Thanedar – A virgin destination
Hello friends , I am back again with an edition of JITC and though I was supposed to take you to Ooty , the unbearable mercury level made me take a detour down the memory lane to cool climes of Thanedar.
Thanedar is still an unpolluted, unknown destination and visited as a part of the Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda package as it is just few kilometres away from Shimla and Kufri in Himachal. Shimla serves as an important centre point for visiting its beautiful satellite hamlets like Mashobra , Kufri, Thanedar etc.Unless and until you have a relaxed itinerary, with an urge to explore the unknown there are chances that you might miss them.
We chanced upon Thanedar by chance on a snowy day when we were caught in snow and had halted at Kufri, while on our way to Rampur. Yes that is the route to Thanedar-A Small well maintained road, off shooting from the Shimla Rampur Highway, leads to Thanedar.
An inviting archway beckoning on to the road and glimpses of the snow bound landscape peeping in from among the fir and deodar trees reminding of Narnia, was a major temptation to venture out there forgetting our destination completely.
Here I have attempted to bring before you views of and from Thanedar that I had, through my pictures but as I say always, Thanedar is much more than this and the best way to enjoy its beauty is by being there yourself.
Though Thanedar is an all season destination my advice is to visit it in winter to have a glimpse of the magical snow clad landscape as it is quite different from other snow bound destination of Manali, or Auli, Gulmarg.
It is 94 Km from Shimla,which is just a three hour drive from Shimla (You can drive up to Thanedar or hire a cab from Shimla to Thanedar) and if you want to drive up there directly from Delhi- the route to take is NH 1 then at Indri near Kurukshetra take the state highway 7 to reach Ladwa- Yamuna nagar- Sadaura-Nahaan –Rajgarh –Kotkhal- and finally Thanedar
Always be careful while driving on a snowy day as snow makes the road very slippery resulting in skidding.
Thanedar is more famous for the apple orchards and this is where the first apple seeds were planted in India by Samuel Stokes. You can always sample the local apple products – jams, pickle, wine etc.
The Tani Juber lake nearby is a quite a popular destination for a day picnic.
Accommodation is not a problem there. You can put up in Shimla or Kufri as a base or if you want the real mountain wilderness experience then you can try the comfortable Banjara camps in Thanedar itself. Either of the two has its advantages.
Thanedar is more of a peaceful leisure destination rather than the conventional activity filled tourist destinations. You can go trekking, leisurely forest walks or sit by the roadside, in a meadow enjoying a book and a picnic lunch.
Many a times I have been asked by my blogger friends and some readers that why in spite of JITC being one of my favorite, I do not experiment in it as I do in other categories. Well frankly speaking, nature is something very sacred to me. Every trip or holiday is a pilgrimage for me. Be it The Himalayas – where I feel so close to God , or the sensation of total freedom in the sand dunes of Rajasthan, the sea in Goa enticing me to explore the unknown, rain soaked Kerala- pure and fresh, the barren solitude of Spiti where you feel so humble- Everything that I have experienced makes me fall in love with my country called India over and over again ( in spite of its shortcomings) And when I am in awe over something or in love , I don’t mess with it.
But I am adding a new feature here today- And that is an anecdote of a travel related incident of mine, which you may find interesting and also helpful as a travel tip as they say experience is the best teacher. So let me narrate an incident that had happened on our way to Manali from Delhi.
We usually prefer to self drive or rather my husband prefers to self drive whenever we travel to the hills (err my driving is slightly shaky. People start shaking in fright if I drive the car) we had uneventfully crossed Chandigarh and had passed Bilaspur too, from where the uphill ride starts. A little farther from Bilaspur, we decided to stop at a café to have tea. It was then 3 ‘o clock in the afternoon and as we were debarking snap went my hubby’s specs. He was wearing the shades then, leaving his specs by the side of the seat and somebody sat on it breaking it neatly into two right at the middle, the part which sits on the bridge of the nose. And unfortunately I had forgotten to pack a pair of spare.
Dusks set in early in the mountains and that meant he could not continue wearing the shades after an hour or so. After quite a voluble “pass the blame game” we decided to go for damage control. In the mountains it’s a fact that facilities are not available at the snap of the finger. The nearest optician was supposed to be in Mandi which was 69 kms away. All the quarrel and tea and snacks (oh no we were not the ones to give up on tea for a pair of specs comes what may) cost us an hour… So? Well so desperate situations required desperate measures. uh no! he did not attempt a lasik eye operation there, but worse. There was a hardware shop in the vicinity and he got some m-seal from there and made a reasonable sized laddoo from it and stuck the two lenses with their “stumps” in it and put it on. So you can imagine the sight! The big lump of m-seal sat on his nose like a huge beetle and the lens sat on his eyes crookedly, but still it served its purpose. The sight was totally funny but I dared not laugh aloud and had a very hard time controlling my laughter which was threatening to burst out at the sight of that scowling man with a beetle sized m seal over his nose from which the lenses shot out. Damn! I could not even shoot a picture of him. And he drove with his “customized” eye-wear and me gagging my mouth somehow we finally purchased a pair of specs and thankfully normalcy was restored.
