Masinagudi



Masinagudi has treats to delight all kind of tourists. It is located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, and is one of the five ranges in Mudumalai National Park. If you long for the adventure of wildlife safaris and love being surrounded by the wild, Masinagudi is the ultimate destination. Wildlife spaces like Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park and Theppakadu Elephant Camp make it a wildlife hotspot.

We had been to Masinagudi in Aug 2018. Thought to stay for few days but unfortunately due to strike we could stay only for a day. But that was very beautiful day we spent in a resort. A quiet place surrounded with mountain and clouds, a rainbow in the morning. A memorable day well spent. Would someday go back there to fully enjoy the beauty of the nature again. 

We had been to this place from Bangalore on a road trip. When we covered 1hr distance, our vehicle broke on the way. We had to wait for another vehicle for almost 1hr. And luckily got a better vehicle..hehehe :D

To reach this place, we have to pass through Bandipur forest area. No vehicles are allowed to stop as wild animals freely roam here. We could spot many deers, peacocks, wild pigs, monkeys, a bear, elephants. But one thing personally I didnt like was honking on the road unnecessarily. There was no traffic but probably due to habit, people honk. It disturbs the animals on the roadside where they were peacefully sitting, gazing, having their own time freely. Hope someday they put a board saying no honks! There is also a safari in this Bandipur forest. We could see the same animals that we saw on the roads. 

Next day we went to Gaganachukki waterfalls. It is said to be Niagra waterfalls here. Barachukki and Gaganachukki are two waterfalls situated near the island town of Shivanasamudra in the Mandya district of Karnataka. The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewed from the watch tower at Shivanasamudra. Since it was monsoon time, the water was gushing in full force. We couldnt go to Barachukki waterfalls due to rains and water was overflowing everywhere. This time Kerala was in floods and everywhere there was alert.

It was a confused trip altogether but everyday we had some adventure and enjoyed without getting tensed. All is well that ends well. The trip was relaxing and memorable.

Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Chikmagalur is a town located in the Chikmagalur district in the Indian state of Karnataka. Chikmagalur district is the birthplace of coffee in India. Located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range, the town with its favorable climate and coffee estates attracts tourists.

Chikmagalur is connected to other parts of the state through roads. National Highway 173 (India) passes through the town connecting it with the state capital Bangalore, located 250 kilometres away. State Highway 57 (Karnataka) connects between Shimoga and Hassan.

We had booked a tour package to and fro Bangalore through Karnataka vacations.

Day 1: Bangalore to Chikmagalur (14th july 2018)

Drive from Bangalore airport to Chikmagalur. It took almost 6hrs.  On the way, we had been to Shravanabelahola... one of the most important tirthas (pilgrimage destinations) in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga dynasty of Talakad. Chandragupta Maurya is said to have died here in 298 BCE after he became a Jain monk and assumed an ascetic life style. We have to walk up the hill barefoot, almost 700steps.
(for more info..check HISTORY)

Day 2: Ayyanakere - Dabdabe waterfalls - Mullayanagiri - Baba Budan Giri 
After good rest and breakfast, we left the hotel for siteseeing. We had been first to Seethalayanagiri and Mullayanagiri, which are view points after a small trek. Since we had been there during rainy season, the place was too foggy and nothing was visible. But one can enjoy the breeze, cloudy, rainy climate.

Next we went to Dabdabe waterfalls, also know as buttermilk waterfalls. We have to take a jeep to reach this place. Its a beautiful waterfalls inbetween nature. The jeep drive was crazy though.

Sri.Guru Dattatreya Bababudanswamy’s Darga on the Bababudan hills in Chikmagalur Taluk is an ancient and important institution held in high esteem by Hindus and Mohammadans alike and is resorted to by large numbers of Pilgrims from all parts of India.

Theres a siri cafe when you come down. Do visit it and have a coffee.. The ambience outside is beautiful.

Ayyanakere Lake is an ancient lake situated at the eastern base of Baba Budan Range hills. This is the biggest lake in the Chikmagalur district and the second largest lake in Karnataka. Ayyanakere is also called as Dodda Magoda Kere and it is surrounded by beautiful hills. It is one of the prime places to visit in Chikmagalur.

Day 3 : Kemmangundi - Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger safari.

Kemmangundi is a hill station is located at Tarikere taluk of Chikmagalur district. This picturesque hill station is situated at a height of 1434 meters above sea level. It was another foggy and rainy day and so we couldnt see any view from the top.

Next halt was at Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari.. Its a very small safari. People get fooled actually thinking we will spend few hours. But fact is its not even an hour to finish the safari. Entrance is only Rs.100/- so paisa vasool if u see a tiger and lion.. itne paise mein bas itna hi milega kinda safari!!!

We came back to hotel early as nothing was left to see that day. And it was a long hectic drive too.

Day 4: Jog falls and Bangalore 

The last day here and also long drive back to Bangalore. We drove to Jog falls..the second highest plunge waterfall in India located in Sagara taluk of Karnataka. It is a segmented waterfall which, depending on rain and season, becomes a plunge waterfall. The Sharavathi river takes a spectacular leap at a height of 292 meters falls in 4 distinct waterfalls - Raja, Rani, Rocket, Roarer.. to form the 5th highest waterfall in Asia. Its really very scenic view.

Later we headed towards Bangalore airport that took us almost 9hrs drive...





Rameshwaram

Rameswaram, standing firmly in the middle of India and Sri Lanka with its clean sea breezes, less crowded temples & sacred ponds. This famous “Island City” has been the center of attraction for travelers across the world. It is connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage and also one of the 12 Jyotirlings. Rameshwaram is one place you must add to your travel bucket list.

It is said the Hindu god Rama built a bridge from here across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from her abductor Ravana. The Ramanathaswamy Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, is at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple and the town are considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivas and Vaishnavas.

Legend

Rameswara means "One who is lord of Rama" (Ram yasy Eashwarah) in Sanskrit, an epithet of Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Puranas (Hindu scriptures), upon the advice of sages, Rama along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the lingam (an iconic symbol of Shiva) here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya incurred while killing of the Brahmin Ravana. To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have a lingam and directed his monkey lieutenant Hanuman to bring it from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita built a lingam, made of just Sands of the shores, which is also believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. This account is well supported by the original Ramayana authored by Valmiki were it is written in yudha kanda .Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Rama is believed to have built a floating stone bridge, the Ramsetu bridge, that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. According to another version, as quoted in Adhyatma Ramayana, Rama installed the lingam before the construction of the bridge to Lanka.

Places to see at Rameshwaram:

  • Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka and also one of the 12 Jyotirlings. Early in the morning when we go around 4.30 to 6am we can have darshan of the Spatika linga that has been done abhishekam with milk. Later you have to take bath in the Agni Theertham, that is in the Bay of Bengal and other 22 wells inside the temple and then we can have the darshan of main deity Shiva. 
    There are sixty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. According to Skānda Purāṇa, twenty-four of them are important. Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the Tīrthas are within the Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama's quiver..  
  • Panchamukha Hanuman
  • The Five Faced Hanuman Temple is located at a distance of about 2 km from Rameshwaram Temple and has an idol of Hanuman fully covered in Senthooram (vermillion. In 1964 after the cyclone of Danushkodi, idols of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita were brought from Dhanushkodi and placed in this temple. It is believed that the floating stone used for making the bridge across the sea to Lanka (Sri Lanka) is the same stone that is kept outside this temple floating in a water tank. These stones are oval in shape and have coarse texture with small craters. The temple is open on all days from 6 am to 7 pm and its proximity to the main Rameshwaram temple means that it is a must have destination in the itinerary of all pilgrims visiting Rameshwaram. 
    The Story Behind Five Faced Hanuman Temple :
    The origin of the Five Faced (or panchmukhi) Hanuman can be traced to a story in Ramanayana. When Lord Rama was engaged in the final war with Ravana, Ravana asked Ahiravana, the king of Pathala, to take Rama and Lakshmana to Patala Lok. Ahiravana, in the disguise of Vibhishana, the noble brother of Ravana, took Rama and Lakshmana to Pathala to kill them. When Hanuman got to know about this he entered Pathala in search of Rama and his brother. There he discovered that the life of Ahiravana was hidden in five lamps which were placed in different directions and Ahiravana could only be killed by extinguishing these five lamps at the same time. To accomplish this, Hanuman took the form of Panchamukha Hanuman and blew out the five lamps in five directions. Along with Hanuman, the other four faces are Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda and Varaha. It is this Five Faced Hanuman idol that is kept in the temple at Rameshwaram. 
    The five faces of Hanuman also signify the five senses (panch indriyas) over which Hanuman has mastery, as he was a great yogi. They also represent the five elements (wind, water, earth, fire and sky) which are the basis of creation.
  • Dhanushkodi
  • Dhanushkodi is an abandoned town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island. Tourist can visit by their own vehicle and end up with Pillars of Ashoka. Its also a sangam of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.  
  • Ramar padam
  • Ramar Padham is a Temple for Ram’s Feet, it is Situated in the sandy hillock named Gandha Madhana parvatham (The village where this temple is located is also called as Gandha Madhana Parvatham). The word Parvatham Literally meant Mountain, as per the reference in the epic Ramayana , there was a mount in this place in the ancient times. The feet of Lord Rama is engraved in a stone chakra in this place. The Ramar padham is the highest point in the Rameswaram, one can see the full panoramic view of Rameswaram island by standing on the top of this Temple. It is said that one can view sri lanka by standing on the top of Ramar padham. It is however a lie you cannot able to see Srilanka from here. The view of Pamban bridge, Dhoor dharsan Tower, villoondi theertham, olaikkuda light house, Ramanatha swamy Temple, Rameswaram bus stand, Sea can be viewable clearly.If you have Binoculars don’t forget to bring them , when you plan a visit for Ramar padham (It may be a admirable occasion for you if you bring so). 
     Mythical Story of Ramar Padham :
    It is said that Lord Ram Stands on this place and plan for the bridge, Before he built a bridge (Ram Sethu) across the sea. And it is also mentioned in the Ramayana that Hanuman took rest with his team mates before flew to srilanka in the search of Sita. 
  • Jadayu theertham
  • This temple is dedicated to Jatayu, considered to be the King of birds, who was an ardent and loyal devotee of Lord Rama. The legend behind this temple is associated with instances from Hindu sacred text Ramayana. According to the religious beliefs, when demon Ravana had kidnapped Goddess Sita, Jatayu had helped Lord Rama by fighting the demon. During the fight, Jatayu’s wings were slashed because of which it fell to the down and died. 
    Afterwards, Lord Rama had buried the Jatayu body at the place where a temple stands now dedicated to Jatayu. it is said that the entire place where it was buried, turned into vibhuti, which is the holy ash that is obtained after the yagnas by the saints. It is also believed that Jatayu also helped in getting herbs from mountains to save Lord Rama’s life.
  • Lakshman theertham
  • This temple was built in the Rameshwaram so as to offer sacred prayers to Lord Lakshmana. It is believed that Lord Lakshman (the brother of lord Ram) installed a Shiva linga and worships lord Shiva for vanishing his sins and took bath in this theertham.  
  • Agni theertham
The eastern sea shore opposite to the Ramanathaswamy temple is named as Agni theertham . This is one of the 64 sacred baths in Rameswaram (theerthams), Every day thousands of pilgrims took bath in this holy sea .Holistic rituals such as prohithams, yangnya( yaham), tharpanam(ritual for the ancestors who were dead) has been performed in the shores of Agni theertham.

