Category Archives: Adventure

In Costa Cruise to Male, Maldives…

…Costa Cruise would be leaving from Mumbai Shores in November 2017, you can plan your trip in this cruise to Maldives – the most beautiful island country tucked in between India and Sri Lanka. But before that before that, you should know why visiting Maldives should be on your travel wish-list. Besides having out of the world cruising experience with Costa Cruise, you can view Maldives for its enormous natural beauty, greenery and vibrant marine life.  It is on my wish-list too, lets see when my wish is granted!

So, let’s dive down to know what Maldives Marine life has to offer you as a tourist.

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

The Maldives officially the Republic of Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The chain of twenty-six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south. Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi), the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population, with a little over 393,500 inhabitants. Malé is the capital and most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” for its central location.

Maldivian waters are home to several ecosystems, including a variety, 187 species, of vibrant coral reefs. This area of the Indian Ocean, alone, houses 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 400 species of molluscs, and 83 species of echinoderms. The area is also populated by a number of crustacean species: 120 copepod, 15 amphipods, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.

Among the many marine families represented are Pufferfish, Fusiliers, Jackfish, Lionfish, Oriental Sweetlips, reef sharks, Groupers, Eels, Snappers, Bannerfish, Batfish, Humphead Wrasse, Spotted Eagle Rays, Scorpionfish, Lobsters, Nudibranchs, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Squirrelfish, Soldierfish, Glassfish, Surgeonfish, Unicornfish, Triggerfish, Napoleon wrasses, and Barracudas.

These coral reefs are home to a variety of marine ecosystems that vary from planktonic organisms to whale sharks. Sponges have gained importance as five species have displayed anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

In 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as 5 °C (9.0 °F) due to a single El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation’s coral reefs.

In an effort to induce the regrowth of the reefs, scientists placed electrified cones anywhere from 20–60 feet (6.1–18.3 m) below the surface to provide a substrate for larval coral attachment. In 2004, scientists witnessed corals regenerating. Corals began to eject pink-orange eggs and sperm. The growth of these electrified corals was five times faster than untreated corals.

Again, in 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a severe bleaching incident. Over 95% of coral around the islands died, and, even after six months, 100% of young coral transplants had died. The surface water temperatures reached an all-time high in 2016, at 31 degrees Celsius in May.

Recent scientific studies suggest that the faunistic composition can vary greatly between neighbour atolls, especially in terms of benthic fauna. Differences in terms of fishing pressure (including poaching) could be the cause.

Source: Wikipedia

Honey Moon Point, Mt. Abu, most serene point!

 I liked that place the most & found it to be the best in entire Mt. Abu!

The reason, it is most picturesque point and on a huge height from where entire city looks just awesome!! & me and my daughter had ball of a time there!

Perched at an elevation of 4000 feet, with the backdrop of Nakki Lake and Old Gateway to Mount Abu; Honeymoon point is a must-visit if you wish to catch an exquisite view of the sun setting down the horizon. It has been named so mainly because of the Love Rock that is located here. It is often known as Anadara Point as well. This is an ideal spot if you are looking for a rather serene spot to spend your time at. This area’s untwining vibe and scenic beauty owing to the fact that this is one of the most popular attractions of Mount Abu. Hold hands, enjoy the pleasant weather and treat your eyes to the mesmerizing beauty spread all around you.

Don’t forget to spend some time there, however senior you are while in Mt. Abu!!!

See it to believe it!

I share here some beautiful clicks taken at Honeymoon point.

 

Royal Enfield celebrates the spirit of riding with motorcycle enthusiasts as a precursor to Himalayan Odyssey

To celebrate the growing passion of community riding amongst motorcycling enthusiasts and riders, Royal Enfield hosted an event with the riding community at Royal Enfield’s exclusive gear store in Khar, Mumbai recently. The evening witnessed participation by over 30 men and women motorcycle enthusiasts and riders who engaged in conversations around Himalayan Odyssey and community riding overall. The focus of the gathering was also to encourage more people to follow their passion for motorcycling. 

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The motorcyclists spoke about how they are preparing to be on the Himalayan Odyssey. Some of the experienced riders provided some golden tips about riding in the Himalayas to those riders who are visiting that terrain for the first time.  event was a precursor to Royal Enfield’s 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey is being held from July 6th to July 23rd this year.

