocks.





We were not supposed to take any pictures inside the cave. So we took some outside the temple and around the cave. Though the journey inside the cave was very painful to mom dad and all elders, they were very very happy that they did it successfully. We from there proceeded to have lunch. After lunch we started off to the main destination of the tour which is Bageshwar. On the way we took the darshan of Berinag temple which was 50 km away from Patal Bhuvaneshwar. On the way to Berinag we also saw a temple which was also very famous for Naga Pratista. But when we reached the Naga Pratista temple it was locked and it seemed as if there was no activity for a long time in the temple. Here one of the vehicle had to replace its punctured wheel.

We then reached a beautiful place called Chakori. This was one more place where we can have a very good view of the himalayas. But because of the dense fog even on the road we could hardly see anything. It was even difficult to see the road and the turnings properly. But still we managed to cross this place and were able to get some very good pics of the fog filled road.


We further started off journey to Bageshwar which was in middle of a big valley which was covered by mountains from all sides. As it was already 4th day and we are descending down the mountains and we couldn’t see the snow capped mountains everybody was disappointed. On the way at a small Hanuman temple we were very lucky to see the snow capped mountains. Everybody was so excited about that as we were waiting for a long time for that beautiful view of the Himalayan range. We then tried reaching the people in the other vehicle over phone and couldn’t reach them as they were out of the coverage area. We were feeling bad that they may miss this scene. But once the other vehicle arrived they were more excited than what we were because they have already got a better glimpse of snow capped mountains than what we were seeing there.




We reached Bageswar at 7 PM and all took rest after dinner

June 4, 2008

Day 3 – Jageshwar – Pathala Bhuvaneswar (19/05/2008)

This is the third day and we are right now in Jageshwar. Even today I got up early at 5.30AM. To my surprise I didn’t feel that cold in the morning when compared to last night. By the time I woke up all my group was awake and were getting ready for the temple darshan. The main concern for me was the cold water. Luckily the hotel guy got us hot water which was like a boon from god. I took my bath and again started off with my camera. I took some pics of the deodar trees which were forming the background of my hotel room. I was also lucky to get some pics of the sunrise. The temple was around half a kilometer from where we stayed.


How can I explain the beauty of the place? We were at an altitude of 5000ft in Kumuan hills. As we approached the temple it seemed we have come into some other mythical world. The temple here was a Cluster of 124 Ancient Shiva temples made of gray stone built centuries ago (considered to be one of the oldest temple), stood silently surrounded by the mesmerizing natural beauty. The whole place gave me a feeling of spiritual calm and peace. Embellished with the tall deciduous deodar trees and winding river Jata Ganga, which finds its way to the side of the temple complex.




Jageshwar is the 8th Jyotirling among the twelve and has great religious value. Giant deodar trees stand as guards all across the area .the temples are of archaeological importance and one can spot signs put up by ASI everywhere. Below is the list of 12 Jyothirlings. The highlighted one is the Jageshwar. Daruka Vane means Forest of Deodar Trees and the Lord here is also called as Nageshwar.

SAURASHTRA SOMNATHAM CHA

SHRISHAILE MALLIKARJUNAM ||

UJJAINYAM MAHAKAL

OMKARE MAMMALESHWARAM ||

PARLYAM VAIJNATHAM CHA

DAKINYAM BHEEM SHANKARAM ||

SETU BANDHE TU RAMESHAM

NAGESHAM DARUKA VANE ||

VARANASYA TU VISHWESHAM

TRIBAKAM GAUTAMITATE ||

HIMALAYE TU KEDARAM

GHURMESHAM CHA SHIVALAYE ||

AETANI JYOTIRLINGANI SAYAM PRATAHA PATHENNARAHA ||

SAPTA JANMA KRITAM PAPAM SMARANEN VINASHYATI ||

The architecture of these temples especially the Mritunjaya and Jyotirlinga temples is worth a look the carvings. There are trees which were more than 100 year old. We had a small pundit who started being our guide. He explained about the whole place. He also hinted us about the old Jageshwar which is called the Virddha Jageshwar. He said we can see the Himalayan range from there. After that he took us into the main temple. God has blessed us to perform Abhishekam at the main deity Jagaeswarnath. It took 40 minutes. Everybody was immensely happy with the abishekam and darshan. I took some pics of the temple and the group along with the temple.

