ROLLINGWITHKRITZ http://rollingwithkritz.com Travel and Lifestyle Blog Tue, 09 Jan 2018 19:11:44 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://i0.wp.com/rollingwithkritz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cropped-cropped-IMG_4073.jpg?fit=32%2C32 ROLLINGWITHKRITZ http://rollingwithkritz.com 32 32 118689289 THE MIGHTY MEHRANGARH FORT IN JODHPUR | THE BLUE CITY http://rollingwithkritz.com/mehrangarh-fort/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/mehrangarh-fort/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:41:07 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=742 The post THE MIGHTY MEHRANGARH FORT IN JODHPUR | THE BLUE CITY appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Welcome to the Pink City Preceding our journey to Kuldhara , we had a Pit stop in Jodhpur and thought of covering one of the most magnificent forts in India- the mighty Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur.  Long weekend arrives and we begin itching to escape from the everyday humdrum of Delhi. It … Continue reading

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Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

Panoramic view of the Pink City

Welcome to the Pink City

Preceding our journey to Kuldhara , we had a Pit stop in Jodhpur and thought of covering one of the most magnificent forts in India- the mighty Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur.  Long weekend arrives and we begin itching to escape from the everyday humdrum of Delhi. It is monsoon in India and we look away from the mountains and towards the desert.

Jaipur is not far enough so we look further and zero in on Jodhpur- the second largest city in the desert state of Rajasthan in India. It is around 8-10 hours drive from Delhi and suitably impressive for our weekend explorations. Jodhpur is also known as the ‘Blue City’ because of the blue coloured houses in the old part of the city. A very popular tourist destination, the city is home to one of the largest forts in India-the Mehrangarh Fort.

Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

Marks of the Canon Balls on the wall

Mehrangarh fort jodhpur

View of the fort from the ground – level 2

Mehrangarh fort jodhpur

A little A brief history of the Fort

Mehrangarh Fort was built by Rao Jodha of the Rathore dynasty sometime around 1460. The name Mehrangarh is derived from Sanskrit words ‘Mihir’ meaning Sun, and ‘Garh’ meaning fort. This was probably because the Sun God was the main deity of the Rathores.

Mehrangarh fort Jodhpur

Door once used in the fort is now just a piece of wood kept inside the Fort – a beautifully crafted one

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Amazing work of mirrors on the Ceiling and Chandelier inside the Courtroom of the Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

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Beautiful gold work on the Pillars inside the Courtroom

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Craftsman working inside the Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

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Trying my hands on one of the instruments played by the musicians

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Layout of the Mehrangarh fort Jodhpur made in metal

The fort is spread over 5 km and is located high up at around 400 feet above the main city. It has many gates also known as Pols , namely, Jai Pol, Fateh Pol, Lakhna Pol, Amrit Pol, Loha Pol and Suraj Pol. A remarkable fact about Mehrangarh is that this fort has never been taken in a siege.

mehrangarh fort jodhpur

mehrangarh fort jodhpur

View of Jaswant Thada – It is a 19th century royal monument built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II – 33rd Ruler of Rathore family in Jodhpur.

We venture forth into the royal past along the winding path that leads us into the beautiful courtyards and palaces- all bearing testimony to majestic victories, tales of valour, breathtaking carvings, regal opulence and the tragic remnants of the practice of Sati.

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mehrangarh fort jodhpur

View of the walls from the top of the Fort

The glory of bygone days is visible in the numerous palaces and museums that exhibit arms, paintings, costumes, musical instruments and period rooms. There are many courtyards and balconies and more than once we got the magnificent view of the Blue City from certain locations in the Fort.

True to its name, Mehrangarh is mighty enough to be the citadel of the Sun God and stands out in all its splendor as the sun rays light it up against the backdrop of the sprawling blue city!

Suggest next read: Kuldhara- a haunted village in Rajasthan

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KULDHARA – A HAUNTED VILLAGE IN RAJASTHAN http://rollingwithkritz.com/kuldhara-rajashthan/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/kuldhara-rajashthan/#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2016 20:43:26 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=735 The post KULDHARA – A HAUNTED VILLAGE IN RAJASTHAN appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Paranormal Activity Seeker’s place: Kuldhara Paranormal activity seekers should visit Kuldhara at nighttime as it is believed that it is not possible to spend an entire night there because of ghostly activities. People who have tried to do so have been chased away by paranormal beings that haunt the village. … Continue reading

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Paranormal Activity Seeker’s place: Kuldhara

Paranormal activity seekers should visit Kuldhara at nighttime as it is believed that it is not possible to spend an entire night there because of ghostly activities. People who have tried to do so have been chased away by paranormal beings that haunt the village. Others, who do not wish to partake in these activities, should restrict their visit to daytime like we did.

Kuldhara

Road to Kuldhara Village

We spent the night before in a huge palatial hotel that looked quite haunted as well! It looked like a deserted palace with huge gardens. The haunted look was chiefly due to its being off-season. There were weeds everywhere and the gardens were highly unkempt. Most of the rooms were vacant and the ones assigned to us were so huge that some of us requested that four people be put in the same room to dispel the scary feeling! The corridors were dark and foreboding and it was all in all a very uncomfortable night that we spent there.

