Vidur’s Travel Diary – 17 : Andaman Calling


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CHENNAI – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           JULY 24, 2015           10.45 P.M.

It was raining heavily today in Mumbai. Rains are romantic but only when you are at home and enjoying the downpour. Torrential rain, for me, is dreadful if you are travelling. You feel dwarfed in front of the fury of mighty nature. When I started from my apartment for airport, it was drizzling. But when I reached airport, it was dark and I could see rain water lashing out on the large window panes of the domestic terminal. I dreaded but had no option. I took the flight, because I have to be in Port Blair on July 26th.

I took the flight and reached Chennai in the night. It is my 5th Chennai visit. But this time I am visiting the city only as a transit passenger. I will be taking early morning flight to Port Blair, the capital town of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Apart from 29 states, India has 7 Union Territories. Out of 7 Union Territories, I have visited Delhi multiple times, Puducherry 4 times and Chandigarh once. 2 other Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli are very close to Mumbai and I can visit them any day. But I never imagined that I could visit Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Never in my wildest dreams have I thought that I would be visiting Andaman in my life. So when my student Lakshmi Rao invited me to come to Port Blair as the Chief Guest of the 1st ever Andaman beauty pageant, I agreed immediately.

I searched Wikipedia and found some fascinating information about Andaman & Nicobar Islands. These island first came to light during Chola Empire. Then finally took shape during British rule. Britishers tried to colonise these islands but failed.

In 1858 the British again established a colony at Port Blair, which proved to be more permanent. The primary purpose was to set up a penal colony criminal convicts from the Indian subcontinent. The colony came to include the infamous Cellular Jail.

In 1872 the Andaman and Nicobar islands were united under a single chief commissioner at Port Blair. The capital of the union territory, Port Blair, is located 1,255 km from Kolkata, 1,200 km from Visakhapatnam and 1,190 km from Chennai

There are 572 islands in the territory having an area of 8,073 km. Of these, about 34 are permanently inhabited.

The Andamans are separated from the Nicobar group by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel) some 150 km wide. The highest point is located in North Andaman Island (Saddle Peak at 732 m .

The Andaman group has 325 islands which cover an area of 6,170 km while the Nicobar group has only 24 islands with an area of 1,765 km.

It is night halt at Chennai airport. I will take 5.00 AM flight and will be reaching Port Blair at 7.30 AM. A dream of my lifetime will be fulfilled.

Whenever I visit a new place , I always remember these famous lines of the great modern Hindi poet Agyeya :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 16 : Vaitheeswarankoil , 4th Time


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CHENNAI – TAMILNADU – INDIA            JANUARY 30 , 2015   01.00 A.M.

 

I first wrote about   Vaitheeswaran Koil   in my Travel Diary No. 4 . It was posted on November 29 , 2011 . It was my first visit of the temple town , which is situated in Nagapattinam district of  Tamil Nadu . Though I visited   Vaitheeswaran Koil  again in 2012 and for the 3rd time again in 2013 with my wife and son but that time I did not write my travel diary about this temple town . In 2012 I wrote only about Karaikal [ Puducherry ] . It is there in my Travel Diary No. 15 of  December 28 , 2012 .

Whenever I visit a new place , I always remember these famous lines of the great modern Hindi poet Agyeya :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

But this is uncanny that it never happened with the temple town of   Vaitheeswaran Koil   . This year it was my 4th consecutive visit and I decided to write about   Vaitheeswaran Koil   once again .

I took late evening flight from Mumbai and landed in Chennai late in the night on January 23, 2015 . After night stay at Hotel Golden Tower , I took a cab for   Vaitheeswaran Koil   on January 24, 2015 in the early morning and reached there in the evening .

In 2013 I visited goddess Saraswati temple in Koothnoor village of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu . Before this visit I had never visited any temple dedicated to Mata Saraswati . This year I skipped it . I started my pilgrimage of NAVA GRAHA temples from next morning.

