Valley of Cedar- Banjar & Jibhi

Cedar trees have captured this valley from every part & you will find green powder of Cedar tree leaves all over you, if you are stoned for some time. This place has a dense forest with abundance of variety of flowers & of course harmful insects.

It’s situated at more than 4500FT above sea level & lies around 35 Kms off route to Mandi – Kullu highway. From a small town Aut, you get direct buses to Banjar Valley & Jibhi. A peaceful & less crowded place with very high literacy rate. If you are travelling by local buses after Aut; you will certainly have a chance to meet & talk to students travelling to achieve their academic dreams & talking about a different Himachal culture unlike other cities- Shimla & Manali. Kind & helpful locals will give you a life perspective which is far outlandish to materialistic world.

There is a small waterfall in Jibhi & reaching on top of this will give you very fast pumping heart as a steep ascent is waiting for you. Coming down is easier if you choose to do water rappelling arranged by a local facilitator (Lalit-Leena’s Palace) here. This is one of the reason, I visited this place but believe me there was more to explore & be a part of, in this valley. Biking, Cycling, Fishing & Jungle treks are some other options worth trying in this place.

Jalori Pass-Himalayn range & an old temple inside fort which is only left with stone walls now. A small water tank in centre of fort with full of flower bouquets gives this places an aromatic touch. Though with stormy waves at this place, you might not feel it much. If you are lucky, you can experience clouds touching your feet & sunlight closing your eyes at the same time. Sarehul Lake, Chiri fort & Chaini village are some other important places to visit around Jibhi & forest trek make these places little adventurous. I guess winters could make these places more beautiful with snow, which I surely missed this time. Don’t forget to eat Siddu (a local dish of Himachal) here which definitely has a different taste from other parts of Himachal.

Nice and relaxing place for solo or family travel. Have a good one…

Lord of Peaks- Tungnath

At 12000 ft it feels like another world when cold breezes touch your face & make it numb, same way your heart & mind will stop thinking anything when you will see the amazing beauty of this place.

                             We started from Delhi in a chilled morning of December and without deciding the destination. After continue driving & passing Haridwar & Rishikesh, we decided to go to Tungnath but keeping 4 days for this trip encouraged us to visit Deoriya Taal also. We travelled in December 2012 so lots of things changed after 2013 UK Floods.

                              On our way at Rudraprayag we saw the confluence of Alaknanda & Mandakini River & Chamundi Temple is located in between both rivers. Flow of both rivers on joining was at its best. Our first night stop was at Syalsaur Government cottage 170 Kms from Rishikesh which is now vanished after flood.  It was a very decent cottage on the bank of Mandakini River. After a full day more than 400 Kms drive, this place actually provided a peaceful stay & sound of river water was giving soothing music. Second morning we headed to Sari Village, it’s a small village from where the 3.5 Kms trek for Deoriya Taal starts. We stopped by here to fill ourselves with  maggi & parantha & it was a good decision, we realized later. 3.5 Kms trek from here was more difficult for us than we thought but lush green forest around trek helps little. We took around one & half hour to trek it. You get couple of shops over there & they provide everything starting from tea to camping stuff, everything you might need. We decided to camp there, once we get to know about facilities these people providing. This place gives 300 degree view to Kedar Range Mountains & mirror image of mountains on Deoriya Taal. It’s a small lake of natural water at 2387 mtrs above sea level. Camping at this place in month of December thrilled us & chilled our veins.  A group of bikers joined us on Bon fire & made it a musical night with their songs. Next day we drove to Chopta to start our final day trek to Tungnath- Lord of peaks. All shops were closed because of winters & camping was also not possible there. It was 4 kms moderate trek from Chopta & full of snow in winters. The 1000 years old temple of Shiva at 12000 ft looks amazing & gives an iconic view covered with snow. You get the full view of Himalayas from here. Temple gets closed in winters so we missed to view it from inside. It is definitely a place to visit & would like to save that view in your memories forever. This place gives a peace of mind & forces you to believe the power of almighty. After spending few hours in silence & happiness we moved back towards life of New Delhi, keeping Tungnath in mind & heart.

