My Travel journey

Happy Diwali!

Feeling like writing something, was thinking about the topic of this post, whether it should be related to travel, photography, thoughts, or friends and family, finally decided to write about my travel experience so far.

Let me write how I have evolved in my travel, initially, I wanted to visit cities just to see urban life, then I was fascinated by natural beauty, whether it’s forest, river, mountains or deserts, then rural lifestyle and now its spiritual. So travel is there but the purpose has changed over time. Recently visited Gangotri over a long weekend, will travel to other destinations of Chota Chardham in time to come. In bigger plans, I wish to drive to actual Chardham Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, and Rameswaram in my car, solo, with friends or family doesn’t matter.

My individual (not with family) travel started a bit early as I use to visit different cities in UP for playing volleyball tournaments. During the final year of my post-graduation, I have traveled few places in MP Gwalior, Bhind then came to Delhi for university related work, this was my first tour out of state. I have visited Manali first time in 2003, that was my first trip during my job, after July 2006 I have become an international traveler, was fortunate to visit different countries of South East Asia and Europe.

Travel has made me very humble and I learned that you need not have everything to be happy. In recent years, after moving back to India in 2013, I have traveled extensively in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh (and UP of course) within India. Each of these states has its own beauty at different times of the year. Winters are best to see snowfall in the Himalayas at the same time you can enjoy it in Thar desert or Forests of MP as well, Summers are for Hill stations of Himalayas (HP or UK). Being said, Monsoon is the time when I mostly go out to Uttarakhand or HP, it’s a bit risky of course but totally worth taking it, as all mountains are lush green, a lot of waterfalls on the way and most important all the tourists are back home as schools are open post-summer vacations, so no crowd and low tariff in hotels :). I drove so much in the mountain of Uttarakhand and Himachal that now I can claim myself as a Pahadi driver :P.

Winters is the time when I visit my home town Allahabad (Prayag, now Prayagraj) every year, I drop my kids at their Nana-Nani place and go on a road trip to MP with my brother BK and friend Dr. Sharad. We have given this road-trip the name “The Freedom Trip”, why this name – we all do whatever we want to do. We eat or drink whatever we want, stay wherever we want and visit places which we want, It is the trip I always look forward to, it is the time year when I feel totally detached from worldly things and pains. In the past 10 years, we have traveled all most all cities of MP many times. What fascinates me about MP is its low population density, you will have to drive miles before you see any human face. As the terrain is rocky so not much farming is being done in MP this is the main reason why population density is very low. street food of MP is organic and great in taste and air is so refreshing, people are humble, simple, and helping. There are plenty of forest reserves and historical sites in MP, you will fall in love with MP at the first sight.

Feeling blessed to live in Delhi as all type of natural beauty is within reach, I can cook a plan for the weekend, complete it and join office the next day. When you do something else for living and want to takeout time for your passion for travel, can only be achieved only if you are in Delhi.

Winters has started which is triggering me for our yearly ritual “The Freedom Trip”, but seems this year the trip is not going to happen as we have few students in the family who have board exams in 2021, but me taking a week break in winter is confirmed, I may be driving solo in Rajasthan again, the road between Longewala and Tanot is calling me, I also need to see Kuldhara as well.

I have also started preparing myself for tracking, one of my friends is organizing trekking trips and wants me to join him to take photos of his trekking group. It will be to a very remote location near the China border next summer. I have to lose weight and strengthen my muscles and lungs for that, working on that, and hopefully, I will be ready by next summer. It will be 2 days trekking each side and 2 nights camping near a lake, can not disclose the location but I hope you can understand that it will be a cold and rocky place.

My car (Ford) is asking for retirement, I drove it around 1.7 Lakhs KM in the past 7 years and it is breaking apart now. I really love this car, it was the most strong, spacious, and economical car at that time in its class. As kids are grown up, they need more space to sleep in back-seat, I will go for a 7 seater car this time, Cresta (Toyota) may be. Seems creating a flatbed like XUV (Mahindra) is not possible in Cresta, hopefully, they will do something by the time I buy.

I read a quote somewhere – “Die with memories not with dreams” and following it since then.

Planning to add few more gadgets to my photography kit, but will write about my photography experiences in another blog soon… stay tuned 🙂

Yearly ritual – part 1

Happy new year !

I guess it’s the best way to start the blog, its first post of year after all.

Well, there were 2 long weekends first of x-mas and then new year, took few offs in between and got 10 days of break from 23 Dec 2017 to 1 Jan 2018.

Few years back I came up with thought of giving sometime to myself, to slow down a bit and spend some time with friends, nature, wildlife or whatever I love to do, actually live a different way of life all-together and do whatever I can do to relax and since then it has became a part of my yearly plan, which happens only in winters.

Reached  to home town (Allahabad) on 23 Dec. Visited Sangam with brother and my ancestral place with dad on 24 Dec. Finalized my trip with brother BK and Dr. Sharad. Posting few photos taken on 24th.

A Sadhu at Sangam

A Sadhu at Sangam (Allahabad)

My great grandfather was the one who first moved in to my ancestral village from somewhere, got some land which was very cheap or even free that time and started farming. He had 3 sons, my grandfather and his 2 younger brothers, once grown up they built their own houses next to each other, they all had 3 sons, but slowly my fathers generation and my generation started moving out of the village and now not a single person lives there. Those 3 houses are now started turning into ruins. The front of house and the place between house and well is turned into a mini forest. I remember, when we use to visit the village in my childhood, we were not having enough space left to put a Charpai (a portable bed) to sleep, ironically only snakes and scorpions lives in that area now.

Well build by my grandfather and his 2 brothers

Well build by my grandfather and his 2 brothers

Temple build by my grandfather and his 2 brothers

Temple build by my grandfather and his 2 brothers

Cluster fig (hindi. Goolar) tree, we use to spent our summer noon on branches of these tree in childhood

Cluster fig (Hindi: Goolar) tree, we use to spent our summer noon on branches of these tree in childhood

House of our neighbor blacksmith, like all others he has also moved to some city for job

House of our neighbor blacksmith, like all others he has also moved to some city for job

We once had mud-wall house like this one, these are very comfortable in summer and we use to sleep on dry paddy plant to keep our selves warm.

Dusk

Dusk

I have visited this place many time since childhood and was fascinated by beauty of this place, this is a very large ground next to river Ganga, due to flooding every monsoon no one lives there.

First day in Allahabad and second day of this yearly ritual was dedicated to dad :). Will post about 3rd day later. Keep watching this space….

Dharamshala and McLeodganj

Known for Tibetan colony and Buddhism, Dharamshala has built a very beautiful cricket stadium in recent years.

Tibetan Monastery in Mcleodganj

Tibetan Monastery in Mcleodganj

Tibetan Monastery in Mcleodganj

Tibetan Monastery in Mcleodganj

St. John in the Wilderness Church, McLeodganj

St. John in the Wilderness Church, McLeodganj

HPCA stadium, Dharamshala

HPCA stadium, Dharamshala

Bir, Himachal Pradesh

Few photos of Bir, Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the Tibetan settlements in country.

A Buddhist boy running upstairs after class.

A Buddhist boy running upstairs after class.

Tibetan monastery, Bir

Tibetan monastery, Bir

Tibetan monastery, Bir

Tibetan monastery, Bir

Village life

There was a continuous 4 days off and it was a crime for me to sit at home.

Packed bags and drove to Dharamshala, Mcleodganj and Bir with Dr Sharad and Balkrishan.

Few noticeable things of village