Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts


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.


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.


Indian Mobile scene and future ....

As you know the growth of mobile is one of BIG discussion point of any technology seminar or talk show you attend today. Everybody already predicting more and more people will use mobile to access internet/information/e-commerce compared to traditional desktop or laptop. And in a country like India there will be lots of users who will be "on-line" for the first time  and they will directly use a smart phone bypassing key-board and mice altogether, in numbers they might be larger than some European country.

Till date good mobile  phones used to cost an arm & leg. And if you like Apple it still does in India as we have to buy the device upfront. But  things are changing and changing fast. Starting with Moto-G we are now seeing great phones (only androids) coming to Indian market for $15K INR ( $250) . And now with Asus, Xiaomi coming it looks every one is going to feel the pinch where people are very sensitive to price  but looks for best ROI. News channel reported Asus sold 40K ZenPhone phone in 4 days.

It may be a great time for on-line retailers like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart who are seeing high  growth in this country. I am sure the outcome  will be unknown may be at last we will have more non-cash transaction in India.  Any one having the crystal ball Still I recollect those hotted discussion had with my friends  about 1Mp and 2 MP digital camera and we never though companies like Kodak will be out of business  today and we will have 20MP camera in our phone.

Any company needs to have offering in HTML5 or native android to achieve significant market share of new and upcoming mobile users in these part of Asia. I know iPhone5 sold 20% more than the last one but the number we are taking here is huge. And HTML5 and hybrid model is better as every Android has different screen size.


Puri – Konark

 We had to extend our planned holidays as we got a last minute invitation for my cousin's marriage now both marriages were only 6 days apart. Personally was quite unhappy about the whole situation of attending two marriages; instead of voicing opinions, kept cribbing and ranting. Confronting such family matters does not work as no one is right. Anyways, at times you are forced to go along with such decision whether you like it or not.
Plan to Sunderban trip was made by Santanu as we wanted to go somewhere around Calcutta not just one Wedding to start with. And now with extension of our holiday we were left with 2 more days in hand. So after lots of thoughts and web browsing we settled unanimously for Puri - every Bengalis dream place or second home. Digha an eminent beach resort of West Bengal was shelved as everyone recommended against it.

From Calcutta its one night train journey and reached Puri early morning by Puri express. Heard from lot of sources and found it in actuality too that all kinds of people will start approaching you ,offering help starting from getting hotel to visiting inside the temple by trying to rob you. Avoided these people as much as possible.
We booked for Hotel Santana which was not sea facing but not far from sea. It’s located on C.T. (Chakra Tirtha) Road where most non-Indian prefer to stay. There are steady growth of foreigners in recent years who find beaches of Orissa are more tranquil compared to the famous one on western coast of India. Puri beach front is divided in 3 sections starting from west you have the old hotels which are frequented by Bengali’s; the middle section is a no-tourist-land as there is a big gutter which opens at sea and at the end you have the C.T Road where new hotels are.

First thing for us after reaching hotel was to visit Jaganath temple. We asked our hotel people to arrange for darshan. They did it within hours time very kind of them. They told us not to pay any exorbitant amount to that person just anything you wish should be fine enough. I didn't know before that non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. We had very smooth darshan despite lot of chaos and fight among police and pandas were going on just before closing of temple at noon. It didn't took much time too in queue compared to Tirupati.
After darshan we decided to come back and had lunch as we were empty stomach from morning so had food at one Jain place with no onion and garlic. Then strolled around in the street near to hotel. It was quite hot and bit humid at day time so went back to room. Rested for a while then left hotel on foot around 4.00pm to walk along the beach towards bazaar. Till 8.00pm we were roaming around and then decided to come back as Aarush was to be fed which was our concern. In evening we had temple bhog which was huge chunk to be finished by two. You are not supposed to throw bhog we shared the untouched portion with our hotel staffs who were also happy to have it. The Prasad is so holy that a Hindu Brahmin will eat the same even an un-touchable saves the same from a dog’s mouth.

Next day at 8.00am we left our room for Konark by a Cab from hotel and on reaching the spot hired a guide. The Guide was well informed and very decent took around and an hour or so to explain and then we took our own time to look around. From there we came to Chandbaga (Konark gold) beach. Aarush jumped into sea and was not willing to come out but we convinced him somehow that in evening we will come again. We came back to city center walked around temple area shopped some Saris and had food there in one restaurant from where temple is seen very clearly.
Did few shopping and came back to hotel. Then in evening as per our promise we took Aarush to beach and he was very happy. At evening its cool breeze which makes you to stay long then we came to street side food where we had fresh fish fry and hurried to hotel for Aarush before he gets cranky out of hunger.
At late night boarded train back to kolkata.


Lavazza in India

Just saw this advertisement on BBC website while checking my morning dose of news. I was quite fascinated by this ad. Immediately started to think “Oh this is great!!” now I can get a great coffee to start my day at home by pressing a button.
If you are not familiar with this machine or not a coffee person this machine uses special coffee capsules to dispense coffee. There are varieties of flavor to choose from and trust me it really makes great coffee.
In India tea is most preferred drink and most of people like to take it with lots of milk. Similarly coffee drinkers also prefers latte instead of “espresso” – sorry I am really addicted and spoiled and not quite human at work unless I get my dark coffee.
Now coming to the ad, immediately I dialed the number as mentioned in the advertisement and asked the tele-marketer about the price. And there I got real shock – it cost 10,000 INR (aprrox. 200 USD) for the machine and 25 INR (50 cents US) for the capsules. Now that is not a price I can afford to start my day :(


Vacation on the horizon

Yes I am going to take vacations! It has been a while (after May 2005) when we went out from our current address in Paris. In our standard of travelling it is a record for good or bad...that can't be said. May be it is the effect of Chateau, Bateau, Gateau.We would love to visit some country-side or mountains now. But, unfortunately Pamela is not at all interested for any ski-trip as she is complaining about the Paris cold all the time. So no trip in Europe for now.
Well, this vacation I am cheering but may be it will be just like another trip to India where my days are more hectic with relatives and long journeys and at the end I question myself was it a vacation or my social duties.
For sure I am going to travel a lot as I will start my trip of India with Delhi and ending the same in Bombay. In between I am going to stop at Siliguri, Calcutta & Durg for sure. I am adding this map with pointers to give an idea.

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...