Embrace a Lifestyle of Travel. At Travel Diaries cherish the joy of exploring the offbeat roads, unknown destinations and diverse cultures.

Green side of Jamshedpur...

So many times I have been to Jamshedpur that I had memorized every turn of the road from Ranchi to Jamshedpur. Hard luck was that every time I was coming for official work. You guessed right I was getting sick of not getting any time for sightseeing. Enough was enough, finally I asked Tata Steels' personnel to let me know a few places to enjoy my Sunday. What they told me were not exactly inspiring as the first one was a dam and the second was a zoological garden. Nonetheless "Something is better than nothing", provided me with solace.

I picked my friend Jean-Luc from his hotel and started our exploration of what we called as the "other face of Jamshedpur". First in line was a dam, the approach to the dam was not totally out of the world but was enough to stir up the spirits. Does this steel city has any other face too.









Enchanted by the greenery around, we soon reached at the top of the dam. The reservoir lake had an amazingly terrific view from the top.

Moments make life memorable, some of them are like a quiet evening in the woods, a walk with your friends.  We both were having a jolly good time.


No matter how many problems we have; one thing is sure that we Indians still know how to laugh and enjoy. Check out the young boys taking diving lessons...

If you are not a game for diving, try a long walk...

The other side is also too exuberant with nature at its best...

The place is so well maintained and clean that I was unable to stop myself from thinking again and again that how come this place is so well managed. The answer, the Dam and the reservoir is managed by TATA Steels.

By this time, we both were a bit rejuvenated and started for our next destination, THE ZOOLOGICAL Gardens. Any doubts about the garden, it is indeed a garden; that was the first thought came to my mind when I was treated to such a beautiful portrait.


and large number of ducks to welcome us...

Mesmerized by the awesome greenery, I have forgotten for a moment that there are other commitments waiting for both of us.

DO not dare to mess with them...

Seeing the king of jungle in the cage, reminded me one famous dialogue of hindi movies:
पिंजरे में कैद शेर को तो छोटे छोटे बच्चे भी पत्थर मारते हैं,,, (actor needs no introduction)
(even small children can throw pebbles at caged tigers)


You might take your luck for granted with these tigers. However if you have it in you, try with him.
I am too adventurous, but this time I could not get any closer to the royal king of the jungle.

Innovation is not a patent of anyone, check out this simple yet effective way devised by this intelligent monkey to keep himself cool in this scorching heat:

It was the first time I had been to a zoo, but nonetheless I was cherishing the every moment of it. For the first time in my life I met with the following:

NEELGAI

BEARS

Looks like they were also delighted on meeting with me. Don't you all feel that these lives will be better off in their original homes, i.e. the forests. 

While returning back, I was thinking that God has given me another venue to travel. This might be a humble beginning, who knows next time I will get a chance to go to Gir Forests or Ranthambore or Kaziranga Parks.

On one hand humans are destroying their dwellings to showcase their growth and later on to oblige these animals we are setting up sanctuaries, parks and zoological gardens. Whom are we trying to please or cheat..? We need to wake up in time, else when nature will seek back its due, human race will found itself too helpless and small.

"Preserve our Forests, our existence will be in jeopardy without them"




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Haridwar and stopover at Baba Ramdev Ashram...

Rishikesh trip is not complete without a stop at Baba Ramdev Ashram and prayers at Ganges at Haridwar. Rishikesh is only 23 km. from Haridwar, when coming from Delhi. Dip in the Holy water of River Ganga at Haridwar carry immense religious significance. Devotees from all over the world come to Haridwar for a dip at Brahm Kund, Har Ki Pauri, the most sacred ghat and spot in India

Just on the outskirts of Haridwar is "Patanjali Yog Peeth", ashram of Baba Ramdev. Baba Ramdev is championing the cause of holy healing and YOGA. Ayurveda, Yoga, Surgery and one of the oldest treatise on Medical treatment for Human Body "Charak Sanhita" have originated in India.

