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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we
This Sunday, we had been to Karjat, or rather , to a small village near Karjat , where my husband and father-in-law have been involved in Social Service activities. They go there every weekend without fail for some service activity or the other, but this was a family outing for the inauguration of a bridge that they have built. It was a small event which was to be attended by our family, a few invitees, and the local villagers. Students from the local school were the first to arrive, dressed in their best, and full of excitement. They also put up a good show, singing bhajans to the best of their ability. The villagers of course, turned out in full strength, which was expected, but the surprise was the arrival of the local politicians, most of them uninvited. It is amazing to see how well the local grapevine works, for all the politicos were there to see how someone had managed to, single handedly, and without their co-operation, built a bridge in that remote location. All of them, of c

A Proposed trip to Mangalore

Writing a travel blog is tough at times. I have written about travel experiences that were fresh in my mind, and now have nothing much to write about. Memories of older tours are faded, and I am not confident of doing justice to them at this point, and as of now,school's in full flow, and there is no chance of travelling anywhere. And yet, I cant seem to manage without writing something... So here goes.... My sister in law asked me to make a travel plan for temples around Mangalore during January, and I have done my best by researching all the places on the net. Now, I am putting my plan up online, so all of you out there who have been there , done that, can look over it and tell me if it is possible to cover all the places, the way we have planned. SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME

A Trip On Diwali -- From Shirdi to Bordi

This Diwali, my sister-in-law and her family from Chennai came to visit us. They wanted to visit Shirdi and some other holy places. There were 10 of us, five elders, over 60, who wanted to visit temples, four over 30, who wanted to go somewhere interesting and different, and my four year old son, who just wanted to get out of the house. So, we finally came to a compromise. We would start our trip visiting the temples t Shirdi and Nashik, but then we would go to the beach at Bordi. Diwali is celebrated early in the morning by us, South-Indians, so after lunch we were ready to leave. We first went to Shani Shingnapur to pay our respects to the planet Saturn, hoping that He would be considerate towards us. Thank God the temple is open all day and night long, for we reached there around 11:00PM due to some miscalculation in the journey time. Then we went to Shirdi, and after a short rest, went to the temple early in the morning for the Kakad Aarti at the temple, to bow before our Gu

Jaisalmer-Of Camels and Sand Dunes

A Camel Safari Sand and water have much in common.....One always associates the sea with the seaside, that is, the beaches. When we had been to Bordi, we were amazed to see only sand as far as eyes could see. It was low tide then, and the water was far far away. Yet, one also associates sand to deserts. For there also, there is sand as far as eyes can see. Truly, Sand and the Sea have much in common. From where one stands, one can see only the same view, stretching, maybe to the end of the world. As we stood on the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, surrounded by sand on all sides, we felt really small... It was so easy to get lost in the never-ending desert...if it wasn't for the guide with us..It was scary, but so beautiful...nature at her rawest... One admires the people who live there. It is probably only because they have been born there, and have it in their blood that they can survive there. It is so easy for an outsider to succumb to the vagaries of nature in that land....un

Jodhpur- A Journey into the Past

The first thing that strikes you when you come out of the railway station at Jodhpur , is the aura of bygone days the place still manges to have, Of course, the old havelis have given way to modern buildings, but the city eludes modernization. In fact, this seems to be quite common in Rajasthan , which has more heritage hotels and resorts than any other state in India. We ourselves were staying at the Ajit Bhavan Palace hotel at Jodhpur . The hotel is affiliated to RCI Holidays, of which we are members. It is a well maintained hotel, which makes you feel like royalty. It was an enjoyable and unique experience, which I shall never forget. At the entrance - Samhith with the staff Outside our room... regal isnt it? Samhith cant be far from animals can he? Imagine riding in one of these carriages! The Ajit Bhavan Palace Hotel The Ajit Bhavan is supposed to be one of the earliest heritage hotels in India, which has pioneered heritage tourism in the ar

Akkalkot-A spiritual quest with surprises in store

Akkalkot is a small town about 45 kms from Sholapur, known mainly as the place where the renowned saint Swami Samarth attained Samadhi. We took the overnight train to Sholapur and then hired a jeep to Akkalkot, though we later realized that there are a huge number of buses of the MSRTC plying between various places in Mumbai and Akkalkot regularly. In fact, we were quite surprised by the frequency of buses in that region, and thereafter, we used only ST buses for traveling to and from Sholapur. All the buses and jeeps drop you at the Bhakta Niwas, built by the Devasthan for the convenience of pilgrims. It has basic lodging facilities, with small and big rooms, but only common bathrooms for the whole floor. The premises and the toilets are surprisingly clean, considering that the charge for a whole family (up to 10 people) is around Rs.150.There is also another Bhakta Niwas, recently built, for people who like to be comfortable, even during a pilgrimage. Here, the rooms all have att

SaptaShrungi Devi Temple, Vani

The Saptashrungi Devi temple is located at Vani near Nashik in Maharashtra. This temple is one among the 51 Shakti peethas located on the Indian subcontinent. The Devi is said be swayambhu (self-manifested) on a rock on the sheer face of a mountain. She is surrounded by seven (sapta-in Sanskrit) peaks (shrunga-in Sanskrit), hence the name- Sapta Shrungi Mata (mother of the seven peaks). The image of the Devi is huge-about 10 feet tall with 18 hands, holding various weapons. The idol is always coated with Sindoor, which is considered auspicious in this region. She is believed to be Mahishasur Mardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasur, who took the form of a buffalo. Hence, at the foot of the hill, from where one starts climbing the steps, there is the head of a buffalo, made is stone, and believed to be that of the demon. It is believed that the Devi Mahatmya, a sacred book which extols the greatness of Devi and her exploits

AN UNFORGETTABLE TRIP TO THE HIMALAYAS

It was May 1990. I had just written my10th Std exams, and my mother had promised me a trip somewhere interesting as a treat for all the hours I had put in all year for studying. The place we were to go remained uncertain, until my grandfather suddenly announced that a group from his temple was going to Badrinath and Kedarnath, and he had booked us for the trip. Badri and Kedar were interesting, no doubt, but a 15 year old girl with a whole busload of 60 plus people! I was aghast! “There goes all the fun from my vacation”, I thought. I couldn’t excuse myself out of the trip without hurting my grandfather, so I resigned myself to my fate and busied myself getting everything I needed for the journey. When the D-day dawned, I was happy to see that there were 4 teenage boys in the group-some change from all the others, who, as I had expected were 65 plus. The first few days were not really exciting….Hardwar and Rishikesh, I had seen earlier, and the boys treated me like a kid. I was bore
I have always enjoyed travelling. When I was young, we always had to travel on a tight budget , so we always took the trains and buses, and stayed at simple lodgings where ever we went. In fact, we always tried to look for a relative or friend at whose house we could put up. it never seemed like an inconvenience to anyone, as that was what almost everyone did! As a result, my mother has a huge list of friends/relatives/acquaintances at various places, all of whom she actually knows quite well! we usually went to temples, or my uncles' or aunts' places, but as there were so many of them, we went out for every single school vacation, and spent quite some time at each place. today things are a lot different. with affluence has come more travel, that too with more comforts. Since my marriage i have been travelling almost 4 to 5 months in a year. many of my journeys are still spiritual, as we usually travel along with my in-laws, but once a year, my husband takes time out for a mo