Monday, November 23, 2009

I am back again..

Hmm... finally I was able to catch up on things which I always yearned for, but for some reason or the other wasn't able to do it.
This weekend, I started reading again and did a bit of gardening too..
I have always this debate with my better half, on how many books she has managed to read from my library and How many books I have bought and not even bothered to dust them.
Finally this weekend , to put the case to rest! I started with something light.. and picked one of those "Tom Clancy's Op center" series.
But destiny had some thing else in mind ;-), next day I bumped on series on Vijayanagara Kingdom's history, and got so engrossed that, I managed to finish couple of them over the weekend :-)

Well.....would like to keep the enthu alive and kicking.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sarpass Trek- Do's and Dont's

Sarpass being my first trek on the himalayan ranges, I must admit that I was very much underprepared for this one even though I had trekked to good extent in southern parts of India.
Penning down few Do's and Dont's :-)

-> Take sufficient battery backups for your camera. I had taken one extra battery and two batteries were sufficient for the entire trek.

-> Preserve the batteries for higher altitudes where one gets the most beautiful and amazing views

-> Keep the batteries warm, batteries drain out rapidly in extreme cold, hence when not in use and while sleeping keep the batteries in your pockets. The body temp is good enough to keep them warm and they will last longer.

-> It's good that one carries his/her own rucksacks, the quality of bags supplied by YHAI are not very good. After second day of trek, my rucksack was torn and I had to stitch it myself there. (Note: Seeing the state of the bag I was very apprehensive whether I will be able to complete the trek, but thankfully a few stitches made it good)

-> Hunter shoes are a must, regular sports shoes are strict NO NO... 300 rs Hunter shoes avaialble in Commercial street will do a terrrific job.

-> Religiously carry all items which YHAI has mentioned.

-> It's important to take care of your feet, as they say in YHAI, take care of your feet like your face. Anti fungal powder, cotton are needed.

-> During the trek, in most of the tea & lunch points you will get Omlette and maggie noodles. So during most of the days I didn't pack my lunch and managed with omlette and maggies.

-> As they say, each gram will become 1 Kg @ high altitudes, so keep your luggage to bare minimum possible. Apart from what you wear, one extra pair of clothing is good enough.

-> Unless you are a serious photographer, do not carry tripods etc up all the way.

-> Keep mints, dry fruits, ORS and candies. These will be of great help

-> Keep thermals! Good warm clothing is necessary when you have snow around. I believe that the unfortunate incident would not have happened if people wore thermals.

Our tent @ Tila lotni

Evening view of the Sarpass

Morning view: Sar pass

Posting the next set of photos here, well I did try my luck to shoot the moon lit mountains, but yet to process those images. I shall post them soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sarpass Trek- 2009

Finally Mission Accomplished!!!!

I was a little apprehensive about the trek when Chandu rang me to inform me that he would not be making to this trek, and even his friend won't be able to make it this time. So throughout my journey to Kasol - the base camp site (around 40 Kms from Kullu) I was thinking about whether I will have a good company during the trek! But YHAI didn't disappoint me, It was indeed a great company, and for that matter I never felt that I came here to trek all alone during the entire trek! On the contrary now I believe that you should venture alone in to these youth hostel treks and make good freinds out there!

The trek indeed was one of the kind of experiences that you will ever have!!! The high points of the trek were

-> The bone chilling water bath in the Parvathi river and hot water bath at hotsprings
-> Tasting delicious and fresh MOMOS at a canteen in Kasol
-> The journey on the bus top till Manikarn and enjoying the view of the valley from the top of the bus
-> Waking up to see the snow capped peaks infront of you
-> Brushing your teeth at an altitude of ~14000 feet with chilling water
-> Liberty of having energy drinks at such an altitude which keeps your spirits soaring !!!!
-> Having experienced the snow at our camp site at Zirmi
-> Having weatherd a mighty snow storm for almost an hour before reaching our camp at Tila Lotni
-> Having seen the moonlit snow peaks on a beatiful night
-> Gazing stars and moon on a clear night sky with the company of snow peaks around you
-> The every tasty Maggie, Omlette and Tea at Tea and lunch points all along the trek route
-> Crossing the challenging cliff before the slide after we started from Tila Lotni
-> And the mighty snow slide after we crossed the Sarpass, this one scores amongst all !!!!
-> Finally the "Shahi Snan" at Manikaran

Well.. the list is end less... I can keep going on and on and on..... but unfortunately the only low point of the trek was unfortunate demise of fellow trekkers in the SP-1 Batch :(

Click here to view the snaps of new friends during this trek

Take a look at Sarpass view which is my fav shot!!(More to come later)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sar Pass: Here I come..........

