Offbeat Travel

Seven Things must do at Renukaji!

Last week I shared an engaging post about the offbeat treasure near Delhi – Renukaji, The Blessed Waters and Heavenly Charm

In continuation with the topic, here’s how you can plan your day at Renukaji, the activities you can do and get the most out of it 🙂

  1. The most popular one – Boating : Boating at Renukaji is loads of fun, the colorful boats and serene waters are so inviting! It costs just INR 250/- and the last entry is at around 5 pm. You can enjoy the scenic beauty, can actually see fishes and black turtles too in the water. The kids love it.
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Colorful Boats at Renuka Lake

2. Renuka Mataji Temple and the Parshuram Tal : The Temple is located at the base of the Renuka Lake. It is believed that Renukaji is the birthplace of ‘Lord Parshuram’, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Parshuram was born to Maharishi Jamdagni and his wife Renukaji. Their prayers were answered by Lord Shiva and they both were rewarded for devoted meditation. The locals believe that the lake (and region around) is blessed by Renukaji and her spirit. The place is highly revered by the devotees.

3. Take a Nature Walk around the Renuka Lake : This one is my favorite , start early and embark on the Nature Walk around the Lake, you can combine this with visit to the Zoo. The timings are 9.00 am but you can go before that as well, we chose to start at 7.30 am. The morning walk amidst lush greens was refreshing and infused new energy in us.©

4. Observing the Animals : After all it’s a Zoo, though I’m not a big fan of Zoo, I don’t like animals being restricted in an exhibit but yes since it’s collided with the Nature Park and morning walk we did some animal spotting too. Aayansh found it joyful, for his age he has special fondness for all animals including reptiles!

 

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Categories: Family Travel, Himachal, Offbeat Travel, Traveling with a Baby, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Roghi, a beautiful village near Kalpa

Wonders on the the Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

It’s not the destination but the journey what makes life so interesting. A road trip to Spiti Valley is sort of like that only. The travel treasures that you get to witness to reach Spiti valley are fascinating. And one such place that we instantly fell in love with was ‘Kalpa’.

Kalpa, is an alluring village of Kinnaur. Situated at an altitude of 2758m, Kalpa offers unbelievable views of the majestic Kinner Kailash range. The sunrise and sunset are mind blowing here. When the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains during the day, it’s a sight to watch!!!

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A captivating capture of Kinner Kailash Range during Sunrise at Kalpa, Kinnaur.

Reaching Kalpa was the most difficult part of our journey due to bad road conditions. We were enjoying the monster faces and scenic beauty until the bad patches began disturbing us. Once we crossed Sungra the patches transformed into a fully fledged pebbly road. It was a stretch of good 40 kms starting from Wangtu and continuing till Karcham. Once you reach Karcham, the roads are divided into two – the one going straight leads to Rekong Peo and the other one to Sangla. We purposely took the one going to Kalpa.

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A view of Kinner Kailash range adorned by Tibetan Flags

Get a little more cozy at Roghi

Situated  just 3 kms away from Kalpa, is this beautiful scenic village called Roghi. You would love to explore the treacherous road, the famous suicide point and serene views.

Roghi Village

Suicide Point

You don’t want to fall from here!! Suicide Point at Roghi Village

Happy Exploring!! with Untraveled Routes

Categories: Adventure, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Tour Spiti, Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The rising ‘Moon’!!

Moon has risen at Tabo tonight!!

Tabo (Ta- pho) village is situated at a wobbly altitude of 3050 meters (approx 10,600 ft) in the eastern region of Spiti Valley. The tiny divine village will catch your fancy for all the right reasons. It was Day 6 of our epic road trip to Spiti Valley.

The rocky mountains were striking beautiful, carved aesthetically by nature. Huge expanse of land adorned only by nature was so appealing that you would want it to never end. The roads are mostly well maintained with bad patches here and there. For us, it was very crucial to sustain a particular speed for two big reasons – with the baby we could not drive for a long time, it was just tough for Aayansh and secondly since Ashish himself was driving throughout, our objective was to reach some place safe before 5.00 pm. So that we could select a hotel, enjoy the stay and get prepared for the next day. From Kalpa to Tabo in one single stretch was something!!!

We reached Tabo in the evening, the strong chilly winds pushed us in our hotel room right away. However, there is not much to do in the night here.

So, while we were having dinner, the beautiful and bright moon enticed us. We decided to check out the night sky and stepped outside, ‘Oh God, the chilly winds were difficult to cope up with for sure’.  We headed to the terrace – the star studded sky against the backdrop of huge rocky mountain looked stunning and the superstar of the night was ‘Moon’ gazing at us from the corner of the mountain. We wanted to capture this moment and here is the attempt 🙂

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The Moon rising at Tabo village in Spiti Valley. I wish we had the Tripod as the chilly winds at a temperature of -2 C and an altitude of 10,000 plus feet made Ashish’s hands little shaky but still the picture has come out well. 🙂

The next morning we had a memorable experience at the Tabo Gompa, check out – Totally Tabo-ed!!