Reconnection with the legacy is on the cards as soon as we enter. Check out the sculpture of Maharishi Charak, author of Charat Samhita; the ancient treatise on Ayurveda...

The ashram is a complete health care centre as well, with Yoga centres, Hospital and a canteen.
Ashram is a self sustained unit. Whatever is consumed in the ashram from medicines to food is produced and processed in the Ashram farms only. People from far off places come here for holistic healing and treatment of numerous diseases.







All the preparations in the Canteen is done by the Cow Milk. No worries of any sorts, Happy Eating. We both enjoyed our breakfast, however Min was still on fasting. Now we were afraid, that he might die of starvation...he he he...His tears are real…
Canteen not only serve food, but also healthy eating tips. Very simple but effective.





After breakfast, we started again for Delhi and in next 15 minutes of driving we were in Haridwar at the Giant Statue of Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) in the middle of river Ganga.

Ganga or River Ganges is considered and worshipped as the holy river. Dip in the waters of river Ganga cures many skin diseases. Why, what is the reason..? The answer is that the self cleaning quality of river Ganga leads to 25 times higher oxygen content than any other river on the world. That's why the river Ganga is worshipped in India, its scientific. Heavenly ambience of the evening worship prayer of River Ganga  at Har Ki Pauri attracts devotees from far off places. Every inch of available space at the ghats is occupied by the devotees..

Watch the evening River Ganga Aarti/ worship...


On top of a hill is the holy Mansa Devi Temple. Cable car will take you to the temple. Mansa Devi is one of the holiest places in Haridwar. The visit to this temple shall be kept on priority as there is always a long queue of people to visit Mansa Devi temple and waiting time to catch a cable car sometimes goes upto 2 hours...

Seeing a number of devotees taking a holy dip in the sacred waters of river Ganges, Min too decided to dip his feet in the holy river...


One day at Haridwar and we again started our return journey. Nothing much after Haridwar, only a stop at local Dhaba/ restaurant for a cup of Tea...Road side Dhabas have their own charm, do try but be careful while taking a halt at night.
Rishikesh and Haridwar makes an ideal weekend getaway from the hustles of Delhi. Only 240 Km., one can leave on Friday night and get back by Sunday. Keep on travelling guys…



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While I was travelling_2

We have been to a lot of historical places, forts and museums. Its very common in India to come across the statues of Maharana Pratap, Rani Laxmi Bai and other legendary warriors on HORSE. But the horses for all the warriors are different, some have got both of the legs in air, some have only one leg in air and others have all the legs resting on the ground.  I used to wonder if this has got some significance or just imagination of craftsmen? Well the answer is simple:
  • If a statue of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. 
  • If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. 
  • If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Indeed very simple and logical. I have myself cross checked it for number of statues and it fits perfectly. You can cross check too...
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From Udaipur, On the trail of Maharana Pratap...

Such is the richness of heritage in Rajasthan that almost every street, every village and every corner has been  an intricate block in the exquisite historical panorama of this country.
Majority of the attacks on India during ancient times originated from the West. It was the exemplary courage and selfless sacrifice of the brave Rajput rulers which had weathered most of these attacks time and again. Rajasthan has played a much significant role in preserving the fabric of Indian tradition and culture.

After the grand Chittorgarh, our excursion took us to "Udaipur", the city of Lakes. As I always say - The best plans should be kept early in your schedule. In line with my philosophy the first on schedule was the "Walk down the history lane which had witnessed the legendary battle of Haldighati, from Udaipur to Nathdwara via Haldighati".

All the good things start with praying to God, just on the outskirts of Udaipur there is a small temple of Lord Krishna. However you have to climb a 100 steps to reach to the temple. After praying we were all set to our first destination, Haldighati Museum.

This is the route which had once witnessed the battle of Haldighati. The excursion around Udaipur has been designed in such a way that one gets to walk the way which was be taken by Maharana Pratap for the battle of Haldighati. The hospitality of the local population is amazing and is worth mentioning. They are always willing to go an extra yard to assist the tourists in order to metamorphose their good experience into an excellent one.

