When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 3

For the previous part, please visit :

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 2

At around 9:30 am on 4th December we started our journey towards Mussouri. Mussouri was just at the distance of 36 kilometers from the place we were staying in Dehradun. On our way to Mussouri, we visited one big temple. Next stop was the Mussouri Lake. The view from this lake was nice. Some white swans made the lake more attractive. Shops, activity places were some of the other parts of this lake.

The journey of Mussouri was indescribable. The way through the hilly road was nothing less than an adventure. At one side, I could see huge hills stretched upwards in such a way that the end was not visible from the car. On the other side of the path was deep, dense, and splendid.

The first attraction in Mussouri was Kempty Falls. This water fall was surrounded by high mountain ranges at an altitude of 4500 feet. We opt for the Rope-way to experience this place from a close view. A pool was made with the water from the Kempty Falls.

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Our next stop was the Company Garden. This is a big garden with the perspective of a nursery. This is the birth place of Beautiful flowers and plant. This place is well maintained. Only nuisance we had experienced there was the continuous poking of multiple photographers who wanted to click our pictures for money.

 

Next, we went to visit one Buddhist Temple.

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At the end of the afternoon, we reached to the Mall road of Mussouri. We had some food at a restaurant and started our journey back to our hotel in Dehradun.

Next day, we had our flight from Jolly Grant Airport to Delhi.

I wanted adventure and this trip did not disappoint me. But our journey from the hotel to the Airport reached to another level of adventure. Somehow, we managed to get a cabby at the feasible cost. But, no one could change the destiny. Unfortunately, we forgot some of our expensive cloths at the hotel. We had to return from the mid-way. The cabby easily grabbed the chance and asked for more money which we had to provide. Fortunately, we had some time in hand to make up this. But again, we were caught in a snarled-up traffic which was caused due to the arrival of a politically important person. Again, we managed to dodge it as we had some time in hand.

At Delhi airport, we had to wait for another 6 hours for our next flight to Kolkata. We were annoyed with the thought of spending so much time at the airport without doing anything productive thing and also we had already roamed around the terminal. But life surely had some other plans for us. As it is said that degustation is not complete without the dessert course, similarly, a journey must end with a happy and sweet note. While waiting and staring blankly at an aquarium in the airport, I suddenly saw my friend cum hostel roommate thorough the aquarium glass. She was also waiting for her next flight to Trivandrum. We spent some happy and quality time discussing almost everything which we had always conversed since the college days.

My friend had her flight earlier than us. After her departure, we had some food and then boarded our flight. We arrived at the Kolkata Airport at around 6:50 pm.

The End

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When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 2

For the previous part, Rishikesh, Please visit:

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 1

Dehradun

Our plan for 3rd December included visit to Robber’s cave, Dehradun Zoo, and the Tibetan market at Dehradun.

Robber’s cave or Gucchupani is a nature cave formation where river flows inside the cave. It is about six hundred meters long and has about ten-meter a waterfall of ten-meter height. Robber’s cave is located approximately 8 km from the center of Dehradun City in Uttarakhand state of India.  We started at 9:30 am from our hotel for the Robber’s cave. The entry charge was Rs.25 per person. There were shops for refreshment outside it. We also found shops which rented slippers to go into the cave through the water. The water was very cold as it was the month of December. But after some time, we got used to the temperature of the water. The overall experience was incredible. Treasure hunting stories, stories about pirates were playing part in my imagination and the beauty of this place corresponded to those as well.

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The next place in our list was Dehradun Zoo, formerly known as Malsi Deer Park. It is situated at 9 kilometers distance from the Dehradun city center clock tower. It can be reached easily by auto or bus. For us, we booked one car for the entire day trip. Entry fee for Zoo was 20 for per adult and 10 for per child.

 Dehradun Zoo

First thing which we noticed was that the zoo is very well maintained. The zoo was clean and well decorated with natural elements. Food packets were not allowed inside the zoo and the water bottles needed to be sealed. Caution money was taken for the water bottles so that no one could throw the bottles anywhere inside. The officials followed the rules strictly which was needed in current times.

We could see monkeys wherever we looked at. First, we entered into the Bird section. The views of the bird mesmerized us. Some of the birds were: Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Cockatiel, Kalij Pheasant, Sun Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Rose-Ringed Parakeet, Budgerigar, Lovebird, Golden Pheasant, Blue and Yellow Macaw, African Grey Parrot, Turkey, Emu.

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Amherst's Pheasant

Amherst’s Pheasant

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According to me the best part of the zoo was its Fish section. Additional payment of 50 for per person needed to be made to enter this section. But, it was worth each penny. We saw some beautiful and unique fishes named as: Oscar, Dollar, Three spot Gourami, Neon Tetra, Red dragon flowerhorn, Jaguar fish, Severum, Texas Cichlid, Blood parrot Cichlid, Eel, Silver Shark, Silver Arowana, Shark, Cichlid, Arapaima, Tiger Barb, Marble Angel, Widow Tetra, Platinum Angel, Tuxedo Angel, Piranha, Oranda Gold, Brass Gold, White Gold, Red Gold, Tinfoil Barb, Pacu Piranha, Clown Loach, Discus, Milky Carp, Giant Gourami.

