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

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Alwar

1.      One Man who brought the Rolls Royce company to its knees and
2.      One of most haunted place in the world.
What is the relation?

The man was King Jai Singh, who bought entire available fleet of Rolls Royce (6 cars) on one day in year 1920 and ordered the municipality to use the Rolls Royce cars for garbage collection at his kingdom. Those were the times when Rolls Royce were used to sweep the streets in India.

The haunted place is “Bhangarh Fort” where entry before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited by law. Still not making sense. Let’s add one more point in the list.

3.      A temple dating back to the time of Mahabharata, that is approx. 5000 years back.
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Mystical Caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar

After snaking around for most part of the day, travelling from Jageshwar in search of that coveted mysterious limestone cave temple, we were about to reach the place from where we would have got a chance to go under the earth.
14 km from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is the mysterious place known as Patal Bhuvaneshwar, (पाताल भुवनेश्वर). The meaning of “Patal” is place under the earth. Small walk of 5 minutes and we were at the entrance of this cave, which is 160 m long and 90 feet deep from the point of entrance. But we had to wait as entry to the cave is permitted only in batches along with a dedicated guide. Those suffering from high Blood Pressure and breathing problems (Asthma) are advised not to go down.


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Arabian Sands of Udupi Beaches


After the divine temple run in the first half it was the time to let our souls soak the peaceful and unspoiled ambience of the beaches around Udupi. In Udupi you can never have too much of a beach.  

15 km. from Udupi temple is one of the most serene and pristine beach which you can find in the state of Karnataka. Kaup or Kapu is a village located between Udupi and Mangaluru. Local language spoken here is Tulu and in Tulu language Udupi is known as Odipu.

As we are about to reach the Kapu village, the coast line opens up to reveal beach lines with perfect white sand in front of us from what looked as a misty distance. This is the Kaup beach, with its tropical climate is a hot favorite spot for the locales and everyone who comes to visit the Mangalore Port City. Attractions in and around Udupi promises to keep your spirits uplifted during your visit at this place.

The main attraction at the Kaup beach is the Kaup Light House which was built in the year 1901 on a 27.12m high rock.

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Jageshwar Dham - Abode of Lord Shiva...

While the Sun had already started the return journey behind the hills, however our wandering souls with high spirits were craving to reach the divine land of Jageshwar. With every passing second, our mind was painting a different caricature for Jageshwar Dham. The fresh air was getting fresher and crispier with every turn.

 

After 40 minutes of drive from the Lakhudiyar Cave paintings shelter, the joyous moment arrived when we entered in to the Jageshwar valley around 5:30 PM in the evening. Staff at KMVN guest house advised us to first attend the evening prayer; check-in formalities can be carried our afterwards.

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Wonderlands around Shimla...

The mountains, when covered with dense forests may look similar, but something is surely in the air. When it comes to driving nothing beats the romance of snaking in the hills around Shimla. Is something actually in the air of Shimla and surrounding places or it is just the unparalleled beauty of this heavenly region...?


Outskirts of Shimla are the places which separates visitors from explorers. If you ask people if they have visited Chail, Kufri, Mashobra and Naldehra; there is good chance to hear that most of the people would have ended on Kufri only. These four locations can be covered in a day if you start from Shimla before the first ray of the sunlight. Though you may also enjoy a night stay of perfect solitude at Chail or at Naldehra.


To explore these out of the world spots where blanket of Pine and Deodar trees grace the landscapes, this eternal vagabond started his early morning drive to Chail (51 km. from Shimla) to get an authentic morning mystic feel of the valleys. Till Kufri (20 Km. from Shimla) you will find many visitors. Once you will move ahead from Kufri, its only nature and yourself, enjoy the symphony of birds chirping, whistling of tree leaves and your camera clicks.

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Exploring divine Almora...Day 3 & 4

After a wonderful exploration of Almora and Pithoragarh district, Day 3 was reserved for counting the numerous temples in Jageshwar Dham and visiting nearby temples and spots.

