Friday, September 16, 2016

Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 4

Triund - Ilaqa Pass - Triund

Triund in morning
Opened our eyes with the fresh and cool morning, unzipped the tent and found what? A mesmerizing view of Dhauladhar ranges. The sky was bit cloudy and slowly the ranges were getting clear. It seemed like a giant object was coming out of the curtains in the spotlight. I quickly took out my camera and started the photo shoot.

After having our breakfast, we decided to leave for Ilaqa Pass at 9 AM. Almost all the trekkers were going back to Mcleodganj excepting us and some other groups. We reached Snowline Cafe in 1 hour. The snowline cafe was situated at an altitude of 3200 meters above the sea level. The route to snowline was mostly uphill. Amidst the trek, we saw several small valleys of flowers. After 15 minutes of rest at Snowline cafe, we continued our trek to Ilaqa Pass. The trail leading towards Ilaqa Pass was slighly uphill and mostly consisted of flat green pastures and big rocks. The view was magnificent from there. We were not able to see the complete ranges due to dense clouds, but still we enjoyed a lot due to awesome weather. It took around 2 hours to reach Ilaqa Pass and then we did our lunch there. The hut was available on Ilaqa Pass too. The rates for food and equipment were higher than at the triund and Snowline Cafe. On the mountains, the price for service increases with the altitude, but we did not need it because we had our food. 

Alluring blossoms

On the way to snowline cafe

After about 45 minutes, we started going downwards to Triund. While coming down, we saw a huge valley with a tiny water stream that was coming down from the glacier in Ilaqa pass. So to recharge our adrenaline and add some extra thrill to our trek, we decided to go into that valley. Now the question was that how we go in to that valley as there was no route which could lead us to that valley. We decided to find and make our own route. The valley was completely downhill with an inclination of about 60-70 degrees. The initial route consisted of trees, so with the help of them we managed to got down. After passing the trees, there were two routes one was full of stones and rocks and other one was the slope full of plants and flowers. We chose the rocky slope to go down and reached the valley after facing many difficulties. 

The valley situated in between Ilaqa Pass and Snowline cafe

From Left to Right: Me, Rishabh, Ashwini

The view from the valley was spectacular and it was giving the true adventure feel. The fresh water flowing in the valley was coming from the Ilaqa glacier. The water was so chilled that when we landed our feet in that water, it was feeling like our feet were getting frozen. The experience we had in the valley was amazing and it was the best part of our whole journey. It was also the toughest part of our trip. After spending some time, we started climbing up the valley. Climbing up was easy as compared to going down. While going upwards, we saw many snakeholes and Rishabh even saw one snake also. We got little scared, so we started moving quickly. 

Climbing up the valley

A view of valley

Triund seen from Snowline cafe
At around 6 PM we reached Triund, pitched the tent and slept after having dinner of Dal Rice. With the night, the climax of our trip arrived. The weather became worse in the night and it started raining like cats and dogs. We were inside the tent that is why we were not worried at all. Suddenly, the water started coming inside the tent and our mattress started getting wet. When we checked, we found that the base of the tent had some pores through which the rain water was coming inside. Till 2 AM, we passed our night by sitting inside and waiting for the rain to stop. Instead of stopping, it was getting bad. With the help of raincoats and polythenes that we borrowed from a hut, we got able to sleep. 

Triund in evening
Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 4
Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 5

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 3

Woke up at 9 AM, got ready and did check out from the hotel. We decided to do our breakfast at Mcleodganj, so we hired a shared taxi and reached there in around 40 minutes. After reaching Mcleodganj, we started exploring the market and found one good restaurant and had our breakfast there. The food was good enough at that cost. Later we inquired about the route to Dharamkot and Triund and purchased required food for our trekking such as Juices, Bread, Chocolates, Jam, Water bottles, fruits, etc. and some essential items. Now it was the time when we had to start our trek from Mcleodganj (1750 metres) to Triund (2875 metres). 

