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Showing posts with label Road Trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Road Trip. Show all posts

Triveni Dham, Shahpura

Whenever I used to drive to Jaipur from Delhi via NH48, I always used to thank government for the Smooth Ride. It was going on like this for ages, till one day I decided to explore what it is on right and left turns of this legendary highway. 

At one instant while driving from Delhi to Jaipur, one left turn had taken me to Bhangarh and ancient Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir. So, to explore what is there on the right side of NH48, I started Zooming-In the Google maps before Jaipur and I found one spot called “Triveni Dham”, approx. 12-13 km. from Shahpura.

It was the time to put to practice what I always tell - “Taking a couple of breaks to appreciate the beauty of the roads and surrounding spots will not delay your journey but will surely add the Magic to your spirits”. So, within half an hour from taking a right turn I was at Triveni Dham and in front of me was a grand temple premises at the bottom of a hill.

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Sahastrabahu Temple/ Saas bahu Temple

Temple which was originally called as Sahastrabahu Temple, is now popularly known as Saas bahu temple. How come?

In the ancient times, there was a king, King Mahipala whose wife was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. So, this temple was built by King Mahipala in the year 1092 depicting Lord Vishnu with thousand arms, Sahastrabahu. Hence the temple, an architectural marvel was originally called as Sahastrabahu temple. Located at eastern part of Gwalior Fort, the first look appearance of the temple is simply mind blowing. 

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Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior

When was the last time you drove for 6-7 hours since early morning, just to visit that splendid spot? 

When you are in the country known India, there are many such spots which are destinations in themselves. Even a whole day travel is worth to just spend 30-40 minutes at the spot. Ancient Teli-Ka Mandir in Gwalior is one such spot. Colossal size, splendid architecture, intricate carvings of Gods and Goddesses and image of Garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu make this temple a complete destination.

More than 100 ft. in height, the temple is a unique blend of different Indian architectural styles. It is the tallest structure in the Gwalior Fort. Check out the different styles of lower half and the upper dome.
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Alwar - Unseen Getaway

State where once Rolls Royce’s were deployed to collect garbage, could not have been an ordinary place. Legend of Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar is well known, how he bought Rolls Royce company to its knees. Apart from the legend of Maharaja jai Singh Alwar is acclaimed worldwide for its famous dessert Kalakand (Milk-Cake). 

Located midway between Delhi and Jaipur, Alwar is one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan, with history going back to the time when Viratnagar used to be flourishing center. Viratnagar, the same Matsya Desh dating back to the times of Mahabharata, where Pandavas spent last year of the 13 years of exile. Despite located close to Delhi, Alwar somehow gets missed out from the itinerary as crowds prefer opulence of Jaipur or probably information about unseen spots in Alwar is rather limited.

Alwar City has several spots, which make it a worthy weekend getaway destination. Though Alwar is a dry region, but has a celestial Siliserh lake, which shall be the first spot in the Alwar itinerary. The Siliserh Lake is a big man-made lake, constructed by Vinay Singh in year 1845 AD and was supposed to provide the water supply reserves for Alwar state.
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Amazing Roads, Road trips in India

When I finally reached my destination, I realized that I was too tired. So, I had to sit back for the sake of recharging myself before I could have thought of exploring the destination.

 

While I was sitting and recalling the drive to the spot, a thought flashed to my mind – “Was this the RIDE, I should be PROUD of, or I will CHERISH FOREVER”. Probably not.

 

Perhaps in my excitement quest to reach the destination ASAP, I drove too fast and pushed myself to the limits. I forgot that “LIFE is a JOURNEY, not a DESTINATION”.

 

Essence of Life lies in enjoying the moments and Essence of TRAVEL lies in ENJOYING the Roads as well. This resonates with practically most of us, especially while driving. Being myself an avid Roadtripper, trust me “Taking a couple of breaks to appreciate the beauty of the roads and surrounding natural landscapes will not delay your journey, but will surely add the Magic to your spirit”.

 

For most of my trips till date I have been driving myself. Bringing you the collected and selected Roads from offbeat and hidden spots, for those who understands that “Journey is the destination itself”.

1) Road to Naddi Village, 3 km. from Mcleod Ganj - 

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Temples of Dwarahat

Dwarahat in local language means “Way to Heaven”. You will have no doubt on it, once you reach here. Nestled amidst hills of Kumaon, this ravishing town of Dwarahat boasts of ancient holy temples built by the Katyuri Kings. Temples of Dwarahat are the main attraction here.

