In embrace of sea and greenery of South-Memoirs from day 3

Finally this was the day for which kids been waiting for. Sand castles on sea beach, but they had to wait little more as elders needed to visit Rameshwaram temple. No photos as cameras were not allowed in temples. We woke up early, taken bath, did Manidarshan, but going for “22 Kund snan” was kind of tough with kids around so we chosen the short route. By some 8.15 AM, we would have been free to drive again after checking out from hotel.

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We reached Danushkodi by 9 AM where we were stopped some 5-6 kms before by a check-post in name of “Road construction” which meant we weren’t allowed to go further at this weather at least. An impromptu parking spot it was from where pvt ferries used to take people to a certain point (Not the last end) on a cost from off-road route. It might look like just a line in maps, but including the shores, its around 500 mtr wide place which stretches around 7kms from north to south. It shares ONLY land border between Sri Lanka and India which is one of the smallest in world at 45 mtrs in length. (of course we didn’t made it to that point).

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This place is actually called as “Ghost Town” due to a tragedy back on 22 December, 1964 which wiped out roughly 1800 people including those 115 passengers on Pamban-Dhanushkodi passenger train. After that railways station was wiped out and the train never began its operations. A commission looked into possibility of new rail in 2010 and last year a road was constructed till this point.

Anyway… we went into history of the place… let’s come back to travelogue…

Continue reading “In embrace of sea and greenery of South-Memoirs from day 3”

After one year, Delhi to Manali, A Monsoon drive, A night drive

I might have written more than 5-6 travelogues over social media and blog, but the one particular blog post which might have given most comments, calls, emails, was Delhi to Manali trip. Even when it wasn’t a satisfying one considering the fact that we skipped Solang Valley, didn’t spend much time over Rohtang and didn’t even stopped for Kullu or Naggar Castle. This must give you an idea that how much Delhi wishes to conquer upon those Himalaya hills in comparison to nearby destinations like Nainital, Mussoorie etc. but the distance of 600km+ deters majority of them as skeptics.

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Answered a number of queries on the particular Manali trip from 2014 to readers, while I was asking from self that when I am gonna makeup for the mistakes of last trip by driving the same destination yet again. There were four hill trips in last year, but this particular year 2015 wasn’t going very lucky about that. I did took a small trip to Rishikesh, but that was nowhere close to be even counted properly in hill trips. So, there was on hill trip on the card before July starts (got shifted to end of July later on) and brings along wife’s job, my job and kiddo’s school etc..

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My First Ever Highway Drive: Trip from Delhi to Jaipur

I wrote a number of travelogues in recent past but when my good friend Abdul Wadood Khan told me that he is planning a trip to Jaipur then the same reminded me of the fact that despite of being my first ever highway drive, I never really wrote about my trip to Jaipur. May be the reason that it was just one day experiment kind of affair and didn’t had ended perfectly sort of.. but still being the first drive, it deserved a write-up and here I am….

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Its been roughly nine months since I bought the car or could say started driving the car. Only those who remember that how they learned the driving could understand that how that process feels. Mine? I kind of documented that in a way that I can keep in memory…

Anyway… that was just to give the idea that despite of city driving for almost nine months, I wasn’t feeling quite a pro till the moment, I hit a full length highway and for that I had to wait for my newborn kiddo (August 31, 2012) to get back from his mother’s place. But that wasn’t only variable to be considered for the first highway drive of mine, I had to choose a destination with good roads from Delhi and also moderate traffic. You know, I wasn’t very confident about the messy traffucked drives.

Trust me, it still wasn’t a planned trip otherwise there were so many things which I might have planned or checked for, like I did in Manali trip later on, but things happen in the way they are bound to happen and suddenly one late night, I decided that we would be driving to Jaipur tomorrow. Little to plan for, little to pack for .. even the kiddo was on milk only so not much on that account either. Leave other things, I didn’t even slept whole night as the plan was to leave home early, only to know at the end that how foolish that was.

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A long lazy trip back to Mussoorie again to end the year 2014

The year 2014 been a very eventful year for me on more than one notes, be it personal or professional or anything  else. Apart from other things, this was the year when I started loving Hill drives from being hesitant about them till now. It was just January 25, 2014 when I drove on hills for the first time ever and after back to back drives to Manali and Nainital, I decided to end the year with an almost unplanned but longest trip to Mussoorie itself.