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We also saw Antelope, Leopard, different kinds if Owls.

 

After the zoo expedition we visited the local Tibetan market. They have some nice sweater-jacket shops out there.

The second half of the second day was completely dedicated for my friend’s wedding. This was a Marwari wedding and I witnessed a Non-Bengali cum Marwari wedding for the first time. The elaborate description of the wedding can be described in some other post in my blog. For now, my aim is to relive the Dehradun-Mussouri-Rishikesh trip once again through my memory.

 

Next Part:

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 3

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 1

The preface part is here:

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Preface:

Rishikesh

On 2nd Dec, Saturday, I scheduled a cab for airport at 4:15 am. But the driver backed out. Next, we booked another one which was near to our place fortunately. We reached at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Airport at around 5:30 am. After all the security check-ins, we made ourselves comfortable in the waiting lounge. Our flight was at 7:05 am and it was on time. We safely landed at Delhi Airport at 9:05 am. We had plenty of time to pass. So, we roamed around and then had our lunch at the airport. Compared to the price, the food was not up to the mark. So, if you are concerned about good taste as well as your hard-earned money, then stock some dry foods in your hand luggage. We did the same for our way back.

Our next flight towards Dehradun was at 12:50 pm, but it was delayed for 20 -25 minutes due to the weather condition. The flight took off at around 1:15 pm. The vast greenery, the bright picturesque beauty of Himalaya was the best part of this flight travel. It was a real treat to eyes. We reached Dehradun at 2:15 pm.

We had booked a cab for our tour with the help of my friend. We didn’t want to waste any moment. As planned, we started our journey to the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’. It took us about 40 minutes to reach Rishikesh. As it was addressed as the Yoga Capital of the World, we saw numerous Yoga centers and foreigners who visited this place for the attraction towards the Indian religious and ancient culture as well as for the trending Yoga practice. Here, the post office also looks like temple.

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The driver dropped us at Tapovan near the famous Lakhsman Jhoola. The first thing we noticed about this place was the numerous counts of monkeys and bulls. As we approached towards this iron suspension bridge across the river Ganges, we could feel the cold and soothing breeze. The view of Ganges with all iDSC_0688ts Ghats [1] at Rishikesh was mesmeric. After enjoying quite a few moments on the bridge, we crossed it to reach to the other side which was Jonk in Pauri Garhwal district. On that side, we went down to the nearest Ghat. The view of the Jhoola from that Ghat was complete in terms of its span and beauty.

There were many shops to buy souvenirs of this place. I can never resist myself from buying fridge magnets and this time there was no exception. You really need bargaining as the best practice here to help you shop more in less price.

Then we started to walk to reach our next destination Ram Jhoola. It was about 1.5-2 kilometers away from Lakhsman Jhoola. We enjoyed the walk very much. In the meantime, we thought to have something to eat as we were feeling a bit hungry. Just to mention, in Rishikesh, you will get only Veg food. Amidst numerous roadside eateries, we found one moderately big restaurant named Chotiwala restaurant. The name was very unusual, but this place is very famous in Rishikesh. They have multiple outlets here.

Ram Jhoola was stunning with its vast length. The time when we reached there, the sun was about to set. The amber color-play on Ganges was spectacular. We spent some time there and then crossed the Jhoola. We could not resist ourselves from capturing the breathtaking views of the Jhoola along with river Ganges in a full moon.

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This act of us paid a lot more than we thought of. At the Satrughn Ghat near Ram Jhoola, we experienced the event which would be in our memories for a lifetime. It was the Evening Aarti [2].

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Videos:

Next, we headed towards our hotel which was booked for my friend’s wedding in Dehradun.

[ #Note:
[1] Ghat: The term Ghat refers to a series of steps leading down to a body of water, particularly a holy river.
[2] Aarti: Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to one or more deities.
(Source: Wikipedia)
]

 

Next Part:

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 2

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” : Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Preface:

I had never been into any adventurous trip. I take time. I think. I decide. I recalculate. I confirm. That’s the cycle of my choice of decision making. In this scenario when a friend of mine invited me for his wedding in Dehradun, I wanted to follow the same procedure to decide.

Positive points towards this decision making were:

I really wanted to go for this Marwari wedding.

This Friend of mine had come for my wedding just for one day.

He is really a good friend.

Dehradun and the places around it are beautiful to visit.

Issue-creating points were:

Dehradun is very far from Kolkata.

I might not get the leave approval from office.

