Posts Tagged With: Nature

A Walk to Remember!!

The surreal peaceful charm of Sarahan will devour you as you enter the village. It’s a beautiful village, just 17 kms off the main road (from Jeori) in Himachal Pradesh. We covered Sarahan as part of our 11 days road trip to Spiti Valley.

Sarahan Quote

A landscape view of the village

Sarahan is adorned by impressive Bhimkali Temple that is over 800 years old. The archaic architecture of the temple is intriguing. Take look at pretty pictures!!

Another factor that makes Sarahan so gorgeous is the Shrikand Mahadev peak. The views that surround the village from every angle will make you fall in love with Nature every hour.

The ‘Hawa-Ghar’ at Sarahan!!

It’s not a touristy spot, let me clarify that and no wonder we were the only ones at the location! We spoke to some locals there (as we mostly prefer) and found out about  ‘Hawa-Ghar’. As we approached the location, we were stunned to witness how gorgeous it was.ζ♥ Felt like in the lap of Nature ♥

Beautiful Trails

The super pretty trail luxuriant with greens

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That’s Ashish and Aayansh! I just love love love this picture :)And thank almighty everyday for blessing me!

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Mesmerizing views of the mountains, this was in afternoon, I’m sure during sunset and sunrise these views will get more picturesque 🙂

If you would like to know more about the place, here are the links –  Abode of Bhimakali,  Where to Stay at Sarahan,§

Happy Travels 🙂

Categories: Road Trip, Sarahan, Kinnaur, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

PINK sways my heart!!

Feels like smile,

Feels like Joy,

Feels alive, it’s PINK!!

Daily Prompt – Pink

Categories: Srinagar, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Betaab Valley Memories

Agog heart at ‘Betaab Valley’

Betaab Valley, lies few kilometers ahead of Pahalgam in Srinagar. The bike ride to Betaab Valley was part of our 5 days trip to Srinagar. The flawless green mountains, pristine Lidder river, archaic houses and rustic villages made such a impression on our hearts!!

I have shared details of Betaab Valley earlier too, this post is dedicated to fond memories of this fascinating and picturesque valley.

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We began our bike ride from Srinagar in the morning, the roads were still quite and clouds serene. There was some checking at few points, the army is stationed at almost every place in Srinagar but they don’t trouble tourists. The road is breathtaking as the Srinagar is located in the valley, fortunately there’s straight road & hence it saves time 🙂 Lidder river keeps moving along as if it’s leading the way, we crossed many hamlets on route & stopped at few points to interact with the locals & have the legendary ‘Kahwa’.

Read A cuppa of story from Kashmir, India

We discovered lot of beautiful gardens and interesting points, took beautiful shots, rested a bit & kept on moving. We touched Pahalgam in about 2.5 hours (~96 kms from Srinagar) kept moving & found some solace at Betaab Valley.

The valley is so engaging that one could spend whole day here looking at myriad things happening around and basking in the nature.

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Happy Exploring with Untraveled Routes ♥♥

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

Surprises on the road in Himachal, India

Our fondness for backpacking has taken us on lots of road trips in past five years and maximum of them have been to some location in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal is like assorted bouquet of exotic flowers, you just can’t have enough and can’t get over it, the more you explore, the hungrier you become 🙂

So, in all the road trips we did, primarily Mcleodganj – Dainkund, New Delhi – Spiti, New Delhi – Shimla / Manali / Rohtang, there were few things absolutely common!!

  • The School Gang – You are going to witness pure happiness when you’ll run into little kids going to school in blue uniform. So cute they all look !! They have to walk really long distances on a daily basis.

Kids Dainkund

  • Be prepared to meet unexpected companions on the road – You are going to find the roads inundated with pashima goats, yaks, cows and sometimes monkeys too 🙂 (though at regular intervals).  A must watch short clip here from our Dainkund trip when our bike waded through the goats covered route!!

Goats in Spiti

  • The Natural Springs and StreamsHimachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The perennial rivers of the region are the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. The road trip in this region will get you to witness beautiful streams at unexpected places and do they look beautiful!!

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So people ‘Travel more to find your surprise’ 🙂

Marcel

Categories: Adventure, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Weekend Wisdom

Srinagar Quotes

On this beautiful note, wish all our fellow bloggers and readers – Happy Weekend 🙂

The picture in background was shot at Badamvaer in Srinagar, Kashmir. More stories on Kashmir here – A cuppa of story from Kashmir, Different hues of Dal Lake, A day at Srinagar.

Categories: Discovery, Experience, Houseboats, India, Inspiration, Travel Quotes, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Aayansh’s first ‘Beach Vacay’!!!

Now, this is called FUN 🙂

Few months back when we visited Mumbai we somehow made time to visit a not so crowded beach. We all were really excited more so as this was going to be our little love’s first encounter with the beach and so much water!!

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Since his birth Aayan has manifested special fondness for water, he loves bathing time and adores the pool. We took him to the pool with us when he was 10 months old and he really enjoyed it. So, we anticipated he will be happy to visit a beach to beat Mumbai’s heat 🙂

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Akshi & Nagaon – The Beach

We decided to head to Alibag (Alibaug). Alibag is touted as the perfect getaway to get respite from Mumbai’s crowd. Alibag is a coastal town in Raigad district of Maharashtra, India and has several beaches and spots to interest tourists.  It is 120 kms away from Mumbai and approachable by road as well as ferry. It is connected by the NH-17 Mumbai-Goa highway but the road is terrible. We couldn’t maintain a good speed given the bad condition and took us almost 3 hours to cover such not a huge distance.