January 25 , 2015 :

—————————

1 – CHANDRAN – THINGALUR : With my wife and son , I visited Chandran or Chandra temple first. It is situated in the Thingalur village of Thanjavur district . This is the only temple which is not in Nagapattinam district.

Picture taken in 2013 at CHANDRAN Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother - in - Law

Picture taken in 2013 at CHANDRAN [ CHANDRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother – in – Law

2 – GURU – ALANGUDI : My second temple on day one was Guru temple in Alangudi village of Nagapattinam district.

2012 at GURU Temple with my wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at GURU Temple : My wife & son

3 – RAGHU – THIRUNAGESWARAM : In local parlance it is called Raghu temple . We know it as Rahu . This is the third among the NAVA GRAHA . Raghu is flanked by SRI NAGAVALLI and SRI NAGA KANNI in this temple situated in Thirunageswaram village.

Picture taken in 2012 at RAGHU [ RAHU ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother - in - Law

Picture taken in 2012 at RAGHU [ RAHU ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother – in – Law

After DARSHANAM of these three temples we had lunch at Hotel Aryas in KUMBAKONAM city. After lunch we started our journey for Karaikal city of Union Territory Puducherry.

 

4 – SANEESWARA – THIRUNALLAR ( KARAIKAL ) : The next stop after lunch was Shani temple of Karaikal . It is situated in Thirunallar , a part of Karaikal and is known as Saneeswara Bhagawan Sannithi. .

Picture taken in 2012 at Saneeswar Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at Saneeswar [ SHANI ] Temple : My wife & son

In my travel diary of Karaikal I have mentioned about Karaikal Halwa. The most famous Halwa shop known as NATESAN ALWA is 80 years old and not 55 years as mentioned earlier in my blog about Karaikal. It was stablished in 1934. It is situated at BHARTHIYAR ROAD , KATHAPILLAI KODI CORNER , KARAIKAL – 609 602 . You can not afford to miss it, if you have sweet tooth. Out of many varieties, THUMBAROOT ALWA , BUTTER ALWA and BUTTER KOVA are worth testing.

 

5 – BUDHAN – THIRUVENKADU : After Shani DARSHANAM , we visited Budh temple , which in local parlance is known as Budhan. The village where it is situated is Thiruvenkadu .

Picture taken in 2012 at BUDHAN [ BUDH ] Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at BUDHAN [ BUDH ] Temple : My wife & son

6 – KEDHU – KEEZHA PERUMPALLAM : Our last temple of the day one was Ketu temple. Known as Kedhu in Tamil, it is situated in a village called Keezha Perumpallam.

Picture taken in 2012 at KEDHU [ KETU ]  Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at KEDHU [ KETU ] Temple : My wife & son

After visiting 6 temples, we had sumptuous dinner at Hotel Pams in MAYILADUTHURAI [ earlier known as MAYAVARAM ]. It provides good food and is a marvellous hotel for stay in Mayiladuthurai. I , for the first time , ate Chettinadu cuisine.

January 26 , 2015 :

—————————

 

7 – SURYAN – SURIYANARKOIL : After day one , we started our second day with Surya temple in Suriyanarkoil village. For local people it is known as Suryan temple.

Picture taken in 2012 at SURYAN [ SURYA ]  Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at SURYAN [ SURYA ] Temple : My wife & son

Temple premises has small NAVA GRAHA tremples. You can worship all the NAVA GRAHAS at this temple , if you are not keen on visiting all the temples situated in the far-flung areas of Nagapattinam and Thanjavur districts. It also has a small shop, where you can get RUDRAKSH and various other things of worship.

8 – SUKKIRAN : KANCHANUR : Second temple of the second day was Sukkiran or Shukra temple. It is situated in Kanchanur village.

Picture taken in 2013 at SUKKIRAN [ SHUKRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother in - Law

Picture taken in 2013 at SUKKIRAN [ SHUKRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother in – Law

9 – ANGARAKAN – VAITHEESWARAN KOIL :  Angarakan or Mangal temple is situated in the precincts of main Shiva temple of Vaitheeswarankoil. ARUL MIKU VAITHIYANATHA SWAMI or Shiva is the main deity.