All the above points were considered and then re-considered. But as it is said that no one is as powerful as the nature. Nature made me decide not to go for this trip. Then again, it was the nature who played the worst trick with me and made me realize that everything does not go as you have planned.  Sometimes, you need to do things as you had never done before. So, I decided to calm down myself and take a sudden decision without a second thought. I booked flight tickets to Dehradun: Kolkata -> Delhi -> Dehradun.

I hadn’t yet discussed about the leave plan at office though I started to chalk out the entire plan for this trip. Situations were not good, but I was desperate to be happy with the idea of my plans, blogging about the trip, clicking photographs and sometime away somewhere else.

I had to try hard just to get 2 days of privilege leaves! It’s sometimes heartbreaking when certain people poke you at your weak point. But we can’t deny that it is called corporate life, not always, but sometimes. I was upset but then I was adamant to be happy. I managed to get the leave.

I informed my friend that I would attend his wedding. That funny guy thanked me a few times. I couldn’t tell him how grateful I was for this opportunity to get myself out of Kolkata and the surroundings for some duration.

The wedding was on 3rd December 2017, a Sunday. My flight was scheduled on 2nd December 2017, Saturday. I made all the plans for the tour in advance.

Routes

 

 The next part is here:

When the hoarding said, “Welcome to Utttarakhand” Rishikesh – Dehradun – Mussouri : Day 1

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: The End (Day 10 & 11)

Day #10 at Andaman: 16 March 2017

First half of our 10th day in Andaman consisted of experiencing different museums.

First one was the Aqua Museum which is just beside the Rajiv Gandhi water complex. This museum is very informative and maintained with a high quality. At the entrance, we saw the detailed map of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. At a few steps, there was a huge skeleton of a blue whale.

The entry fee for this museum is Rupees 10 per person. We also made permission to do video recording at the cost of Rupees 50 per camera. We were a bit hesitant before doing it. But when we saw the result, it was worth of giving that fifty bucks.

In one section of the museum, we saw the preserved animals of different kinds, like cow fish, sting rays, puffer fish, sea weeds, coconut crabs, snakes etc. The other portion had various types of fishes, shells, corals, for examples, clown fish, guitar fish, cat fish, stone fish, butterfly fish, sweet lips, nautilus shells, stag horn corals mushroom corals, lobsters, clams and many more.

Aqua Museum

Aqua Museum

Aqua Museum

After this marvelous experience, we went to visit the Aqua Marine Museum. This museum is very significant in terms of knowledge about the sea and island lives. It provides a description of different tribal residing in the islands. We saw photographs of ships, be it merchant one or the war ships. There is a section of the woods present in the islands. In the Aqua life section, we again saw some of the beautiful creation of nature in the shape of fishes. The coral section was the most striking place here. There were various corals placed in the glass wardrobes with sufficient lights which made the view more attractive.

Aqua Marine Museum

Aqua Marine Museum

Aqua Marine Museum

There was a sitting area where we took rest and saw some of the documentaries on the Andaman Islands in a large-screen television. There was a souvenir shop inside this museum from where we bought some things. Later we realized that this shop was overpriced.

Next, we visited another museum where some replicas on the tribal life were shown.

In the afternoon, we went to see the last beach of the tour: Wandoor Beach. It is rightly said that ‘All’s well when end is well’. Wandoor beach is a vast clean beach with coconut trees and some relaxing places. We enjoyed the cool breeze and the calm sea view. We walked along the sea and clicked some nice photographs. After some meters, one of the security guards informed us about the restriction to go beyond a certain point in the beach due to the wild animals. There were some shops in the beach from where we bought some keychains.

Wandoor Beach

Wandoor Beach

In the evening, we went for shopping in the local markets in Port Blair. We bought some fridge magnets and some souvenirs made with shells.

 

Day #11 at Andaman: 17 March 2017

Every beginning has an end. As every journey starts, it must finish somewhere. Our Andaman Islands tour too ended as planned. It wouldn’t have been so significant and memorable if it wouldn’t end.

Our flight from the Port Blair airport was scheduled at around 8 o’clock in the morning. It landed in Kolkata at around 10:30 am.

 

Points to be noted:

A.  Certain things which we shouldn’t have missed:

  1. Visit to the Elephant beach.
  2. Visit to the Jolly buoy beach: It requires additional permission made beforehand. It costs around Rupees 650 per person. We didn’t have time to accommodate this in the trip.
  3. Planning more time for Radhanagar beach.A

B. Certain things which we should have missed:

  1. Mayabunder visit: The beaches at Mayabunder are almost like the Port Blair’s beaches. The transition from one place to another in Andaman takes huge amount of time. In the Karmatang beach, we missed the turtle nesting due to the time crunch. I am not sure whether my opinion would have been different if I could experience it. Otherwise, we can give Mayabunder a miss.