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Himalayan Odyssey is considered one of the most gratifying motorcycle journeys in the world from Delhi to Khardung-La – the highest motorable road in the world at 18300 feet above sea level. For the 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey this year, Royal Enfield is taking over 50 participants on the Himalayan Odyssey including men and women.  One of the biggest motorcycle ride of its kind in the world, Himalayan Odyssey will see participants traversing through some of the roughest terrains and highest mountain passes in the world covering a distance of close to 2200 kilometers in 18 days on their Enfield motorcycles.

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The Himalayas have been the mecca for motorcyclists and the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey has been their chosen journey to ride through the mighty mountains. Year on year Royal Enfield riders gather at Delhi to thump all the way to Khardung-La to experience one of the most memorable motorcycling journeys in the world. The ride will witness camaraderie of fans and participants flagging off on Saturday, 8th July 2017 from India Gate in New Delhi. What is interesting to see is the camaraderie amongst riders from different corners of India and the world that grows stronger with every passing day.

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During the ride, the weather would shift remarkably, from scorching hot to icy cold as riders will make their way to the picturesque regions of the Himalayas, which house within themselves one of the most hostile environments for motorcycling including Narkanda, Sarchu, Jispa and Leh, all the way to Khardung-La. Each turn exposes the riders to a new landscape like no other, eventually getting them surrounded by the overwhelming beauty of the great Himalayan peaks.

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The period between the months of May and August is the ideal time when hundreds of Royal Enfield motorcyclists ride up to the Himalayas. The HO is an opportunity for passionate men and women who seek to look beyond the obvious and venture into the unchartered territories of one of the most challenging terrains in the world. A journey of self-discovery for many, the Himalayan Odyssey has given birth to inspiring stories that become a part of motorcycling folklore.

At a time when our lives have come to be defined by our professional selves, Himalayan Odyssey appeals to the free-spirited motorcycle rider in oneself and quintessential seeker of life beyond concrete jungles. The ride emphasizes on harmony with the terrain while at the same time encouraging one to overcome their personal barriers and realize the potential that lies within them. Over the past 15-20 years, scores of riders have had the pleasure of riding their Royal Enfield motorcycles through the picturesque landscape of Ladakh to Leh and then beyond to Khardung La.

To know more about #HO2017 visit: www.royalenfield.com/ho

Be a part of one of the largest communities of motorcycling enthusiasts; like Royal Enfield on Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/RoyalEnfield

Follow Royal Enfield on Twitter – https://twitter.com/royalenfield

The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield has created the mid-sized motorcycle segment in India with its unique and distinctive modern classic bikes. With its new manufacturing base in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield is able to grow its production rapidly against a surge in demand for its motorcycles. With more than 50% growth every year for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is fast becoming a very important player in the global mid-size motorcycle market and is working towards re-inventing this space with motorcycles that are evocative and engaging and great fun to ride.

Royal Enfield also organizes and supports many motorcycling events and rides globally, more prominently the Rider Mania – an annual gathering of Royal Enfield riders from all over the world to the lovely beaches of Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, the most arduous motorcycle ride over some of the toughest roads and highest mountain passes in the Himalayas. Royal Enfield also conducts the popular ‘One Ride’ where people around the world ride out on their motorcycles on the first Sunday of April.

 

 

“The Real High” by Arré Outdoors with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism launched on a “High Evening”

Arré has launched Arré Outdoors, a new vertical, focused on travel, adventure, and more. Arré Outdoors, like Arré, is a multimedia, multi-genre platform with content ranging from videos to text to audio to doodles and more.

The first property from the Arré Outdoors stable is a first-of-its-kind travel-and-adventure reality series – The Real High, in partnership with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland and O’cean Active.

A vibrant & studded evening was organized at Taj Lands End on May 31, 2017 to unfurl the details of  “The Real High”  amidst the presence of  Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Arré Outdoors is a call to city slickers to get out of their automated city lives and comfort zones and get real and raw in nature. Arré Outdoors will take viewers and readers in a series of interactive digital journeys to undiscovered places and experiences in their purest form, starting with Arunachal Pradesh.