Picture taken in 2012 at ANGARAKAN [ MANGAL ]  Temple : My wife

Picture taken in 2012 at ANGARAKAN [ MANGAL ] Temple : My wife

On January 27th, after staying for 2 days in Vaitheeswaran Koil , we returned to Chennai in the evening. Our 4th pilgrimage of  Vaitheeswaran Koil ended. After 2 days stay in Chennai, we will take early morning flight to Mumbai today. After posting this blog, I will start packing my bags for the journey back home.

 

 

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If fate permits, I hope to come again in December 2015. But as I have said in the beginning of this blog, it is a BIG IF !!

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 15 : Karaikal


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 28 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

Union Territory Puducherry is unique among all the states and Union Territories of India . It has 4 districts or regions but they are not contiguous at all . Puducherry , Karaikal , Yanam and Mahe are 4 districts of this Union Territory and they fall in 3 different states . Puducherry and Karaikal are in Tamil Nadu , Yanam is in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe is in Kerala . Though Puducherry and Karaikal , both are in Tamil Nadu but even they are not contiguous .

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mah...

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my last visit to Tamil Nadu , I stopped at Puducherry , while returning from Vaitheeswaran Koil and visited many places . I have already written a blog about my Puducherry visit . That time I did visit Karaikal but could not write my travel diary about Karaikal because it was raining heavily and therefore apart from Shani Temple , I could not visit other places .

During my recent visit I visited only Beach Road in Puducherry and spent more time in Karaikal .

 

English: It is very old map of Karikal (Karaik...

Old map of Karikal (Karaikal) when it was a French colony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I took night flight to Chennai on December 21 , 2012 and reached there late in the night . Next day , on December 22 , 2012 , I proceeded for Vaitheeswaran Koil and after briefly stopping in Puducherry , reached there in the evening . From Vaitheeswaran Koil , I proceeded for Karaikal on December 25 , 2012 .

When you visit Karaikal please don’t forget to eat Karaikal Halwa . It is too yummy to skip . You are not supposed to not have it during your Karaikal visit , even if you are visiting Karaikal for a short period . ” Natesan Halwa ” is the most famous shop and it is 55 years old . It was stablished in 1957 and since then it is in business of making Halwa . There are other shops also on the same road . If you wish to explore , you could visit them .

A Road in Karaikal

A Road in Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses - Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

At Beach Road - Karaikal

At Beach Road – Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

The Promenade Near Beach

The Promenade Near Beach

Government Buildings Near Promenade

Government Buildings Near Promenade

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple - Thirunallar , Karaikal

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple – Thirunallar , Karaikal

A French enclave from 1673 till 1954 , it became part of India by a treaty of cession signed by the Indian and French governments in 1956 . It finally became Union Territory in 1963 . During French rule it was called Territoire de Pondichery . It was renamed Puducherry in 2006 .

Karaikal is 300 km. south of Chennai and 135 km. from Puducherry . From Puducherry or from Chennai , you can reach there by taxi . It is surrounded by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu .

After visiting Saneeswara Bhagawan temple in Thirunallar , Karaikal , I returned to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the night . I don’t know whether I would be able to visit Karaikal again or not . May be yes , may be no .

I remembered these famous lines of Agyeya , which I always remember , whenever I return from a new place .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Visit to Karaikal gives me ample opportunity to tell some good tales to the students of my acting institute,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 14 : Sarnath


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 04 , 2012           01.05 A.M.

On the morning of June 17 , 2012 , I started for my native place Deoria from Varanasi . I decide to visit Sarnath , which is world-famous centre of Buddhist religion and is just 13 km. away from Varanasi on Varanasi – Gorakhpur national highway . This was my second visit of Sarnath . I had earlier visited this place almost 30 years back .

