Archive for the ‘Exploring India’ Category

Kodachadri, I had seen pics and heard lot of adventurous stories, so it was lying in my list from couple of years. It’s not that I never tried, it just that whenever I planned  either the trek got cancelled or I had to drop out at the last minute. Thanks to #Itinerary I geared up for the trek in August, in midst of the crazy monsoon 

Best time to visit Kodachadri is September-October, post the monsoon, definitely not during Monsoon. It was raining non stop for a week, near by places were already flooded , Mlore was half submerged so as Shimoga but I didn’t had the nerve to cancel my trek. “Dont worry, this time definitely you will see Kodachadri” trek organizer, my friend Vishwajeet’s boosting words all I needed. I ignored the news, weather reports, natures wild signs

By the time we reached Shimoga on Saturday morning 6.00AM, it was already flooded. We waited almost for 2 hours with hope to cross a small bridge which was invisible in that dirty water. We waited and waited, when the water didnt budge we went in search of other route. It wasnt easy but some how we were able to cross a flooded bridge

If you dont yield to the signs of nature this is what happens

After freshening up and having our breakfast we started our trek in that poring rain

Some had come prepared while others didnt. I was the only one who was super prepared with poncho and wind sheet.

Monsoon treks are different than the usual ones. There are no views at all, with cloud blocking the scenery it’s always the rain and leeches you are left with. I did enjoy little bit of it. If you ask me if I want to do a Monsoon trek again , a BIG NO is all you get.

My poncho almost killed me twice. The crazy wind blew so hard I almost stumbled and fell, If I wasnt holding anything for support by now I would have been history.

At the top there is small temple. People said the view from here is really nice but all we could see was pissed off clouds, standing and glaring back at us.

It was a nice group of trekkers, with known and unknown faces the trek was fun with blood sucking leeches. It was a packed lunch  and local home-stay for the night. Nicely organized by #itinerary team.

It was pain to watch how those leeches sucked your blood clutching with all their might and then fell like a drunkard.

Other trekkers left for Jog falls while I had to travel to Mlore due to personal emergency. Jog falls still in my wish list, hopefully soon I will be able to strike it out.

“Dandeli” it’s beautiful place no doubt in that but more than it’s adventurous .The well known river rafting, attracts most of the young as well as old folks. From many years I was trying to visit Dandeli but due to one or other reason I couldnt. So finally I did land in Dandeli with Google and it didn’t disappoint me.

It’s a beautiful place to visit over the weekends , the greenery, birds chirping siting on those wild gigantic tree, the fresh pure air, the wild animals…..

Time for some river rafting.

That’s Google, sitting on the edge. As we were only 2, we had to tag along with all strangers.

Looked like Google enjoyed kayaking, she didnt wanted to come ashore.

Syntheri Rocks.

The place where we stayed “Halli Mane” home stay, was too good, the stay, the food, the surrounding.  

This is only for Honey Lovers, mind you.

We were looking forward to visit Dudhsagar the next day. Local train from Londa to Dudhsagar, couple of hours in water and then back to Londa, that was our plan. But when we reached Londa we got to know that the train is delayed , at 10:15 so to kill the time we visited near by church.

On the way to church we saw a dog stuck in the gate, Google, aka Miss N didnt think twice before helping the old man with the dog.

Later we got to know the train got delayed for some more time. So to kill some more time we explored the streets of Londa.

It was almost 12 , people were waiting and train wasn’t there anywhere.

It was almost 2:15 when overcrowded train showed up. May be I wasn’t thinking straight when I said I want to visit Dudhsagar but when I stepped into the local compartment I came back to the reality. I wanted to get off the train right away but doors were jam packed with people. “F%^&$ Dudsagar and the train”. 

The TC we met in Londa was really nice and helpful, he gave many tips and encouraged us not to go back without seeing the falls.

Sweat smell mixed with dirt and urine smell it was driving, everyone(I want to believe that) crazy but as there was no place to stand , that was last of anybody’s worry. Train stopped in every station more than 30 mins and sometimes 45 mins, the last train from Dudhsagar back to Londa was at 4:30. If our train wont reach on time we wont be able to come back, seeing Dudhsagar will be out of equation all together in such scenario.”May be we shouldn’t have come”, that would have been a super wise decision I felt seeing the situation.

Finally we reached Dudhsagar around 4, as we had still 30 minutes, Miss N and I, started running on the tracks just to have a glimpse of Dudhsagar, to make this journey a bit memorable. The train by which we came was still following that “stop for 30 minutes in every station”, it looked like train and other passengers were already in sync except us.

