Chindi, Karsog, Himachal Pradesh – an off-beat destination and a small paradise

🇮🇳 Happy Independence Day 🇮🇳

Thought to put down all possible details before I forgot, we (me and my family) just came back from a 4-days and 3-nights vacation to Chindi. It’s a lesser-known place in Himachal Pradesh and comes under the district Karsog.

The plan was set a month back and the hotel HPTDC Mamleshwar, Chindi was booked. Taken a day off on Friday 12 August and got 5 days off due to Rakshabandhan on 11 and Monday was 15 August, a public holiday. You can book the hotel from the site http://www.hptdc.in. Let me put the details of each day in order.

Day 1: Started from home (Ghaziabad) at 5:30 AM on 11 August, the plan was to start at 4 AM as the distance was long but could not make it. The total distance is 450 Km in which 150 are mountains and the rest is plain, but 150 KM of mountains has taken the most time due to the wrong route suggested by google maps, and bad and single-lane roads. Reached Chindi at 6:30 PM after 13 hours of driving. It was approx 11 hours of driving and rest taken in stoppages for eating and other nature calls.

Landscape en route Chindi
Landscape en route Chindi
The Mamleshwar, Chindi (HPTDC Hotel)

Day 2: We decided to take a rest in the hotel rather than venturing outside and exploring anything, everyone was tired. We had all 3 meals in the hotel itself. Tried local delicacy Rajma Madra (Beans) in the dinner, its preparation is different from the typical Rajma preparation. Rajma is cooked in curd and garnished with coconut flakes. Rajma Madra does not taste like typical Rajma but was very tasty.

Day 3: Karsog valley is approx 30 mins from Chindi and there are 3 historical temples between Chindi and Karsog. The first temple is just 400 meters from the hotel is Chindi Mata (Monther Chindi), the next temple is in Karsog valley which is Mamleshwar Mahadev temple and the third is Kamaksha Devi temple which is 4 KMs from Mamleshwar Mahadev temple. Each of these temples are there since the time of Mahabharta and was built by Pandavas in one night. All these temples are wooden and very beautifully constructed, looks almost new.

Chindi Mata Temple: It’s said that she was the reincarnation of Goddess Durga and the youngest among 3 sisters who did not married and were later worshipped as Goddess.

Mamleshwar Mahadev Temple: This is in the town of Karsog and has a wheat grain of 250 grams, it also has a holy fire burning since the time of Mahabharata. I have noticed a dhol (drum) and when I enquire about it the priest told me that it of the same time when the temple was built and its made up of Rhino skin.

Kamaksha Devi temple: As per the priest of the temple it is one of the Shakti peeths of Sati. There is a bedroom in the temple for Devi to take a rest. It is said that every night priests prepare the room and keep water for drinking and every morning they find that water is being drunk and also the bed is scrambled as if someone has slept on it overnight.

Taking photos inside temples is not allowed. Apart from visiting the temples, we witnessed some very beautiful landscapes. The weather was nice and a cool breeze was flowing but it was not much cold. The view of Karsog valley was simply breathtaking.

Karsog Valley
Karsog Valley
Karsog Valley
A pond in Chindi Mata Temple
Solo Tree

Day 4: 14 August was the day of return, unlike our start which happened early in the morning, we started around 9:30 AM for the back. There is a hot water spring at Tattapani which we were trying to see but came to know from locals that it went underground now. There was a major landslide on the way between Shimla and Solan, as per news the 4 lanes of the highway were washed away due to heavy rain in that area, and traffic was diverted. Thanks to traffic police and local authorities we have not witnessed long jams. I was keeping a day in a buffer so that in case we need to take a night break we can stop on way but it was not required. We were enjoying the way back with beautiful landscapes.

We returned back to home (Ghaziabad) at 3 AM on the 15th of August morning.

The hotel in Chindi is surrounded by forest and there are a few places of interest as well, but they were closed due to the monsoon season. If you are planning to visit Chindi or Karsog try to find out a discount period of hotels before you book. I came to know from the reception that 20% discount will be applied from 15 August till 30 of September.

If you are traveling from Delhi and following google maps refer to the following link, the route shown on google maps is the best – https://goo.gl/maps/KGf19i3UZ36FhhXPA

I have tried to put all possible details which I could as Chindi and Karsog is not very well known travel destination and people often do not get much information on the internet. Hoping this blog will help travelers.

