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Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga

A brew of nature and spirituality.

Being famous for one of the sacred “Jyotirlingas”, Bhimashankar attracts a lot of devotees throughout the year. People from Mumbai and nearby places find this an ideal destination to get some spiritual healing. The popular Shiva temple is the main spot for devotees irrespective of their ages, as they can easily travel through well-connected motorable roads.

In addition of being a religious destination, the place is also popular for its dense forest, slippery rocks, and waterfalls. While exploring the area, you can find many amazing creatures including the Giant squirrel. Trekking proves to be the best option to reach the top of Bhimashankar and experience the best of Mother Nature. If you are a trekking enthusiast, you can organize your trek in the monsoon, which generally starts from the Khandas village near Bhimashankar.

As already said, monsoon remains the best time to trek in the region. While trekking, you could view the Sahyadri mountain range, which is the part of Western Ghats in Maharashtra. It’s better to put your footwear, as it would help to avoid any slips due to rain. Experiencing the lush green mountains and waterfalls while walking through the clouds, would be the best thing you would have ever imagined. Moreover, during the monsoon period, you can find tea stalls and locally made food items to enjoy.

How to reach

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is located 50 km Khed taluka, near Pune, Maharastra.

By Air- Pune Airport is the nearest airport to Bhimashankar. From the airport, Bhimashankar is around three hour drive.

By Train- Pune Railway Station is the closest railway station.

By Road- Buses are available from Kalyan and Ghatkoper in Mumbai and from Shivajinagar in Pune.

On my way to Narkanda from Noida (Part 1)

Narkanda is the first stop of my journey. It is beautiful and the most interesting part is the Hatu peak trek and the place where I stay. But before that lets me summarise you basic itinerary behind it.

This is the story of my Sangla Valley’s journey. It is a five days trip from Noida-Narkanda-Sangla-Chitkul-Noida. I never spent too much amount in any of my trips so I thought to keep my budget as low as possible and as comfortable as possible. Well, The budget for this trip is Rs. 5000. I divided the trip into three parts :

  1. On the way to Narkanda from Noida
  2. Sangla Valley
  3. Chitkul and back

October was the month when I thought to go out somewhere in mountains. But this time I choose Himachal Pradesh as my place to visit.

Well, I have seen a number of videos and read few articles about it but most of the time I visited Uttrakhand.

Bus to catch

I had enquired online the best way to reach Narkanda and found that the number of buses plies for the place whole day. You can go and check on www.hrtchp.com

It was October and the weather was pleasant so I thought to book a ticket on a normal bus. The ticket costs me 400/- till Shimla. Distance from Shimla to Narkanda is 60 Km or 2 hrs approx. The bus started at 8:30 PM from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, and I settled down in joy for the trip. It finally started and soon I will reach my first destination.

At around 4 AM in the morning I reached at ISBT Shimla. And driver told us that the bus will depart at 5:30 AM for Narkanda.

Reached Narkanda

At around 7:30 AM I reached this small & beautiful place called Narkanda. I was standing in the middle of the market which was closed at that time of the day.

Now it’s time for me to search for a place to stay whereas no person available can help me with this question.

Suddenly I met a guy who was going to open his shop located in the same market. I asked him about the best place to stay, In addition to it will also be cost-effective and the best in the town. He proposed to me a place called PWN Guest House.

I visited that place located at the backside of the market. It is a beautiful place with per night charges of 600/- night including food moreover the beauty of the place is mesmerising and captured your attention in just a snap of the figure.

But it’s 8:30 AM in the morning and the check-in time is 12 o’clock, so the caretaker suggested I take a tour of the place or trek to Hatu Peak.

Hatu Peak Trek

Hatu Peak is a small trek of 5 KM. It has a motorable road to the top where the temple is located moreover you may get to see few peaks from the top of the weather is clear.

I requested him to keep my bag until I returned. I started my trek to Hatu Peak.

After walking from my guesthouse, I encountered a tri-junction, the centre road is leading to Hatu Peak.

Recommendation for Campers and Hikers

Camping and hiking are the two most adventurous activities for any traveller. For many travellers, it’s more than an endeavour, as it gives an opportunity to know more about nature and wildlife. Travellers, who avoid staying at expensive guest houses and hotels, can save a lot of money by staying at economical campsites. However, there could be multiple reasons for such outdoor activities.

Camping and hiking should consider before planning a trip. Some of the recommendations for a safe and enjoyable trip are mentioned below. You must consider the below-mentioned points when you plan your trip the next time.

