Visiting Pushkar Camel Fair: A Happy Affair with the City

The Pushkar Mela recently concluded and this experience is something that I will cherish for a very long time. Though I was planning to attend this amazing fair for a very long time, but this time I was completely determined to visit it. The ultimate motivation came in the form of a gift hamper from my company for my performance in the last quarter which included a gift of 4 free room nights in Treebo Pushkar Legacy. So my manager also wanted me to take a small holiday after all the long hours I spent at work. Hard work really pays off.

Treebo Pushkar Legacy

Since one major aspect of the trip was to ensure that the accommodation was within my budget, this encouraged me to embark on the journey. I reached Pushkar on 28th October and stayed until 1st October. The stay experience was even elevated due to the amazing hospitality and service provided by the staff at Treebo Pushkar Legacy.

What is Pushkar Fair?

The planning process included a little bit research about the history of Pushkar Fair. This usually takes place on Kartik Purnima every year. This is one of the most grandiose displays of the cultural diversity of India. Considered as the largest cattle fair in the world, Pushkar Camel Fair is frequented by tourists from all across the world. Apart from the cattle fair, there are other contests and events that make this fair so exciting.

Day-1

I began early since my plan was to explore every aspect of the Camel Fair. The opening ceremony was a spectacular display of the vibrant culture of Rajasthan. Thousands of beautifully adorned camels and horses lead the procession and it is a visual spectacle. Throughout the day there were other events like camel racing and camel beauty contest. Then in the evening I finally took a tour of the fairground on one of these majestic animals.

Camel Ride Pushkar
PC : www.thepushkarbaghresort.com

Day- 2

On the second day, I planned to go for a hot air balloon ride and witnessed the aerial view of the fair. Watching the beautiful chaos of the fair from above is a unique experience in itself. Most of the tourists visit Pushkar Fair to be a part of this thrilling and unique experience. I even tried out other adventure sports that Pushkar had to offer like paramotors, quad biking, and horse riding. These experiences are a must if you are traveling to Pushkar Fair and want to take back beautiful memories.

Day-3

Pushkar Camel Fair has a lot of other events to engage you in the festival ground. The soulful vibrant folk music, the upbeat dances, fascinating acrobatics, fortune telling and an exhibition cricket match that invites foreign visitors to challenge the local Pushkar club are only a few of them. I also indulged in a lot of shopping from the stalls that sell trinkets, jewelry, apparels and carpets. You can find anything in this Pushkar Camel Fair from beautifully adorned livestock tassels to vintage gypsy accessories.

Pushkar Fair Market
PC : http://blog.vardhmanvacations.in

Day- 4

On the last day of my trip to Pushkar Fair, I witnessed something unbelievable. This is that time of the year when the annual longest mustache contest graces the Pushkar Camel Fair. I saw men showing off their stylish mustache, some of which were allegedly meters long. Another unusual competition that I saw there was the bridal competition. In this, the young foreign women decorated in contemporary or traditional Indian bridal dresses try to outdo each other and compete for ‘the most beautiful brides to be’ title. Crazy isn’t it?

Pushkar Fair Foreign Women
PC : www.outlookindia.com

The four-day rendezvous came to a conclusion when I went around the city to sample the wide range of street food that Pushkar had to offer. Malpua, Poha, Dal Chaat, Dal Bati Choorma, and Lassi are the must-haves in Pushkar and I enjoyed every bit of my food trail in the city.

Pushkar Fair Food
PC : www.outlookindia.com

With a heavy heart and a happy tummy, I left Pushkar only with a promise to come back again.

I highly recommend everyone to visit this place at least once and experience the grand celebration of the traditional fair. Along with it, you can also explore the other attractions that the city has to offer like temples and garden. I also suggest staying in Treebo Hotels (www.treebo.com/) if you are looking for a great budget stay in your trip.

A 1700+ Km Road Trip to Mount Abu, Bullet Baba Temple, Jodhpur and Pushkar!

Culture and Heritage is what I like the most about my Country – India. Rajasthan has been one of the most popular states for tourists from India as well as abroad. This is the reason why I have been exploring new places in Rajasthan every few months. In 2015 and Early 2016, we went for a trip to Jaipur. However, a lot of other places in Rajasthan were left unexplored and thus we did a 1600 km Road Trip to Rajasthan and covered many places like Chand Baori, Sariska National Park, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh Fort & Jaipur.

A 1700+ Km Road Trip to Mount Abu, Bullet Baba Temple, Jodhpur and Pushkar

As we enjoyed a lot during our last trip to Rajasthan with family, so I decided do another family trip to Rajasthan. This trip was again a long one and covered approximately 1700 kms to and fro from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. This trip included the following places Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar in Mount Abu, Mount Abu City Tour, Bullet Baba Temple in Pali Distt., Jodhpur and Pushkar.

Itinerary for our Road trip to Mount Abu, Jodhpur & Pushkar

Rajasthan is usually quite hot in Summers and the best time to visit this state is during winters in the months of December and January. Still if you want to visit Rajasthan in any other season, I would suggest you to be there in the monsoons. If you are lucky enough the rains might bring down some temperature as it happened in our case.

We started our journey my home at Agra and the itinerary was as follows :

DAY 1 : [31 May, 2017]

  • Agra to Krishnam Dhani(Ajmer) – 360 km [1 Night Stay at Krishnam Dhani]

DAY 2 : [1st June, 2017]

  • Krishnam Dhani to Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar – 385 km [5 Nights Stay in Gyan Sarovar]

DAY 3-5 : [02,03 & 04 June, 2017]

  • Meditation, Yoga & Media Conference at Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar

DAY 6 : [05 June, 2017]

  • Mount Abu City Tour

DAY 7 : [06 June, 2017]

  • Mount Abu to Bullet Baba Temple – 215 km
  • Bullet Baba Temple to Jodhpur – 60 km [1 Night Stay at a Home Stay in Jodhpur]
  • Mehrangarh Fort – 20 km (To & Fro)

DAY 8 : [07 June, 2017]

  • Jodhpur to Krishnam Dhani – 227 km [1 Night Stay at Krishnam Dhani]
  • Pushkar – 62 km [To & Fro]

DAY 9 : [08 June, 2017]

  • Krishnam Dhani to Agra – 360 km

So, the total distance covered was 1689 km. However if you add the city tours and visit to other places and markets, the distance covered would be more than 1700 km.

What made us plan yet another long Trip to Rajasthan ?

Rajasthan is state where you can visit over and again and explore its culture and heritage in various angles. When you travel by Road, you can explore the attractions in a more convenient and better way. Even after covering a lot of other destinations in Rajasthan, I had missed out on some of the them which I wanted to cover – Mount Abu, Bullet Baba Temple, Jodhpur and Pushkar are the ones.

Road Trip to Rajasthan

The main reason behind this trip was the invitation I got for Media Conference from Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar in Mount Abu. It was an invite only programme from Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar and we had a 5 Nights Stay where we learnt a lot.

DAY 1 : (AGRA – KRISHNAM DHANI)

On 31/05/2017, We started our trip early from Agra at about 8:30 am and moved on the Agra-Jaipur Highway. Everything was fine till we crossed Jaipur. However, after we crossed Jaipur it started raining very heavily along with strong winds. I could not see anything and had to stop on the side of the road for about half an hour as it was totally dark outside.

Dhaba on Jaipur-Ajmer Highway

We moved for a while and stopped at a Dhaba to have some tea and food. As distance from Agra to Mount Abu is more than 700 kms, I had already booked our stay at a Resort named Krishnam Dhani on Jaipur-Ajmer Highway near Ajmer. We reached the resort at 4:30 pm.

Krishnam Dhani

This Resort is made in a typical Rajasthani style. Not only that, it conducts various activities within its compound every evening which attracts tourists from neighboring places and people travelling on this highway.

https://youtu.be/-bM7BT8vF0c

And yes! You must not miss out on the breakfast that too in Rajasthani style! 🙂

Kishnam Dhani Restaurant Area

Although, the resort was not properly managed but still in a budget of around Rs.1200 per AC Room with along with breakfast, it was good enough.

DAY 2 : KRISHNAM DHANI – BRAHMAKUMARI’S GYAN SAROVAR(Mount Abu)

On 01/06/2017, we finished with the breakfast at 9:00 am moved towards Mount Abu on Ajmer-Beawer-Pali-Mount Abu Route as it is shortest of all routes.

Restaurant on Ajmer-Mount Abu Highway

Check out this video beautiful road to Gyan Sarovar, Mount Abu.

https://youtu.be/YbAyaTnbwzU

We just had 1-2 haults for tea and refreshments and reached Brahmakumari’s Gyan Sarovar, Mount Abu at about 6:00 pm. We completed some formalities and got our room.

Brahmakumari's Gyan Sarovar, Mount Abu

We had quite an early dinner and also went to sleep early as everyone was tired.

ALSO READ : My Experiment with Shantivan (Brahmakumaris Ashram)

DAY 3, 4, 5 : MEDITATION & MEDIA CONFERENCE at BRAHMAKUMARIS GYAN SAROVAR

We spent the next 3 days (i.e., 2nd, 3rd and 4th June,2017) at Gyan Sarovar learning about Meditation and the influence of Media on the change and upliftment of the Society.

Gyan Sarovar,Mount Abu Media Conference

Although I can go on discussing about everything what was being discussed there but I would say, it is better I would come up with a separate Article about the same very soon. The reason being, it may not seem interesting to everyone.

https://youtu.be/wFPbjAmSpQU

If you want to have a look at the Gyan Sarovar Complex, you must watch out the above video. And if you want to read more about Gyan Sarovar Complex, you can get all details on the link below :

DAY 6 : MOUNT ABU CITY TOUR

On 05/06/2017, We had a booking from the Gyan Sarovar’s office for the City Tour of Mount Abu. It costed us Rs.150/head for the complete city tour.

PEACE PARK :

Peace Park in Mount Abu is a well known as a part of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual establishment. The park is a perfect escape from a day to day city life to find serenity.

Peace Park(Brahmakumaris), Mount Abu

GLOBAL HOSPITAL :

Global Hospital is also a Brahma Kumaris establishment and it stands out from other hospitals. I am saying this because this hospital is committed to deliver healthcare everyone, without asking for patient’s economic or social standing. In a span of 25 years, it is said that no patient has ever been turned away from the Hospital for the want of money to pay his or her bill.

https://youtu.be/rw8KA1lNXVI

NAKKI LAKE :

Nakki Lake is known to be paradise for nature lovers. The lake in stretched at a half a mile in length and quarter of a mile in width. A lot of you may not be knowing that Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in Nakki Lake on 12 February 1948 and also a Gandhi Ghat was constructed here.

Nakki Lake

We were also taken to a few other attractions of Mount Abu like Dilwara Temples and Madhuban. Popular as the only Hill Station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu offers only a limited number of tourist spots.