It is believed that , by took bath in this sea will vanish ones sins, and make them pure again, and mixing the ashes of the dead person in this sea (Agni theertham) will brings peace to the soul of the dead . Pilgrims those who are plan for sacred bath in theerthas should first took bath in Agni theertham and followed by that bath in theerthas inside the temple.

Mythical story behind the Agni theertham:
The Word Agni in Sanskrit means fire and it also refers to the god of fire, and theertham means sacred water. One may wonder that why this sea is called by the name of fire.

After  rescuing his wife sita from the demon king Ravana, Lord Rama told her in a suspicion tone.

“Sita I’ve rescued you from my enemy Ravan, and I’ve done my duty and satisfied the demands of honour, you may have been touched by the Ravana, How can I know that you are pure” and he distrust her purity.

Sita got angry over Rama because of his suspicion and told to the Rama’s brother Lakshman that “ Lakshman ! , put a funeral pyre! I intend to enter into the flames” , Lakshman put a pyre in order to respect the words of his brother’s wife, Rama neither stop her nor he said anything to her. Sita enters into the flames of fire.

She prays to the lord of fire , “ Protect me Agni for you know that I’m pure of heart and body”.

Truth in her words, deed ,action and the prayer , the fire around her doesn’t hurt her. instead of burning her into ashes it made the fire god Agni to appear.

The fire god Agni appeared before Rama and said “Ram sita is pure, Chaste and Sinless, you take her to your abode Ayodhya with you and rule the country with her”.

Because of touching a chaste, pure and sinless women fire god Agni got a sin, He prays to Lord Shiva and took a bath in the sea in Rameswaram to vanquish his sin. The place he diminishes his sin by took a bath is called as Agni theertham .
  • Viloondi Theertham
 It is one of the beaches and also one of the 64 theerthas (sacred water body) in Rameswaram. It is situated 6 Km far from Rameswaram main bus stand. Villoondi theertham beach is a calm place with the silent tides. There is a good water spring situated inside the sea ,it is the main attraction of this place. (Sometimes sea water mixed with that spring water and makes it saline). There is a small Shiva shrine near to the Villoondi theertham . The shiva lingam here is named as Thrayambakeshvarar.

Mythical story of Villoondi Theertham:

The word “villoondi “ literally means “the place pierced by arrow “ and Theertham means sacred water in Tamil language.

There may be some scientific reasons for the existence of pure water spring inside the saline water body, but there is a mythical story from Ramayana which states the existence and the reason for the good water spring inside the sea in this place.

After rescuing his wife Sita from Ravana, Rama and his crew flew from Sri lanka to the Rameshwaram, at Rameswaram they perform rituals and poojas by installing a shiva linga.

After performing the rituals and took bath in the theerthas (Sacred baths) Rama with his crew flew to his birth place Ayodhya by means of pushpaka vimana (A flying machine acquired from ravana) . On the way to his abode, the crew asks for water in thirst.Rama suddenly took his arrow and shot it into the sea , the place where his arrow pierced in the sea, emerged a spring. By that spring, the crew quenched their thirst and thank Rama.
  • Kodanda Ramaswamy temple
The temple is surrounded by sea and remains a tourist attraction. It is easily accessible from Rameswaram. It is believed that Ravana’s brother Vibishana joined Lord Rama’s army at this place. This is the place where Vibishana was crowned the king of Lanka by Lord Sri Rama.The walls of the temple have beautiful paintings inscribed on them, depicting the story of Ramayana. Kothandaramaswamy Temple has several images of Lord Rama, wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibishana.

This temple is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal Ocean and lies at the southernmost tip of India

Historical Background:
The temple is estimated to have been constructed about 500-1000 years ago. Rama, the main idol, is depicted as having a bow (Kothandam), and hence the name Kothandaramaswamy for the idol.

The temple is believed to be the place where Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana, asked Rama and his vanara (ape men) army for refuge. According to this tradition, after the abduction of Sita, Vibhishana advised Ravana to return her to Rama. However, Ravana did not listen to the advice, which led to Vibhishana fleeing from Lanka and joining Rama's army. When Vibhishana surrendered to Rama, the vanara army urged Rama not to accept Vibhishana believing him to be a spy.

However, Rama accepted Vibhishana under the insistence of Hanuman stating that it is his duty to protect the ones surrendered to him. It is also said that after the slaying of Ravana, Rama performed the "Pattabhishekam" (ascension to king of Lanka) for Vibhishana at this place. The story is depicted in painting across the walls inside the shrine.

Vibishana took all the efforts to persuade his brother Ravana to return Mother Sita to Rama whom he abducted in a cowardly way. Not only Ravana disagreed with Vibeeshana’s advice but heavily came down on him to hit him with his legs. Leaving his incorrigible brother for good, and came to Rameswaram where Lord Rama was camping then and sought asylum. As a tribute to his impeccable qualities, Lord Rama crowned him the king of Lanka even before Ravana was killed in the battle. Remembering this event, the temple is built in this island.

Sri Anjaneya is nearby praised as Anjaneya the Supporter. When Vibishana came to Rama after breaking his relationship with his brother Ravana, the monkey army did not agree to accept Vibishana as they suspected his sincerity. But Sri Anjaneya recommended Vibeeshana’s case explaining that he had personally observed his activities in Lanka and found him good in all aspects and that he deserved to be accepted by the Lord. Hence, He is called Anjaneya the Supporter. 

 It is believed that he takes the just prayers of the devotees to Lord Rama and helps them achieving their desires.Traditionally, we see Sri Anjaneya in a worshipping form near Lord. In this temple, Vibishana is awarded with this right. It is also noteworthy that Vibishana was offered the ‘Azhwar’ title as he was accepted by Lord. In this small temple, Garuda Bhagwan and Acharya Sri Ramanuja have their shrines. Those seeking leadership position through proper ways and to be away from the wicked pray here. Lord helps them. This is the philosophy behind the coronation of Vibishana.
  • Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's Memorial
  • Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, popularly known as the “Missile Man of India”, was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. He died of a cardiac arrest on July 27, 2015 in Shillong where he had gone to deliver a lecture. In the memory of our beloved people president Abdul Kalam , there is a grand memorial monument built over his tomb to honour him. 
    Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial in the Rameswaram island becomes one of the Must Visit top ten places places to visit in the Rameshwaram for the tourists. Dr.Kalam’s worldly body rest in the peace beneath this monument’s central place, and his aura filled everywhere in this memorial through his thoughts . Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam memorial showcases Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s history. Personal belongings used by him, his portraits and his statues. Statue of the our former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, playing the musical instrument Veena is placed in the center of the memorial. There are two other silicon statues of Dr. Kalam, in presidential suit, in sitting and standing postures. Sample model of the Agni missile placed in the Garden, which lies at the backyard of the Memorial.
  • Pamban bridge
Pamban Bridge is a railway bridge which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. The rail bridge is, for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double-leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. This road bridge is also known as Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge. The Pamban Road Bridge connects the National Highway (NH 49) with the Rameswaram island. It stands on the Palk Strait and between the shores of Mandapam (Place on the Indian Main land) and Pamban (One of the fishermen town in Rameswaram island).


Flamingos @Dubai birds sanctuary..

RAKWS(Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary) ... Amazing and peaceful spot for Bird gazing and Bird photography, specially Pink Flamingos.

Tungnath, Chandrashila trekking


One of my dreams come true.. Used to see the pictures on social media and wanted to trek this place. Planned to go with Wow club, the ladies group but due to various reasons couldn't book. Later checked to go with trek the Himalayas group but couldn't get train tickets from Delhi to Haridwar. Disappointed and was casually googling if I could find something. Luckily got a ladies group called Women on clouds who offered this trek along with train tickets. Without any thought just booked the trip. But it was for only 4 days and it was really hectic. If anyone planning for this trek, please have 1 more day so that you can really have energy and also enjoy the trip at peace, just a suggestion.!