Kuldhara

Deserted Road- Kuldhara

Kuldhara

Ruins in Kuldhara

Exploring the Ruined Village

The next morning we drove up a very dusty road and soon after, found ourselves amidst the ruins of Kuldhara. This abandoned village is around 18 km to the south west of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Kuldhara was home to the Paliwal Brahmins around 200 years ago. Legend says that the entire village disappeared one night to escape the wrath of the evil minister Salim Singh who wanted to forcibly marry the village chief’s daughter. They simply left the village and never returned. Before going, they put a curse on the village that nobody would ever be able to settle there. However, the more logical version is that the villagers were forced to migrate as they could not pay the heavy taxes levied by Salim Singh.

Kuldhara

Kuldhara

Brick walls still stand tall

Kuldhara

Abandoned in true sense

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For an abandoned village Kuldhara was very well maintained and we got to know that it had been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India and that it was a heritage site. It was eerie walking through the lanes and pathways amongst what were once houses but now, were just walls without roofs. Most of these walls were made of brick and mud. There was also a temple in the centre of the village.

Kuldhara

Group Pic in the temple

Kuldhara

Temple inside the Kuldhara Village

Kuldhara

Some fun moments inside the village

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Bidding adieu to Kuldhara

We even goofed around as villagers being chased away by Salim Singh! But, in retrospect, I think that was mainly to take the creepy edge off while wandering about in Kuldhara! We wondered what must have really happened to the villagers that they were forced to abandon their homes so suddenly.The village lanes were like a maze and even getting out of there was a task in itself. It looked peaceful enough in the daytime, maybe more so because we were a large group. Maybe a solo trip during nighttime would actually reveal the secrets of the abandoned village in the mysterious state of Rajasthan!

NEXT SUGGESTED READING: Trip to Majuli – World’s biggest river Island and Kaziranga National Park – The place with highest no of one horned Rhinos

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Camping near Jim Corbett National Park | New Year | Adventure Tour http://rollingwithkritz.com/jim-corbett-1/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/jim-corbett-1/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:27:34 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=694 The post Camping near Jim Corbett National Park | New Year | Adventure Tour appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Kyari Syat Camp, Jim Corbett National Park Camping near the Jim Corbett National Park, going on a night trek inside the famous jungle (which had inspired so many authors to write tales of different maneaters) , doing some adventure bit like a day long moderate trek , climbing trees – … Continue reading

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CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Kyari Syat Camp, Jim Corbett National Park

Camping near the Jim Corbett National Park, going on a night trek inside the famous jungle (which had inspired so many authors to write tales of different maneaters) , doing some adventure bit like a day long moderate trek , climbing trees – I guess this all sounded so much fun to us just by the mere mention of it.

On 29th Dec 2015, four of us bundled into a Toyota SUV and started off to welcome the New Year in the jungles of Jim Corbett National Park. Our destination was a campsite set up by Wildrift Adventures in the village of Syat that borders the National Park. This place was a feeble network zone and it had been quite a task connecting with the camp people for directions when we were about to reach the place and it was already getting dark.

It was a chilly December night and a roaring bonfire and a hot dinner sprung us back to life. Furthermore, the mention of a leopard frequenting the camp outskirts added to the excitement that we had begun to feel! There was jungle all around us and lanterns eerily lit up the narrow pathways in between the tall grass and bushes in the campsite.

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Camp Site

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Inside the tent

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Small Battery Operated lantern to for emergency

We began the last day of the year by doing some physical activities that the camp offered. Later in the day, a crowd comprising local villagers visited the campsite to participate in the New Year celebrations. The 4 of us escaped the evening hullabaloo by going on a short trek to a nearby village.

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Changing colors of the Hills during sunset

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Trek to the Sunset Point

What added to the beautiful sunset was the sight of peacocks flying off short cliffs and into the shallow valley. We walked through tomato fields and higher up we stopped near a marigold field where the residents of the house on top graciously offered us tea. The trek back was a tad difficult as we came back through the forest area. There were steep inclines and descents and the growing darkness added to the thrill of walking through the forest famous for its tigers!

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Peacocks gracefully dancing inside the Jungle

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CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

The Team Pic

Some cooking style we learned during our Camping

The festivities were in full swing at the camp with music and dance performances. Our fabulous cook Tiwariji started preparing his special ‘Mud Roast Chicken’. He wrapped the marinated chicken in leaves and covered the leaves with wet mud. Then he buried the chicken underneath the bonfire that was being built. A couple of hours later it was done and taken out from the ash. The piping hot chicken looked so sinfully tempting that Tiwariji had to carve and cut it at the bonfire and distribute it right then and there!

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK, Mud Chicken

Preparing the Mud Chicken

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Guests at the Campsite

Second day Trek

The next morning two of us went on a trek with a guide and took a packed lunch from the camp kitchen. The initial 3 hours was a steep uphill climbing which took all the energy that we had preserved for the day. But we did get to capture some perfect landscapes, ridges, and beautiful birds on the way. The next 3 hours were a decent downhill trek which was pretty much easier.
There was a cute house (and surprisingly only one house) at the top of the Hill where we took some rest and has home made Chai (Tea). It was refreshing enough as it was a bit different green tea which i had never tasted before.

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Getting ready for the Trek

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

At the top of the Hill, Stoppage Time

We were back at the camp at 5pm and were just in time for tea and cookies. There was a small group left at the camp by now. We all sat around the bonfire as an avid reader of Jim Corbett books entertained us with stories about maneaters and the camp staff added to those tales of the past.