Coming week I am heading for a 10 day long trek to Sar pass, Himachal Pradesh. Supposedly one of the best treks which YHAI ( Youth Hostel Association of India) offers. I am eagerly looking forward for this new adventure and getting ready with my travel gear for this. Only sad point is that Chandu, who initiated this trip will not be around.


Check out few intersting stories which I found on blogosphere!

Friday, April 03, 2009

An evening eat out.........

This was the place where we used to hang out most during bachelor days......

This was the place that used feed us after doing night outs @ office......

This was the place we were planning to hang out from last 6 months for a get together and some real good fun!! And finally it happened.

• While we were whiling away our time waiting for few others to join, we thought time is better spent with a plate of Corn Masala :-) This is a special delicacy with a mixture of fruits, babycorn, corn and masala of your choice served on a platter

• After everybody arrived at the venue, it was time to kick start the Junk food marathon! We all went to the beginning of the street and started err… re-started with “Paddu”. An authentic karnataka delicacy made of "Dose hittu". I am sure some time later Sum will post this on her blog!

• Then it was some time for some “time pass items”, we had Tikki Puri and Boti Masala, which were indeed very yummy!!

• Next stop was right at the next door for some Crunching Capsicum Bajji, Balekai Bajji and some hot Bondas!

• Then it was time for traditional Idli & chutney with butter as toppings! My friend says these are the softest idlies made in Bangalore! Well I beg to differ with him since I think my mom makes the softest Idlies on earth :-)

• After all that junk, now it was some time cool our “Stomachs” with Masala Mirinda

• At this point most of us felt we were full! But couldn’t resist the site of Masala Doasas at the next shop! Double roasted with ghee were crispy and yummy and was a real treat to eat

• Aha! Now some desserts and in the fight between Basundi and Jilebi, Basundi won hands down!

• Well, a single desert is not good enough, you need to have more! The last shop in the street has some really good fruit salad with Ice cream with Gulkan

• Finally, it was time to say good bye to our eat-out in a traditional way! The reason it’s called traditional is that normally we end with some soda to wash away all atrocities on our stomach. The only difference this time was that we washed it twice during this eat out :-)

If you are wondering if I could digest all these! well.. I did.. and I knew it the very next day ……
If you want to know this favorite hangout! well, it’s the famous Chat Street @ VV Puram.

Monday, March 16, 2009

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Ashtamudi – The perfect getaway!

After a monotonous, stressful couple of months during the fag end of 2008, we had decided to have a leisure trip to Ashtamudi and planned everything towards that. Come January! Series of bad news started flowing in! First the recession, then the uncertainty about being jobless  and of course a worry some future! But eventually we decided to move on since everything was planned well ahead and we thought it should be the perfect break in the midst of all happenings around us.

Hmm… I must say! Ashtamudi, the eight cornered/branched lake didn’t fail to deliver on this!. Approximately around 10 Kms from Kollam, Asthamudi is the second largest backwater lake in Kerala. The club Mahindra Backwater Retreat @ Asthamudi situated in the unique spot, offers the great views of the lake, the fishing nets , view of green coconut trees and the calm back waters of the lake.

As the motive was, not to move around too much we didn’t plan much to move around and decided to spend the time in the resort itself. The major achievement of this trip was that, first time in my life I played Scrabble with S and won them with my super natural abilities and divine intervention:-) . The nature around the resort is beautiful, that our evenings were simply spent by sitting near the lake shore, facing the cool breeze from the waters.

This time I also managed to do some fishing in the lake. As with Photography, fishing needs tones of patience, otherwise you will keep wasting your baits :-). The most difficult part was to fix the prawns as baits to the fishing rod. But nevertheless at the end I had 4/5 fishes in my kitty :-).

The resort really offers a fabulous view of the sunrise. Having missed the sunrise on the first day, we decided to go spot on the next day to see the sunrise. Believe me it was really one of the magnificent sunrises I have ever seen! Take a look at few wonderful pics of sunrise.

I must admit that the chef at the Resort is one of the best that Club Mahindra folks have and the food here really beats the likes of Coorg, Munnar resorts of Club Mahindra. The one thing that we gave a miss was the house boat ride in and around Kollam and to the confluence of the lake with sea offered by Club Mahindra folks. With around 16~18 hrs of train journey from Bangalore, I must say this was one exhilarating trips I had ever been to! Cyao!