The show is an eight-part series where leading youth icon Rannvijay Singha takes six ultra-urban city dwellers on an incredible journey to the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, to experience life without beds, baths, and phones. The participants are given a once-in-a-lifetime experience to rethink their life and choices and to discover “The Real High”

Shot in the breathtaking mountains, rivers, and forests of Arunachal Pradesh, the show is a visual delight blended with the fun experiences and wild adventures of the six participants along with Rannvijay, as they pitch their own tent, build their own raft, cook their own food, mingle with the locals, and experience life in a way unknown to any of them.

Anchoring the event in his own inimitable style, Rannvijay Singha said, “I’m super excited about the launch of ‘The Real High’. It will be interesting for viewers to see how the participants adapt to life outside the city and without taken-for-granted comforts, apart from the breathtaking sights of Arunachal Pradesh. We had a lot of fun shooting the show and I hope the audience enjoys it as much.”

Saikumar, Founder, Arré, said, “Travel is no longer just a passion point pursued by some but is increasingly becoming a way of life, as places and people get closer in the digital age. We travel the world in 80 minutes or even 80 seconds through pictures, 360-degree videos, interactive maps, and every other technology at our disposal. Arré Outdoors is a fresh take on travel through stories and formats that will take our viewers and readers to places and nudge them to get out of their homes and journey these experiences themselves, one trip at a time. ‘The Real High’ is our first property from the Arré Outdoors stable and we are very thrilled to be partnering with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland, and O’cean Active to create this special show for our viewers”.

Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, commented, “We are very focused on making Arunachal Pradesh the adventure and exotic tourism hub of India. We expect the number of tourist arrivals to grow exponentially this year, through many projects that engage with the youth. We are very delighted to partner with Arré on such an interesting initiative and believe that such initiatives will aid awareness and encourage travelers to visit Arunachal Pradesh to experience its many unique attractions.”

In an exclusive to travel-knots.com, Mr. Sona shared, “Ministry of Tourism Government of India is supporting the Infrastructure Development in Arunachal Pradesh in a big way. But the bottle neck is PAP and we are writing to Govt. To ease out the norms of this PAP regime, once the PAP is lifted, we will have a huge flow of international tourists. Arunachal Pradesh tourism department is looking at filing these critical gaps. The Bhupen Hazarika bridge which was inaugurated recently, which is actually in Assam but with this bridge Arunachal Pradesh is going to benefit more. Earlier travel was really difficult but now with this all-weather bridge, it will take hardly 15-20 minutes to cross over.  As far as domestic tourists are concerned if you talk in terms of percentage, in relation to the total population it is more than 20%, now with the relaxed regime of PAP we are expecting a lot of foreign tourists.”

Watch the trailor of “The Real High” to get the feel of “The Real High” 

Episode 1 of the series will be out on arre.co.in, the Arré app, and its partner platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, SonyLIV, Yupp TV, Jio Cinema, and Ola Prime Play on June 10.

 

Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga – Truptsthan!

जहाँ हवाओं में राजस्थान का संगीत है: माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

My colleague Trupti Sharma along with her bunch of young, adventurous & enthusiastic friends ringed in New Year in mesmerizing Rajasthan & the choice was in favour of Dessert trek at Jaisalmer.  In over a week – long trip to Jaisalmer, Trupti experienced Rajasthan like never before…

… Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga!

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Trupti was gracious enough to share her experiences along with unique photo-essay for travel-knots readers. Enjoy reading it here!!

Phir dekhiye Rajasthan appko bhi kuch aisa lagega!!!

Jaisalmer Trek: The Transition:

  • From 2016 to 2017
  • From one state to another
  • From Camp to Second Home
  • From Strangers to Friends
  • From Friends to Family
  • From Can I do it to I bet you cannot do it

But it was truly:

Challenging | Freezing | Arid | Windy | Quiet | Calm | Noisy | Golden | Royal | Natural | Raw

It was anything but boring…

Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Camel Ride, Boating, Posing, Singing, Folk Dancing; Challenging your physical and mental endurance, we did it all in Rajasthan

Base Camp: Jaisalmer City – Border Home Guard Ground

Higher Camps: Kharara Camp | Sam Sand Dunes | Sudasari Sand Dunes | Bama

When Trupti decided to be part of this trek and started checking on tickets to neighbouring cities of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, which was good three months ahead, I was surprised to note that all tickets to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur or any possible city in Rajasthan were full or super expensive and she had to take Mumbai – Delhi – Jaisalmer route to reach base camp.  Unexpectedly she found Delhi not at all cold and she even enjoyed cold water shower there. From Delhi she embarked on her journey to Jodhpur.  This is the magic of Rajasthani soil…माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

Thankfully she found Jaisalmer to be super impressive, quite a deal for true – blue Mumbai girl. Trupti found Station very clean and did not shirk it from terming it “One of the best”.

