Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekend Visit To Golden Temple And Wagah Border in Amritsar

Namaskar Dosto,

I am again back with yet another travel story, this time in Amritsar, Punjab (historically known as Rāmdāspur). I have been there in July 2017 with my office colleagues and this travel story is long pending in my drafts. So, it all started with Mcleodganj then we thought of Rishikesh and then finally all agreed to Amritsar.

We had three consecutive holidays in the first week of July 2017 (Saturday/Sunday as weekly off and Monday (Telangana Day). We had finally started our journey at 5 AM on Saturday in Amritsar. We are 5 office colleagues ( Rohan, Lavish, Jatin, Gaurav and me). We are in Lavish’s Car (Vitara Brezza), really comfortable car for long journeys. Our entire journey to Amritsar would be around 450 Kms via NH-44 ( via Ambala, Chandigarh & Jalandhar). Traveling from Delhi to Amritsar by road is also a very good option since both the cities are connected with a decent highway network

Read Also: Manali, Shimla, Manikaran & Solang Valley Family Trip

We have booked our stay in MK Hotel, Amritsar located in the District Shopping Complex, Ranjit Avenue is 7 km away from Airport, 3 km from Railway Station and 4 km from Downtown Area. The Hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

Entrance of MK Hotel

MK Hotel

View of My Room

Bar in MK Hotel 

We have reached Amritsar at around 2.30 PM and checked in at the MK Hotel. Soon after taking lunch we had taken some rest for two hours after really long day and a hectic journey. At around 6 PM, we hit the gym and pool. Soon we explored the hotel as well. After that, we explored the local market nearby Golden Temple and tried the local food (Amritsari kulcha) in Amritsar. Came back to the hotel and had our sleep.

Visit To Attari Railway Station

We checked out our hotel at 11 AM, and then on our way to Attari, Railway station in Punjab, which lies on the rail route connecting Lahore to Delhi.

We reached the Attari station at 12 PM. This is the last station on Indian soil connecting to Pakistan. We roam around the station for nearly half an hour and left around 12:30 PM for Wagah Border.

Attari Railway Station

Attari Railway Station

My Friend Rohan near Attari 

Seats on the Pak side

On the Way to Wagah

View of Pakistan

On the way to Wagah Border

Wagah Border

Reach Wagah Border before 1:00PM 1-hour drive from our hotel in Amritsar to experience the Beating the Retreat ceremony in the evening. The flag ceremony is a daily military practice between the two nations. Wagah Border is the only open crossing border of India and Pakistan. It was started way back in 1959 and it was agreed by the government of both the nations. It is a symbol of the rivalry between the two nations, as well as the cooperation and brotherhood of both the nations.

Scenes outside Wagah Border at 3 PM

Wagah Border at 4 PM

About Wagah Border

Wagah Border is the border line running along the GT Road between Amritsar in Punjab, India, and Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. The flag ceremony is conducted by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers since 1959. Folks from all across the nation visit this place to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony that is held every day before sunset.

The Beating Retreat Ceremony starts at 6:00 PM in summers and people starts making queues at around 2 PM when the main gate opens. The forces there don’t have adequate arrangements for large masses. People gather there in large numbers around 30K-50K on a daily basis. I think our security forces at Wagah Border, should make a good arrangement as in summers with temperature as high as 45-50’ C. It is really hard for women and children to stand for 2 hours in long queues.

Things To Know About Wagah Border

1. There are jammers in the areas surrounding the Wagah Border, and thus no mobile phone services are available (No BSNL/MTNL).

2. There is a nutty rush at the entrance gate but once you get through you are taken to the appropriate stands.

3. Proper seating arrangements are made for the visitors. Selected seats are reserved for VIP’s or special guest or friends/colleagues of Defence personnel, while general seating is allowed for the men. Few areas are under construction right now.

4. Reach there by 5.15 PM, and if you are lucky you can get a seat on the main parade ground.

5. Cameras are permitted but no pen drives or any kind of storage devices. No hand bags allowed, whether large or small.

6. Food stalls are also located close to the entrance which serves bottled water, fruit chaats and some snacks.

7. Take hand towels, sunglasses, snacks and lots of water bottles as you may need them to survive inside.

8. Start leaving the premises 5 mins before the end, As you may get stuck inside and there is a lot of rush near parking. So on a safer side leave early.

Golden Temple

At around 10 PM, we reached Golden Temple, Amritsar the spiritual and cultural center for the Sikh religion in India and home to the Harmandir Sahib. The city is also known for its rich culture, cuisine and the Akal Takht.

Golden Temple

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Harmandir Sahib

Team Selfie 

Visited the Golden Temple, the holiest Gurudwara of Sikh religion. It took around two hours for darshan and then we had dinner at Guru Ka Langar in one of India’s Mega Kitchen at Golden Temple Amritsar at 11.30 PM. After that, we have left for Delhi at midnight and reached our home at 8 AM in the morning. I really enjoyed driving through Punjab and it was one of the memorable trip to Amritsar enjoyed a lot and learned a lot as well.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Come and Have an Adventurous Tour of Rishikesh on a Bike

Are you a person, who is quite fascinated with traveling and adventure? Well, Rishikesh is the place for you. Rishikesh is a small town in Uttrakhand, full of amazing and exciting adventurous sports. It includes camping, trekking, bungee jumping as well as river rafting among many other exciting adventurous sports. But this is not where it comes to an end; Rishikesh is a really beautiful town with hills, valleys and the holy river Ganga. There is so much in this small town to explore, which you cannot afford to miss and for that you require a great travel company in an unknown city like Rishikesh, which can help make your trip enjoyable and less tiring.

