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18/04/05

Dilli-Rishikesh-Chamba-Dhanaulti-Mossourie-Dehradoon-Dilli

Steering wheel in the hand for two days.... and now the keyboard of this laptop... trust me it reeeeealy does not feel good... I am already missing that cool air... something that could make you shiver in the hottest of sun as well... something that tells you what being pure is really about... umhum..... what awesome two days these were....

16-April; NOIDA; 0545 hrs....
8818 kms on the dash !!! Me, Aro and Martina leave NOIDA... we had not planned anything for the next two days..and were in a mood to take it the way it was coming.... though we were a good 2 hours late then the planned time to leave.. the early morning sun was still not there to greet us.... moving from noida towards haridwar at an easy 80 kmph i was realy enjoying the morning breeze... while listening to the Mahamrityunjaya Matra...Drove for about three and half hours before all three of us decided to stop and have tea... so there we were 8978 kms on my dash, 0930 hrs in my watch.. and about 60 kms before Haridwar we took a break..... Sat on the "charpais" in the Mansarovar Restaurant , surrounded by thick trees and a sweet smell of wet soil (the owner had just sprayed the entire area with water)... it was good feel... this is when i am usually in the office.. working on something or other.. and today i was walking around with a Nikon n65 thinking where should i take a few pictures from... what a striking difference between friday and saturday :)I think we were there for about 45 minutes... and then moved to Haridwar... instead of going to Har Ki Pauri, we decided to take a different road and try reach the banks of the actual river in the car itself.. and managed to do that too :) the flow of the river is actually diverted towards the bathing ghats and that is why the river itself did not have a lot of water flowing.. which made it really easy for us to just pull up our pants and walk inside the water for sometime :) :).... and then take a bath as well... ummm... the water was reeeeealy cold and once out of the ganges.. i was as fresh as ever.. not at all tired... ready to drive !!! took some fotos around the place.. and finally moved out of haridwar around 1130 hrs...

Driving from Haridwar to Rishikesh is a good exp. The road is good.. and is between the rajaji national park.. so you can ( if you are lucky) can see some deers at times.... monkeys lotsa them :)... sometimes inside the cars.. and sometimes outside .... reached rishikesh in about 45 min... the plan was to stay in rishikesh overnight.. and do some rafting in the morning on sunday !!! Aro checked out a couple of hotels.. but i decided to move ahead.. and see if can get some better options... and this is where things changed.. I saw this booking office for rafting and all and decided to check out if we could go for rafting righaway... and the good news was that we could... from Shivpuri to Rishikesh... checked two places.. one wanted us to pay 450 bucks per head.. and we would be picked up from that office around 1500 hrs and start rafting by 1600 hrs... we were fine with this arrangement.. when I decided to walk into one more office and see what he had to offer... and here was the offer : 400 bucks per head..Shiv Puri to Rishikesh... and we had to move rightaway :) Aro reeeally was not keen on this.. but me and Martina forced him to go.. and we paid the guy 1200 bucks and sat in the Amby which was to take us to Shivpuri... Martina was kinda suprised when we told her that for about 20 odd years Amby was the car which was driven on Indian roads...

anyway... we had to take a sumo from some distance ahead.. and then reached shivpuri... Aro was shit scared and me and martina were enjoying the looks on his face while was busy looking at the Ganga and the rapids that he would actually get in... hehehehehee.. it was a good drive....
finally we were at the banks of Ganga in Shivpuri... Three rafts... 24 ppl... 4 different groups... i was kinda uncomfortable with this.. coz on a raft its always good to have ppl who you know a li'il or more.... coz rafting is one "team" exercise that I have seen.... however the raft we took was a good heterogeneous mix of ppl... Me, Aro and Martina... Two more german girls... two guys from somewhere in India...makes it a total of 7 ppl and our instructor.... I took that front left space... martina behind me on the left.. and because Aro was really scared... he took the last place on the left just next to the instructor !!!! Aaaaaaand there we go... finally in the river.. did some small warmup exercises... Front Paddle.. back paddle...left front right back... left back right front... and STOP !!!!