I present here the Trupti’s account of her Jaisalmer trek:

Jaisalmer is the largest district in India in fact even bigger than many Indian States which is also clean and royal in its look and feel.  It is endowed with perfect lighting which provided ample reflection for our pictures. I found everything there to be so grand and royal, even houses are made of hand carved stones which I had never seen before. It was a pleasure ogling at those beautiful stone house which a rarity in Metro we live in.

After this our next destination was “Patvaaon-ki-Haveli” where we found forever welcoming Rajasthani folk-singers, where we found Rajathani folk music spreading like aroma in the air.  We sang and even danced with these Rajasthani folk artists. Moreover, they did not expect much money from us; they thanked us for whatever we gave them. Indeed they were very humble, warm and welcoming.  I would like to mention here that colourful turbans have perpetual charm midst tourists coming here which would cost you not more that Rs. 50.  Before entering “Patvaaon-ki-haveli” don’t forget to gorge on delicious Paani – Puri where law of multiplication applies in full – force. Go on gulping, without counting though.

Now we had to embark on our first higher camp – the Kharara camp, where we came across lot of windmills and trust me windmills are one of the best inventions, just like mountains even they make you and your problems look relatively very small. To give you an idea- to reach top of an industrial windmill one needs to have 60 levels on a Human pyramid or terrace of a 38 storey building.

After walking around 12 Kms, we reached our second higher camp – Sam Sand Dunes, my first experience of sand dunes was quite amazing, nothing short of mesmerizing. It was little crowded since most people travelling to Jaisalmer visit Sam dunes but in a lot of ways it was still untouched. I must admit, evenings are the best part of a trek and you don’t have to walk with super heavy rucksack. Moreover, it is neither very hot nor very cold here. Last but not the least, you get to chill, sing, rest, roam around and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

So after all this and more like sand sliding, photo shoot and amateur Dangal, we were all set to march back to our camps. On our way we encountered few folk singers –  two kids and one ‘ol chap – and I am happy we met them as it was so much fun singing and dancing along on Rajasthani folk music for over an hour.  So much so that we broke into an impromptu “Sangeet Ceremony”  of our friends  Unnati & Madhu who are chained to get married in coming few months to their respective groom and bride.

In the second leg of our trek from Sam Sand Dunes, we had to reach Sudasari Desert National Park, which threw biggest challenge as we had to do 10 kms ride on camel and 12 Kms of walking along with crawling and hitch hiking!

I can term Camel ride as good and bad both, but to enjoy camel ride, you need to be in sync your rhythm but how do you keep up to a camel who keeps switching songs?

Moreover, trek to Sudasari is not at all easy. Firstly, it is near impossible to get permissions for trekking groups and even for individuals it takes at least three months of approval process but thanks to YHAI’s goodwill and good work that we (group of 40 people) were not just able to trek in but also got to camp one night.

Sudasari Sand dunes were amazing, so calm still so powerful… trust me deserted deserts are much more beautiful.

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Other major take away from this trip is that I got to know so many people from different parts of India say now I have friends from AP, Gujarat, Jharkhand, TN, Karnataka and parts of Northern India.

Pictures & text courtesy: Trupti Sharma

 

 

Goa on your mind for vacation? Think Havelock Island!

Few days ago when I called my cousin Rinku who is an Administrator with IIT Kanpur, she surprised me by excitedly telling me that she was going to Andaman for her April Vacation with husband Anuraag and children Gauri (Aged 10) and Gauransh (Aged 2) with group of friends. My interest grew in the place and I probed more being a travel blogger. She told me that they would be taking a flight from Lucknow to Kolkata, after which they would go to Port Blair. Port Blair would be her base but their main tourist destination would be Havelock Island. Havelock is a picturesque natural paradise with beautiful white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs and lush green forest. It is one of the populated islands in the Andaman group with an area of 113 sq. km. and is located 39 km of north-east of Port Blair. She added, “Havelock Island is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with green canopy of the rain-fed forests. We are going to enjoy the frolic and fun at the azure sea.” She would be there for nearly a week; I wished her a very successful journey and hung up.