About the place:

The trails of Garhwal Himalayas evoke thrill and adventure. Lofty terrains leading to the summit make for an incredible experience and the surrounding beauty leaves you enchanted. Chandrashila Trek with Chopta and Tungnath is one of the most exciting and challenging trails you can tread in Uttarakhand. Soaring up at 13000 feet, adorned with mists, coniferous, and snow, this is one heck of a trek you must take.The best part about the Chandrashila Trek is that it is a year-round trek.

Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 5000 years old and is the third (Tritiya Kedar) in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic.

According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati both reside in the Himalayas: Lord Shiva resides at Mount Kailash. Parvati is also called Shail Putri which means 'daughter of hills'.

The Tunganath is indelibly linked to the origin of the Panch Kedar temples built by the Pandavas. The legend states that sage Vyas Rishi advised the Pandavas that since they were culpable of slaying their own relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war or Kurukshetra war, their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. Consequently, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of the guilt of Pandavas. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, where Pandavas chased him. But later Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the "Panch Kedar" where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen: hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.

Legend also states that Lord Rama, meditated at the Chandrashila peak, which is close to Tungnath. It is also said that Ravana did penance to Shiva, the lord of the peaks, when he resided here.

Chandrashila Trek route:  (29th March - 1st April, 2018)

Haridwar – Sari (base camp) – Deoria Tal – Chopta – Circuit (Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila Peak – Chopta) – Haridwar

Day 1:


We had reached Delhi railway station and met our gang at 6am. We boarded the Dehradun Shatabdi train that would reach Haridwar around 11.30am. Since we all came from different destinations, all were already tired and sleepy. Had introduced each other and slept off in the train. 

Reached Haridwar station around 11.30am and got into our vehicles. We had our river rafting first after our lunch at Rishikesh. River rafting at Rishikesh is a must do. We completely enjoyed it. We also jumped in the Ganges and felt blessed. Due to less time, we couldnt see the Ganga Aarti thats  famous there. And it was very crowded as it was a long weekend. We were all exhausted by then and just left for the camp to take good rest. 

Our camp was Aspen Camp at Rishikesh. It was a small trek to reach down there and when we reached it was almost 7pm. It was dark and was fun walking down the slope to get down to the camp. The owner, Mr Ankit was very caring and friendly..interacted with all the guests in his camp. After good dinner we all retired to our tents to catch up good sleep so that we get recharged for our next day. 

Day 2:

Morning we got ready by 7am and went out to see the beauty outside. The camp was very nice..with beautiful flowers all around and the view of mountains, birds chirping. Just perfect nature to be in.

We had our breakfast and left the camp. It was a long drive. Had lunch outside. We had to reach Sari village by noon but due to road widening and works, we were stuck and reached only by 5pm.

The trek was about 2hrs to reach the Magpie Camp, near the Deoria tal (lake)... It was almost 7pm and no lights out anywhere. So we went to the camp. We had bonfire with other guests of that camp, munching pakodas and hot tea. They were 2 retired couples, and 1 family. We all had good time playing anthakshari and a little boy named Ayan danced for bollywood music.  After a good dinner we rested for the day. It was reallyyy cold up there :D

Day 3:

Deoria tal is located at an altitude of 2,438 meters (7,999 ft). The lake is known for its wide 300° panorama. Mountains like Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Bandarpunch, Kedar Range, and Kalanag can be viewed from here. 



Hindu mythology states that the Devas bathed in this lake, hence the name. The lake is also believed to be the "Indra Sarovar" referred to in the Puranas by wandering Hindu mendicants, Sadhus. It is also believed that it was the place from where the mighty Pandavas were asked queries by Yaksha. According to the locals it was also said that this lake was built by Bheem, who was strongest among the Pandavas, to appease his thirst, and Yudhister, who was the wisest, suggested Bheem to build his own lake.

Early morning we got up at 6am to see the sunrise at the lake. It was 5mins walk upto the lake. We saw many tents that were camped near the lake. 

It was indeed a beauty to watch the nature with birds chirping and sun about to rise. I went around the lake to see the place. At another point found a view point where we can see the mountain range and the beautiful first sun rays falling on these snow capped mountains. Cant explain that beauty! We have to just see, experience and feel that.

I was thankful that this place was not cancelled due to our time issue, which was being planned before reaching here. 

After having our breakfast and packing our lunch, we left for Chopta. We had to trek down back to Sari village that took 1.5 hrs. The way was slipperty when coming down. One has to be really very careful and not just run. Takes knees for a game ;) 

We drove to Chopta. Reached Chopta around 10.30am and started our main trek to Tungnath and Chandrashila.  The way is really nice but due to steep and altitude we get breathlessness. Its actually an easy to moderate trek, if everything goes well. The climate was changing every now and then. As we walk up it was breezy, cold and sweaty. This effects a lot while trekking up. Please take care and be aware, if you are planning to trek...

Not every mountain trek is same. It depends on the person and the altitude it plays with our body. Every trek is different and we get different experience. I had thought I could do it easily as I had done Valley of flowers. But I was wrong. After appx 2hrs trek, I was completely exhausted, unable to breathe, unable to put one step forward, stuck with the altitude sickness, felt to puke, odd feeling in tummy.. I just..just gave up.. NOT ANYMORE.. but.......something happened....

The moment I gave up and was standing, saw a man smiling at me and coming down from the trek. He was very simple, middle aged guy. He stopped beside me..pointed his index finger at the top, and said, "SEE THERE... WHEN THEY CAN DO IT, EVEN YOU CAN DO"

With some hope i sighed and said, Yes, WHY NOT ME!

But, He stressed and said.."NOT WHY.. EVEN YOU CAN DO! Chalo now go and finish this!" and he just went off, after I thanked him for motivating.

As soon as he left, I dint know what happend to me, I just cried. No thoughts about anything. finally had some water. And.... started my walk......The next 40mins of my trek was filled with so much energy, no thoughts, people were smiling, talking, asking me to sit for a while and rest, clicking pics for others.. It was just a diversion from my pain and thought of not doing. Some Will Power, some positive vibe i had got suddenly. Felt that He was The God Himself.. without His push, I would never had done this. If one believes, its faith!!!

I could not believe I reached Tungnath temple in 40mins. Truly a wonderful experience it was. I had taken some dates which i offered to Lord Shiva, though temple was closed. It was a Manasika prayer done. Gave to people near the temple and to my friends. Please do carry some dryfruits to offer to God and give to others like prasad. Its a blessing to reach in first place. And once you reach, having a date kills the thirst. People thank you for that too. Its a nice feeling! Spent sometime watching the beauty of the place and it was indeed PEACEFUL! Felt some kind of self satisfaction, some kind of happiness.. :)

Since it was already 2pm and mists started covering the peaks, thought no point trekking to Chandrashila point. Except one girl from our gang made it. Others, we all started walking down.

Saw a worker who had ice in his plate and eating with a spoon. I asked him why are you eating this. He replied saying, We eat this snow with salt so that our body gets used to this cold climate. Its our daily routine. I was really surprised. He just smiled and he continued eating.

Finally we reached the base completely tired, exhausted, with leg pains...but satisfied we could make it to Tungnath.

Got into our car and went to our Magpie jungle camp. We really had a good hot water bath that refreshed us from the trek. Had dinner, packed our things as we had to leave next day early to Haridwar. Then hit to the bed..slept like a log. It was warm inside the tent and needed good rest.

Day 4:

Got up by 4am and left by 5am to Haridwar as we had our return train to Delhi.

On the way we saw Rudraprayag, where River Mandakini and River Alaknanda joined to form Ganga. and also Dev Prayag, where River Alaknanda and River Bhagirathi joined to form Ganga.

We reached Haridwar railway station by 4pm and just relaxed.

Our trip ended with wonderful experience.
 

Suggestion:

If you are a first time trekker, then this expedition is the perfect experience to enjoy the thrill of the Himalayas. Prepare thoroughly with regard to clothing and other protective gears to endure the unpredictable mountain weather.  Build enough leg strength and ample gym training, anything that can equally replicate the actual trek. Practice using your backpack and choose wisely with adjustable straps when buying. Use a good quality-walking pole and remember to enjoy yourself while hydrating yourself frequently.

 Things to Carry 

– Good condition trekking shoes
– A pair of thick woolen socks never hurt when trekking in the Himalayas
– Keep a thick winter jacket for dealing with the cold
– Trekking Pants are a must for scaling the peaks
– A woolen cap to protect yourself from the biting cold
– A pair of sunglasses to avoid the glaring sun
– Sun Screen
– A 2 ltr. water bottle
–Glucose
–Dryfruits
– Trekking pole
– A first aid box is a must have on this trek
–Torch light
– carry light backpack

Thanks for reading.. Have a grt time!

Jebel Jais, RAK

Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah...The spectacular Hajar Mountains in the eastern part of the emirate were formed over 70 million years ago and stand nearly rises 1,934 metres above sea level, and is the UAE’s highest mountain.

After so many years visited this place Jebal Jais Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah. Its almost two and half hours drive from Dubai.Away from the noise and the concrete jungle. For those who wish to spend the night under the stars, there are a number of established camping spots or one can hike the mountains/biking.


Its the best place for camping in winters. Sometimes it also snows. Out into the beautiful nature..surrounded by Hajar mountains. Best view for Sunset and Sunrise.