DAY 7 : MOUNT ABU – BULLET BABA TEMPLE – JODHPUR 

On 06/06/2017, We said goodbye to Gyan Sarovar and started as early as 7:30 am.

Brahmakumaris Gyan Sarovar Entry

We reached Bullet Baba Temple at 12:00 pm. Bullet Baba Temple is located at about 55 km from Jodhpur City and as the name suggests, at this Temple a 350 CC Bullet Motorcycle is worshipped. To know the whole story behind it, you can read our Article on Bullet Baba Temple.

https://youtu.be/OUdVNBkXB1U

I managed to record a video of the temple, which might look a bit interesting to you. Do have a look at the above Video. After spending about 30-40 mins at the temple, we continued our journey towards Jodhpur.

We reached at our Home Stay in Jodhpur at around 2:30 pm. We booked this Home Stay through Airbnb and it was just satisfactory. Not as good as we experienced on our previous trips to Jaipur and Udaipur. However, as we had to spend just 1 night at Jodhpur, it was not much of a problem.

The weather had been quite supportive all thoughout the trip. However, as soon as we reached Jodhpur it felt really hot. We felt quite exhausted but as we came specially to visit the city, we didn’t waste much time and moved towards the most popular attraction of Jodhpur i.e., Mehrangarh Fort.

https://youtu.be/LIt-yBGUu2Y

I had seen a lot of pictures of it, so I always wanted to visit this fort. Finally we reached the fort in the afternoon at around 3:30 pm. The view from the fort is mesmerizing. After having visited a lot of places in Rajasthan, I can say the view from Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur is the best and at the 2nd position I would place the Mehrangarh Fort.

You can check out the complete video of Mehrangarh Fort below.

https://youtu.be/s-BE0PnSHBI

Also, there is a Video of a beautiful Museum in Mehrangarh Fort. You can have a look at it as well.

https://youtu.be/wU9jG_fWJ90

As the fort was huge, we hardly had time to visit any other place in City. We just spared some time for some shopping in and around Tripolia Bazaar, had dinner at a restaurant and went back to the Home Stay till 8:30 pm or so.

DAY 8 : JODHPUR – KRISHNAM DHANI – PUSHKAR

On 07/06/2017, We started from Jodhpur at around 9 am. Yet again we planned to book the same resort i.e., Krishnam Dhani. We reached the resort at 2:30 pm. After taking a bit of rest we planned to go to Pushkar which was around 32 km from the resort. We reached Pushkar at 4:00 pm and this is how it looked like.

https://youtu.be/CJyffCn3oc0

After spending a bit of time in Pushkar, we went back to Krishnam Dhani. As we did not book Dinner at Krishnam Dhani, we had a bit of snacks at the adjoining McDonald’s.

DAY 9 : KRISHNAM DHANI – AGRA

On 08/06/2017, it was the day when we had to finally return back to our home. Just after having the mouth watering breakfast at the Krishnam Dhani, we moved back to Agra. Taking just a single hault for Launch near Fatehpur Sikri we finally reached home sweet home at 4:00 pm and it was the end of our longest trip to Rajasthan till date(In terms of Distance as well as No. of Days).

Our Fun Trip to Shimla and Chail from Delhi

This goes back to end of June 2017. Me and my friend were planning since few days to go to hill station or a place like Rishikesh to relax and rejuvenate. However, despite a lot of thinking we were not able to decide a place. Also, the weather forecast showed a lot of rain in the coming days. We eventually cancelled the plan of going anywhere because of rain. However, that was not to be. We couldn’t resist the temptation of going somewhere and we thought of meeting and then deciding where to go.

Day 1 : Delhi to Meerut

I went to friend’s place in Meerut.  It took me three hours to reach Meerut. The weather was good and I was thinking of which place to go for a holiday. I reached Meerut at around 4 PM. We ate some healthy food at his place. We thought of leaving the next day for a place which was not yet decided.  However, our mind changed at around 11.30 in the night. We thought of leaving in the night itself.

Day 2 : Meerut to Shimla

After having dinner we decided to leave for Shimla as soon as possible and reach there by morning. It was a tough decision but we both agreed. We started our journey at about 12.30 AM. We followed the following route : Meerut – Shamli – Karnal – Kurukshetra (146 kms). There was heavy rain at around 3.30 AM in Kurukshetra.

Meerut to Shimla Road Route

We took one tea & snacks break on the way as it was night time and we were hungry. My friend continued to drive his Mahindra KUV 100 despite the rains. We covered the route Kurukshetra – Ambala – Panchkula – Shimla (194 kms) in 2 ½ hours. After that it took us almost three hours to reach Shimla because of traffic and slow driving in the hilly region.

Also Read : 

Day 2 : Shimla

We reached Shimla at around 9.30 AM and it was raining heavily. We parked the car at Govt Parking for Rs.200/day. We had difficulties finding a good hotel because of the rain. After about half an hour we managed to find a decent hotel with the help of a local person. However, the room was not available due to cleaning work going on for about an hour. We had to wait for the room to get available and it was becoming difficult to wait since we hadn’t slept in the night and also were hungry.

Government Parking in Shimla
Government Parking in Shimla

Finally we got the room and we almost threw ourselves on the bed. We ordered something to eat from a nearby restaurant. Since it was raining heavily, the food was delivered after almost a couple of hours. It was quite frustrating as we were hungry, sleepy as well as tired. We had the food and slept after that. We then woke up at around 4 PM and got ready. Thankfully it was only drizzling and the weather was awesome.

Mall Road, Shimla
Mall Road, Shimla

We left for Mall Road at around 5. We had to use the lift to go to Mall Road. We clicked a lot of pictures there, ate momos and burger and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

https://youtu.be/kuZ-sVwxTss

It was quite cold as compared to Delhi and Meerut. Since it was peak season, there was a lot of rush, but all in all it was an enjoyable time at the Mall Road. After enjoying there for a couple of hours, we went back to our hotel.

Mall Road in Shimla

We then ordered biryani for dinner and had a lot of discussion and chat in our hotel room. Since we had met after a long time, we had a lot to share with each other about what is going on in life.

Night View of Shimla
Night View of Shimla from our Hotel Room

We discussed about our professional work, our friends, some old memories and a lot of other things. It was quite cold and the view from our room was majestic. We went off to sleep at around 12 in the night.

Day 3 : Shimla to Chail & Chail to Meerut

The next day we checked out of our room at around 8 AM in the morning. Thankfully it was not raining. We left for Chail which is 43 km from Shimla, which has a palace where the shooting of some part of the movie 3 Idiots took place. The roads were steep as well as narrow.

Also See : Chail Cricket Ground – World’s Highest Cricket Ground

Chail Palace
Chail Palace

However, my friend who is an expert driver took us safely to Chail. The Palace was beautiful. We took a lot of pics there. We were quite hungry as we hadn’t done with our breakfast. We then had our breakfast in Chail itself before we left.

https://youtu.be/4pIJOZ1gPDA

Our actual plan was to go to Hamirpur from Chail where a close friend of ours lives. We had put the right location on our GPS.  The distance was showing 165 kms. However, after about 4 hours of drive, we noticed something which was nothing less than frightening. We saw that the distance from our location to Hamirpur has increased to 215 km. We were in a state of shock. After 4 hours of driving, the distance had increased by 50 kms. There was no option for us to head back to Meerut as it was not easy to drive 215 kms more in the hilly region after almost 6 hours of driving since morning.

Shimla Chandigarh Highway
Shimla Chandigarh Highway

We informed our friend that we had lost our way and are going back to Meerut. He was upset as well as a bit angry. But we didn’t have any other option. Nor did he. On our way back to Meerut we had some burgers and French fries from McDonalds. We reached Meerut at around 10 PM. We chatted a lot about different things and even though we were returning from a great trip, we enjoyed our return journey too.

Day 4: Meerut to Delhi

The next day I returned to Delhi via a state transport bus. I reached home at around 7 PM in the evening.

This was one of the best trips that we two have had. The fun part of this trip was our sudden plan to go to Shimla. A day earlier Shimla was nowhere in our minds. Also, the rain which we had expected was something we enjoyed. As it happens in life sometimes, an unplanned thing happens and gives us a memory of a lifetime. The same thing happened with this trip. Our Shimla trip was sheer joy. My friend did a courageous and appreciable job of driving around 800 kms all alone. We had one of the best times of our lives. The Shimla trip would be etched in our memories for a long time to come.

Trip Cost

Fuel Cost = Rs.3200

Toll Cost = Rs.800

Hotel Room = Rs.2500

Food and Snacks = Rs.1500

Other Expenses = Rs.1000

TOTAL EXPENSES = Rs.9000 for 2 Persons (or Rs.4500 per person)

This is how our trip was. You may also like to read about some more trips we have had in the past :

An Ultimate Family Trip to Rajasthan by Road!

From quite some time I have been travelling a lot with my wife and sometimes with friends. Like I went to for a quick Road Trip to Rajasthan from Delhi with my friend in 2015 and to many other trips in 2016 to places like Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Goa etc. However, I have hardly been for a family trip in the recent past. So, I decided for a trip to Rajasthan in January end 2017. My main purpose was to show the heritage, culture and beauty of Rajasthan to my family. Before I begin telling you about this trip to Rajasthan by Road, I would like to tell you that it was a 1600 kms trip to and fro from Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

Trip to Rajasthan by Road

Itinerary for our Road trip to Rajasthan 

According to me December & January is the best time to visit Rajasthan as it gets really hot after that. So, we decided to visit the places which we have not visited ever in Rajasthan and our Itinerary was as follows :

DAY 1 : [28/01/2017]

  • Agra to Chand Baori – 163 km ( FYI : Chand Baori is the Deepest, Largest and one of the Oldest and most Beautiful Stepwell in India)
  • Chand Baori to Sariska National Park – 60 km [Night Stay at a resort  in Alwar].

DAY 2 : [29/01/2017]

  • Alwar to Udaipur – 540 km [2 Nights Stay at a Home Stay in Udaipur]

DAY 3 : [30/01/2017]

  • Udaipur City Tour

DAY 4 : [31/01/2017]

  • Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh Fort – 86 km 
  • Kumbhalgarh Fort to Ajmer – 215 km [1 Night Hault at a Guest House in Ajmer, No City Tour at Ajmer]

DAY 5 : [01/02/2017]

  • Ajmer to Jaipur – 135 km [1 Night Stay at a Home Stay in Jaipur]

DAY 6 : [01/02/2017]

  • Jaipur to Agra – 240 km

If you add up the distance it comes out to be 1439 km. The rest 161 km was covered while visiting inside Sariska National Park and the tourist attractions in Udaipur and Jaipur.

Why did I plan for a 1600 km long Road Trip to Rajasthan ?

Although, Udaipur was the place I wanted to visit the most but I thought even if we booked a flight and landed up directly in Udaipur, we would be have visited only Udaipur City and may be Kumbhalgarh fort and that too by a cab. I thought if we go by road we could cover many other beautiful destinations which we have not seen till date, which otherwise we would have missed.

