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Showing posts with label Uttarakhand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uttarakhand. Show all posts

Dandeshwar Temple, Jageshwar Dham - Almora

Dandeshwar temple is where Lord Shiva stays with a staff and protects the region. Dandeshwar Shiv temple complex (दंडेश्वर मंदिर समूह) is situated slightly upstream, 1.9 km. from the Jageshwar temple complex and can be easily reached on foot from Jageshwar Dham. Jageshwar is a small pilgrimage town in Almora district, Uttarakhand. Lord Shiva resides in Jageshwar in form of Jyotirlinga, so Jageshwar is also popularly called as “Jageshwar Dham”, residence of Lord Shiva.


Temples at Jageshwar Dham are considered to be dated back to 9th - 13th Century and are being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Out of all the temples in the Jageshwar Dham, Dandeshwar Temple is the biggest temple structure. Dandeshwar temple complex is being restored by ASI, and the condition of the temples has been improving gradually.


Last day of our stay at Jageshwar was solely dedicated to explore numerous nearby temples to Jageshwar main temples complex. After Vridh Jageshwar temple and Jhanker Sam temple, we started on a cosy walk alongside the flowing water stream to enjoy the Dandeshwar temple. Occasionally we were also enjoying going down to the river bed. Word Dandeshwar is formed by coupling of Dand "Staff" and Eshwar "The God". In line with the meaning of staff; the Dandeshwar temple is so tall that you may risk a camp in your neck. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides in this temple with a staff and keep a guard over this region.

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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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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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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 treatises 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 sacred 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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Rejuvenate in JAYALGARH

Far from the Madding Crowd... when you feel to break all shackles and merge yourself into Mother Nature, come to "Jayalgarh"
"Are you not enthralled with the pics, if YES just wait. These are just on way to Jayalgarh". What's waiting for you is the gushing Alaknanda, innumerable treks, trails and rock formations in the nearby mountains. Jayalgarh is approximately 90 kms from Rishikesh near Devprayag. Pitched up on the bank of the gushing River Alaknanda, this would be a wonderful retreat for the entire family, a group of friends or just for you.

This is a story of 2 friends (Gaurav and Gaurav), their friendship, their adventures. In the summers of 2006, they boarded a late night bus from Delhi to Rishikesh. It took them around 6 hours to Rishikesh. Another 1.5 hrs. from Rishikesh and they were in jayalgarh at early morning 7 AM. They missed out several ATM's in the way in hope of finding the most coveted ATM in Rishikesh, which was non-existing.


Rest of the story from them directly, Day 1:
Mighty Alaknanda and the Himalayan ranges were there to receive us. De-boarding the bus, the first things we noticed were the camps alongside the river. In no time we were there, inquiring about a possible accommodation for both of us. What we get to know was "The camps have been booked by a company ALSTOM, our last company and they were to arrive any moment". Next momemt we were running out of the camps "Paaji sir pe pair rakh ke bhaag lo". At the same time both of the minds were busy in devising ways to surprise encounters with Alstom.

We got a resort just above those camps. After our breakfast, with our binoculars, cameras and preparation we were ready for trekking on naked mountains and testing the strong currents of Alaknanda. Next 2-3 hours were the time of our lives, as we totally drenched ourselves to the rigors of trekking with bare hands and no equipment at all. What a time it was?  With our souls we finally conquered the mountain and halted only after reaching the top of the cliff. 

After this adventure, we thanked to GOD in a temple on the clif. Also chatted with local children, the joy we missed staying in cities. Now we felt to replenish our energies. After the lunch in our resort, the moment we sat down to rest, we fall unconscious for next 3-4 hours.



On getting up in evening, filled with adrenaline we started to explore further and left for SRINAGAR (this one not the one in J&K) for another temple visit. In the way we made sure to arrange spirits to keep us in good spirits. While coming back, we managed to give Alstom a sight of things to come (You know Gaurav, what I mean).
"Travellers never think themselves of being foreigners" was our mantra.
The road we chose to wait for a bus to take us back to jayalgarh was worth every minute even it had started to dawn and finally one localite offered us the lift to our resort. After the dinner, we again set out for night walk on totally dark roads, only light was from our mobiles.
DAY 2:
It was morning again in no time. A person from resort came to woke us up saying, a nearby river rafting camp wants to meet us, if we are interested for rafting. I couldn't believe my ears when he told we have few seats vaccant in our boats.....rest others were filled by ALSTOM, ha ha ha we sensed blood and it was the time to go for a kill. What a news it was and we both started waiting for the moment...
Our previous bosses, the reaction seems they wanted our blood. But we were the merrier ones interacting with our old friends. We shared the same bus and again came to Srinagar to start our rafting. We saw lion hearts crying like babies a midst of river. Even some were so horrified they needed water to regain the senses, when there was water everywhere. Water going down in a gush, raft overturning, screams we witnessed/ enjoyed all. But the most we had a duel with the river Alaknanda, check out the brave soldier in me.