While coming out I tried taking the pic of a swamiji who seriously told me this:

“Bacha bhool ke bhi mera photo nahin lena. Agar liya hain tho delete kardo”.





Hmmm but you know we normally tend to do things that are said not to do :p. There was other swamiji who was very friendly and gave a pose for the photograph. So in one of the pics other swamiji was also captured. We finished the darshan, photos and videos and started back. On the way we came across the archaeological museum which has idols and exquisite statues dating 10th century. But we did not get as me brother and bhabhi were more curious to go to Virddha Jageshwar which is worth a look because of the scene view that pundit told us. We were supposed to start by 11AM from Jageshwar. The distance by walk was 3KM within the mountains or 14KM on road. As bro and bhabhi were interested to come we spoke to a Taxi guy and he said he would take us there for Rs.350. We thought deal was good and agreed for it.

We were feeling hungry and the breakfast was not ready for the group. So we approached a near by hotel and asked if he can prepare Parathas. It was available and he prepared it before us. Bhabhi took a whole interview of this guy and learned how to prepare parathas and Dal ka tadka. That guy started giving us the Parathas (Makkan marke) and we were eating continuosly. We ate more than 10 parathas. As there was not time we thought we will start off to Virddha Jageshwar.





The guy who was about to drive us to this place was just a kid. He didn’t even have his license. But still he drives pretty well. We went all the way from kacha road to Vriddha Jageshwar. We stopped the vehicle at a place where normally we can see the Snow Mountains. But to our bad luck the clouds once again played the spoil sport. Dejected & disappointed we entered the Vriddha Jageshwar temple and had darshan. We came back and started the ride back to Jageshwar. In between there was a 118 year old baba whom we went to meet. We saw the ashram and met him and took photos. We then rushed back as it was almost 1030AM and we were supposed to leave by 11AM. On the way back we could see some old wooden houses pained carefully with vibrant colours and exquisitely carved panels all add to the glory of this place.




We came back and had our lunch at 11.30 AM along with other group members. We had Dal, Capsicum curry, Sambar, Curd and Sweet in the menu. Drinking water was not provided by organizer. So we had to buy loads and loads of mineral water bottles through the journey. We then helped the driver in tying the luggage on top of the vehicle. At last we left Jageshwar at 12.10 AM for next place called Gangoli Hat. It was 52KM from Jageshwar. We traveled all along the river and its tributaries adjacent to the hilltops and slopes with valleys. They appeared very dangerous, as they were as deep as 1000 ft depth. At some points it was scary to many. But the drivers were bindaas and took us safely. On the way we stopped 3 or 4 times for some nice views and to take photographs. We also stopped once for snacks.




















We reached Gangoli Hat by 4.30PM. It was drizzled a little. The climate was cool and pleasant. But mom dad insisted on me taking a sweater. When I refused from doing so Sheshagiri Rao uncle bought me a sweater which looked like a T-Shirt. He also bought me one Scarf. Dad and Gopal uncle also bought Sweaters. Mom, Dad, Uncle and Aunt in Qualis chanted Sri Vishnu Sahasra namam, Lalithasra sahasra namam stotram in the vehicle before reaching Gangoli Hat. Here we and the other group divided. The other group was accommodated at Gangoli Hat. We were told that we were having a better accommodation. On the way to the hotel we all went to Kalika Mata darshan. There everybody chanted Mata Lalithamba Sahasranamam in the temple. I took some nice pics of Swamiji there and the temple and the monkeys.