Hunt for the Leopard – Night Adventure

We had been planning to on a night trek and got to know that one of the kitchen boys had come across the leopard while bringing groceries from the village. He had been on his bike and after this encounter had refused to go back to the village. The guides suggested that maybe we should start for the trek as we might be able to spot the leopard if we were lucky.

Just as this discussion was going on, we heard a lot of commotion and sounds that seemed to be coming from a lone house on a hill slope around ¾ km above the camp site. We heard a lot of dogs barking frantically and this was followed by the whining and painful cries of an animal! It seemed as if one of the dogs was hurt or dying and was crying out in pain. As suddenly as it had started, the commotion ceased and there was silence again.

CAMPING NEAR JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Traces of blood found near our site during the Night Trek presumably that of a Leopard kill

Our guide decided to change the track and move towards the path near the house above. With pounding hearts, we followed the guide and half expected the leopard to come charging at us from around the bend ahead! We had been warned neither to talk nor to switch on our lights till instructed otherwise.

By the time we reached the path near the house, all was quiet and we did not see any leopard or dog.The guide continued up ahead into the forest and soon we were off the track and into the dense shrubbery.

For quite some time we had to crawl on our knees and move at snail’s pace as there was very dense lantana above us. The thorny weed tore at our clothes and scraped our skin. Finally we were able to get up and found ourselves on a very narrow path with the hill on one side and a dark ravine on the other side.

We treaded carefully in a single file and at one place we crossed a rock that had splashes of blood that were a few days old. There were fallen leaves with dried blood on them as this was probably the sight of an old kill.

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At one point, the guide made us sit down in silence and gradually our hearing became attuned to the sounds of the forest. We were able to make out the outlines of the hills against the faint skies and dim stars. We felt one with nature for those few minutes and marveled at how we were an insignificant speck in the vastness of the forest!

We reached the campsite at around dinner time. Those of us who had been cowering in fear a little while back were the first ones to try to make leopard calls now! It is funny what the safety of a campfire can do to lift the human spirit.

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NEW YEAR BEGINS!

The next morning, we had our last hearty breakfast and bade the wonderful camp staff goodbye as we started for Delhi. We had welcomed the New Year in the jungle and were ready to face it in the city now.

I believe that each of our travel should be more about the journey and the unexpected moments that happens along the travel that makes it more interesting. It should always be fun filled like never before and makes us learn something new.

NEXT SUGGESTED READING: HOLY LAND ISRAEL

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Kaziranga National Park | Majuli Island | RoadTrip http://rollingwithkritz.com/kaziranga-national-park-majuli-island/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/kaziranga-national-park-majuli-island/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:44:36 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=510 The post Kaziranga National Park | Majuli Island | RoadTrip appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

The Initial Trip Plan  A close friend’s wedding in Guwahati in November 2013 was the perfect opportunity for a few other friends to visit North East India. After much discussions, arguments and debates, we decided to cover two of the most famous travel destinations of Assam – Kaziranga National Park … Continue reading

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Kaziranga National Park

The majestic Himalayan peaks

The Initial Trip Plan 

A close friend’s wedding in Guwahati in November 2013 was the perfect opportunity for a few other friends to visit North East India. After much discussions, arguments and debates, we decided to cover two of the most famous travel destinations of Assam – Kaziranga National Park (famous for One Horned Rhino) and Majuli River Island which is the world’s biggest river island. Since I am from Guwahati, I was to play host and guide to a couple of them.

Meetup in Guwahati

We went from New Delhi and one of our friend came from Bangalore. We met up in Guwahati where my house was to become the base camp for the next few days :). Since Guwahati is a gateway to the North East India , it has enough tourist spots inside the city to keep a person busy for a week.

We arrived on a Saturday and in the evening I took them out for a drive along the River Brahmaputra. There are cosy little parks along the river banks and one can buy freshly caught fish from the fishermen who lay out their catch along the riverside. Towards sunset the place becomes a photographer’s delight as the skies turn orange and the water starts shimmering.

Kaziranga National Park

Sunset at Brahmaputra

Kaziranga National Park

KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK ROADTRIP! 

Distance from Guwahati- 194 Kms

The wedding was on Tuesday so Sunday afternoon we took a cab to go to Kaziranga National Park. The park is famous for the great one horned rhinoceros and has been declared a World Heritage Site. It also has tigers, wild buffaloes, wild boars and swamp deer. The Brahmaputra, along with a few other rivers flows through the park and there are many marshlands inside Kaziranga. The drive from Guwahati was approximately 6 hours long via NH37 .

Our cab driver Madhu was a pleasant guy who gave us good company and kept us entertained. The highway to Kaziranga is very well maintained and there are rolling fields and tea gardens on the way. We passed a few tribal villages where the residents wore beautiful traditional dresses that gave us a glimpse of their cultural heritage. My friends were amazed to meet a dhaba owner on the way who was a Sikh gentleman and spoke fluent Assamese!

Night at the Resort

Soon it was dusk and as it was the night before full moon , the clouds and the bright moon set up a beautiful night sky. We stopped at the first hotel we came across on the highway after entering Kaziranga. It was a new place that was yet to become fully functional. The hotel staff was very gracious and hospitable and within no time they set up a makeshift bonfire for us.

