City roamer :: Leh PART III

PART III :A Day for Local Sightseeing:

Leh encompasses lot many tourist attractions & monasteries few of which are absolutely astounding & with rich cultural heritage.

  1. Shanti Stupa:
    White for Peace!

    White for Peace!

    White huge dome designated for world peace as the name signifies ,with lovely life stories of Lord Buddha surrounding it. It is also known as Peace Pillar & was inaugurated by Dalai Lama in 1985. Covered with snow capped mountains & surrounded by traditional villages ,this place is a must watch & demands stay for mental peace.

  2. Hall of Fame :
    WOW place!

    WOW place!

    A beautiful museum , maintained by the Army ,built in the memory of soldiers who lost their lives during Indo –Pak wars ,Kargil Wars .This museum is absolutely scintillating & one of the halls play an AV depicting the war ,which is something worth seeing & give a feel what a soldier does for his country .So much sacrifice ,in such harsh conditions ,but patriotism is what you’ll feel once again & it is sure to dampen one’s eyes.This museum also encompasses the war artifacts ,so many missiles & other weapons ,various medals & lot many more things to offer.

  3. Leh Palace :
    !!!

    !!!

    Although this palace has been ruined & restoration was going when we visited ,nothing much to offer ,just you can get a great look of the valley  from the roof of this 9 storey palace .Also some of the floor had numerous paintings to have a glance at.

  4. Magnetic Hill:
    Defying Gravity

    Defying Gravity

    :)

    🙂

    Engine Off. Still vehicle moving up on a steep mountain?? Can’t imagine na? Try on Magnetic hill/gravity Hill located on Leh –Kargil –Srinagar highway, one side flat sand bed surrounded by huge mountains, Indus River on the south of it. Not just picturesque, it is a place where scientific logic is defies, although research on the same will give many stories, but none of it is certified & correct to be written off.

  5. Gurudwara Patthar Sahib :
    Pray Pray!

    Pray Pray!

    A holy place where Guru Gobind Singh ji had meditated for a long time ,but a lovely & vry peaceful religious place to be…&yes with a very interesting story of “Pathar” kept for display which is said to have an imprint of the body of Guru Nanak & footprint of the demon who tried to kill him .

  6. Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers : A scenic view at Nimu ,where Greenish Indus originating from great Himalayan ranges meets bluish River Zanskar originating from Zanskar Ranges .Nothing much to do ,but this confluence provides ample scope for a great photography .Also All India Rafting expeditions also happen in Indus valley.
Lovely Confluence!!

Lovely Confluence!!

We had less time &reached the spot by 5 in the evening as a result of which Rafting could not be a part of Itinerary ,but guys do plan rafting in icy cold Zanskar for an added adventure.

Alchi Monastery :Had heard of huge almond & apple trees at Alchi village & this couldn’t stop us from visiting  a little village of Alchi having this old & very famous Alchi monastery as well. This monastery was built as old as in the 10th century .Having amazing wall paintings of detailed Buddhism & Kings who reigned during that era can be quite distinguishing & captivating. With gigantic Buddha statue in the centre & some brilliant wood carvings ,this monastery is a worth for history lovers. Outside the monastery lies a lovely garden with peach & apple trees ,worth enjoying plucking few:)

Apricots:)

Apricots:)

Returning back in late evening ,this day passed out in a cool & composed manner ,while waiting for the next day which was scheduled for “Pangong” –The most awaited day of the trip!

You would love to read of “My precious Pangong” ,click on –https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/living-on-the-edge-pangong-leh-part-iv/
To check out my “Nubra Diary” click on – https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/tranquil-zenith-leh-part-i/

Curious about Diskit ,Samstanling Monasteries ?Read on at https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/meeting-with-serenity-nubra-leh-part-ii/

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“Mother of beaches” :::Land of Mauritius!! Part (2/2)