Moral of the story- If you wear specs then always keep a spare during your travel and yes M seal is really handy in ways even we don’t realize. Well that was that and now lets proceed on to the pictures.
Bring the mouse to the bottom portion of the slide-show for the details on the picture as well as the control keys for slide-show
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Mount Abu – Memorable Moments
Hi! I am back with the next JITC for you and though our jewel is a tiny one – all of 25 sq km compared to Delhi’s 1484sq km, it is quite strategically located. The hill station, at 1220 m altitude, in the Aravallis, the only one in Rajasthan is more of an oasis and has been quite popular with the tourists from Rajasthan and Gujarat. But rather than being famous as a conventional hill station it is more famous for the Dilwara Jain temples and in recent years as a headquarter of Brahmakumari’s spiritual centre. Not to mention the World Spiritual University and of course Ekta Kapoor made it famous in her daily soap Kasamh Se
Reaching Mt Abu is no problem as it is really well connected , with butter smooth roads nor is the accommodation, with havelis turned into hotel or conventional hotels and guesthouses
As I always say, there is no lack of information of this small town, as you will always get enough both from hearsay and the net, I will just attempt to bring before you my own personal observations ( which you can say tips)
As it is a small area, it can be covered in just a day and half , so you can club it with your trip to Udaipur, the beautiful lake city just 185 kms away
The roads are simply lovely and if you are a learner (learning to drive) then the roads are best for some smooth practice.
If you are a nature person, then don’t get fooled by the Hill station tag. It is beautiful in its own way, an oasis among the sandy rugged landscape, but it is not a hill station with alpine forests and winding twisting climbing roads
The Guru Shikhar Peak is the highest peak.
Don’t be tempted by the road conditions and attempt to drive in at night as there are unconfirmed reports of robbery in the highway leading up to Mt Abu.
Dilwara temples from 11th -13th century are its primary attraction, but photography is not allowed inside.
Other than that of course, there is the hot favorite for strolling, boating and shopping – Nakki jheel or lake. It’s a point you will not miss nor can miss it.
There are other tourist points like the sunset point, the Achalgarh fort, the famous Trevor’s Tank, Adhar Devi temple and many more.
You will find the strange rock formations lining the road , an interesting sight ( some of which you will find in the slide show)
While there don’t forget to try the Dal Bati chorma – a local dish- the trademark Rajasthani dish in fact- quite unique.
Shopping for Rajasthani block print cloths and lehenga choli is a must. They are rightly priced and affordable- one that will bring a smile to the women of your family.
You can go for camel riding and have a feel of being in the Desert State.
What I found quaint was the hand carts type of thingy near the Nakki Jheel used to transport to and fro the market and up to your hotel. You can ride in one just for the experience.
Being in Mt Abu is an experience in itself, which cannot be measured in words. Here I have attempted to portray Mt. Abu through the images that struck me, while there! Other wise Mt Abu is of course much more than these.
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Padmanabhapuram palace, situated in the southern most tip of India is considered to be the biggest wooden palace in Asia. The palace complex was constructed around 1601 A.D by Travancore king Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal.
Location : 55 km away from Thiruvananthapuram on the highway to Nagarcoil-Kanyakumari, 15 Km from Nagercoil and some 30 Km from Kanyakumari. You can either set your base camp in Thiruvananthapuram or Kanyakumari and make a visit to this palace.
Timings: The palace is open between 9 Am to 4.30 Pm all days except Mondays and National holidays.
Padmanabhapuram palace covers an area of around 7 acres. The complex consists of individual structures linked by a maze of corridors, colonnades, verandahs, courts and constructed of teakwood and granite and stands within the massive stone walls of 30 ft.
The sprawling complex consists of:
Mantrasala, literal meaning, King’s Council Chamber
Thai Kottaram, literal meaning, Mother’s Palace – believed to have been constructed before 1550
Nataksala, literal meaning, the Hall of Performance, or of Performing Arts
A four-storeyed building at the centre of the Palace complex
Thekee Kottaram, literal meaning, the Southern Palace
The palace is a standing proof of the exquisite Kerala architecture and houses brilliant woodworks.
Each lotus motif in the wooden ceiling is unique in design…
The floors are made with a special compound of crushed shells, coconuts, egg-white and juices of local plants that gives a high quality polish that is remarkable even now after 400 years.
A fine detailing on wood add the charm and reminds us the talent of the artisans those days …
A wooden cot made of up to 64 wooden pieces of a variety of medicinal tree trunks… An entire room filled with old Chinese jars, all gifts by Chinese merchants.
Women folks of the royal family sit behind this wooden barrier and use the openings to see the cultural programs in the ground floor hall… there by staying away from the men’s glare…
Part of the dance hall …
A big hall now bare, which can accommodate around 1000 guests, and where ceremonial feasts were held, on auspicious occasions.
A King’s toilet facility made in granite! (It must be a luxury those days!)
A granite sculpture …
- There are 108 rooms and some portions of the palace are closed for public view to protect it from damage.
- A variety of weapons (which were actually used in warfare), including swords and daggers are in display.
- The palace also exhibits brass lamps, wood and stone sculpture, a variety of furniture and large mirrors made of polished metal.
- A gallery of paintings depicting incidents from the history of Travancore can also be viewed in the palace.