Other important things to do: Overnight house boat ride to Alleppy, Candle light dinner on house boat, Ayurvedic Massage
Best time to travel: Right after monsoon till January
Useful Links: Club Mahindra Backwater Retreat

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Down the Memory lane – Beautiful Binsar

The winter had already stepped in when we visited Binsar in 2006. After spending a day in Delhi seeing the magnificent Akshar Dham temple, RashtrapathiBhavan and a few other places, we had to really hurry up to catch the Kathgodam express to the Almora valley. The train took us to Kathgodam by 7 in the morning and after negotiating with few taxi drivers, we kind of settled for 800 bucks for a drop to Binsar. And I must tell you this was one of the most prolific rides I ever had on tipsy, curvy ghat routes of the Kumaon mountain ranges. Otherwise also there were share taxis available, where in one might have to change a few taxis before reaching the Binsar. Regular Buses also operate from Kathgodam.

Binsar is a picturesque Himalayan destination, located 33 Kms north of Almora. It took almost 3 hours from Kathgodam, to reach Club Mahindra holiday resort in Binsar. The resort is built in a valley offering a good view of Himalayan mountain ranges from its backyard. After a warm welcome from the resort manager we just retired in to room. With the idea of spending time as leisurely as possible, we didn’t make any kind of plans for the rest of the week and just thought we should enjoy the place. As this was our first visit to any kind of resort, we were bit cautious about the budget as well.

After an evening walk near the resort we found a “Shuddh Shakhahari outlet” owned by a gentleman named Pradeep Bisht who was an ex service man! Needles to say this became our favorite hangout during out entire stay @ Binsar. As the vegetable supply to this hilly town is mostly once a week, we had very limited but very delicious choices to make from his menu.

On another evening we set out for a nearby peak & temple. We had to pass through the Binsar neighborhood to reach on top of the hill. The sunset from here was simply amazing, and we had two local lads for our company :-). On our way back we met few friendly locals who were singing along side their routine chores.

Next day we went on a small trek to a British Bungalow, just in front of the resort. Club Mahindra folks have bought this bungalow and now they have converted this to a guest house. Located a bit above the main resort this offers a vintage experience, with breath taking sceneries. One can either climb up all the way or there is motor able road too.

Next day we went on a visit to nearby Reserve forest and a few view points, which was just an hour+ drive from the resort. We made sure that we start pretty early so that we won’t miss the sunrise on our way to the forest. We stopped our vehicle at lot of points to enjoy the sunrise. We reached the Sanctuary well in time, and here we have a guest house run by KMVN -Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.

We were told that from this guest house and a view point nearby, we can get a semicircular view of Himalayan mountain ranges. But to our bad luck due to the very bad weather we couldn’t catch the glimpse of the mountain ranges. Weather god played hara-kiri and spoiled our chances of catching the beautiful view, typically on visiting these locations one must be careful to visit these spots early during the day as the ranges would get covered by clouds during later part of the day. After visiting PatalBhuvaneshwar, it was time to bid adieu to Binsar vowing to be back again!

Useful links
Club Mahindra Binsar
KMVN Guest House

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hanumana Gundi @ Kudremukh

Enroute on a pilgrimage with my family, bumped upon this wonderful waterfalls near Kudremukh. Water gushing down from a height of approx 100 ft is really a treat to watch. Manned by Karnataka Forest Department, one needs to pay a nominal entre fee of Rs 20/Person to get to see the falls. To actually get in to water one has to climb down the rocky terrain a bit!

A word of caution though for the visitors, The entry and exit points of Kudremukh National park are monitored and one has to pass through the exit within two hours of entry.
Ofcourse, spending couple of odd hours at the falls is permitted, after showing the entry ticket for the waterfalls @ the National park exit.

Armed with my new camera I did some experiments, As I was hard pressed for the time, I could just take few snaps with the camera, and it was time to return back. I guess, it would be at its ferocious best and a treat to watch during Monsoon, except for the leeches :-). Any way I have already made up my mind to visit this during coming Monsoon season.

Location info: Inside Kudremukh National Pak, 30 Kms from Kalasa,
Best time to visit: October to March,

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Canon 450D

This time around, for my birthday S gifted me a high end camera, CANON 450D. Needless to say, I was at my gleeful best when I got this gift :-)

But, But, it comes with an unexhaustive set of riders and conditions

-> I have to teach her the photography ( what ever I know !!1)
-> Go for more trips
-> Every trip we go, she will use the camera also ( Hmm...this one is bit hard.. )
-> I have to take good pictures of all delicacies she is going to Cook (Photographer in me should work hard, otherwise I might.... you know....)
-> Blog more
-> Lenses are not part of the gift package/ neither they will be in future.. gotta buy them myself
-> .......................... and the list goes on...
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