We started running like mad dogs, “Dont run, you will fall” free advise givers were many and we didn’t had time to listen to them. We continued, Miss N got blisters and kept on going. “The ordeal we went through in that general compartment have to be worth it” is all I said.

It wad good view “If you still go further down the view is killer like the one from “Chennai Express”, some of the guys who had spent whole day told us.

“That will be in my next birth” I said in my mind.

We were back by 4:30, breathless and exhausted. The train came around 4:45, jam packed. Getting into it was another challenging job.

Finally when we got into the general compartment, where there was no place to stand, one of them was secretly touching, utilizing the situation like many other men. “B***$$ men will be always men no matter alive or dead”. If I had a knife I would have chopped his finger and would have thrown it from the window, I was pissed, madly.

The rerun journey from Londa to Dandeli, where we were supposed to board bus back was another event to remember. No one was talking , it was tensed atmosphere “will catch the bus or miss it?”, it looked like only time could answer the question. Luckily we were able to board the bus on time, thanks to our drive Vijay sir.

It was a disaster journey, my advise; never take the train if it gets delayed or not, there are other ways to reach Dudhsagar, they will be the best option considering all the ordeal we went through.

Previous days good memories were suppressed by terrible experience of second day “I am definitely going to visit Dudhsagar, may be from Goa side ” Miss N was saying. “Good for you” I said. Somewhere deep down I felt when you have to go through hell to visit a place it’s not worth the view. May be I will visit Dandeli again but never Dudhsagar, I was very content with my first visit 🙂

Epic Ending Of My Leh Trip

Posted: March 20, 2020 in I Got Leh'd
Tags: ,

It was almost 15 days and I was little home sick, I was missing Bangalore already. That’s the speciality of the Bangalore, when you are around you hate it, when you are far away you miss it. “Around 1:00PM in Delhi, around 8:00 PM max in Bangalore, can order Meghana’s Chicken Biryani and next day boring office….”my thoughts were back to reality, working like machine, planning, well in advance for the upcoming journey.

Around 9.00AM Mika came to pick me up at my hostel , for a change I was glad I wasnt travelling alone “You all set?”, she was full of life and warm like always.

“Yeah”I said in a low voice. 

“You can always come back, you know that right.”

“Yeah true, may be I will.” There is something special about Leh, you cant get enough of it.

We were too early and managed to get window seat again:),(lucky me)separate though.

The weighing scale shot up when Mika put her bag.

“Looks like that stone is the culprit”

Mika had picked a big, beautiful stone, which she picked up when we had stopped the vehicle for a quick photo break,on the way to Nubra. She didnt open her bag and throw the stone when the ground staff raised his eye brows rather she opened her wallet and paid the money “It’s Leh souvenir, it has to come with me”. There were so many things I admired about her, simplicity, down to earth nature more than that she admired each and every tiny little thing”.

As Leh have only one airport ,we stumbled upon most of the people we met earlier, the Korean guys too and I had smiled at them”

How you know them” Mika asked me

“There were staying in the same home-stay where I stayed in Pangong. Never thought I will see them again”

“World is too small”

As the plane took over the run away I felt sad, my epic journey was coming to an end. The warm-hearted people, culture, the beautiful mountains,  the trek, fun loving trek mates, the cold crazy weather, the wind, the hostel, intolerable power cuts …I was going to miss dearly. “I will be back, may be I can do that Stok Kangri trek next year or explore Leh little bit more.” I was lost in my thoughts seeing the beauty of the valley and mountains .

We had crossed a great amount of distance when our flight faced turbulence. It was not pleasant one. It was like auto rickshaw ride, on a road filled with pot holes, always in air and never on the seat.

“God let me not die in the plane crash. My dad might beat the shit out my already dead body” scared of my dad, I was praying.

Meanwhile I stuck a conversation with a army guy  sitting on aisle seat, adjacent seat was vacant. His name was something like Urug, he was from Darjeeling, was on his way back home home,for a vacation. It looked like he was all excited, he told me few things about difficult army life, the problems they face in Leh, the food they eat. “Never go with the looks, there is always a catch”, some good gyan from the army guy. We were talking when the heavy downpour caught my attention.

“It’s raining”

“Hopefully will be able to land safely, I have connecting flight” he was all worried now.

To worsen the things there was thunder storm and first time I experienced super crazy turbulence.

We covered some more distance and entered Delhi, could see the tiny metro station, the roads.