It is here in the Mrigadava [ deer park ] , Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya . According to Buddhist folklore , Lumbini , Bodh Gaya , Sarnath and Kushinagar are the four most important places connected with the life of Gautam Buddha . Lumbini [ Place of his Birth ] , Bodh Gaya [ Place of his Enlightenment ] , Sarnath [ Place of his First Sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan ] and Kushinagar [ Place of his Nirvana ] are pilgrimage centre and visited by devout Buddhists .

Out of these 4 holy cities of Buddhist religion , I have visited 2 cities . Kushinagar was a tehsil headquarter in Deoria district and now it is a separate district . It is 34 km. away from Deoria . I have visited it many times . And this time it was my second visit to Sarnath .

Buddha gave his first sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan in Sarnath . He also spent his first rainy season at Mulagandha Kuti .

Two pillars at the two sides of the road indicate the starting of the boundary of Sarnath .

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Road of Sarnath City

Main Road of Sarnath City

Mulagandhakuti Vihara is a modern monastery built in 1930 by king of Sri Lanka Anagarika Dharamapala . It has a golden statue of Gautam Buddha and beautiful murals on the inner walls .

Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

My Wife at Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

My Wife at Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

My Wife Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

My Wife Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Statue of Anagarika Dharamapala , King of Sri Lanka , Who Built The Temple

Statue of Anagarika Dharamapala , King of Sri Lanka , Who Built The Temple

The Inscription

The Inscription

Dhamek Stupa is another important shrine . It is 128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter .

The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Very close to Dhamek Stupa , in Singhpur village , there is birthplace of Shreyansnatha , the 11th Tirthankara of Jainism . A temple is built on that holy place .

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

My Wife At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

My Wife At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

Bell , Donated by Dalai Lama

Bell , Donated by Dalai Lama

The latest in the list of temple is a Thai temple . It has a gigantic statue of Gautam Buddha .

Thai Temple - Sarnath

Thai Temple – Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple - Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple – Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple - Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple – Sarnath

Buddha Statue - Thai Temple - Sarnath

Buddha Statue – Thai Temple – Sarnath

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Sarnath is a small town . I completed my visit within few hours and after visiting local museum proceeded for Markandeya Mahadev temple in Aundihar . I have written about that temple in my travel diary of Varanasi .

Like Varanasi , Sarnath is also not a remote place . I intend to visit it again in winters . But again the same feeling ; who knows ?

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 13 : Varanasi


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 03 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

Varanasi or Benaras or Kasi or Kashi , this old and perennial city of India , which symbolises Hindu ethos and its timeless tradition , is a new metropolis , yet it existed and started its journey several millennium ago . As per tradition and folklore it is 5000 years old city . Its mythical and cultural name is Kashi . Rigveda mentions this city as Kasi or Kashi . During British era the name was changed and the city came to be known as Benaras . After independence the city was rechristened as Varanasi . Varuna and Assi are two rivers , which caress the city from two sides , hence the city was rechristened as Varanasi .

Varanasi predates history . It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world and the oldest city in India . As per Hindu mythology this city rests on the trident of Bhagwan Shiva . This city is closely associated with the legendary Raja Harishchandra , an ancestor of Bhagwan Ram . Harishchandra ghat still exists and bears his name and reminds us of his supreme sacrifices in pursuit of truth . Along with AYODHYA , MATHURA , MAYA [ HARIDWAR ] , KANCHI , AVANTIKA [ UJJAIN ] and DWARKA , Varanasi , for the Hindus , is the 7th Holiest Cities of India . I consider myself lucky and fortunate that I have chance to visit all the above mentioned seven cities .

I have been to Varanasi several times . I first visited this city with my parents and other siblings , while I was a toddler . It was for the MUNDAN [ Tonsure Ceremony ] of my younger brother . I still remember my first journey to Varanasi by train . I was a kid and I used to converse with my parents only in Bhojpuri . My father insisted that while in Varanasi , we all must converse in Hindi . I was finding it difficult and avoided speaking throughout the journey .