For campers

Tents

This is one of the most useful things to carry while camping. Tents come in different shapes, sizes, and prices; however, you can carry a swag or bedroll sack, if you want to travel hassle-free. Such canvas rolls can be easily foldable and are often waterproof. If you are going to camp in a jungle or wet area, it’s better to take a waterproof travel hammock, especially the ones equipped with a mosquito net.

Sleeping Bag:

 Sleeping bags must be selected according to the weather. Compactness is another factor that must be considered; however, they are costly. In order to get a peaceful sleep, consider taking a sleeping mat. A good sleeping mat can avoid cold from the surface, especially during winters.

Packing:

You must not pack too many clothes. However, the ones you keep must be dry, especially your socks and underwear. Keep your bag loose to avoid any wear and tear while traveling. It’s better to leave Frisbee and other space-occupying gadgets or instruments at home.

Clothing:

 Keep the best and the ones which comfort you. You can keep light and dry pants along with shorts made up of breathable fabrics. To handle extreme weather, it’s better to keep a wind jacket. You must also keep a compact towel, which is capable of absorbing moisture.

Coffee:

 You don’t have to give away with your love for coffee, even when you are in the wild. There are various options to prepare coffee in such conditions. In fact, there are a number of portable insulated cups available for this purpose. They are easy to carry and clean. You just need to add coffee, hot water, and other ingredients to it. However, if you are a coffee snob, you can take freshly roasted beans and a grinder along with you.

Cooking and drinking:

Camp stoves are the most ideal equipment to cook while camping. However, there plenty of other efficient options available these days. The woodgas camp stove is another low-smoke and economical option to consider. For drinking, it’s better to avoid heavy glass bottles and go for a wineskin, where you can transfer your wine.

Water purifying:

If you not used to drink water from a flowing stream or any kind of water hole, you better pack some purifying water pouches. However, there are various gadgetry microfilter-enabled water cans that can be easily carried along. The microfilter technology helps killing bacteria with UV treatment.

Solar charger:

Solar chargers are quite helpful in keeping your gadgets powered up all the time. They can be easily used along with mobile phones so that you won’t miss any email or FB post even when you are camping. There are many such chargers available in the market, especially the ones made by Joos.

Salves and cosmetics: 

These are the things that are often missed by most of the campers. Since camping involves moving from one place to another, sometimes in unfavorable conditions, it’s better to keep insect repellant and cosmetics like sun cream, itching cream, etc. You must keep a prickly heat powder if you are camping in tropical terrain. This would help in providing relief in extremely hot and humid conditions. In addition, if doused at night it can help you to sleep calmly.

First-aid kit: 

A basic first-aid kit must include bandages, dressing, adhesive tape, antiseptic, painkillers, etc.

For hikers

Hiking is a kind of activity that must be planned. You must inform your family members, friends, or even the local ranger.

Binoculars:

Hiking is known to give unexpected surprises. It’s better to keep binoculars for viewing birds, animals, and other wildlife. A digital binocular will give a better view with the ability to record; however, it would be costly. If you are not too tight on budget, you can go for DEV digital recording binoculars from Sony. The binocular possess the ability to record video in full HD resolution, giving a realistic view of animals like crocodiles down under.

Hydration pack: 

Wineskin is the best option to carry water while hiking. However, you can also use a hydration pack. Some of the best hydration packs are made by Camelback, which helps in keeping your hands free.  A hydration pack can be easily stuck in a backpack, as it is a water sac with a threaded tube. However, it is not advised to drink water from the pack climbing a rock.

GPS: 

Any smartphone with enabled GPS can act as a perfect GPS device. However, you should not depend upon other applications, like the inbuilt map application. These apps work only when there is connectivity on the mobile phone, hence are not reliable. In addition, poor battery life is another issue faced in most smartphones. Hence, it’s better to take a dedicated GPS unit, like from Garmin or Magellan. Most of the professional GPS devices are tough in their built and include topographic maps.

Stop leeches: 

While hiking on leech terrain, you might experience blood-sucking leeches that might cause injury. Since there is no fail-proof method, it’s better to take precautions. There are various methods adopted by hikers to get away with such creatures. It includes using a strong insect repellent or wearing leech-proof socks. Even waterproof boots or leg gaiters would do. Alternatively, you can stick with a salt-soaked cloth at one end. This would help in getting away with leeches.

Trekking poles: 

Hiking requires a good rhythm and support, especially if you are hiking on steep terrain. You can make use of hiking sticks or walking poles to make things easy. However, you should not carry them unless you need them. For example, if you have issues with your knees or if you are hiking through difficult terrain, you can probably carry them.

