Category Archives: celebration

Exploring Himalayan Valleys

It’s been more than a month since I already returned from the vacation, but this summer reminds me to write and ruminate about it!

Yes, already excited since planned. The journey began from Chandigarh, a shared capital of Punjab and Haryana, 2 neighboring states. We reached Chandigarh on 28th March, 2010 morning.

Plan was to catch booked taxi and have a quick city tour of Chandigarh. But the taxi operator had some problems with the reserved taxi and driver. Also he could not manage for alternate.
With another contact of my uncle, somehow managed to get another taxi, fortunately, with that delay we could adjust the schedule to reach Mandi, by skipping Chandigarh sight seeing!

We reached Mandi, a pre destination place for halt on 28th late evening. Almost everybody was tired.

We again started for Manali on 29th morning. On the way to Manali, we found one of the best utility of gravitation force, an automated ropeway to transfer goods – between higher peak to lower peak in diagonal distance!

Automated Ropeway 1

Automated Ropeway 1

Automated Ropeway 2

Automated Ropeway 2

Idea was simply good. Use of 2 trolleys, one for carrying goods, another (with heavier water containers) for pulling goods to upper side!
Passing appx. 5 KM long tunnel and beautiful mountain ranges, we were following Beas river almost throughout route.

Tunnel

Beas River

Beas River

Rope Bridge on Beas River

Rope Bridge on Beas River

During this, I realized the value of rope, especially in mountaineering. Be it making a bridge or transfer of goods, ropes make these things dynamic!

View from Hotel @ Manali

View from Hotel @ Manali

We touched Manali by evening; found and finalized stay at a hotel, little away from main city and market, but closer to nature, a very peaceful area.

Hidimba Temple

Hidimba Temple

The next day we visited Hidimba Temple. The design was very different, had a touch of Mongolian building style.

Apart from this, its an historical place. The building design was different from what I had seen so far, it was constructed with both stones and wooden slabs as packing. Possibly this combination is an invention to protect against earthquake shocks and frequently changing weather.

Yak, near Hidimba Temple, Manali

Yak, near Hidimba Temple, Manali

I saw ‘live – moving’ yak, for the first time in my life!

The owner asked for Rs. 50 for taking photo, after it was captured!!! The owner should not keep his yak in public then!!!! 😀

Evening @ Manali Market

Evening @ Manali Market

Manali was beggar free, one good point especially being a tourist place.

Way to Rohtang Pass

Way to Rohtang Pass

Snow fall @ Rohtang Pass

Snow fall @ Rohtang Pass

Snowsuit

Snowsuit

Get ready to ski

Get ready to ski

Bhojpatra

Bhojpatra

On 30th March early morning started for Rohtang Pass, probably most exciting, adventurous and beautiful place.

Rain wear was available on rent on the way to Rohtang Pass. Gum boots and snow resistant suit made all look fatty. I made some attempts to learn skiing, but low air pressure and suddenly started snow fall stopped me for more attempts. But experience and feeling being under snow fall was amazing!

The icy hills are best condition for Bhojapatra – an ancient white tree to grow self. These trees’ skin was used to write notes in old days.

My evening was bit boring as elders were busy shopping in Manali market. I passed time by updating through tweets.

The financial year may although passed with a tag like ‘recession’, but end was definitely going to override such tags as I was enjoying vacation at heavenly places.

On financial year end day, we visited Naggar, a nearby place to Manali. It has renovated and hotel turned castle. Although castle is not gigantic viz campus, the structure and design is perhaps unique.

Naggar Castle 1

Naggar Castle 1

Naggar Castle 2

Naggar Castle 2

Naggar Castle 3

Naggar Castle 3

Naggar Castle 4

Naggar Castle 4

Next visit was a Buddha Monastery and Manikaran, a holy place for the Sikhs, situated on the banks of river Parvati.

Buddha Monastery 1

Buddha Monastery 1

Buddha Monastery 2

Buddha Monastery 2

Buddha Monastery 3

Buddha Monastery 3

Buddha Monastery 4

Buddha Monastery 4

Manikaran

Manikaran Gurudwara

Rafting in Beas 1

Rafting in Beas 1

Rafting in Beas 2

Rafting in Beas 2

By evening, shopping of shawls from Factory outlets in Kullu highway was finished. Thereafter I enjoyed water rafting in Beas river with my daddy and rafting crews!

For safety measure, the authority was running a parallel raft boat with ours! This was probably next major adventurous and exciting experience for me, next to Rohtang.