Kaziranga national park

Unwinding at the hotel

They continued to entertain us with stories about the forest as we hungrily ate the simple yet delicious dinner they prepared for us.  Once the story telling session got over, we retreated into our bedrooms as we had to get up early for the elephant safari.

Kaziranga National Park

Waiting for the elephants at the Elephant Safari Point

Elephant Safari

We were up by 4:30 and by 5:00 we were waiting for the elephants at the safari starting point. There were many other tourists and we all got on the elephants to start our safari ride into the jungle. The elephants walked through the tall elephant grass and we were able to spot the famous one horned rhinoceros. The magnificently thick skinned rhino is a temperamental animal that can charge at the slightest provocation and do serious damage to any vehicle. The elephants maintained their distance and we were able to get a good view of several rhinos. We also spotted some exotic birds and deer herds.

Kaziranga National Park

First glimpse of the one horned rhino in between the tall and dense elephant grass

Kaziranga National Park

A closer look the rhino

Kaziranga National Park

The elephants spreading out into the forest

Kaziranga National Park

A startled deer

Kaziranga National Park

Grey-Headed Fish Eagle-from a distance

Kaziranga National Park

Glorious sunrise in the forest

As the sun rose the mist started lifting from the water bodies and through the haze we spotted more rhinos and birds. All in all, it was rejuvenating to be in the forest so early in the morning and experience nature in its full glory!

Kaziranga National Park

Spotting birds through the rising mist

Jeep Safari – through deep jungle

We showered and had breakfast in the hotel after returning from the safari. We were supposed to get ready for the jeep safari by 10 but, as it so often happens with people who don’t usually wake up at 4:30am, some of us decided to take a nap and missed our deadline! After a lot of pleading with the safari organisers, we were finally taken out on the jeep and into the forest!

Kaziranga National Park

Finally the jeep safari!

There are three motorable trails for jeep safari in Kaziranga –Kohora, Bagori and Agaratoli. We had taken the Bagori trail and were quite excited even though we had lost the opportunity to spot wild animals at that late hour. The drive was through the deep forest so we were still able to spot a few rhinos, deer, wild elephants, Grey-headed fish eagles, pelicans, etc.

Kaziranga National Park

A rhino cooling off in the water

Kaziranga National Park

At the waterhole

Kaziranga National Park

Peaceful co-existence!

Kaziranga National Park

Closer look of the Grey-headed fish eagle

Kaziranga National Park

The perfect shot as the eagle flew away!

Kaziranga National Park

A shy turtle disappearing into the water!

Kaziranga National Park

A brief halt at a watch tower

Kaziranga National Park

And look what we found!

Kaziranga National Park

Dance of the birds

Kaziranga National Park

Clicking the rhino from a safe distance!

MAJULI ISLAND

Distance from Kaziranga National Park to Majuli Island – 155 kms

Post the jeep safari we had a quick lunch and drove to Jorhat  city-a major urban centre in Assam. From Jorhat we had to get on a ferry to Majuli island—the biggest river island in the world. As a result of significant erosion over the years, the area of Majuli has reduced considerably and stands at approximately 352 square kilometres now. The island is home to Assamese neo Vaishnavite culture and the Vaishnava Satras are a major tourist attraction.

This was also a special time as the famous ‘Raas’ – the famous annual Krishna Leela festival was being performed in Majuli. The star attraction this time was the famous Assamese actress Barkha Rani who was playing Krishna’s mother Devaki in the play.

Ferry Ride to Majuli

Our trip to Majuli did not turn out to be a run of the mill touristy trip that we had thought it would be, instead there was not a dull moment from the time we boarded the ferry! We parked the car on the ferry and forgot to take out the cameras thinking that there was plenty of time for that. Big stones were put against the rear tyres of the car to prevent it from rolling off the steamer and into the mighty Brahmaputra!

Within minutes the steamer was packed and the car was surrounded on 3 sides by bikes that blocked our access to it. We stood at the helm of the steamer to get the best view and also to avoid the rest of the crowd. The steamer engine revved up at 5pm and we were on our way.

The Incredible Moonrise over the Brahmaputra

Nothing had prepared us for the incredible sunset that we witnessed that evening! The skies changed their colour from blue to yellow to orange to red to purple and the reflection on the river water created magic! There were exotic looking birds that flew in flocks in perfect V formation across the beautifully hued skies! It was a spell binding sight and our only regret was that we did not have our cameras. So with these memories imprinted on our minds, we continued enjoying the sunset without any cameras.

And this was just the beginning.  We were soon to be treated to another beautiful spectacle, as it turned dark, a deep reddish yellow light coming from one corner of the river caught our fancy. We continued to wonder what it was as we saw gradually saw it turning into a giant deep red yellow ball! And finally realization hit us– this was the Moon—the full moon at the horizon! We were witnessing a moonrise over the Brahmaputra! The moon rose gradually and it was huge and cast reflection over the river waters. Again we cursed ourselves for not carrying our cameras as we followed the moonrise.

As it rose up, it lost the deep yellow colour till it looked white and the size also reduced.By the time we reached the shore and took out the cameras it was like a regular full moon over the river and this is the best that we could capture..

The Red Moon

The Red Moon

And now it is yellow..