With snow-white beaches, teal shallows, a coast crammed with beach huts and some of the best diving in South Asia, Havelock has a well-deserved reputation as a backpacker’s paradise. For many, Havelock is the Andamans, and it’s what lures most tourists across the Bay of Bengal, many of whom are content to stay here for the entirety of their trip like my cousin Rinku and her group of friends.

Now I wanted to know more about Havelock Island and I started digging for articles on the place. Luckily I bumped on with an article on Havelock in Mid-Day titled Seven Beach high in Havelock by Bindu & Radhakrishnan Unni. They shared that Andaman’s Havelock Island offers a 7-beach in 1 offer within 113 kms. Indeed it was a very wonderful account of the place.

So if you are planning your next trip to Goa, think again, in favour of Havelock Island!

Havelock Island (often just Havelock for short) with an area of some 92 Sq.Km is the largest of the islands which comprise Ritchie’s Archipelago, a chain of islands to the east of Great Andaman in the Andaman Islands. The island population is comprised of Bengali settlers. It is one of the few places that the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory of India has permitted and encouraged development of tourism, with a focus on promoting eco-tourism.

Havelock Island avoided much of the devastation which was visited upon most of the shores affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its resultant tsunami, and there were no documented casualties. Beach No. 7, better known as “Radha Nagar” Beach, is one of the most popular beaches in Asia. The elephant beach at Havelock is known for rich marine life, especially the corals. Beach No. 5 is famous beach for Israeli tourists.

Elephant beach is another ideal site for snorkeling. It has a rich coral reef formation and amazing underwater marine life. One can reach Elephant beach by small cruise boat from Havelock Jetty in about 40 minutes. By road one can go up to the Forest Camp which is 8 Kms from the Jetty towards Radhanagar side and from there by walk to the Elephant beach which will take another 40 minutes. Private ferry operators organize tours to Elephant beach from Havelock.

Beach-combing, sunbathing, scuba diving, seawalk, snorkeling, watersports, surf riding, swimming, game fishing, watching the sunset or sunrise, elephant ride, bird-watching, trekking, sailing, kayaking and much more you can do in Havelock.

The abundance of marine life around Havelock provides a rich variety of varied diving sites.  ‘Seduction Point’, ‘Aquarium’, ‘Lighthouse’, ‘Pilot Reef’, ‘Mac Point’, ‘Minerva Ledge’ and ‘Turtle Bay’ are promising areas for diving. The ideal dive season is from December to May.

Vijaynagar Beach, Havelock, is a long stretch of sand on the east coast of the Island, punctuated occasionally by rock section. Most of the beach is lined by mahua trees, whose trunks grow along the ground for many feet before they begin to climb vertically. These trees have lent a distinct character to the sea front and provide shade, close to the water. Vijaynagar Beach is perfect for long walks along the sea. Dolphin Resort run by the Tourism Department and many other hotels are also located on this beach.

One can enjoy swimming at the calm and clear waters of Radhanagar, Vijaynagar and Elephant beach. Snorkeling is available to view shallow areas of the coral reefs without going underwater with scuba equipment. Under the water, one can glide along the coral shelf and experience the strange and striking coral formations. One can see fish swim, nibbling at colorful algae, sea anemones and plankton right next to you.

Havelock Island is logged using elephants.  The spectacle of elephants working in the forest and bathing and swimming in the nearby sea is a special attraction. The Elephant Training Camp managed by the Forest Department at Kalapathar open its doors to tourists occasionally. The Island is surrounded by emerald lagoons and tropical evergreen forests. In some stretches, mangrove swamps line the shores.

It is a landscape of primeval splendor. White-headed mynas or the woodpecker with a white-barred black mantle and red crown, fulvous-breasted woodpecker are endemic to the island. The olive-backed sunbird and Andaman swallow are other endemic birds in the islands, which are a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Kayaking is also gaining popularity in the Havelock Island. Safe and calm creeks offer an excellent scope for kayak lovers.