Started vlogging

Thought to update all those who are following me here on my blog. I have recently started vlogging on YouTube, so along with maintaining a blog I will try to post something on my vlog every week.

As of now I am keeping things simple and post mainly food around Delhi-NCR but soon there will be vlogs of a few road trips as well. The link to my channel is –

https://www.youtube.com/pawan269

My latest vlog is about taking an Rs. 100 challenge for a meal, here is the link –

Stay tuned for more content coming up both on the blog and vlog 🙂

Few tips for traveling with family – Chakrata, Uttarakhand

A lesser-known hill station of Uttarakhand but amazingly beautiful. It was the second trip in 2 months and probably 3 trips overall, I went there solo in May and again in June with family.

Traveling with family and solo or with friends requires 2 different approaches to planning, when you are traveling solo you can start the trip and plan later as you are not much worried about food and lodging but with family, you need to plan everything in advance before you hit the road.

Though this time I was searching for a location to match my kids’ expectations, I ended up finding one in Chakrata only.

As it was summer so the expectations also included a place with pleasant weather. Apart from it, food, location, other amenities, overall driving time, and driving time on mountains were also in consideration. Kids can not take long-distance travel, especially in mountains due to travel sickness. Added to those, expectations also include a water stream or river nearby so that kids can go and play in the water.

I took up this challenge and found the location :). The kid’s school and tuition were off for summer vacation and nothing was getting planned, finally this trip was planned on Friday night and we hit the road on Saturday morning. I am adding the name and location of this resort if you are planning to visit Chakrata.

My personal preference to visit the Himalayas (Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh) is monsoon, not sure if I have mentioned it but there are many reasons to visit the Himalayas during monsoon. Listing down a few below –

  • Mountains are lush green and all vegetation is in its full glory during the monsoon
  • Less crowded as school opens in July so no packed hotels or resorts, fewer traffic jams as well
  • Great offseason deals, much cheaper rates

There are certain risks as well like landslides but normally they do not happen around highways.

As this trip was completely to relax, we did not travel much around the resort. Posting a few photos of the resort here –

A quick update, I am starting a vlog channel to share my travel experience and will continue to maintain the blog as well. I would love to share the experiences of my 16 years of travel experience on that platform as well. I have ordered a few pieces of equipment along with an action camera, will keep on posting links to my vlogs here are well.

Wish me luck in vlogging 🙂

Solo trip – Work from Himalaya (Chakrata)

Logging after a gap of a month, though there were 2 trips that happened in the month of April, but nothing worth mentioning. I have a big group of people who love to discuss and plan trips, but that is just limited to discussion and planning, not everyone is keen to join. Mostly not likeminded, even in the family I have different taste for travel than others, where I love going places away from hustle while others love to go places which is a different concrete jungle or bustling with people. I did ask everyone about this trip as well, but as expected, the answer was the usual one, that they are busy this time or have so and so commitments but they will plan again soon.

Working from home gives an advantage that I just need a good internet connection and can work from anywhere. though I was doubtful as mountains often do not have good internet connectivity, especially in the area where I was thinking to go (Chakrata, Uttarakhand), to my surprise I have noticed many telephone towers on the way.

It was cold but I have managed with the clothing which I have carried with me. I think the monsoon will be a better time to visit there. Compare to Delhi NCR it is greener but still, the lush green I was expecting was not there yet. The good part about the Chakrata trip was that I just need to drive approx 60 KMs on mountains and the rest of the 565 KMs were on plains. Road conditions were great, also notices that roads on the mountains were made safer by putting fencing on the ridge side.

The air is fresh and I was able to wake up at 5:30 AM without any effort, utilized the morning time, and spend a couple of hours walking in nature before starting my regular daily office work. Took a few pics as well, and posting them here –

A village and farmland
A small hill and farmland
A traditional house

Though kids were excited after seeing photos that I was sharing with them, I am sure they will get bored in a place where there is no market and other kids’ company. But I truly enjoyed the stay and felt rejuvenated. Looking forward to another solo trip in the months of July and August when the beauty of the Himalayas is at its peak.

My review of The Kashmir Files

I was assuming that it is Holi evening and most halls will be empty, I was wrong, came to know from the ticket counter that all shows are booked for today. I was lucky that I have planned it yesterday and booked the ticket online. Not a single seat was empty when I enter the hall. 