Went through rapids like Return to Centre, Roller Coster, Club House, and finally "No more Rapids"... back in rishikesh at 1745 hrs... wat a water trip this was... awesome... changed our clothes and had food in Madhusudan Restaurant.. this was something on the lines of ISKON... they had a temple and a small restaurant and a guest house as well... good food.. and very very cheap... 219 was the bill for the three of us... and me and aro as usual were really hungry and ate as if this was the last time we were getting food :)
Time to decide what we want to do next... we asked a couple of ppl as to where could we go from there.. and out of the many options that we got we chose "Chamba" as our next spot... 60 kms and about 2.5 hours away.. considering that I had never driven on the hills, we decided to move to Chamba... started at 1915 hrs... distance on the dash at this hour was 1915 kms... It was dark, it was hilly and it was my first drive on the hills... so a lot of excitement... and exactly 2 hours and 60 kms later we were in Chamba.. the small hilly town was already asleep and we had to find the Garhwal Nigam Bunglow to sleep... on our way to that place.. we saw this small but ok sorts of a hotel.. and decided to stop there... we were not hungry... coz we had great food back in rishikesh about 2 hours back... so we decided to call it a day !!! Aro as soon as got inside the bed got up again... saying that he was feeling as if he was still in the raft :) and was moving like that.. hehehehehe... but we convinced him that he was very much on a bed which was on firm ground and could sleep as well.. so he went off to sleep, snoring away to glory while Me and Martina decided to take a walk around the place for a while before we get into our beds....had tea at 2230 hours.. and then finally got inside the rooms and slept.. We took a single room and got an extra bed for her inside that room.. and her bed was right next to the window from where could see the valley, and the small lights here and there !!! good view..

17 April:
Some disturbance in the room wakes me up at 0600 hrs.. and look out of the window to see the sun just about to come up from the hill in the east.. so even though i wanted to sleep more.. i got out of the bed so that I do not miss this view !!!It was chilly outside... there was no sun so far at the point where I was standing... and the air was very cold.. and i did not have any jacket or anything... enjoyed that feeling for about 15 minutes before the sun was there in front of us... we decided to have a quick breakfast and move from Chamba.. the route that we had to take was go to Dhanaulti and then to Massourie on our way to Dehradoon... We had to decide that we want to go back to Haridwar from D'doon or straight to Delhi once we reach there... so we moved outta Chamba at 0830 hrs ( 9118 kms).... Only a part of the road between Chamba and Dhanaulti is good, most of it actually is in a bad shape... we stopped at quite a few places to enjoy the surroundings...there were no sounds except the air... cannot decribe that feeling in words... no way possible...the hills were full of Buransh... a deep red flower, the juice of which is supposed to have a high medicinal value... at a lot of places on our way... the red petals of the flower were there.. which had fallen off the trees at higher mountains.... Drove past Dhanaulti, as we did not feel that it was any more beautiful then wat we had seen in the past few kilometres.... though i was driving very slow enjoying the cool breeze and the scenic looks of the place.....

Reached Massourie at 1200 hrs ( 9176 kms) and I did not like that place.. too crowded... not the kinda hill station i would like to be in... reminded me of Nainital which I really hated when I saw it for the first time.... we thought we would go to Kemty falls but it was a good 15 kms away.. and we would have to be back on the same road... I was in no mood to drive to that place after having a look at this town.... it for sure would be full of tourists and families... who would never take a chance and go to a town which most do not frequent !!! anyway... we parked the car there only.. and walked to the market... had some food there... and some mango shake... on our way back.. bought some grapes and bananas.. so that we could eat them on our way back !!! and finally managed to leave Massourie at 1325 hrs...

The road to D'doon is very well laid.... and it was real fun driving on this road !!! though I was careful about not picking up speed which I cannot control... though it was the first exp of hill driving.. i was enjoying it like anything... tooooooooo GOOOD !!!