An Ultimate Family Trip to Rajasthan by Road

So, I had a look at the Google Maps and checked out for some destinations on the way from Agra to Udaipur which were not covered by us till now and this is how we planned the itinerary.

Day 1 (Agra – Chand Baori – Sariska National Park)

On 28/01/2017, we began from Agra at about 7 am and it till 10 am we were at Chand Baori. The road route was good. Chand Baori lies in the Abhaneri Village of Dausa District of Rajasthan. If you are coming from Agra you need to make 2 right turns from Agra-Jaipur Highway to reach Abhaneri.

Chand Baori Road Route

You will be able to see a lot of Indian as well as Foreign tourists as you reach near Chand Baori. For those who don’t know about this Step Well can Read our Article on Chand Baori.

Chand Baori Parking
Chand Baori Parking Area

There is a beautiful hanuman temple towards the right of Chand Baori which we visited first. This is how it looks like.

https://youtu.be/LM5ykKwkGLM

After praying for a while at the Hanuman Temple, we moved towards Chand Baori.

Chand Baori Entrance
Chand Baori Entrance

As we entered the premises of Chand Baori, we found some solid pillars inside the building.

Pillars of Chand Baori

And finally we reached the Step Well – Chand Baori. I cant express how beautiful it looks. Although, I was not aware of the fact that now we are not allowed to go down in the step well due to some accidents which had taken place in the past.

Chand Baori

We hired a guide who told us many facts about this step well including the fact that in old times all the people of Abhaneri Village used to come to Chand Baori for filling up water. Isn’t that amazing ? These step wells are built with such intelligence and with great architecture.

Chand Baori Guide

We clicked a few pictures at this beautiful step well of Rajasthan and my parents were really enjoying this place.

Family at Chand Baori
Me(Left), My Mother(Center) & My Wife(Right)

Finally after spending about 2 hours at Chand Baori, at about 12 pm we planned to move towards our next destination which was Sariska National Park.

Chand Baori to Sariska National Park
Chand Baori to Sariska National Park Road Route

This is how the back gate of Sariska National Park looks like. The front gate looks a quite lively though but it was quite far away from where we were.

Sariska National Park Gate No.2
Sariska National Park Gate No.2

Here, we bought a ticket for the entry of our Car which was Rs.250 and we moved inside the National Park.

Sariska National Park Inside View

If you are going by a car at Sariska, please try and take a SUV as you will find many broken and muddy roads inside the park. At some places you will also find bogs(दलदल). So visiting Sariska National Park by a low power car can be risky.

We wanted to see at least a tiger in the Sariska National Park, but you have to be lucky enough for that. We could only see some animals which we can see anywhere else and here are some of the pictures.

Sariska Animal

We found a few Deer in the Jungle.

Deer in Sariska National Park

And we saw some peacocks.

Peacocks in Sariska National Park

And a lot of monkeys and langoors 🙂

Monkeys in Sariska National Park

And finally we reached the Exit Gate.

Sariska National Park Gate No.1

For those who are visiting Sariska for the first time by your own car or a cab, you must remember the following points :

  1. You are not allowed to stop anywehere inside the park.
  2. You are not allowed to blow your horn inside the park.
  3. You must not throw litter inside the park.

We did not find many animals as we expected but the journey was quite an adventure. Watch out this Video of Driving inside Sariska National Park.

https://youtu.be/I0oWdalmPxw

Soon after we finished with Sariska National Park, we moved to the Resort where we booked our stay. Fateh Garh Farms & Resort was located in Alwar District and was at a quite a nice silent location.

Fateh Garh Farms & Resort, Alwar

We booked 2 cottages and they looked quite beautiful. Service of the resort was not that good though, but it was fine for a one night hault.

Later in the evening, we got to know that there is a beautiful lake named Siliserh Lake near the resort. We then moved towards the lake and it was really worth watching.

Siliserh Lake, Alwar
Siliserh Lake, Alwar

You can also try boating in this lake. Watch this Video of Speed Boating in Siliserh Lake.

https://youtu.be/fgeHbl-Ck40

After spending some time at the lovely Siliserh Lake of Alwar, we moved back to the resort.

Day 2 (Alwar -Udaipur)

After staying overnight at the resort, the next morning i.e., on 29/01/2017 we started our journey towards Udaipur. It was long and tiring day as I had to drive 540 km all the way from Alwar to Udaipur. We started at about 9:00 AM from Alwar and reached Udaipur at about 9:00 PM. And we took half an hour to reach the Home Stay we booked.

Day 3 (Udaipur City Tour)

We had booked our stay at a Home Stay named Raga Home Stay booked through Airbnb. This was undoubtedly one of the best Home Stays I have ever booked. The rooms, the bedsheets and the washrooms were very neat and clean. We got the entire ground floor for 2 nights at a very affordable price of Rs.7500.

Raaga Home Stay, Udaipur
Raaga Home Stay, Udaipur

Raaga Home Stay at Udaipur had 3 rooms all with attached bathrooms and AC, a drawing room and a kitchen with tea preparation material. Also, Our breakfast was included with the stay. The breakfast was very tasty indeed.

Sajjan Niwas Garden, Udaipur

We started at 11 am and reached Gulab Bagh & Zoo of Udaipur or the Sajjan Niwas at about 11:30 am. Spread over an area of 100 acres (40 ha) of land, Gulab Bagh has a wide variety of of roses.

Toy Train in Gulab Bagh, Udaipur

We also had ride of a Toy Train inside Gulab Bagh which goes around the garden and the zoo for just Rs.20/per person and here’s the Video.

https://youtu.be/fKowioNsdX0

After spending about 2 hours at Gulab Bagh, we moved towards Lake Pichola which is undoubtedly the most beautiful and happening lake of Udaipur. We straightaway moved for boating where we had 2 options to choose from i.e., Normal Ferry in which about 30 people travel at a time (Charges-Rs.150/per person) and the Luxury Boat in which only 8 passengers travel at a time and the seating is very comfortable as well(Charges-Rs.250/per person).

Lake Pichola Udaipur

We opted for the Luxury Boat as it was the first time we had been to Udaipur and we wanted to see this lake with full comfort :). Here’s the video of the Boat Ride at Lake Pichola of Udaipur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D84QP2s5aUU

You will also get many photographers asking to click your pictures near the lake. I would like to tell you that they would not give you the soft copies of the pictures unless you take the prints from them. 🙂

Near Lake Pichola, we also saw a Rajasthani Musician playing very melodious songs from Classic Bollywood Movies. Watch out the Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSCjmVn8Xc8

After spending some quality time at Lake Pichola, we moved towards Fatehsagar Lake of Udaipur which is another beautiful lake of Udaipur and this is how it looks like.

Fatehsagar Lake, Udaipur

We did not actually go towards the lake this time as we already had spent a lot of time at Lake Pichola. After having our lunch we then moved towards our last spot for the day i.e., Shilpgram, Udaipur.

Shilpgram, Udaipur Entrance
Shilpgram, Udaipur Entrance

Shilpgram, Udaipur is a rural arts and crafts complex which is spread over an area of about 70 acres of land, surrounded by the Aravali mountains.

Handicrafts at Shilpgram, Udaipur

We found a lot a lot of shops and stalls here which mainly promote and sell handicrafts and other local rajasthani art. One such artist made a nail art of an elephant on my wife’s nail.

Nail Artist in Shilpgram, Udapiur

Here’s the picture of the nail art. Isn’t it beautiful ?

Nail Art at Shilpgram, Udaipur

After visiting some of the stalls and shops, we moved towards the place where traditional rajasthani cultural programs are arranged every evening. Here’s is one of the videos from the cultural programme at Shilpgram, Udaipur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqNHNbQFjWo

So, this was the last place we visited in Udaipur. Finally we moved towards our home stay.

DAY 4 (Udaipur – Kumbhalgarh Fort – Ajmer)

On 31/01/2017, just after having breakfast we moved for Kumbhalgarh Fort which is at a distance of 86 km from Udaipur. The road from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh is beautiful as well as adventurous. Have a look at this Video of Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh Road Route.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSsQR8xnxTg&t=8s

We took a tea break a few kms before the Kumbhalgarh Fort at a small resort.

Resort near Kumbhalgarh Fort
On the Way to Kumbhalgarh Fort

And finally we reached the Kumbhalgarh Fort till 1 pm. Kumbhalgarh Fort is popular as the second most important fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh Fort.

Kumbhalgarh Fort Parking

With a wall more than 38 km long, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second largest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.

Great Wall of Kumbhalgarh Fort

If you are at Udaipur or anywhere nearby, you must not miss Kumbhalgarh Fort. Although the trail is a bit tough for the elderly people but its worth all the hard work.

Kumbhalgarh Fort Entrance
Kumbhalgarh Fort Entrance

At many places you will find benches where you can take a short hault.

Bench at Kumbhalgarh Fort

This is how the Kumbhalgarh Fort Wall looks from the top.

Kumbhalgarh Fort Wall

If you love taking photographs, you would love to be at this Fort as it has many places where you would be getting some beautiful pics for lifetime.

Kumbhalgarh Pics

And here are some of our pictures 🙂

Kumbhalgarh Fort Pics

After spending 3 hours at Kumbhalgarh Fort, we moved towards Ajmer where had our stay booked at a Guest House. We reached at Ajmer at about 8:30 pm. This was to be the last day of our trip but we planned to extend our trip by staying at Jaipur for some shopping and tour. Thus, we booked a home stay at Jaipur again and this time it was a 3 bhk flat.

DAY 5 (Ajmer – Jaipur)

On 01/02/2017, we didn’t like the breakfast at the Guest House so we directly moved towards Jaipur and took a breakfast hault at a Restaurant on Ajmer-Jaipur Highway.

Restaurant on Ajmer-Jaipur Highway

And we reached Jaipur at 12:30 pm. Although we have been to Jaipur a couple of times before, but didn’t get to see Nahargarh Fort. So, this time we planned to visit Nahargarh Fort of Jaipur.

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Well, Jaipur has got some really beautiful forts and monuments and Nahargarh Fort is not an exception. Watch these Videos of Nahargarh Fort to know how beautiful it is!

https://youtu.be/b6e-RTzC45g

https://youtu.be/KqTSZ3xEeTA

https://youtu.be/Mddm70ulfpQ

After spending a few hours at the Nahargarh fort, we finally planned for shopping at the Tripolia Bazar of Jaipur.

Tripolia Bazar, Jaipur

If you are a shopoholic, you are surely going to like this market as you get a wide variety of handicraft items and various antiques here.

Finally after visiting the Tripolia Market, we headed towards our Home Stay for our final night stay.

DAY 6 (Jaipur – Agra)

On 02/02/2017, it was going to be the end of our fabulous trip. We started our journey soon after the Breakfast and on the way, we just stopped once at Dausa to have a look at the Stone Carving Work being down on the road side. Here’s video of Stone Carving work in Dausa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZTUvIzcqSY

And we finally reached Agra at about 5 pm. It was a super Road trip to Rajasthan. My mother said that it was was the best trip of her life and these words of her made me feel really happy from inside.