First in the list was the Jhanker Sam temple, located 6 km. from Jageshwar. Lord Jhanker Sam is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The legend associated with this place is that Lord Shiva was meditating when lot of demons gathered to spoil his prayers. Furious Lord Shiva then opened his third eye and Lord Jhanker Sam was born out of it. He created an army of his Ganas (followers) to kill those demons. It is believed that Lord Jhanker Sam will return again to Jageshwar Dham to save humanity.

Next spot was the Vridh Jageshwar temple (Old Shiva Temple), 3km. uphill trek in the hills or 16 km. by road from Jageshwar Dham. It is older than Jageshwar temples and is considered to be an abode of Lord Shiva prior to coming down to present Jageshwar. 

As told by the locales once King Chand saw a cow milking itself on a stone while he was going for a battle. On further checking the place a ‘Shivling (holy symbol of Lord Shiva)’ was revealed. After returning victorious from the war, King Chand constructed this temple. Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also houses a status of Lord Ganesha.





Try taking road to Vridh Jageshwar to cherish the vibrant natural beauty of the place.

Being situated on the topmost point in the Jageshwar valleys, the spot offers fascinating views of the nearby hills. If there are no clouds the snow-capped Nanda Devi peaks are clearly visible from this point.

Heavenly peace and beautiful landscapes; pilgrimage as well as adventures…Amazing Almora. Trekking enthusiasts can take a trek back to Jageshwar, this is the 3 km. trek from the back of Vridh Jageshwar temple…

And the last nearby spot was the Dandeshwar temple complex, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the biggest shrine of all the 500 temples in Jageshwar. Contrary to custom the Shivling here is a natural uncut rock. Flowing water steam and adjacent hills provide a fantasy tale setting to this temple.

Read more about DandeshwarTemple…

By late afternoon we were back at Jageshwar, the evening was totally reserved for exploring the Jageshwar temples and take part in the evening worship, AARTI at the temple.

There are around 500 temples spread across the hills surrounding the Jageshwar Dham. Keep on exploring the beautiful surroundings, keep on counting the temples. This is the most beautiful complex of temples in Almora or temples in India, I have come across.

Uttarakhand is called as देवभूमि, Land of the Gods. At Jageshwar there is no doubt Gods must have stayed or still are staying at this place.  There is also a museum, 50 m. from the Jageshwar Dham, which carries an intricate treasure of beautiful statues. Do take some time to visit this, you will be astonished by the art... 
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the museum...

The Aarti finishes by 6:30 PM and thereafter the Jageshwar town goes to sleep. That finished our Day 3 as well in Jageshwar. Perfect harmony with nature at Jageshwar. Read more about Jageshwar...

Day 4: After early morning worship at the temple, we set out for return journey to Kathgodam. We had night train from Kathgodam, so we had sufficient time to cover the Katarmal Sun temple and Bhimtal.

Katarmal is 16 km. from Almora town and hidden inside cluster of hills. Visit here is all joys and curiosity how such a gigantic construction took place at this spot. Once in year, the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple and many devotees from the nearby places visit this temple. Katarmal is one of the perfect offbeat attractions in Uttarakhand.

It will take around 1.5-2 hours to cover. Read more about Katarmal…

While cruising via Almora, do try the delicate sweets of this region. Bal Mithai (बाल मिठाई) is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya (thickened/ dried milk by heating), coated with white sugar balls. Singori or Singauri is a sweet made with fresh Khoya and wrapped in maalu leaf.

In the way we came across a spot called “Frog Point”. Out of curiosity we stopped the car and went ahead on the suspension bridge to see this place. A huge rock resembling the shape of frog is lying at the river bed and most of the visiting vehicles stop at this point. Check out…

Finally, towards the end of our journey we arrived at Bhimtal. Prominent attraction here is the Bhimtal lake which is named after Bhim, the most powerful of the Pandavas. A huge lake with an island at the centre is a major attraction. One can enjoy boating in the lake, horse riding, mountain biking and hang gliding at Bhimtal.