“We are reaching on time. Good that I dont have to collect my crazy bag-pack in Delhi, hopefully the trekking pole is still there” my mind was a crazy horse wondering in all possible directions.

We were close, we could see the run way when it started to pour again. Our flight took left and then right, flew straight for almost 10 minutes while my eyes were glued on the wing trying to predict whether its going to take left or right, it was a fun game to kill the time and control the jittery nerves.

It was like constipated situation, you want to poop but you cant ,no matter how hard you try. Run way was few few inches below while Pilot announced that it is difficult to land as the weather is bad

“Give your best short dude and land the plane, like how Virat Kohli delivers a six when we need 5 runs to win with 2 balls. Give your best shot, I cant take another day off” I was grumbling.

Our flight flew, took some more turns, left, right, flew some more

“This will be the second attempt , if we cant land we will be re-directing the flight to nearest airport” Pilot’s announcement didnt calm my nerves.

“Nearest airport can be Bangalore?” I was impossible, logically and mentally both.

Uru was already going bonkers about his leaves and connecting flight

I dont know why I felt the pilot didnt tried hard enough to land the flight in the second attempt. We just flew like a bird which doesnt want to land .

“Regret to say…..we will be landing in Lucknow…”the pilot went on announcing while passengers started bombarding the air hostess with questions.

“We request you to remain calm….”

“Calm my as*”

I called my Google and Google assured me that airways have to take care of its passengers in situation like this. “They will provide the food, make necessary arrangement for your stay if you are stranded”. she was good that’s the reason I always call Mrs N as Google. I was sucking in the all information when I got some more web links, articles on whats app. She is smart and quick.

“When we can travel to Delhi?”, “what about our connecting flight?”, “how long we have to wait?”…….

The air hostess tried their best to calm the passengers but it was vain.  It looked like they had faced this issue n number of time unlike the passengers.

People were shouting, calling home, kids were crying, AC wasnt working properly, ……it was chaotic. After a great deal of 2 hours wait we were asked to get down from the flight. We were served with snacks before that.

Lucknow was nice, we weren’t allowed to go out , we were asked to stay inside the airport and self fill ticket. 

I had seen the South Koreans guys around, being a Korean drama freak I was drawn to them. There is no logical description for my mental state to be honest. They were alright on their own but I just checked on them and made sure they are doing alright. Blame it on my current role in office, I have this craziness to make sure all are comfortable and not facing any problem

Mika and I were chit chatting when the South Korean guys came and gave me a chocolate. I was pretty touched.  That’s me, half burnt mackerel in Leh’s sun with them. Their other friend opted to stay back in Leh for some more days. I dont know much about South Korean men (except from the dramas) but it looked like they are very good gentlemen.

I was lucky Mika was around else I would have gone crazy with boredom. We spoke for hours, roamed around, she admired Indian ladies dressed in all colors. We could relate the things. I was, still am glad that I met her on my trip.

Time was passing and we were going insane , sitting on the edge of the seat and waiting for the announcement. We were served refreshment around 9 and finally we left Lucknow at 11:30 in the night. By the time we reached Delhi airport it was 1. 

“You ever visit South Africa, always remember you have a friend there, you can come and stay with me” Mika said giving me a tight hug. Its hard to meet good people but when you meet them its difficult to part ways.

I was given a decent accommodation non-sharing(it was heavenly after the stay in hostel, in tent in the mountains) in one of Delhi’s hotel. It was almost 2:30 AM when I hit the bed. Worried, tired and exhausted I drifted to sleep in no time.

Next day when I boarded the jam packed flight to Bangalore around 11:00AM I was happy, didnt had any regrets. First time on my own, I explored a beautiful new place, stay with strangers, made some new friends, explored a trail, experienced a different culture, weather, food, hospitality, visited Lucknow too(short but sweet) with no expectations but with a open mind and my gigantic backpack like a hippie(that’s what I was called at the moment). It’s a total different feeling when you do things on your own term, it makes you feel like there is nothing you can’t achieve. At that moment I was the top the world and I didn’t feel like down.

Finally The End

Perfect morning; getting up to see Pangong flow majestically surrounded by mountains. Its was heavenly feeling.

My dear friend Karmaji. Darn we look like brothers!!

Guess the faceless ghost!

If you go further in the right you will reach Chinese border.

How I envied the lucky bas** duck, mocking us and swimming in the morning. It was tempting to take a dip seeing the duck but water was too cold.

Some strangers from South Korea, we departed as friends. Story to be continued :), no we didnt share the number if that’s what you are wondering. 