Inexpensive Treasures

All the time we are rushing to earn more and more, hopping from job to job to get the best figure on the pay check. Obvious is the reason that we all are seeking better life with all those extra grands earned. Money cannot buy you everything…what!! d’aah! that sentence is nothing but a cliché. Money can buy you almost everything today. But some small silly pleasures of life can still be experienced free of cost. Having said that I’m not going to start the whole- “finding money in an old pair of jeans” or “one car four buddies and a road trip” kinds list. Undoubtedly all that is some “feel good” stuff, but what I mean is that it can be about more regular little stuff like

  • Hearing your parents’ childhood stories…sometimes funny sometimes inspiring…but always priceless!
  • Somebody kneading your feet after a looong tiring day…priceless!
  • Lying on the terrace gazing at the stars completely into the “me zone”…priceless!
  • Feeling the velvety head of a bald baby…priceless!
  • Snuggling down in the quilt on a chilling winter night…priceless!
  • The unannounced day off of your not so favourite teacher…priceless! 😉
  • Gosh those puppy eyes & belly rubs!…priceless ❤
  • Crossing the traffic light seconds before it turns red…priceless!
  • Pirated blockbusters, authentic relationships and not vice-versa …priceless! 😀
  • Listening on loop the song you feel is written just for you.. priceless!
  • Being with a tipsy friend… priceless! 😉
  • Remembering the right thing at the right time in an argument…priceless!
  • Making somebody happy… priceless!
  • Fulfilled expectations and promises lived up to…priceless!
  • An honest compliment… priceless!
  • Realizing that you are exclusive…priceless!
  • Me+U=priceless 🙂

ohhh yeah.. How can I forget?

  • Internet catching 4G on a 3G plan…priceless! 😀

These are just very few of the million things that go unnoticed each day…things we can do/feel good about…things nobody boasts about…things we can celebrate way more than we really do…things we don’t pay much attention to; things which are petty…but that’s life.. “petty”. Not everything every time has to be grand. Pleasures of life come in small packets too. 🙂

I know you have a bigger list of such tiny beautiful things which please you. Just sit back.. breathe.. and feel the joy of living…

Ladakh – The Heavenly delight

Well the most awaited road trip started on 6th Aug night when four of us started driving a Maruti Ertiga towards Leh-Ladakh. We have been alarmed & warned multiple times by friends about current bad weather & local political conditions but risk was worth taking for sure. After driving for almost 900 Kms with 6-7 stops we decided to spend our night in Balihan, 110Kms before Srinagar. We stayed in Govt. Hotel Mapples, quite decent & reasonable in terms of money. It was night just to get some rest after all the way driving madly.

8th Aug- We left from Banihal to Srinagar. Martand Sun Temple, built in AD 724-761 was the first stop in Srinagar. This temple has very old architecture with multi pillars surrounding a big dome in the centre. Don’t know much about it but a song of movie “Haider” was shot here. Dal Lake in Aug gives a beautiful view with wooden houses & shikaras on the sides. This around 21 square Km lake has floating gardens too & second largest lake of J&K, is best place for boating & Shikaras. Leaving the still water of Dal Lake behind, we drove around 90 Kms more to reach Sonamarg for the night halt. Meadows of Gold is on the bank of river Nallah Sindh & gives a panoramic view of Himalayan ranges. This places is full of alpine trees & inaccessible during winters. We stayed in J&K tourism cottages & it’s one of the best designed & maintained hotel so far in my all road trips to hills. Well-polished heavy wooden structure with all the modern facilities & situated on the top of valley, which will give you wonderful view of sunrise in this Alpine Valley.