Continuing from Part I —-Day 2 & day 3

Day 2: Encountered a calm serene drizzy morning, clouds hiding the sun in their monopoly. Breakfast followed a trip to the “Ship Model factory”, great artifacts by the locals ,perfect place to get souvenirs from!
A touch on the Volcanic site did not create any volcano of the emotions ,as the site had been redundant & was alive 7000 years back ,but now it was completely covered with huge trees & a small stream flowing through.
Amazingly ,we did see Alexandra waterfalls but “Ganga Talao” encompassing Brilliantly carved stupendous huge Bronze statue of Lord Shiva, built In by Indian craftsmen, gave us a sense of pride to be an Indian. But the next trip to fascinating “Seven colored earth” was attention grabbing. One place with sand of 7 identifiable different colors ,due to natural sedimentation & salt depositions was remarkable. Even  if these sands are washed away by the rains, due to natural processes ,these colorful strata’s are re-created ,amazing mother earth!
Lets figure out seven diff colors —
This day was a short trip but we decided to ensure Fun filled water activities. Reaching Hotel was soon marked by big rounds of kayaking, Windsurfing ,Pedallo ,all from our very own Hotel. Kayaking ,deep In the sea was such a leisure ,slow moving raft ,waves coming nearby & trying to pull us apart ,picturesque mountains on one end & infinite sea on the other end ,we in the mid ,deeply in love with the nature with one another ,a feeling to never ever come out from this leisure.
A warm meeting by 2 Indian couples made this day more enchanting ,by playing some Beach Badminton & Volley ball by the Males of our group .Huge round of gossips ,laughter’s , play ,beach side night walk made our day to the fullest!
Next day had to be the most thrilling one, with day full of escapades & the most looked for day of the trip.
Day 3: Early morning bags were packed with extra clothing, accessories to start trip to Ilex Island.
So the whole bouquet of interesting pursuits-
Parasailing ,Under sea walking, Bumpy Tube ride  waterfalls created a hullabaloo amongst us!
It all started with Speed jet picking us from the beach to the “Platform” in the sea to initiate the “Under water walk”.Being a non swimmer ,the turbulence of water & the fear of survival under the water shook me hard ,but it had to be done to create my memories.
The preparedness was marked with a belt with the strong weights put around my waist ,special footwears ,big heavy oxygen mask covering my head & face ,special gesture language to be used under the water in case of any emergency or requisites ,God ,all this was like a dream unnerving me throughout!
1-2-3 …splash & yes there I was inside the sea ,4 more coming inside tied to me one by one ,OMG I was not even able to stand & I had to walk  ,this took lil time to understand the underwater moves but it became an auto function soon, once we were surrounded by colorful corals ,beautiful yellow ,blue fishes  swimming around us & we giving small bread pieces to those beautiful free living creatures. Amazed to see huge corals ,all of different shapes for the first time in life ! Simply Incredible tour of the under sea life ,with a feeling to explore it more ,our new expedition awaited us for the next.
The most hilarious “Tube Ride”,a banana Tube (capacity of 4 people),tied with the speed jet boat ,was all set to give us the most amazing twists & turns. Gosh !This was the most horrific yet hilarious bumpy & speedy ride ,which made us scream ,laugh & cry all at the same moment as the tube took abrupt twists & turns ,whirling at such high speed that we took this ride by aghast!!  A must do adventure to get an unnerving experience with all emotions in one go!
Expressions say it all
Then awaited the next round of our escapades ,a travel via speed boat to another platform amidst the mesmerizing ocean surrounding us…A platform for the sky ride “Parasailing”, A parachute awaiting to bring forth an aerial world.
So we both tied up from our legs holding the strings of parachute set in a specific pose ,marked our readiness to fly high in the skies..1 minute more & yes it went up ,up & more up ,more high in the deep blue sky.
Amazing ,no word could’v explained that moment ,eyes wide opened ,peeping the surroundings ,across the vast ocean down ,our friends ,waving at us. Peeping down just shivered me ,as we sensed highness from the ocean. For next 12 minutes ,we enjoyed our aerial survey  every bit of it ,when the time stopped & we slowly & steadily took our swift flight back to the Platform .
All these fabulous events had sparked hunger sensation & this took us to “Masala Restraunt”aside the beach ,an altogether marvelous ambience in the lap of nature ,designed in the form of Huts ,with each family allotted a single Hut .To our utter surprise ,we just relished finding “Indian thali & Biryani” on the menu ,& it just rejuvenated our energy back. Enjoyed sun bath for next one hr @the scintillating beach of Ilex ,walking ,collecting beautiful colored sea shells & Corals from the shore.
Reached our hotel in the evening ,with deep craving for good tight sleep, as more escapades were approaching in the next 2 days.