Essentials kit: 

A first aid kit is the last thing you must carry while hiking. You must also include some lightning material like matches or heat packs to avoid getting cold at night. In addition, keep some extra set of woolen clothes, if you are hiking in winter. Other essential items include a knife and torch.

Bhimtal ideal place for work from mountains (Part 1)

Bhimtal, as the people say, has religious significance both in its name and the place itself. The name Bhim has been derived from the legendary Bhima of Mahabharat. The name Bhimtal is often associated with the famous ancient Bhimeshwara Mahadev temple, which was supposed to be built by Bhima during the Pandavas period.

Being historically and culturally rich, Bhimtal has a local museum, which speaks a lot about its past. However, the real beauty of Bhimtal lies in the lake, which is situated right at the center and surrounded by mountains. Being close to Nainital, it attracts most of the tourists coming to Nainital. In fact, in the past couple of years, it has gained more popularity than ever.

Day 1

With splendid and soothing views Bhimtal promises to show nature’s beauty at its best. Unlike Nainital, it is very quiet and gives you an energizing experience once you stay there. With the lake being the centre of attraction, you can enjoy paddling and boating along with other sports opportunities. In the middle of the lake, you can find a large aquarium exhibiting its delicacy with lively fishes from all over the world.

But our journey started from Delhi which is 300 Km from Bhimtal. We started in the second half of the day at 3 PM. With pleasant weather and drizzling, rain roads are cleaning our way towards Bhimtal.

A couple of days back we 4 friends are planning to reach some hill station for work from mountains. And the plan suddenly came into existence from nowhere. This is not new for me because I usually make my plans like this but for them, it’s like a Surprise.

And finally, we are about to reach the place, so we went through the list of properties available near the lake and decided to opt for a place called Jyoti Yoga Ashram.

On Friday evening we started our journey by our personal vehicle with loud music and high energy. It’s going to be the longest drive because of rain all over.

We reached the place at 11 PM at night, Due to the rain and cold breeze it is hard to stand outside even for a minute. We took our bags and shifted inside our rooms.

Rooms are very basic with limited facilities. But the view from there is just amazing, so we decided to stay there and ask for whatever required.

Day 2

Next day I woke up late as we reached the place late and we were very tired. The morning view was amazing, now their is no rain and whether is clear.

Situated in the heart of the Nainital district in Uttarakhand, Bhimtal is perched at a height of 1370meters above sea level. Due to various tourist spots in the adjoining areas, it has pretty good connectivity with Delhi. If you are coming from Delhi, 300 kilometres might not look long-distance, provided you have a good company of family and friends.

Among all the places to visit near Delhi, Bhimtal is a small yet popular holiday destination. Being rich in producing Apple, you will find Apple juices and other local dishes all over Bhimtal.

After having our breakfast at 8 AM I decided to take a long walk for an hour till Bhimtal Lake. Because of the working days, it is not possible for any of us to spend the whole day for outdoor activities.

The place where we are staying is approx 1.7 KM from Bhimtal Lake. Most of the place is commercialised, the number of stays and hotels are on the way. But still, the beauty of this place hypnotised me like I am in serene land.

It is Saturday, Weekend vibes hold my hand and take me out from the cosy room where I was trying to overcome my last day tiredness.

Nag Tibba Trek on the New Year Day

On 31st December, Last day of the year we start our journey towards Pantwari (Base village for Nag Tibba). It’s around 50-60 Km and roads are good. We stopped in between to eat something and suddenly a dog came near to my wife. She pampered him and give him something to eat.

Well, the beauty is spread across us and we are enjoying it to our fullest. It is green everywhere as it rains at night. Driving in the mountains is a bit challenging but if you can, you may enjoy it more than driving on the plains.

 So, we started our trek from Patwari and headed towards Nag tibba base camp or Nag devta temple. The trek is not that easy as it sounds from others for beginners. It’s a long trek of 5-6 Km and took 2-3 hours. It depends on your speed and capability.

2Km from Pantwari (Up Hill)

This is how basecamp looks at 5’o clock. It took us some time to set up our camp and by that time the Sun said BYE and Moon said HI. It was below 0 degrees and I concluded to lit a bonfire to stay warm.

 It’s the New Year Day and for us the day to reach the top and wish you all “A Very Happy New Year” So, after getting fresh and having breakfast we started to complete our last distance. We saw some snow while trekking towards Nag Tibba Peak.

In 2 Hrs we reached at the top of the mountain. We were excited and joyful.

View from the top of Nag Tibba Trek

The trek is safe and a bit challenging for beginners, easy for regular trekkers. We completed our trek on 1st January and returned back on the same day to Noida. If you need a guide, you can get it one from Pantwari.