I have visited this city numerous times since then . Every year when I visit my native place Deoria , I have to make a halt either at Varanasi or Lucknow . This year in June , I took a morning flight from Mumbai on June 16 , 2012 and along with my wife , landed there in the afternoon . Varanasi now has a swanky and sprawling airport . Old airport was not worthy of the reputation of this ancient city . This new Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is truly impressive .

Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport - Varanasi

Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport – Varanasi

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport - Varanasi

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport – Varanasi

I took a cab and drove to Hotel Gautam Grand near Varanasi Cant station .

Hotel Gautam Grand - Varanasi

Hotel Gautam Grand – Varanasi

When in Varanasi , you have to enjoy the crowded lanes and by-lanes of this mythical yet  modern metropolis . Godaulia is the nerve – centre of the city .

Godaulia - Varanasi

Godaulia – Varanasi

The world-famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 JYOTIRLINGAS of Bhagwan Shiva in India . You dare not afford to miss this shrine . The old temple , built by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century , was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb , who built a mosque on the ruins of this temple , which , today , is known as Gyanvapi mosque . The present Kashi Vishwanath temple was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1717 . This temple was adorned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh , who donated 820 k.g. gold in 1889 .

Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Entrance

Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Entrance

World Famous Lane of Vishwanath Temple

World Famous Lane of Vishwanath Temple

World Famous Lane of Vishwanath Temple

World Famous Lane of Vishwanath Temple

 

Gyanvapi, the original holy well between the t...

Gyanvapi, the original holy well between the temple and mosque (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After darshan of Kashi Vishwanath temple , you proceed to Dashashwamedha Ghat , where Ganga Aarti is performed in the evening . Dashashwamedha Ghat was built by Maharaja Savai Jai Singh II in 1693 . It is one of the 100 ghats of Varanasi . Originally Ganga Aarti was started in Haridwar by Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya . Few years back it was started in Varanasi also and today it is major tourist attraction .

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Ganga Arti - Varanasi

Ganga Arti – Varanasi

Apart from Dashashwamedha ghat , Kedar ghat and Harishchandra ghat are other two major ghats of Varanasi .

Kedar Ghat - Varanasi

Kedar Ghat – Varanasi

Harishchandra Ghat - Varanasi

Harishchandra Ghat – Varanasi

Godaulia - Varanasi at Night

Godaulia – Varanasi at Night

A British Era Church at Godaulia

A British Era Church at Godaulia

Sankat Mochan temple is the another famous temple of Varanasi . According to the folklore , Sant Tulsidas worshipped here and Bhagwan Hanuman gave him darshan . After Kashi Vishwanath temple , it is the 2nd most revered temple of Varanasi for Hindus .

Sankat Mochan Temple

Sankat Mochan Temple

Varanasi is famous for Sants like Tulsi Das , Kabir Das , Ravi Das , Tailang Swami and Keena Ram . Tailang Swami and his disciple Keena Ram Baba followed AGHOR PANTH . Keena Ram Baba is most famous exponent of AGHOR PANTH . I visited his Ashram also . This was my first visit . I visited it twice . First visit was in the afternoon of June 16th and the second one was next day , on June 17 , 2012 .

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba - Main Entrance

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba – Main Entrance

At The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba

At The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba  - Residence

The Ashram of Keena Ram Baba – Residence

At Keena Ram Baba Ashram

At Keena Ram Baba Ashram

My Wife at The Ashram of Sant Keena Ram

My Wife at The Ashram of Sant Keena Ram

I left Varanasi on June 17 , 2012 in the morning . While proceeding towards Sarnath and Aundihar , I started remembering several luminaries of Indian history , who were born in Varanasi and spent their lives in this city .

Notable residents of Varanasi

Temple of Markandeya Mahadev in Aundihar is another famous shrine of Bhagwan Shiv , which I visited with my wife , while on my way to Deoria .