And now it is yellow..

The Full Moon casting its glow over the River Brahmaputra

The Full Moon casting its glow over the River Brahmaputra

Landing at Majuli with no prebooking

The ferry landing point had no electricity. It was an isolated place and the 1 odd tea shop over there was closing. People had already disappeared by the time we got the car out on the dirt road. We had just managed to find out that we had to go to the Kamalabari market to find hotels to stay in and we had taken a ferry that delivered us to the opposite and isolated side of island.

After several kilometres of lonely dark dirt roads along fields, we spotted a man on a cycle who gave us the much needed directions to Kamalabari! We reached the market a little after 8pm but to our consternation there was no accommodation available in any hotel! This was because ‘Raas’ is a busy time and many foreigners come so the hotels get full. The ferry service had also stopped and going back was not an option!  Finally after great pleading and explaining, we were allowed to stay at the circuit house. What relief!

It wasn’t bad

We checked in and after relaxing for a while we went out to have dinner. The tiny restaurants had closed but Lady Luck smiled on us again and one restaurant owner who was about to close asked us to come up and eat whatever was available at that closing hour. Just as we were parking, a fight broke out between some boys who were standing below that place! The owner came out and threatened them got them to disperse. Peace prevailed again and we fed ourselves to our heart’s contentJ With well-fed bellies we proceeded to enjoy the ‘Raas’ performance.

Raas Experience

We had no difficulty in finding the venue as we just had to follow the local crowd that was all dressed up and on its way to the extravaganza. We reached the venue grounds and finally saw the much awaited ‘Raas’ and Barkha Rani’s commendable performance.

‘Raas’ or Krishna Leela being performed in Majuli

‘Raas’ or Krishna Leela being performed in Majuli

The actors including the famous Barkha Rani

The actors including the famous Barkha Rani

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Return Journey!

By the time we got back we were dead tired and slept like logs. The next morning we got ready and went to the Kamalabari ferry take-off point which was closer to the city. The ‘Raas’ set and equipment was also being transported back and the bigger steamers were carrying trucks filled with the equipment! The ride back took double the time as it was upstream now and we were really behind our schedule.  As luck would have it, all the dhabas and tea shops where we stopped took their own sweet time in serving us and we prayed that we reach Guwahati in time for our friend’s wedding that night.

Finally the wedding!

Finally we reached home at around 10pm, hurriedly got ready and rushed to the wedding. It was 11pm when we reached and we had missed the Bihu performance by dancers. The caterers were about to clear the food as we were the last ones to enter so without further ado we polished off our dinner plates! Thankfully, our friend, the gorgeous bride, was not very upset with us and we happily posed with her as she looked absolutely divine! The actual marriage ceremony took place much later in the night and we caught up with other friends who had come from Mumbai as they updated us on where they travelled before the wedding and where they planned to go the next day.

As for us, after this impromptu Kaziranga-Majuli trip, we knew where we were headed the next day—to the District Magistrate’s office to get our permits to visit Arunachal Pradesh! But that is a long story again and I will save that for another day 🙂
In my next blog, i would share few details about “How to plan a budget trip to Majuli and Kaziranga National Park”.

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Two Days in Heavenly Sikkim| A himalayan destination http://rollingwithkritz.com/sikkim-trip/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/sikkim-trip/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2016 17:13:09 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=409 The post Two Days in Heavenly Sikkim| A himalayan destination appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Sikkim Trip plan was irresistible Our “Sikkim Trip” in April 2011 was more of a sudden plan, thanks to my brother who was working near the Sikkim-West Bengal border. Sikkim is a beautiful Himalayan state which boasts of having some of the most amazing places to see in India and … Continue reading

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Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Kingdom, Travel Destination, Places to visit

Sikkim Trip plan was irresistible

Our “Sikkim Trip” in April 2011 was more of a sudden plan, thanks to my brother who was working near the Sikkim-West Bengal border. Sikkim is a beautiful Himalayan state which boasts of having some of the most amazing places to see in India and it borders with Nepal, China, Bhutan and West Bengal. My brother, at that time, was working on Teesta river Hydroelectric project at a place called Tarkhola. We just had 2-3 days to spare as we had to move on to my home-town Guwahati for Bihu celebrations.

So with a 2 day itinerary planned by my brother we commenced on our journey to Sikkim although we knew two days won’t be enough to explore the beautiful himalayan destination in the east.

Journey begins!

We took a flight from New Delhi and landed at the Bagdogra International airport which is around 16 km from Siliguri in West Bengal. My brother picked us up and we drove ahead to Tarkhola for the night. After a night of exhausted slumber I woke up the next morning to a view of gurgling stream waters and lush green mountains from my window…ah!..pure bliss!

Soon we were ready and raring to start our much awaited Sikkim Trip! We first drove to a town called Rangpo that is situated along the Teesta river. It is the first town in Sikkim on the Siliguri Gangtok highway and is also known as the Gateway to Sikkim. Sadly, much later that year, Rangpo was significantly damaged by the Sikkim earthquake.

Exploring Gangtok

After another few hours we reached Gangtok– the capital of Sikkim. Gangtok is one of the most visited tourist city in the eastern part of India. The city is a prominent hub of Buddhist culture and has several monasteries. The mall road or M.G. Road is an impressive pollution free road that is off limits to vehicles. The first thing we did on reaching there was to take a tour of the city via the cable car ride that is a very popular tourist attraction. The ride gave us splendid views of the city, the mountains and the terraced fields.