For any query comment down below. Keep Travelling..!!

New Year Celebration in Mussoorie, before starting Nag Tibba trek with my wife.

On 30th December we started from Noida towards Mussoorie with just one plan to celebrate our New Year at the top of Nag Tibba Peak. My wife is not a regular trekker but this time she comes with me just to experience why I LoveTrekking??

So, I agreed to take her with me and opted for an easy trek with not more than 10K feet.

In next 7 Hours, we reached Mussoorie and decided to celebrate that night in that beautiful hill station. I had already booked a Room in Mussoorie. After getting fresh we moved out of our hotel and start walking on the most popular Mall Road.

We decided to taste at least 5 different dishes from the place and click more than 100 pics. The city looks much beautiful as it seems different in normal days.

One of the most visited places in Mussoorie is Little Llama Cafe, Mussoorie

We are a big time foodie. Always looking for different tastes but the love of trekking always pulls me from eating too much.

Little lama Cafe
Ginger Garlic Tea

Urban Turban is another place we visited that evening. It is one of the popular resturants in Mussoorie. We had proper food there and we forget our goal for 5 different dishes. Well, the food was good. We forget to click the pic of our food.

We get down from the place to eat something sweet from the local market. I suddenly explored a shop selling hot milk and I swear it was a deadly favorite to me and my wife.

At 9, the stores started getting close and I concluded that its time for us to return back. Maybe some other new year waiting for us to be celebrated at this place.

This is what we experienced when we were there. Do share your experience with us in the comment box below. Keep Traveling!!

Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, Lansdown (Day 2)

4. Next Day 

The vicinity of Lansdowne is filled with religious sites, especially temples. The old Shiva temple or Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, which is believed to be 600 years old, is 40 kilometers from the town. However, trekking towards this destination is very tricky and testing. While exploring the surroundings, you can be surprised by wildlife including wild fox. The serenity surrounding the Lansdowne can often take you by surprise, as you will surely go dazed and speechless with the elegant divinity.

5. Going back to Noida

The 2 days trip comes to an end but wait, there is something left to share with you. A small cafe named Trip n Travel cafe on the way back to kotdwar.

Places to stay

You can find various resorts and cottages to enjoy a memorable time with family and friends. 

Most of the resorts are built to give you a scenic view of the valley as they face the hills. You can find yourself in the middle of the cloud, as they often play hide and seek with the blowing wind. With absolute silence and cool weather, you can experience the divine serenity. The morning sun illuminates the hills and warms your body, making you experience the best moment of your life. 

Best time to visit

With pleasant weather and warm hospitality, Lansdowne can be visited any time during the year. 

However, the best time to visit the place is in the summer months from March to June. If you are travelling between July and August, you must carry your rain-gear. 

How to reach

Traveling to Lansdowne is easy, especially if you are coming from Delhi. By road, it is around 250 kilometers away and takes 4-5 hours if you take the Meerut-Bijnor-Kotdwara route. This is indeed the best way to reach the city of dreams.

Lansdowne Weekend Trip, a serene and divine feeling (Day 1)

Lansdowne is one of my most loved among the others which I have visited till now. I will be going to share with you a few most genuine reasons in this blog, why I love this hill station.

The best place for a lazy and relaxing holiday 

1. On the way 

Located in the Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, Lansdowne is a small cantonment town. Traveling to this place is truly adventurous as you witness the beauty of changing landscape, as you will reach towards the town.

The greatness of Lansdowne lies in the Garhwal Himalayan range, which stretches its magic and occultism as you will move forward from Kotdwar.

We (with 3 friends) have started early in the morning at 6 o’clock. According to our calculation we will be hopeful to get their at max 12o’clock.

Due to rain we get delayed a bit but no regrets because the way is way more charismatic.

2. Reached Lansdowne

The city welcomes you with its evergreen plains and charming hills, giving you a pleasant feeling. Lansdowne is a cantonment area so all the hotels stay on the way. Jai Hari Khal is 6 Km from from the main town so I prefer to stay in Hotel Hill Top Forest Palace. The outside view from my room.

3. Sightseeing

Filled with religious spots and the feel of spirituality in the atmosphere, the people of Lansdowne are very graceful and polite. Foods are good and people are nice and helpful. The other places that can be explored include the Garhwal regiment, Bhulla Lake, Garhwal Himalayan range, Tiffin Top and Jungle sightseeing.

Tungnath Darshan and Chandrashila Summit (Day 2)

Tungnath Darshan and Chandrashila Summit is the much awaited place in my bucket list.