Yes I am talking about the most important sites of the Char Dham Yatra,i.e Badrinath which attracts millions of pilgrims across India and the world throughout the year.The only abode of Lord Vishnu stationed in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand is a matter of pride for the country.The Vishnu temple of Badrinath cornered in the Garhwal Himalayas of the Chamoli district has lots of stories and myths attached to it.Badrinath is a renowned shrine in North India that intrigues travellers and pilgrims throughout the country and remains opened throughout the year except for the winter months.
The Nar-Narayana mountain ranges which symbolically represent the dual form of Vishnu is proliferated across the shrine of Badrinath.The Neelkantha peak adds flavor to the charisma with its ‘blue’ and ‘elevated’ advent and presence.Five kilometres from Badrinath also takes us to the last village of India which is known as Mana and lot of Garhwali inhabitants dwell in the area.
The most important imperative is the Alaknanda river,a tributary of the river Ganga that flows across the region spreading its elegance and magnetism.The road to reach Badrinath is one of the deadliest roads of the world with a 51 kilometers one way travel blockage from Joshimath due to the narrowness of the crossroad.The presence of mammoth snow clad peaks on the way makes the journey even more exciting and dangerous as compared to other Char Dham expeditions
Badrinath is the also the channel to important mountain expeditions and events in the Himalayas.Satopanth,Swargarohini the road to heaven is at a trekkable distance of 25 kilometers from Badrinath which attracts lots of adventurists and wanderlust backpackers across the world.
Chitkul,the last inhabited village of India plunges in the sheer corner of Himachal Pradesh.It’s a 2-3 hours drive from the district headquarters of Reckong Peo at Kinnaur.We managed to rucksack on an early morning in Thursday plunging deep into our hand gloves to retreat the the cold wave flowing across the turf.It was around -15 degrees at 7 am in the morning when the high torrent of the Baspa river entangled our perception and mantled our breadth away.
The picturesque blurred our eyes and the sizzling magnetism fascinated our field of vision to catch hold of the enigmatic divinity within the region.The snow sheathed Alps were dazzling when the wood stricken houses became visible after the sunrise and entrusted a striking glow to the supreme panorama .The mountains bordered the entire area circumscribing the key monasteries and the small huts in the region and giving a charismatic squint to the pristine elegance.The best view of Chitkul is during the morning hours when all the mountains starts shining and at twilight when the setting sun creates a magical scene in the entire panorama.There are some hotels and lodges available at cheap prices for stay but the travelers may run away due to lack of electricity in the area.Nevertheless the beauty of the entire region would fascinate and hypnotise any human being in this planet.
Reminiscence of the entire area transmitted an impressive and remarkable glow to our sanity and the urge to sojourn the region again and inspiring young travelers to take the voyage early in their life and increase their geographical exposure.The color of the mountains would test the patience of the individual to extend their duration of stay in the region and contrive unforgettable memories
The culminating shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi(another form of Kali in Hindu mythology) is a blessing expedient for millions of Indians living in exiguity and difficile circumstances.The shrine attracts millions of Indians every day and especially married women come to seek consecration for the well being of the family and their children.
The holy shrine is situated at a distance of 14 kms from the town of Katra in Jammu which can be trekked in 2-3 hours time.The road to the shrine is very well envisaged and properly cultivated by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir which gives an edge over other shrines in North and South India.There are palanquins,ponies,heli services available for the elderly and the handicapped that intrigues pilgrims across the country.The entire trekking route is so beautifully constructed that there should not be any problems for even a middle aged person to climb the path.
I climbed the hill with one of my friend in an early morning with a positive and strong vibe to reach the shrine of the deity in order to avoid the late rush faced by the crowd.It took two and a half hours for us to reach the pinnacle with one halt at Adi Kuwari temple.There were sculptures carved in gold and silver and paintings of the shrine available for sale in the emporium.We managed to visit the sanctorium without much hassles and it took 2 hours for us to complete the stride and perform the rituals inside the sanctum.Overall it was a riveting acquaintance to survey the enshrine encompassed by the mountains of the Shivalik Hill Ranges and a memorable venture to cherish for whole life.
Kodaikanal,one of the prominent hill stations of South India is a retreat for people to escape the heat wave whisking across Tamilnadu.The chief economy of the region is based on the tourism industry.The district of Kodaikanal mainly comprises of the Palani Hills located between the Parappar and the Gundar Valleys and the Nilgiris.
There are alpine meadows and green grasslands that cover the blackish mountains.The region has a rich flora and pine trees,eucalyptus and acacia are the most bulging ones with beautiful wild flowers and various species of rhododendrons,dahlia and magnolia abounding them.There are mighty echo rocks and waterfalls all around the region to allure young travelers.
Places of interest to me in Kodaikanal are the Pine forests,Dolphins nose,Echo Point, Coaker’s Walk,Pillar rocks,Green Valley View from where the hills and the entire Western Ghats are clearly discernible.Dwellers of the region mostly includes the Christian community with a subtropical climate prevailing in the town throughout the year.The entire town of Kodaikanal is covered by thick and dense forests which is a prominent feature of the region and people come from all corners of India to feel the essence of the natural resources in the country.There are botanical gardens in the region that comprises of various indigenous plants and flowers.
Kodaikanal can be reached from Chennai or Bangalore by covering a road distance of around 12 hours and touching Tiruchirapalli in the way.The weekend drive with some special friend can be even more intriguing and enthralling for someone having an unfathomable inclination and interest towards hills and willing to expand his geographical base and proficiency.The mountain ranges become very prominent and established on coming closer to Kodaikanal which is a promising and happening feature of the region.