It took us around 75 minutes of driving from Ranikhet to reach Dwarahat. Temples are spread all around this town, so asking the locales about which temple to see first was a good idea. Mrityunjay Temple and Badrinath group of temples is on the main road. However we were guided by locales to see the Ratan Dev, Kachahari group and Golu Devta temple at first.

A small walk from the main road took us to Ratan Dev group of Temples. 


There are 6 temples present at this site, 2 temples can be seen in broken state and one more temple must have existed to make 3 temples opposite to 3 temples of right hand side to take the total to 9 original temples. There are a few broken pieces of the temples lying around in the premises define the grandeur of the past times.

Timeline of construction these temples goes back to around 11th century and stark resemblance with Jageshwar temples further reinforces the timeline.

Now this was the way ahead in front of us for 10 minutes’ walk to Golu Devta Temple. Perfect harmony with the hills -

Golu Devta is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, in form of Gaur Bhairav and is one of most worshipped God in the hills. Being the highest point in vicinity, enjoy 360 deg. view of the nearby areas.  

Few minutes’ walk from Golu Devta took us to Kachari/ Kachahari group of temples. Kachari group of temples has 12 temples. 9 temples are at one site and 3 temples are located opposite and at elevated platform. 

Check out the stark symmetry of the Kachari Temples. Temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. Presence of a well inside the premises ascertain this fact as water inside the temple premises is used for offerings to the Gods. Design is quite similar to Ratan Dev group of temples. Temple has been well taken care of the government and the locales as well. Kids will enjoy every minute spend here.

Getting down from the Kachari group of Temples, we came to Badrinath group of Temples. Out of 3 temples in the premises, main temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to 11th Century.

Out of other 2 smaller temples, one is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and other one dedicated to Banasur has no deity.
 
Last and the final stop was the most prominent, most sacred temple in Dwarahat, Mrityunjay Temple. Meaning of Mrityunjay is Vanquisher of Death and so temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Temple has been constructed in Nagara style of architecture and consists of Garbhgriha, Antarala and a huge Mandapa. There is also a small temple dedicated to Bhairava, however which is not in very good condition. Timeline of this temple goes back to 11th century.

Now the drive from Ranikhet –

Follow the road signs and confirm with the locales because at times network is not there to support google maps and you will come across more than one turn going in similar direction. Do not take chance, ask the locales.

Road is in fairly good condition and in the way you will come across splendid natural settings to reinforce the fact that Nature is the best artist. Just before Dwarahat we stopped at this temple decorating the skyline of nearby hills.


From this spot we anticipated little that the place is indeed Gate to Heaven. Keep exploring Guys...
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Mandore Gardens, Jodhpur

- Time has stood still since 1459 CE in Mandore -
A suburb of Jodhpur, 5 km. from Jodhpur is the small town of Mandore which was once a seat of power of prominent Rathore clan Rajputs. Not only Rathore Rajputs, Mandore had been the capital city of many Rajput kings and has played a major role in safeguarding Northern India from the attacks of western invaders and Muslim kings from Gujarat. During 6th century, a princess of Pratiharas dynasty was married into Rathore dynasty and Mandore was the Wedding Gift to the Rathore prince.

Around 1450, the capital seat was shifted to Mehrangarh Fort in order to protect the city and the residents from further attacks and invasions. However Mandore Gardens still stand high in pride to tell the glorious tales of the bygone eras seen by the Mandore. Though Mandore lost the prominence in 1459 CE as the capital seat shifted to Mehrangarh, but word abandoned cannot be used with the town. Mandore gardens have been well preserved to let visitors visualize/ imagine the glorious past of this ancient town.

Ancient temples, Cenotaphs of erstwhile Jodhpur rulers and an ancient tunnel makes an enriching trip to Mandore Gardens. Brilliant temples carved out of Sandstone are the first to get attention. 

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Jatoli Shiv Temple, Solan

Solan is a small town in Himachal Pradesh, but has one of the oldest breweries in India, is popular as “Mushroom city of India” and is also known as “City of Red Gold”. First 2 are self explanatory, well the "Red Gold" is for the tomatoes production, almost highest in the country.
Solan once a cantonment settlement, is one of the secrets of Himachal to be explored with some beautiful temples and scenic landscapes. Not just temples, Solan is home to tallest Lord Shiva temple in Asia, Jatoli Shiv Temple.

