2017-10-06

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)

The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.

I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock with this madness. Once crossed the bridge we spent a good amount time seating on a ghat and enjoying the beauty of Ganga. There were many rafting boats and other boats with tourists For lunch we decided to try our luck with Ramana’s Organic Cafe as suggested by Tripadvisor.  We walked the Ganges to reach and only to realize we are at the back of Raman’s Cafe. The final part of the backroad was absolutely no road so it involved little tricky.

The place is quite interesting. They have on floor seating arrangement. As there were many kittens I was not comfortable to sit there. So we opted for the floor above with chair and tables. All the vegetables they produce at their farm. They are an NGO with a school for village kids where they are giving education not only with books but with sports and working small work here and there.there are many expats who are living for a couple of months all together to help this community and managing the hospitality part of the center.

As we settled for lunch with our food came rain drizzle came and forced us inside. Oh God, it was tough on me I HATE cats and have fear cats I do not like them. I suffer from Ailurophobia. But the truth is the food was delicious which took away a lot of pressure for me to enjoy the situation.

While exiting the property we thought we will proper path this time. So we exited from the front gate but after many twist and turns ended up again on the back side from we entered.

Walking back Laxman Jhula we thought of taking a tuk-tuk and visit another ghat where Ganga Aarti happens. But At The end, we opted to take our car. The journey was through narrow lanes but being the second day we are getting used to the same.

Reaching Triveni Ghat we were not so impressed and it looked like we had to kill another 3 to hours. So after a lot of deliberation, we decided to rush to Haridwar. So we get back to our car and headed to Haridwar. Google map tried to be funny again and put us through narrow lanes. But as we had enough time today we did not panic As soon as we parked our car at the hotel we rushed for Har Ki Pauri. We got a premium location today but which also means we were facing Sun for a longer time. After 2 hours of waiting the Aarti started and we got an undisturbed view. Of course, there was some mean last-minute entry who tries every kind of tricks to squeeze in. So we had to accept that :(

After Arti I decided to take a dip in Ganga after all. It was an experience with chilled water and you really need to hold onto the chains for your own safety. After that, we visited temples nearby.

We opted to have dinner at Big Ben just opposite Railway station. While we were waiting we found our rickshaw-puller at the window. I was not sure why he was there but soon I realized he was there to return the lens cover of my lens. Sometimes this kind of big acts by our daily hero puts a smile that no money can buy. But out of my joy, I forgot to take a selfie with him. 

The delight of yummy food in a comfortable seating with Aircondition was really worth the value. The place is little expensive in Haridwar standard but would recommend it any day.

2017-09-13

Day - 2 Dehradun & Haridwar

We work up fresh after a good sleep. But soon we realized we are in a place which we are very not fond off. May be the Mussoorie did not blink with us. After taking shower and getting ready for the day we went up to the restaurant for breakfast. But looked like we were an early riser as there were no one else and the place was not cleaned up for the day. So we out for a stroll.

The breakfast was quick and we cleared our dues and packed our bags. Now getting the car out was another struggle but with daylight, it was little it was little easy but still lots of maneuvering.

We decided to give Mussorie a complete pass and started for Dehradun. The downhill journey was quite quick. We thought to cover Indian Forest Research Institute first. Somehow we could not follow Google Map’s initial direction so had to go through the city. We saw Ram Krishna Ashram along the main road itself.

Forest Research Institute is almost 100+ years old Institute set up by the British to study and preserve diverse forests of India. It is a must visit for anyone. From Wikipedia

FRI Dehradun is one of the oldest institutions of its kind and acclaimed the world over. The institute’s history is virtually synonymous with the evolution and development of scientific forestry, not only in India but over the entire sub-continent. Built on a lush green estate spread over 450 hectares, with the outer Himalaya forming its back drop, the institute’s main building is an impressive edifice, marrying Greco-Roman and Colonial styles of architecture, with a plinth area of 2.5 hectares. The building was listed for a time, in the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest purely brick structure in the world.

We spent a good amount of time to explore the museum and its different section. It is really vast if you are not a museum person you might get bored too quickly with so many exhibits and history.

After exploring FRI to our heart's content we left for Robber’s cave or Guchhupani. The road from FRI to Robber’s cave goes via military area. As we took a wrong turn out of FRI we crossed the main gate of Rashtriya Indian Military College another imperial legacy. It was on our list but we could not stop due to high security to take any decent picture of the building from outside.

Once parked at Robber’s cave we changed our shoes for Crocs ;). This is a river cave which has a waterfall (a small one) at the end; almost half a kilometer long with a narrow passage. The water was low so it was a pleasant walk in summer but at times crowded.

