ART PEACE

tapping the creative 'right' side of my brain

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

Himalayas – Kedarnath

So it’s the festival season in India, with Dussehra and Diwali coming back to back we decided to plan trips bag to bag.

The first one was to Gujarat – which I have already bragged about, the next one was to Garhwal, Himalayas which was a very spontaneous trip as we booked all tickets on the go…. during this trip we used all possible modes of transportation – flights, trains, local buses, luxury buses, three wheeler autos, rickshaws, ponies and our legs.

First stop Delhi, the capital – there is lot going on in the capital but the only thing that caught my attention was the sad plight of the birds as a result of the urbanization and deforestation.

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Delhi was just a stop over for change of trains after which we headed to Haridwar from where our actual journey begins to the magnificent Himalayas. We started from Haridwar to reach Sonprayag by evening, the whole 250 kms stretch is through the ghat roads – winding roads, meandering rivers, green hills and beautiful landscapes.

We will be going towards the source of the many rivers which fertilize the farmlands downstream.

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Shiva protecting the town of Haridwar

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Garhwal, Himalayas

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Devprayag– where the river Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet to become Ganga

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This is the famous Dhari Devi temple in the middle of Alaknanda river – the local lore is that it houses the upper half of the body of the goddess Dhari which changes its appearance during the day from a girl, to a woman and by evening to an old lady. We didn’t stay to witness the transformation but enjoyed the beauty of the nature and took some amazing shots and pushed off.

OK, before I go any further I feel the need to mention one thing, this was more of a pilgrimage cum tourism tour for us, the whole area which is also known as Devbhoomi(place where gods live – and the locals do believe that they still live here in the mountains) is filled with so many temples and significant sites full of legends and folk lore that it was hard not to stop at each of these spots to admire its beauty and listen to the stories. I’ll be sharing a few of them with you too 🙂

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Rudraprayag – confluence of rive Alaknanda and Mandakini

I couldn’t get a better shot here as there was a group performing final rituals for somebody who had passed away, so we just went to the temple near by and moved on from there. Story related to this place – Narada meditated and learnt music from Shiva.

We end the day with some sumptuous meal and went to sleep early.

One tip that I can give your here is: eat less while driving on ghat roads, the continuous movement of the car along the curve roads can be nauseating.

Day 2

Today we will start from Sonprayag to reach Kedarnath, fabled to be the abode of Lord Shiva. , this is a 18 kms trek. We were getting ready to trek but due to the cold climate and snow in the mountains opted for a pony ride.

The 4 hour long pony ride … Ouccchhhhh……..it still hurts my back when I think of it.

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This is what we- I mean the pony and me  🙂 had accomplished after 2 hrs.

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Looking down upon the rocky slope, I could hear the sound of the flowing and emerging waters which filled me with a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time.

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The final destination is somewhere there …. !!!

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Luxury in the lap of wild nature

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As pleased as I was, my pony was also pleased to have flat ground and turf before them. For us the journey is not yet over, we still have to cover over a kilometer to reach the temple.

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The dry river bed which emerges from the mountains.

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Kedarnath Dham – situated at the started point of River Mandakini

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Lone Ranger – the ranger is carrying parts with which they build houses up in these mountains. There was a better route along the river bank which got washed of in 2013 flash floods, so now until some other alternative is found these rangers carry the heavy wooden parts up the terrain.

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The descent down was another task in itself, it took us 6 hours by foot to finally reach base and God was I happy to see my comfy and warm bed.

OM Namah Shivaya

 

 

 

 

 

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Gujarat, India

In this blog we will go to the beautiful, vibrant and culturally rich state of Gujarat, India. I have heard a lot about its growth and development models – which I did witness but apart from that I also witnessed the rich culture that they have held onto which I feel is missing in many other parts of India.

So coming back to the trip, it was a 2500 km drive.

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Pune – Mumbai Expressway goes through the Western ghats, the winding roads which takes you through 4-5 tunnels was a very good start for the trip.

And then came Mumbai – one of the busiest cities in India, we hustled ourselves out of the crazy traffic of Mumbai, best thing about India – you can just honk your way out of the traffic 🙂

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As we were on the border of 2 states – the traffic scene didn’t just end after Mumbai, but now the competitors we the huge trucks, now here you don’t want to piss off the big fellows so you just quietly and articulately make your way out.

Our first stop – Vadodara, it was Navratri festival that day so we had booked tickets for viewing the dance festival.

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Navlakhi grounds

These are all local people who have dressed up for the occasion and not hired dancers.

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And in no time the whole ground was filled with people dancing in sync and in full zeal to the mesmerizing live music.

If interested you can watch a few videos I had taken here and here and here and here and here

taken from my shaky phone (I had no idea how the event would be else I would have at least freed up space in my phone).

Day2 – drive to Dwarika

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Look at those horns, you better not mess with them

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We share the road with everybody 🙂

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The cows in India have the right to be anywhere they want and there is no debate on that 🙂

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Dwarkadhish Temple,

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The point where the Gomati river joins Arabian Sea

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The street hawker who has all the marketing and management skills she needed and the colorful market place.

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And the journey continues

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The bridge we were supposed to cross Vs The bridge we crossed

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The local highway dhaba, this is a kathiyawadi gastronomical delight – all vegetarian (which makes me happy) and authentic taste which you will not get in any of those high priced imitation restaurants in the city and it is dead cheap plus served with smiles :), so I put all my manners aside and enjoyed my appetizing meal.

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There is a small bunch of flamingos in there, Indian bustard – an endangered species, some pelicans, herons and ducks, not much of a bird watcher so just clicked a snap for the record 🙂

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Somnath Temple

Phone and cameras are not allowed inside the temple so will have to do with the long shots. If you go to Somnath you should not miss the evening aarti, the music – the drums beats are so transcendental.

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Gir National forest – 3 hours back breaking safari to see these and a few other of their relatives but no predators(lion or leopard).  We saw some lion poop and on analyzing that our guide concluded that the lion had a deer for his lunch … so yeyyy, I wouldn’t have mind seeing the lion in action – even if it was pooping.

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After a soul enriching trip we headed home.

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I’ll miss Kathiawadi food and hope to see you soon.

 

 

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