Al Ain Zoo (Wild life photography)


Al Ain Zoo is a 400-hectare (990-acre) zoo located in the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. It mainly comprises Arabian antelopes and oryx, eland, gazelle and can be found in the tree shaded paddocks which offer excellent breeding conditions.

The zoo features a big cat house. Lions, pumas, black and spotted leopards and jaguars are found here. In addition to this, it also has a reptile house, monkey compounds. The zoo also has a "train" with open carriages. It does not enter the "yellow" section which hosts the African lion, Bengal tiger, chimpanzee, puma, salt water crocodile, panther, Nile crocodile and leopard. The Al Ain Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, with at least 30% of its 180 species considered endangered.

It takes about 4 to 5 hours to cover the full zoo. Must visit place...

Valley of Flowers

Difficult roads often lead to Beautiful Destinations....
 

Everyone has a dream..but life is not a bed of roses that we can easily get through..(exceptions may b there)..but def not for me!!

I had dreams of going to Valley of flowers for more than 3yrs..but due to my weight couldn't take the step. Then i had my knee ligament surgery last year (May 2016)... that time all my dreams got washed off.

But God is kind to me... Got a mentor who guided me and i lost 13kgs in 3months time and that bought me back to think abt this trek to Valley of flowers.. And luckily saw the first ladies grp by Trek the himalayas (trekthehimalayas.com) n immediately booked without a second thought! And finallyyyyyy... i DID IT!! Though trek was difficult for me..i was the last in the group..our trek leader supported me n so did my lovely gang.. Cheers to the gang! Now im proud of myself 😊😊and know my strength..!!!

About the Trip..
 Trip was from 22nd July to 26th July 2017

Day1: Haridwar to Joshimath
Day2: Govindghat to Ghangaria
Day3: Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers to Ghangaria 
Day4: Ghangaria to Hemkund to Ghangaria 
Day5: Ghangaria to Govindghat to  Joshimath
Day6: Joshimath to Haridwar

Day 1:

After reaching Haridwar railway station, our group met outside. There were 2 vehicles and 11 of us. Immediately started our journey to Joshimath. On the way had stopped for breakfast and lunch.
It was really long hours of travel. But did not get bored as was delighted to see lush green cover, small villages along the road, ravishing waterfalls and gushing rivers while the cloud cover rested above the peaks and offered a beautiful feast to my eyes. My vision was soaked in the Himalayan beauty as I kept staring outside the window and clicked pictures. 

We reached our hotel at Joshimath and refreshed ourselves. Then had a meeting with our Trek Leader Kavitha. We all introduced ourselves and then had a brief idea about our trekking. Many of us were beginners and had no idea of how the trek will go on. We all were excited. Finally after the discussions, we had our dinner and went to sleep as it was very tiring day. And the next day we had to get up and start our Trek. 

Day 2:

Our day started at 5 AM for the tea. We had tea and packed our backpack and also the lunchbox and water bottles with some snacks and our trekking pole. At 6 AM we had our breakfast and by 7 AM we all were set for the new day. Then sat in the vehicle to reach Govind Ghat, the entrance for the trek. It took around 40mins to reach there. The morning view of the nature was refreshing and fantastic. The mountains, clouds, rivers, horses.. any picture cant justify what the eyes see!

At the entrance  we have to give our name, emergency contact number and they issue a card which you have to keep till you come back. If you dont have trekking pole, you get trekking sticks here for Rs 50/-. Some of us opted for porter service for our bags.. through mules. And then our trek begins after a group selfie ;) 

The first phase of the trek was simple.. the path was laid and ups and downs. We enjoyed the walk watching the beautiful nature. It started raining too.  Clicking pictures, gossips, taking rest in between.. everything went on well till lunch break. After lunch, the way was little steep and was little difficult for few of us. People who were fit had no issues.. They were walking normally. Finally reached Gangaria base camp and it took almost 6hrs. 

When we reached Deepak hotel where we stayed for 3 days. We got our bags and rooms. Refreshed ourselves and our trek leader made us do few exercises that made our body relax. Then had hot tea and snacks. All were so tired that we had early dinner and end of the day.

Day 3:
Dreams of many people.. Valley of Flowers! Finallyyy the day has come!! All were super excited and after the breakfast, packed our lunch box and water bottles and backpacks and started our trek.

The morning view of the place was heaven.. The start itself was little steep but way was properly laid. No mules go this side. If people cant walk, they can opt for Doli service of a Basket service. Doli is where 4 people carry and Basket is where one person carries you in a basket on his head. On a serious note, when you see them carrying people in such a place, heart goes for them. Some say its livelihood for them but felt no humanity. Sad to see that!! But thats life.. it goes on!!

The Trek to Valley of Flowers is definitely not an easy one.  The actual Trek starts after crossing the bridge on Pushpawati river. The pictures on google shows a lovely path but in actual when we go there its all rocky and ups and downs. Upon that this is a monsoon trek and it was raining. We never know the next step how it would be. One has to have the will power and stable pace when trekking. Even though the trek leader may keep saying "Chalo chalo" "keep moving" and your fellow mates would have gone so much further, please dont loose hope on yourself and just think of walking at your pace as you only know your limit to push further. Take their words in positive way and move on. And Trekking is never a race... just enjoy the beauty of nature and keep walking and walking!!

There were moments when I used to curse myself for coming all the way and kept saying "Why the hell have i come here to take such a pain.. it was better to sit at home and see the pictures on Google". Trust me.. it was not only me who thought this, but many others too (we honestly confessed when we went back). But at the end, all the pain was worth going there! :)

After an hectic walk (for me) reached the Valley of Flowers!! It is definitely a Heaven!! I had a long walk and when some people said its the same flowers everywhere, just stopped and enjoyed the place. The cool breeze, chirping birds, flowers moving in the wind, the mountains, the clouds, the drizzle and of course the valley full of green carpet with yellow, purple, blue, pink shades of flowers, the butterflies, the bees.... what else can be asked here.. Sat on a rock for few moments and enjoyed the realy beauty of the valley.

After clicking pictures of the valley and selfies with frds, me and my 2 frds sat on the rock facing the valley view and had our lunch there.. Unforgettable and the best moment!! The beauty of this cant be explained in words.. it can just be felt!

After this, we had hot tea there bought by our trek leader and then started to descend. It starting raining. I was carrying my DSLR and it was not advisable if you are planning to take.. unless its less weight and you can handle it. And in rains you cant even click any picture with that!! Better carry less and enjoy. click with your mobiles or gopro!

Coming down was even more difficult as stones were little slippery and the main reason being FEAR. But somehow came down safely. The satisfaction of seeing your dream fulfilled says it all. Some sort of peace and happiness is filled inside you... that YOU have Done it!!!

After reaching back to base camp..did our exercises to relax the body then had hot tea, soup and early dinner. We were lucky to find a massage boy named Soham Singh and wonderful leg massage he does for 15mins. It is much needed for the legs.

At night, few were confused if they can go for Hemkund trek as body was damn tired. And if they could do as its higher altitude. Few opted for mule service due to health issues.

Had a good discussion abt how the day went and about the next day plans and all retired to sleep.

Day 4:

Next day morning back with 5,6, 6.30.. ie 5am tea, 6am breakfast, 6.30 ready for trek!!!

2 opted for mule and others started walking.. It was the same way as to Valley of flowers..but in middle theres a diversion and another way goes to Hemkund sahib gurudwara. All started of with slow pace as it was really steep and few of us felt breathless after 2km itself. 3 of us took horses in between as it seemed difficult and the rest walked up. I felt thankful that I took horse else wouldnt have made it... as I was very slow and would have taken hours to walk up.

The view was mindblowing and as nearing to the place, we could see many flowers. The queen of flowers Blue poppy and Brahmakamal, the state flower of Uttarakand..and many colorful flowers. The place was covered with clouds by the time we reached. We could hardly see the full Hemkund lake or the Gurudwara nor the  snowcapped mountains behind Gurudwara..as we can see on google pictures.It was freezing there.. and we were surprised seeing people taking dip in the holy Hemkund water near the gurudwara. We went inside and prayed. Sat for sometime and had prasadh. There is a Laxman temple (Sri Ramas brother) next to Gurudwara. Then came to langar and had hot tea with hot khichdi. Due to rain and clouds nothing was visible clearly. Then we started out to descend.

It was really cold and beautiful. We can enjoy the getting down as it was easy... watching, clicking all the flowers doesnt show any pain at all. Again some feeling of happiness when you are out of the world into the nature. Its truly a blessing!

Back to the hotel happy and tired, we all gathered up to talk about how the day went. After dinner, packed up things as next day have to get back to Gangaria... The bags can be sent through mule, if opted for.

All were finally very happy and satisfied that we had been to our dream place!

Day5:

Morning after breakfast, tea we started out walking down back to Gangaria. It was raining and we actually took time to walk down and be with nature too. Clicking pictures that we missed while going up.. group pics, selfies,etc carried on. By evening we reached Gangaria and got into our vehicles to reach Joshimath.

Back to hotel.. had hot tea and some snacks. Few went for ropeway cable to see Auli.

Then had a gathering to collect our certificates from Trek the Himalayas.. shared our views with each other, had a gud dinner. Thanked the staff. Had some fun time with all and packed up things as next day we had to leave back to Haridwar.

Day 6:

After tea, bid bye to our trek leader and each other. Got into the vehicles and by evening back to Haridwar station.

Ends the Trek .. :) with a happy happy feel!!