All good things have to end, so was with our exploits on reaching Jayalgarh. But we still looking around to have some more moments, we picked up a Kayak to try our hand at that also. We also tried our hand at Volleyball and when everything else got over, we decided to call it a day.


We started in evening, enjoying the TEA and snacks at roadside dhabas. Adventure was still very much with us in our spirits. We had dinner in Rishikesh and by Sunday morning we were back in Delhi. This has been our close to heart memories, we will talk of it rest through out our lives.
We will keep coming to Rishikesh...At this time we have come much ahead in our personal and professional lives. 



As said by Al Pacino in movie Scent of Woman: "Some people live a lifetime in a minute" We lived a lot more than in those 2 days...But we both realize that a trip again to this place is due, lets hope when it materializes...
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Escape to Lansdowne...

Work pressures are sucking me, I cannot breath, city is so congested, traffic situation is so pathetic, I cannot take time for myself… Hey dude chill, give me a break…no no no dude you have to take a break from your mundane profile. And there is no other way than travelling out somewhere to Relax, Rejuvenate and Reclaim your inner self. But…But. But…where, how and when are a few hurdles which prevent us from coming out of the vicious circles of our lives.


Exquisite planning and strategy is not at all required to travel but yes, a heart full of passion and enthusiasm. "Where there is a will, there is a way". One extended weekend was more than enough to arouse the vagabond inside me. Selecting Lansdowne, that was the only planning I had to do.  Start early from Delhi in order to escape the chaotic traffic in Meerut. Post Meerut driving is a sheer treat, almost deserted highways gave us abundant time to appreciate the adjoining farms and stretches of cultivating lands. Trees planted along the roadside makes the journey more comfortable.


Bijnor and Najibabad will pass in a flash and in no time, you will be in Elephant park, which is situated at the outskirts of Kotdwar. Park was too tempting to take a break and step out of the car, but "Resist the Temptation". The moment if you look around you will find a skyline dominated by the hills. That is something seriously very hard to resist. Guys keep on moving, but take due care in driving as splendid landscapes appearing on either side are worth taking away your concentration, which you cannot afford at all while driving on the hills.

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Romancing the Wilds "JIM Corbett"

How many times we long for cool breezes, a walk in the woods, sitting alongside a river, hearing birds' chirping  and watching animals in their natural self and finally adoring the blue skies and counting stars at night...

To be honest we all crave for such delicacies of lives. What a life it will be if I get a chance to say at such a place. However our cities have become a concrete jungle, where even getting fresh air is a luxury. In the race to achievement we become so occupied that we miss out the charming aspects of the life.

A well know saying - "No matter how much you are busy, one can still take out a few minutes for a BEER with Friends". Same way -
"No matter how much we are occupied with our hectic schedules, we should try for taking out a few days out of our busy lives to spend some time in the arms of Mother Nature". 

But the multi million question - Where to find such a place to spend the weekend and rejuvenate ourselves. Since I stay in Delhi, my choice for such a place is obviously around Delhi only. One such places is Jim Corbett National Park. Situated at a distance of 290 Km. from Delhi, Jim Corbett is an ideal resort to unleash yourself in the arms of mother nature.
Isn't it enticing...
A picture is worth 100 words. However this is just a trailer, in reality the place is much more spectacular than what it looks in the pics. No camera can capture the grandeur of this place. That's why wise people say - "Seeing is Believing". 

The beauty of Corbett National Park draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. It did not left me untouched even, to soak myself in cool breezes and rain soaked mountains, I started on 16th September, 530 AM from Delhi. Within in 40 minutes I was on NH 24 and moving towards Corbett. The route is easy and even first timers can drive without any hassles. In between you will come across Garh Mukteshwar, where if you wish can have a bath in river Ganges. Roads are in fairly good condition, except for a few small hitches. 

There is also a drive through MacD to take care of your taste buds (around 45 km. before Moradabad). Drive straight till Moradabad bypass, turn left after crossing Moradabad bypass (Landmark - 2 toll collection points within 2-3 Km.) and you are 90 Kms. away from Jim Corbett Park. 

Thakurdwara - Kashipur - Ramnagar and 10km. further you are in the Corbett Reserve Area. You will notice river Kosi, Himalayas and a number of resorts/ hotels on your right hand side.