After covering these two attractions we decided to leave Dehradun for Haridwar post lunch.
We had lunch at a kebab place on the Haridwar road.

Rest of the drive to Haridwar was OK. Most roadways was an undivided road which means we have to be extra careful. We crossed the lone airport of Uttarakhand which is halfway between Haridwar and Dehradun. As we approached Haridwar the traffic increased and one or two places it was snail pace. The last few KM was to our hotel was tricky as we cross the Ganges and drive through narrow lanes.

At one point we made a left turn before and we could see Sadhus wearing saffron on Royal Enfield bullets coming. We immediately stopped on the side and could see a big procession coming towards to us and an elephant leading the gathering. Immediately with a fraction of seconds had turned the car and headed back from we came. It was one of those escapes you remember after month while trying to pen down the diary. Soon we were next to the bus stand and railway station. And our stay was next door. The hotel was again from GMVN with a huge parking.

This time the hotel was much more cleaner compared to last night.  Our room was big and OK. We freshened up and headed towards famous Ganga Aarti on a Rickshaw. The journey was like crawling at the end with any rooms with so many people and narrow lane.

Even though it was just 5 in the evening we were already late for Ganga Aarti. All the available place to view the same were taken and we had to squeeze ourselves. We had to stand separately as I was with camera and Pamela with Aarush. Lucky for Aarush he found some place to stand to peep through the crowd.  The crowd and the atmosphere are altogether a different experience and I do not possess the writing skill or the photography skill to narrate the same. It is a must watch if you are traveling to this part of India. The Aarti (evening prayer) is about 40 mins or so long with many small activities in between.

Post Aarti we stopped for dinner into a restaurant in the very corner. The food was OK the service was crazy as it was very crowded. We decided to walk back to our hotel. It was around 2 KM of walking and we opted to walk using bylanes full of shops rather than the main road which is always full of honking from bikes.




2017-06-20

Day 1 - Drive to Mussoorie

It was a crazy week, as usual, it always happens that the week is very bad for work, commute and others just before we go on vacation and come back. So somehow we finished our packing on Thursday night and set our alarms for early Friday.

T3 Delhi Airport
We woke up on time and got ready and then call for Uber, the app shows the taxi is just next to our apartment where normally few Uber/Ola always are found. on tracking it was found no movement, I call the number and no one picks. After trying few times I gave up and cancel my trip. Again book another Uber and this time the guys picks up the phone and promised to be there in 5 minutes. The cab was an old one the headlight was barely working asked him to switch on the headlight and his response it is already on. Well, finger crossed we reached airport and journey to Delhi was in peace.  
All excited for vacation to start
We landed on time and called our car rental company they told us to come to a designated spot but the wait was quite long. The representative does the handover outside Airport area near Aero City Metro (Mahipalpur junction). Signed few documents took pictures of the car. There were lots of dents around ( nothing surprising a rented car in Delhi). The car had around 53K KM on ODO. What was bad is that the car came with very low fuel where the pre-sale promise was it will come with full tank fuel. Now it was already 11 and the traffic was horrible and we started our journey in crawling speed. The names were familiar but I could not recollect anything about Delhi, like Bhikaji Kama, AIMS, SouthEx... .
RTO TAX collection points
We crossed Jamuna and stopped for UP road tax. Now the real UP wala feeling came alive. The tool was only 120/- but the guy wanted 170/- When asked 50/- is his fees for which there was no receipt. After raising my voice little and asking what is wrong it was agreed at 150/-. We crossed Noida and then entered Ghaziabad.  Traffic was getting little better but the day was getting hotter and hotter. Now I was desperate to find a petrol station. Thanks, Google Maps we had to take few U-turns very confidently as for no reason it asks you to take a road when your common road sense also tells you it is very wrong. We saw a massive amount of newly constructed apartments and people are waving their hands to the car so take a look. Indian realty market did not look that promising.  We fill our car and then stopped for a quick bite. The food was OK but the moment we come back the car felt like a furnace.

The road google map took us bypassed Ghaziabad, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Roorkee, Dehradun for Mussoorie.  

We stopped before Roorkee to pay road tax for Uttarakhand but now this time has to give 300/- to that guy for which there was no receipt. It was a tent where these private operators are working. Only good thing I understood what needs to be done for next time as he did the process in front of me on the computer.

Road to Mussoorie
As soon as we entered Roorkee the roads just disappeared for some good distance. It was back to crawling speed and minute maneuvering. And it seems there is no real bypass as the whole town was on the road.  At last, the road got better as we escaped out of Roorkee. We passed Dehradun around 5/5:30 PM. And from there uphill of 20KM started to reach Mussoorie. We were told the road will be tricky but found it OK. We reached Mussoorie when the sun just went down completely behind the mountains.