During the trek, met few people with diverse talents..especially, a 55+ year old uncle, who was a frequent trekker and had done base camp to Everest, listening to his stories, I felt,  so dead at what I was doing and there is so much I can do with my life, work necessarily doesn’t have to take front seat in life and with just little endeavor you can answer every call that excites you and at that point I knew I have got what I wanted from my trek.!!!!

Now, if you are planning for this trek.. some useful informations: 
  • ATM is lastly available at Joshimath
  • Warm clothes, gloves, cap.
  •  Be prepared for rains and carry a good rain gear
  • The number of flowers you see in the Valley of flowers are based on the season you go, each week could be different. And, don’t expect anything like what you see in the morphed pictures of this place! 
  • You can acclimatize well with your daily ascend. No need to rely on medicines like Diamox
  • This trek is quite suitable for people who have are beginners. This trek is well equipped in terms of logistics. (Connectivity, mules, well laid treks, helicopter services, etc.)
  • For people who don’t want take up the climb to Hemkund Sahib, mules are easily available 
  • Good walking/hiking shoes are must. 
  • You can extend your stay and visit Badrinath, Mana and Auli. 
  • Don’t be scared of landslides, they are usual in this terrain and most of them are harmless. It is more hyped than you think. 
  • Mobile network is not that good. only BSNL works. but there are few shops nearby where they charge Rs 10 per min for a call. ISD is Rs 70 per min.  
  • Dont carry heavy things for the trek. just enjoy the walk in the nature!
HAPPY TREKKING.. BE SAFE AND ENJOY!!

Trans Himalayan Jeep Expedition



What an amazing trip it was!!! All thanks to Wowclub and  Himalayascalling who had arranged everything perfectly. A complete 10 days tour out of the world..which can be said " A Journey within yourself".

About the trip:

We were 6 ladies from various places through Wowclub, met at Chandigarh airport for the tour. It was a long 5hrs drive to Shimla from Chandigarh.

The first halt was at "Shri Sankat Mochan" temple. It is situated at a distance of about 5 K.m from Shimla and is located at Taradevi on the Kalka- Shimla National Highway. This temple is very easily approachable and is one of the most sought after site to be visited not only by the devotees and pilgrims but also by the tourists of all age groups visiting Shimla, the Hill capital of Himachal Pradesh.
The history of the temple dates back to the late 1950’s, when Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj visited this tranquil and serene site surrounded by lush green forests , emerald meadows, the magestic lofty mountains in the background which offered a very soothing and meditative atmosphere stirring the soul to enjoy the bliss of nature, a gift from god to all of us. Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj stayed here in a hut for about ten days and being deeply fascinated and charmed with the place expressed his keen desire for a Hanuman temple to be constructed at this very location .Baba’s devotees the than Lt. Governor of Himachal Pradesh late Raja Bajrang Bahadur Bhadari and Sh. Bhagwan Sahai shouldered the responsibility to fulfill their Guru’s desire and began with the construction of the temple in the year 1962 and finally it was consecrated on the 21st of June,1966, What began as a small temple, by god’s grace and blessings has acquired great dimensions and today the entire temple complex is sprawled over 18.8 bighas of land owned by Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir. 



At present the temple complex facilitates the people to worship and pay their obeisance to different deities as the complex comprises of Lord Rama and Hanuman temple, Lord Shiva Temple, Navgrah Temple, Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj Temple and a beautiful Ganesha Temple portraying the architecture of the south.
After this we drove to the hotel Willow Bank. All were damn tired due to hectic journey and just wanted to rest.The hotel was located on top and we had to take a lift to reach. The luggages were carried by road. Had dinner in the same hotel while few went for a walk to see the market. Thus ended our day!

1st day:

Next day morning all were fresh to start the trip..full of excitement! Had a good breakfast and yummy lichee fresh juice. We walked down instead of taking lift and it was a great work out! The path was little steep but manageable.
We had 2 Innovas and 1 Scorpio as standby for the travel. All settled in the vehicle and our journey started! The way was very beautiful.. full of greenery everywhere. We had stopped in many places to click pictures.. some climbed the rooftop of the vehicle and clicked pictures.
Our first halt for the day was Hatu peak. It lies on the Shimla-Rampur Highway nearly 71 km from Shimla. The roads are in good condition until Narkanda which is nearly 5 km from the peak. From here you can either trek for 5 km or go by bike or car.. but the road is difficult to use and only one car can climb at a time..anyways people somehow try and get it done even in that path!

This pea is the highest motorable summit in the Shimla/ Narkanda region. There you can spot prominent peaks such as Hanuman Tibba and Shrikhand Mahadev. The peak also affords the view of Pir Panjal ranges as well as the Trans-Himalayan ranges.

At the top of the peak is a small wooden temple called Hatu temple. According to local belief the famous Hatu Mata temple is the temple of ‘Mandodari’ wife of ‘Ravana’.There is an ancient stove like formation of rocks nearby the temple called Bheem Chulha. Locals believe that it was used by the Pandavas brothers to cook their food during their Agyaat Vaas.The temple structure is made of wood and stone and is adorned with intricate wooden carvings which display influences from Himachali and Tibetan architecture. This structure is surrounded by dense forests populated by fir, spruce, aspen, maple and cedar trees.

Next we drove to Nirath. This is at 950 m from sea level. Nirath is famous for Sun Temple .which has unique shape of “Nagara”.The one and only Sun temple in North India.There is only two sun temple in India.This is 18 km from old province of Rampur Bushahr .One Sun temple is in Nirath (Himachal Pradesh) and another one at Konark (Andhra Pradesh). Nirath is a small beautiful village located on left bank of satluj river .This village is dedicated to god Surya Dev (Sun) and detiy chhaya the consert of surya Dev. Carved wooden pillars and cornices decorate parts of the temple. Motifs of flowers and flower buds are beautifully carved on wood. Aedicules in walls have deities that are stone-like but really of red sandstone blackened by years of worship and offering.Nirath is rich in cultue old ladies still wear Rajtu , Dhatu and Gacchi.People follow Hindu religion ,they celebrate all the festivals Holi ,Diwali, Dusshra and Maha Shivratri.This Historical temple is conceling so many secret of purna.There is leagend Pandavs stayed in Nirth during their exile.They made sepreate temple for goddess , earlier there used to be one temple only.

Buddi Diwali is very famous fair of Nirth .People from near by village comes to see the fair.It comes every year in the month of December.Lord Ganesh is the disciple of Suya Dev. Lord Ganesh comes from Majhvati village in his palanquins .Lord Ganesh will dance with the beats of drums and tunes of other musical instruments. On the shoulders of his devotees his colourful palanquin swings up & down and left & right. These palanquins are not very big or with covering, these are open one just like big stools with four horizontal wooden poles to be carried by devotees. But these are beautifully decorated with mostly blood red coloured clothes. On the top rested main idol of the face of Deity made of eight different metals. This one is profoundly decorated with garlands of scented flowers and of coins, various ornaments, golden crown and with a gold umbrella.

From here we drove to Sarahan, a beautiful hamlet located in the Sutlej Valley, is a major tourist destination situated in the Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh.This place offers visitors the opportunity explore nature at its best. Placed at an average altitude of about 2165 m above sea level, the place is popular for its apple orchards, pine forests, small streams, rustic settings and slate roofed houses.The scenic hamlet of Sarahan is known as the gateway to Kinnaur.

There are several myths and folklores associated with Sarahan. As the legend goes, the king of Kullu declared war on the neighbouring kingdom of Bushair. The king of Bushair won the war and killed the king of Kullu. He then brought the decapitated head of the dead king to Sarahan and laid it out for people to see. When the dead king’s family asked the king of Bushair to give them their king’s head so that they could carry out the last rites, the king declared that he would only grant their request under three conditions. One of the conditions was that the people of Kullu would have to promise to never challenge his rule. Another condition was that the land that was seized by him would be retained. 

According to the final condition, the image of Ragunath; the chief god of the region, which was taken away from Sarahan would not be returned. The three conditions were accepted under the term that the ruler of Bushair would celebrate the festival of Dussehra. The king accepted the terms and thus Dussehra became a major festival of the region. After this, the image of Raghunath was placed alongside that of Goddess Bhimakali.
 

 

The Bhimakali Temple Complex is believed to be appx 800 years old, which is dedicated to this great female power that was called Bhimakali. and is one of the representatives of 51 ShaktiPeeths. Great numbers of devotees visit this temple every year to pay obeisance to the presiding deity. The temple architecture is a unique blend of Indian and Buddhists architectural styles. Present day Sarahan was the capital of this princely state. 

Multiple legends locate this temples significance in the Puranic era. One legend states that this was the place where Goddess Satis ear landed while she was destroying her body after the Daksha-yajna where her hausband, Lord Shiva, was disrespected by her father.

Bhimakali temple is the best example of tower style Temple situated/constructed with wood and stone in Himalayas. The temple complex at Sarahan is set against the incredibly beautiful backdrop of high ranges and forested slopes. The palaces of the royal family are situated adjacent to the temple. The temple has influence of Hindu and Chinese architectural style. It has slanted slate roofs, golden towers, pagoda and carved silver doors.

A tradition that still continues to an extent is that no individual should build a house similar in design or as grand as the temple or the rulers palace. In the village of Rohru, a man named Masoi decided that this unwritten code did not apply to his and built for himself a house inspired by the design of the Sarahan complex. This was taken as a sign of both sacrilege and revolt and was countered with military action.

We reached Sarahan in the evening @ Shrikand hotel. Had hot tea and walked to the temple. Cameras, mobiles and other electronic things are not allowed inside the temple. We had kept in the safety locker in the temple and went to have darshan of the Goddess. It was indeed a peaceful darshan.  Then came back to hotel and had rest.