Bhimtal is the place which connects Kathgodam to the Kumaun region and to Nepal and Tibet. It might have been the part of the famous ancient silk route. There is a big market nearby to lake and one can enjoy every cuisine in this market.
After Bhimtal, Kathgodam railway station was in sight and it was the time to cherish some amazing memories which we accumulated during 4 days of exploring undiscovered Almora and Pithoragarh districts of Kumaun region.

About Kumaun:
State of Uttarakhand consists of two regions Kumaun and Garhwal. Kumaun region is made up by districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region.
People of Kumaun are known for their bravery, valour and indomitable spirit. They carry the title of martial race and Kumaun regiment is one of the most decorated regiments in Indian army.

To reach Almora:
Nearest major centres and railway stations are Haldwani (88 km.) and Kathgodam (85 km.). Regular bus services are available from Haldwani to Almora. If you are coming by train get down at Haldwani station as most of the buses start from Haldwani.
By Train: Haldwani/ Kathgodam are connected to New Delhi with regular train services.
By Road: Almora is well connected by bus services from Delhi and other nearby cities.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 149 km. However very few flights operate for Pantnagar.

Keep travelling Guys...

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Exploring Kumaun... Almora & Pithoragarh (Day 1&2)

Almora is a hill station in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. Unlike many other hill stations in India, Almora remained unknown to British. It has been preserved and developed solely by natives of Kumaun region and as a result, it is totally devoid of usual crowds at other hill stations. Almora district offers an ideal option to those looking for solitude in the arms of mighty Himalayas. Almora is also called as land of temples and the temples are located in some of the most stunning landscapes.

To enjoy the spiritual vibes along with unspoiled beauty of the undiscovered Kumaun region, we took early morning train from Delhi and landed at Kathgodam railway station at 11:40 AM. The objective was to explore the road to Almora to Jageshwar and Patal Bhubaneshwar.

 
Our Itinerary:
Day 1: Delhi - Kathgodam - Kainchi Dham - Chitai Golu Devta Temple - Almora-Lakhudiyar-Jageshwar Dham
Day 2: Jageshwar – Pithoragarh (Gangolihat – Patal Bhubaneshwar) – Jageshwar
Day 3: Jageshwar Dham and nearby temples
Day 4: Jageshwar – Almora – Katarmal Sun Temple – Bhimtal–Kathgodam -Delhi

Outside the Kathgodam railway station there were many taxis available for Nainital, few to Jageshwar (120 km. from Kathgodam) but very less if Patal Bhubaneshwar is also included in the itinerary as well. Some negotiation and we were on the way to Jageshwar Dham. Estimated time for the drive was approx. 5 hours including halt at enroute attractions in order to attend the 6 PM “AARTI” at Jageshwar Dham. This started our Day 1.

First spot in the way is Bhimtal (21 km. from kathgodam), but we skipped to cover during return as we had to reach Jageshwar by evening.

Next spot in the way is Neem Karoli Kainchi Dham, which is 37 km. from Kathgodam and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Kainchi Dham was established in 1962 by the sage Shri Poornanand Ji of Kainchi village. Devotees can stay in the ashram and practice meditation.

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Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora

Call of the blue skies and sight of mighty mountains makes a thrilling combination for an Explorer’s heart beats. Enjoying on the mountainous snaky roads and sometimes making the way out of non-existent roads to uncover hidden spots truly justifies the explorer spirit of a vagabond.


Where the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple! This phenomenon happens once in a year and attracts thousands of devotees from the nearby places. Let’s unearth one of the perfect offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand. In the picturesque Almora district of Kumaon region is the hidden Katarmal Sun temple. Despite being one of the biggest and tallest temples in the Kumaon region, Katarmal Sun temple is relatively unknown in the tourist circles.

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Saga of Raja Ram Temple at Orchha

After exploring the Chambal ravines and an amazing pit stop at Sonagiri temples the road to Orchha was in front of us. We have driven for 15 km. from Sonagiri, when a fort along side a river came to our sight. It was the imposing 7 storied Datia Fort, also known as Bir Singh Palace. However no member of Datia royal family ever lived in this palace.


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Sonagiri, the Milky Hill...