The main dive sites on Havelock are:

  • Lighthouse (6-20m)
  • The Wall (10-55m)
  • Minerva Ledge (10-18m)
  • Aquarium (12-15m)
  • Pilot Reef (6-18m)
  • Dixon’s Pinnacle (18-40m)
  • Jackson’s Bar (20-35m)
  • Johnny’s Gorge (25-30m)

One of the most popular sites, this is a small rocky outcrop in the open sea surrounded by an ocean of sand. The outcrops are home to large and small species. Dolphins, white and black-tip sharks, giant groupers, rays and eels among various others are found here.

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Mid-January until mid-May sees the best weather, and often the best diving conditions. The days are mostly sunny at this time of year, and the sea sometimes flat enough to reflect the clouds. The monsoon usually hits around late May, lasting until the end of July, and is probably the worst time to visit the island – strong winds, frequent rain and low visibility underwater. August thru November see some occasional showers and slightly rougher seas, but diving can still be great at this time of year. The weather often takes a turn for the worse for the month of December through early January.

Havelock Island now has two ATMs; SBI and Axis bank. Some of the hotels and resorts are able to perform card transactions. Nevertheless, it is best to make sure you take plenty of cash with you from Port Blair. Also, it is hard to buy some items in the market – differing factors of sun cream can be hard to find, as can mosquito repellent.

 

Thank God, Tiger did not spot me!

I visited Jim Corbett National Park many years ago while in school and was really petrified to see the place. Jungle hi Jungle all over, I asked my friend, “Why are we here”? She replied, “To spot tigers”? I gave vague expression, Tigers? But why Tigers? What if they attack us? Or even eat us raw? Poor friend, no answers. Today I don’t recollect whether we spotted the Tiger or no but I certainly remember that muddy, dusty terrain, hills, marsh lands, lakes …ideal for Big Cats and not for Small Fries like us.  Reluctantly I spent the day…bickering all day long…we could have done boating in Malli Taal instead of being here. Camera was just out of reach for us, moreover I being the child of that era did not even have the guts to for ask for one from my parents. Somehow trip to Jim Corbett got over…me highly scared and completely drained though relaxed, thinking thank GOD Tiger did not spot me!!

Times certainly changed when my daughter Tanya visited Jim Corbett National Park from her school trip few years ago, who was super excited to be amidst Big Cats and not scared out of her wits like me. They took jungle safari tour in the morning which started at 5 AM in the morning, for which she got up at 4 AM in the morning. I sighed, sacrificing sleep for Safari and never for Studies! Any way group of children in Jeep ventured out and probably they could catch the glimpse of tigress. She was delighted. Tanya still has fond memories of that trip…and me too, I was scared all through, till the time all children were out of Jim Corbett.  I was relaxed, thinking that Thank GOD they could spot Tiger!!!

Recently, my niece Dr. Tanvi and her husband Dr. Siddhant Taneja along with Arushi & Sankalp were in Jim Corbett National Park at Club Mahindra Resort there. The expressions on their faces are quite chilled and relaxed unlike me who was shit scared throughout. Looks like they had great time there! Adventure loving Medicos Dr. Tanvi & Dr. Siddhant share same passion for outings and particularly adventure trails. As mentioned by Tanvi, they too had some scary moments when a wild Tusker blocked their way or scary sight of a wild bear. But over all they enjoyed being there and clicked some really nice pictures which I am sharing for my readers in the form of a Photo – Essay.  This time Jim Corbett looked wonderful, serene, scenic and certainly a place to be amidst Tigers!!! Relaxed, thinking that thank GOD, they could enjoy so much!!!

Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve lies in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The magical landscape of Corbett is well known and fabled for its tiger richness. Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honoured as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.

Spans over an extent of 520 square kilometers, its whole area comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lake. It is among the few tiger reserves in India that allows overnight stays in the lap of the National Park. Nature watch and wildlife viewing in the park is done in an open four wheeler Jeep and on elephant back. Sheltering a healthy population of tigers and rare species like Otters and the endemic fish eating crocodile, the national park is one of the most sought after destinations for the wildlife buffs. Dhikala, situated at the border of the extensive Patil Dun valley, is the most popular destination in Corbett because of its superb location and sheer abundance of wildlife present.

How to Reach Corbett
Ramnagar is perhaps the best approach to the Corbett National Park which forms the headquarters of CTR. This small city is well connected by road and rail network with major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly. Once you reach Ramnagar, then it takes only half an hour to reach Corbett National Park. The park is around 15 Kms from Ramnagar railway station.