Once we reached D'doon, we were not in a mood to go to Haridwar again.. so we took the way to Roorkee from there which goes through the Rajaji National Park and managed to get on that highway at 1430 hrs ( 9210 kms)... As soon the hills end there is a road for about 50 odd kms which is a straiiiiiiiiiight road... managed to touch 120 kmph on this road without any problems and was driving b/w 100-120 for about 15-20 minutes... too bad the traffic started building up soon.. and had to get back to a comfortable 80-90 zone !!! Reached Roorkee.. took a turn towards Meerut, stopped at Khatauli for a quick bite and was in Delhi by 2115 hrs (9475kms)... Thinking about another day in office.. and how bad i wanted to be back in Chamba :(
Anyway....here i am today.... writing about whatever happened in the last two days...rafting from Shivpuri to Rishikesha total of 40 litres of Petrol used and 650 kms covered. No refuel needed on the entire trip thanks to the huge 48 litre petrol tank of the car.about 120 kms of driving in the hills which was fhinomenol !!!the way my car worked on this trip is something that strengthens my trust in Fiat... it was absolutely effortless.. and I was not at all tired when I reached home in the night !!!

Here is something that I thought of right now:
40 litres of Petrol : 1500 rupees
17 kms of Rafting : 400 rupees
Food for three in Rishikesh : 219 rupees
The feeling of not being tired at all at the end of a two day 650 km drive : Priceless :)

Oh yes.. did i forget writing that we managed to take over 70 fotos in these two days? Thanks to my dear friend Rupak who was kind enough to give me his NIKON N65 :)

18 comments:

  1. Oh... and I forgot to mention that I was floating in the water for about a kilometer... wat a feeling it was !!!!

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  2. Seems you had a brilliant trip over the weekend. Anyone who reads this blog and is not a travel freak is sure to get jealus of not having the travelling streak in him/her, me 2.

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  3. @aqui78 : Dunno about ppl getting jealous or not... par meri trip is-se better nai ho sakti thi... aur agar ho sakti hai.. to agli baar hone walli hai :)

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  4. man u make me jealous......from ur description, i can fully imagine that it was a gr8 trip......waiting for pics now and all of them......

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  5. see i was'nt wrong somebody is jealus.......:)))))

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  6. now that seemed to be a great trip...waiting for the pics

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  7. @ Deeps : Maine tereko bola thaa pehle bhi.. aaja dilli phir chalenge ek aur aisee trip par :) Fotos lets see kab tak i can get !!! Digital cam nai hai na :)

    @ acui78 : Haanji maan gaya aapki baat.

    @ Red : Me too is waiting for the pics.. a few fotos left in the third roll !!! wo khatam karke will get them developed :)

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  8. this is one nice writeup, much much better than the last one, cheers, and i still admit i regret not hopping on the bandwagon alongwith bud

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  9. that reminds me of my trip to Hrishikesh.. I will be going there again now and very sooon...

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  10. ass ! i so hate not goin to the trip with u !!
    ass !


    :((

    and thrz no mention of me in the entire post.. pre post .. whateva !!

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  11. Wow..!!!
    :((

    Now I miss India more than ever. Been ages since I visited Muss or DDun!!

    *bawl*.... koi mujhe India le jaao naa...1!!!

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  12. @ burf : Finally I manage to impress the God of English with this post :) but again.. like the bhimtal trip... this was just what i lived what i felt... i was not even thinking about the grammer and the rest of the things in english when i was writing it... thanks for the fotos man... it was a great help....

    @ aseem : yeah.... go ahead.. its fun being there in rishikesh these days.. but there is not much to do other then rafting :( unless you want to visit the temples and all... its too hot in the afternoons to walk around...

    @ paws : Even I hate that you were not there on this trip... and there is no mention of you in the post coz this post was about from when i left noida to when i came back.. tu kahan se aaya beech mein? Agli baar saath chalna to tera naam bhi likh dunga :)

    @ missnupur: Kab se australia mein ho tum? Ek cheez to mereko pata hai ke you are from Kanpur :) right... to india aane mein kya fight hai... karti kya ho wahan kangaroos ki country mein... jaldi se india aa jao... 10 rupey bhi to dene hai tumhaare mereko:) :)

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  13. sudipz :I sure missed the trip! Great to know you all had good fun.. Pics please?

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  14. This is what Aro had to write about the trip...

    Let me recite the story again, as Prashant missed the Human parts of it.

    We started 2 hours late because of yours truly was handicapped by a absence of a Chauffeur driven car, (I don’t travel otherwise (HE HE)). Reached NOIDA around 5 in the morning and introduced myself to MARTINA,(Prashant is not good at introducing me, he gets embarrassed by me ( probably because he is Jealous), after taking a Jacket for myself and some essential articles like towels, water e.t.c from his place we started, the destination of the travel has to be decided as of now, cause we don’t have 8 people going together, Prashant said he is not sure of Rafting+ I was also down with fever and generally disliked water Rafting was not something which I wanted to do.