On fools day, morning we left Manali and started for Dharmashala, another place with scenic beauty and closest place to headquarter of the Lamas. Highway was beautiful as Tea gardens passed by.

We settled at a hotel in Dharmashala by evening.

On 2nd April only plan was to visit McLeod Ganj, the most important and famous place, especially for Buddhist. This place in fact was giving essence like a capital of Tibet, too many Tibetians and foreigners.

McLeod Ganj 1

McLeod Ganj 1

McLeod Ganj 2

McLeod Ganj 2

McLeod Ganj 3

McLeod Ganj 3

McLeod Ganj 4

McLeod Ganj 4

3rd April was driving us towards end of vacation. We reached Pathankot railway station to catch train for return journey, by noon.

Visit to such places definitely expects good driving skills for any vehicle owner. The only thing we could not enjoy much is food, either traditional food in Himachal Pradesh consists more of non veg or that food is not much in focus. The only served Punjabi dishes, that we ate, were also not always satisfactory. But we did not go to such places to have food, so was ok to compromise at.

We had Ramesh & Bharati Dave, a known couple in Gujarati literature, with us, during the trip. To us, they are living encyclopedia of trees and flowers. Having them with us was another angle of fun and chance to grab some knowledge about nature! Sapling and shawls were the only shopping that they did!

Photos of trip are available at here, credit goes to my dad, brother and me! 🙂

Royal vacation @ Rajasthan

This Diwali, I went to Rajasthan with family. Only three, very selected destinations were routed – Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Bassi

Kumbhalgarh has world’s second largest wall – of 36 kilometers length. Lighting on monuments and wall is major attraction.

Night View of fort

Night View of fort

We were fortunate enough to have a night view with beautiful lights on the place for more than 30 minutes. Usually the place is enlightened for about 15 to 20 minutes only.
The reserved accommodation was simple and clean. Food was not upto suitable taste, of course, not bad at all!

Second day and night was planned to be spent at Chittorgarh – city of forts where a bunch of monuments are surrounded in a campus on mountain peak.
There, we compromised over accommodation but got reasonably acceptable. We were dissatisfied for food, what and wherever we had!
However, an evening tour to the fort was fabulous. On entering the campus, we hired a guide, mainly to have glimpse of monuments and to get proper road directions. The fort campus is so vast that a motorized vehicle is merely needed to visit every monument!
Its history had a general element that the Rajaputs, mostly fought in defensive manner!

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Almost all monuments have unique carvings. The Vijaya Stambh is really a symbol of such high and unique architectural and structural design.
The light & sound show of 52 minutes was really good to visualize history.

The last day and night was just an experiment, and at end has turned to be most memorable place we visited in this trip.
Bassi is a small town, 25 kilometers away from Chittorgarh, on the highway to Kota. Nothing special, nothing great appeared till we reached to our ‘accomodation’. But anything and everything, appeared thereafter had an essence of royal!
The home of the Chundawats – Bassi fort is a unique symbol of hospitality. Just surfing through Internet, for accommodation inquiries for Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh, I came across this name, and fascinated by reviews forced to add one more destination to the vacation trip.
They have their own way to welcome guests. Not just that, the uniqueness differs when number of arriving guests increases! Food – quality, quantity & taste was highly upto our expectation.
The palace has very selected number of so called rooms, decorated with choice, rich of wall paintings. The furniture with ancient style carvings is another feather of royal theme.
Candle light dinner in open space in palace campus itself was a rare experience. If I could increase my vacation by one day, I was in mood to be seated on one of the Jharokhas whole night!
The palace campus has a Kalpavriksha – wish fulfilling divine tree, which has holy values in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The tree and its fruits have unique characteristics – fruit has life of 3000 years and the tree can survive without water for 2 to 3 years, according to Randheer Singh Chundawat & others.

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

The prince Chundawat – fondly calling self as Shaitansingh Chundawat is a cute boy. He is naughty enough to attract anyone! He too was expressing his freedom – as is studying in a school of Udaipur. And the time of vacation allowed him to move and enjoy inside big campus of the palace!

Upto our surprise, family members of the royal Chundawats spent enough time with us, talking about activities, little bit of history etc. Not just that, family members as if divided into small batches, attended us twice!
Finally, when a time to leave the wonderful place and royal family came, I realized that we stayed in a heritage hotel, by the last bill; of course, reasonable in amount!

I salute such ‘kingdom’ where ‘king’ is down to earth and good enough to maintain respect of ‘servant’!

Pics of visit are available here.

Summer Programmes @ VASCSC

Vikram A sarabhai Community Science Center, Ahmedabad has announced schedule for special programmes for this Summer – 2009.