9th Aug- After a wonderful morning view & breakfast, it was time to move ahead & from here the real adventure starts while driving to these motorable roads without roads. Though Srinagar- Leh highway is still the best maintained & actually have some awesomely done roads on the way except few patches, which take your breath away while driving to landslide roads. Our next stop was at 11649 ft. Zozila pass, 108 Kms from Srinagar. & now the cold desert starts from here with many bikers, cyclist, army personnel & crazy travellers. Visiting Kargil, Drass, Batalik, Captan Batra’s camp, Tololing Peak & many other martyrs camps give adrenaline rush to your patriotism. Highest altitude wars had been taken place here multiple times & we won proudly every time with sacrifices which can never be forgotten. We spent the night in our tents near Khugru; a small village & I have never seen so bright night without moon. It was most mesmerising view of sky in night; loaded with stars & shining galaxies.

10th Aug- Day when we reached Leh after crossing mighty mountains, well maintained roads by BRO, cold desert full of sand dunes structure & a chilling feeling of witnessing a dream destination about to come true. We roamed around crazily in the town & decided to stay at Changspa Valley in guest house made of wood again. Time was for the well-deserved party after honing our driving skills for days. We had a party among some guitarist, foreign travellers & few so called travel singers. Night went well..

11th Aug- with so many landslides on the way of Khardung-La & other passes, we only had one option left & that was Pangong Tso- around 225 Kms from Leh. On the way is Chang-La at 17688 Ft. There is a temple Changla Baba & refreshment cafeteria; the only one on our way to Pangong. Changla was First place where we saw some snow fields nearby in this season & chilling weather too. On the way we found many Ice water streams & sat for a few hours to enjoy our drinks with view of horses walking around & chilling air of mountains touching us extensively. Then we left for our today’s destination & believe me the first sight of Lake Pangong Tso is still alive in our eyes. This Ice water salty lake situated at 14720ft is around 140 kms long, 5kms broad & only 30-40% of it is in India. Crystal clear chilled water & camping tents in a row around it. We stayed in our own tent here just next to lake. This place gives immense pleasure to eyes & scenic beauty of this place is just beyond words. Every bit of this place gives you peace & forces you to think about your own existence again. Reaching here in time & spending a night here only was best decision. Watching sunrise on this place is altogether a different experience. Every falling ray behind mountains was giving this lake a view of sparkling diamonds or like fire over the water. A place must visit.

12th Aug- 15th Aug- We started our Journey back to New Delhi, taking the Manali-Rohtang pass & the worst road adventure starts from here. Road from Leh to Pang is still ok but Pang to Sarchu is like driving in hell full of boulders, pebbles, water bodies, mud & all worst. Though view on this way is great but this side we were unlucky because clouds have surrounded us. On the way we saw double rainbow first time in our life. One night in Sarchu; where we slept with locals in a dhaba as night had fallen on us & roads & weather conditions had gone worst. Second day we drove in the clouds to reach Manali & couldn’t see a bit of it. It was hard to say whether we were clouded or we were driving into the clouds.  A night in Manali and then we were back again in Delhi NCR with a feeling & promise to go back again asap- Most probable in winters

Life teaches us a lot & travelling such places gives you opportunity to use those learnings & enlightening it. Remember I am talking about travelling not about staying in hotels & shopping around these places.

Have a safe journey in Ladakh but do it for sure…..

Your life = My life

In Life, there will always be…

A person loving you unconditionally.

A person who won’t love you back ever.

A person who makes you feel you are awesome.

A person who makes you feel you are awful.

A memory you want to forget.

A memory you want to cherish.

A memory you don’t know if you want to forget or cherish!

A friend who would always stick around.

A friend only you thought was a friend.

A pain that will always lie deep within.

A happiness for no reason.

An untold truth.

A told lie.

A fun trip you had been on.

A trip you could never take.

A bad hair day.

An “I’m beautiful” day.

A thing you will be a pro at.

A thing you will suck at.

A pessimism of being doomed.

An optimism of being lucky.

A why me?

A why not me?

A thank God its me!

A me I know. ❤

A me others know. 🙂

So you are not alone in this, life is same to everybody! But as they say ” No matter how many goals the goalkeeper saves, some people will always remember just the ones he missed” .Probably you are doing the same with life, forgetting all the blessings and focusing just on the hardships. Life balances every situation & every emotion, we just are too blind to see its equilibrium. Just try looking at the other side of the story of your own life and you’re good to go!