Hope you liked to read about our trip. If you have any feedback or queries, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below.

A Monsoon Trip to Goa – A Lovely Beach Destination

Goa is a place in India where everyone wants to go at least once. With a lot of lovely beaches, forts and churches there are a bunch of places in Goa to have a rocking trip. Although I had been to Goa once when I was a bachelor, but my wife had never been there. So, I planned for a trip to Goa with my wife on her birthday as her Birthday Gift. One of my college friend also reached Goa with his wife to accompany us on our trip.

A lot of people might feel that you must avoid Goa in Monsoons. However, I feel Monsoon is one of the best season to visit Goa, especially if you are with your partner.

A Monsoon Trip to Goa 

As we are based in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, we had to plan our journey accordingly.

Day 1 (29th August’ 2016)

On 29th August’ 2016, we woke up early morning and drove to Vasant Kunj, Delhi at a relative’s place. As Vasant Kunj is quite close to the IGI Airport, we parked our vehicle there. As we had our flight from Delhi to Goa at 2:25 pm, we moved for the Airport at 12:30 pm.

Delhi to Goa : We reached at the IGI Airport T1 (New Delhi) at 1:00 pm and checked-in our baggage. We didn’t had to wait much when the announcement was done and we finally boarded the aircraft at 2:00 pm.

Reached Goa Airport

Although the Plane reached Goa on the right time, but due to no place for landing it had to wait for 10 more minutes. Finally we landed on Goa Airport at 5:15 pm.

Dabolim Airport to Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort : We took a cab (WagonR) from the Airport (at Rs.1200) to the Resort and it took about 45 minutes to reach Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort in Calangute. After a lot of research all of us booked this Resort well in advance and it was worth the price. We stayed in the Grand Swiss Cottages (Breakfast Inclusive) which were very unique and gave the look of a resort.

Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort Goa Review

Dinner with Karaoke : After taking a rest of about 2 hours all of us went to the Restaurant of the Hotel for the Dinner. The restaurant had a Karaoke with popular bollywood numbers. Although the food did not taste that well. Being a north Indian I expected a lot better taste that what was served.

Day 2 (30th August’ 2016)

The 2nd day of our trip started with a great buffet breakfast.

Breakfast at the Resort : On 30th August, all of us met at the Poolside Breakfast table where we enjoyed the Buffet served at the Hotel. The breakfast was very nice and all of us enjoyed it. We got many options like North Indian, South Indian, Bread Omlettes, Juices, Sweet Dishes and a lot more. Although it was raining while we were having breakfast but it did not last for long.

Estrela Do Mar Buffet Breakfast

Plan and Execution : Soon after the breakfast we booked a self drive WagonR from just outside the resort, where there was Taxi Stand. This is one big advantage of staying at Estrela that you can get Cabs, Self Drive Cars & 2-Wheelers just outside the gate. This self drive WagonR costed us Rs.1000 per day for 2 days. We booked at the condition that we need to leave at least the same amount of petrol in the Car as it was while booking it, otherwise it will be chargeable. One other condition was that we cannot move outside Goa. (Note: – Please do not try to move outside Goa with the Self Drive vehicles as they have GPS tracker fitted in these cars and if they get to know you may even get beaten up by the goons, So just take care 🙂 )Anyways, He just took my original Aadhaar Card and the complete amount in Advance and we got the card.

Way to Anjuna Beach, Goa

Anjuna Beach : First we headed towards Anjuna Beach where we spent some time. However, we did not find a lot to explore at this place. Kindly not that there is also a popular flea market in Anjuna. Those who like Flea markets can enjoy some shopping over here.

Chapora Fort : After spending some time at Anjuna, we moved to Chapora Fort which is a well known place where some scenes of popular bollywood movie ‘Dil Chahta hai’ were shot. This fort has a steep trek of about 15 minutes. The fort is not that well maintained but the view from the above is mesmerizing. You can have a look at the sea if you climb up the fort.

Chapora Fort, Goa

Calangute Beach : After spending about 1 hour at Chapora fort we moved to Calangute Beach at about 2:00 pm. We took a beach shack at the Calangute Beach where we enjoyed some sea food and a couple of beer and breezers. Also, my wife and I had a temporary tattoo at our arms there. After spending about 3 hours at the shack, we took a small walk along the beach and after which we did a bit of shopping in the Calangute Market and returned to the resort.

Calangute Beach

Also Read : Top 10 Shopping Markets in Goa

Get High Discotheque : After taking a bit of rest till 9 pm we planned to go for one of the popular Night Clubs in Goa. All the Nightclubs were in the same lane just about 5 minute drive from the resort. After checking out some discotheques, we entered Get High Disc at 9 pm where there was no Entry Fee and they offered 1+1 Beer Offer, which looked to be a good deal. Although the floor was a bit small but all 4 of us enjoyed there. And yes! The music at this Nighclub is amazing, you would love it. We spend good 3 hours at the nightclubs dancing at our favourite numbers.

Day 3 (31st August’ 2016)

After spending our 2 days in North Goa, we wanted to see the Churches at Old Goa, Forts and other places of interest.

Se Cathedral : We started our day by heading on to one of the most popular Church in Old Goa, Se Cathedral. Built in a huge area and surrounded by lush green gardens, Se Cathedral is a treat to the eyes. We prayed at the Church for some time and lighted candles as well. We spent a good 1 hour at the Church. I cant stop myself from mentioning that the area outside this Church is very good for photography.

Se Cathedral, Goa

Wax De Goa : After the Church we headed towards Wax De Goa, which is a Wax Museum just 3-4 minutes drive away from the Church. Not only this Wax Museum has Wax Sculptures of popular celebrities and personalities, but it also has some sculptures which gives a social message. There is a Haunted House within Wax De Goa compound. We enjoyed a lot at the Haunted House as well.

Wax De Goa Museum, Old Goa

Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception : Next we moved towards another popular Church which can be seen in bollywood movies like Josh, Mujhse Shadi Karogi, Musafir etc. Although the Church Gate was closed when we reached there but we still managed to click some pictures outside it.

Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Lunch at Punjabi Dhaba : After spending 10 minutes outside the Church, we planned to move towards the popular Aguada Fort. We haulted in the way to have lunch at a Punjabi Dhaba. The food was awesome.

Punjabi Dhaba in Goa

Aguada Fort & Beach : Finally we reached the beautiful Aguada Fort at about 4 pm. You will also find the popular Taj Vivanta 5 Star Hotel along with the boundary of the Fort. We spent about 2 hours at the Fort and clicked a lot of photographs at this place and explored the beach adjoining the Fort as well. After getting exhausted at the Fort, we planned to move back to the resort in the evening at about 5:30 pm.

Aguada Fort, Goa

Baga Beach : After having a rest of about 2-3 hours, we walked through a small way through the resort which meets somewhere between the Calangute and Baga Beach. After walking for 10 minutes towards Baga Beach we found some restaurants with candle light tables. These tables were quite close to the sea and after feeling the lovely breeze we decided to sit and dine there. Good but a bit overpriced sea food is available at these restaurants on Baga Beach. However, due the to popularity of the beach it seems fine. We had some snacks, food and drinks at this restaurant and also we kept enjoying the walk on the waves every now and then. After enjoying at Baga Beach till 1 am we planned to move back to the resort.

Also See : Top 3 Water Parks in Goa

Day 4 (1st September’ 2016)

On 1st of September’ 2016 we had booked our stay at a resort in South Goa near Airport and hence we checked out from Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort at 12 pm and moved towards South Goa.

Estrela Do Mar Checkout

Estrela Do Mar to Bogmallo Beach Resort : After staying in North Goa for 3 days we shifted to another resort in South Goa named Bogmallo Beach Resort (Breakfast & Dinner inclusive). We reached at the resort at 1:30 pm and it looked to be really wonderful from time we first saw it. Although the Check-in time was 2:00 pm so we had to wait for half an hour as no room was vacant at that time. By that time we were served with welcome drinks. By 2:00 pm we moved to our rooms. The sea facing balcony of the room provided a wonderful view.

Bogmallo Beach Resort Goa Review

Lunch & Visit to the Beach : After taking rest till 3:45 pm, we planned to have lunch at the beach side restaurant. We had Veg Pulao and some drinks at the restaurant. In half an hour, we headed towards the beach. After taking some pictures and we kept out wallet, camera and other belongings at the restaurant and went into the sea. (PS: We met a waiter at the restaurant, who belonged from Jammu and his story was really heart touching. Please read : Heart Touching Story of a Kashmiri Boy working in Goa). It was a bit of silent beach and we enjoyed a lot there. After spending 2 hours at the Beach we went back to the resort.

Bogmallo Beach Corner Restaurant

Permanent Tattoo : My wife wanted to have a permanent tattoo. There was a tattoo artist who comes to the Resort every alternate day. It was his off on that day. We planned to visit his place for getting the Tattoo. At about 8:30 pm, we took an Activa on rent for Rs.200 and went on to Tattoo Artist’s home. Till 9:00 pm we reached his place. My wife had a permanent tattoo on the side of her wrist. She described her experience as if a lot of ants are biting you at once.

Permanent Tattoo in Goa

Buffet Dinner : After getting the Tattoo we returned back to the Resort and went for the Buffet Dinner at the restaurant of the Resort. As the Dinner is available only till 10:30 pm we had to rush in. The food was very nice with a lot of dishes to choose from.

Day 5 (2nd September’ 2016)

Finally it was the day when had to pack our bags and get back to routine life.

Buffet Breakfast : The day started with the buffet breakfast which was ultimate. Soon after we had the breakfast we went out of the resort and booked a can for 11:45 am as we had our flight at 1:25 pm.

Bogmallo beach Resort Restaurant

Bogmallo Resort to Dabolim Airport : As decided, we moved for the Airport at 11:45 am and reached in just 15 minutes. We booked a Swift DZire and it costed us Rs.400 to get to the Airport.

Goa Airport

Dabolim Airport, Goa to IGI Airport, New Delhi : After Checking-in our Baggage we finally boarded our flight at 1:00 pm. At 1:25 pm, the flight took off and landed at IGI Airport, New Delhi at 4:00 pm. Till 5 pm, we reached to the relative’s home where we parked our vehicle and till 6:30 pm we left for Meerut.

Back to Meerut : After strugging for some time in the heavy traffic of Delhi, we reached back to Meerut at 10:00 pm.

It was an awesome trip to Goa, even better than I expected it to be. The resorts we booked were both upto the mark. Although we got a bit exhausted when we returned back home and it took about 2-3 days to get back in shape.

Total Cost of our 4 day Trip including Return Airfare, Hotel, Food, Drinks, Car Rental, Cabs and all other expenses was Rs. 40,000 for 2 persons.