After darshan we were being taken to the hotel. We were already in the hilly region and we were very much unaware as what was there for us. Out of no where driver suddenly turned his vehicle into the premises of a valley resort located 8 km away from Gangoli Hat 2KM on the way to Patala Bhuvaneswar. The resort was called as Shaiasha Resort. Let me tell you, this was the best accommodation one can ever ask for. It was located on a hill top in isolated place between the mountain ranges. From here we had a complete 270 degree angle view of the Himalayas. I just jumped out of the vehicle and ran to the edge of the hill and started clicking the pics. I took the video camera and took the video of the whole place. We entered into the hotel and were given 3 bedrooms which were very spacious.

Everybody was excited about the accommodation because of the wonderful view we had before the resort. We ordered coffee and meanwhile I took my tripod and the camera to take the pics. I took many pics of the surroundings and also took the pics of the couples and families separately and some group photos. One of the best was a photo which I took by using timer. The picture had me, my brother and bhabhi in it with the background of hills and moon on the top. There were many good pics even at 8PM. The night mode worked perfectly for me the way it should work. Later we sat in the spacious dining hall and chat for sometime. We had dinner which once again included rotis and curry. We also had some rice item. Food was really good.

After dinner we sat and saw the match of Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Delhi Dare Devils. The match was one sided so was not interested in it. So I, brother and bhabhi went out to see the hills at night. There Subash and gang were having a booze. After seeing us they immediately kept their glasses aside and came to us and spoke about the trip. We discussed about the trip and the other group etc for more than an hour. They told us the speciality of the Pathala Bhuvaneshwar temple. We asked them not to tell too much of it as we may lose the excitement about the temple.

June 4, 2008

Day 2 – Nainital – Jageshwar (18/05/2008)

Today we are in Nainital. Before coming to Nainital I have done a small research on what are the places that I will have to see here. I could list out the below places:

View Points

Snow View – This offers an excellent view of the northern Himalayan ranges. We also have a rope car available here from which we can see snow capped Nanda Devi.

Naini Peak – This also gives a stunning view of the Himalayas including Nanda Devi and the mountains on the Tibetan border.

Dorothy’s Seat which is also called as Tiffin Top.

Land’s End – From here we can see one more lake called Khurpa Tal.

I was excited about all these places. I didn’t knew that there was “IF ONLY CLAUSE” in between me and these places. I can have a great view of all this if only the weather is friendly. On Saturday I had discussion with dad about these places and I wanted a separate vehicle to be arranged to see these places. Dad was convinced and said he would talk to the tour organizer (Subhash).

I guess because of the excitement to see the snow capped mountains I woke up very early at 5.30AM. By that time nobody in my room was awake. When I came out of the room I saw that there was lot of light already and Sheshagiri Rao uncle was awake and doing yoga. Meanwhile I thought I will take a walk around Nainital and do some photography. So I took my camera and came out of the hotel.

My experience at Naini Lake

I started off through the steep slopes and headed towards the Naini Lake. On the way to Naini Lake I saw Flatts which is a play ground in Nainital for the kids. I took some photographs of the kids playing around there even at 5.30 in the morning. I can see the beautiful view of Naini Lake from there. I thought I will take a round trip of Naini Lake which would come around 3 to 4KM.


Kids playing Cricket

Kids playing Basket Ball

Firstly I saw the view point of the lake from where people normally take pictures which even I did. Just besides that I saw the Naina Devi temple. I couldn’t go in as I didn’t take bath and also the temple was closed. May be it was too early for the pundits there to open the temple. There is a small route just besides the temple going along the hill. The route was really nice. The temperature was slightly less and the sun was about to come and the cool breeze around. It was a great experience. I could see people walking and jogging around through that route. If the same would have existed in Singapore then I wouldn’t have put on weight. I took some pics of the people walking around.

Picture from the View point at Naini lake
Walking and Jogging

Naina Devi Temple

About Nainital

I have always heard about Nainital since childhood as a lovely hill-station surrounded by mountains. Now I am actually seeing it. It is known that there were once many lakes and it was called the ‘city of 60 lakes’ or ‘Nanital Chakta’. But today’s life of Nainital revolves around this lake of Naini and I guess others have disappeared with the time. There are few other lakes around Nainital which are equally beautiful and attractive as the Naini lake. One of which we saw on the way up to Nainital. I have seen people speaking Hindi, English and Kumaoni. I guess enough about Nainital.