I hate you like I love you!

She broke my heart and flaked me- “I hate her!!!!”

I worked hard and he took all the credit-“I hate him!!!”

I shouldn’t have said it “Darn! I hate myself!”

Hate- too strong an emotion, too easy to say. We all have heard a lot of jibber jabber about hatred like -“life is too short to hate” and “If we love our self even after making so many mistakes,how can we hate others for their one mistake” etc. Well! we are not saints and we really don’t need to be. What’s important is that we should know the art of hating i.e. we should know how much hatred is to be parked for whom!

Hatred just like love,is not to be showered upon anybody just like that. It, trust me, is an important asset because by hating somebody you are still giving them a place in your life in some form. Ask yourself again, is that person worth even that much? Do u really want to waste a corner of your heart and mind for that person? In most cases, the answer will be in affirmative.

Also, sometimes we just confuse anger with hatred. We are so much in heat of the moment that we tend to be impulsive,rather than rational. Gradually with time we calm down and so does the anger disguised as hate.

And then there is always a class of people we love so badly that we can can never hate them, no matter what. Just check if you are letting people migrate out of that privileged category for nothing big!

Finally, after the above acid tests what qualifies is actual hate which you have every right to feel and why not!! It comes naturally as a part of human behavior.

Anyway, so now that you are firm that you hate somebody what next?? Usually its like burning your own blood when that person doesn’t even know,or knows, but doesn’t care! Does it mean your are putting the whole city on fire to burn your enemy’s house, but forgetting you too live in that city. We can really do better in such situations. How?? Erm…Just feel sorry for such people for being themselves and cut them off your life! You are a superior human to let go off such things and people in life and focus on more important and beautiful things life offers. Remember “Not everybody you lose is a loss” 🙂

Prashar Lake- A hidden grace

If a journey is painful, make sure the destination is worth all the pain you suffered. Prashar Lake is certainly one of those places which will heal your body & mind. Situated at 2700 mtrs above sea level surrounded by mountain peaks, a temple built in 13th century from a tree; view of Kinnaur, Pir Pinjar Mountains & a floating island in between lake makes this place an eye soothing tonic.

Place is about 50kms from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. After driving 30kms, you reach Baggi Village & then have two option- 9Kms Moderate Trek to Prashar Lake or 19Kms driving on worst roads of hills. We decided to drive 19Kms & after a good rain, it was not a good decision. There are two guest houses with 4-5 rooms each. You get very basic facilities at these places with limited options to eat but again location of these guest houses is another bonus of this place. Taking your own tent here is a good option, if weather is not bad. Mountain looks more beautiful in rain & we were lucky that we saw rain & sun showers changing their shift every hour. The floating island of lake makes this place more graceful. Temple of Prashar Rishi is just next to this lake & looks like a Tibetan temple architecture, though it’s not. Reach at the top of surrounded mountain & view from the top is more mesmerizing & beautiful. Winter look of this place must have been more amazing but we didn’t see less in April also for sure. A road trip from Delhi to this place is about 520 Kms & after continue 12 to 14kms drive, sleeping in this peaceful place hidden in forests, surrounded by mountains; was like blessings of nature.

Himalaya really has so many such hidden places which are worth all the pain you suffer to reach there.

Second day we moved to Manikaran in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, which is around 80-90kms from this place. After spending an hour here we decided to spend the night at Kasol which was on the way to Manikaran & just 3kms drive back. 2-3 good small treks are here but we decided to save our energy for next day’s 500kms drive to Delhi. I would say Kasol is Amsterdam of India in many ways. Spending a night here & having dinner in Joe Morrison café, situated deep in forest will give a feeling of Bob Marley Kingdom. Rest is history & secrets………… Himalayas never ends….. 🙂

The Ass-trology!