By Road: Ramnagar has a very good network of road that connects the different cities. The Corbett National Park is situated at an approximate surface distance of 260 Kilometer from India’s national capital Delhi. The state government of Uttarakhand plies buses at a short interval of time from Delhi, Moradabad, Haldwani, and Nainital that reaches Corbett directly.

By Rail: The railway station in Ramnagar receives trains from different major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly. A direct train to Ramnagar runs from Delhi. You can check out for Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that takes you directly to Ramnagar.

Distance from Major Cities:

  • Delhi: Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar (260 Kms)
  • Nainital: Via Kaladhungi to Ramnagar (62 Kms)
  • Lucknow: Lucknow – Bareilly – Kicha – Rudrapur – Kashipur – Ramnagar (436 km)
  • Dehradun : Dehradun – Ramnagar (232 km)

Corbett Tiger Reserve provides Accommodation and Day Visit facility to visitors. Online booking for Accommodation and Day Visit can be booked in advance through their website: www.jimcorbettnationalpark.co.in

Information courtesy: jimcorbettnationalpark

Pictures Courtesy: Dr. Siddhant & Tanvi Taneja

Land of two suns!

The Miracle has happened today USA and CANADA saw two suns. This is called as Hunters Moon..

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Due to change of orbit the sun sets and moon rises at the same time with both being opposite to each other at a particular angle or degree moon reflects the sun so bright that it almost feels like another sun.
Effects stays for couple of days.

Received this as facebook post – thought of sharing with you!

Uttar Pradesh (U.P.): The Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary: Visit to earn an audience with Big Cats!

Every morning, I switch on my FM Radio for quick & stress-free updates on city & its surroundings. This is almost a ritual with me and there are few adverts which catch my fancy, as I shirk ad breaks in between the program. But how to escape? After all it is a Commercial venture. Indeed money makes the world go round!

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Recently, one ad which caught my fancy and ears was about Dudhwa National Park, which also had mention of a place called Katerniaghat Wild Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. So why did it caught my fancy? What was different about it? Firstly it was about my home state – Uttar Pradesh and secondly it was talking about a wild – life sanctuary which immensely interests me. The ad was of UP Tourism which was telling listeners about wild – life sanctuaries in UP. I visited Dudhwa National Park long ago sometime in 90s but I did not know about Katerniaghat then and even now, till I chanced upon this ad of UP Tourism. I think UP Tourism should advertise more frequently about its sights so that people in other states come to know what UP has to offer besides its law and order problems.

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This is how I got interested in Katerniaghat Wild Life Sanctuary in UP which is situated in the Upper Gangetic plain falling in the Terai of Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The Katerniaghat Forest provides strategic connectivity between tiger habitats of Dudhwa and Kishanpur in India and Nepal. The sanctuary has a mosaic of Sal and Teak forests, lush grasslands, numerous swamps and wetlands. It is home to a number of endangered species including gharial, tiger, rhino, Gangetic dolphin, Swamp deer, Hispid hare, the White-backed and Long-billed vultures.

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Katerniaghat Wild life Sanctuary is part of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve Lakhimpur kheri with total area of 400.09 sq.kms.  There is a buffer area of 150.03 sq.km. contiguous to the sanctuary mostly in Motipur and Kakrha ranges of the division. The forest area of the Sanctuary has its characteristic complex of Sal forests tall grasslands and ecosystem of Girwa and Kaudiyala streams of Ghaghra river. The Sanctuary having mosaic of diverse habitats is very rich in biodiversity and is having various endangered species of mammal, plants and fauna.

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Total area of Katerniaghat wild life division is in 551.02 sq.km and the best time to visit is between November 15 to June 15.
The whole of the area is subject to the climatic variations typical of the plains of northern India with their extremes of heat and cold. In winters the area very cold and foggy and heavy dew fall regularly with the result that the vegetation remains damp for most of the day. The days at this time of the year are cool and bright. Forests occur generally in January. The nights remain cool and dew falls until late in the spring, the hot weather commencing in April and lasting until the rains break towards the end of June.

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Katerniaghat Wild life Division Bahraich was declared Sanctuary in the year of 1976 and was also included in Project Tiger in year 2003. The forest of Katerniaghat, situated in Bahraich district in the foothill of Himalayas are exquisitely beautiful with majestic sal trees dominating the landscape. The Girwa river flowing through these forests is home to many water birds as well as Crocodiles, Gharials as well as Gangetic Dolphins. The Girijapuri bairaj on the Ghaghra river becomes home to migratory birds during winter months.
Besides beautiful forest of Sal and teak viewing of Tiger , Leopard, Gangetic dolphin , Maggar, Ghariyal and many other rare species of wildlife area main attraction of the area.