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Udaipur, Venice of the East..

It was all excitement and counting of days as soon as we planned a trip to Udaipur, one of the most romantic places in India and also popular as “city of lakes”.

Every lane of the city is worth falling in love and network of Seven (7) lakes provide an ideal setting for romantic evenings. Established by Maharana Udai Singh in 1553, when he shifted the capital of Mewar from Chittorgarh. Udaipur City is one of best examples of Royality defined from India is one of most visited tourist destination across the world.

Along with Chittorgarh, Udaipur is a proud constituent of Mewar region. Mewar is the region which has weathered most of the attacks coming from the West to protect India. The folk tales of brave Rajputs and Maharana Pratap can be heard at every street and corner of this city. After history hunting at Chittorgarh, it was the time to discover the Grand Udaipur City.

As all good things shall start by prayers; one auto rickshaw driver advised us to first visit the Manshapurna Karni Mata Temple on the Machla Hills and enjoy the ropeway ride to reach the temple on top of hill. While enjoying the ropeway, one can click some breath taking views of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park adjacent to Doodh Talai Lake.

From the ropeway, the distant emerald Lake Pichola was visible and calling us to cherish the legendary boat rides on its blue waters. As soon as we returned from the temple, within no time we were at the boat ride station entry.

In the front of us were visible the noted monuments of Udaipur. The Boat ride will take you closer to Udaivilas and Lake Palace hotels which are situated in the middle of waters. Lake Palace used to serve as royal residence during summers.


All the lakes are interconnected. While enjoying our ride, a beautiful channel of connection of Lake Pichola with Fatehsagar lake.

No doubts all the boats gather at this point to click, this beautiful spot. Now I fully understood, why foreigners prefer to call Udaipur as “Venice of the East”. Venice must be feeling proud on this comparison with Udaipur. Check out Udaipur City from the water side...
Ride turned a full circle and the majestic City Palace, the royal residence of royal family of Udaipur was standing in front of us.

City Palace is complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens and acclaimed globally for its intricate peacock mosaics, something heard only in mythological stories. A good part of City Palace is now turned into a museum. Camera is allowed inside after paying the prescribed entry fees. Take your camera to capture the grandeur from inside...
Also can have a royal meal inside the premises:

Around 200m. from City Palce is the major attraction and much visited Jagannath temple or Jagdish Temple.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath ordered the Maharana to build a temple in Udaipur where the God himself will come to bless this place. This 100 ft. high temple is also an architectural marvel and various mythological stories have been carved on the walls of this temple.

One has to take 32 marble steps to reach the temple. And to welcome the visitors, there stands two huge elephants with its trunk uplifted on either side of the stairs.
These elephants were built 11 stones’ blocks with such a craft that the joints are never visible. Lord Vishnu is called as Lord Jagdish here and is the worshipped deity here.








Located at the north of Lake Pichola is the Fatehsagar lake, which is an artificial lake and one of the most popular tourist hangout destinations in Udaipur.

Surrounded by Aravalli Ranges, the panoramic lake looks like an artists sketch. It is an ideal place to enjoy some quite moments with yourself or some romantic moments with your beloved.
Near to Fatehsagar Lake is the Maharana Pratap Memorial, the life of Maharana has been depicted by paintings. The most prominent being a caricature of Maharana Pratap slicing the Mughal officer along with his horse into 2 pieces with a single blow of his sword. During the battle of Haldighati Mughal officer had challenged Maharana Pratap for a duel fight.

A model of Chittorgarh Fort is also on display, as we were coming from Chittorgarh, we started identifying all the land mark features of the fort once more...



Next in the line was beautiful aura of lush green lawns, gardens, marble art and fountains, the place known as Saheliyon Ki Badi.



Built by Rana Sangram Singh, the place used to serve as the recreation spot for the royal maids. Notable feature here is the white marble umbrella/ chhatri type of fountain at the centre.