A Quick Trip to Jaipur – The Capital of Royal Rajasthan

Rajasthan is the royal state of India with an extremely rich history. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India not only by Indian Tourists but also by a huge number of foreign tourists. This travelogue is about my short trip to Jaipur in October’ 2015. Although, it was second visit to Jaipur but I enjoyed it thoroughly within the short span of just 17 hours.

This is how it all began !

A Quick Trip to Jaipur – The Capital of Royal Rajasthan

I usually stay at Meerut but on one fine weekend I planned to visit my friend’s place at Jasola Vihar, Delhi. It was 10/10/2015 and time was about 4:15 pm.

Plan & Execution

My friend and I was planning for a short trip to some nearby place. As always we were very confused to finalize a place. Some days back I read and wrote some articles about the haunted Bhangarh Fort and nearby places. So, after about 2 hours of discussion I convinced my friend to visit Bhangarh with me.Neemrana or Bhangarh

We moved from my friend’s home by my Maruti WagonR at round 7:00 pm which we already knew was quite late. After about half an hour (at about 7:30 pm) or so my friend asked me if we could visit Neemrana Fort Palace instead of Bhangarh. We both knew that it was dark and no one is allowed to enter Bhangarh Fort after it gets dark. On mutual decision, we planned to visit Neemrana.

Road Route & Haults

As expected, the traffic was high during the evening hours and it took us almost 2 hours to cross Delhi and Reach Gurgaon. From Jasola we moved towards Hauz Khas via Nehru Place & Greater Kailash and reached Gurgaon Toll at about 9:30 pm.

FYI : My friend has parceled some Kebabs and I ate few of them while driving. Couldn’t stop as it was already getting very late.

Delhi Jaipur Expressway at Night

Once we crossed the toll and stepped on the Delhi – Jaipur Expessway, there was no looking back at all. Neemrana was about 90 km from Gurgaon and my friend I was still not 100 % sure about whether to stay at Neemrana or not. As we reached Neemrana at about 10:45 pm, we stopped for a refueling the card and finally decided to move ahead to Jaipur instead. We left Neemrana for future visit!

I accelerated my car to 100 + km/hr and we reached Jaipur at 12:30 am, 11/10/2015.

Our Stay at Jaipur

Hotel in Jaipur

As soon as we entered in the City, we looked for a hotel room. We were lucky we got one quickly(Hotel Hariyana Palace) in just Rs.900 with AC. At about 12:45 am parked the car and moved into the hotel with our hand bags. We were quite tired and soon after a small chit chat we went to sleep.

Exploring Monuments in Jaipur

The very next morning we woke up and asked the Hotel guy about the nearby Tourist Attractions of Jaipur and planned for a visit to City Palace, Jantar Mantar & Hawa Mahal first as all these 3 places are in close proximity to each other. After finishing off with these 3 we planned to move towards Jal Mahal and Amer Fort.

City Palace

We woke up in the morning at about 9:00 am, had breakfast, packed our bags, had breakfast and checked out from the hotel at 10:00 am. Our first destination was City Palace, the most beautiful palace of Jaipur. If you are on Jaipur Trip and you didn’t visit the City Palace, you are really missing out the best attraction of Jaipur.

City Palace Entrance, Jaipur

This is how the City Palace Entrance looks like i.e., with beautifully carved marble and stone work done by hands. Just before you enter the City Palace, you will find a lot of pigeons and people feeding them. You will also find several stalls selling pigeon food and handicraft items as well.

City Palace, Jaipur

The pink walled Chandra Mahal at the City Palace looks absolutely stunning. Bollywood Movies like Sabse Bada Khiladi, Bade Miya Chhote Miyaan, and a few more have been shot here.

City Palace Hall, Jaipur

We wanted to spend a lot of time here at the Diwan-i-Khaas as the atmosphere and the architecture of the place was wonderful.

City Palace Corridor Jaipur

These cannons kept at the City Palace have strong history associated with them. Captured a few of them!

City Palace Cannons, Jaipur

Once we finished quickly with City Palace, we walked towards Jantar Mantar, which is very close to the exit of the City Palace.

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar is yet another fascinating point of interest in Jaipur. If you are from Delhi, you might have already seen a Jantar Mantar there. For those who dont know what a Jantar Manar actually is, lets know a bit about it.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan

The primary purpose of Jantar Mantar was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. The Vrihat Samrat yantra in Jantar Mantar, Jaipur is a sundial which can give the local time to an accuracy of 2 seconds.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur Time Machine

Till the time Clocks and Watches were not invented, people used these instruments to calculate the time and they worked in a very accurate manner! As a matter of fact, there are 5 Jantar Mantar in India out of which Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar is the largest and its stone sundial is the world’s largest.

Hawa Mahal

Right after we finished visiting the Jantar Mantar, we walked towards Hawa Mahal which is just 200-300 m away. It lies in the pink city of Jaipur and has an amazing architecture.

Hawa Mahal Jaipur

Hawa Mahal(Palace of Winds) is a high screen wall and was built so that the women of the royal household could watch the street festivals while unseen from the outside.

Hawa Mahal Closeup

There is a small way just besides the Hawa Mahal to get into it. You also get some handicrafts shops inside the Hawa Mahal Complex.

Shopping Inside Hawa Mahal Building

I bought a few home decor items and Lakh bangles for my wife from one of these shops here.

Home Decor in Jaipur

You can also get a lot of handicrafts, home decor items and Bangles outside Hawa Mahal in the Johari Bazaar Market.

Also Read : Top 10 Shopping Markets in Jaipur

Jal Mahal

After finishing off with Hawa Mahal and a bit of shopping, we took out the car from parking and moved towards Jal Mahal (Water Palace). Jal Mahal is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, about 6 km from Hawa Mahal.

Jal Mahal, Jaipur

The Jal Mahal looks really beautiful right from its first look. We parked our vehicle on the opposite side of the Jal Mahal and had some good time there.

Trip to Jal Mahal, Jaipur

Though, the visitors are not allowed to enter the lake and reach the Jal Mahal, it still attracts a lot of tourists just for getting a look.

Amer Fort

Finally we moved towards Amer Fort (Amber Fort), which is on the way towards Delhi. It was around 4:00 pm when could reach near Amer Fort and we were getting late, so we planned to skip this Fort.

Amer Fort

I clicked this Photograph of Amer Fort from the car itself. You can read about my detailed article on Amer Fort, which I covered on my next trip to Jaipur in January 2016.

We finally moved back for Delhi from Jaipur at about 2:30 pm and reached Delhi after 8 hours at about 10:30 pm due to very slow traffic, the reason being the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Driving in Jaipur

I would just like to mentioned one thing for people who are not so used to traffic rules and regulations. Jaipur is a bit strict as far as traffic rules are concerned. I stay in Meerut where I am not used to wear the seat belt and I had to pay a challan of Rs.400 as soon as I was entering into the City Palace gate. Hence, I would like to suggest everyone visiting Jaipur to follow proper traffic rules and regulations.

Driving in Jaipur

One last thing I would like to mention is that you would not get CNG anywhere in Jaipur or any city of Rajasthan.

Hope you liked reading about our short trip to Jaipur. If you have any questions or you want to share your experience, you may leave your comments below.

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Our Fun Trip to Dharamshala, McLeodganj and some Unplanned Destinations

This goes back to September 2013 when we four friends went to our first trip to a hill station by driving our own car. The car unfortunately was a second hand car in not too good condition but it did help us travel around the beautiful state of Himachal.

A Travelogue on my Trip to Dharamshala & Mcleodganj

Day 1

Delhi to Chandigarh : Our trip started at around 2 PM on a Friday which initially was planned to start at 12 Noon. One of my friends came from Meerut to Noida to join us for the trip. He was then picked up from Noida by two other friends (a couple). They came to my place in Delhi (Sarita Vihar) at around 1.30 PM. After a lot of chaos regarding what to carry and what not to, we took off at around 2 PM.  One of my friend who owned the car and was comparatively new to driving, drove initially for a couple of hours to take us out of the city and reach the highway. We then took a tea break in Murthal.

Murthal Dhaba

The weather was good and we were enjoying by cracking jokes and having chips and soft drinks in between. Come evening and we let our windows down to get fresh air and of course to save fuel and to get better pick up & speed from our old car (Maruti Zen to be specific).  We lost our way somewhere between Kurukshetra and Ambala at around 8 PM but we asked the local people and they guided us to the correct route. I then took over of the steering wheel since it was night time and I was more experienced when it came to driving. We reached Chandigarh at around 10 PM where had some light dinner.

Chandigarh at Night

Chandigarh to Hamirpur: We had decided our first stoppage to be Hamirpur,  a small town in Himachal where a very close friend of ours lives. The real challenge started at around 10 PM as the highway was completely dark and we could see only strong glare from the oncoming traffic.  We somehow managed at a good speed without much danger and at the stroke of midnight, the hilly region started. It was a bit frightening to see the tall, dark mountains at 12 in the night with narrow roads especially when none of us had the experience to drive on hilly roads. I drove for close to 4 hours on the roads where we could see no vehicles ahead or behind us. The only thing present was the absence of light on narrow hilly roads. I asked all others to stay awake and alert as it was very late and the roads were risky.

Hamirpur Highway at Night

At around 3.30 AM we could see some houses and we were happy that we are close to our destination. We did lose our way a couple of times but managed to reach Hamirpur at around 4 AM. Our friend welcomed us by not answering our calls for about half an hour. Finally he woke up by our repeated calls and prepared Maggie for us. We slept almost in the morning at around 5.30- 6.00 AM and woke up at around 11.30 AM. I remember my legs were aching and shivering because of the long drive.

Also Read :

Day 2

Hamirpur visit and journey from Hamirpur to McLeodganj : Our friend showed us some important places in Hamirpur and hosted a lunch for us in a restaurant. We then left in our car to McLeodganj. We did meet a small accident but fortunately the local people were good enough to let us go and not to create a scene over there.  We covered the distance of 100 Kms in about 3 to 3.5 hours and reached McLeodganj. I did have some sickness due to constant curves on the road. But I was fine and driving again. Our hotel’s approach road was very steep and unfortunately I couldn’t manage to climb our old car up the steep road. But the hotel management helped us and parked the car in the hotel parking.

Mcleodganj

Evening in McLeodganj: After getting our rooms we got fresh and went to the Temple road market. We did some shopping and had some famous local food including steamed momos and thungpa.  McLeodganj is a heaven for shopping Tibetan items like clothes, keychains, showpieces etc. The only thing one might not like is the steep roads. One has to walk a lot on steep roads and it’s very tiring and straneous.

Day 3

A day in McLeodganj : The next day, considering the roads and rainy weather, our hotel staff advised us to hire a cab for local sightseeing. We hired one after having our breakfast at around 11 AM. We were first taken to Bhagsu waterfall. Although it involved a bit of walking to reach the peak point of the waterfall, we immensely enjoyed the great view of the waterfall. People were getting wet and dancing there. We preferred to enjoy Maggie there. Again, the view was awesome with mountains and trees all around the waterfall.

