First time I passed through Naggar was way back in summer of 1990, while returning from Manali during my first ever trip to Kullu-Manali region. Barely I had any idea at that time that it was just the start of my fascination and association with this magical place. Since then, there have been number of trips for trekking, camping, biking, leisure, et al. Each of them have been unique in its experience. While pursuing a career as a full-time journalist, I had started trekking as a serious passion in 1992. It was in January 1993 when I came across the news of death of Svetoslav Roerich. News of his death was associated with follow-up news of his wife legendary Devika Rani, grandniece of Rabindranath Tagore, and their Tataguni estate on the outskirts of Bangalore. The view from Ro...Read More
Ranthambore Fort: Red lake, langurs and a Ganesha with three eyes
It is said to be one of the strongest forts in India. It isn’t a surprise as a fort sitting on a hilltop with deep trenches on three sides, surrounded by many other hills covered by severely dense tiger infested forests could have been nothing else but a very formidable one. Currently the fort is right in the middle of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and National Park. It is said that this region was part of the Chahamana Kingdom of Shakambhari. Shakambhari is where present day Sambhar is. Those who have visited Sambhar Lake will know that there is a very famous and revered Shakambhari temple at Sambhar. The kingdom ruled the many parts of the present day Rajasthan for many centuries until the 12th century. Some historical references say that Chauhans were derived from Chahamanas. Th...Read More
Where rivers flow through the hearts of the people!
One of the beauty of Kerala is its nature, in its myriad avatars. It is fascinating is to see how nature here moulds itself so effortlessly into human life. Despite a few challenges, despite sometimes a show of anger by nature and despite some transgressions by humans- they both have become integral to existence of the other. Kerala is one of those places, where the deity, the nature and the human just transform into each other. In the God’s Own Country seamlessly the human becomes the nature and the nature becomes more humane. Bharathappuzha river at Thirunavaya Nature has always posed challenge to the humans, challenged them to excel and overcome. It also has been an inspiration. Take rivers for the example, they quench the thirst of the land and give birth to civilisations. River...Read More
170 year old warehouse and an Advaita Ashram nestled in Himalayas
Quaint Himalayan towns have always been favourite of writers, thinkers, leaders. Nature has proved inspirational to them. They have also been source of many movements and ideas. Among the big names, Gandhi and Vivekanand were frequent visitors to hills to focus on their thoughts and also to connect with large cross-section of people. Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was one of the most liked places by one and all for its natural beauty, serene environment and close proximity to Himalayas. Main building of the Advaita Ashram at Mayavati There are many places in Kumaon which are known only because of their association with Gandhi or Vivekanand. One prominent among them is Advaita Ashram, Mayavati, near Lohaghat. The same Lohaghat, which is also close to Abbott Mount, known for Abbey...Read More
Where a 180 million year old history is fossilised
This is another of the Jaisalmer’s most underrated places after Desert National Park. This is a park as well, a parkin desert of real trees which were here just about 180 million years ago, only difference being that they all are fossilised now. You won’t find any tourists here too, but then who will come to see some caged fossils resembling some unknown graves covered in iron enclosures, lying around in a rocky and barren terrain of the Thar desert. Slice of 180 million year old history Akal Fossil Wood Park isn’t a usual place though. It is one of the only seven geological parks in India. It houses some of the most important remains of geological history from the Indian deserts. Actually, we have 26 National Geological Monuments in India and out of them seven have been declared as...Read More
You can find elephants everywhere in Kerala- from forests to roads and temples. They make a fascinating sight and also some excellent stories. They have always been integral part of legends and mythology. There is no temple festival in Kerala without elephants. Kerala also has a good number of wild elephants as well. As per a rough comparison Kerala has almost 600 captive elephants and almost 6000 wild elephants. One of the highest peaks in the Nilgiris the Anamudi peak literally means 'elephant's forehead'. In India, elephants are always in news, thanks to our mishandling of one of the most graceful and intelligent animal out there. Still sight of a herd of wild elephants is good enough to stop the traffic on road and turn everyone into curious onlookers. They too keep people amused w...Read More
Well, worst of summer is over. Although with onset of Monsoon, humidity will keep pushing us to limits. It’s safe to be in homes therefore due to all sorts of reasons, and surely weather is the least of our concern. In any case, by the time it is safe or rather safer (than now) to travel in times of COVID19, it will be already winter perhaps. So, travelling to desert won’t be a bad option. This post is regarding keeping yourself ready for it, or giving you just another travel idea. Map of the Desert National Park All the birds that are found here and they are really too many, including the migratory ones. In Indian hot desert of Thar, Jaisalmer is already a hotspot for tourists. But among the attraction of usuals glamorous tourist spots like Sam Dunes, Sonar fort, havelis, Bada B...Read More
Time back to travel! Madhya Pradesh opens its National Parks today
For all those with travel lust and right now feel like being chained in their homes due to COVID19 situation, there is a trickle of some good news. Among the first states to do this, Madhya Pradesh has reopened its State Tourism Development Corporation Hotels, resorts and many private hotels at tourist destinations for tourists and hoteliers. A tiger at Panna Tiger reserve in Madhya Prdesh Among the efforts to promote domestic tourism state is now allowing all tourists from within the Country. Not just that, another big news is that Madhya Pradesh Forest department has also issued a circular regarding re-opening of its National Parks from 15th June 2020. Buffer zones in these national parks will remain open during monsoon season as well. Normally, all the national parks a...Read More
How all the fountains at Taj got their water from Yamuna!
So like me, many of you would have visited Agra and Taj Mahal a number of times, may be. And, each time you would have been so engrossed in admiring the beauty of the marble marvel that you might have easily ignored all the other details of this huge Taj complex, such as its beautiful fountains. Quite unjustified, isn’t it! Gardens, fountains and the channels add to the glory of Taj Mahal Although nothing can undermine the beauty of the white mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, but you can’t deny that surrounding gardens and the fountains add to the glory of whole structure. That is the reason, why Taj Mahal is also a ‘rauza’ as per Persian principles- a tomb with a ‘charbagh’ (four cornered squared gardens), fountains and channels. So were the many other tombs of the M...Read More
Chaukhamba : A peak on four pillars and it is not our democracy!
I couldn’t have missed the satire in the present context as all the four pillars of our democracy are currently on terribly shaky ground. Having said that, this post is definitely not about our democracy but about one of the most beautiful peaks on Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is the World Environment day and what else can we talk about than the most precious gift our nature has given to us! Sunrise on Chaukhamba peak as seen from Almora town in Kumaon The inspiration for this post came from an impromptu comment on one of my Facebook post couple of days back by a renowned photographer friend Jaimitra Singh Bisht, based in Almora. Post was a photo of sunrise on Chaukhamba peak, which I captured a few years ago from Almora. While appreciating the photograph, Jaimitra said that, “Chaukham...Read More