By now we have explored almost every road in ChambalRavines, to further extend our safari beyond Gwalior we started our drive towards Orchha on road from Gwalior. While exploring the roads and asking for the directions, some locales advised us to visit the milky mountain of Sonagiri. Milky Mountain…? The name Sonagiri actually means mountain of gold. We too were surprised by this, till the locales told us that 77 beautiful temples, all in white colour is the reason behind milky Sonagiri Hill. Locales are the best guides.


Sonagiri is a place sacred to Digambar Jains. It is situated 60 km. from Gwalior and has a chain of temples of 9th - 10th century on this hill since the time from Chandraprabhu. As we were approaching towards the hill, we could clearly see an umbrella of white temples covering the hill.
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Rani Ki Baoli, Neemrana

An old saying “Importance of anything is felt in its absence”.

In absence of water, difficult to imagine life. Perhaps this is the reason why the arid state of Rajasthan has followed the tradition of preserving the precious water to the extent possible. To conserve every drop of water step wells or bawdis, also locally known as Pushkarani or Boalis wherein water gets collected at the bottom of structures have been generously built in state of Rajasthan.

One of such significant baoli is lying neglected in the Neemrana village, very close to the much visited Neemrana Fort. Neemrana has been administered by Chauhans till 1947. The erstwhile ruling family of Neemrana is considered to be the direct lineage of Great Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the most illustrious rulers of India, who holds the distinction of defeating an invading army – 17 times.

This baoli is popularly known as “Rani ki Baoli” and has been neglected for decades. It is surprising that even in Neemrana no one advises to visit this spot, however the first sight is enough to appreciate the glorious past of this monument. 
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Coimbatore, Gateway to the Bliss...

Coimbatore is 2nd largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of the major industrial centers in this state. With these statistics any hopes of good sightseeing should have been effectively dropped. However, smoke filled environment and traffic jams were not in my destiny as I came across a well-planned beautiful city.
 
During my stay here, I came to know about lot of beautiful temples in and around Coimbatore and therefore a real temple run was on the cards.

15 km. from Coimbatore and situated in lush green hilly surroundings is the Marudhamalai temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It was twilight when I reached the temple, which is actually the best time to see the hazy ambience created by the blue skies and the hills. Situated on a hilltop, temple rises like a mirage to surround over the landscapes.

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Forbidden Republic of Malana

When it is 21st century, it is very difficult to believe about places which are still lying disconnected from the mainland. Malana is such a spot which is 45 km. from much popular tourist destination of Kullu and has been lying isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. 


That much mention of such a solitary village was enough to stir the exploring soul of this vagabond. In line to my philosophy that Good travelers never plan in advance, I was on the way to Parvati Valley, situated to the north east of Kullu valley to see the sights of Malana.

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Golden City of Jaisalmer

This is a place whose skyline is crafted in Gold, has been a travellers’ delight since long. Located in the heart of scorching and arid Thar Desert the Golden Yellow colour becomes a delight to eyes much before the majestic “Jaisalmer” begins.

 

Boarding an early morning train (Delhi-Jaisalmer Express) from Blue City of Jodhpur, we comfortably arrived in “Golden City” at 11:15 AM with second half still with us to explore. The mighty and impregnable fortification of “SONAR Qila” rising like a mirage from the ground, which is also the largest living fort on this earth is the landmark and defines the skyline of this city.

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Bishnois of Jodhpur


Visit to Jodhpur has been an amazing one, but somehow internal pleasure was not there. The joy of learning new culture, meeting different people was still to be attained on this trip. It was then came to know about visiting Bishnoi region, located at edge of Thar Desert; a distance of 22 km. from Jodhpur city.

Why? What is so special about this village? Special...Special is the custom here, special is the living philosophy and above all special is the practice of preservation of trees and wild life.