Bhagsu Falls, Mcleodganj

After enjoying there for an hour we went back to the cab and we were then taken to the Dal Lake. We did manage to enjoy the scenery beauty and capture a few pictures before it started raining.

Dal Lake, Mcleodganj

The cab driver took us to a few different spots after that. I preferred to stay inside the car as it was raining but my friends enjoyed by getting drenched in the rains. We then went to Namgyal Monastery often referred to as Dalai Lama temple. We offered prayers and followed the rituals as instructed by the locals there. It is one of its kind of a temple. We had never visited a temple like this before. It had prayer wheels which we had seen for the first time.

Namgyal Monastery, Dharamshala

We then moved to the St. John in the Wilderness Church. We sat there quietly and enjoyed the peace while the priest was doing his duties. We also clicked a few pictures outside of the church.

St John's Church Dharamshala

We wanted to visit a few more markets but it was raining profusely. We got completely drenched in the rain before we could reach our hotel from the cab. A couple of us relaxed by watching a movie on their laptop while I preferred to do my office work. The traveler inside us was back again at 8 PM.

Tibetan Restaurant in Mcleodganj

We did some local shopping, had thukpa, momos, soup and golden fried babycorn for dinner. The food was good and the staff was quick and courteous. We then went back to the hotel to have a good night of sleep.

Day 4

McLeodganj to Dharmshala : Since we had covered the major attractions in McLeodganj we started our drive to Dharmshala at around 9 in the morning. Our main target was to visit the HPCA stadium. We reached the beautiful stadium in an hour’s time. We took some pictures and selfies there. The stadium looks beautiful with mountains covering it all around.

HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala

Resort in Dharmshala : From the stadium we went to a resort which had the facilities of snooker, swimming pool and other small indoor games. We spent more time there than we had thought of, almost 3-4 hours.  We did swimming, played snooker, had a few soft drinks with snacks. It was almost 5 PM when we started to move from there.

Funky Town, Norbingka, Dharamshala

Dharmshala to Palampur : One of our friends was adamant to start for Delhi. But since it was too late and I didn’t want me or anyone else to drive the whole night, we requested him to stay somewhere nearby and start for Delhi the next morning. But he was still insisting to move for Delhi. Me and one of the friends had a plan in mind.

Palampur RiverI took control of the steering wheel and drove as fast as I could towards Palampur. The friend who was insisting us to start for Delhi was still not sure where we are heading towards. He was again and again saying we could have been here… or there on our way back to Delhi. We told him we are going to a beautiful place where the shooting of Raja Hindustani movie took place. We covered a distance of 35 kms on a hilly and dangerous road within 45 mins.  We went straight to a small lake where nobody was present except the four of us. We told the friend that this is the place where the shooting of Raja Hindustani movie took place. He was happy that we took him to such a place.

We went and found a good cheap hotel just for the night stay. We then broke the news to our friend that no such shoot took place in Palampur and he was like smiling in anger. He didn’t know how to react as he was fooled by us.  We then had our dinner and slept in our rooms.

Day 5

Palampur to New Delhi : We started the next morning for our way back to Delhi at around 10 AM. The road we took was in pathetic condition. It almost broke our car and we had to get it repaired mid way. It was not a very good day as a very good and exciting trip was coming to an end. The weather was also very sunny and our car’s AC was not too good. We reached Chandigarh at around evening 6 PM. We started from Chandigarh again after having some snacks and had a good time discussing our experience of the trip. We finally reached near my place in Delhi at around 11 PM. We had many good and bad times on the trip, mood swings, small arguments, mixed emotions, but all in all it was a fun filled trip which we still remember. Moreover it has given us the confidence to drive anywhere, anytime. Hope to see you soon again Himachal, specialy McLeodganj.

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Our First Trip to Beautiful Khajjiar & Dalhousie

Himachal Pradesh has always been one of my favorite states to visit in India. The extreme beauty and nature of Himachal Pradesh has not only ruled the heart of Indians, but it is also loved by a lot of people from foreign nations. Specially when we talk about Manali and Shimla, they are known to be among the most visited hill stations of North India. However, there are many more beautiful places to visit in Himachal Pradesh and Dalhousie is one of them. A Hill Station in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is a bit underrated Hill Station of Himachal Pradesh but I would say that it is a place worth visiting ! Some of the popular tourist attractions in and nearby Dalhousie & Khajjiar will make you feel really to the nature.

Khajjiar - Mini Switzerland of India

Today, I will tell you about my 4 Day road trip to Dalhousie and Khajjiar. Hope you could relate to the trip somehow and feel like visiting the place.

An Exciting Trip to Dalhousie & Khajjiar

From my college days I have been fond of visiting popular tourist places by road, the difference being just the mode of transport. In college days travelling to distant places with your friends on bike was the best feeling. However, since the time I got married I plan my trips mostly with my wife in my small car. This time we planned a trip to Dalhousie & Khajjiar.

Plan & Execution

Planning is what I never used to do when I was single. But it is a good thing to plan a trip beforehand specially when you with your soulmate and so did I. After having researched a lot over the internet and through some of my friends I came to know that a 2 day hault at Dalhousie would be enough to experience it at the best. It was our Marriage Anniversary on 2nd of May’2016 so I booked a hotel at Dalhousie for 2 days from 02/05/2016 to 04/04/2016.

As I am now turning into a full time travel blogger I usually stay at my house in Meerut and sometimes at my Agra house. While we planned to move to Dalhousie, we were in Agra.

Day 1 : Road Route & Haults

Delhi to Dalhousie Road Trip
Agra to Delhi

Agra to Delhi : We started our Journey on 1st of May’2016 from Agra through National Highway-2(NH-2) at about 7:30 am and reached Delhi at 11:00 am. A lot of road construction work is going on these days due to the Delhi – Agra Highway Project, so it took us an extra half an hour or so to reach Delhi.

Delhi to Muthal : The best thing I liked about the Road Route was that I didn’t really had to turn anywhere as it was straight road from Sarai Kale Khan towards Sonipat. We reached at Sonipat at 12:15 pm. At Sonipat I took refueled my WagonR Green with CNG and Petrol. For the vehicles having CNG installed, I would like to tell that at Sonipat you will get 3-4 CNG Gas Stations in a line. Also, these are the last gas stations you will see on the road from Delhi to Dalhousie.

Just after 15 minutes from Sonipat at 12:30 pm we took a hault at Muthal at one of the Dhaba. We freshened up at this Dhaba and collected some eatables.

Murthal Dhaba
A Dhaba in Murthal

I tell you what, you would not see better Dhabas anywhere in India than on this road, specially in Murthal and nearby areas. They are so neat and clean better than even some good restaurants in Delhi.

Murthal to Ludhiana: At about 12:45 pm we continued our journey towards Ludhiana and at an average speed of about 80 km/hr we reached Ludhiana at 4:15 pm. We took a hault for lunch on a Dhaba located on the outskirts of Ludhiana City.

Ludhiana Dhaba

The food was good at this Dhaba.  Before we even started our Journey, I planned to stay at a place as near to Dalhousie as possible. We took about 40-45 minutes to finish our Lunch at this Dhaba and without wasting any more time continued with our Journey towards Jalandhar at 5 pm.

Ludhiana to Pathankot: It took about 1 hour to reach Jalandhar from Ludhiana. So we reached Jalandhar at about 6 pm. When we started from Agra, we planned to stay overnight at Jalandhar or Pathankot. It was still not dark and so I wanted to continue ahead towards Pathankot. My wife was half asleep so I didn’t even bother to ask her.

Do remember that there is a right turn under a bridge to take the Pathankot route. I got a bit confused there but finally got the right route by asking one of the locals. Within half an hour or so (At about 6:30 pm) it started getting dark and this highway is a bit narrow. Also there are a lot of small towns in between which doesn’t let you pick up with the speed. Anyways, we reached Pathankot at 8 pm. We took a Hotel inside the Pathankot City with all basic amenities and a working air conditioner at Rs.1400 which was not bad at all.

Pathankot to Dalhousie : On the Day 2, we got ready and moved towards Dalhousie at 10 am. We took a tea break at one small dhaba on the hills.

Tea Break Dalhousie Hills

We reached Dalhousie Cantt at about 12:15 pm where we took an unexpected hault. Traffic Police of Dalhousie welcomed us here with Rs.200 Challan of not wearing seat belt. Anyways, after finishing off with traffic police of Dalhousie, it took us another half an hour to finally reach the Hotel. So, at about 12:45 pm we finally reached Dalhousie. 

It took us a total of 15 hrs 15 mins to reach Dalhousie from Agra (Distance : 774 km). If you calculate from Delhi to Dalhousie, then we covered this distance in 11 hrs 45 mins (Distance : 575 km).

Day 2 : Dalhousie Tour

The name of the Hotel where we booked our stay was ‘Mongas Hotel & Resort’ which is a 3-Star Property. On the very first look the Hotel appeared quite nice.

Open Area in Mongas Hotel, Dalhousie

I preferred this Hotel because of 3 reasons (i) the rooms were quite nice with all basic amenities and free wifi (ii) the hotel had a car parking space & (iii) its a 3-star property located on Khajjiar Road, as my prime motto to visit Dalhousie was for Khajjair. There is a lot more to tell about the Hotel, so I have written a review of Hotel Mongas.

Also Read : Mongas Hotel & Resort, Dalhousie – An Honest Review

Anyways, after taking a bit of rest we went to Panchpula, which is a good place to visit in Dalhousie. If you like boating you can spend some time here.

Panchpula Dalhousie

Otherwise, there is a 10-15 minutes of trek to Satdhara Waterfall. You just need to be a bit careful while trekking as the place has a lot of rocks where you might hurt yourself.

Trek to Satdhara Falls, Dalhousie
Trek to Satdhara Falls

The Satdhara Waterfall is a good place to be in. I would not say really good, but if you want a bit of peace you can visit this place.

Satdhara Falls Dalhousie
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We had maggie and cold drinks at the Shiva Cafe which serves snacks near the Waterfalls. It also has loud music on which creates a wonderful atmosphere.

Shiva Cafe, Panchpula, Dalhousie

After spending some quality time at the waterfalls, we headed back down the hill where we saw people doing some adventure activities like Burma Bridge and River Crossing. If you are adventure freak, you could definitely have a try at these activities.

Panchpula Dalhousie
Burma Bridge Adventure Activity

After spending some time at this place, we headed back to the hotel and took a nap. In the evening at 7 pm we walked to the Gandhi Chowk and did a bit of shopping from the adjoining Mall Road.

Mall Road Dalhousie

After a bit of shopping, we returned to the Hotel where the Dinner Buffer was ready. I would say if you want to visit Dalhousie, you must book your stay at Mongas Hotel if not for anything else then just for its food, which is absolutely amazing !