Escapade to Rishikesh!!

To find solace amidst our professional lives drove us to picturesque spiritual place in the Himalayas “Rishikesh”.Although Haridwar- Rishikesh are more synonymous to Devotion & yogic sentiment, but we categorically chose it to sense our passion for Adventure & find solace amidst.
To chill out ,our 2 friends drove from Jaipur & we started our Journey from delhi ,early morning @5am. Initial feelings viewing lush green paddies ,beautiful sunrise aroused a sense of pleasantness & a lively trip ahead.
Our stay was per-determined @the Natural habitat of”tents” besides the bed of River Ganges.
Post drive of 4 hrs ,chants of Mantras ,Bhajanas ,ringing Bells embarked the onset of Haridwar & all of a sudden religious feelings surrounded me. Crossing Haridwar& reaching our tents on the suburbs of Rishikesh took another 1hr but that route drove us crazy.
Arrival @ “A-Star” tent was signaled by the hoarding aside the hill ,but we could no where find it.It wore a deserted look ,but as luck would have it ,we saw a Nepali man(our attendant) approaching us & sooner we realized that our Tents were deep down the hill & it took us 40-50 steps climbing down into a deep gorge sort to reach our place for hibernation for next 1 day.Out tents besides River bed!
Wow! What an affectionate welcome! Our journey to adventure had already begun as soon as we entered the “green house shed as our Lunch & Dinner room” ; a huge sandy beach pertaining s our playground ;& Tents as our sole shelter (& not to forget natural rocky loos but yes with water facilities).
Just a panoramic view sparkled my eyes & I exclaimed! Just 20 ft from our tent ,was river Ganges flowing gracefully. Fresh Sweet lemon water & a simple “home-made” lunch with wide variety was the next surprise awaiting us!
We quickly immersed ourselves to get pampered by the compassionate management @the tents.
Next adventure in line was tier 4 River Rafting, which took an hour for us to drive to the spot “Sangam” where our co-rafters hanged around. Post getting coached for the rafting ,with all preparation to avoid any untoward any incident ,we were all set to begin our 2nd Raft experience (post River Teesta@ gangtok).We dressed as Rafters & got ready full of energy for a bumpy ride lasting for 3.5 hrs .DSC02888
Initial 5-6 kms were simple sailing & more of a preparatory sessions for the forthcoming “tier 3-4 Rapids named as –Seven sisters,3 Blind Mice & bla bla). But within next 15 minutes, we encountered our first rapid ,2 huge tides roaring & moving hastily towards us, with all our strength ,we rowed in sync & got thru’ ,but soon realized that it got us completely wet through .It aroused a sense of exhilaration & more preparedness for the upcoming biggest “Seven sisters rapid”.

As we saw the raft ahead us approaching the Rapid ,& it vanished the very next moment  ,left us with our hearts thumping hard ,but soon we saw the edges of raft getting pushed out of the tide post 30 sec , gave us a sigh of relief & encouraged us all the more.

Hard rowing begun moving against the huge huge seven sisters (7 tides together)& OMG!! This was splendid,simply superb  as the tide threw us harshly inside the tide & river ,then pushing us on the top ,then again deep inside & finally on emerged out of the tide ,took our breaths away .But that was not the stop to it ,as we saw the very next rapid (3 Blind mice) moving in agony towards us. With all our might to counter the mighty tide ,we somehow managed to prevent overturning of our raft (as the earlier raft had over turned ),nothing could have been more magnificent than this . Gosh! Our hearts pounding loud enough ,we screamed , yelled ,tears flowing down the eyes with a smile on the faces thanking “Ma Ganga” for giving us such a scintillating memories of all our lives.
But this was not the end of our adventure ,as we soon saw an opportunity for Cliff Jumping
I was the first one to announce to have this part of adventure (being non-swimmer) & it was confirmed by our guide who informed that this hillock was some 25-30 ft high & higher one was some 35-40 ft high, giving us an adrenaline rush.
Tying our Raft to a rock ,we disembarked & started climbing the hill (pre-ordering Hot delicious Maggie on the side stall) & reached the lower cliff (30 ft)& my hubby on the higher one .But standing at this height for the first timer ,blew away all confidence out of me in nano seconds & gave me a realization –God! I cannot! Fight between my mind & heart started as usual , unnerving me ,sensation less feeling ,sudden shivering of my hands & legs, face turning pale & driving me Numb all  through, standing at the edge of the hillock .But ,I had to encounter this ,& my Hubby’s (good swimmer)jump from higher cliff alarmed me & aroused 5% confidence ,which I felt was enough at that spurt of moment .
Thinking & praying all the Gods & pardoning for all misdeeds ,I just wished GOD to be my savior  & yes I did it .I plunged myself in the hands of Ma Ganga.

