The Music that weaves Magic!

When the sound of rustic yet soulful music adorns every nook and corner, you know it’s Rajasthan.

Rajasthan’s diversity is beyond capture in words – rich heritage, vibrant culture, majestic monuments with appealing history,  artistically sound, vast sand dunes, colorful villages, warm people and much more. Rajasthan is famous for showcasing the royal heritage of palaces, forts, havelis & desert safaris, offering a glimpse of it’s spirited culture.

This state has a lot to offer to all groups of travelers and explorers. An ideal destination for royal vacation, adventure lover, family vacation and heaven for antique collectors. Royal life style of the emperors has inspired and promoted a variety of antique art on wood, clothe and stone.

Don’t be surprised when you encounter artists playing folk music and singing melodious songs at all the possible places! When we did Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Udaipur circuit we observed many such artists but could capture only few but all. Happy to share them here again I know I would shared the pictures earlier in some form or other but these are so apt for ‘Oh Dear! This is India‘ series. They reflect glorious history of India.

The tune of Kamaicha

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This man, deserves all the admiration, he plays at the Gadisagar Lake and has been doing so for more than a decade now!

The instrument that adorns his experienced hands so beautifully is ‘Kamaicha’. ‘Kamaicha’ is one of the oldest musical instruments widely used in Asian music and more so in Rajasthan. It is a string instrument played with a bow.

Read – The Desert Safari and Gala Dinner at Thar

The one called Nagara

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The artist here is playing ‘ Nagara’, also called ‘Kettledrum’ is a cone shaped drum played with two sticks – the Surnai and Nafeeri. I couldn’t capture the sticks very well in the picture though. This man sings and plays at the Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur) and it’s so refreshing that one literally starts moving to the music.

Happy Weekend!

Suggested Reading – This is India (I) This is India (II)

 

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Categories: History, India, Inspiration, Rajasthan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Chindi – A little piece of Heaven

His eyes lit with excitement as he pointed to a tree where the tiny pomegranates were hanging and dangling and swinging beautifully with gust.

We had been to Orchards before, like on Spiti Valley road trip, the accommodation we stayed in at Kalpa, was located right in the middle of Apple Orchard and we could actually touch the Apples from our room’s balcony! But Aayansh was just 11 months old then so that explains the recent enthusiasm he is now 2 :).

 

It was not just Pomegranates; we crossed variety of trees and were as excited as ever – Pears, Plums, Apricots, and Apples. What a blessed place this was!

And the picturesque views of the hills from that altitude were something else! We had spent a lot of time in Himachal over the last five years, and still on our every following road trip we discover some place special casting a magic spell that lingers on in our hearts.

This is Chindi!

Chindi - Cover

A beautiful drive of about 95 kms from Shimla and you are in ‘Chindi’, a serene charming place in Karsog Valley. The mountains are mighty but so luxuriant with greens and the supple fog that it feels divine. Throughout our road trip we followed Google Maps and decided to take the not so popular route and it turned out amazing as it required us to drive via these quaint villages, orchards and incredible views.

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The misty mighty mountains as viewed from Chindi in Karsog Valley

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Categories: Experience, Family Travel, Hill Station, Himachal, India, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Hues of Turquoise!

When you see your favorite color like this!

Can you imagine Life without colors around us? I guess that would be a big NO. Colors add so much zing to our otherwise mundane Life, and each color has specific significance to it. The impact of Colors on our moods, emotions, conduct and overall well being can’t be ignored. For instance Green is the color that enhances balance and harmony while the color Blue has an instant calming effect on mind, no wonder beaches and oceans and rivers are so loved by travelers.

Hanging Garden

This one is shot at Dal Lake, Srinagar, the impact of greens is so soothing!

Somehow I have always had a special liking for ‘Turquoise’ color and when I saw this sight (the picture below), I was happily amazed.

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And my favorite color! The combination of Green and Turquoise looks so appealing. If you observe closely, there’s a Helicopter parked and it’s tail is also colored Turquoise. Isn’t it beautiful! This picture too was captured in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

The other picture, is a landscape view of the place, and it’s drop dead gorgeous. With the Dal Lake visible in background and the peeking mountain, this landscape is one of my favorite shots.

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This one right here is the landscape view of the Helipad and Golf Course. AMAZING!

Categories: Srinagar, Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Totally Tabo-ed!!!

Visiting the Ajanta of Himalayas -Tabo Village in Spiti Valley

Tabo (Ta- pho) is situated at a wobbly altitude of 3050 meters in the eastern region of Spiti Valley. Spiti is one awe-inspiring region that houses few of the greatest surviving monuments of Tibetan art and culture. Historically, Spiti Valley is believed to be part of the Kingdom of Western Tibet. The tiny divine village (Tabo) will catch your fancy for all the right reasons.

Visit to Tabo was part of our road trip to Spiti Valley. It seemed as if the incredible road trip had surprises in store for us at every corner. The vast expanse of land, flawless empty roads, and the Spiti River flowing by, filled us with happiness and wonder for nature. We were already in different world, albeit tired of all the driving throughout the day. Once we reached Tabo, the gigantic and colorful entrance re-energized us, the feel of this small settlement was so contagious!!!