Also Read : 10 Best Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Day 3 : Khajjiar Tour

On Day 3, just after the Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel Mongas we left for Khajjiar. Better known as ‘Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh’ or ‘Mini Switzerland of India’, Khajjiar is one of the most beautiful place in Himachal Pradesh. The road route from Dalhousie to Khajjiar is not is a very good condition.

Someone very rightly said that ” Difficult Roads often leads to beautiful Destinations “.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8O1P_AAiRk

We reached Khajjiar at 2 pm and was mesmerized by the place on its first look. It really looks as close to nature as is Switzerland.

Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh

The lush green ground, the pleasant atmosphere, the nature everything is just perfect at Khajjiar. You can also opt to try horse riding at Khajjiar with your loved ones or alone.

Horse Riding at Khajjiar

If you are an adventure lover, you can try Zorbing at Khajjiar. In this adventure activity, the person is enclosed in this zorbing ball and another person pushes the ball. You roll over the ground wherever the ball goes.

Zorbing at Khajjiar

If you love being in the sky, you can also try Paragliding at Khajjiar. You can get different packages for Paragliding depending upon the height you want to do.

Paragliding in Khajjiar

After having enjoyed and taking a lot of snaps on the Khajjiar ground, we had lunch at Quality Restaurant located at the centre of Khajjiar ground.

Restaurants in Khajjiar

If you love taking pictures, Khajjiar is one of the best places in India for taking pictures.

Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh (2)

We loved this place so much that we didn’t even wanted to go to Dainkund peak, which is yet another tourist attraction above the hill from Khajjiar. Finally, we planned to move back to Dalhousie at 5 pm and had our final dinner buffet at Hotel Mongas at 8:30 pm.

Also Read : 7 Best Places to Visit in Khajjiar

Day 4 : Return Journey

Finally on 4th of May, soon after the breakfast buffet at Hotel Mongas, we packed our bags and started our journey back home. This time we headed back to Meerut at 12 pm. While returning to Meerut we had to follow the same route till from Dalhousie to Karnal. From Karnal we had to take a left turn towards Shamli, Budhana and finally to Meerut. The distance from Dalhousie to Meerut is about 550 km. With only 2 haults, one for a meal and refreshment at Mcdonald’s near Ludhiana and another one at Karnal for refueling the Car, It took us about 10 hours and 30 minutes to reach Meerut from Dalhousie.

Hope you liked to read our exciting road trip to Dalhousie & Khajjiar. Book your stay now to enjoy the wonderful nature of Himachal Pradesh !

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My Experiment with Shantivan – Brahma Kumaris Ashram

My Experiment with Shantivan– Brahma Kumaris Ashram : Mount Abu 

A Serene Environ;  Healthy Transformation

It was an afternoon of mid-August when I was told by my staff that someone from Brahma Kumaris Ashram has come to meet me. I welcomed him and promptly recognised we had met earlier also. Mr. B K Amarchand ji had also visited last year, with the invitation of a four-day media conference-cum-meditation session at their headquarter Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Inspite of my best intentions and efforts, the programme could not be materialized last year due to some inevitable situation. Again, he was here for the same type of programme with a little different theme from September 11-15, 2015.

Amar Bhai, as he is popularly known in his circle, which I came to know later, told me that you will love the ambiance, the deliberations, the quality of life and the simple yet effective practice of meditation, which will be a long lasting effect on your life. The theme to be dealt in these days of conference was interesting—Value-Based Media for Healthy & Happy Society. I promptly gave my nod and assured him that I will try my best to attend this year’s programme at Mount Abu. It will benefit me two ways—an interaction with hundreds of media and PR professionals from different part of the country and the discussions on the subject, and to know the Brahma Kumaris, their life, and their doings closely.

Journey to Mount Abu

It was about 10 PM when I, along with my wife reached at Agra Fort Railway Station. Ashok Navratn and his brother Sanjay Navratn of Aligarh also met us there. They were going to Mount Abu for the same programme but their reservation was in some other coach. We had our reservation in AC III, B-1 Coach and to our pleasant surprise, both the berths were lower (we did not know it because the tickets were booked by the Amar Bhai, as complimentary). After settling down in the seats, when we were trying to ready our bed, the family of three—two ladies, alongwith a 7-8 year old boy, was also preparing for their long journey to Ahmedabad, which is the terminating point of the train. The lady requested my wife, if we could exchange one of our lower berths with one of their middle berth. She asked me to exchange mine with her. I had no choice and agreed to go to middle berth, though I do not like travelling in the sandwich state!

Mount Abu Railway Station

Cooling inside the air-conditioned coach was fine, the beddings were ok, power points for mobile charging, fans and lights were working properly. Since the train originates from Agra Fort station itself, so, there were no hassles, associated with the transit stations.

The train reached at 9.45 AM at Abu Road railway station, with 20 minutes delay. Later, I came to know that Ahmedabad is about 180 kms away and the train passed through Jaipur and Ajmer, when we were in sound sleep. We de boarded the train and came outside the railway station where few people with white attire were standing near the vehicles of Ashram. I introduced them; one of them took my luggage and kept it inside the boot space of the bus. We entered in the bus and occupied the seats. In a few minutes, more delegates joins and the bus started to the Ashram.

Abu Road Campus: Shantivan

It reached an imposing, grand, yet serene and beautifully looking campus Shantivan in about 15 minutes drive, and covering a distance of almost six kilometer through the city. Shantivan—the campus of Brahma Kumaris Ashram is a part of the different campuses of the Ashram, which are spread in Abu Road, and Mount Abu—the hilly terrain, about 45 kms away. The magnificient complex Shantivan- the forest of peace, is used for hosting various spiritual-cum-educational retreat programmes. Situated on a beautiful 50 acre landsite, at the foothills of Mount Abu, it combines the graceful charm of a well laid out setup with freshness of nature and lovely backdrop of hills.

Shantivan Mount Abu Capus

We were greeted by Amar Bhai in the reception area of the complex. He had arrived a day ago, to supervise things. He took our baggage, arranged a car for us, put the baggage in the boot space of the car, and handed over a computer-generated slip which mentioned that we have been allotted suite number 708 of Diamond House. It was about half a kilometer away from the entrance. The person manning reception requested us to fill up the columns in a register and handed over the keys of the accommodation.

Shantivan, Abu Road

He also sent an accomplice to take care of our luggage. The nicely furnished, one-bedroom with attached toilet accommodation was situated on second floor. It had an almirah-cum-wardrobe, a table, a chair, two single beds with side racks, a fan tubelight, two bulbs with a night lamp, a cooler, with filled-up water, and provision to infuse more water directly from the tap, a balcony which offers beautiful view of hills spread all over and the grandiose view of the campus from the other angle.

The Accommodation

There were no telephones or intercoms in the rooms. The intercoms were available at the reception and other common areas, throughout the campus. There were provisions of water coolers with glasses, ironing board with electric irons on every floor. We were feeling urge to sip a cup of hot tea. I went downstairs via the lift and enquired from the reception. The person indicated me that there was a pantry room on the ground floor itself and you could avail the services of the pantry by yourself. It sounds interesting. I located the pantry which was furnished with a three-burner LPG stove, a two-door 365 liter refrigerator, modular almirahs where utensils for preparing tea and coffee, boiling milk and crockery as well as crockery was available in sufficient quantity. Sugar, Tea, Coffee and some spices which are needed for day to day use were also available there. Everything was properly labeled. The milkpot was available in the refrigerator with ample quantity.

Accomodation at Shantivan,Mount Abu

It was a nice and pleasant experience. I prepared two cup of tea, in full milk, poured into the cups and took the cups in a serving tray to second floor to serve it to my wife who also liked it the way they have offered the services of the pantry to the inmates. There was a condition: You will require cleaning up your cups and the utensils after use! It was a logical and quite a normal condition. I enjoyed the pantry service of the Ashram, till the last days of our stay. I also discover, you yourself can take clean bedsheets, blankets, towels or other item which were available in an almirah, earned for these items only.

The Days of Conference

The first day was limited to make yourself acquainted with the Ashram. We were introduced to the role of spirituality and rajyoga meditation in everyday life. Who am I?, was the theme of a video film where delegates were made to aware with their inner self. It is said that to know your soul, is the necessity of yourself. If you know yourself better, you can do anything with a new vision and better perspective.

Conference

The Shantivan complex of the Ashram, which was established in the year 1996, has a magnificient 20,000 seats pillerless auditorium, known as Diamond Jubilee Hall. The campus has large dining facilities, and serves 16,000 people at a times, usually. It has a training centre with five halls of varying capacities. A lotus shaped meditation room and Prakash Stambh adds to the beauty of the area.

The Food

The cooking of food system is based on the solar steam cooking techniques. The centralized kitchen has a strict quality control which serves 10,000 to 16,000 people almost every day. The menu differ everyday with pure vegetarian diets and the cuisines ranging from typical north Indian food to Gujarati and South Indian preparations. All vegetables, spices and other ingredients are procured keeping in mind the strict code of quality. Everyone from a normal worker to high ranking dignitaries, who participates in the activities of the Ashram is served the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The quality of the food and the healthy intake of a diet is taken care of by the kitchen staff. The food which is not regarded as healthy like fried stuffs, aerated drinks and other such foodstuffs which is called junk food is totally prohibited in the campus.

Dining Hall, Shantivan, Mount Abu

The dining halls are not attached with the guest houses. There is one huge complex which serves as the cooking place cum dining center. The ground floor is used for cooking purpose and the rest three floors are utilized for serving food to the inmates. The timings for breakfast are: 8 to 9 AM. Lunch is served from 12.00 PM to 2.30 PM and the dinner time is scheduled for 7.30 to 9.00 PM only. Similarely, tea times are also earmarked in the dining area. Separate dining floors with separate halls are manned by the volunteers of the Ashram who serves cuisines to the inmates.

Food at Shantivan, Mount Abu

Smoking, consuming of alcohol or any other intoxicant like paan masala or chewing up of paan is banned in the complex.

Godlywood Studio, with three wings of high tech studios having international standard equipment is functioning from the campus. Side by side, these studios cover live shows, documentary films, talk shows. Post production facilities like editing; mixing, animation and dubbing etc. are also available here.

The Sessions: Meditation and Media

On September 12, 2015 the theme of meditation session was ‘Exploring the Self’ , while the inaugural session of the conference dealt with the theme of value based media for healthy and happy life. Justice E. Eshwarariah, B K Narwair, B K Karuna, Prof Kamal Dixit, Dr M S Parmar, N K Singh, Rajeev ranjan Nag, Prof Rajiv Sharma dealt with the subject. B K Shielu, a senior rajyoga teacher of Brahma Kumaris offered insight into the meditation experience.