At Markandeya Mahadev Temple - Aundihar

At Markandeya Mahadev Temple – Aundihar

My Wife at Markandeya Mahadev Temple - Aundihar

My Wife at Markandeya Mahadev Temple – Aundihar

Varanasi is not a remote place for me . It is in between Mumbai and Deoria . I can and will visit it as long as I am alive . But then being alive is the big , unknown and unanswered question . Who knows it is my last visit or not ? Who knows whether I would be able to visit it again or not ?

I started for Deoria with heavy heart . Though I do hope to visit Varanasi again in winters for Allahabad Kumbh mela . Lines of Agyeya come running in my mind :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 12 : Naggar & Manikaran [ Kullu ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 30 , 2012           01.00 A.M.

As I have written in my travel diary of Manali , I had a lot of free time in Manali . I made good use of it and visited all the important places in and around Manali .

People told me about Naggar and Manikaran and I decided to visit these places also . So on March 29 , 2012 , when I had no work , I decided to go to Naggar . I hired a cab and started for my journey early in the morning . Naggar is in between Kullu and Manali . It is 22 km. from Manali and 26 km. from Kullu . Naggar was the capital of kings of Kullu for about 1400 years .

Road to Naggar is surrounded by snow – capped mountains and the castle , known as Naggar Castle , is awesome . It is now known as Castle Hotel . This magnificent building of stone and wood was constructed during the reign of Raja Sidh Singh .

Naggar : Surrounded by Snow - Capped Hills

Naggar : Surrounded by Snow – Capped Hills

At Naggar Castle

At Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle - Main Entrance

Naggar Castle – Main Entrance

Naggar Castle - Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle – Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle - Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle – Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - At The Restaurant

Naggar Castle – At The Restaurant

Naggar Castle - The Temple

Naggar Castle – The Temple

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Balcony

Naggar Castle – The Balcony

Snow - Capped Mountains As Seen From Naggar Castle

Snow – Capped Mountains As Seen From Naggar Castle

A little away from Naggar Castle , there is memorial of late Nicholas Roerich , the Russian painter . His villa is set in a beautiful garden and it houses many of his famous paintings . After Naggar Castle , I visited Roerich Art Gallery next .

For me Roerich Villa has an added attraction . Nicholas Roerich’s son Svetoslav Roerich , himself a famous painter , married Devika Rani . She , away from the hustle – bustle of Bombay Talkies and Bombay city , spent many years of her life here . I was eager to see her room , where she stayed whenever she visited Naggar . After death of her first husband Himanshu Rai , she left Bombay [ now Mumbai ] and lived either in Bangalore [ now Bengaluru ] or Naggar .

Road From Naggar Castle to Roerich Memorial

Road From Naggar Castle to Roerich Memorial

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ The Pathway ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ The Pathway ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Staircase ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Staircase ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Surrounding ]

This main gate of the ground floor of Roerich Villa leads to the art gallery , where many precious and priceless paintings of Roerichs are displayed .

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Entrance ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Entrance ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

I bought a coffee – table book about Devika Rani and surveyed the Villa for the last time and then proceeded for Manikaran . Situated in the Parvati Valley and on the banks of Parvatiriver , Manikaran is famous for its hot springs . You can easily cook food in the boiling hot water . These streams are very close to ice – cold Parvati River . It is one of the wonders of Kullu district .

Way To Manikaran

Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

At Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

At Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

I finished my visit after visiting the Manikaran gurudwara and proceeded for Manali .

These are remote places . Even if I visit Manali again , I am not sure whether I would be visiting Manikaran again or not . On my return journey to Manali , I remembered Agyeya‘s famous lines and reached my hotel in the late evening .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 11 : Manali


DEORIA – UTTAR PRADESH – INDIA           JUNE 19 , 2012           11.45 P.M.

It is much delayed blog . I wanted to write and post it immediately after my return from Manali on April 10 , 2012 but couldn’t do it because of my eye operation . Then there were other works like ; training actors and writing my book on acting and this particular blog got postponed and delayed . I decided to complete it and post it today , while sitting in the office cum study of my Deoria house .

