Part#2 – Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#2 – Tip toeing – Tawang and reaching Dirang!

We slept over with the Soldier’s stories of peace and altitude and how they live in extreme climate conditions at various posts across length and width of this beautiful Country called India.

@Tawang, the night temperature dipped to sub-zero and 3 layers of cloths, 2 blankets and a heater could brave us through that night.

Hold on, if you have landed to this page directly, please click Part#1 to read the prequel. Do come back here.

Day#3 –

  • Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake
  • Travel time – 8 hours tour
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Hotel Mon-Paradise

Woke up fresh and got ready at 8 am after eating some ready to eat poha and upma prepared by Akshata (Chotu). Reached downstairs to find our Chauffer for the day Mr. Tashi.

No, don’t think that Simanta got bored of our poha-jalebi talks and decided to part ways. In Tawang you are required to book a local taxi to visit Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake. Cost is approx. 5000/- all-inclusive and tour duration is about 7~8 hours. I think this arrangement is made to provide earning opportunities to the locals. That’s Good specially for Simanta as he got a rest day to spend with his favourite mawa and probably talk to his family over phone.

Tashi drove a Tata Sumo and could speak Hindi fluently. He had a footballer’s physique, spikes hairstyle and donned Ray-Ban aviators. He played some good music from the 90’s era which we really enjoyed.

Before moving ahead with trip, an important information is that all tourists (including Indians) need an Inner Land Permit(ILP) to enter Arunachal Pradesh border. The fess is about 250/- per person and it can be applied online. Our tour agent got this arranged for us before the commencement of trip.

Tawang to Bumla pass is about 35 Kms and takes about 1.5 hours to reach. The path is so beautiful that you would never want it to end. We visited in February and it was the perfect time as the mountains was covered with magical white fresh snow.

Tashi had to tie a metal chain on the tyres of Sumo to escape skidding on the snow.

Reaching Bumla Pass we were thrilled to the core, only Dev had seen such heavy snow before this day during his visit to Swiss Alps. It was difficult to even walk as the snow was soft, fresh and about 3~4 ft deep or even more.

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All tourists were taken to a Army shed and served free hot tea and water for FREE. You are expected to wash your glasses and keep them clean for the next lot of tourist. Before we move further in the day, let me brief you about Bumlapass, histroy and its geographic importance.

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Bumla Pass, situated at an altitude of over 15,200 ft is snowbound for almost the entire year due to its steep elevation and presents a beautiful view of the Tibetan plateau. The road to the pass takes visitors through many sleepy hamlets and scenic lakes, making the drive memorable. Elegantly maintained by the Indian Army, Bumla Pass is a must for those who want to see how Indian soldiers protect the borders in the harshest of climes. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Here in Bum La Pass one of the fiercest battles took place in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. It is the pass from where Dalai Lama entered India escaping from Tibet.

After some tea and talks, one of the army officers took all tourists for a walk towards the border, and while all of us were breathing heavily the siren hooted and we were ordered to march back towards the army shed. It was scary as we thought there is some activity from China’s side but after another free tea and talks later, the officer told us that it was a routine round from the China side and there was nothing to worry about. Let’s go again, he said.

Officer explained us about the meetings that take place every quarter between the two army’s, talks of peace and co-existence, exchange of culture and some gifts from each side. Chinese are tough nuts, he said and guided us back to the Shed. Some pictures, snow fights, another round of tea and bowing down to our soldiers for their courage and bravery later we were all set to visit Madhuri Lake(Sangestar Tso) with our Tashi.

Indian actress namely Madhuri, danced besides Sangestar Tso in koyla movie and since then locals fondly call it as Madhuri lake. Now that’s real swag!

While waiting at Bumla pass, Tashi removed the metal chains thinking they aren’t needed any more. He was wrong, as our cab got stuck in snow as on the way to Madhuri lake.

All of us got down and tried to help but little did we know that our soldier would arrive all of a sudden in a truck and get us moving in minutes. Salute them, smiling and feeling useless at the same time we got inside the cab. Trisha(my wife) started to feel heavy head. Tashi told us it normal to experience this for people from the plains like us. Altitude and extreme sun rays to be blamed.  