To put a cherry on the cake, this city brings in few companies that rent out bikes. Since road trips on bikes are considered to be one of the most amazing and adventurous activity in a place like Rishikesh, bikes tour will make your trip even more joyful.

Tips on How to Contact Bike Renters to Get Bikes on Rent in Rishikesh
Renting out a bike is not a very difficult task. Before you start your journey, you can search online for various such companies who provide bikes on rent in your destination city. Make sure, you read all the terms and conditions before you strike the deal along with having a look on bike rentals in Rishikesh.

To be on the safe side, you can book your rentals in advance before you reach your city. This will prevent the model you are looking to rent from running out. Alternatively, if you wish to physically rent out the bikes, you can do so once you reach your destination. Even the locals will be able to help you out by guiding you to the best rental company for bikes.

You must take precaution, and hire your vehicle from a reputed company, as it might also get unsafe riding a bike in the hilly terrains of Rishikesh.

Bike Rentals Made Easy
Getting motorcycle on rent in Rishikesh is now as easy as clicking a finger. A well know and reputed company, Wheelify, provides all tourists options to enjoy their vacation without denting a hole in their budgets. They have a rule, of not renting out bikes which are older than 2 years, for the safety of their riders. Along with that, you can get added guide from professional bikers when you connect with them to rent a bike in Rishikesh, regarding roads and route to make your trip adventurous and memorable.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Manali, Shimla, Manikaran & Solang Valley Family Trip | Things to See & Explore!

In summers of 2017, we have planned a weekend trip to Manali, Shimla, Manikaran and Solang Valley. It was a 7 member family trip. The plan was to drive at night and reach Manali in the Morning. Since I was coming directly from my office on Friday night.

Day 1: On day 1 we have started our journey from Delhi at 2230 hours after having our dinner. We have booked Chevrolet’s Enjoy car a week in advance and our stays are booked at my father’s friend defense guest house Sailor’s Home near Kullu - Manali road. We know that it would be long ride around 570 Kms which takes around 12 hours as per Google maps but after including breaks and halts we reached Manali next morning at around 11 AM.

Somewhere near Mandi, HP

Read also: 5 Basic Things You Need To Know About Everest Base Camp Trek

After Check in, we had taken our lunch and rest for few hours after the long exhaustive journey. Around 4 PM, we have started our trip from Solang Valley. Way to solang valley is very risky, roads are bit narrowed.  Solang Nala (Valley) derives its name from combination of words Solang (Nearby village) and Nullah (water stream). It is a side valley at the top of the Manali. It is 8,400 feet above sea level.

View from Solang Valley

Anjani Mahadev Temple in Solang

 Natural Shivling at Solang Valley, Manali

Solang valley, which is located at a distance of around 12 kms from Manali, Solang Valley lies between Solang village and river Beas. It offers a delightful view of glaciers and himalaya’s mountain range capped in snow. In winter, the valley becomes a skiing paradise for children of all ages slipping and sliding over the fresh white snow. When snow melts in the summer, skiing is replaced by parachuting, & paragliding. The best time to visit Solang Valley is between the months of December to January for snow lovers. At around 8 PM,  we are back in our hotel for dinner and then a good 8 hours of sleep after all the tiredness.

On the way to Solang Valley

On the way to Solang Valley
Day 2: Woke up at 6 AM, started second day with a visit to Manikaran Sahib. It is situated in the Parvati Valley along the banks of river in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. This region is well-known for its natural hot-water springs and its beautiful landscape.

Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara
Hot Water Spring in Manikaran Sahib

 Lord Shiva Temple in Manikaran
 Lord Shiva Statue

According to Wikipedia.

There is a spiritual story behind this place, when Lord Shiva and his better half Parvati were walking in the valley, Parvati dropped one of her earrings. The jewel was seized by Shesha-Nag, the serpent deity, who then disappeared into the earth with it. Shesha-Nag only surrendered the jewel when Shiva performed the cosmic dance, the “Tandava” and shot the jewel up through the water. Apparently, it is said that jewels continued to be thrown up in the waters at Manikaran until the earthquake of 1905. The name Manikaran is derived from this legend. The water is still hot and is considered extremely auspicious. A pilgrimage to this place is thought of as complete. It is also believed that there is no need to pay a visit to “Kashi” after visiting this place. The water of the spring is also supposed to have curative powers. The water is so hot that rice for the “langar” is cooked by putting it into a linen-bag and dipping it into the boiling water.

My Dad and cousins near Manali-Shimla Highway

Shimla view from "The Ridge"
Selfie with The National Flag

After visiting Manikaran Sahib, we head back to Shimla. It was bit unplanned but our plan changed and we move towards Shimla (one of the best hill station in India). Manali to Shimla is around 240 Kms, which took us around 7-8 hours, considering the hilly area and roads. Around 9 PM, we reached to shimla and booked our stay in guest house. 

Selfie with Yak

Day 3. Started last day of our long weekend and final day of our journey from exploring Shimla. We started shimla journey from the very famous Mall road, and then had our breakfast. At the center of the town is “The Shimla Ridge”, which offers superb view of the mountain range. The Ridge is a spacious open space that runs from east to west along the Shimla mall road, which is yet another famous tourist destination. If you love the view of mountains, this would be your dream destination. 

Jakhoo Temple

Jakhoo Hill, which is situated around 2 km from Shimla, is the highest peak in the entire hill station offers scenic view of the city. The 8K ft Jakhoo Hill is a famous tourist attraction that is visited by nature lovers and pilgrims as well. It is home to the ancient Jakhoo Temple, which has a large statue of Hanuman.

Thanks for reading!

Is there anything that you would like to recommend? Do leave in the comments below.

Monday, August 14, 2017

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