One day while I was in my class in Mumbai , I got a call from Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions . They wanted me to train the stars of their new film which stars Ranbir Kapoor , Deepika Padukone , Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapoor . And for that they wanted me to travel to Manali for a month . I jumped at the idea because Himachal Pradesh , along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh , are the only provinces of North India , which I have not visited yet . And my second temptation was that I would be able to meet Ranbir Kapoor after a long time , whom I have trained for ” Saawariya “ . In addition to that I would get an opportunity to work with Deepika Padukone and Kalki Koechlin also .

Map of India showing location of Himachal Pradesh

Map of India showing location of Himachal Pradesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Mumbai , I took early morning flight for Chandigarh on March 18 , 2012 . I reached Chandigarh and proceeded for Manali by car , I saw this Union Territory for the first time . Chandigarh is the first planned city of independent India . I was simply amazed . Swanky airport , 4 / 6 lane roads , gigantic traffic islands and neatly maintained colonies ; Chandigarh is pride of India .

Chandigarh Airport

Chandigarh Airport

A Traffic Island of Chandigarh

A Traffic Island of Chandigarh

I could not watch much because I was put in a car and immediately proceeded for 310 km. long road journey to Manali . My impression of Chandigarh is what I could see through the window of a speeding car .

Travelling time to Manali from Chandigarh is 11 hours . As soon as I entered  Himachal Pradesh , hills started. Snow capped mountains and rocky landscape is beautiful and breathtaking . As per Hindu legends Manali is associated with Manu , who started procreation on the pious land of Manali after the great deluge , MAHAPRALAY , the end of the world . It happened in SATYUGA . Manali is also associated with Maharshi Shringi , who performed PUTRESHTI YAGYA for King Dhasharath and thus the king got 4 sons ; Rama , Bharat , Lakshman and Shatrughna . It happened in TRETAYUGA . In DWAPARYUGA , Arjun worshipped Shiva in a cage near Manali and got PASHUPATASTRA . His elder brother Bheem married Hidimba here and had a son Ghatotkach . Thus from SATYUGA to TRETEYUG to DWAPARYUG , Manali is closely associated with our history , culture and ethos .

Known as Queen of Hill Stations , Manali is situated at an altitude of 2050 metres and is 40 km. away from Kullu , the district headquarters . One can reach Manali by road via Chandigarh or you can take a flight to Kullu and then proceed for Manali by car .

Sunset - On Way to Manali

Sunset – On Way to Manali

A Road Side Restaurant - On Way To Manali

A Road Side Restaurant – On Way To Manali

After 11 hour-long car journey from Chandigarh , I reached Manali and was put at Hotel Quality Inn River Country Resort . Chilli winds greeted me at the arrival . I was forced to take out my woollen jacket . I was amazed at the difference of weather condition in India . When I left Mumbai , its temperature was 35 degree celsius . In Manali inside the room heater was on .

Hotel Quality Inn River Country is a fabulous hotel . It’s only drawback is that it is 2/3 km. away from the Mall Road , main market of Manali .

Quality Inn River Country Resort - Manali

Quality Inn River Country Resort – Manali

My Room in Quality Inn River Country Resort - Manali

My Room in Quality Inn River Country Resort – Manali

Manali city is evenly divided in two parts by Bias river . I could see the streams of Bias through the window of my hotel room .

River Bias Which Flows & Devides Manali In 2 Parts

River Bias Which Flows & Divides Manali In 2 Parts

River Bias - Another View

River Bias – Another View

Way To Mall Road - Manali

Way To Mall Road – Manali

It is not easy to get autos in Manali and that too for a short distance . So next day I gathered courage and walked to The Mall . And I was hooked . A small but beautiful market welcomed me . One can buy woolen clothes from various shops . It is made of pure wool and cheaper also .

