Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Photos from the recent visit to Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake at sector 1 Chandigarh on 3rd July 2018

Chandigarh city in itself is a place to wander around, no matter if it is sunny or a winter day. There are plenty of trees along the roads and pedestrian paths which save you from the sunlight. They can save you even in rains, that is the denseness of these trees. After taking two three bike and cycle trips along the arterial roads of the grid pattern city, I decided to visit the most famous places in the city.

Rock Garden

This place was said to be a jungle, but it changed into the Rock Garden when late Sh. Nek Chand started to make these creatures out of the waste material that he collected from all around the city.
These dolls are created with the waste or the cement mortar and steel fibres. Garden is in the first sector of the Chandigarh, very near to the Sukhna lake. Here are some of the photos I clicked with my cellphone.

(The famous waterfall of Rock Garden)

(Garden Paths are like this)

(Please Save your head, because the entrances and exits are narrow and low)

(Water got muddy due to rains)

(Dolls depicting the village culture, inside the dolls' museum)
(Some kind of tree (perhaps cactus) made of concrete and steel - inside dolls' museum)

Here are the short video clips I captured, one at the Dolls Museum, and another the swing garden.

(Man behind the whole creation - late sh Nek Chand with his creations)

(See the army)

(A peacock out of broken glass bangles)

(Entry tickets was INR 30 rupee, it is lesser for kids)

Sukhna Lake

One can take a kilometers walk from Rock Garden to Sukhna lake. Both of them are in the 1st sector of the Chandigarh.
Here is a short clip I recorded for you at the Sukhna Lake Chandigarh. The weather was pleasant and therefore people were roaming around the lake along the path. Some people were boating. I took a small stroll and sit for a while. there.
And here are some photos.

(See the Shivalik hills of Himachal in back)

(All young and old people come here)


Monday, July 2, 2018

Best of Kinnaur and Spiti Travels- part 9 - Chandertaal to Manali via Rohtang Pass - a Bike Ride

Hi again,

In this post, I will share with you my experience of riding my 100cc motorcycle on a wild and perhaps the toughest road in India, i.e. from Chandertaal lake to Manali. If you haven't followed the story from the start, which was at the trek of Shrikhand Mahadev, then please check the previous 8 parts of this series of travel stories where I covered Sangla, Chhitkul, Tabo, Kaza, Kibber and Komik, and latest one was the Chander-Taal lake

11 kms from Chander-taal to Batal

So, as I told you in the previous post, we started very early in the morning from Chander-Taal, the reason I told in the previous post. The 11 km stretch of link road was a bit dangerous to ride upon. There was only one major water stream where we couldn't save our legs from getting wet. Naren and Rahul were a good company, because it is dangerous to ride alone at such a place. Remember, never ever go alone, because you never know what help you might need. 

Break-fast at Batal

Dhaba of Chacha-Chachi at Batal

At Batal one can eat items like Paranthas, daal chawal etc. The place is known for Chacha-Chachi - an old couple which earned their rightful popularity by saving the stranded group of people from Mumbai in June 2010. They must be now in their 60s with the wrinkles on their faces, but they have a very big heart. They help the people in need without caring for money. 

At Batal, Chandra river in the back - clicked by Rahul
We couldn't ask for a click with them, because they were busy in preparing food, and somehow I couldn't disturb them. We ate paranthas, biscuit and drank tea they offered for the best prices at such place. 

Batal to Gramphu

This was the toughest road to ride. The reason was a number of small and big wild water streams' crossings on the road that one has to wade through. There are few most infamous ones, Paagal Nala and Chota Dara are most talked about. We shot this video, but I am not sure if this is the Paagal nalah or Chota Darah, but surely it is one of them. Please watch the video, and let me know if you know.

This was the only nalah where we took a short halt. Also we clicked few photos. 
See the happines on Batal Gramphu road at Pagal Nalah (or Chota Dara?)

Then after several such nalahs and a dusty pebbled road we reached Gramphu where this road merges with the Rohtang- Kelang road which was in very good conditions.

Gramphu to Manali via Rohtang Pass

Kaaza road meeting at Gramphu
After a ass paining ride when our bikes started on the metalled highway, I felt as if we were riding on butter. With a number of hair pin bends, road rises very sharply from Gramphu to Rohtang. And within half or one hour you will reach at the pass.  It was foggy so I couldn't click much better photos.

Rohtang Pass at front
and this is the back view
Here are some of the other photos.

Father of Manali Leh Highway
Just as steep as the ascent from Gramphu to Rohtang is, so is the descent from Rohtang to Madhi (Marhi). Then there is a somewhat gentle descent till Manali. The road is very good, but be careful of the sharp blind curves. 