Owner of the Padma home stay. She was very humble, down to earth. Previous night when I walked into kitchen to kill the time she took me to her room and her me watch her pray. It was really sweet of her I thought.

This is where I stayed.

More home stays.

Post card picture.

Some photography by Karmaji

She just adore animals.

They all say I am nice photographer.

Expert in photo bombing perfect pictures.

Yak Ride

Some more Yak’s

Marmot

They are so adorable.

“Be Gentle….”

Cutie pie!

The Shaggy Dog

“The note for educated people because most of the time they act like monkeys”

Chang La baba temple

All they have to say is “Jullay”

You got it!

Holidays;quality time with family.

Blink of my eyes, my extended trip came to an end. As we all were travelling back the next day we knew it we will bump into again. Mika , her guide and I were in the same flight so I was bit relived. Saying bye to Karmaji was bit hard. He was tough guy but he always around giving me advise like second day “they might ask you to sit back” on second day, “Dont stay up late, go to bed, lock your door” when the Israelite’s were playing music loudly. He was old school guy but a good one. You should definitely hire him(I have his number, buzz me off).

As I stepped into the hostel I met many people whom I was acquainted in Pan gong, Nubra Valley. There was one last place I had to visit. I called the taxi and I was on my way to Shanti Stupa. 

It is really beautiful, peaceful except for annoying tourist.

One last night in Leh Market.

To Be Continued

Hostel was too perfect to complain , perfect place to meet fun loving strangers

Karmaji showed finger far across and said “that is silk road, Chinese used to use that road in olden days for trading”

Petrol Pump

Bingo!!!Traffic Jam

Stuck in traffic was wondering how to kill time when my eyes fell on her and I fell in love with her in no time.

Little Rock star. When the van came from other side, I helped her get in bidding my farewell. Dont know why my eyes were misty, she was just too perfect.

When its super sunny ,the ice melts down and water flows down to the road. Making difficult to drive.

“Alert Today Alive Tomorrow”

“East or West safe driving is the Best”

“Check your nerves on my curves”

Pangong

Thanks to “3 Idiots” bollywood movie, Pangong is famous. Most of the tourist want to sit on this yellow scooty and reminisce ending scene from the movie. Its painful to watch though!!

The famous 3 butts

We dropped others near by homestay, “come back if the place not that great” Mika said saying good night, she was very kind. Karmaji stopped the Xylo near Padmas guest house, our destination. The owner was very friendly and warm. Sharmaji, the cook, gave a lock and key in my hand “lock whenever you go out, all rooms are occupied”.I got to know few Israelite were staying in one room and Koreans in other.I bumped into them on couple of occasions but we never spoke. Tired I hit the bed around 10, Israelite were playing their drums , singing some song which was anything but soothing.

Far away from home, away from my comfort zone I was finally enjoying the so called “Travelling”, how I wish I could this for living. Staying in not so fancy places, meeting strangers, talking to few once in a while, meeting the localities, understanding their culture, language, respecting their sentiments yes, I was enjoying it, every bit of it. “Open mind” that’s what I had with no expectations.

To Be Continued

When I was up next morning most of my trek mates had left, except for Sara. A feeling of void was creeping in after so many days of fun. Sara and I were having breakfast, the remaining food instead of throwing she packed it and gave one pack for and another she carried for her journey. I was pretty impressed. She is such a darling, she gave me some of her fancy stuff and said “here you go darling will be handy for you”. She even gave me one of her favorite special dark chocolate which I ate after coming back to Bangalore. I had kept it in mt fridge for her remembrance. 

“Staying back?Travelling alone?” my trek mates weren’t impressed when I had told them that I wont be flying back immediately. I dont know what had got into me but yes I wanted to explore on my own like a hippie carrying my bag just before I get little old”.

Saying bye to Sara was hardest thing, she had always looked out for me, a total stranger not that I wanted any care taking but still.

Rigzen drop me back to hostel which was filled with new strangers. As I was planning to visit Nubra Valley and Pangong , very popular places cramped with tourist I was on my way to get the permit.  Once I got my permit, I explored the Leh Market some more.

As this time I had taken women dormitory, met few strangers but no one like Ladina who had explored world and had story to tell.

As I waited for my shared ride, a Xylo showed up with a short man in the driving seat. He was all serious and not smiling at all. “You can sit front today but may be tomorrow you have to sit back”. I was lucky as I was the first pick up. Later we picked up a married couple and a South African exploring Leh with her guide, my companions for 3 days. 

There is always a queue if you want to click any pictures and if you want it without human in it you have to be just lucky.