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The clock had completed full circle considering the fact that I had visited Mussoorie already and yet was choosing the same destination before even one year. Last time, I almost missed snow as snowfall happened 3 days before I reached there and then I had no guts to drive toward Dhanaulti and even this time, first snowfall of season had happened on December 15, 2014 and there were very little signs of next snowfall even during last week of year. There wasn’t much incentive for travelling back to same destination once visited apart from the fact that it was low rush period and also in last trip, I hardly seen anything else apart from Kempty falls and Robber’s cave.

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Travel bug hits me again-Nainital-Mukteshwar it is this time

Issue with travel bug & middle class is, its not easy to balance the expenses that easily to manage multiple journeys at short durations but this time I was to make an exception. Its not been long to the journey to Manali and I was already itching to another journey to hills.

Month of August since last many years been unique to set continuous holidays for professionals and usually the time when its hard to avoid the temptation to go out. I guess half of Delhi goes empty from professional considering the number of options around Delhi to go out. This years these been four days means it was hard to sit back home.

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Before buying car in 2012, my first long car journey to any tourist destination was Nainital only with Sister-In-Law & her husband & daughter. That was the first time when I experienced the fun of travelling long distances in car & being on your own to decide the schedule than being dependent on Trains etc. In that impromptu journey, we didn’t even had hotels booked in advance despite of being aware of unprecedented rush. Those rains many waterfall at every 10km distance in hills, thrill of greenery all around & top of that I wasn’t on driving seat either Smile with tongue out.

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That time, Pankaj (Sister-In-Law’s Husband, couldn’t find English word for the relation yet) was superman driving through those twists & turns and Hyundai i10 best suitable car to our need for such tours as I was coming from driving bike for last full decade. During the majority of journey, I kept on thinking that when would I be able to drive in hills this way confidently.

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Later on, after buying own car, I gradually raised the bar by first to Jaipur from Faridabad, then Mussorie from Faridabad and last Manali from Delhi but those imprints of driving in Nainital Hills during Monsoon refused to die down. It was the time to take the challenge heads on, by choosing exactly the same time, same season, to drive to Nainital from the same place, only missing variable was absence of partners in crime and we had to go for the journey alone means me, wife and kiddo. Same time it was customary to write about the experiences of the last journey before overwriting them in coming weeks, so I finished the post about Nainital journey 2011 based on photos and memories available of that time in my mind.

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Memories from the Full of Rains Nainital Trip in 2011

After writing about my recent 600+ kms self drive trip to Manali and the first hill drive of mine, I felt it would be gross injustice if don’t write down my experiences from the most beautiful journey of mine on hills even though I wasn’t on the driving seat back then. Today I feel I should have written about my Nainital visit, which left a spark in me to come back to hills by self vehicle again and again. But its never late to correct the mistakes. This article would try to revisit those memories and beautiful weather of that time…

Its often been said that “The plans for best journeys often happen to be impromptu than being long on preparation side”. Something like the same was the case with the Nainital visit. Before that particular journey, only public transport been the enabler for us for journey as bike was never suitable for longer distances considering law & order situations in India. But this time, as sister-in-law had a car and was living in Gurgaon (40kms away), a plan for a short trip on biggest holiday for professional class (mid of august when one festival gets clubbed with weekend & Independence day) in recent years was hatched between two sisters. Despite of plans, it kept on being flip-flopped till last day and when we left from Faridabad that particular day, then we didn’t even had bookings of any hotel in Nainital or around.

Nowadays, when I start for a long journey, then I make a point of leaving the house as early morning as possible, but as I said, that particular journey was against any rulebook. Sister-In-law arrived at our place by some 0730 hrs and despite of all efforts, we were on course of journey (after getting tank & tires filled) by 0845 hrs only, completely unaware of what awaits ahead on roads….

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As I didn’t knew driving then, so the burden was all over poor Pankaj and it would have taken a lot of toll to just come out of city on a day when almost entire city was looking like going for the route on vacation. We took the first break at an unknown place to wash our faces etc by 1045 hrs and covering even first 100kms had taken more than 4 hrs and a gigantic jam greeted us over Garmukteshwar due to narrow bridge which was catering both side traffic coming towards it from 4 lanes highway.

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My flight to Mumbai-The journey

Finally it was much awaited journey for my side, as even after lots of planning many times in past, I was not able to visit Mumbai to meet my cutie pie sis and relatives. I guess only two visits in last three years. I am really a rare visitor for them.