Water dripping down in the form of thin sprays from the terrace of the cenotaphs shaped like birds, create a wonderful sight like singing rains. The Saheliyon-ki-Bari opens from 8 AM to 5 PM.

We may have clicked numerous pictures and enjoyed some great food here, but what which can not be expressed fully in the words is the experience and remarkable hospitality of the people. Something is there in the Udaipur weather. For food lovers, Sukhadia Circle is the epitome of satiating the taste buds. Come early and secure a place, else enjoy the fountains while waiting for your turn at the food stalls.

Every moment in Udaipur is exploration of amazing history of our motherland and some memorable romantic moments with the soil of this region. Not only Udaipur city history is spread outside of Udaipur too, take some time to follow the trail of Maharana Pratap and the battle of Haldighati.

Keep Travelling Guys…



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Few Moments for yourself at "Damdama Lake"

Everyone is entitled for a vacation, spending time with nature and more importantly with oneself. However our hectic schedules do not let us even think about such delightful occasions.

A week should be at least which I would like to reserve for a vacation, but I will consider myself lucky if I get even 3-4 days. Most of the times family commitments and work pressure play spoilsport for 3-4 days off too. 
उम्रे दराज़ से मांग कर लाये थे चार दिन,
दो आरज़ू में और दो इंतज़ार में निकल गए. 
I do not want to blame myself for not enjoying due to time constraints. We should enjoy when we can rather than when we want. I hope you guys will agree with me. 
What to do..???? Plan out something which starts on Saturday morning and concludes by Saturday Night or Sunday. This leaves us with the only option to explore nearby places, whenever you get a day off from your hectic life. That's what I will be going to do, start on Saturday morning and be back by evening/ night.

When I started to look out for nearby places, I was amazed to find a lot of such spots. One of the such spots is "Damdama Lake"

To explore and enjoy our Saturday, we started in the morning to Damdama Lake. It took us an hour's drive from Delhi to reach the Lake. Damdama Lake is surrounded by Aravalli hills which forms a striking backdrop to its placid waters.

I could have never imagined such an isolated and picturesque place, so close to Delhi. Rightly said "Seeing is Believing". Surrounded by greenery, a Haryana Government resort makes it a nice place for having fun trip, quiet Lunch in vicinity of nature. Damdama Lake is the perfect place to go for boating or day tour.

Surrounded by Aravalli hills, it should be a much sought after destination for avid Rock climbers. I got ample chances to try out my rock climbing skills in  in the difficult terrains of the Aravalli. Even I can plan for rock climbing every week to recharge by batteries and keep good health.

Check out, there are Paddle boats also, if you love boating you can enjoy that too.

However the cherished one will be a quiet walk alongside the lake and appreciating the amazing landscape. If you feel hungry, there is a restaurant in the resort which serves delicious food, so you can anytime fuel yourself. Even if you are a photography enthusiast, you will not be disappointed...

Next week I am planning again for a hang out at Damdama Lake. You too join soon...coz at the end, we repent for things not done and places did not visited...




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Green Airs of Luxembourg


Humans have been fascinated by flying since long. Why they should not be? It is fast and comfortable too. But somehow I find travelling by Plane at times very boring. You can not see anything outside the window, except the clouds.






Got tired of finding some meaning the clouds; as my plan was about to land in Luxembourg I could not stop myself from clicking the below panoramas. I thought this was the consolation:

On coming out of the Airport I was greeted with not so crowded roads and green belt surrounding the roads. That was miles away from my expectations, Being a cosmopolitan and one of the biggest financial centers on this earth I was expecting a welcome to a concrete jungle and crowded roads. Pretty exciting to start.
I am very sure by the time you will finish reading this blog, you will fall in love with this place; the way I did by the time I finished composing it.