    So with the music playing and a cool breeze the gang moved on to the HIGHWAY towards Haridwar, and Martina asked her first question : “what does this music mean”? (start of confusion).Prashant the spiritual being started explaining her about the Mantra’s, I did my bit (negligible) to explain, I guess she understood.

    Well after that she fell asleep and it was the good old time of abusing each other that carried us to our first stop punctured by few questions from Martina regarding India, there I am lying on the charpai, persuading Martina to sit as well as she is not convinced that she will fall trough the ropes, after a few moments she picked up the courage to sit and drink tea all the while wondering as to how India is functioning, and if India is a poor country, how come every place she has visited has a camera and a television, that took some explanation from me.Peta was busy clicking photographs of his car, finally I got my Parantha, explained to Martina the mysteries of its making and started eating again Martina picked up her courage and asked if she can take a bite, (always ready to please our foreign guest) I readily agreed.

    Ctrl C + Ctrl V by Prashant :)

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  15. hey Aro that was a good description...infact very lively one:)hey prashant ab nayi post bhi likho..

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  16. @ Red : Haanji likhta hoon kuch jaldi se...

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  17. Kind words from ARO again; Rest of his side of the story
    ____________________
    TO HARIDWAR

    Now we are moving again at the leisurely pace to Haridwar , reached the banks of Ganges. Here knowing the value of resting I started towards the water and by God it only took a few minutes for me to be on water to feel completely refreshed. Most of the population was busy bathing at the actual Ghats, special as we are we decided to take a different route( a line from “the extraordinary men” I WALK A DIFFERENT PATH, comes to my mind). Martina and Prashant took the “dubki” in the holy water, (I was happy to dip my legs in water). There were two more people who were washing there vehicles, they thought that Martina was a Chinese or Japanese, and me and prashant were not able to convince them that she actually is a German, after that we decided to call Martina by her Chinese name, Martina wong . After changing their cloths Prashant started clicking pictures of his car (man!! he is obsessed), and then we started again.

    TO RISHIKESH
    With our sights firmly set on Rishikesh we started from Haridwar, stopped in one place to drink some Shinkanji and a take few photographs. First time during this travel, sun started to creep in through the windows and started to make you feel just that uncomfortable, prashant saw a really hi-tech farm truck, and had the audacity to ask Martina if she has something like this before (c’mon Prashant she is from the developed world), Martina replied that she has seen it for the first time IN INDIA (HA HA),as we were flying towards Rishikesh, I noticed that Martina has a question mark on her face (people get used to the fact that I did not sit behind the wheel, so I saw all the facial expressions), so like a good host I asked her, question : why is that the pillion rider does not wear any helmets, I thought for a moment and told her that since we have a large population we are ready to let one person die, but since we all wanted keep our records intact and updated only the rider wears the helmet, prashant backed me on this, and Martina was clearly impressed by this thought of population control, thus we reached Rishikesh , and I am tired and ready to crash ( I have sat all night pretending to work ), so I checked one Hotel it seemed OK to me, but Prashant had some weird idea about checking some more Hotels and then he spotted the booking office for rafting, so off he went to check for rafting for next day, and I had my first smoke of the day, Martina had also finished her cigarettes, and I realized smoking was heavenly, while I was in my seventh heaven, Prashnat told us that we are rafting in two hours, I came crashing down, tried all sorts of persuasions with him, he relented and went back to the booking office.
    I was getting ready for my sleep and as a back stabber that he is, he told us that we are going now, this is exactly when I started to hate him.
    With heavy heart and a heavier stomach (When you guys reach my age, Stomach decides a lot of things that you do), We started our travel towards the rafting point in an amby ( I had told Martina that it is the national car, like many other national things e.g National bird, National game e.t.c) Prashant and Martina were enjoying themselves, especially the look in my face, I was petrified looking at those rapids and asked that same question I ask myself in these situation (why the **** am I here), I had no answers, at the rafting point we chose the gear that was on offer , I put the life jacket and immediately realized that my tummy won’t fit in this one, Martina looked as if she had worn a size 60 shirt, so we exchanged the life jackets and then we were comfortable, all the while I was looking at a raft which had started it’s journey, and the way it was going ohh man.
    This was the situation with which we boarded the raft and immediately owing to my wise brain, I decided to sit at the back, we did a few mock runs and then we were off towards the raging current of water called the rapids, two other rafts followed us and then we hit the rather we were hit by the force of water, I immediately thought that it is Armageddon
    (my entire life flashed before me and realized that I had done nothing at all), shouting (not war cries, petrified shouts) I rowed to cross this rapid, and suddenly we were out of it, this whole experience was few seconds long but the rush ohh the rush it was like nothing other that I have experienced before, it is worth mentioning the third raft because without that raft this experience wouldn’t have been so amusing, it was a group of people who were in sync with each other in such a way that nobody was rowing in the same direction, it is said that Uttaranchal is god’s country, and my guess is God was working overtime to get these set of people safe, because their guide had given up hope and was really frustrated, at one point he asked them if they would like to body surf and got everybody out of the raft, and then tried real hard on letting them swim out of the water themselves, we the good souls there picked them up and put them back on there raft.
    The amazing thing about this rafting experience was that one moment all of us were rowing madly to come out of the rapids and then sitting with nothing to do and looking at the majestic mountains called Himalayas and drifting slowly across the mighty Ganga, this is the kind of life that I want to live, I want to feel alive, I don’t want to exist in life rather I would like to live it.