Shantivan Conference, Mount Abu

In the evening session there were dialogues among the cross-sections of print  media representatives which include delegates from newspapers, magazines, PR and publicity wings. With Sarla Anand as chairperson, B K Urmina, Pulak trivedi, Kamlesh Meena P K Gupta and Vinod Bharadwaj discussed on the theme of values and ethics in media and PR profession. Later, a few participants also shared their views on the topic. There was an exclusive session for electronic media only. Overcoming cultural pollution: role of mass media was the theme for the representatives of the radio, TV, film, cable TV, IT and Telecom sector. Dr Suresh Verma, Dr Kunjan Acharya, B K Poonam Verma, Pramod Kumar Pandey, Devendra Sharma and Parikshit Mishra dealt with the theme. The dais was also shared by the participants who aired their views.

For those who came in the pursuit of stress free life and happiness, the most important sessions were those which lasted from 6.30 AM to 8.00 AM and 5.30 to 8.00 PM daily. The morning session of the very first day was based on role of spirituality and rajyoga meditation in everyday life. B K Manju, Rajyoga teacher from Bilaspur described the spirituality and its connection with a human being, its soul in a very beautiful and logical manner. A few simple exercise of meditation were also conducted by her to connect one to the supreme power. Second day of early morning session was devoted to the topic on exploring the self. Rajyogini B K Geeta, a rajyog teacher from Mount abu very well dealt with the subject. She made us think and reassess ourself with the yet unexplored vistas of our life. Similarly, on Sunday, the senior rajyoga teacher, Mount Abu offered insight into the topic of Awareness of the Supreme Being. The one hour and thirty minutes speech was such that it touched the hearts of one and all. The fourth meditation session was devoted to the art of Rajyoga. The topic Rajyoga—A link with the Supreme Being provided the much needed insight to get closer with the God.

For The Happy Life, Change the Life Style

Dr Prem Masand, Radiation Oncologist, Global Hospital, Mount Abu in a one and a half hour lecture, and interactive session offered simple ways and means to remain happy, lead stress free life and keep away various illnesses. He underlined the need of positive thinking to remain happy. He stressed that one should live in the present and try to build a better future by doing commendable work in his present times. He also told the delegates to change their lifestyle for maintaining a good health and become free from all worries.

Shantivan, Abu Road, Mount Abu

Dr B K Shrimant Sahu, Diabetologist and Holistic Care Physician of Global Hospital and Research Centre, Mount Abu said that diabetes has become an epidemic and nearly 10 lakhs of Indians die every year due to this disease. Terming it a lifestyle disorder, he warned, unless we alter our lifestyle, not only diabetes, but other killer diseases like hypertension, stroke, cardiac arrest and cancer will take us in their grip. He said that junk food and fast food are the killer food and one should avoid them, if he or she wishes to remain healthy and fruitful life. For a better health, one should avoid aerated drinks, so called bottled pulps fruits juices, all sorts of addictives beverages like coffee and tea and lead healthy life style by regular walking, exercise and stress free living through meditation.

All the evenings remained colorful with the beautiful presentations of cultural troupes. They performed on popular dances of Punjab and Gujarat and even Karnataka. Some deaf and dumb students of local schools presented beautiful skit which was appreciated by the audience with the thunderous clapping and waving of hands.

How to Reach

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Departure: Towards a Transforming Life

Ultimately, the day of 15th of September came. We prepared to say goodbye to the transforming time which we spent in the Ashram. The serne environment, soft and smiling attitude of everyone, positive thinking behavior coupled with exercises of meditation and lots to learn—everything leads to a transformation: a change for betterment and healthy life. Thanks Brahma Kumaris for providing us opportunity.

Departure from Abu Road Railway Station

Before parting our ways, I did not forget to buy audio CDs of devotional songs, few Video DVDs of the Rajyoga Meditation and important discourses by the practitioners of Brahma Kumaris Ashram. These are reasonably priced from Rs. 20 to 50 only. A number of souvenirs like key rings, pens, bags, paperweight etc were also available there with only a token price tag attached.

CD DVD Brahmakumaris

And the journey from Abu Road campus of Shantivan, towards railway station to board the train to Agra begins at 8.00 PM. Amar Bhai arranged a vehicle for us. Bharat Bhushan, his accomplice met us at the platform who came alongwith packets of dinner which we had skipped fearing delay in reaching station.

And we are back with lots of good memories, a new beginning ahead with lots to explore to connect to our self with the Supreme Power!

(P.S. : The programme was organized at Abu Road campus only, not Mount Abu, which is about 40 kms away. The Ashram offered us a sight seeing visit on the last day of the conference. It includes their Mount Abu complex, the Global Hospital and Nakki Lake, which we will deal later in a separate write-up)

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An Ultimate Jungle Camping Experience at Rishikesh

I always visualize the city of Rishikesh as a spiritual land, the land of rishis, and yogis, the people also love this place as a religious abode. However, I recently discovered it as a major adventure destination in north India, when I visited here a few months ago. Once you visit a place, you feel like travelling to other places rather than visiting the same place over and again but Rishikesh is an exception. It is such a charming place that will never let u get bored as it has so much to offer, not only to the people who come here in search of spiritual peace only. The town is rich in its heritage and have some very popular temples, Ashrams for Yoga & Meditation as well but the unique attraction of this city is that it has ventured out well in some outstanding adventure sports and jungle camping activities.

Jungle Camping

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An Ultimate Jungle Camping Experience at Rishikesh

This was my first try at a jungle camp ever.  We three friends planned for a camping jaunt in Rishikesh so as to make our weekend full of excitement. Some two and a half months back also I went to Rishikesh for an adventure trip. You can read about it by clicking on the link below.

Beach Camp
A photo from my Beach Camping Experience in June 2015

Let me now walk you through our journey !

Planning & Execution

It was a usual weekend morning of Saturday, September 12, 2015. However, a person like me cannot resist from making it happening. So, I just called a close friend of mine Sunny who lives in Delhi and put a proposal if we could plan a short trip to Rishikesh. He nodded in affirmative, got ready quickly and moved for Meerut by his Santro Zing with his love within an hour. My friend Sunny knew someone in a Camp, so he booked our camping halt on the phone call itself. Sunny finally reached at my place at about 4:00 pm and without wasting much time we moved towards Rishikesh by my Wagon R.

Road to Rishikesh

Road Route

I have been travelling on this route every now and then. The toll road, which begins from the outskirts of the Meerut city, Daurala, is four lane, finely built, with no potholes and dotted with good roadsides dhabas, and even KFC as well as Dominos too, till Muzaffarnagar.  As we proceed further,  about 10 kms after that it becomes a two lane road, which at times feel congested and not worthy of good driving, it  sometimes is devoid of a road divider. So, you need to be extra cautious while driving especially at night. Some road construction and repairing work is going on for a stretch of about 20-30 kms which will bound to slow down your speed.

Once you reach Roorkee, it will hardly take you 1-1.5 hours to reach Rishikesh. We started at about 5:00 pm from Meerut and we reached Rishikesh at about 8:30 pm. You may find a lot of traffic jam even before entering the city, especially on the weekends. But the real fun is to visit the place on weekends only; otherwise it’s a bit calm. The calm of the dense forest areas, you know, can be very dangerous for some people in the jungle, at least for those who are not accustomed to it.

Adventure Booking

Due to my prior experience we knew that most of the adventure clubs close their offices in Rishikesh by 8:00 – 8:30 pm. So, we already talked to a guy named Maddy who operates a Jungle Camp near Rishikesh. However, after reaching Rishikesh we thought of talking to a few other clubs to get some better options. As per our expectations, most of them were found to be closed as we reached Rishikesh at about 8:30 pm. There were still two adventure clubs which were open, we talked to them but their reply was that no adventure camp is operational for some days.

Camp Hideaway, Rishikesh

We still had the option to talk to Maddy and we fixed our Camp for Rs.1250 per person. This amount included the snacks & dinner of the current night, and Breakfast and Lunch for the following day. Not a bad deal, it seems. At the rate, these camps are really value for money, and it is one of the reasons, I am in love with them!

Reaching the Camp

Reaching Jungle Camp, Rishikesh

Maddy, the manager of the Hideaway Camp explained the route to reach the Camp. This camp is located deep inside the outskirts of  Rishikesh city near a river barrage. It is about 15 kms from Rishikesh and we took about 40 minutes to reach the camp.

Tents (Outside View)

Camp Hideaway had about 70-80 tent accommodation in total, with the option of double and triple occupancy.

Tents at Rishikesh

Tents (Inside View) Tent from Inside, Rishikesh

Open Sitting & Playing AreaOpen Area, Rishikesh Camp

River Side Area 1River Side View, Rishikesh Camp

River Side Area 2River Side Area, Rishikesh

River Side Area 3River Side Area, Hideaway Camp, Rishikesh

 WashroomsWashrooms at Jungle Camp, Rishikesh

Dining Area, Meals & Snacks

The dining area was quite spacious which can easily accommodate about 100 people. In peak season, when the dining area gets full people can even enjoy their meals in the open lawn just besides the Dining Area. As agreed, they charged us an amount of Rs.1250 per person (All Inclusive) and provided us some real quality snacks and food. The taste was really nice. They have a buffet dinner arrangement and you have a lot of cuisines to choose from. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are available there. The breakfast buffet offers salad, bread slices, butter, jam, boiled eggs, tea, pickles, curd & puri bhaji. We had to rush for our Rishikesh & Haridwar City Tour so we did not wait till the Lunch time and skipped it.

Dining Area
Dining Area

Parking FacilityCar Parking at Jungle Camp, Rishikesh

Camp Hideaway has ample parking facility to accommodate at least 70-80 vehicles. The parking area has a lot of space to park your vehicle easily.

Contact the Camp

Although you may get hundreds of camps to stay in Rishikesh, but I really loved Camp Hideaway as it serves amazing food, has a very well mannered and supportive staff and beautifully manicured landscaping.

You can contact Camp Hideaway, Rishikesh at these Numbers

+919411338307/+919997147618/+919997276408/+919456739092

Office Desk :- +91 01352442274
E-mail :- info@hideawaysadventure.com

For more details, you may check out their Official Website :

http://www.hideawaysadventure.com

Suggestions & Tips

  1. Adventure Sports are hardly operational in the Months of July and August, may extend till mid of September. If you do not want to get disappointed, It is always advisable to get in touch with some Adventure Club before planning to Rishikesh for any adventure activity.
  2. Please check the condition of you vehicle before going to Rishikesh. Service your vehicle if it need one and check if the air pressure in the tires is fine or not.
  3. Please start your journey as early as possible as most of the Adventure Sports activities are conducted in day time.
  4. If you are planning for Rafting, you can carry your camera, your shoes or slippers and other belongings with you. You will be provided with a dry bag in the Raft where you can keep all your stuff.
  5. You would only get Meals at the camp, so if you wish to buy any eatables or beverages you must buy it from the nearby places only as you won’t get anything over here. It is totally a jungle area.
  6. Make calls or messages to your friends and loved ones in the Rishikesh city area only as your mobile won’t receive any signals at the camp.

Hope you liked to Read about my Jungle Camping Experience near Rishikesh. If you have any queries, you can leave your comments below.

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