Monday, January 16, 2006

Travel Chronicles - 3

Our next stop after Mt. Abu was Delhi. We had booked dorms at the International youth hostel. We set off to see the Akshardham Temple. Enroute we happened to pass through "Rajpath". We also saw the India Gate. The roads which we happened to pass by were really huge and there was not that much traffic either. It was quite cold though inspite of it being 2.00 pm. There was a huge rush at the temple. We had to go through some security checks before we entered the temple. The Temple complex is huge !!! The main temple building in itself is quite impressive due to its huge size and the carvings. The carvings have been done on a pink coloured marble. The carvings were quite good and I am sure lots of hard work must have gone into. But I felt that the temples in towns down south like Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur are much better and they seriously deserve more attention than what they are currently getting. There is also a food court in the temple complex which caters to the needs a cosmopolitan crowd. Down south, there is generally no food court in the temple complex and even if there happens to be one, they definitely dont serve pizzas and burgers !!!

After Akshardham, we visited one of my friends cousins house. We had to go searching for her house which took up some time. From there, we went to the nearest metro station to travel on the Delhi Metro. From there we caught the metro to Connaught Place. It was a nice experience travelling on the metro. The entire metro is on international standards, right from the station to the trains. My friends told me that it is exactly the same way as it is in Japan. There is a train almost every three-five minutes. All through the journey, there are announcements on the speaker as to which is the next station and some safety instructions. If such a thing ever comes up in Bangalore (Its high time Bangalore got one), I am sure it would be huge success. The cost of the ticket is also not that high. In Bangalore, for a journey from JP Nagar to Majestic on a BMTC bus, the ticket costs 9 rupees and it takes an hour to cover the distance. On a metro this distance can be covered easily in 15-20 minutes. You will also avoid the heavy traffic. A metro system must come into Bangalore very soon. I feel it will definitely make a difference.

That nite we boarded a train to Pathankot. Next day(28th Dec 2005) we had to report for the National Winter Himalayan Trekking Expedition at Dalhousie. This is an annual trekking expedition that is organised by the Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI). The National Winter Himalayan Trekking Expedition at Dalhousie is for a period of six days. This was an awesome experience. Although the trek was a very easy one, I happened to meet so many people from many parts of India and made some very good friends. In our batch, there were around 16 people from Bangalore. We were a group of four. We happened to get along famously with four other people from Bangalore and one more guy from Mumbai. So we were like this group of nine and man, we had a blast!!!! It was really great meeting this set of people. One of the person we met has written a nice blog about the whole trip. Click here to read it. :D This guy has done an awesome job of writing it.. He has written about many many small but memorable incidents.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Travel Chronicles - 2

Mt. Abu fell very much short of our expectations. Places in south like Agumbe and Ooty are much better in terms of views and stuff. It was very chilly in the nights. We were there for two days in Mt. Abu. Saw places which are part of the itenary of a regular tourist like some view point, temples, sunset point, the Nakki Lake. The place has become very commercialized. Infact, there is a Coffe Day Cafe over there.

Have any of you experienced chill and warmth at the same time ? It was an amazing feeling, feeling cold and warmth at the same time. Its like having cold vanilla ice-cream with hot chocolate sauce. The only diff being, in the latter only your mouth gets to experience the contrasting temperatures but in the former its your entire body which get to experience the contrasting temperatures.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Travel Chronicles - 1

I had gone on a two week tour to North India, out of which 6-days included a trekking camp in and around Dalhousie. It just felt great to be out of Bangalore. We were a gang of four from my office. Our first destination was Mt.Abu. We took a train via Mumbai. The onward journey was quite good. All of us were excited about the trip and were pretty much yakking/cracking jokes and the usual stuff along the way. The first morning in train, I woke to a nice view of sunrise. God knows when was the last time I saw the sun rise... Plus the great feeling that you have two whole weeks to just enjoy. We had to change trains at Mumbai and also the station. The train from Mumbai to Mt. Abu was totally crowded, plus we had RAC tickets. So two of us had to adjust in just one seat. That part of the journey was so goddamn noisy. Even at 11.30 in the nite, people were moving up and down the train.. It was like a mad house!!! Whew!! The journey was quite uneventful. By morning 10, we were at Abu Road station. Mt Abu was abut 28 Kms from the station, so we ended up engaging a taxi to Mt. Abu.

I was quite surprised at what people had for breakfast. It was like samosas/jalebis/bread pakoda/rabdi... I have no idea how people can have such deep fried and oily stuff for breakfast.. We ended up having brunch that day.