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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Gaga over Goa!
Ok this isn’t about Lady Gaga! But its my about my jewel Goa of the crown called India.
Yes friends ,I am back again to take you from the heights of Spiti to the depths of the Arabian Sea in Goa, but first of all I would like to say that – Since Mani couldn’t be every where God created Jayati (I know its a corny line but couldn’t think of anything better) So Friends please welcome Jayati as my co author for JITC from hence on.
Goa as per statistics is one of the most frequented tourist spot both by the domestic crowd and the International tourists and if you google search it there is no dearth of information on this beautiful Coastal state with its beautiful beaches, quaint culture and lovely countryside
What I have attempted is to present before you a kaleidoscope of myriad images of Goa with some very personal observations
And as I always say, Goa is of course much more than these!
The location of Goa is obvious to all. Its in the western coast in between Maharashtra in the north and Karnataka in the south.(of course You know it, but it seems I am supposed to say it) Reaching Goa is not at all a problem too as it is covered by airways, roadways and railways,
Nor is finding accommodation as the place is bustling with hotels, resorts and villas of all ranges. Unless you have any special preferences you can always find decent accommodation even after landing there
If you are looking for a decent economical accommodation with a great view of the beach from your hotel window then head for the tourism hotel in Colva beach. Believe me the above combination of decent, economical room with a view is hard to find
Getting around Goa is no problem at all, as you are spoilt with variety of choices like –Taxis, Motorcycle Taxis (cool isn’t it guys? You get paid for taking a gal around in a bike, but of course it is your choice, whether to charge or not to charge) ferries, buses etc. But the best option I think is renting out a bike and exploring around on your own.
Exploring Goa properly requires three days minimum- North Goa , South Goa and Panjim and Old Goa not to mention hanging out in the hippest night clubs in the evenings and a river cruise in the Mandovi River.
The terrain ranges in between an altitude of sea level to 1022 m of the ghats and so are the varieties in the places of interest. Beaches, countryside, architecture, market, water falls, temples, churches night life – everything.
Beaches of North Goa and South Goa are distinctly different; in fact each has a unique charm of its own. It is said that beaches of south goa has white sands.
Some of the uniquely famous places are Basilica of Bom Jesus, the flea market in Anjuna beach, Dudh Sagar Waterfalls, Donna Paula, Fort Aguada the old house are some of the examples.
The best time to visit Goa is in winters when you can laze around in the sun or indulge in water sports. The famous carnival is also held during the winters.But if you like to stay away from the crowd and enjoy the rains and the green country side then monsoons is the time for you. Just take rain gear with you.Do not forget to take a moonlight walk in the beach. The beach looks ethereally beautiful at night.(especially if you are planning to propose anybody)
One of the hippest night spot is Mambos in Baga beach. You will see a good crowd; find the coolest music and a great choice of drinks.
For shopping point of view, Goa is famous for Feni(an alcoholic drink) and Cashew nuts and shells as mementoes. Its better to stick to these articles only.
Every place on earth has its sleazy characters so is in Goa but that would not make me declare it as an unsafe place because I have seen strangers help us out even at night 2am when we had an accident without expecting anything in return.
The only point is that just relax but remain cautious and nothing untoward should happen. A small warning- Don’t go for freebies and offers from strangers in the roadside
I may be wrong in some of my observations as I am writing all from memory and will be glad if anybody points it out. Of course Goa is much much more than these but these are just some of my personal remarks as you will see no dearth of information regarding Goa
At the end, I would like to sign off with just this small request- please don’t drink and drive. Thanks.
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Jaisalmer – The Land of Sun and Sand
Hi friends! I am back again with another Jewel in the Crown called India and it is Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
Location: Situated in Western Rajasthan, in the Thar Desert. well connected by National Highway 15, railways and airways (nearest is in Jodhpur300km away) reaching Jaisalmer is a piece of cake and if you plan to fly in yourself then the coordinates are 69.3 to 72.2 degrees E and 26.01 to 28.02 degree north. But travelling there is usually recommended in the winters for obvious reasons .