As usual like any other British hill station this also has Mall road, and we anticipated that it will be closed to vehicular traffic in the evening. And it was so we had to find a public parking and park our car there. It was a transition from the driving on plains as roads here get really narrow.

Our Dinner at Kalsana
We checked in our hotel GMVN and oh! No, it was a not a room we were expecting. The staffs were courteous but very slow in response.   I really feel bad as most of our hotels are GMVN/KMVN for next 10 days. We walked to another end of the Mall road and had a good dinner. The place was very crowded, but we all have tested better Chinese food. Maybe our choice was not great as the dishes we ordered were extremely spicy or oily.

Now with a little sore mood, we headed back to the hotel and left Aarush for sleeping as we walked back to get our car back to the hotel.

Oh boy! what a parking. You go steeply down from the Coffee day and then drive along two hotels and their parking kissing those cars side mirrors. And then there 90° turn to be made. I really do not know how I managed the same. The hotel guy was there to help me but Pamela was screaming I was maneuvering left, right, front back and what not. Anyway once crossed that hurdle the parking area was just behind our room.

Disappointed so far we just crashed on our bed even without changing our dress. A long day from morning 4 a.m came to an end finally.

2017-05-31

Uttarakhand - prelude

It has been such a long time that we posted something we almost forgot how to type long paragraphs. Maybe all due to Facebook and WhatsApp which is instant but then in when you look back you have no way to figure out what all the noise was about. Well enough of rant now let me type….

Beginning of 2017 we were very much looking for a vacation and Pamela was interested in Uttarakhand. Now Uttarakhand is not a big state, it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh around 17 years back(A.D.2000 to be precise). But being a hilly region you can not just go around and see it all. There are two main parts Garhwal & Kumaon. And we were lost in between which part to visit. At the end, we made up some plan after talking to friends who are quite familiar with the UK. That made me more confused. Now comparing to the trip of Himachal Pradesh 3 years back, I was quite sure would be able to drive myself in the hills unless we plan to visit high altitude areas where roads would be narrow and tricky. Also if you recollect there was a major natural calamity in 2013 which washed away most roads and caused havoc during the peak of summer vacation. And I was not so keen for Dhams ( seats/abode) yatra as it means visiting temples and religious places. So at the end, I posted my planned itinerary in team-bhp. Now, as usual, got useful advice and modified our itinerary accordingly.

Now the plan was to fly to New Delhi and then rent a car and drive to Uttarakhand.  Here is the high-level plan.

  1. Night at Mussoorie - Morning flight to From Delhi and then  drive  to Mussoorie
  2. Night at Haridwar - Full day Explore Mussoorie; Leave for Haridwar later
  3. Night at Haridwar - Explore Haridwar
  4. Night at Corbett Tiger Reserve
  5. Night at Corbett Tiger Reserve
  6. Night at Binsar - Via Nainital & Almora 5/6 hrs Drive
  7. Night at Binsar - Binsar wildlife sanctuary and from there trekking till zero point. Next will be seeing the Jageshwar group of temples.
  8. Night at Kausani
  9. Night at Kausani
  10. Night at Nainital
  11. Night at Nainital
  12. Long drive 7/8 hours & fly out to Bangalore (late evening flight)

Hotel bookings, I pre-booked Corbett Tiger Reserve using their official website. The booking to Corbett is very tricky. You need to be on online and ready and at your best, I had my caffeine shot just before 10. The booking opens 45 days prior for Indians. And without night booking Dhikala region the best region to explore within Corbett remains off limit to you.

If you are serious about CRT, my simple advice is you MUST have a booking at Dhikala. You will see and capture what is totally depends on your luck. But just for the experience, you must do the booking in Dhikala zone. The other zones are small and open for day safari as well so that way they become more crowded.  

Rest of the Hotels are booked via KMVN and GMVN website directly. Also booked Kausani well before hand as it looked like a good option again Team-BHP.

2017-02-14

Plan for 2017

Wish list for year 2017/18.