Well, the main beach being Alibag beach, the place boasts of quite a few beaches within 50-100 kms of distance from Alibag.

We decided to cover Nagaon and Akshi beach.  Both the beaches are calm and reasonably clean. Akshi beach is around 6 kms from Alibag and Nagaon is around 9 kms. The wide view of Arabian Sea, sparkling air and the grove cover will make you feel fresh and rejuvenated!! Nagaon beach is quite popular for water sports too.

Accommodation

We just had a day so did not opt for stay but if you would like to experience the sunrise then you can choose to stay at cottages maintained by the villagers around the Nagaon as well as Akshi town. However there are more staying options at Alibag and you can opt for a hotel.

Categories: Alibag, Maharashtra, Beach Vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Little Haze in Kaze!!

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Kaze / Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley. It also is the largest township in Lahaul & Spiti Valley. This place gives a more town like feeling unlike other places in Spiti like Dhankar, Gue and Tabo (which you can relate to villages). Nevertheless, the chocolate colored mountains dipped in vanilla-like icing will tempt you to say ‘Awesome’!!

Categories: Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gue, Spiti – Abode of 550 years old Mummified Lama!!

‘There’s a 550 years old Mummy of a Monk preserved in the village!!’

This piece of information was more than enough to leave us totally intrigued, curious and super excited to visit Gue Village in Spiti.

We bid goodbye to Kaza on April 29th and embarked on our return journey to New Delhi. However, we still had three more destinations to cover – Gue, Nako and Sangla. So far, so good!! And we had a huge 1100 kms distance to cover until we reach home so had to stay positive and strong.

Spiti Panor

Witnessed this beautiful view while returning from Kaza, Spiti

However, Spiti is one region where the flurry of surprises never ends; you cannot predict what you’ll encounter next. This fact serves like a natural morale boost for explorers like us and therefore though the journey was challenging we carried on with panache.

Going to Gue!!

Gue, is a high altitude tiny hamlet located at a distance of roughly 40 kms from Tabo village. The road is beautiful and mostly well maintained.

The day we were traveling we did not see a single vehicle moving towards Gue barring ours!! However, got used to this feeling 🙂 We observed change in the pattern and color of rocky mountains as we approached the village. The mountains adorned copper color as if they were meticulously painted.

When we reached the Village….

The village had an eerie silence; the wind gave special effects reminding us of the movie ‘Hills Have Eyes’!!! When we entered the village we could not spot a single soul!! We were looking for someone to confirm the way to Monastery that houses ‘Mummy’.

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Colorful flags look beautiful as the wind adorns them at Gue Village, Spiti

However the huts / houses, Tibetan flags, scripted / inscribed stones made us comfortable. The inscribed stone thing is very peculiar to Tibetan culture; I’m going to cover the carving culture exclusively in another post. I believe the stones are hand scripted. The place looked beautiful and there were many things that distracted us from directly going to the Monastery.

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I wish I could decipher what the intriguing writings on the stones reflected….

We could observe bright and colorful Monastery perched on top from a distance and assumed this must be the one. We kept ascending with the road to reach there.

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Gue Monastery visible from a distance

When the Monastery premises felt peculiar…

 The wind pressure increased, it became little frosty too and somehow we both felt so dehydrated up there!!

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We both were feeling something, I’m not sure if this was just a psychosomatic discomfort but the moment we reached the premises we felt quite different, there was something in the stillness of the place.

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Colorful and gorgeous Monastery structure at Gue Village in Spiti, Himachal

Looking for the ‘Mummified Lama’

There was no one around and the Monastery was locked!! It was so disheartening, after traveling so far we did not want to miss visiting the Monastery (read taking a close look at the mummified Monk)

Unlike other monasteries we visited so far, this one seemed fairly new!! And yes it was. The structure was painted with bright red, blue and green colors, totally aesthetically appealing. One particular thing about the ‘Monastery’ was firstly the shape was unlike what we have seen at other places and secondly the dragon-like faces at the four corners. Moreover, I wish I could understand what was written on the walls there.

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So, after peeking through all over two floors of the Monastery like structure and waiting for someone, we still had no luck L the circumstantial evidence reflected the interiors were still in the making. The structure was vacant and there were cartons lying in the corners.

Just when we were about to get moving (reluctantly though), the little cemented room in proximity caught our attention. It looked like a watchman or security personnel’s room. It had glass windows, so we decided to sneak peek in search of some luck. And voila!!!!

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Categories: Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Memories from the Dainkund Road Trip

What a road trip that was!!!

The memorable (and challenging) journey from McLeodganj to Dalhousie to Dainkund Peak still tickles the travel bug in me 🙂 We did this road trip in April 2014 and later (sometime in 2015) I wrote this beautiful write -up  – ‘Adventure Ride to Dainkund Peak ‘. Today just sharing the nostalgia via these beautiful pictures we captured en route to Dainkund –

Marcel

Breathtaking views of Dhauladhar Range near McLeodganj!!

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Taking a quick break for some click click near Dalhousie 🙂

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Beautiful bountiful nature luxuriant with greens near Dainkund

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Categories: Dainkund Peak | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 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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Also featured in “Tangy Picks” on Blogadda

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: , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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