Sitlakhet,a small hill station in the Kumaon ranges of Uttarkhand is one of the least explored destinations and hidden among the dense forests of Kumaon in North India.It is a 4 hrs drive and at a distance of 86 kms from the lake capital of Uttarakhand,Nainital.Sitlakhet is a place where winds talk to each other and rhododendrons syrups are found in abundance and heaven awaits for every like minded traveler
.If one can feel the same through his mind and heart they could realize that the winds talk to each other in the early and late evening hours with trees witnessing their presence and supervising and interpreting their elocution.There are KMVN tourist rest houses and assorted home stay rentals available at cheap budget for travelers willing to do a night stay or so in Sitlakhet.Many like minded travelers or tourists do not know that a place like Sitlakhet exists in Nainital and Munsiyari route due to human negligence and lack of geographical knowledge.There are rhododendrons syrups available in the region to bring for the family and children to increase and improve health awareness.
We managed to pack and carry our sleeping bags and organize a camp around the forest area of Sitlakhet with bonfire to warm ourselves for the night.We could hear and auscultate some sounds of wild animals in the woodland area but that could not plunder or perturb our impulse the excitement and adventure planned for the midnight.We sang,danced,took weird photographs,created whimsical sounds to surprise the animals and scram our fear.A place where winds talk amidst of thousands of trees and mountains of the Himalayas harnessing their actions is subtle and sparse in India so I would instigate and enliven young travelers to add this hamlet to their travel wishlist.
Jog Falls,situated in the Shimoga district of Karnataka is one of the largest and the longest waterfalls in India.It is a sporadic waterfalls as compared to its peers and is the highest waterfalls of India.It is accessible from the small town of Shimoga by car or bus and is at a distance of 2 hours from the town.Jog falls is one of the finest and greatest piece of attractions in the outskirts of Karnataka and a retreat for all the people of the state.Water remains in the falls in the autumn and the winter season so the best time for a visit would be from September-March.The waterfalls is surrounded by mountain ranges all around and there are government rest houses and lodges for accommodation in the area for tourists.
It is required to descend and trek for about half an hour to reach its radical basal and the glimpse is alluring as there are forests visible from the zonal area.The Government of Karnataka has created a safe and secure zone for this picnic spot which is accessible by tourists mostly during the monsoon season.After monsoon it gets dried up and the full sporadic swing may not be visible.Jog waterfalls is situated in the Shimoga forests which takes tow hours to reach from the railway station.There are hard crocks and ridges close to the waterfalls zone that makes it splendid and unique as compared to its peers.
The entire sojourn from Shimoga to Jog falls is very adventurous and tourists get to see varieties of trees during the voyage as the passage mostly embroil the isolated forest area.Remarkable places of interest around Jog falls are Humcha,Ikkeri,Keladi and Kubatur.Overall,this spot is a nice weekend drive for any traveler to nourish and cultivate themselves from the conventional lifestyle of Karnataka.
Talking about Indian architecture,we have to go back to the Mughal empire where distinguished and remarkable features can be traced in the remnants of Taj Mahal,Agra Fort etc which has been revamped by the Government of India to retain the lost glory and the heritage of the nation.Agra is one of the places in India where the relics of the architectural endeavour by the workers and the craftsman of that era can be outlined.Indian architecture stands among the finest architectures in the world and is a proud factor for the nation.
Talking about Taj Mahal which was built by the craftsman deployed by Shah Jahan during the Mughal empire one can depict and trace architectural decree and findings and compare it with the modern generation.There is lot of disparity in terms of the service provided by the craftsman of ancient times and the quality has definitely fallen down in the modern era.This is due to the lack of skilled workers in the country and the decline of superiority and the excellence in this field.But we can definitely go back to that generation and try to fill and close that gap which is mislaid today.
Another edifice is the famous Agra fort which cannot be compared with any of the superconstructions in todays engenderment.The works depicted in the architectural findings is exemplary and superficial and should be taken as a solid example if one wants to build similar constructions or structures in modern India.Agra,Delhi and some places have similar architecture which should be compared with modern day Indian architecture to improve the lost glory and grandeur.
What is missing today in India is the patience of craftsman and the competence and expertise in this sphere.They should be remodelled and resurrected to maintain and preserve the lost heritage and grandeur.
Khalia Top,located at a distance of around 8 kms from the town of Munsiyari is a high altitude trekking summit and a Himalayan meadow.The most important peak that is visible from here is the Hansling peak and other peaks like Nandakot,Trishul and Nanda Devi East are also palpable.The snow clad peaks of the Kumaon ranges were tangible from the meadow and took our breadth away and I had to adjust the lens properly to catch the alluring magnetism
A trekking bag,hand full of gloves,sleeping bags,torch,lighter were my gears for the trek and I had to escape the crowd and make my way to the summit.It was also in my top 10 list of favourable treks and I had to trek this point all the way from Munsiyari after I reached there overnight.The next day early morning I packed my bag and was ready to climb all the way till Khalia Top Bugyal.
There were the Himalayan sheep covered with thick fur all around her body that was discernible and also some unicorns that were trackable.Wild species of flowers of rhododendrons especially found in this part of the region took our sight away from the untarnished peaks of the Kumaon Ranges.The sun rising at 6 am amidst of these mountain ranges gave a striking appearance to the sky and the white clouds engulfing all around the environment.I had to wear my jeans tight and jackets and shoes proper to prevent my leg getting swamped in snow.Snow was fresh and pristine during this time of the year which added flavor and charisma to the ambiance.
.The dazzling panorama of the pristine mountains was an enduring experience for me and my entourage and I encourage young travelers to add this trip to their wishlist.Happy Travelling!!!!