Day 2:

Morning we woke up early to go to the temple again. On the way took many pictures of the temple and the beautiful ranges surrounding the temple. Again went to the temple and had darshan.


After the breakfast at the hotel, we proceeded from Sarahan to Sangla valley. A scenic cliff-hanging drive alongside the torrentuous Baspariver over the roads of Kinnaur which are known throughout the world for their challenging terrain.

The tunnel, on the entrance of Taranda dhank - An engineering marvel in the cliff of death.

Passengers stop at Taranda Mata Temple for blessings before crossing the Taranda Cliff to Kinnaur. The 'Taranda Dhank' or Taranda Cliff took more then hundreds of lives of the people crossing it, so every vehical stops at the temple before moving ahead on the dangerous road to Kinnaur.


Firstly, like all mountain roads, the Sangla road has not been carved on a mountainside but rather bored through a rocky precipice. Therefore the road has an overhang of rock giving you a feeling that you are driving through a tunnel. At one stretch, you feel frightfully hemmed in, prompting travellers to christen it the ‘sandwich road’. If you dare to get off and look down from the ‘sandwich’, which inevitably every tourist does for selfies, there is a sheer drop of a few hundred feet. Down below in the stone strewn gorge, the Baspa river- a tributary of Satluj- appears but as a trickle of water.

 It is not for nothing that this road has been called one of the world’s deadliest roads and has been a subject of numerous adventure documentaries. But the road is dangerous in the sense that if you tip over the edge, there is instant death. Except at some stretches, the road is otherwise broad enough for two vehicles to cross each other.

We reached Chitkul.. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border and this beautiful village is also by the side of Baspa river.After a good lunch there, we went to see the village. There is a temple called Chitkul Mathi templeThis Hindu temple is dedicated to goddess Shri Mathi. This temple has three shrines, the main one said to have been built by a resident of Garhwal.

The goddess is on square ark made up of walnut wood and covered with clothes and decorated by a tuft of the tail of yak.Two poles called bayanga.Then that are inserted and the Goddess is carried out at times. 

 Her legend goes that Goddess started from Brindavan and via Mathura and Badrinath had reached Tibet. Afterward she came to Garhwal, and via Sirmour reached Sarhan in Bushahr and ultimately reached the Barua Khad. 

She found the territory divided into seven parts. Narenas was the deity of Shaung village, her nephew and also including her husband. To guard the territory, she appointed him. Her husband name is Badrinath. Badrinath was put as a guard of the throne of Bushahr. For guarding a place named Dhumthan, her husband was responsible. Then further she went to Rakchham where Shanshares, as a guard of Dhumthan yet another nephew was appointed.Then she went to Sangla where her another nephew, Barang Nag, was responsible for safeguarding the Rupin Ghati. Finally she settled at Chitkul and took over a supervisory role of the seven division.
 


The villagers were busy storing potatoes and hay for winter. We saw a grinding stone grinding flour with the force of water under that.
Then went to the Baspa river and the view was just beautiful. Spent time clicking pictures and then drove back to Kinner tent camp.We had a bonfire and relaxing night chitchatting.

Day 3:

Early morning woke up by 6am to see the view outside and what a beauty..surrounded with mountains and the sound of Baspa river flowing, temple bells ringing from the nearby village and the birds chirping! just loved it!
After breakfast some of us went behind the camp to see the river flowing along. The camp also had apple orchids. We left the camp thanking the staff who were very humble and kind.

We went to Basteri village. Set on the bank of river Baspa, the village is approached on foot for about a kilometre. Teh apth leading down to it crosses the stream with a traditional bridge of cantilevered logs set in a mesh of stone and wood along the banks. The village has some interesting architecture, cobbled paths and the superbly crafted temple of Badri Narayan.Unfortunately the temple was closed. So we took a walk in the village. There were apple orchids and people were busy plucking apples and packing them. An interesting little piece of sacred architecture is the large prayer wheel housed in a shelter high up the village that is turned by a streams waters (which was under contruction)

We came down the village and drove to Kamru fort.

Kamru Fort is one of the oldest Fort in Himachal. Distance of 2-km from Sangla, lies this wonderful place, the tower-like fort of Kamru. The Sangla valley is a breathtaking beauty in itself, with a blaze of saffron trees and cold snowmelt. Here, the river Bapsa flows to meet the churning torrent of the Sutlej River at Karcham. An exotic Image of Lord Buddha on the Fort's Main Gate and an Image of Kamkhya Devi are the unique features of this fort. The image of Kamkhya Devi, supposed to have been brought from Assam, is installed on the third floor. There is also a 15th century shrine of Lord Badrinath, which hosts a light every three years.

The Kamru fort is a quiet sentinel, located at a fearsome altitude of 2,600 m above the sea level. The nature shows off its existence and the splendor of this land. Along its sides rise snow clad mountains, thick forests of deodar trees, and lush green and richly fruited orchards.

The fort seems like being placed over packing of dressed stone that acts like a pedestal for an exalted piece of art. The tower possesses an elegant wooden balcony.
Standing at an altitude of 2600m above sea level, Kamru fort is 229 km from Shimla and 2 km from the beautiful Sangla Valley. The fort is set in a picturesque location and is entered through a series of gates. At the main gate of the Kamru Fort, a stunning image of Lord Buddha greets you. The graceful wooden balcony, at the top of the fort, and the idol of Kamakhya Devi, installed on the third floor of the fort, are worth seeing. There are a number of interesting myths attached to the fort.

Kamru fort is located on bank of Baspa River and surrounded by some beautiful places Rakcham Village, Batseri village and Chitkul Village.

After lunch, we started our journey to Kalpa. As soon as we had crossed Karchham, it was again just dirt & stones. But along with that also came the amazing views that made us forget the pain of travelling on such bad roads.
We continued on the main highway towards Pooh and pretty soon had reached Reckong Peo. From here, we once again left the main highway towards Kalpa.We checked in the hotel Shangrila or Shamba-la as its called. The hotel was very beautiful..but the pain was climbing stairs to the room.. we were allotted at 4th floor..huh!!
But the view from the balcony was amazing. The view of Kinner Kailash was just in front of us.



There was a library on the last floor and we girls sat there with our evening coffee/tea and had great time playing dumb charades and enjoying the poems of Gulzar.  After a good dinner, we went to take rest as we had a hectic day!

Day 4:

Morning woke up to see the sunrise and it was a beautiful sight. Enjoyed morning coffee watching those beautiful mountains. Later got ready to leave to Nako.

After breakfast, we went to the suicide point. The Suicide Point is located on the road connecting Kalpa with Roghi. The surroundings of this point are so amazing that people are forced to call it as the Suicide Point. The dangerous trench and vertical slopes are the highlights of this place. Also, the breathtaking mountain scenery gives tourists a taste of height and turns their experience into something more interesting.
The beautiful Roghi village is situated 8 km away from the town of Kalpa and is surrounded by lovely gardens and village houses. This place is popular for its apple orchards and ethnic village life, which includes temples, monasteries, Kinnauri style buildings, etc. The road to Roghi from Kalpa is a bit dangerous as there is a cliff, which hugs one way road from Kalpa, crossing which seems impossible for many tourists. However, there are some adventure freaks, who love this route and they come down to Roghi only to enjoy the spectacular view of the Kinnaur Kailash range, which can be seen from here. The Roghi village is built on the slope of a mountain and is covered with apple, apricot, and chilgoza trees.

The inhabitants of the village are very helpful here and they escort your around the village to make you feel safe. The village is very close to suicide point and it has a temple and a lot of apple gardens.We just took a walk and came back. Our journey continued to Nako.

We drove through the treachourous routes and crossed Ribba, Spillow and Khab which is the main point of confluence of Tsang-Po river  and Sutlej river... and from there the roads were again dangerous.. Amazing how the roads were made.. we were shocked to see these mountains and roads. Great job by the people who made it!!

We reached Nako tent camp little late..it was dark and dint knw how the place was. The tents were very comfy here. We refreshed and went to have tea in the dining hall. Since we had nothing to do, we were chitchatting and playing till dinner. After dinner, came out and saw the sky full of stars, milkyway and enjoyed the view..learnt and did some night photography!!

Day 5:

Early morning got up by 6am to see the beautiful place. We could see the Nako lake from our place and the mountains surrounded were just beautiful with the sunrise. Had morning coffee/tea and got refreshed.. then packed our things and kept. After breakfast, went to the lake and clicked pictures. It was beautiful with the trees and reflections of them in the lake.
Then we started our journey.. visited the village nearby and also a local school. Learnt about the place and how things are. When we hear about their life stories, we feel blessed for what we have! Thats lift, we feel!!

Then we went to Nako Monastry. At an altitude of 3660 m, Nako is the highest village in the valley of Hangrang surrounded by barren and dusty landscape.

The monastic complex in Nako is situated at the western edge of the town and comprises four temples apart from other buildings. From outside, the monastery exude a very simple appearance, but this is in contrast to what you will see inside.

Two temples are of utmost importance here, the Main temple and the Upper temple. Both these temples are considered the oldest amongst all the structures and still preserve their original clay sculptures, murals and ceiling panels. The largest temple or the main temple is also called the Translator's Temple. It also happens to be the oldest monument in the village.
The third structure in the complex is the Small White temple, which though not in a good state, is worth visiting for its wonderful wooden door-frame with scenes of the Life of the Buddha carved on the lintel.