No words of Oxford could have ever described those flash of moments ,as soon as I bumped deep in the river & came out with loud thump & a sense of satisfaction aroused ,but none later I realized that i was all alone in the midst of the river (my hubby was far away taken by the water current) & a tide slowing moving towards me .Crying for help ,I realized that my guide had taken a dive post me ,ensuring that someone was close to me for my safety. With his initial help I crossed the tide & had a miraculous feeling on seeing my hubby moving swiftly towards me . His touch & sense gave me a sense of bliss & I relished inside the river for some more time & pounced on the hot Maggie coming out of my Brave Act;)

Post Cliff jump!

Post Cliff jump!

We did encounter ,2 more huge rapids but those were noting in front of my Brave & Mighty jump.

Out ,post 3.5 hr Rafting ,pledging happiness ,we drifted slowly towards our “Natural habitat” .What  a warm welcome to our delight, Bonfire ,light melodies of Kishore Kumar ,next to free flowing Ganges ,we savored to hot Kebabs, Paneer pakora’s & Adrak Tea ! It had a big big relaxing effect .

As the moonlight spreadened, stars coming out from their shelters sparkling, provoked a sensation of tranquility & we soon decided that our sleep Bed’s would be on River bed & not inside the tents .
So my next round of Jungle adventure started ,with deep silence , no noise ,all in deep sleep.
Suddenly ,I woke up with trees whistling loudly ,river gushing with high tides (tides get on peak during nights) ,God that was unnerving ,finding all deep asleep & me alone was pondering with fear that night of horror. With a feeling of deep conjuring amidst the black night, hovered by huge trees ,I had actually lost my sleep for the next 4 hrs. I indulged in the thoughts of all spirit stories ( had spelt on me by our Nepali attendant last evening ) assuming & self deciding their factual. I just kept praying & really God must’v had pity on me,as soon as I heard Birds chirping ,bidding bye to black nMorning Yoga:)ight & welcoming the beautiful “rays of life”.

One of the most scenic morning saluted us & we        sipped our hot tea sitting on our beds, admiring the  Nature & all discussing of the sound & gracious sleep they had last night (except me ,who just accepted their views of sound sleep ,with a panicky smile;)) .
At 6am ,we were ready from our beds & aroused a  sportsman with us , equipped to start with  Badminton on the beach ,followed by Beach Volley ball”.

In the need of relaxation ,we practiced yoga & meditation (with sun bath) aside the river ,which did cast a spell of freshness in me.
Post breakfast ,it was packing back to re-enter the busy hustle bustle life of Delhi ,but that could not get complete without taking a feel of River Ganga again! For an hour we played inside the river ,did lots & pots of “Chai chap chai” to bid final adieu to the amazing nature & realization of all over in Love again!
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                                                              Tit-Bits –
Distance from Delhi -Approx. 240 km to Haridwar & further 40 Km to Camp site.
Mode of Travel – We went by car ,frequent Trains & Buses available from Delhi.
Best time to visit- Anytime during the year except May-Aug (Summers(spl for Tent stay) & rainy season)
Best place to stay– Rule out luxury resorts & opt for some Jungle tents available at 
1.5- 2k/night 
What not to miss– Rafting ,Cliff jump ,Trekking,Evening Aarti at Ghat .