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How to get there?

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Road- From Lucknow via Bahraich to Bichhia Rail – Nearest Railhead Bichhia, located on Gonda-Bahraich Branch Railway line (Meter Gauge) of NER, whereas Gonda is situated on the main Railway line from Lucknow to Gorakhpur. By Air-Nearest Airport Amausi Lucknow – 210 kms. KWL is approx. 500 Kms from Delhi.
The tourist campuses at Motipur and Kakraha are jungle theme locations offering a treat of nature and thrill to adventurous tourists visiting the place. There are a total of four cottages available at each place for now, and all cottages promise a magnificent view of the sal forest making the traveler’s visit a memorable one. Here guests are expected to respect the jungle environment. The visitors are housed in newly built air conditioned ‘Tharu huts’ located at Motipur and Kakraha campuses in the sanctuary. The campuses are properly walled and provide complete safety to the visitors.

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Trained nature guide are available at both Motipur & Kakraha campuses for the purpose of guiding tourists and interpretation of the sanctuary while on visit inside. These guides have been registered with the UP Forest Department and are helpful in spotting wildlife during the trip. As per the regulations for the visitors, taking one such guide per vehicle is mandatory for all tourists.

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The tourists can also enjoy boating in Giriwa river and jungle safari facilities, during the visit. The safari takes you through the sanctuary in an open 4×4 gypsy, with some of the most knowledgeable guides at the wheel. Keep your eyes peeled for pugmarks, and mobile phones off. There’s plenty to see: Gharials, crocodiles, herds of spotted deer, peacocks in frenzy, paradise flycatchers, and crested serpent eagles. Pray hard enough and you may just earn an audience with the reigning big cats in this area.

Source: UP Eco tourism

Mohini & Anish Joshi on a scenic North India Trip – Exclusive Photos !

My ex-colleague and dear friend who shares same passion for travel with me, was recently on a trip to North India with her husband Anish Joshi, also a travel buff. She was gracious enough to share her few exclusive photograph of that trip.

First picture is of holiest & divine Golden Temple in Amritsar:

Golden Temple Amritsar

The Harmandir Sahib also Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the “Golden Temple” is the holiest Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. The city was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The Harmandir Sahib was designed by the fifth guru, Guru Arjan, who had the cornerstone laid by the Muslim Sufi saint Sai Hazrat Mian Mir on 28 December 1588. Guru Arjan completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, in 1604 and installed it in the gurdwara.


There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolise the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The present-day gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name.
The Harimandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs. The holiest text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is present inside the gurdwara during daytime and the holy book goes for Sukhasan during the night time. Its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship, and also partake in the free community kitchen and meal (Langar) that is a hallmark of all Sikh Gurudwaras.

Joshi’s next favourite in North India would be Khajjiar…Mini Switzerland

Khajjiar is a hill station in Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh, India, located approximately 24 km from Dalhousie. Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. The hill station is surrounded by meadows and forests. It is about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas and peaks can be seen in the distance. It is part of the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary.

On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counsellor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by calling it “Mini Switzerland”. He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar’s distance from the Swiss capital Bern-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland.

Joshi’s next favourite…McLeodanj

McLeod Ganj (also spelt McLeodGanj or Mcleodganj) is a suburb of Dharamsala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.

It has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet). It is situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, “Hanuman Ka Tibba”, at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it.

How could Joshi’s miss Wagah Border Ceremony while in Amritsar?

The Wagah border closing ‘lowering of the flags’ ceremony, or The Beating Retreat ceremony, is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) and have jointly followed since 1959.
The drill is characterized by elaborate and rapid dance-like maneuvers, which has been described as “colourful” . It is alternatively a symbol of the two countries’ rivalry, as well as brotherhood and cooperation between the two nations.

This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, which as part of the Grand Trunk Road was the only road link between these two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations’ flags. It is called the beating retreat border ceremony on the international level. One infantryman stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists.

Mohini & Anish were lucky & proud Indians to be there!

Information courtesy: Wikipedia