On way to Shimla from Kasauli, via Solan take a right turn on Rajgarh Road and drive for 8 km. to reach the scenic hilltop grand temple. Jatoli Shiv Temple is one of the sacred destinations in Solan, which attracts devotees from all over the country. Jatoli Shiv temple is the tallest temple of Lord Shiva in Asia and is also one of the very ancient temples. It is believed that Lord Shiva had visited this place and stayed for some time and reason behind the 112 ft. height of this temple is the Jatas (Hairs) of Lord Shiva.
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The Lepakshi Temple - Poetry on Stones

At times when airlines inform you well in advance about your flight getting late, but you might have already started moving towards airport, what will you do in such a situation?
You have 2 options; interesting one is to continue to airport, enjoy food and drinks at airport lounges, have a jolly good time and relax. And boring option will be to start searching for any on the way attraction and wear out yourself. It happened to me when, I was already on way to Bangalore from Vijaynagar. To decide, I opted for the boring option to explore Lepakshi, a small village in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh which was 15 km from the highway.

After accounting remaining travel time, I had precisely 2.5 hours to spend at Lepakshi. Lepakshi as pronounced locally is the place where king of bird “Jatayu (जटायु)” left this mortal world, in arms of lord Ram. There after Lord Ram requested heaven to accept Jatayu by saying "Le-Pakshi" (take the bird) and that is how, we now know the place as Lepakshi.
This small village is house to one of the most amazing architectural wonder in India, perhaps in the world, the Veerbhadra Temple with hanging pillar. I knew that I was about to step into a wonderland, the moment I took the first step inside the sacred premises. 

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VarahNarsimha Simhachalam Temple

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Situated near to Vizag (around 18 Km.) on a hill top, Simhachalam temple, known as "Simhachalam Devasthanam" is believed to be as the oldest temples in the world. The word Simhachalam means the hill of the lion and this temple is a true portrait of rich heritage of Vizag.

Bhakt Prahlad needs no introduction and probably is the most told story to every kid in our country. This is the hill where Lord Vishnu had appeared to save Prahlada who was dropped from top of the hill, by the demon Hiranyakshipu into  the sea. Later on after demon Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narsimha, Prahlad had built the first temple at this site. Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Lord VarahaNarasimha (वराह नरसिंह ) here.

The present structure of temple was constructed by King Sri Krishna Devaraya. However a few scripts found here dates to 9th century, Chola Empire and 13th century AD as well.

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Mystery of Lakhamandal Temple

It was a delightful misty morning that started with music of birds chirping, which soon turned into a wonder morning with lakeside breakfast.
With whole day at our disposal and only 100 km. between us and Lakhamandal, there was no hesitation in taking the seats in our vehicle. Soon misty hills began to disappear as we started driving our car to reach out for the mysterious Lakhamandal temple. With connection going back to the times of Mahabharata, Lakhamandal temple is picturesque and fascinating at same time. Little we knew that we are about to visit a temple so sacred/ miraculous that even dead people come back to life for a while.
Enjoying one spot after another, we continued towards Lakhamandal. Road is in reasonably good condition, however is narrow at some stretched due to ongoing widening work. 
Lakhamandal temple is located on Yamunotri road in Jaunsar-Bawar district. With a couple of pit stops, it took us approx. 4 hours to reach the temple. 100m. walk from the parking, we were at the temple premises. 
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Asan Barrage - Waterfront stay with Nature

Along the scenic confluence of the river Asan and Asan Barrage, there stands a resort that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. The journey to get here includes a drive amid the scenic hills, incredible valleys and dense forests setting a perfect stage to disconnect from the fast lane and reset your soul at this secluded spot.

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) started this "Asan Conservation Resort" in 2016 and provided four beautiful waterfront cottage suites for wonderful lifetime memories. It also offers 18 dormitories at the back side of the resort.

As the resort is located alongside a lake created out of the Barrage, there is a facility where guests can paddleboard good looking boats and enjoy lovely evenings. 

The resort is accessible throughout the year and is a much sought-out destination for bird watching in the months of January-March.

About the Resort:
Budget: 
Waterfront Cottages (SUDLX) ~ Rs. 2800
Dormitories ~ Rs. 350

Please check GMVN website for prevailing prices.

The Accommodation: Cottages consist of two rooms, one each on ground floor and first floor, connected by a spiral staircase. One cottage can comfortably accommodate a small family of three to four and is ideal for those coming in a small group for picnic.