So I walked further through that hilly route and saw a Hanuman temple on the rocks of the mountain. Even this temple was closed but still people passing through this route were stopping there and taking blessings of Hanuman. At this point when I just crossed Hanuman temple I could see the Sun coming out of the mountains. It was a beautiful view. The mountain with full of trees and houses and above that comes the sun. I was lucky to get some pics of the sunrise. After taking those pics I went further and reached a bridge across the Naini Lake.

Hanuman Temple

Sunrise

Bridge on Naini Lake

From here I could see the total view of Naini Lake from the other side. I crossed over the bridge and reached the main road of the Nainital Town. I guess the time was just past 6 and people were already awake and on their toes for their work and business. There was a main road for the cars and other vehicles and a small road which would give a view of the Naini Lake. I saw some rickshaws there taking people on this road. People pay Rs.15 for a rickshaw ride from one end to other of Naini Lake. Though I didn’t take this ride I was able to experience it by just walking through the road. Also saw some people in boats with their life jackets on. They were taking a boat ride in the Naini Lake in midst of three mountains surrounding the whole lake. On the way I could also see the hotels, cottages, business houses, schools etc on the other side of the road. I finished this whole trip and took as many pictures as possible and started back home once again climbing the steep road to the hotel.


View from the Bridge

Rickshaw Tour

Boating in Naini Lake
Cottages and Hotels

By the time I reached hotel room almost everybody took bath. I was ready for bath but only concern was if it was very cold water. I saw that there was some Luke warm water available and I couldn’t demand more than that. After bath it is pleasant had a great feeling. Krishna the travels guy came up to our room and called us breakfast. From the last nights dinner I could expect what it could be in for breakfast. There was no much surprise and we had upma for breakfast.

Disappointment

Meanwhile I was bugging dad for a separate vehicle so that I could go around and see those places. Dad enquired with Subash and he said the weather was not good and clouds would not allow us to get a great view from those points. I asked atleast for the rope car. But even that was booked for 2 days so we didn’t really have a chance for that. Finally Subash convinced me saying that there are much better view points going forward. We wanted a tempo traveler to be arranged for our 9 member group from here. But Subash said as its hilly region and road are not so good Qualis or Sumo would be fine. Finally we got convinced to get divided into two vehicles. The other 29 member group was coming in a mini bus.

Good Drivers

We were lucky to get good drivers through out the journey. This time the driver of Sumo in which I was sitting was Shekar. He was so friendly and had more enthu than what we had in the trip. He showed us some real good places around and some nice view points for photography. He speaks real good English with some nice phrases in between. The best I liked was “My life is more precious than yours, so I will drive safely”. Ha-ha that’s called a statement.

Shekar – Full of Enthu
The other Driver

Journey to Jageshwar

So we started from Nainital in a Sumo and Qualis. We were supposed to reach Jageshwar by evening which was our second destination. The vehicle took a different route from that of yesterday’s arrival route. We were seeing some real tough road ahead and also some very good valley and hills view. Just after driving for some distance we stopped at Kaichidham Temple. This was Param pujyu Sri Neem karote Baba temple in which we had temples for Goddess Sri Vaishnavi, Hanuman, Sri Venugopal Swamy, Radha and Ammavaru.

The temple had some colorful flowers. As the photography was not allowed we couldn’t take either photos or video of this. There were two watchmen always watching people if anybody is taking the pictures. After the darshan we came out and took some pictures out side the temple premises. Between the road and the temple there was a river flowing in between. It was a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The temple is located in middle of hills in a valley adjacent. After the photography we went near the vehicles.