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Kingdom, Travel Destination, Places to visit, View from the cable car

View from the cable car

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Mountain, Places to visit in Sikkim ,Top Travel destination

The landscape below

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Mountain, Places to visit in Sikkim ,Top Travel destination

View of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly

After enjoying the cable car ride we went to Banjhakri Waterfalls Park, another hit with the tourists.

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Mountain, Places to visit in Sikkim ,Top Travel destination , Banjhakri Water Falls

Banjhakri Waterfalls Park entrance

The park was quite interesting to walk through. ‘Ban’ means forest and ‘Jhakri’ means faith healer. There were several statues and set-ups to give glimpses of the local legends.

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Mountain, Places to visit in Sikkim ,Top Travel destination

Scene of Inititation of a boy by ‘Banjakhri’

Sikkim Trip, Himalayan Mountain, Places to visit in Sikkim ,Top Travel destination

Statue of a man sitting with a fishing pole

Sikkim Trip

Shivling in a Cave

The waterfall was refreshing and quite popular with the photographers including yours truly 🙂

Sikkim Trip

Enjoying the waterfall

The park is a popular picnic spot,Sikkim Trip

The park is a popular picnic spot

Souvenir shops in the park,Sikkim Trip

Souvenir shops in the park

After numerous walks , lots of photographs and some shopping we finally left the park feeling like chirpy little kids and moved on as per our itinerary!

Welcome to the land of Monasteries

Gangtok is the centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and home to several monasteries so the next stop on our list was the famous Rumtek monastery that is approximately 24 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 4300 ft. It is the largest monastery in Sikkim and is also known as the ‘Dharmachakra Centre’.

It had started raining and with not a soul on the mountainous forest roads, we had a tough time getting directions. Maneuvering the car through the muddy roads and paths, we finally spotted the monastery. Only after reaching there we got to know that instead of Rumtek we had somehow reached Lingdum monastery! But no complains as it had stopped raining , the monastery was enchantingly peaceful and the weather had turned very pleasant!

Lingdum Monastery,Sikkim Trip

Lingdum Monastery

Offering prayers in the Monastery,Sikkim Trip

Offering prayers in the Monastery

Monks with their pet kitties!,Sikkim Trip

Monks with their pet kitties!

There was a wishing pillar where we had to throw coins over and above the pillar and it was fun trying to outdo each other!

Who's the winner!,Sikkim Trip

Who’s the winner!

We even had bhelpuri prepared by a monk in the monastery!

Bhelpuri-- the food for us lesser mortals :),Sikkim Trip

Bhelpuri– the food for us lesser mortals 🙂

The monastery was really beautiful and the lovely weather just added to the serenity of the place.

The prayer wheels,Sikkim Trip

The prayer wheels

 In love with the city!

Come evening and we were back to city life in Gangtok. A stroll through the litter, vehicle and pollution free M.G.Road was just what we needed to end the day! The road is like a boulevard in an international city and was lined with benches and decorative lamp posts and Bose speakers playing delightful rock music! The glow signs of shops and restaurants looked even more dazzling as they got reflected on the rain washed stretch of the super clean road.

The glittering M.G.Road,Sikkim Trip

The glittering M.G.Road

M.G.Road,Sikkim Trip

M.G.Road

The weather turned a bit chilly towards nightfall and we returned to the guest house after a sumptuous dinner at a restaurant. It had been a long day and we were a happily tired a lot as we turned in for the night 🙂

Welcome to Tsomgo lake – the best part of our Sikkim Trip

The next morning we had planned to go to Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake. What we didn’t know was that Nathula Pass was closed on Tuesdays so that was a lesson learned the hard way! We decided to carry on to Tsomgo Lake. Tsomgo Lake, or Changu Lake as it is called locally, is a stunning glacial lake surrounded by snow covered mountains. It is very close to the India China border and is at an elevation of around 12,500 feet. We had to stop on the way and get permits after providing identification. The permits are necessary as it is a sensitive area close to the border. As we went higher up the mountains in our hired Sumo, we encountered difficult slush filled muddy roads.
Here are few of the pictures taken on the way to Tsomgo Lake – the best part of our Sikkim Trip.

The road to heaven is fraught with difficulties!,Sikkim Trip

The road to heaven is fraught with difficulties!

Army trucks are a frequent sight as this area is close to the China border,Sikkim Trip

Army trucks are a frequent sight as this area is close to the China border

However, all our discomfort vanished as we caught sight of snow on the mountains ahead! The landscape soon gave way to more snowy mountains with sparsely leaved trees.

The first view of the snow!,Sikkim Trip

The first view of the snow!

Sikkim Trip

On reaching, we first saw shacks and shops that rent out jackets, ski suits, ski gloves and boots. And trust me when I say that those boots are real life-savers on the snowy slippery grounds!

Shops to rent snow gear,Sikkim Trip

Shops to rent snow gear

The first glimpse of the lake and we were in paradise! The stunningly beautiful lake is 15 metres deep and is mostly frozen over the winter months.