    TO CHAMBA

    All of us with our nerves tingling finished and got down at the rafting point, Prashant
    Tried shadow boxing with Martina thinking that she is a small girl, but they way she retaliated, reminded me of cartoon characters with the fists raised.. it was a awesome sight.
    Things slowed down after that, we changed our clothes and then proceeded to have our first meal, after the meal, Martina and I started to get some cigarettes for ourselves I bought 6 for myself , Martina had the same perplexed look in her face, she was thinking that a pack of cigarettes contain 6 numbers, assured her that they contain 10, this resulted in more confusion as she was having impression that only six cigarettes are allowed to be bought at a time, told her that we are conscious of our lungs so we try to smoke less, (not convincing at all) , for the first time during this trip I sat in the back seat, I promptly fell asleep, sometime during this journey my beauty sleep was broken by the laughter, I was told that I have a musical snoring ( go figure that)

    We Reached Chamba around 9 p.m, I was ready to crash, Prashant and Martina wanted to take a evening stroll, so I asked them to go while I tried to sleep, and now the problem was that whenever I closed my eyes I felt that I am on the raft ( I am a sensitive person)

    Next morning at 5

    Got up, went outside it was BEAUtiful, covered by mountains, one girl came up to me and said “hi” , I started wondering why would somebody wish me in the morning, suddenly it dawned on me that she is Martina, (realized how old I have become), Prashant came out with the SLR camera, asked him to take some pictures, the scenic beauty of the this place was simply awesome and when the SUN came out from behind the mountains the scene was breathtaking to say the least.

    PRASHANT’S Marriage

    All of us started talking about the great Indian traditions, I started talking about marriages in India, and to explain Martina I started with Prashant’s marriage, what she was aving trouble with is understanding the part about cow, (Martina from somewhere had got an idea about a cow being offered (Dowery) to the groom in this case Prashant), prashant steadfastly denied that he will take a cow in marriage, citing reasons such as he doesn’t have enough parking place.
    With such confusion in our heads we had our breakfast and moved towards Dhanulti and promptly took the wrong road.

    The travel distance to Dahnaulti is probably around 2 hours but the sights were so beautiful that we took more than 3 hours, stopped quite a few times on the way to admire the mountains covered with red rhododendrons, I have seen white ones before in Sikkim but these were equally special, with the wind swept trees on one side covered with coloured leaves and on the other side it was the rhododendrons, it felt like nature has just played HOLI here, we drove by dhanaulti really slowly and reached Mussouri , disgusted, that is what I felt, I suddenly realized that we are almost at the end of our trip, we had our lunch and then we were on our way again, this time to DELHI.


    THAT IS ALL FOLKS, I CAN”T WRITE ANYMORE.

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  18. i am sure u njoyed every drop of time u got there.. I miss haridwar and rishikesh... next time i come home i am going up north.. har har gange ;) cheers!!

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