I waited patiently counting every second when they all disappear. Kindly avoid tourist season if you are visiting Leh, its super annoying.

This dude mistook it to “My adventure is my daily routine”. How I prayed that he falls down with a “thud” like a ripped open jack fruit. 

You can find many hundreds of stupid Indian tourist. I was and am still a exception 🙂 

As I said you can find them everywhere.

BIKERS, you can find them everywhere. Road, the dust, the weather, the curves are meant for bikers.

View from the toilet window 🙂 

This is where we had our lunch

Leh roads have super cool road signs.

Water falls.

Photo bombing the perfect picture

Way to Diskit Monastery, Nubra

Beautiful Buddha was glancing at us from far away.

Closer Look

The gigantic, magnificent Buddha.

Nubra Valley

As I said many hundreds of tourist.

Finally, I could click one decent pick without tourist spoiling it.

Bikers, they are everywhere

Picture Perfect

Roads, they always call you

Nubra Valley, desert festival

https://snlworld.com/2019/07/21/desert-festival-nubra-valley/

https://snlworld.com/2019/07/21/mok-mok-in-making/

Isn’t he a cutie

Anything for my blog

Quick nap before the ride

I am a free bird, I am your democratic candidate.

Bruce:”Hows your ride?”

Russel:”Sucked, basta***** kept on rubbing his feet on my stomach”

John:”Nothing can be worst than me,the guy kept on farting, worst than Zora”

Zora:”Did someone mentioned my name?!” and the round table conference of camel went on and on 

“Oh yeah, little further, yes, there, right there scratch it baby”

My moma says I need to chew my food,I make sure I chew my food very well, once right

And once left

“Pumpkin, where are you”

“Here I come mother”

“Where were you?”

“I was just looking around and trying to understand these funny creatures called humans with two legs. Can we ever get a chance to ride them like how they ride us?”

“Now listen pumpkin, there is nothing to know about them, they are stupidest idiotic creatures ever born on this earth. And about riding, we better off without riding them”.

Hey yo, have you seen my spikes?

Desert festival was winding up when we left. After dropping my other companions, at near by fancy home stay, Karma sir and I went in search of “Himalayan Bunkers”,a hostel, our stay for the night.

It’s a fantastic place to stay, pocket friendly, cozy and lovely. When I stepped in the tent of 6 beds, my tent mates were all missing. I quickly freshened up, charged my phone(electricity is not available all the time),Its then my tent mates, all bikers walked in with their dirty clothes and stinking socks. They were all nice and talky. They went on talking about their Leh bike trip.

Its was 8:30PM and surrounding was warming up, there was a bonfire where all the bikers were shaking their hip to loud music, cracking some jokes and just chilling.

“Wow, why I didnt do this trip earlier?” Its total different when you are on your own, exploring new things in your crazy way. That’s when it hit me why people love travelling. I was just getting a hang of it little by little.

When I went back to my tent little later, one of my tent mate reading a book and other was sleeping. We stroked a conversation, talking about books, travel… Strangers as we meet, friends as we depart.

Days tiredness was wearing me off, slowly I drifted to sleep, listening to the music one side and water stream from other.

To Be Continued

The morning was pleasant not giving a trace of hard cold night. Sun was dancing in his usually glory like nothing has happened. We were happy because it was our last day of trek, away from civilization. All were looking forward for a hot shower and soft bed with a warm blanket. 

It was a crazy trail and Tiffin was unstoppable. He started walking and he never stopped.

Finally at the top, Kongmaru La, 17,100ft. One place where you can get the phone signal on this trek. Mind blowing scene from the top must say.

The descend was crazy and dangerous. One had to be very careful, one wrong foot and…

The flowers were always comforting with their bright colors and smile.

Marmot came to see us.

Saying bye in style.

When Rigzen saw mountain goats, he started climbing almost vertical near by mountain with so much ease, we all stood and watched dumbstruck. He got a closure picture and came back running like he had done that million times while he held our breath saying “hope he wont fall”.

When we saw the steep trail we were scared, one wrong foot on other side we were in ditch with broken neck and spinal cord. “Nothing going to happen, just see the trail and walk, dont be scared, I am right behind you” Rigzen kept on saying while we walked in tortoises pace. “I dont want to die hear god, not like this, I cant die here, my dad will kill my already dead body”.I was praying continously.

One of the awesome un-stoppable trekker. Nothing could hold her back, not the steep trail or the heavy bag.

In midst of the the crazy dangerous ascend I didnt stop capturing the colors. They were soothing our turmoil mind.