  • 27th August Airtel Hyderabad HM
  • 10th September Chennai Trail Marathon Full
  • 15th October Bangalore HM :)
  • 29th October Gurgaon Full 
  • 10th December Goa River Marathon Full 
  • 4th February 2018 IDBI Calcutta Full 
  • 11th February 2018 Auroville HM
  • 25th February 2018 Delhi IDBI Full

So far I have covered running a Full Marathon in these states of India. Let's see if I can add Goa, West Bengal, and Tamilnadu to the list.
  1. Karnataka -  Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon 2015
  2. Kerala -  Spice Coast Cochin Marathon November 2015 
  3. Meghalaya - Satara Marathon (Shillong) July 2016
  4. Telangana - Airtel Hyderabad Marathon August 2016
  5. Maharastra - Stanard Chartered Mumbai Marathon January 2017 
  6. Pondicherry - Auroville Marathon February 2017


2016-01-13

2016 Planning


Some Runs/Race I would like to do in 2016.
  • 14-Feb-2016 Auroville Marathon
  • 06-Mar-2016 IDBI Kolkata Marathon ( can not go but listing )
  • 19-Mar-2016 Nirbhaya Midnight Marathon (Bangalore)
  • 12-Jun-2016 Run Your First Half or Full Marathon (Jaynagar Jaguar date not confirmed)
  • 17-Jul-2016 The Cherrapunjee Marathon
  • 28-Aug-2016 Airtel Hyderabad Marathon
  • 11-Sep-2016 Chennai Trail Marathon
  • 16-Oct-2016 Bengaluru Marathon

2015-11-25

Cochin Full Marathon 2015

Pre-Race Day

The day started early, we get out Cochin Club today and part our our ways for some time. While Pamela & Aarush goes back to Bangalore on Saturday itself I stay back for the big run on Sunday.

They had a train to catch around 9 from ERS. There was not a single auto around so had to walk and get one from Ferry station and as usual the price asked and agreed is way more than normal,

My running friends already reached from Bangalore while some checked in to Hotel other went ahead to Alleppey to check run route for December MTR run. There was many small plans and phone calls in the morning about how we meet up and spend our day, At the end I came to the hotel in Wellington Island around 10. After 11 we start from hotel for BIB collection which is another end of 

Ernakulam. The bus ride was very long and memorable one not a kind that you suggest. We were swinging …. the drives is rash and the roads are narrow and there is Metro construction going on forever.

The BIB collection was happening inside a newly opened mall. And we came to know there are not going to many runners around 200 registered for FM and another 800 for HM, After usual chit-chat with fellow runners and pictures we headed for food. We were told and warned about the bad road conditions due to rain and that might impact bare-foot runners most. Organizers were also offering early start at 3AM. But the regular start of 4 AM itself was too early for my standard.

While walking to the mall from bus stop spotted the restaurant ‘Dhe Puttu’ a place Pamela wanted to go but we did not. While entering the place we liked it but it usual a clean nice restaurant. But when they served the ‘Sulaimani Tea’ things changed drastically for good. We all must had 7/8 cups of tea and some may be more. It seems this restaurant belongs to one of Malaalam actor Dileep. We all loved the food. And the best part we were full. The puttu is very filling and restaurant guys service was excellent. Post lunch we again walked to bus stop and got a bus to our hotel. 

Pamela and Aarush Bangalore reached Bangalore safely in the evening. They mentioned about the rain and cold weather over there. Personally had a shower and nap in the afternoon. But that killed by sleep in the night as I could barely sleep. 

Race Day


Woke up at 3:15 or so and left hotel at 3:30 in Bus (thanks to soles of Cochin) for the venue. From our group few were doing FM and most were doing HM. In hotel met Balaji, one runners from Chennai who is of my kind of running speed. But he has ran many FM including last month Bangalore on in 4 hours where I took 14 more minutes. It was 3 in the beginning but soon around 6 KM mark I think we lost Patrick and me and Balali continued together. We were running side by side but once the road narrowed we started to follow each other. We completed the half way mark before 2 hours and headed back and crossed 30K around 2 hr 45 minutes or so. But once we were back to the Wellington Island we met up with the many slow HM and Family fun (5K) runners. While they had a turn to complete their race we had to continue on an isolated roads between shipyards and godowns. It was the last KMs that was very dull and boring. And now the gap between me and Balaji increased as I really lost the enthusiasm . Thankfully one Hyderabad runner came to rescue around last 500m to give company. And the race got over in 4 hours 7 minutes. The best part not much walking and stopping in the last 5 KMs but there is way to improve. May be I shouldI think I have 50KM Ultra to run while running those 5KM. 

Post-race as usual Bangalore runner specially Pacemakers were on the podium. And very thankful to two gentlemen who are working in Dubai but avid runners gave us lift to Hotel. We checkout and headed towards MG road and ended up going to Grand Hotel for lunch. This is the same place where we as a family met our Cochin host Gulshan and his family on Tuesday for dinner.

The service was not so great as we were a Bhukkad Gang. Rest of the journey back to Bangalore was fun filled with lots of chitchat which can be shared here ;) 




Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...