This movie is in news a lot lately. There is a preconceived notion of an empowered and weak section in our society, whether its religion where Hindus are considered majority or gender where males are considered strong, same with casts. This movie is a great attempt to break that preconceived notion. When those considered empowered face the harshness, media or intellectuals do not find it appealing enough to get attention and do not talk about it much. Probably that is why it did not get the attention needed when it happened. 

I have seen so many movies of the holocausts done by nazi Germany, in spite of being so brilliantly portrayed, I was unable to connect to those, as the holocaust did not happen on this land or with our own people. While watching this movie I tried to divert my mind that it was just a movie so that I can disconnect from it for some time, but at the same time I was recalling that news that I have read, viewed, or heard over time, I watched the movie till the end even though I did not want. Are those considered majorities are really empowered, empowered enough to stand on their own against any group which creates terror? Though there is awareness spreading but still people are not ready in my opinion.  

There are only a few who create terror, even though they are small in number but their voice is so loud and terrifying that the majority who wants to stay away from trouble remains silent or expects the government to act on that. Law enforcement establishments can not reach everywhere yet, so should we consider ourselves prone to this terror and be ready to be victimized? The movie has left me with some big open-ended questions. 

To conclude, I will only say this kind of movie which is based on raw truth should come into the mainstream, this will truly educate people and make them aware of ground reality.

Scary stuff

While our road trip to Bandhavgarh, we have stopped on the way to the tiger reserve and took a few photos of deers roaming around, then a few photos of each other, spent like 20 mins there out in open.

A deer crossing the road

A tour guide from a passing-by car scolded us and moved without stopping, we could not understand what was wrong, as we were not inside the tiger reserve. A few days later, a friend went to Bandhavgarh tiger reserve and capture this video of around the same place where we were roaming in open. Scary stuff !!!

A tigress and her cubs crossing the road

Exclusive on wordpress blog

Posting a few photos here which will be only posted on WordPress, not posting these anywhere 😀

Freshly roasted, grams, peas, rice, and corn flex, best snacks ever!
A lotus bud, ready to flower

I found it very challenging to shoot with my 70-300 mm handheld, this is a cheap lens that adds a lot of noise even at ISO 400, most of the time I shoot at ISO 100 but low light conditions never gives satisfactory results. Photographing in the tiger reserve in the early winter morning, on dirt roads and fog, when both I and the tiger were moving and the camera was hand held has confirmed that I need to get L telephoto lenses for wildlife and avian photography. 70-300 mm is just not good enough.

Most of the photos I am posting here are taken using 70-300 mm, so bear with me on the sharpness of those.

A Fawn in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
A very agile bird, probably a flycatcher
Same bird as above but more close and different angle
The light was great on this kingfisher but it is not sharp. Was not even thinking to post this but finally posting
A grazing Chital
Morning mood at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Sunrays, a piece of grand tiger reserve of Bandhavgarh

Lesser Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilos javanicus aka bald-headed stork). The stork is classified as vulnerable.
A Chital on the walk across grassland
Fishing in Narmada river in Bhedaghat, MP
An elderly woman selling berries at Bhedaghat, the light was bright, she was kind and berries were really tasty
A tea-stall owner warming himself with a bonfire, covered his head to prevent cold

My Evolution in photography

We had our trip to Bandhavgarh and Bhedaghat after a gap of 11 years, while exploring old photos found these 2 photos of the same landscape captured 11 years apart. I have upgraded my equipment, post-processing tools and also learned a lot about the technicality of composition and lighting.

I will keep on learning and improving myself, never know I will be traveling to the same place again after 11 years and posting another blog with some improvement.

2010
2022
2010
2022

Motivation

There is no recognition or award for fighting his or her own hardship, few are successful in staying afloat while others are having a hope that time will change for good. How this pandemic hits the restaurant business is not hidden from anyone, this hardship often makes people bitter, but few still maintain a smile while fighting to stay afloat. This is what makes Mr. Shukal special to me, he is running a mid-size restaurant (Shree Krishna Dhaba and Restaurant, near Jabalpur) and was very courteous and cheerful. Though we were the only customers during our hour-long stay and probably one of few for the entire day, still his 4 person staff had done everything at their best in hospitality and food. He even offered us a free tea as well.

After thinking about his hardship, got a lot of motivation and hoped for a better time …

https://goo.gl/maps/kj59PXvqCb3dovQw9

Mr Shukal