Our hotel in Dharamshala

From left to right: Me, Rishabh, Ashwini

Dharamshala market

Mcleodganj market
We started our trek from Mcleodganj at 3 PM with our much heavy backpacks (mine was the heaviest). After 20 minutes of trekking, we were like "no, we can't do this with these bags". Somehow, we reached Dharamkot in around 30 minutes. We took a short rest, drank some energy drinks and then resumed our journey with a positive attitude. After 20 minutes, we again stopped due to pain in our shoulders. While we were resting, one couple in a car came and asked for the route to Galu Devi Temple. We gave the directions in a hope of getting lift. And his goodness was that he asked to drop us at Galu Devi Temple and we just ran into the car and enjoyed our journey to Galu Devi Temple, but this happiness was just till Galu Devi Temple. The route till Galu Devi Temple was tiring, but after Galu Devi it was slightly uphill. Before resuming our trek, we adjusted the stuff in our bags and made all equal in weight. 

We continued our trek till 7 PM and took many short and long breaks in between the trek. Now we were left with the last stretch to reach Triund hill, which is called "22 Curves" or some call it "The tiring 22 curves" because this was the toughest part of the trek to Triund. The route was much steeper than the previous route, but this was not the problem for us. The main problem was the time. It was 7:30 PM in our watch and the sun was setting down quickly. The good thing is that on mountains complete darkness occurs at 8 PM. So by somehow we climbed that last part. The last 15 minutes trek of the day we did it in complete darkness with the help of mobile flashlights. Only we know that how we did this climb. 

Starting route from Dharamkot

Starting route from Dharamkot

Mountains & Clouds

After this little scary trek, we got amazed when we reached at Triund. The scene at triund was like a fair. There were around 50 tents and everyone was enjoying with their fullest. We were the last group who reached the camp site on that day. We quickly pitched our tent and ordered maggi from a shop/hut. After having our dinner, we slept in our tent. The weather was chilling in the night as we had to wear our sweaters to make our sleep comfortable. During mid-night, I was scared of collapsing the tent due to strong winds. Our tent was alpine one and these tents are less stable than dome tents. At last, we managed to sleep.

Dharamshala to Mcleodganj Taxi Fare: 15/-

Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 1 & 2
Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 4
Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 5

Friday, August 26, 2016

10 Best Adventure Activities In Delhi NCR That Can Be Done On Weekends

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking" 
- Marcus Aurelius

Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) is a hub of almost every sector, be it corporate, technology, education, etc. and in addition to this its inhabitants are also a blend of business person, service person, entrepreneurs, students, etc. We all know that the life in Delhi NCR is not so easy rather it is full of stress and tension. On the other side there are also some people who wish to add some adventure in their life. And Delhi offers these activities too to its dwellers and that is why it is considered one of the best metropolitan cities of India. 

Here we are providing you the list of adventure and outdoor activities that can be done on weekends in the vicinity of Delhi NCR. Yeah! we know that travelling in a metro through Rajiv Chowk or Yamuna Bank at a peak time is also a kind of adventure that you experience in your daily life. But still we insist you to try these adventures and give your life a new taste.

1. Rock Climbing

Anyone can hit a gymnasium and build some biceps or triceps, but doing rock climbing is a much effort needed task. Rock climbing is one of the best activities to recharge your adrenaline and test your muscle power. 
Organisation: Bikat Adventures
Price: INR 700/- per person

2. Rappelling

In rock climbing you climb the mountain with the help of rope, but in rappelling you get down through the rocky walls of a mountain. Though it needs less efforts than rock climbing, but it doesn't mean that the task is easy to accomplish. You need a set of skills to do this activity.
Organisation: Bikat Adventures
Price: INR 700/- per person

3. Cycling

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Delhi is a web of roads. Cycling on the roads is interesting as much as car driving or bike riding.  It is also a great exercise that keeps you fit. So just wake up and head out on roads with your bicycle. There are some organisations/clubs which provide this service of cycling on Noida - Greater Noida Expressway, Gurgaon Faridabad Road, Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate, etc.
Price: INR 800/- to 1100/- per person

4. Ice Skating

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Love Skating? Have you ever tried skating on ice? If not then must try. Skating on ice is much different than normal skating and full of fun. There are several malls which provide this activity such as Ambience Mall, Gurgaon; Mall of India, Noida, etc.
Price: INR 600/- per person (Approx.)