If you live in India you would totally relate to this. Right from the time a child is born he is caught in an unseen web. Even before he gets an identity in form of some name, his life’s summary and report card is prepared, commonly called the horror-scope…oops! I mean the horoscope. Ever since then his whole life, even his name, depends upon his so-called planets & stars.

Life is about ups & downs and probably the ups wouldn’t be valued and celebrated if there were no downs. As simple as that! But no!!!! How can we simplify things so much, let’s complicate it a bit. Be it studies, career, marriage, house or health for everything we get eager to unleash our future and run to the astrologers or how I like to call them “the ass-trolgers” They claim to decode our horoscope & foresee all the hurdles that may come up in our life. Then there is always some stone you can wear or some pooja you can do or some other deed that’s going to assure your life is smooth.

The debate is not about astrology and its existence/accuracy the point is what is the need of knowing all the good or bad in advance????

If you ask me, I don’t need to know if my shukra (Venus) is flirting with my guru (Jupiter) and that’s going give me backache in life! or my shani (Saturn) is hand-to-mouth and that will hamper my promotion or that my mangal (Mars) is partying and that is sinful for getting married.

These superstitions are all around us, affecting lives. It is not wrong to believe in it, but it is wrong to depend on it. It is ok to wear a stone if it makes you feel confident but it is wrong to wear it in fear that if you don’t wear it only bad lies ahead for you.
The universe works on a simple secret “You invite what you think”. Like how your day is doomed if your daily newspaper horoscope said that it will be a bad day! Thats because you had made up your mind that it is sooo going to happen. So why not to make up the mind for the good things only? Not just astrology, keep yourself at bay from anything that makes you negative or otherwise deal with it in the face, punch it and defeat it!

If life could be unleashed so easily we won’t wait for tomorrow as we would already know it in advance. Nothing is above the faith that everything is fine and will always be fine. Conceive your faith from anything, sometimes a movie or a TV show or a book or a person or your own self helps you feel that life’s good and it will always be good. If you believe in the philosophy that all our stories are pre-written then at least have that confidence that whatever is my story it is the best or else have the balls to believe that you have to write your own story & your mind writes it for you each day. It is up to you that you write a thriller, action or rom-com for yourself!

Think Good. Speak Good. Be Good 🙂

Can’t be with…

How do you live your life with all those “can’t be with” people???… Life just happens. So many people come in just one life, most of them leave & some get stuck with you.  When you try to leave the stuck ones, something happens, something unexpected happens.  It takes a hell lot of efforts to leave a habit & takes a life time to leave the living. Do not get into a habit if you really want to leave. People around you do not exist really if you don’t want them around you. They are just like another thing finding you passing by. I tried to be a little crazy & refused to see anyone around, it pays me well & soothing (at times). Life is more tranquil when you don’t have to care about someone/something, but yes isolated too.

I don’t know the idea of refusing someone’s existence but yes pretending their non-existence is effortless. I guess life is much easier this way. Having lots of good people in life is another problem. You never know which one you should be with, when needed? Though, we are so thankful to have all good people around. Blessings come every time we do great things & …….no need to say what comes when you do wrong.  So keep doing the right (knowingly) & wrong (by mistake only) both, you should have the tastes of all kinds. In the end, you should not regret thinking- this could have been the right way…

Stop Designing Life

Money is a need to live & identity is a myth, stop living for changing priorities. Humanity is a virtue & if you are trying to develop means you are not human. Who are you for people standing right next to you, that’s what matters not the world. Being a witness of something great doesn’t make you great, but being part of a little substantial deed will make you a better human.

I remember a quote of Bob Marley- “Some people feel the rain & others just get wet”. It suits all. Many feel the rain & very few get wet. You decide what you want- sulking for the stupid reasons or smiling at the awesome flashes of life. Don’t waste much time in designing an unpredictable life, start astonishing it by unpredictable & stylish performances of yours. Not everyone can be Gandhi or Hitler or Teresa for people, but everyone can be worth for self. Let’s start with the poignant surroundings & resurrect the lives of not known & lost souls. All the best for breaking the black glass…….!!!