Tsomgo Lake also known as Changu Lake,Sikkim Trip

Tsomgo Lake also known as Changu Lake

Two local lads offered to take us around the lake and yak rides were available if we didn’t want to walk on the slippery path.

Our guides for the day,Sikkim Trip

Our guides for the day

On foot or on yaks- it's adventure all the way!,Sikkim Trip

On foot or on yaks- it’s adventure all the way!

Sikkim Trip

We semi circled the lake and then our guide took us higher up and we got to experience the local version of sledding! One of the guides gave us his jacket to sit on and hold as he pushed us down the sloping path he had made with his feet while the other guide stood at the bottom of the path to stop us and break our fall!!

Perched on jackets and down we go!!,Sikkim Trip

Perched on jackets and down we go!!

Screamed like kids as we rushed down the slope clutching the jacket for dear life. Truly exhilarating as long as you make it down safely!!

Sikkim Trip

Mesmerising beauty of the lake and the mountains,Sikkim Trip

Mesmerising beauty of the lake and the mountains

Who's ready for a snow fight?!,Sikkim Trip

Who’s ready for a snow fight?!

And here we go!!,Sikkim Trip

And here we go!!

Sikkim Trip

Time for return- the worst moment of our journey

By the time we were done with our snow fights and yak rides, our feet and noses felt completely frozen! We were chilled to the bone and desperately in need of some Maggi love! So it was back to the shacks where we also returned the snow gear.
Soon it was 2pm and time to leave. It had been snowing everyday after 2pm and tourists were advised to leave before that else it became difficult to drive and there was no place to stay at the lake.

Two days were not enough!

So we came back to Gangtok the same afternoon and from there we soon started for Tarkhola.
Two days had simply not been enough for heavenly Sikkim.
I hope to go there again soon and explore the entire gamut of beauty that Sikkim has to offer. Till then, these memories will have to make do 🙂

In my next blog, i would share few details about which all places to explore and where to stay and how to make a budget Sikkim Trip possible.

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Paragliding in bir billing|GoPro http://rollingwithkritz.com/birparagliding/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/birparagliding/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:47:52 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=321 The post Paragliding in bir billing|GoPro appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

World’s second highest paragliding point- Bir Billing If you are an adventure enthusiast and wants to experience high altitude paragliding, then you should head nowhere else but Billing. The place is situated at a height of 2430 m above sea level and is 40mins drive from Bir. It is also … Continue reading

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World’s second highest paragliding point- Bir Billing

If you are an adventure enthusiast and wants to experience high altitude paragliding, then you should head nowhere else but Billing. The place is situated at a height of 2430 m above sea level and is 40mins drive from Bir. It is also one of the world cup destinations for paragliding in the world. The pilots also offer cross country paragliding for the people who wants to explore more of flying. In my next blog, i would give specific information about how to reach, where to stay and how much to spend on this particular trip.

Watch out for my video of “Bir Billing paragliding“.

Video : GoPro

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Kunzum pass to Chandratal lake-Spiti Valley Roadtrip |Travel Video http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitivideopart2/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitivideopart2/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:46:49 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=319 The post Kunzum pass to Chandratal lake-Spiti Valley Roadtrip |Travel Video appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Kunzum Pass to Chandratal Lake The roadtrip to Chandratal lake from kaza was again a very exciting one as we had to cross Kunzum Pass which is a high altitude pass in the greater himalayas that connects Kullu valley and Lahaul valley to Spiti Valley.  At a height of 4590m … Continue reading

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Kunzum Pass to Chandratal Lake

The roadtrip to Chandratal lake from kaza was again a very exciting one as we had to cross Kunzum Pass which is a high altitude pass in the greater himalayas that connects Kullu valley and Lahaul valley to Spiti Valley.  At a height of 4590m above sea level, one has to cross the pass to go to Chandratal lake. The mountains are made of loose rocks and hence the roads are heavily damaged due to frequent landslides. This video portrays a part of the journey.

The average speed of the vehicle would be hardly 15kms/hour.
Check out the complete video: Kunzum Pass

Video Courtsey:- Gopro

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Way to Chandratal lake-Spiti Valley Roadtrip |Travel Video1 http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitivideopart1/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitivideopart1/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:44:27 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=316 The post Way to Chandratal lake-Spiti Valley Roadtrip |Travel Video1 appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Way to Chandratal Lake Chandratal Lake is one of the travel destination for many travellers who visit Spiti valley. There was a detour of around 14kms from Batal to Chandratal (also known as the moon lake) is located at a height of 4300 m in the himalayas. This place is … Continue reading

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Way to Chandratal Lake

Chandratal Lake is one of the travel destination for many travellers who visit Spiti valley. There was a detour of around 14kms from Batal to Chandratal (also known as the moon lake) is located at a height of 4300 m in the himalayas. This place is famous among the trekkers (both India and abroad). It holds importance from the mythological point as well.

This road has several twist and turns. One should drive with utmost care as there are many narrow patches where giving passes to the opposite vehicles becomes almost impossible.