Click below image to enlarge.

Program Page1Program Page 2

VASCSC is really a wonderful place to learn and have lot of experiments.

It had been my favorite place to hang and do experiments in vacation time during my school days.

I highly recommend at least a visit to this organisation.

Holi – color-full festival

Let’s play Holi the Mozilla way…..

Let’s see the colors of the world from an eye of Mozilla (Firefox)

Let’s greet by a postman from Mozilla (Thunderbird)

*

Let’s play Holi in simple, safe way….. with only gulaal, no artificial color / paint.

Funny story behind valentine's day!

Here we go…

In spite of what you have been told by everyone, the truth is that Valentine’s Day originated hundreds of years ago, in India, and to top it all, in Gujarat !!

It is a well known fact that Gujarati men, specially the Patels, continually mistreat and disrespect their wives (Patelianis). One fine day, it happened to be the 14th day of February, one brave Pateliani, having had enough “torture” by her husband, finally chose to rebel by beating him up with a Velan (rolling pin).

Yes….the same Velan which she used daily, to make chapattis for him….only this time, instead of the dough, it was the husband who was flattened.

This was a momentous occasion for all Gujarati women and a revolt soon spread, like wild fire, with thousands of housewives beating up their husbands with the Velan.

There was an outburst of moaning “chapatti-ed” husbands all over Anand and Amdavad. The Patel men-folk quickly learnt their lesson and started to behave more respectfully with their Patelianis.

Thereafter, on 14th February, every year, the womenfolk of Gujarat would beat up their husbands, to commemorate that eventful day.The wives having the satisfaction of beating up their husbands with the Velan and the men having the supreme joy of submitting to the will of the women they loved.
Soon The Gujju men realised that in order to avoid this ordeal they need to present gifts to their wives….they brought flowers and sweetmeats.
Hence the tradition began.

As Gujarat fell under the influence of Western culture, that day was called ‘Velan time’ day.

The ritual soon spread to Britain and many other Western countries, specifically, the catch words ‘Velan time!’. Of course in their foreign tongues, it was first anglisised to ‘Velantime’ and then to ‘Valentine’.
And thereafter, 14th of February, came to be known as Valentine’s Day!

HALF BOY and HALF MAN

A post on today’s occasion, worth to read. I received this as an forwarded e-mail from a professor.

The average age of the army man is 19 years.

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.

He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment dole either.

He’s a recent college graduate; he was probably an average student from one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or country or gazals or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 5 or 7 kilos lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting the insurgents or standing gaurd on the icy Himalayas from before dawn to well after dusk or he is at Mumbai engaging the terrorists.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. His pride and self-respect, he does not lack.

He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of combat dress: he washes one and wears the other.

He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.

He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the Jana Gana Mana vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ‘square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hands from their pockets, or even stop talking.

In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.
Beardless or not, he is not a boy.

He is your nation’s Fighting Man that has kept this country free and defended your right to Freedom. He has experienced deprivation and adversity, and has seen his buddies falling to bullets and maimed and blown. But,

He has asked nothing in return, except our acknowledgement of his existence and understanding of his human needs.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot. . ..
A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

Prayer Wheel ‘Lord, hold our Indian Army in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.’
When you read this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, in all frontiers.

There is nothing attached…
This can be very powerful…
Of all the gifts you could give a Soldier, Sailor, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

Pray for the Indian Soldier. Unlike your ‘Babus’ or ‘Netas’. He will always do you proud.

National Anthem (Collective) Instrumental Version

"woh kaagas ki kashti" – "English version

A good poem I received as an LMS (Long Message Service!), truly represents my favorite ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh.

Wanna go back to the time…

… when “getting high” meant “on a swing”,

… when “drinking” meant “apple juice”,

… when “dad” was the only “hero”,

… when “love” was “mum’s hug”,

… when “dad’s shoulder” was “gighest peak on the earth”,

… when your “worst enemies” were “your siblings”,

… when the only thing that could “hurt” you were “skinned knees”,

… when the only thing “broken” was your “toy”

and

… when “good bye” only meant “till tomorrow”!

Diwali @ home

Perhaps after few years, this time it’s planned celebration at home! Usually we celebrate the festival of lights along with vacation tour or picnic.

Diwali blasts….

Preparing Rangoli

Final Result is out….

Diya offerred to god.

Happy & Safe Diwali

SHHHHHHHH……….. It’s Diwali – Celebrate like never bofore – Quieter , Safer & Better! Wow…. really great concept, let’s understand something.

Thank you TOI.

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