The View
The cottages are sitting pretty along the shore of the lake, the guests taking full advantage of the beautiful natural setting. To check-in, they need to follow a lovely landscaped path, picnic tables and chairs perfect for quiet mornings with or a more jovial gathering in the evening. 

After the necessary formalities and before you head to your room, please take the front desk number for ordering tea, coffee, lunch, snacks and dinner.
The cottage has a convertible sofa-cum-bed on the ground floor which is like a living area with television. There is a spiral staircase connecting the first floor. 

The first floor and is equipped with a bed, tea table for two, slanted V shape ceiling, and balcony on both sides.

The Ambience
The property, which is off the popular tracks from Dehradun, is all about putting brakes to the rat race of a life and giving yourself a much-needed break. With flowered lawns to walk around or laze about on a sunny day, summers here are as enjoyable as winters. 
For kids, these lawns are like an extended play area.
Enjoying your food alongside lake will be one of the best memories to cherish:

 As will be standing in the balcony in the misty morning.

You will Love It –
Couples looking for a romantic escape and families trying to find a place for a calm vacation will love this property. Those who love to walk around in the gardens and dine alongside the lake in open air will come back here again and again.

You might Not
If you like to be surrounded with fancy restaurants, shops, late night activities and a lot of sightseeing options, better stay at Dehradun. 

Amenities:
Exploring the tranquil water of the lake on paddleboats with hills surrounding it.

Booking amount includes Parking and Breakfast only. Consumables are charged as per the prevailing menu, which is present in every room. Meals choices have to be informed well in advance as the feedstock need to be arranged by evening.

How to reach:
Dehradum is the nearest Airport and Railway Station, 50 km. from Asan barrage.
By Road: 270 Km. from Delhi.

You will love driving to these nearby Attractions (distance mentioned from Asan Barrage):
  1. Ashokan Rock Edict, Kalsi – 20 km.
  2. Lakhamandal – 100 Km.
  3. Renuka Lake – 51 km. (and on way - Poanta Sahib Guridwara, 8 km. and Citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan, 24 km.)
  4. Dehradun
  5. Mussourie – 70 km.
  6. Chakrata – 65 km.
To Summarize:
If you love to connect with nature along with relaxation and that too in lake front accommodations, the resort is the perfect place. Also you may carry your e-books to enjoy reading from this waterfront wonder.

Keep Travelling Guys.
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G for Gokarna

Thankfully we were able to get food last night on our arrival from Udupi. However breakfast of fresh and well prepared Idli, sambhar and chutney convinced my big heart to forgive the hotel for last night shocker. Now we had a full day reserved for this small town of Gokarna known for its beaches and temples. Gokarna meaning cow’s ear is a sacred pilgrimage town noted for Mahabaleshwar Shiva temple. But we were there for some offbeat experiences as well.
With pristine beaches and acclaimed temples, Gokarna is quickly coming as an alternate to Goa for beach lovers and those seeking salvation or relaxation. One can hire a bike/ scooter to go around Gokarna. (But please check the condition of vehicle, as rental agencies do not focus on servicing and the rented vehicle may end up spoiling your plans).
We opted for a scooter and started to Vibhuti waterfalls (42 km. from Gokarna). Once you have come out of Gokarna town, though the road though is good condition, but is quite deserted and only a few travelers will come your way. But in between you will get lot of spots for taking pictures as the road is blessed with amazing natural beauty.
It took us around 50 minutes to reach the entry spot, from where a 30 minutes trek was in the way to take us to the Vibhuti waterfalls. That is how I started the trek, with my kid! 
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From Udupi - Coastal Drive to Gokarna

We kept on walking around on the secluded beaches, while exploring back waters of Udupi came across hanging bridges, prayed in awesome temples and over and above blended with nature at its best; this has been our journey which started from Mangalore. 


After spending 2 days in and around Udupi, we started early morning for Gokarna and with the objective to check every spot in the way and reach Gokarna by the night. Just at outskirts of Udupi we came across a beautiful church, worth stopping and spending some time. 


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List of Best Treks in Uttarakhand that you must try

Uttarakhand often referred to as Dev Bhumi or Land of the Gods, is no less than heaven for all the nature buffs and adventure lovers out there. Uttrakhand is surely one of the most fantastic places in India, which is all covered with ethereal beauty. Situated in the foothill of Himalayan Ranges, Uttarakhand comes with an ample number of opportunities of trekking and camping, and with every new place, there’s something different and interesting present there to gain a whole new experience. Well, now summers are approaching and there could be no better excuse to take a leave from your work and make your way towards the mighty mountains. If you too wish to experience that adrenaline rush, take a look at some of the best treks in Uttarakhand and go on the trek you feel like trying out.