Thanks for reading so far. Wait for the next post. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Best of Kinnaur and Spiti Travels- part 8 - Yoga at Chander-Taal (Moonlake) in Spiti

Hi dear friend,
(For the details of this photo, you have to read till the end)
Story has reached almost at its end. If you are new to my blog, let me give you a quick recap of this adventure. Himalayan hinterlands are a major tourist attraction, but because of the required permit and limited access period, not many are able to have this once in lifetime adventure, which I recently had. Therefore I started to share my story and experience with you here, so that it is beneficial for you and me and the community as a whole.
As told in my earliest post, my journey starts at ShriKhand Kailash Peak Trek, where I met 2 brothers Naren and Rahul, who later became friends from this trip. On our first day we visited Sangla and visited Chhitkul, the last Indian village.
On second day we took a long bike ride back from Sangla to Nako lake.
3rd Day was spent on reaching Tabo, and further visits to Dhankar monastery, Kaza, Kee, Kibber village and Langza Village. On 4th day early morning we visited Komik village- the highest motorable village in the whole world, and crossed the Kunzum Pass near to the evening. This is where our story was ended in the last part.

Reaching the Chandra-Taal

We were not sure, if the Batal would come first, or the diversion to the lake. Descending down from Kunzum Top was easy and costed us nothing but the free gravity. The road is wide, but dusty, and with curves and curves after each 50 metre. Have a look.

(zig-zag descent from Kunzum Top)

(Rahul and Naren on their Pulsar, Kunzum temple on left in the backsight)
I had heard about the crazy streams that we had to cross on the road leading to Chandra-Taal lake, but we wouldn't know how much crazy they were until we really cross them. We rested for few clicks at the diversion point. This is the point where road again comes close to a river, not Spiti, but Chenab river. Spiti river runs on the other side of the Kunzum pass, and we had left her behind.

(board showing the diversion from Gramphu-Batal-Kaza road to Chandra-Taal, river below is Chenab)

(Look at the glacial erodes, the road diversion to left)
The road is wide enough only for small vehicles, like cabs, moreover one can topple over if don't remain on the ruts formed with tyres. They were so deep, enough to get a jump if crossed from one to the another. The first major stream was only about a kilometer distance, made my shoes and pants wet. One has to be very much careful while crossing the streams, look for the water level, don't risk if it reaches 2 feet.

(Crossing the water stream)
Thankfully Naren took these pictures of me, and I am able to share with you. He clicked a selfie as well.

Stream flows few metres down and merges with the Chenab river. A small valley is formed due to the river, and it is very beautiful. Total peace, wow! have a look.

Booking a Tent for Night Camping at Chandra-Taal base Camp

So after this 11 kilometer stretch is covered one reaches at the base camp of the Chandra-Taal. Tents were pitched at various spots on this plane ground of not more than 150*150 square metres space. A police man was on duty, after making our entry he suggested one camp to us.
The price was 600 rupee per person, night and morning meals were included. Toilet was combined for all, and totally a temporary arrangement. There were camps who charged about 2000 rupees and had separate toilet facility inside the tent itself. Also electricity was available in those tents. We needed not to worry about that, because we had a power bank, also stars are more beautiful without electric bulb, anyway.
We booked the tent at around 4:30 PM, and we had enough time to visit the lake 2-3 kilometers further from the base camp. We put our heavy bags inside the tent, and rode above through a zig-zag dustier road. There were 10-12 vehicles at the stop. One has to walk about 300-500 metres distance from the stop to the lake. Read about the lake in the board, that I clicked at the stop.

At Chandra-Taal, tried Yoga, and thankfully didn't break my neck.

(First look of lake)
As you see in the picture above, there were about 20 tourists, mostly Indians. The lake water appears blue, same as the sky above.
We lied flat at the lake bank and waited for people to disperse. Then a sparrow kind of bird came near to me. He was fearless, I had never been so close to a bird in my life. I felt thankful to this bird. It graced me with its closeness and made me feel as if I was safe enough to be trusted. Feeling trusted by a strange bird was definitely a big compliment.
We observed that the number of people was not decreasing, a big group had arrived for filming some video for some song perhaps.

Yoga at Chandel-Taal

I had this idea of doing Shirsha-asanaa, and wanted to be clicked at this beautiful place. It was once in lifetime opportunity. Also Naren is near to master of the Yoga, you won't believe me, what I am going to show you here. Few clicks were clicked at the place where we were lying, but the sun was setting in the same direction, so pics were not that good, except they would make wonderful silhouettes. Please don't try it for yourself at such places, because if you break you neck or back, there is not much of help available. So, make sure that you are confident about whatever you are doing.

(thanks to Naren, for clicking my yoga poses, see his yoga poses below)
We walked to the other side of the lake, so that we could click some pictures without other people. Now sun would be in the back of the cameraman.
Resting for a while and few more clicks.

Back to Base camp and Night

As the sun was moving down towards the mountain, temperature dropped further. One can not stand outside without a jacket. We tried to soak the last rays on the way down to the base camp.

A view of the base camp from higher vantage point on the road to lake.

A biker group looked amazing on that zig-zag road leading from lake to base camp down below.

Tents at the base camp.
We were offered simple rice and daal at dinner. It felt suicidal to get out of the tent at night, cold wind was furious. Sky was overcast with the clouds so no luck with the stars. We were given Kambal and Quilt, so night was quite comfortable inside the tent.
We started early in the morning at around 5:00 AM. Reason was that our next destination was to return back to our normal life, but this last stretch of about 40 kilometers from Batal to Rohtang would be the toughest among the whole trip. There would be numerous water streams to cross, and they swell up in the noon. Let's keep that part for the story for the next post.
Thanks for visiting.