Luxembourg has a population of 450,000 which becomes 650,000 in the morning and comes back to 450,00 at the evening. Strange..No no..its very simple people from neighboring countries of Belgium, Germany, France, Portugal drive in daily to attend their workplaces and also to refuel their vehicles; thanks to a low taxation rate on fuel in Luxembourg. Do not get too greedy, if you will refuel daily, customs might catch you. "Depending on the time of visit, Luxembourg gives an impression of a BIG CITY or a SMALL TOWN."

Luxembourg is also the headquarters of Arcelor Mittal, biggest steel making company on this earth. While going around the city I kept on looking for the industries, but what I got instead were the captivating "WINE FARMS" in the Moselle valley.
No doubts the wines of this place are so charming that no one can stop praising about them. 
Culture of wine growing is in the Luxembourg for a thousand years and goes back to Roman times. Moselle valley stretches 42 km. from Schengen in the south to Wasserbillig in the north.

Luxembourg is a small country with a stretch of 82km. x 55 km. It has a police force of 1,300 and military of 500. There are a number of hotels and numerous tour operators which provide customized tour itinerary for Luxembourg. If you plan to visit this place, either you can contact tour operator or arrange your self by searching "Luxembourg" on www.google.com and booking hotels online. As we were talking on the demographics, we have reached the Schengen border, here Luxembourg shares borders with Germany and France.

There were no check-posts and heavily armed soldiers, but a very beautiful river separating Luxembourg from Germany.
Houses visible on the other side of the river are in Germany.
Germany is on the on the left side of the bridge and on my back side is France.

France is on the other side of the barrage; from where you can see the down coming water 

That's the beauty of European Union that one can drive into the other member nations on the VISA of any of the member nations without any formalities and questioning at the check-posts. How come the borders be so beautiful. Other nations need to learn a lot, Is it so difficult to co-exist peacefully...?

Orderly traffic, imposing architecture makes a visual delight for anyone:





Other day I had to travel to Germany. While I was sitting cozily inside a bus, the drive was no less than a fairy-tale ride with a meandering river, lush green valleys and highlands on both sides of the highway. My binocular which I always keep with me had doubled the joy. At times clicking the scenes was looking dull.
My car would have clocked 200 Kmph  on this road, but I missed the fun of driving at this very sexy road
Its hard to describe in words as I am running out of vocabulary to explain this lovely land.

While returning back we took a break for lunch at a German restaurant.  Apart from the delicious food, we had a lot of fun filled moments.

There was much more outside the restaurant, a parking bay for the boats/ yachts:

And there was a huge grassland waiting to welcome us for a heavenly walk:

It was a lovely drive, back to Luxembourg. Meandering river gambling through the forests offers a multitude of outstanding panoramas; nature is queen in Luxembourg.

No matter how busy we are or how congested our schedule is, we can still take out some time for shopping. Evening was reserved for shopping. Enjoy the fantastic supermarkets for best deals:
Do not miss out on great deal on wines, olive oils, enless variety of cheese and...Chocolates
Here markets close pretty early, but the supermarkets operate till late. Plan accordingly.

There is so much greenery here that many of cities will get jealous. It was hard to believe, but this was the actual view from my hotel's window. Hotel was not situated in a forest:

After cherishing the Luxembourg hospitality, it was the time to return. Every place is different and so are their cultures,  seeking to new places is not only a physical experience it is also a spiritual journey. After all the road is a metaphor for life and we experience so many things in the walk of life. Unless there is some take back from your journey, you might have missed the essence of that place. What inspired me the most the mantra of Luxembourg people:
"We want to remain what we are". Looks simple but has far reaching meaning. 

Time was less this time, but as Mr. Rocky Balboa says - "There is always a second round". Next time lots of time for enjoying mountains, rivers and water sports. 

Since there is no direct flight to Luxembourg, a stopover at Vienna was there for me while returning. 
Got some delicious breads out of a large range available at the Airport shop. Vienna airport has a big shopping arcade and a number of eateries.






Till the next trip; I pray to the GOD that I keep on getting a lot more chances to see and explore this beautiful world. 



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