The fourth structure is quiet the same size as the Upper Temple and is also situated besides it. The temple is today known as the Temple of Wide Proportions (rGya-dpag-pa'i lHa-khang)

Next we drove to a Nunnery Kamtsang Thubten Ozer Rabgye Ling and its inauguration was performed by His Holiness The  XIV Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. This was on a small hill top. We could hear their prayer chanting for sometime. There was Budha statues.

Had tea there and left for Gue Gompa.


Nestled deep within the Trans-Himalayan cold desert of the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is the tiny village of Gue which is relatively unknown and unheard ...The village of Gue is situated at an altitude or around 10,500feet above sea level and is only a few kms away from the Indo-China border.

While approaching Spiti Valley from the Kinnaur route, about 3 kms ahead of Sumdoh towards the town of Tabo is a diversion with a road sign directing towards the Gue village which is 15 to 20 km drive via a unpaved muddy road.

The Gue Gompa is built at the end of the village on a hilltop overlooking the village. Gue is a quiet, peaceful and beautiful hamlet with few houses n few hundered people living in small huts in the midst of the mighty Himalayas.

Gue also houses Indias only known naturally preserved mummy. The mummy was found during an army excavation and was placed in a tomb in the year 1975. According to carbon dating, the mummy is believed to be around 500-600 yrs old. It is the only Buddhist Mummy in the world, that too, in a sitting position. There were other mummies also in Tibet which were buried by Tibetans just after the Chinese invasion. This mummy was discovered by the villagers in 1975 when an earthquake struck the region. Gue village is a restricted area and under the control of ITBP and very few people knew about the mummy until Anuj Singh (A freelance photographer) and his fellow biker Shahwar Hussain (An auto and travel magazine writer) first photographed it way back in the 90’s.


According to the local beliefs, the mummy is believed to be that of a holy man or lama named Sangha Tenzin who decided to sacrifice his life for the well being of his village. It is believed that the lama took upon himself to save his village from a plague of scorpions. Villagers believe when the lama's sould left his body there was a rainbow in the sky after which the village was free from scorpions. They still believe in the mummy as their living god and worship for guidance.

The mummy is in a squatting position dressed in silk robes. The teeth and hair are still well preserved and kept in a glass chamber in a small enclosure close to the monastery. The process of mummification of this mummy is natural and no chemicals have been used to preserve it.

A day trip is good enough to this village as there is nothing much to do here other than looking at the mummified lama and of course the beautiful mountains surrounding it.

We next left for Tabo....

At first glance this monastery seems nothing more than a cluster of large mud huts surrounded by a brick wall boundary. The monastery is built on a flat piece of land surrounded by high mountains in the barren, arid, snow covered, cold and rocky desert of the Tabo valley. This monastery is also known as Chos-Khor. It is the preserver of the Buddhists legacy and house a priceless collection of manuscripts, paintings, frescos, clay statues and murals depicting the tales from Mahayana Buddhism in Tibetan Style. Every inch of wall inside the assembly hall is covered with fine paintings in well preserved collection.

Evening they close by 5.30pm and morning the open by 5am. No lights are there inside to avoid any damage to the paintings. Hence should go in the daytime when sunlight is there. It is also said that the sun light falls directly and looks all the more beautiful.

After this we went to the hotel n took rest.. Felt too tiring! And as usual spend some time gazing at stars in the night.  



Day 6: 

After breakfast, we left for Dhankar monestary. Dhankar Monastery, also referred to as Dhankar Gompa, is a Buddhist temple situated in the district of Spiti & Lahual in Himalyan region of Northern India. It is situated in Himachal Pradesh state. 

The Monatsery is located at a height of almost 3894 m from sea level in the Spiti Valley and is surrounded by town Tabo and Kaza. The Monastery is placed at a height of 1000 ft above the confluence of Pin & Spiti rivers. Dhankar Monastery is one of the world’s ancient Buddhism monasteries present today. Dhang means cliff while Kar means fort so Dhankar is a word with meaning ‘Fort on a Cliff’. This Monastery is also widely known as the Lha-O-pa Gompa.his Monastery belongs to famous Gelukpa order. 

Dhankar monastery supposedly belongs to 16th century and in ancient times, has also served as a prison. Due to the demolishing condition of the fort, a new Monastery has been developed below this original Monastery. This old fort complex encompasses a series of multi storied buildings that are perched together. The Monastery has 5 separate halls including Lhakhang, Kanjur and Dukhang. There is a big life sized silver picture of Vajradhara (the Diamond being) which is placed in a glass altar that is always ornamented with flowers & scarves. There is also a small chapel, Lhakhang Gompa in the Monastery which is located on the topmost peak of the main Monastery. This small chapel has got depictions of Lama Chodrag, Tsongkhapa along with Shakyamuni on the central wall. There is a statue of Dhayan Buddha, Vairochana in the monastery which has 4 figures of Buddha seated end-to-end. There are several murals of Medicine Buddha, Buddhist scriptures which are in Bhoti language, Buddhist Thangkas, murals of protector deities in the Monastery. 

 Next we left for Key monastery. The way was just full of mountains and valleys.. beautiful view which one cant miss to see. 

Key Gompa (also spelled Ki, Key or Kee - pronounced like English key) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti district, India. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. The walls of the monastery are covered with paintings and murals, an example of the 14th century monastic architecture, which developed as the result of Chinese influence. Key monastery has a collection of ancient murals and books, including Buddha images. 

There are three floors, the first one is mainly underground and used for storage. One room, called the Tangyur is richly painted with murals. The ground floor has the beautifully decorated Assembly Hall and cells for many monks. Kye Gompa now belongs to the Gelugpa sect, along with Tabo Monastery and Dhankar Gompa, one of three in Spiti. We passed through the main entrance and welcomed by a set of prayer wheels. We rotated the prayer wheels and moved further to an inner courtyard. we went o a prayer hall through a series of narrow steps. There was a huge picture of Buddha, where we offered our prayers. The monastery has a collection of ancient murals and books of high aesthetic value and it enshrines Buddha images and idols, in the position of Dhyana. 

From there, we went to the roof of the monastery. It is an amazing site. One side is covered by the high hills of Himalayas and other side is covered by the Spiti river valley. Visiting Key Monastery was a wonderful experience. We stared our journey back to Kaza. We went to the Kibber village too. We stopped to capture some beautiful scene and photo pictures while passed through the Key village and along the Spiti river and finally reached Kaza. 

Back to the hotel..and had good rest! 

Day 7: 

After breakfast,started the trip to Langza. Langza village situated at an altitude of 4400 meters is divided into 2 sections, namely Langza Yongma (Lower) and Langza Gongma (upper). This Homogeneous Buddhist village belongs to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. 

Langza houses a population of 137 in 33 households. The mainstay of this village in the olden days was mud craft. Vessels of all shapes and sizes were produced here and supplied to the entire valley for household use. This craft has dwindled over the ages and the current mainstay is primarily to agriculture. The village is adorned by an ancient Lang (Temple) estimated to be around 1000 years old. The Lang is regarded as the headquarters of all the devtas (Deities) of the Spiti Valley. 

A large modern Buddha statue, built from 2002 to 2005, stares across the Spiti valley from the top of the village; the temple behind it is around 500 years old. Langza is also well known for its rich fossil reserves. Millions of years ago, Spiti lay submerged under the Tethys sea. Fossils of sea life can easily be found scattered close to the village. Regular fossil excursions are organized for a unique insight into the history of the Himalayas. 

From there we left to Komic monastry. Komic monastery also known as the Tnagyud Monastery has the honor of being the world’s highest motorable monastery at 4587 mts overlooking the Komic village and mountain peaks. There are a few stories behind the existence of this monastery and they go like this:- 

A) As per the sacred ‘Gum Maro’ (Red Box) kept in the monastery, it was foretold in Tibet that a monastery would be built in Spiti in the backdrop of a mountain with the shape of a snow lion on the left and a beheaded eagle on the right hand side with 4 springs in the vicinity. The area in between these mountains was to be in the shape of the eye of a snow cock, which was foretold as the exact location where the Monastery would be built. On the basis of this, the area was to be named Komic (‘Ko’– Snow Cock, ‘Mic’– Eye). The monastery is known as the Komic Lundup Tsemo Gompa and dates to the early 14th century built like a fortified castle with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ochre and white vertical stripes. Prayer flags and mountain ranges from Komic Prayer flags and mountain ranges from Komic 

 B) Due to a drought, the monks of Komic decided to shift the Komic monastery to the nearby, relatively lower-lying village of Hikkim. The Mahakal statue, believed to symbolize the Protector of Dharma, however, refused to move from its foundation in the ground of Komic, despite numerous chipping and lifting efforts by the monks. When the entire monastery moved to Hikkim, the statue remained adamant at Komic, together with one monk who would continue to pray before it. In 1975 or earlier, an earthquake rocked the high altitude villages of Spiti, reducing the Hikkim monastery to ruins, still visible atop a small hill. The Mahakala statue in Komic held its ground even amid the devastating tremors. Convinced that Komic was the holiest place for a monastery, the monks decided to move back to Komic, where the monastery stands to this day. Females are not allowed in the section where the statue of Mahakala is kept. 

C) Legend has it that many hundreds of years ago, robbers tried to steal the main deity from the Komic Gompa. The deity although not more than 3 feet in height became so heavy once taken out from the gompa, that the robbers had to abandoned the deity and it was brought back to the gompa. It remains here till this date in the old prayer hall. The gompa also has some hidden treasures which due to security reasons are made public once every 60 years. These are the egg of a dragon, the horn of a unicorn, the upper tooth of a sheep, the ribcage of a gaint demon and the tail of a prehistoric man. The monastery is part of of the Sakya sect of Buddhism. The Sakya Monastery in Kaza is part of the Komic Monastery and was built many years after Komic. In Komic, there are only about a dozen houses with the total population being between 50-60 people. Other than this, there are the Lamas staying at the monastery throughout the year. 