Lots of friends there, my classmates, my buddies, my colleagues, but like last times, I don’t know that whether even this time, I would be able to visit any of them. Although earlier it was planned that I will go to my friend Amit first and then will stay and meet others from there, but now as sis wants me to be with her, so …..

The flight is Go Air 373 – Delhi-to-Mumbai and the timings were 10:00 AM-12:10 PM. A bit slower than last times, when the travel was taking only 1 hour and 45 mins. As I read in newspapers, it was subjected to reach there before two hours of boarding, so I decided to wake up early to take safer side. My sweety friend helped me out in waking up and later after little things, I was ready to leave room by 6:20, I guess. I was keeping two hours in my hands to reach out Airport, but it came out to be a surprise to me as without traffic, it took only a matter of 35 mins. Yeah!! One of the reason was Driver’s jumping red lights, which was truly unnecessary for me.

After reaching Delhi Domestic Airport, my fear was “Should I let go the laptop under X-ray or not?” As I earlier heard that one should avoid that. But I guess, Airport authorities always get all the goods checked, so I didn’t tried to resist the same. I was told that I have came early and the counter for my flight will obviously open by 8:00 AM. I said I don’t mind waiting at the lounge. Taken a sip of coffee and taken a sit to open my Lappy to post this early one to avoid boredom. Tried to search WLAN by my Nokia N82 first, but was able to find only two IndigoDelhi and some other of Jet, I guess. But both of them were protected network and I don’t really know that whether do they provide the same to their visitors for free or not?

             
 

Continued …..

Ok! So, by now I am done with security checks. It was a long queue of 40-50 people at least. Now days, they ask for even your jackets off and Laptop out of bag. Heard announcement from SpiceJet side that they even need that passenger should identify their luggage before taking the flight, otherwise, it won’t be allowed due to security reasons. Don’t know whether these security reasons are new or just as were older. I visited in summer most of the time and earlier Laptop wasn’t with me, so don’t really know about this Laptop/ Jacket thing.

Anyway, my flight is on 10:00 AM, as I wrote earlier and I think at 9:30 AM, we will be allowed to take the cab from here.

The trip continued. Cab left me on board in time, but there was unexpected delays in take off for don’t know what reasons. At earlier times, when it was AirDeccan both the times, I remember there were no delays. This time, I guess the reasons behind the late were the late passenger than any technical glitch. Anyway, it went late by half an hour, I guess. Later it was announced as apology for the delay and also was told that it would take one hour and fifty mins more to reach at my destination Mumbai.

Although I am not aware of neither they prefer to tell, but there were some after flight issues, I guess as it took really a lot of time, when official instruction to open the seat belt were issued. Anyway, I found GoAir equally comfortable as AirDeccan was used to be and was also impressed with their business class fare, which they mention in their booklet with comparison with other flight services. Around 5k INR for Business seat @flight from Delhi-Mumbai is not that big deal I guess, when others might be offering the same @15k INR or more.

I was little bit annoyed with one person sitting behind me using cellfone, when it is already prohibited using any radio device in flight. (Although technically I know that technical the radio frequencies of cellfones don’t match with that of flight operating frequencies and these instructions are traditional cautious measures only).

Later on, I kept on using my cell for Music (in offline mode of course) and taken out my Laptop for typing all this as was getting bored after being done with magazines provided on seat. Taken sips of coffee and was waiting to get this flight reach to destination, where my little sis must be waiting for me on Airport.

One thing, I personally want to add about the flights. I always feel it scary the way luggage get taken care of. I mean you get a slip of your luggage, that’s ok, but when the luggage come on open trolley, then there is no check over it that who is taking whose luggage. Moreover, sometimes, one takes time to reach on the right trolley.

Anyway , finally flight ended by 12:25 PM (15 mins late than its schedule) means they made it up for the delay 45 mins. I was writing something over my lappy, when it was told that now you all should fasten your seat belts as the flight is going to land in Mumbai within minutes.

Later, it was almost 15 mins or more longer wait for the luggage. Passengers reach on Airport immediately and it takes time in case of luggage to get carried into a trolley and then on the wheels. Anyway, I got the same and then moved out. Choti and Mama were there to wait for me on Airport and after that it was a long long journey (credit goes to Mumbai traffic) to home, where I really by 3:00 PM finally.

So, this was my trip.