Our Qualis on the way to Jageshwar

Hills and Trees on the way
Valleys on the way
The Road

Kaichidham Temple

Our sumo vehicle was having some problem. The drivers were looking into the issue and meanwhile we thought we will have some Jaljeera which was available there. The lemons that were used to prepare Jaljeera were 3 or 4 times the ordinary lemon we see in Hyderabad. Firstly we ordered 1 and as it was really good we ordered for 3 more. We had the drink and the vehicle was also ready temporarily. So we started off again. We were supposed to stop once again after some distance to get the vehicle set right. After some distance we again stopped to get the vehicle right. Meanwhile Urmila aunt wanted to take some comfortable slippers to walk on these mountains. She did some shopping and with in 15 minutes we again continued our journey.


The lemons used for Jaljeera

From here for some distance we could see Kosi River. Though most of the river was dry but the view was beautiful. We also came across a vehicle which was kept aside symbolically for an accident. Ha-ha and my driver wanted me to take the pic of that accident vehicle. We saw the roads being repaired. For almost every rain these routes get damaged because of the land slides. We crossed some small bridges here and there. The route is was very challenging with sharp curves and narrow roads. The whole journey was a single road and there were some vehicles coming in opposite direction also. After going some distance we could see some water in Kosi River and a bridge connecting 2 mountains. It was a great view.

Kosi River
Road Repairs
Rock in the shape of Frog
Accident Vehicle
One of the many bridges that we came across
Look at the Road
I liked the view
On the way

On the way we saw several villages with houses constructed on the hill slopes. There were no plane lands for construction and human habitation or agriculture in the whole Uttaranchal. Even the agriculture was done on these slopes with a method called Step Cultivation. The view of the land would be like steps from top. They cut the land in form of steps to get some flat land to do the cultivation. We also came across some huge trees and valley which looked very nice. We stopped there and took some pics.

Step Cultivation
Photos in the woods
One More

After crossing about 60 kms on this high attitude of mountains we came across a diversion. One would take us to Almora and the other to Jageshwar. So took the road for Jageshwar. Almora is a very beautiful hill station in the Kumaon Himalayas and one of the few places that was not founded and established by the British. It is the district capital with all the amenities for tourists. It was the ancient capital of the Chand dynasty that ruled the region about 400 year ago. It is very famous amongst the Indians as well as tourists from abroad for its great view of the snow covered Himalayas, temples, cottages in lovely surroundings and thickly wooded forests with streams, rivers & lakes. It is also known for the trekking routes around the region.
Apart from having beautiful scenery and views of the surrounding Himalayas, Almora is also known for its temples. Some of the temple in and around Almora area are Doonagiri Temple and Jageshwar (34KM from Almora)

Goli Matha Mandir

Our next stop was Chitan where we had darshan at Sri Goli Mata Temple. The specialty of this temple is that the devotees offer bells to goddess. So right from the entrance till the main temple you see hundreds of bells hanging. It was wonderful to see so many bells at a single place. We took some pics inside the temple. After darshan we traveled for about 2KM and stopped for lunch break.




Lunch

The place where we stopped for lunch has a wonderful view of valleys and hills. We went up to top of the hill and waited there until the lunch is served. This was the best time of the day. The day was very windy and cool breeze was coming. We took many pictures and did some videography here. I jumped ran down the hill did some time pass stunts. Meanwhile all the elders started Vishnu Sahasranamam. We had to wait for a long time for lunch here. It was almost 2 hours that we sat there on the top. Just then rain started and we had to come down the hill. As the lunch was so delayed dad scolded the cook saying that we were not there for food and we didn’t want to waste so much time on cooking and food. Finally at around 3PM the food was served. The lunch menu included Dal, sambar and curd .




From this lunch place Jageshwar was just 1hr drive away. At 4 PM everybody finished their lunch and we started for Jageshwar. In the middle we stopped at a beautiful scenic place for photography. It had just rained there and we could see the remainings of ice formation. That was the reason why we were feeling very cold at that point. After seeing the ice we were all excited as we thought we will be coming face to face with snow capped mountains very soon. Now everybody other than me was wearing a shawl or sweater or Jerkin.