This is the place, Khejarli village where 363 people sacrificed their life to preserve trees. In 1763 Mehrangarh fort was being constructed, gypsum was required in huge quantity to cement the rocks. Gypsum was prepared in those days by heating the rocks, to heat the rocks wood was the only known source. So then king of Jodhpur asked his soldiers to cut the Khejri trees which were abundant in the region around Jodhpur. As the solders reached the region to cut the trees, Bishnois obviously tried to persuade the soldiers from not cutting trees. When soldiers used force to remove Bishnois, these Bishnois simply offered themselves to be killed before cutting the trees by raising slogans of:
सिर साटै रुंख रहे तो भी सस्तो जाँण " 
सिर के बदले  भी अगर वृक्ष बच जाए तो उस बलिदान को  सस्ता ही समझना 
“Even one head chopped in saving a tree is worth and has not gone waste”
It was only when 363 bishnois were killed, the news reached the king. The king then ordered not to cut any tree from then. Picture kept at existing Guru Jambheshwar temple is self-explanatory in this regard:  

A memorial has been built as a remembrance to that act and on the place where the remains of those people who sacrificed themselves have been buried. Bishnois also do not burn the dead bodies of the gone, but bury directly in order to preserve wood, as it comes from trees only. Every year on the anniversary day of that sacrifice, people gather here in huge numbers to pay homage to ones who taught to this world the value of preservation of natural resources. 


There are around 20,000 Bishnois in this area. Bishnoi sect was started by Guru Jambeshwar in 1458 AD. Bishnoi sect is based on 29 principles (Bish – 20, Noi- 9: the name Bishnoi) which emphasize on love, peace and harmony among humans, animals and most important nature. They love fellow human beings and preserve Khejri trees (source of Kair Sangri) and worship Black Bucks. Their dedication to these principles can be seen by this: even if black bucks enter into the field of standing crop, people do not scare them or try to move the herd out of the fields. There is also a temple dedicated to guru Jambheshwar. 

In the campus there are lot of peacocks here in the temple roam around freely. Peacock is the only bird which reproduces when the female (peahen) swallows the tear of mail species. Tear come out after peacock get tired dancing in the rains/ monsoons. Till the time tear comes out, peahen calmly stands by the side of peacock.

Let’s go close to the life style of a Bishnois. They still live in traditionally house built with the cow dung and mud, no need to use fan as the interiors are very cold in the peak scorching summers too. They also have their traditionally built refrigerators out of husk, cow dung in which they keep and store food items. Food is cooked on chulhas, only the dried branches of trees, which have fallen to the ground by themselves are collected for cooking. You can see tea being prepared on a Chulha. Bishnoi Ladies are very hard working; they get up early do household work and help man in fields also. 

I got a chance to have tea made on chulha (earthen furnace). Bishnois welcome the visitors with opium tea. Though opium is banned, but bishnois have permission to cultivate for their religion and customs associated to it. Here is the apparatus for preparing opium tea. Opium is put into the long tube and tea is distilled slowly through the opium. 


Such is the harmony here that ladies can afford to roam around in forests without any fear. This is a place where animals and birds can live without fear. One can find a lot of migratory birds like Siberian cranes here in the local water bodies and Guda Lake. Local water bodies are not encroached by any means by the locales and are reserved only to serve birds and animals.

Living on the edge of desert is not easy, but Bishnois have created a wonderful self-sustained ecosystem and are not dependent on external means for their daily requirements. We in cities might not value water so much, but the importance of water preservation is exemplified by these simple people. Hats off. Khejri tree is a prominent plantation in this region. A tree which grows/ survives/ flourishes by only rainwater. No extra water is required. Sangree is obtained from this tree, which is one of the most consumed vegetables here.



While moving around on narrow but well built roads, we were often coming across freely roaming chinkaras, black bucks and other animals. Amazed by the culture, we moved ahead to see the craftsmanship of these people, check out:



  • Pottery work; beautiful toys, images of Gods/ Goddesses, piggy banks, lanterns and utensils are much sought after. Crocodile visible in the back is also hand made by potters here. Prepare one crocodile is very time consuming and generally takes 2-3 months to make one.


Block Printing: Bed sheets with a rich mix of colors is prepared by traditional methods. these bed sheet go with number of steps and then finely a beautiful bed sheet form. You are free to buy bed sheets, good thing that they will show you bed sheets as many as you want to see, but will not insist slightly even to purchase even one. 