The best part about the ‘Road Trip to Spiti Valley‘ is that the surrounding views change in every few minutes leaving you with a feeling of surprise and appreciation for nature.

Happy Exploring!!

Categories: Adventure, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

There is something intriguing about the ‘City of Joy’

Once known as the largest fortified city, situated amidst the Vindhya Ranges at a distance of 90 kms from Indore city in Central India (Madhya Pradesh). Mandavgarh (Mandu) makes the cut for the perfect weekend destination. This ‘City of Joy’ was originally founded in tenth century and boasts of fusion of Hindu & Afghan style of architecture. The tales of love story of Sultan Baz Bahadur & Rani Roopmati still adorn the city.

Here are some fascinating legends about this historic place to tickle the travel bug in you!!

  • Mandu has a total of 40 monuments & these are categorized as The Royal Enclave, The Central Group, Rewa Kund Group & other monuments. Unfortunately, today most of the monuments stand ruined.
  • Mandu houses the first known marble structure of India – Hoshang Shah’s Tomb. Hoshang Shah (originally known as Alp Khan) assumed new name after ascending the throne to Malwa. The architecture of the tomb is so elegant that it is believed that it made Shah Jahan sent his architects to study the tomb before construction of the one of wonders in the world – The Taj Mahal.
  • Asharfi Mahal was originally planned as a ‘Madrasa’ (an educational institution) but is in utter ruins today.
  • Hindola Mahal, popularly known as the Swinging Palace has an exquisite T-shaped design and art, such peculiar design is pretty rare.
  • Rani Roopamati Mahal narrates the famed love story of ‘Rani Rupamati and Prince Baaz Bahadur’. Their love for each other culminated into marriage according to Hindu and Muslim rites. But they were destined for not-so-happy ending. Later, Adam Khan, with an intention to take Rani Roopmati attacked Mandu and defeated Baaz Bahadur. However, Rupamati poisoned herself and gave away her life. There is also a movie on Rani Roopmati, that released in the year 1957.

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  • Baz Bahadur’s palace has an inscription in Persian over the main entrance assigning its construction to Sultan Nasir Shah in AH 914 (AD 1508-9)
  • Lohani caves representing a few rock-cut cells were meant primarily for residence of Shaiva Jogis. On a geographic expedition (while cleaning the junk) around 80 images were found, housed currently in the local museum in the Hoshang Shah’s tomb. The legend also states that the carved fragments representing ruins of Hindu temples (mostly Lord Shiva) were found in and around the caves but these were unsparingly destroyed.

Every monument has a legend or a story preceding it, the truth remains unknown though; however the stories sure are totally enticing and leave you perplexed.

Categories: Monuments, Offbeat Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dhankar, Spiti – the Heights that will make your heart go boom!!!

Tickling the travel bug with an offbeat treasure between Tabo and Kaza, Spiti Valley

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Our visit to Tabo village had left us excited and yearning for more. After visiting the Tabo Gompa and taking a short walk in Tabo village we were ready to continue our 11 days Trans Himalayan voyage.

We began driving towards Kaza around 11 am (though our next stop was Dhankar); thankfully the road was straight and real smooth. The sun out there was bright enough to give us serious tan however the wind was chilly. And it was super windy!!!

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Take me wherever these roads go!!

Beautiful! Beautiful! Journey

Spiti River was accompanying us religiously; it looked so pristine and blue. We couldn’t hold back our excitement and decided to go closer and feel the water. We really wanted to stay more but the ruthless Sun and our restless Baby boy pushed us to drive further.

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Pristine waters of Spiti River glorified by bright blue sky!!

The Entrance

It’s hard to miss the road to Dhankar; it’s beautiful and quite evident.

The Ascend

This is the ‘BEST’ part of visiting Dhankar. The magnificent views that your eyes witness will fill your heart with excitement beyond ordinary. There are many turns on this road and the views keep changing with every turn leaving one with great expectations.

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Ashish taking a quick break and enjoying the wind!! He deserved all the breaks after all he was the one driving throughout. The challenging and strenuous roads are nothing less than tight rope walk more so when there is a 11 months old little baby in a tow!!

As an encore the car keeps shaking most of the time owing to strong wind.

Road to Dhankar

There it is!! The picturesque Dhankar Village

Places to be visited

One peculiar thing about Spiti Valley is that it’s not really about sightseeing but more about enjoying the journey, adrenaline rush and spectacular nature.

Mostly at all the destinations you will find a Monastery (Gompa) and/or a Fort accompanied by amazing history and legends.

Dhankar- The Intriguing History!!

Dhankar stands tall at an altitude of 12,774 feet. Dhang/dang means cliff, and kar/khar means fort. Hence, the fort on a cliff is popularly known as ‘Dhankar’. The confluence of Spiti & Pin Rivers from this height is incredible!!!

Dhankar houses a 16th century old fort monastery; however one can see the new monastery now in the tiny village of Shichilling. The old monastery complex is also known as Lha-O-pa Gompa; it has five different halls and includes a number of multi-storied buildings. Don’t miss out on the Lhakhang Gompa – the Monastery of the followers of Lha-O, famous lama who was born in 1121. The highlight of the monastery is the a statue of Vairochana or Dhayan Buddha with 4 figures seated back to back.