Glimpse of Tabo

Glimpse of captivating Tabo village

That evening we settled in our rooms, gazing at the bright stars and stunning moon, excited about the next morning. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Discovery, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Oh Dear! This is India (2)

Hi all, last week I started a photo series – Oh Dear! This is India. In continuation of the same I’m happy to share the second picture reflecting ubiquitous or unusual pulse of India.

Quite a Charmer!

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Chetan (above) is so happy to pose with his friend (as he points to the Snake and calls him Ramu). We met him on the outskirts of Indore near a village. He told us that the iconic folk art of ‘Snake Charming’ runs through generations in his family. But the business is not as rosy as it used to be.

The business of Charming!

Snake Charmers are known for their art of controlling deadliest of the reptiles (read Cobras) with the use of gourd flute (a musical instrument). For centuries this tribe has performed street shows, rescued snakes and saved the day as the boundaries of the human occupied land has grown. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, India, Travel, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Sutlej- The Flowing Beauty

A morning date with the longest river in Himachal running 1500 kms…

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The longest river (in km) in Himachal Pradesh originates from Lake Rakshastal in Tibet, lying near Lake Mansarovar and south of Mount Kailash. The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, according to this treaty, India can utilize only 20 per cent of its total discharge of water.

On our recent road trip, we had this beautiful opportunity of spending sometime basking in the charm of Sutlej.

As the light began to touch Earth’s surface, the deceptive cover of fog came into light, it seemed as if the ‘Sutlej’ was asleep under the covers of fog, and the gradual rays were making an attempt to wake her up, slowly and beautifully….

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Satluj 4

Keeps flowing, continues it’s journey, what come may.

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Just like Life, it goes on, just like the waves, you’ll never experience the same time again, enjoy every moment! Continue reading

Categories: Photography, Road Trip, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Oh Dear! This is India.

A series of flagrant pictures that depicts ‘India’ as it is – seizing the audacious and unabashed moments from the vibrant streets of India. I’m glad to share the first one here

Religion India

The veil of Religion! Apologize for the low resolution, this one was clicked from a mobile phone, it was so crowded that holding the camera was super risky!

People here are ardent followers of ‘Gods’ and their dedication includes all kinds of prayers, fasting, and what not! Continue reading

Categories: India, Photography, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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

RenukaJi, Nahan – The Blessed Waters and Heavenly Charm

Tickling the Travel bug with the Renuka Lake – the largest natural lake in Himachal!!

Renuka Lake finds its prime place in the quaint hamlet of ‘Renukaji’. Renuka is located just 40kms away from Nahan in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. Renuka is also a natural wetland with freshwater springs, fed by a small stream flowing from the lower Himalayan out to the Giri river. The lake is home to at least 443 species of fauna including like Puntius, Labeo, Rasboro, Channa.

The place is revered for a number of reasons and cuts for the awesome weekend getaway from Delhi perfectly. New Delhi to Renukaji is a distance of ~300 kms and takes around 7 hours by road.

Renuka Lake, the largest natural lake measuring a little over 3 kms is so scenic and picturesque that it seems perfect to find solace and tranquility.

 

The place is luxuriant with greens and it is treat for eyes. The continuous chirping of birds and light natural music of water makes it really interesting!!

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Renuka Lake during the day 🙂 It looks so serene!

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Yes, boating is available and costs only Rs.250 for 30 – 40 minutes. I’m going to do a elaborate post on Things to do at Renukaji, so stay tuned 🙂

The History

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 legend has it that Maharishi Jamdagni received a divine cow ‘Kamdhenu’ from Gods and was repeatedly attacked by Shastrabahu, to capture the cow, when he failed he killed Maharishi Jamdagni. Following the event, RenukaJi (Jamdagni’s wife) jumped in the Ram Sarovar and took Jal Samadhi, since then, the Lake is popularly known as RenukaJi Lake. The locals believe that the lake (and region around) is blessed by Renukaji and her spirit. The place is highly revered by the devotees.

Lake 4

It is also believed that on the occasion of Devprabodhini Ekadashi every year, Renukaji and her son Lord Parshuram meet. The day is celebrated with much fanfare. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, History, India, Spiritual | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

An epic road trip to Spiti Valley, the Land of Lamas in India

For the last three weeks I have been receiving lot of queries regarding travel to ‘Spiti Valley’. More so as we did the circuit with our 11 months old little baby ∞ The road trip that entails more than just planning your days, test of patience and display of mettle!!

So, I decided to share our story, experience and details again for the benefit of the fellow travelers. I have attempted to make this post as comprehensive as possible to serve like a helpful Travel Guide to Spiti. This post has actually been one of the most popular one on Untraveled Routes so far, it received 1000+ views within two days of posting 🙂 Finally here it is –

The Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

We have done road trips before (Dainkund Peak, Betaab Valley, Mandhavgarh) but the one we were planning this time was totally different. We were bracing ourselves for the drive on one of the most treacherous and deadliest roads of the world. This time it was the thrill of NH-22 and Hindustan-Tibet road. This time we were going to be away in the majestic rocky deserted mountains, rugged terrains, vertical cliffs and cold desert valley.

And somehow our instincts convinced us that this was totally worth it.

Spiti was on our minds for a long time, an incessant zeal for travel gave us all the courage required to do this trip with our 11 months old baby boy – Aayansh. So we did it in April 2016!!! Gorgeous mountains, flawless cold desert valley, captivating culture, contagious love and warmth, beauty exuding from every quarter… Spiti Valley is a treat for soul.

Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Tour Spiti, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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