5. Zorbing

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Zorbing, a.k.a globe riding is an activity in which one can have an experience of rolling down a hill or a slope inside a transparent orb. This activity will give you an experience like never before. Kids usually love this activity.
Organisation: Camp Wild, Faridabad
Price: INR 300/- per person (Approx.)

6. Hot Air Balloon Safari

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Hot Air Balloon Safari is for those who love heights. This one could be your adventure + romantic activity. Take a great view of Delhi from 1000 feet above the sea level.
Organsation: Ballooning Club of India, New Delhi
Price: INR 1200/- per person

7. Paramotoring or Air Safari

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Paragliding is not possible in Delhi because there are no huge mountains and valleys. Instead of this one can try Paramotoring to fly in the sky of national capital. 
Organisation: Flyboy Air Safari, Gurgaon
Price: INR 800/- to 1200/- per person

8. Skateboarding

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Remember Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, in which Shahrukh comes on his skateboard in the college and gives a stud look. Want to have this kind of feel then just go and try skateboarding. No, they don't make you Shahrukh, but you will get the skills and then you can spread your swag.
Organisaton: Free motion sk8, Sainik Farm, Delhi
Price: INR 200/- per person

9. Go Karting

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This activity is for those who love thrill with speed. Not everyone gets a chance to drive a F1 racing car in the circuit, but you could try out its smaller version that is Go Karting. There are various places including some malls which offer this activity.
Organisation: F9 Go Karting, Gurgaon
Price: INR 250/- to 500/- per person

10. Obstacle Course

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Want to get an experience of a fauji training then you can try all these adventure activities such as Burma Bridge, Tarzan Swing, Commando Net, Balance Walk, Monkey Crawl, etc. There are some organisations where you can do this course.
Organisation: Damdama Lake Resort, Gurgaon
Price: INR 1000/- to 1300/- per person

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ilaqa Pass Trekking Experience - Day 1 & 2

"Patience always yields fruitful results"

We were planning this trip since February 2016 and every time our plan got cancelled due to reasons such as college placements, project presentations, sessionals, etc. but we did not lose our patience. As I am the only travel blogger in my group that's why every one remains dependent on me to make a plan. So I made a plan just after giving the final exams of our graduation ( and four friends said yes. But it was our bad luck because one friend got fractured in his leg, one got high fever and one's laptop got theft. So all came down. Ten days later, again I made a plan and was very determined this time. I was sure that this time if our plan gets failed, then i would go solo, but we successfully executed the plan with our group of 3 (Me, Ashwini & Rishabh). We decided to leave Delhi in the evening.

This time we chose Indrahar Pass as our destination. To make this trip successful, I read several blogs, experiences and got fully prepared for the trek. But, as people say that no one can win from nature. Due to bad weather there, landslide occurred and the route got blocked and we had to drop our plan of reaching Indrahar Pass. We went up to Ilaqa Pass and had a great and drastic experience in this trek.

About Indrahar Pass and Ilaqa Pass: 

Indrahar Pass is a highest mountain pass in this circuit. It is situated at an altitude of 4342 metres above the sea level on the Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas. The trek starts from Mcleodganj, a suburb of Dharamshala and goes up to Indrahar Pass by passing through Dharamkot, Galu Devi Temple, Triund, Ilaqa Pass or Ilaqa Got and Lahesh caves. Ilaqa Pass is a mountain pass situated between Snowline Cafe and Lahesh Caves. The route up to Ilaqa pass is well marked, but above the pass it is much steeper and quite confusing.