We reached Jageshwar at around 5.30 PM. it is located in a valley surrounded by deodar trees which were very tall and straight. There was a small stream passing behind our hotel. It was a simple hotel with the name “Rudraksha Guest House”. We took two double beds and one 4 beds rooms in the 1st floor. It was very cool and I guess the temperature could be less that 10. The water from the bathroom tap were also very cool. As it is very cold, I served Dad, Sheshagiri Rao uncle and Gopal uncle 2 pegs of McDowell whisky. After sometime in the night we had our dinner and went out for a walk and drink tea. We saw that dad and uncles were invited to join the other group for a dinner in order to have better acquaintance and understanding.

Meanwhile I, mom, aunt and bhabhi had a tea. I went out and searched for a telephone booth to call Nandu and Kirthi and tell the whereabouts of uncle and aunt. But I couldn’t find one. On the way back to room a young pundit met me and asked to come and have a special darshan the next day. That night we were all tired once again and we went to bed. We were given thick razais which become warm in half an hour after use. We slept well. The next day we were supposed to do the darshan at Jageshwar.

June 3, 2008

Day 1 – Hyderabad – Delhi – Nainital (17/05/2008)

Here I go with my trip details. I came home at around 12 in the night on Friday. We had a flight at 7 in the morning. As there was less time and we have to start by 5 to airport we thought we will not sleep. We just sat and were chatting. Suddenly at around 3 in the morning my bro and bhabhi (Raghav and Bhargavi) decided to join us and they immediately booked the tickets. Me mom and dad were really happy as this is the first time that they are accompanying us for a trip. Meanwhile by 5AM the cabs came home and we were all set to go.

There were 2 innovas and they raced with a speed of 120-130 Kmph and we reached airport in less than an hour. In the new airport even the domestic airport was good. This was the first time to this airport for mom, dad, uncles and aunts. They liked it a lot as it was aesthetically looking nice, well spaced with many number of checking counters. The check in was very fast and we had ample time to just sit there.


Check in Counters which were not yet open

Taking rest after doing the luggage check-in

I took some pics of the airport meanwhile. As the time was getting closer we went for security check and we reached the gate for the flight. There we got an announcement saying that the flight is delayed by nearly 20mins. So we thought we will just sit there and have some snacks.

5 Star Rates

The rate of a coffee or tea comes as a shock to us at the airport. The tea was Rs130 and coffee was around Rs.80. We took 2 coffee and we ate some of the snacks that we brought with us. Now we got the final call and we went and took our seats in the flight.

Coffee shop at the airport

Say No to Go Air

We went in Go Air flight and came back in Spice Jet. Long time back I have flyed in Go Air to Chennai for my visa and have found it not bad. But this day I thought never again say OK to Go Air. The flight was bad. Snacks (that we bought) were bad. Most important the accent of the air hostess who does the announcements is so tough to understand. When she came to us and asked if we would like to have a sandwich I had to ask her twice or thrice to understand what she was saying. Even while landing the flight gave horrifying jerks.

At Delhi Airport

We Landed in Delhi airport by 9.45AM. As I have been seeing Changi Airport and now the new Hyderabad airport, this Delhi airport looked awful. It was totally uncomfortable situation for me. I hate heat, crowd and waiting, and all these happened at this airport. Once we got down the plane we couldn’t bear that hot scorching sun above our heads. We got into the Go Air bus and reached the terminal. Meanwhile in the flight Urmila aunt bought ear rings and bag which they went to collect. We were waiting to collect our luggage. As many flights were delayed that day there was huge rush at the airport. Finally we got our entire luggage and we left the terminal.

Outside Airport

Once we were out of the airport it was a total chaos. We were waiting for the driver in the hot sun and the driver was sitting some where under the tree shade and was giving us wrong directions about where he was. So there was some delay in locating our vehicle. It took 45 minutes waiting. As there was terrible heat, all felt the sweat of hot summer. Two vehicles one Qualis and other Indica car have been sent by the tour organizers on the indent of Dad. By the time we sat in the vehicles we were totally exhausted and were desperately in need of food and water.