Right on the turn towards lake, an army officer told us that the road is blocked due to heavy snow. We could not see the lake where Madhuri Dixit danced in 1997. I was 9 years back then and other three even younger. No worries guys, this kinda stuff keeps on happening on roadtrips and hill terrains told our very own Akshata Dixit. 😛

A few minutes later curvy roads, an army officer in uniform asked us for lift and we happily stopped to invite him inside. I think all soldiers have a lot of stories and they are great story tellers as well. He narrated a few to us and then Soldier and Tashi started to talk about current Prime Minister – Shri Narendra Modi. Tashi told us that, he likes Modi very much and trust that only Modi can uplift Arunachal Pradesh. There was no college in Tawang and everyone either dropped out after high-school or had to enrol in other states for studies, but now Tawang has a basic college, told Tashi.

The soldier got us some hot water to drink, which is the best way to beat the altitude sickness. Trisha felt a little better and after some time tashi dropped us to Hotel.

After lunch Dev and Akshata went on to see Tawang War Memorial with Simanta. Me and Trisha decided to rest for a while. Some chai, talks and lying around was what we needed.

After an early dinner in the ground floor restaurant and thanking Raju- the chef for the lovely food we dozed off again. Yes, like how the pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud.

Day#4 –

  • Tawang local and drive to Dirang
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Gonpalok Homestay

Next morning, it was time for us to bid adieus to Tawang but not so quick. Simanta had some plans for sight seeing and we also have “never say never” attitude. 1st place was Tawang Monastery. Monasteries are usually serene this was more that just serene. It was surreal. We were welcomed by harmless monkeys and after spending some time in the Monastery, waved goodbyes from young kids wearing Buddhist robes and having books in hands.

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Next up was a Giant Buddha Statue, located at an elevated place. We found a small and pretty café behind the statue to spend some good time and have tea and Maggie.

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Last up was the Tawang local market, almost all shops sell similar stuff which are woollens, souvenirs, incense sticks, cups/ mugs and footwears. We also got some to get back home with us. I love my dragon printed cup and still have my tea in it while writing this for you.

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Our time in Tawang was up and Simanta was ready with his mawa filled mouth and engine thumping. Next destination was Dirang.

Dirang was not in the original plan but last night we decided to alter the plan to ditch Shillong and include Kaziranga National Park. The decision was taken as the travel time to Shillong was too much for a day and we had to celebrate Dev and Chotu’s Anniversary. So, reaching to the next place was very important.

While driving back down-hill, we all admired the innocence and embracing nature of people of the beautiful state called, Arunachal Pradesh.

We stopped at Jang for a sightseeing, you will have to stair down about 200 steps to reach a river valley. Source Wikipedia : Nuranang Falls (also known as Bong Bong Falls), some 100 metres high, is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in this part of the country, yet is unknown to many travelers. It lies some 2 kilometres away from the town of Jang on the road connecting Tawang and Bomdila, so it is also known as the Jang Falls. There is a small hydel plant located near the base that generates electricity for local use. The Nuranang river originates from the Northern slopes of the Sela Pass. Just below the waterfall it falls into the Tawang river.

We were hungry and Simanta stopped at Jaswant garh war memorial again. Remember in the 1st part I told you about the free tea and hot water. This is the same place that serves them. We got some idlis, dosas, muffins and tea. The taste, view and soldier’s passion deserve respect and admiration.

About 4 hours drive and crossing Sela pass again we finally reached Dirang. Do not miss to buy fresh fruits from the shops on the highway side. Dirang is known to produce variety of fruits.

We faced some difficulty in reaching the home stay but when we entered Gonpalok Homestay. We thought, “stay ho toh aisa.” No words can describe the taste of hot pakodas that were freshly cooked for us by the caretaker lady along with hot tea. Later in the evening we celebrated the much awaited anniversary at hotel Norphel Retreat. It was very well planned and organised by our freelancer travel agent. I leave you with some pictures to ponder on and be jealous of us that we did this the trip only a month before the country wide lock down was imposed to tackle Covid-19 spread.