A small valley of flowers situated near Ilaqa pass.

Preparations before leaving: 

As we had planned to go up to Indrahar Pass, so we decided to rent a tent from Delhi. We rented one alpine tent from Himalayan Gear located in Chirag Delhi. Though the tents were available on Triund and on Ilaqa Pass too, but we did not know about the availability and cost of the tents that is why we had brought it from Delhi. 
Tariff for tent:  200/- per day (no security money, only we had to deposit one ID proof).

Day 1: Delhi - Chandigarh

As usual we started our journey from Delhi. After enjoying a fresh monsoon rain, we departed from our home and reached Kashmere Gate ISBT to board the bus to Chandigarh. Our purpose of visiting Chandigarh was to attend the one day PABT class in Mohali. We took Punjab roadways bus as it's buses were better in condition and they drive better than Haryana roadways and DTC buses. Our bus started at 11:30 PM and we reached Chandigarh bus stand at 5:30 AM. We got fresh and did our breakfast there. There were some restaurants available at the Chandigarh bus stand where we had our breakfast. After all this, we took a bus to Mohali and attended our class. 
Delhi to Chandigarh Bus Tickets: ₹ 240/-

First monsoon rain in Delhi

Day 2: Chandigarh - Kangra - Dharamshala

After attending our class, we came back to Chandigarh bus stand at 3 PM to take a bus to Dharamshala or Mcleodganj. When we reached there we found that the bus to Dharamshala had already gone and the next bus is at 6 PM. We did not want to wait so we were left with two options, i.e., either we take a bus to Dehra or to Kangra. The time taken to reach Dharamshala from Dehra and Kangra is 2 hours and 1 hour respectively. We boarded a bus to Kangra around 4 PM and it took around 8 hours to reach Kangra. Amidst the journey, we saw the huge Bhakra Nangal Dam, Jwala Devi Temple, Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara and Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara. We reached Kangra at 12 AM and then hired a shared taxi to Dharamshala. After one hour uphill journey, we were at Dharamshala. The weather was cool there and no shop or restaurant was opened and we were starving like anything. So, we decided to find a restaurant first and then any hotel. At 1:30 AM, in a new city where we haven't been earlier, we were roaming on the streets with our more than empty stomach and the dogs were also barking at us. After 20 minutes of struggling, we found one restaurant opened, but they refused to give us food. After requesting to them they got ready. After accomplishing our first task, the second one was to find an average hotel. The owner of the restaurant called his mate and asked for the availability of a room and luckily the room was available. We confirmed the room after negotiating the price from 1800 to 850 and checked into it. The room was good. Our next day schedule was set, so we just got on the bed and slept. 
Chandigarh to Kangra Bus Tickets: ₹ 292/-
Kangra to Dharamshala Taxi Fare: ₹ 65/-
Hotel tariff for Dhaaramshala: ₹ 850/-

Ilaqa pass trekking experience- Day 3
Ilaqa pass trekking experience- Day 4
Ilaqa pass trekking experience- Day 5

Sunday, July 31, 2016

10 Places In India That Are Best For A Tranquil Vacation

It happens many times when people get tired of their hectic life and they just want to find refuge somewhere so that they can rediscover themselves in a tranquil environment. Certain situations urge them to get isolated from the world, take a pause from their work and spend some good time with their closed ones. Sometimes it becomes tough to discover a place idle where one can spend a quality time full of peace and solitude. There are some destinations which often remain untouchable in a peak season too. Here is a list of some attractive destinations that are not touristy.

1. Ki Monastery

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The monasteries are known for their tranquil ambience. India resided many monasteries and one of them is Key (Ki) Monastery. The monastery is set on top of a hill at an altitude of 4000 meters in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Its architecture is same as fortress has. The view from the monastery is just so mesmerising by combining the views of spiti river and majestic himalayan ranges. Located away from the hustle-bustle of the city, the place is ideal for a peaceful vacation or to just get a true feel of nature. The best time to visit this place is May - October.