When we went,there was a festival that day. Monks were chanting prayers and the people were all dressed up to perform their dances. Local lunch was served to all. Later on the way back, we saw herd of Himalayan blue sheeps or Bhatal as it is called. The landscape on the way back was very beautiful. Overnight stayed at Kaza.  

After reaching hotel, few went for local shopping. and then we were served local food. it was very tasty. One must try the local food.

Day 8: 

Next day after breakfast, checked out the hotel and started our journey towards Kunzum pass. The way was asusual beautiful with moutains and with the sunrise it made all the more beautiful view with the fog, clouds. We kept clicking pictures. Had to go through so many mountains..ups and downs! Many motorists can be seen on the way.

 The road over the pass is not a road. Just a dirt track leading upto the top of the hill. It links the Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley with the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The surface on this gravel road is often loose, especially along the sides of the road. It makes necessary to drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car.The drive is definitely worth it!!

 Situated at 4,551 m above mean sea level, Kunzum La or Kunzum Pass is one of the gateways to Lahaul and Spiti valleys. It is one of India’s highest motorable mountain passes and is located in Himachal Pradesh. Separating Spiti and Lahaul valleys, it is situated at a higher altitude than Rohtang Pass, which is at an elevation of 13,054 ft and also serves as another gateway to Lahaul and Spiti. Popular with tourists visiting Lahaul, Spiti and Manali, Kunzum Pass offers spectacular views of Bara-Sigri, the second longest glacier in the world. Also visible from the top of the pass are the Chandra-Bhaga mountain and Spiti valley. The presence of chortens and prayer flags signify a strong Buddhist influence in the area.

Also popular, is the Kunzum Devi Temple where all vehicles must stop to pay respects to the goddess. Three chortens and Kunzum Mata Temple ( SE Structure next to Chortens ) mark the Kumzum La (La means mountain pass in Tibetan language) at a height of 4551m. The old road to Batal goes through this shrine and joins the new road a km down.

The basic structure of a Chorten consist of a square foundation symbolizing the earth, a dome symbolizing water, and thirteen tapering steps of enlightenment symbolizing the element of fire. These steps lead to a stylized parasol, the symbol of wind, which is topped in the ethereal sphere by the well-known ‘twin-symbol’ uniting sun and moon, which is the shimmering crown of the Chorten.


From Kunzum pass, we left for Chandratal lake. The road to Spiti has more mud and rocks than anything else! There is hardly any tar to be seen anywhere! You can find waterfalls, pagal nalas all on the road!

Chandra Taal (meaning the Lake of the Moon), or Chandra Tal is situated in the Spiti part of the Lahul and Spiti. The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. It is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a magnificent cirque presents a view on the other. Chandra Taal is a popular destination for trekkers and campers. The lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks the Chandra River.

The lake got its name because of its crescent shape. It is believed, Chandratal was discovered by traders who came to the region from Tibet or Ladakh. After an arduous journey, the traders used to rest near the lake before resuming their journey to Kullu or Spiti.

The sweet water lake is around 2.5 km wide. It is the source of Chandra River which merges with Bhaga River to form Chandrabhaga River and later assumes the identity of Chenab.

The lake is normally blue but changes colour with the colour of the sky. Chandra Bhaga mountain range (CB Group) forms the perfect backdrop for the lake. Though the place is barren and bereft of any human settlement, it is a famous camping site during summer. Travelers often get awestruck by the blue colour of the lake, bordered by wide carpet of green grass coupled with the pristine white of Chandra Bhaga mountain range.

According to Hindu mythology, Chandratal is the place where Indra, the King of Gods, came down on his chariot to transport Yudhishthira, eldest of the five Pandavas, in his mortal form to Swarga (heaven). Locals believe that fairies visit the lake at night.

Another legend has it that Chandra was the beloved daughter of the moon and Bhaga was the only son of Suryadev, the Sun god. Both of them once ran into each other at Baralacha La and it was love at first sight however their love was not approved by their parents and they were not allowed to marry each other. Sun god wanted to entrust his son the task of bringing light to the world in the form of days while Moon god wanted to assign the job of lighting the nights in the world to his daughter Chandra. This disapproval of their parents broke the hearts of the two young lovers but they were not so easily defeated. Together they both decided to elope, meet at Baralacha Pass again where they had first met and perform their eternal marriage themselves without their parent’s approval.

They both came down to the agreed spot but Chandra reached a little ahead of time than Bhaga. When she didn’t find Bhaga at Baralacha La, she wandered off in search for him towards Kunzum Pass and then started to circle back to Baralacha La again. Just when she reached Tandi, she saw Bhaga coming down from the opposite direction looking for her. They both consequently met and the celestial marriage was performed. The route that Chandra took from Baralacha La Pass to Chandra Taal is today present in form of a trek route that several trekking enthusiasts follow. Her route from Kunzum Pass back towards Baralacha La is where the river flows in present days. Chandratal is believed to be named after Chandra and Suraj Taal after Bhaga, him being the son of Sun God. And so is the legend of Chandra Taal, the beautiful lake, tiny in size but a giant in beauty.

We reached the camping ground. From the camping grounds the lake is still about 3km way. You can take the trek route and walk to the lake. Or you can go by vehicle to what is known as the ‘parking lot’ of the Chandratal. From the parking lot, the lake is a 20 minutes leisurely walk.

Chandratal appeared before the eyes like a bowl filled with blue water from a vestibule like opening. Its color was turquoise blue, water was absolutely still. As we move closer, we could see the clearer water on its banks. My heart and mind were locked by the visuals in front of me. No matter how many pictures you see of Himalayan lakes, the magic on standing next to them is something no technology can ever replicate for us. But still we do click pictures!!

The circumference or parikrama of the lake is about 4 km’s. A lot of people, especially Buddhists take a Parikrama (a clockwise circumambulation) around the lake.

At places, we met the piles of stones that Buddhist believers put as a way of marking the path for those who follow. Every passerby puts a stone on top, like adding his bit of the good karma. I later learned that these piles of stones are called ‘Ovoos’.

The path twisted and turned and we saw the part of Chandratal that was not visible from the edge we began our journey from. We stopped frequently to click pictures but no camera can ever match our eyes. I was just taking the landscape into myself.. I knew it would stay with me forever – as a small part of me, some journeys are meant to be like that!

There was a path with big stones that seem to be arranged by human intervention in a manner that made it easy to walk on that stretch. I had spring in my feet as I walked around Chandratal. My breathing that was definitely not effortless in the whole of Spiti valley was absolutely effortless on this parikrama. Legs just moved in a rhythm feeling no strain whatsoever. My body lost its weight and I moved like a ‘Hawa ka Jhonka’ – a gust of wind – feeling effortless, weightless and detached from the rest of the world. I do not know where that energy came from – an obvious answer is that Chandratal gave me that energy.

Felt no exhaustion, tiredness from that mini 4 km’s trek around the lake. I was amazed at the sudden surge of energy in both my body and my soul. Was I in touch with some higher energies that got channeled through me for those couple of hours. I have no doubt it happened. I am not sure if I would ever be able to find words that describe those hours for me. As soon as we finished the Parikrama and we had to walk back to the car, I felt the same gravitational pull. And I needed all the energy to push myself to reach the car. While walking back, I almost felt that I left my magic wand at Chandratal Lake.


In the evening, we sat with Bishan Thakur ji, the owner of Parasol Camps over a bowl of garlic soup. And heard stories of Snow Leopards who live in these ranges but are hardly sighted these days.

After simple dinner, we got into our tents with no intention to get out before the sun was up. But, it was so cold we couldnt sleep. Just to see how the outside world looks like stepped out of the tent. When looked at the sky....stars were hanging from the sky like in a well lit Shamiyana and that was all we could see around us. They were not in the sky, they were hanging from it. They were twinkling so brightly that I never felt the absence of moon that night. It was freezing cold, but the sky was in party mode, shining bright and inviting to join in. They were not just shining brightly, they were just too many in number and the whole sky was densely filled with stars. Took few night pictures of the stars..but more than that, enjoyed the view and that feeling which cant be captured by any technology!

Chandratal gave me those magical moments that are etched on my soul. And the night sky gave me the visual that I still feel is straight out of the dreams.

Day 9:

Next morning, got up before sunrise and went to see out. The view of the place changed as the sun rose on the snow capped mountains.

After breakfast, it was time to leave Chandratal and the valleys of Spiti and take the route of Rohtang Pas. We halted at Chandra Dhaba run by Chacha and Chachi for a tea break. The way was full of stones and few streams flowing here and there.  The mountains and landscape were barren  as we crossed Chotadhara.


It was evening by the time we reached Rotang pass. Back to the living world.. and the normal roads. Rohtang , (means.. pile of corpses,due to people dying in bad weather trying to cross the pass) (elevation 3,978 m (13,050 ft)), is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km (32 mi) from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.

On the way saw paragliding but we were all tired and in no mood to adventure anything. Reached Manali and checked into hotel Mayflower. Had hot tea and refreshed. Next day morning we all had our flights from Kullu. Felt very exhausted and after dinner just hit the bed.

Day 10:

Morning all got up early, packed things and set for the last road trip to Kullu airport.

Thus, ends the trip with loads of memories.

Thanks to wowclub for this trip. It was a great experience.
Thanks to himcalling team for their guidance and care of the group.