Bishnoi family was kind enough to show us the Dari weaving facility and told us the intricacies involved in the process. This is a community co-operative where most of the community members take part in Dari weaving. It ensures livelihoods for all of the families in this village. By this time, we were very hungry and excited as it was the time to have our lunch with a bishnoi family. Menu was Bajre ki roti, kair sangree ki sabzii, Yellow Dal and Besan ki Kadhi. Every dish was yummy and much tastier than any exotic meal in any restaurant or hotel. 


For explorers there is also an option of staying with the Bishnoi family, in their houses:

The Safari time of 6 hours in villages of Guda Bishnoiyan, khejarli and kanai passed like a second. But the take back experience of this place was awesome and worth for every moment. Take one day for Bishnoi safari and continue your journey to Jaisalmer or Bikaner.

For Information: This was the place where actor Salman Khan had killed the Black Buck, the act which was condemned widely. Black bucks are worshiped here as re-incarnation of their Guru Jambheshwar. As told by locales, had the vehicle been stopped by them, matter would have been very serious, justice might have been done there itself.

These days we keep hearing about people fighting all over the world for more resources. But after coming here, I firmly believe that peaceful co-existence is not that difficult if we learn to be happy within our means. People here are happy in whatever they have, but what makes them different is the pride in their culture and legacy. At this moment, Colossal Palaces and Forts do not look so great as compared to a Bishnoi house.

Remember: Needs can be fulfilled, but GREED cannot be. There are sufficient resources for everyone on this earth. Keep exploring Guys...
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Deeg Palace - the water world

"Jal Mahal (जल महल)", Water palace is a specialised architecture marvel, wherein a structure is constructed in water. India has mastered the art of Water palaces over the centuries. Water palaces found in India are unique and unparalleled.

 

Jal Mahal in Jaipur and Udaipur are acclaimed world wide for their splendid appearance. However we bring to you one more Jal Mahal at Deeg, which is lying hidden in Bharatpur district, despite the fact that it is very close to cities of Mathura and Agra.


Popularly known as "Deeg Palace", this Jal Mahal was constructed by the powerful Jat rulers in 1722 AD. This palace is unique in construction as this is a cluster of small palaces. Situated just 32 Km. to Bharatpur, 36 Km. from Mathura this can be comfortably visited in 2 hours while visiting Mathura/ Agra.

First one to greet you is the largest palace of all, Gopal Bhawan (गोपाल  भवन ), which used to serve as the royal residence of the king. As seen from the entrance -

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Dehradun - Blended in culture of city and hills

Capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun is a small, charming city that is known for its scenic surroundings, acclaimed educational institutes, cool environment and lots of interesting attractions to explore.


Such is the location of Dehradun that one can enjoy the journey either via Haridwar/Rishikesh or via Nahan. If you are coming via Nahan then enjoy a number of spots in the way too. First one being citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan (58 km. from Nahan).


HIMCO shop on the main road sells fresh juices, squashes and pickles. Do not forget to try.
Moving 17 km. ahead it is the time to pray at Poanta Sahib Gurudwara. Poanta Sahib is a sacred town built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.

Gurudwara serves 24 hrs. langar (free kitchen) to everyone. Though it is not necessary, but if possible "Do contribute something to support this divine initiative" by the Gurudwara. Pray for a few moments here and continue the journey to Dehradun.


Another 27 km. straight drive will take you to barrage at Dakpatthar. This is slightly (5-6 km.) off the track from Dehradun. Continue straight from Herbertpur crossing, right turn will take you to Dehradun. Thanks to my special friend, I got to enjoy such a lovely point. 


Apart from the barrage, there is also a beautiful children's park here. From here Dehradun is only 40 km. ahead. Also if you have time, you may consider rock edit at Kalsi (7 km.).

Coming back from Nahan, a brief stopover at Dehradun is both wise and refreshing. Dehradun is a little town that boasts of hustle-bustle of a city with some quiet and calming corners.