It’s a major tourist attraction and cultural hub of India.
A city of old world charm and a glorious past, it was founded by Raja Rawa Jaisal, A bhatti Rajput ruler.
Here I will try to show case the charm and the stark beauty of Jaisalmer with a few pictures (through my eyes). But Of course- Jaisalmer is much more than these and is just a photographic representation
The yellow Sandstone Buildings welcome you the moment you step down in Jaisalmer
JAISALMER-City about Forts
JAISALMER- of Havelis…
A fusion of old and new- HERITAGE HOTEL…
Sonar Quila Or The Golden Fort – The heart of Jaisalmer. The old city is inside the Fort
The view outside the fort…
and the grandeur within …
Of Bygone Days- Shahi Sawari
People who are still attached to their roots. Old world charm and Mystique…
Of valor and heroism…
Havelis and Forts
Crafts and antiquities…
Talaabs and lakes… Famous of which is the Gadisagar lake…
Road to perdition – Oops ! I mean the sand dunes…
Base camp in the dunes-“Sam Dunes”
A perfect blend of green and golden…
A settlement near the Dunes…
Camel rides and Desert safari… On top of the world experience…
Many hues of a sunset- A beautiful phenomenon…
Accommodation is not a problem as you will be spoilt with choices to stay in luxury tents or cottages. And packages don’t burn a hole in your pocket. Just Haggle!
You will be treated as nothing les than a Royal with culinary treat and cultural treat…
Don’t go by its size and shape of the ethnic cottages, they have all the modern amenities. At nights their music and dance will make you dance…
The games that the sun play !
Sunset and Sunrise
A final glance at the seemingly never ending desert! You will wish that your holiday was never ending too!
See you soon with another photo speaks of a travel diary !
It all started with an email from Mani Padma of our GingerChai author panel. (Yes, the same Mani who “wowed us” with wonderful 55F and book reviews in GingerChai)
She asked my opinion on doing a photo feature under the name “Jewel in the Crown” series. As a sample, she had sent me a power point presentation about a hill destination she had visited. (Harsil in Uttaranchal, to be precise). I went through the presentation and sat a while looking at the pictures. It was impressive.
So I shot her a mail back. I thought a complete travelogue could be a good addition to the site. I asked her opinion on it.
Mani mailed me back with her inputs. She was bit hesitant about the idea of a full fledged travelogue. She suggested we should work on a different approach. For regular travelogue, there are many sites for readers, some being exclusive for just this purpose. So why do we at GingerChai, follow the same tested route? Why don’t we come up with something else for the same concept? Again the feature in Ginger Chai should be a bit unique too, not like the run of the mill ones with the usual stuff of recommendations.
It made me think. She had made a valid point. So thinking on the subject, I narrowed down to two options.
1. It could be projected as a main category “Picture speaks or Photo talks (or any other appropriate title) and the sub category will be "Jewel in the crown" that will contain Mani’s series of article on this line.
2. It could be projected as a travel category (with suitable name) and the subcategory "Jewel in the crown" that will post the series of Mani’s visual articles.
Both has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Photo speaks / photo talks: Could not be restricted just on the travelogue but also include any other interesting pictures on various subjects.
The travel category: May be focused on one subject.
Both the category has its own minuses too. The bottom line of course is to make it not look like run of the mill types.
After a couple of email discussion, we decided upon the new category “Photo Speaks”. Later as the content increases on this, may be we can divide it further suitably.
So GingerChai will soon have a new feature by name “PHOTO SPEAKS”
It’s going to be exciting. Like you, even am looking forward to it.
If you have a camera, good hands and eye to frame pictures and let the picture speak stories , YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TOO. It can be based on any subject. It can be whacky , serious , photos about places or anything visually interesting. You can even weave a small story around the picture. Just shoot me a mail for any clarification.
If you have any suggestions, tips or tea bags to pep it up, feel free to provide it.