2. The problems regarding the hotels and their services and the daily chaos.

 

The complete Andaman Islands’ travelogue covers the following days:

a. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal

b. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 2 & 3

c. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 4 & 5

d. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 6 & 7

e. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 8 & 9

f. Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: The End (Day 10 & 11)

 

The End

 

 

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 8 & 9

For the previous part, please visit:

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 6 & 7

 

Day #8 at Andaman: 14 March 2017

Our 8th day started with the visit at the Bharatpur beach. This beach was crowded with tourists and shops. Most of us including me were tired and thought to rest at the small huts made at the beach. Some of us went to ride the sea scooters. Eventually, we got some nice pictures to click.

Bharatpur beach

Bharatpur beach

On our chart, there was another beach in the Neil island and that was the Sitapur beach. It is not that beautiful as compared to the other beaches previously mentioned. It is a small beach where we saw another sunset. Next, we took our cruise at the Neil island jetty to return to Port Blair.

 

Day #9 at Andaman: 15 March 2017

On the 9th day, we went to Mt. Harriet National Park. The fascinating fact is that the picture of the back side of Rupee 20 note is taken from Mount Harriet National Park. Earlier, this was a reserve forest and later it was converted into the national park. There were some high-rise huts from where we got to see a beautiful view of different islands.

Then some of us took rest by sitting on the wooden chairs and some of us trekked towards Kalapathar which was at a 2-km distance. Kalapathar was the place where prisoners used to be pushed down the ravine to their death.

Mt. Harriet National park

On the same day afternoon, we visited Mundapahar beach. This beach is full mostly with rocks. It is not so significant beach and we stayed there for a very small time. The attraction for that day was the sunset at Chidiya Tapu beach. The road passes through forest and small hills up to the Chidiya tapu. We saw the remains of trees uprooted during Tsunami in 2004. The sunset here soothed my soul and gave me enormous peace.

 

Last Part To Be Continued . . . .

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 6 & 7

For the previous part, please visit:

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 4 & 5

 

Day #6 at Andaman: 12 March 2017

On the day one, we experienced the British cruelty upon Indians and the patriotic triumph of Indian heroes through a light and sound event in the Cellular jail. But there was much more to this place. There was a general museum and a museum made for the memory of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose inside the jail. There were numerous stories and the uncanny architecture of the cells and the entire jail. So, we again went inside the jail on the 6th day. There was a guide who was explaining every single detail about this place. It took around two hours to know about it.

 

 

In the second half of the day, after the lunch we started our journey for Havelock island. We boarded a cruise for that. It was at a rate of Rupees 600 per person. It took us to the island in one and a half hour. we got our accommodation at a hotel just beside the Havelock jetty.

The weather was breezy but humid. On this day, there was no other program. So, we started to roam around and got to know about scuba diving events organized by a company at beach no 3 in Havelock. Two of our group members booked times for the scuba diving.

In the next morning…

 

Day #7 at Andaman: 13 March 2017

I went to the beach no 3 with our two co-passengers who booked time for scuba diving while our other co passengers went for the Radhanagar Beach.

On finishing the scuba diving, they received certificates and a cd containing photographs and videos. Next, we headed towards the Asia’s best and “7th best beach in the world”, the Radhanagar Beach. Glittering, fine grained white sand curvature gives this beach a croissant like shape. The turquoise blue water makes the beach more attractive. This beach is calm and less crowded as compared to its popularity. It is a perfect place to relish the sea at the fullest. We enjoyed very much at this place and were not willing to come out of the sea. But we had to obey the time schedule of our trip. There was a clean rest room where one could have shower and change the clothes.

 

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We could not stay there for the whole day which we wanted to. We had a plan go to the Neil Island on the same day. At around 4:45 pm, we boarded our cruise for Neil Island. After reaching to the island, we went to see the natural bridge directly. We had to go through a stone covered rough and undulating path to reach to the bridge. But it did not seem that much weary as there were a few shops through the path. We bought Andaman T-shirts, wooden keyrings, and a few jewelries as souvenirs. We also had coconut water as refreshment. The natural bridge has a picturesque view. We clicked a few photographs and then returned.

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Natural Bridge

The main attraction of the Neil Island was waiting for us. It was the sunset at the Lakhsmanpur beach. It was a marvelous experience to see the sun getting down inch by inch making a beautiful color change in the sea. We sat there speechlessly and let our eyes to view and mind to treasure this beautiful natural phenomenon which we consider each day but never give the appropriate value.

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Lakhsmanpur Beach

We got an information about the special seafood dishes prepared at this place. So, we ordered for a mouthwatering crab preparation to a local person and returned to our car through a small road surrounded by high-headed trees.

Our hotel at the Neil island was a bit clumsy and the service was very bad. But our mood lifted by the delicious crab dish.

For the next part, please visit :

Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal: Day 8 & 9