Dhankar served as the ancient capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom in the 17th century. The Nonos, the former rulers of Spiti, chose this strategic high altitude village for competent control. The legends say that the monastery has also served as a prison in the former era.

The monastery is associated with Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism and has around 150 lamas residing in it.

Dhankar Landscape

What a gorgeous combination of chocolate dipped descending terrains and ice capped mountains!!! @Dhankar, Spiti Valley

The monasteries in Spiti Valley are mostly locked (at least in April they most certainly are) but the Monk usually opens it up on request for the visit. And sometimes the Monk will happily give you a tour explaining all the details about idols, scriptures, artifacts. We were not so lucky at Dhankar but at Tabo Gompa we met a super friendly Monk who spent so much time clarifying our doubts about Buddhism and Tibetan religion and culture.

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Landscape view of Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Dhankar Gompa / Monastery is declared as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world by World Monuments Fund in 2006. The ceilings and walls mostly made of wood are in dilapidated condition yet the beauty is eternal.

If you liked reading about Dhankar, then this might interest you too –

The Epic Road Trip to Spiti Valley

Totally Tabo-ed!!!

Sarahan – Abode of Goddess Bhimalkali

Majestic Mountain Range at Kalpa!!!

Happy Exploring!!

Cheers, Untraveled Routes
Categories: India, Offbeat Travel, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

A friend in disguise!!!

There is something about the ‘Moon’ and it’s crowning splendor!!

Whenever I peek out from the window it’s there!! When I go out for a walk, it’s there. It’s always there with me!!

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Waiting for me to step out and let my chi calm. It seems it keeps inviting me to spend some time with it.

There is something about the ‘Moon’.

Simply, holding hands of my beloved and taking a walk while watching the Moon feels so divine.

As a kid, I loved how ‘Moon’ would follow me and play hide and seek with the clouds. I spent hours lying on the terrace just absorbed by the beauty of ‘Moon’, talking, singing and then gradually falling asleep.

Literally, the Moon is Earth’s only permanent natural satellite. It is one of the largest natural satellites in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits.

However, in retrospect, the Moon is the good old ‘Friend’

This post is dedicated to you dear ‘Moon’, for always being there and being so patient!!

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Categories: Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Monsoon Memories – ‘Rain drops dash’

One of the most beautiful things about traveling in the monsoons, particularly going for a long drive, is witnessing the dancing rain drops against the windshield and windows.The rain drops always seem to be in a ready-for-race position. Some of them roll down faster, some of them merge with the other and few just blow away with the wind!! Have you never observed the drops on your window? I’m sure you have 🙂

When you slide down the window just a little to feel the fresh wind and soak in the wet fragrance the rains drops quietly make a way to touch your face 🙂

Sharing one of my favorites ‘Monsoon Memories’ here –

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A view of my rain soaked window!!! Captured en-route to Manali, Himachal

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A view right outside my window!! Luxurious green hills at Manali 🙂

Categories: Offbeat Travel, Photography, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The tiny droplets creating big impact

Pink Flower-for FB upload

Gorgeous Fuchsia Rose from the beautiful Kashmir valley!!

Categories: Offbeat Travel, Photography, Srinagar | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The road that leads to Spiti Valley (III)

This article is part of the series ‘The road that leads to Spiti Valley‘.

Finally! Spiti it is !!

I’m as much excited to write this post and share the captivating pictures with fellow travelers and readers. The best part about the ‘Road Trip to Spiti Valley‘ is that the surrounding views change in every few minutes leaving you with a feeling of surprise and appreciation for nature.

The 10 day long enduring road trip that we did to Spiti Valley seemed totally worth once we crossed Nako!!! From the Kinnaur route, one enters Spiti Valley via Sumdo.

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Heading to Tabo!!

The road is a bit rock strewn at intervals but mostly it’s a smooth ride. In April’16, lot of work was going on the roads till Tabo, I’m assuming by now the roads must be in perfect condition.

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Wondering what to do in Tabo village, just check out ‘Totally Tabo -ed‘, a detailed post on visit to Tabo Village!!!

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Tabo, here we come!!!

Road to Dhankar

Road to Dhankar, Spiti. This route happens to be my favorite, the landscape views of ice capped mountains in combination with chocolate hills and Spiti River flowing by, so divine!!!

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Categories: Adventure, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

LOVE :)

♥♥Parent Love.jpgI captured this beautiful and timeless ‘Father-Son’ moment at Sarahan. The lovely trail luxuriant with lush greens make it all the more captivating!!! Ashish and Aayansh are love of my life ♥♥, it’s my humble attempt to pen down a parent’s emotion.

Don’t miss the gorgeous pictures of this town here – Abode of Goddess Bhimakali

Cheers, ♠ Untraveled Routes ♠

 

Categories: Offbeat Travel, Photography, Poetry, Sarahan, Kinnaur, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Traveling with a Baby | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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