Video Courtsey:- Gopro

 

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Spiti Valley Roadtrip Main Video http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitiroadtripmain/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/spitiroadtripmain/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:34:54 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=309 The post Spiti Valley Roadtrip Main Video appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

Spiti Valley – Road Trip The Spiti Valley Roadtrip Video- 5 Friends, 8 days, 1800Kms, 1 Suv, 1 Bike – Heaven’s glad we came. So far our best roadtrip ever. The expedition route included the below : Day 1- Delhi to Theog ( via Shmla & Narkanda) Day 2- Theog … Continue reading

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Spiti Valley – Road Trip

The Spiti Valley Roadtrip Video- 5 Friends, 8 days, 1800Kms, 1 Suv, 1 Bike – Heaven’s glad we came. So far our best roadtrip ever.
The expedition route included the below :
Day 1- Delhi to Theog ( via Shmla & Narkanda)
Day 2- Theog to Tapri (via Ramnagar)
Day 3- Tapri to Poo (via Karcham & Reckon Peo)
Day 4- Poo to Kaza (via Nako, Giu & Tabo)
Day 5- Kaza to Chandratal (via Lossar & Kunzum Pass)
Day 6- Chandratal to Manali (via Gramphu & Rohtang)
Day 7- Manali to Bilaspur
Day 8- Bilaspur to Delhi

Although the journey was too tiring , it was still fulfilling as we got to see some of the most splendid views of the great himalayas 
Spiti Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys of the greater himalayas and still in seems untouched in many ways.
Watch out for the upcoming videos on the himalayan expedition.
Video editing software- FCP
Music courtsey- Youtube Music

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Top Travel Moments – When I saw Lionel Messi make history! http://rollingwithkritz.com/laliga-best-travel-moments/ http://rollingwithkritz.com/laliga-best-travel-moments/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 07:56:23 +0000 http://rollingwithkritz.com/?p=267 The post Top Travel Moments – When I saw Lionel Messi make history! appeared first on ROLLINGWITHKRITZ.

La Liga Match  – My best travel moments! 2nd November 2014– A day that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of my best travel moments! It was the day that Lionel Messi made history and I got to witness it live at Camp Nou! I … Continue reading

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“Lionel messi” “messi” fc Barcelona” “barca” “fc sevilla” “football match” “suarez” “Iniesta” “Neymar”,Best Travel Moments

Taste of Victory for FCB fans

La Liga Match  – My best travel moments!

2nd November 2014– A day that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of my best travel moments! It was the day that Lionel Messi made history and I got to witness it live at Camp Nou! I was in Spain so I definitely ‘had’ to watch the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla. And how could I not?!… There was the legendary trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez that was going to be live in action on the field!

The entire city was teeming with excited Barca fans sporting Barca tees, caps and what have you…. the palpable excitement was enough to turn a non-believer into a Barca fan! But what made this match a very eagerly awaited one was that Messi might equalize Telmo Zarra’s record of 251 goals! And that and much more is exactly what happened in the stadium! Not only did he equalize but went on to break Zarra’s record and score a hat-trick! Messi had scored 253 goals in just 289 games and was given a guard of honour by his team mates in the end. Fc Barcelona won the match 5-1 and the crowds in the stadium went hoarse!! I too returned with some awesome memories of that fabulous football night….and the ‘dong dong dong’ of the drums kept ringing in my ears long after!!

So here’s me spreading some Messi magic through these photographs of that one awesome night!!

"Barca" "FC Barcelona" "FC Sevilla" "Football Match" "Messi" "La liga" "soccer" "Neymar" "Suarez" "Iniesta",Best Travel Moments

La Liga FCB Vs FC Sevilla Match Nov 2014- Opening

"Barca" "FC Barcelona" "Messi" "Lionel Messi" "Neymar" "Iniesta" "Suarez" "La Liga" "Football match",Best Travel Moments

Barca Fan Frenzy during the match

"Barca" FC Barcelona" "La liga" "fc sevilla" "iniesta" "neymar" "suarez" "football match" "messi" "lionel messi",Best Travel Moments

Match in progress

Best Travel Moments,"Barca" FC Barcelona" "La liga" "fc sevilla" "iniesta" "neymar" "suarez" "football match" "messi" "lionel messi"

Best Travel Moments,"Barca" FC Barcelona" "La liga" "fc sevilla" "iniesta" "neymar" "suarez" "football match" "messi" "lionel messi"

Best Travel Moments,"Barca" FC Barcelona" "La liga" "fc sevilla" "iniesta" "neymar" "suarez" "football match" "messi" "lionel messi"

Best Travel Moments,"Barca" FC Barcelona" "La liga" "fc sevilla" "iniesta" "neymar" "suarez" "football match" "messi" "lionel messi"

Messi breaks Zarra’s record

Best Travel Moments,“Lionel messi” “messi” fc Barcelona” “barca” “fc sevilla” “football match” “suarez” “Iniesta” “Neymar”

Anxious fans

Best Travel Moments,“Lionel messi” “messi” fc Barcelona” “barca” “fc sevilla” “football match” “suarez” “Iniesta” “Neymar”

Anxious fans

“Lionel messi” “messi” fc Barcelona” “barca” “fc sevilla” “football match” “suarez” “Iniesta” “Neymar”

Taste of victory for FCB fans

Best Travel Moments,“Lionel messi” “messi” fc Barcelona” “barca” “fc sevilla” “football match” “suarez” “Iniesta” “Neymar”

Taste of victory for FCB fans

Hope you enjoyed watching the match through my lens.

So long…till the next record breaking moment in football! Cheers to the beautiful game, the awesome players, the loyal fans and the amazing memories 🙂

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