First in line was Tapkeshwar Mahadev temple. The legend has it that this place was often used by the gods and saints for offering prayers to Lord Shiva. Guru Dronacharya, after many years of worship, too got the gift of the archery knowledge by Lord Shiva. The knowledge was later transferred on to Arjun, the greatest archer that ever lived and ever would live.
The huge temple premises looks like a small tour of Gods’ land. It starts with Lord Shiva’s temple, the cave where gods and saints prayed for years. It daily attracts a large number of devotees who worship numerous forms, statues or shivalings that represent Lord Shiva.

Temple premises is distributed on either sides of a small stream of clear and cool water, to reach the other side of the premises you have to cross a small water stream (do that bare foot and bid adieu to all your tiredness in a flash). There, one temple each is dedicated to Goddess Santoshi, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Vaishno Devi, which in fact is a replica of the cave in Jammu and Kashmir.


The reach to the small sanctum sanctorum of Vaishno Devi temple, through the small cave route, is both spiritualistic and thrilling. 

What catches the eye and strikes inquisitiveness in one and all is a marble stand with a small square platform and some cylindrical marble pieces on it. A close look at it tells you that it is your guide to nine planets, their properties and how they affect your life.

Next is Japanese Temple or Buddha temple for a similar soul-satisfying experience. This is an important of Dehradun and is widely acclaimed for its impressive architecture, beautiful interiors and pleasing surroundings.

One can easily spend a few hours to explore the huge premises of this temple and every minute spent there is worth it. The temple attracts large number of tourists and Buddhist followers from every corner of the world. Major attraction within the temple is 103 ft. high statue of Lord Buddha, dedicated to Dalai Lama.

The main stupa of the temple, about 220 feet in height, is built as a replica of Mindrolling monastery, Tibet. It is claimed to be the largest reliquary in Asia.

Stupa with company of adjacent structures, craft its own identity and presents a magnificent skyline to Dehradun.

 

From the towering Lord Buddha statue, giant stupa, calm praying halls to little monks showcasing some brilliant football skills, the place seems like without any worldly trouble. Watching monks play football is something which no one should afford to miss. You can also join them and hone up your football skills. Free accommodation, clothing, food, and other facilities are provided by the Buddha Temple authorities to around 500 monks who live here and study.

 

The colourful gardens, full of various types of roses, other flowers, plants and lush-green trees add to the place’s decor and peace. The shops and temple garden are open for the public seven days a week. However, the interior of the temple remains open only on Sundays.

Too much of spirituality lets now proceed to some cave exploration at the much acclaimed – Sahastradhara, around 11 km from the city of Dehradun. The earlier generation tells you tales of these mountains squirting out water streams in all their resplendence. However, the scene is not as stunning, but still too beautiful. However, the cool water, slowly trickling down the mountains around you makes your journey fulfilling.


Take a dip or just sit on the huge rocks with your feet in water or better still do some casual climbing to discover a your very own hidden pool or some historic cave. Once there, do not forget to try something from the small eateries. Pick your favourite from hot and crispy pakoras, vegetable maggi or mouth-watering aloo tikki.

And you can end your brief meeting with this small town amid its main market, bustling with energy. Just a few moments away from its new-age cafeterias, bakeries, restaurants, and shopping centres, is the old market near the clock tower. A look at that age-old clock tower and any Ruskin Bond fan would immediately identify with his many characters’ experiences and stories. It is perhaps the lanes of this market only that his famous character – Rusty – ran down with his local friends to savour local sweets and delicacies.

 

The market not only is a treasure trove for souvenirs, junk jewellery and local handicrafts, it also houses decade-old eating joints serving the flavours from across the country in authentic style.


Even if for a day or two, the time spent here would make for lifetime memories.


Way to Explore: Nahan – Dhaula Kuan (58 Km.) – Poanta Sahib (17 km.) – Dakpatthar (27 km.) – Dehradun (40 Km.)

From Dehradun one can go to Rishikesh (54 km.)/ Haridwar (53 Km.) or come back to Delhi. If you are interested in continuing the journey, head off to Mussourie (35 km.), to enjoy below panoramas:

Happy travelling Friends... 
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