Journey Started to Nainital

After all these problems we finally started from Airport at around 11.00 AM to Nainital which is 300 kms on Lucknow high way which is under renovation through out. We were prepared for the bumps and turns on the way. Just outside Delhi we bought some snacks and cool drinks and water. We finished all of this in no time as everybody was hungry and were totally in need of some liquids too.

We stopped to buy some drinks and snacks

The Route we were going was Delhi – Ghaziabad – hapur – Garmukhteswar – gajraula – Moradabad – Rampur – Bilaspur – Kathgodam – Nainital

Route Map for Delhi To Nainital

On the Way

At around 1.30PM we reached the outskirts of Moradabad. We thought we will stop for lunch. So we told Drivers to take us to some nice dhaba where we can have good food. They took us to a road side dhaba by name “Unique Food Plaza”. It was quite good. Atleast we got a break from this continuous journey since morning. We ordered for Roti, Mixed Veg curry, Dal Tadka, Jeera Rice, Curd Rice and dads special Mooli Salad. The food was less spicy and good in taste. We couldn’t expect more.

Dad and Uncle at Unique Food Plaza

Drivers

Both the drivers were good. The Qualis driver whose name is Rasheed was always smiling. While the Indica driver whose name is Khatam Singh (Finish Singh haha) is smoking beedi even during a small break. We have been asking them questions about the route and they have been responding quite well. I, Raghav, Bhargavi, Gopal uncle and Radhika aunt were in Qualis and we had no complaints about the driver. Where as Mom Dad Sheshagiri Rao uncle and Urmila aunt were in Indica and had a major concern about the smell of the beedi.

Drivers – You can easily say who is who

Now on the way we have seen some market, I dont really remember the place where we have seen that. Also we came across a railway gate where we had to stop for sometime. We once again utilized that time to buy a coke. It was like the brand name for the trip was COKE.

Some shopping mela

It was like evening 6.30PM that we reached a place called Kathgodam. There we had a diversion for two routes. Of which one would take us to Nainital and the other to Haldwani. Nainital was 35KM from that point. We were told that the entire 35 kms is Ghat Road with steep curves. We were actually prepared and were anxious to see such region. We all had some tea at the tea stall on the road which was ok.

Tea stall near Kathgodam

We then started off to the 35KM Ghat section drive. On the way there were places where there was no fencing to edges of the road which appeared dangerous. But the drivers were professional and skilful in driving this ghat road. The ghat road was beautiful with full of greenery and tall trees. Entire range of hills was covered by different variety of trees. We were able to see some monkeys on the way.

Trees
Monkeys

We were also lucky to see sunset and the moon in between the trees on those hills. You can see those pics of sunset and moon here. Overall it took us more than an hour to reach Nainital. By the time we reached the hill station it was 8PM.

The climate is very cold may be less than 15o C. We were supposed to meet a guy from the travels office by name Mr. Krishna. We were actually supposed to get a room in some guest which this fellow didn’t knew and gave us accommodation in Coronation Guest House. This was also good. We got fresh and started taking some pics and video about the trip. Meanwhile we were called for dinner. There was another group who were accompanying us in this trip. They were 29 people coming in a bus along with us. They brought their own cook. So today’s dinner was prepared by this cook. Dinner included chapathi, upma, Jilebi and some curry.

After dinner we took a small stride on the road towards Naini Lake. But Raghav did not allow elders to come there as the road was very steep and distance was more than a kilometer and while coming back it would be tough. So all the elders stopped at the hotel. Me Bro and Bhabhi started off to Naini Lake. The road down to lake was uneven and sloppy. We three reached Naini lake and took some pics in the night mode. It was a great feeling when we saw Naini Lake, because since childhood we have been hearing about this place but never got a chance to really see it. While coming back it was really tough for upside route so I thought bro’s decision to stop them was correct. We had good sleep as everybody was tired because of the tedious journey.



May 31, 2008

Moon




May 31, 2008

Sunset on the way to Nainital




These pictures were taken from moving vehicle. Hope you appreciate the effort 😉