2. Auroville

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Located near the "French Capital of India" that is Puducherry, Auroville is renowned for its spiritual & peaceful experience. The place has earned an epithet of "City of Dawn". People come here from every corner of the world to meditate and to remove negativity from their inside. Other places to visit includes Matri Mandir, Aurobindo Ashram and Paradise Beach. The best time to visit Auroville is October - February.

3. Lansdowne

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Uttarakhand has some tourist places which remain populated throughout the year from its visitors but there are also some places which remain isolated from the crowd. Lansdowne is a small and quiet town prominent for its healthy climate and unspoilt environment situated in the state of Uttarakhand. This undiscovered and less crowded hill station houses some of the british era buildings, temples, churches, lakes and green oak and blue pine forest. The place acts as an ideal weekend destination for delhiites as it is located 250 kms from the national capital.

4. Pangong Tso

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If you are in Ladakh then discovering a serene place is not a big deal. There are several points and places in Ladakh which are known for their calmness and one such place is Pangong Tso Lake. It is a high altitude lake situated at an altitude of 4,350 meters that gives the perfect reflection of blue sky and spectacular mountains. One can spend a quality time by not getting interfered by the crowd and enjoy breathtaking views.

5. Silent Valley National Park

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This place doesn't require any introduction as it's name describes it all. Silent Valley national park is one of the largest national parks in South India located in the Nilgiri Hills or Blue Mountains. The greenery of national park literally rectifies the unwanted noises and helps you to focus on melodies produced by nature. The park is home to 16 bird species including nilgiri blue robin, black and rufous flycatcher, etc and 34 species of mammals including lion-tailed macaque, tiger, leopard, etc. One can also do trekking and camping there but permissions are required.

6. Dzukou Valley

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If you are a thrill seeker and want to do an adventure trip in a silent way then there is a place that will completely suit you viz, Dzukou valley. The valley is situated in the north-eastern state of Nagaland. The valley consists of vast lush green meadows, tiny hills and various trekking routes. It is a perfect combination of adventure + nature. One can discover rare herbs and flowers at the valley. Best time to visit valley is June-September.

7. Agatti Island

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Agatti is a small island, located in the union territory of Lakshdweep and it's the only island which is accessible through air. The island houses one of the best beaches in the world. One can enjoy by performing several activities there such as swimming, scuba diving, kayaking and snorkelling. Tourists can also enjoy and explore the place by riding bicycle on a road that runs along the island. Visitors are required to obtain entry permit from the Lakshadweep Administration to enter the island.

8. Gokarna, Karnataka

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Gokarna is a little town situated on the western coast in the state of Karnataka. The place is mainly known for its Lord Shiva temple but apart from this it offers one more thing to its visitors, viz, its pristine and refreshing beach. Usually, tourists visit here to see the temple but the good thing is that its beach remain untouched by them. So one can spend an ideal holiday brimming with sunshine and sparkling sands in this sober place called Gokarna.

9. Coorg

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Hill stations always stand top of the list when it comes to travel to most exciting places. Coorg is one of the favourite destinations for nature lovers in India. There are various things which urge tourists to get into Coorg such as green landscapes, never ending mountain ranges, scenic views, wooded slopes and much more. If one visit Coorg then he/she can enjoy a number of things offered by this place such as trekking trails, dense forests, wildlife and many other examples of natural beauty.

10. Valley of Flowers

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Valley of Flowers is an 8 km long carpet of exotic flowers situated in between the west Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. The valley is popular for its various species of flora and fauna and it is also one of the UNSECO World Heritage Sites in India. There is a beautiful trekking trail which leads to valley of flowers. Besides this one can also visit nearby destinations such as Nanda Devi National Park, Hemkund Sahib (Highest Gurudwara in the World) and Badrinath.

Happy Travelling !