By 1:30 PM, we were inside the resort. If this was the indication for the things to come, the "Club Mahindra" resort was as beautiful as anything.
 A swimming pool and a well equipped Gym was like icing on the cake. I was imagining the extent of enjoyment I will be having for the next 2 days.

Also I got the rare chance to stand on the riverside, watch the mountains out of the balcony and see the falling rains. What more you need for a weekend trip...? The resort is strictly for families.




Day 1: Hopping around

After taking the breath and our lunch, we started looking out for nearby spots. Hardly 100 m. from our resort, we were in for a surprise in form of a signboard in right hand side, pointing towards a Lord Shiva Temple. Without a second thought our feet started following the direction.

In store for us was an out of the world trekking adventure. We were going up the stoned way, which used to get constricted  too much and at places it we had to cross the falling waters. It was like a walk in the woods at places and at some places we used to use our hands to move ahead. Well, Manual trekking is indeed enthralling.



If this was good enough, you have to reconsider your thoughts. The small but graceful temple of Lord Shiva was a sheer pleasure to eyes. This was a very ancient temple, dating back to the days of Pandavas. A sight of antique statues, was enough to captivate you. After performing the rituals and thanking god for providing us with such an opportunity, we started back to our resort.






By the time we returned back, it was all dark. Since the swimming pool had closed by then, we decided to hit the Gym. After sweating out for an hour we went back to our apartment. By then our stomachs had started craving for food, food food....Dining under the skies was our moment which we will cherish for rest of our lives. Thanks to Club Mahindra for the memories

Day 2: Visit to Girija Devi Temple. 4 Km. from our resort was the Temple of Girija Devi. 

What a morning it was "We got up to the pouring rains". Quickly served delicious breakfast at the resort ensured that we can go out for adventures at the earliest. Also resort has number of activities to indulge, if you prefer to stay indoors. As soon as our batteries were charged to the full, we were sketching the our route for further exploration in the Corbett Park.

The best way to explore the place is by foot. We too started our quest, on feet to see the magnificent sights. The road was too captivating and the scenic grandeur was beyond comparison. Check out yourself:
Amazing Natural beauty at this place


One could have come by car, but the thrill of crossing the roads when water is rushing down will be certainly missed. Embracing chilling waters with bare feet...Vow... who need shoes...
 
Crossing several turns, bridges and trekking from the forests, meandering the wilds for 4 km. we were at the Girija Devi temple. The history of this temple goes back to the days of Mahabharata.







If the history is not enough tempting, it is situated on a hilltop, surrounded by river Kosi amidst gorgeous mountains on three sides.


Walking over the bridge to cross Kosi river to reach the temple presents you with a panorama par excellence. It is easy to get carried away, but please keep our concentration intact. I would not give too much efforts in describing in words the Magnificence of this pace. Check out for yourself:



Feeling the chilled waters of river Kosi bestow you with a heavenly experience. However I was unable to enjoy it for long as the temple personnel asked me to come out as the river was flooded at that time. Well big things come in small packages.

I failed to notice that it had started to rain. What can be more amazing than having the snacks in a make shift dhaba (hotel). Chowmein and Tea never ever had or will taste better.

I might have returned back without shopping, but with my wife alongside me, I had to loosen my purse strings for some souvenirs. I am still working on the Rubik Cube puzzle, I purchased from there.

While returning, it had started to rain, this time in tandems. So evenings were reserved for the Gym for the second time in second day. Food looked tastier after sweating out for an hour or so.

Day 3Return Journey

All good things have to end, so was it. Since it was raining heavily for the last 2 days, we decided to start early on Saturday.
I was thinking that it was too early to end our tryst with adventures. Looks like GOD was listening as I got a chance to drive through such falling waters. We were fortunate as NH-24 got closed for traffic the following day.  


"To summarize I would like to thank the weather GODS for making this visit a truly memorable one." So what are thinking guys pack your bags and VROOM...to Jim Corbett.
"Jim Corbett park is one of the favorite tourist spots of people from all over India and people from across the world. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas Corbett National Park is the Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is famous for its wild population of Tigers, Leopards and Elephants. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park.
This 201 square mile park was renamed in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who spent most of his years in this area and contributed in setting up the this park. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and this park was one of the first such tiger reserves in the country."
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Back to Rishikesh...

There is something about "Rishikesh, the DEVBHOOMI, Land of God" which keeps on calling the visitors again and again. Land is bestowed with eternal charm: "Spiritualism" coupled with unparalleled Natural splendour leaves visitors spellbound.


Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the world capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it.

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