Bali Pass Trek
Let’s get started with the very famous trek to Yamunotri, which is situated there inside the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and allows you to take a closer look at rich flora and fauna. You need to start your trek from Sankri and continue walking along the Supin River. After this, you need to climb up slowly to the Dhatamir and Osla Village. While walking through the pathway, you’ll come across River Tons and Siyan Gad. Go on and reach Har ki Doon, a cradle shaped valley full of a large variety of flowers, mind-blowing views, and amazing wildlife. Then you need to continue to the Ruinsara Tal that passes through mesmerizing grasslands and conifer forests. Walk slowly and reach the base of Bali Pass. After you cross the path, you’ll go downhill through the pastures and open forests to the Yamunotri shrine. After this, the route will take you to Janak Chatti and Hanuman Chatti. 
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Mohan Shakti Heritage Park, Solan

If you think that mountains are all about valleys, flowing water streams and precisely located temples, well your thoughts may be going for some serious reconsideration. 

Coming from Jatoli Shiv Temple in Solan and after travelling 8 kms towards Shimla, turn right on a narrow downhill road. You have to be a very confident driver for this 7 km. of road, if driving yourself, in order to find this Khul Ja Sim Sim like Treasure of our Heritage.

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LALITGIRI - The Pilgrimage from Ancient History!

Flourished under the patronage of legendary king Ashoka, the kingdoms of Magadh and Kalinga became important centers from where Buddhism spread to the outside world. Present day areas of Bihar-Jharkhand used to be the kingdom of Magadh and parts of Odisha-Andhra Pradesh composed Kalinga kingdom. At their peak these places were often referred as most prosperous regions on the earth and were full of amazing temples and universities imparting ancient Indian knowledge. However, with passage of time dust accumulated on these sites and these places gradually faded out from the eye of common people. In fact, many got buried with layers of earth and since then have been waiting to get resurfaced in future.

With the development coming to these areas, many of these extinct places are coming to life. One of the such places I came to know during one of my visits to this part with lots and lots of things to discover was Lalitgiri. Lalitgiri is situated at a distance of 10 km. beyond the River Virupa in Cuttack district, about 90 km. from Bhubaneswar which is the capital of Odisha state. Excavations in this region have indicated towards existence of very ancient Buddhist complex. With the discovery of Lalitgiri, and stitching together the chronology of event with iconographical similarities, the timeline of Lalitgiri goes back to the 2nd century BC. Based on this, Lalitgiri can be safely considered as one of the most ancient Buddhist establishments. So, I was about to walk into one of the lost chapters in our history, with due excitement.  

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On Nainital and Mukteshwar: A Lake, Deodars and Maple Leaves - part 2 of 2

We left for Mukteshwar at around 11 AM. Somehow it got cloudy again and the roads got under thick white mist. It took a while to drive out of the town since there were many people on the road. Soon it started to drizzle and it felt good. Mukteshwar is at a height of about 7200 ft and is right in the middle of Banj Oak and Deodar forests. The forest is evergreen and mostly covered in mist. You can see that green moss and lichens have taken over the whole forest since it rains here almost every day, even in summer. 


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Shri Krauncha Giri, Kumar Swamy Temple - Chalukya Legacy

Whether you are travelling on the road or off the road, you are never far off from a wonderful Offbeat Spot. Such is the beauty of Land called India. 


The era of Vijayanagara empire has been often called as the most prosperous region ever to have happened, on this earth. Other than the majestic Hampi Kingdom, this region also has some impressive monuments which are yet to be explored. While meandering in this region came to know about a panoramic temple on Krauncha Giri (Giri means Hill in hindi language), somewhere nearby.

Search for that exclusive temple took me to the Swamimalai Forest Range, wherein lies the legendary Krauncha Giri mountain. I had no idea that I was going to walk into a legendary chapter of our Mythology. Legendary…?


Located 10 km away from Sandur in Bellary district, this mountain is the site of the famous Kumar Swamy temple (also spelled as Kumaraswamy/ Kumarswami). The Kumar
Swamy Temple complex consists of 2 temples dedicated to Lord Karthikeya and Goddess Parvati (Mother of Lord Karthikeya). Lush green mountains in the backdrop make a perfect canvas for this temple.

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