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Rain Washed Mall Road

Rain Washed Mall Road

Due to some prior booking at the Quality Inn River Country Resort , I had to shift to another place , Hotel Piccadilly , after a week . It is again a beautiful hotel with some minus points . It’s main plus point is that it is situated at the Mall . So shopping and even strolling is easy and convenient .

Hotel Piccadily - Manali

Hotel Piccadilly – Manali

Hotel Manu Allaya is another fabulous hotel where I used to go to train Kalki Koechlin .

Hotel Many Allaya - Manali

Hotel Many Allaya – Manali

A Corridor of Hotel Many Allaya - Manali

A Corridor of Hotel Many Allaya – Manali

Reception Hotel Manu Allaya - Manali

Reception Hotel Manu Allaya – Manali

At Hotel Manu Allaya - Manali

At Hotel Manu Allaya – Manali

As I have stated earlier , Manali city is divided in two parts by river Bias . City is situated on both the banks of Bias and beyond that there is snow – capped mountains on both sides . Weather is simply heavenly and salubrious .

Manali - East of the River Bias

Manali – East of the River Bias

A Bridge on Bias - Connecting East & West Manali

A Bridge on Bias – Connecting East & West Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic View of Manali

Panoramic View of Manali

Sun Sets on Manali

Sun Sets on Manali

River Bias in Manali

River Bias in Manali

Jungal Near Mall - Manali

Jungal Near Mall – Manali

Colourful Tibetan monastery is another landmark place . It is situated near the Mall .

Tibetan Monastery

Tibetan Monastery

I never knew that Hidimba of MAHABHARAT belonged to Manali . There is a pagoda like temple dedicated to Hidimba , known as Devi Hadimba in popular parlance . King Bhadur Shah built this temple in 1553 . This four tiered pagoda shaped temple is made of wood . Front door is carved with figures and symbols and is also made of wood . King Bhadur Shah was very happy to see the temple when it was completed . As per local tradition , king ordered to cut off the hand of the person who made this temple , so that he can not replicate this temple elsewhere . Undaunted by this misfortune , the artiste trained his left hand and made even better version of this temple at Trilokinath in Chamba district . It is so unfortunate that local people thought that this masterpiece should not be made anywhere , so they chopped off the head of that artiste . That poor nameless fellow lost his hand first and his life later on , for creating two masterpieces .

Hadimba Temple - Manali

Hadimba Temple – Manali

At Hadimba Temple - Manali

At Hadimba Temple – Manali

Wooden Main Gate of Hadimba Temple - Manali

Wooden Main Gate of Hadimba Temple – Manali

Deodar Lined Path of Hadimba Temple

Deodar Lined Path of Hadimba Temple

In the compound and vicinity of Hadimba temple , one can see yaks in abundance . I myself saw a yak for the first time in the compound of Hadimba temple .

Yak at Hadimba Temple - Manali

Yak at Hadimba Temple – Manali

Span Spa & Resort is a marvellous property , which is though modern but still steeped in tradition . It is situated few km. away from Manali on the banks of Bias .

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

How come someone complete any travelogue of Manali without going to Rohtang Pass . At an altitude of 3980 metres , Rohtang Pass is situated 51 km. away from Manali . This pass connects Manali to Leh in Ladakh . It is open for public from June to September every year . So when I was there , it was closed . Road was cleared till Gulaba only . So I did not get the opportunity to visit Rohtang Pass . I went up to Gulaba only . Despite inclement weather , I enjoyed my 5 day consecutive visits to the place . 4/5 layers of woollen clothes were not sufficient even in the month of April .

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Sun Sers At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Sun Sets At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Manali - Leh Highway via Rohtang Pass

Manali – Leh Highway via Rohtang Pass

I reached Manali in the night of March 18 , 2012 . Stayed there for 21 days . It was a different experience . I thoroughly enjoyed my paid holiday , courtesy Dharma Productions .

After every visit I remember Hindi poet Agyeya’s lines . In the case of Manali , these oft – repeated lines are more pertinent and relevent .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]
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