 

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Sure of waking up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Part#3 coming soon… where we move towards plains from the mountains and see the mighty Brahmaputra river, tea gardens and 1 horned rhino.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Part#1 Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#1 – Reaching Tawang from Assam via Bomdila !

It was the occasion of our 2nd anniversary when four Sharmas’ planned to explore North-east, India.

We had a fantastic company of Dev and Akshata who got married a day earlier than me and Trisha in the same month of Feb and year of 2018.

Me and Dev shared room during my 1st job in Mumbai and we jelled up pretty well for obvious reasons like being Sharmas’ from MP/CG and loving beer. Since we got married almost on the same day, we could not attend each other’s weddings, and this was the chance to cut it by celebrating the anniversaries together.

Tickets were booked in August’19 and we then finalized our itenary during December’19.

We read a few posts and then finally decided to book ourselves with a Freelance travel consultant from Assam.

7th Feb 2020, finally the day had come when me and Trisha embarked the road in our new Honda Amaze from Pune to Mumbai. Akshata arrange for a safe car parking over a week’s time in Mumbai. It was an early morning flight from Mumbai to Assam, we had our masks on as there was a buzz of Covid19 around the world already. Landed in Assam to find our driver, Simanta and pre-booked Innova Crysta.

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Mumbai Airport

None of us had slept last night but there was no sense of deprivation. It was the time to make memories, none of us had been to this side of Incredible India.

I decided to narrate this trip in multiple stories in sequence as it was a beautiful long ROAD trip.

Day#1 – Trip start, 0 Kms

  • Guwahati Airport to Bomdila
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Norgay Guest House Homestay

Journey starts from plains and takes you to the mountains. Located on the Foothills of Himalayas, Bomdila could be considered as an entry point of Arunachal Pradesh. Simanta played some asamese music while driving and halted at a random café so that we can have some Momos, maggie and tea. After 1st stop Hindi music took over Assamese and we were friends with Simanta. He was a character, loved his dose of Indian tobacco(jarda or mawa) while driving and always smiling. Never said no to our demands and was a true host in all senses.

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Lipsmacking Taste

We also got a chance to Enter Bhutan Border, smart Simanta got his diesel tank full as it is cheaper in Bhutan than in India.

As we were driving up-hill the air was getting colder and heavier. We drove alongside a river stream (Kameng river), Simanta told us that it comes all the way from China to meet the mighty Bhramaputra before merging in Bay of Bengal. We will meet Kameng river multiple times during our journey through Arunachal. Just before reaching our homestay in Bomdila we purchased some liquor as it will be helpful in keeping ourselves warm during the course of journey and its cheaper than Goa in Arunachal. 🙂

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Bhutan Border
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River Kameng

Homestay was clean and economical, we had to pay extra Rs. 300/- for a room heater. That’s Ok we were happy and rich (as it was just the first day).

For dinner we walked down the stairs and found a restaurant (name forgotten), but please find it right opposite Dragon restaurant. The momos and noodles which they served were the best that we had during the trip. Please let me know the name of this restaurant in comment section. I can eat those momos all my life and die happily.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

We were sporting jackets and woolens now. Simanta was ready to drive us to Tawang, the dreamland that I wanted to visit since the time I saw it in TV a decade ago.

Day#2

  • Bomdila To Tawang
  • 200 Kms (approx.)
  • Travel time – 8+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Hilly and average
  • Stay – Hotel Mon Paradise

Visited the mesmerising and peaceful Bomdila monastery, saw the little monks chanting and praying in sync. The whole atmosphere was so serene, that trying to narrate it here would be loud and might kill the serenity of the place. Check out our youtube video link below.

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Nam yo ho !! – Buddham Sharnam Gachhami 🙂

After, seeing the monastery we commenced our journey to the land of Lama. The car was cruising slowing with 2 constants, Simanta’s Mawa and Kameng river running alongside.

The drive from Bomdila to Tawang will always be extremely close to my heart because I was about to experience my 1st snow sighting.

Sela pass – You beauty!! I had heard that there is silent a kid within every adult, I was unaware of mine till I saw the 1st snow of my life. I could not stop myself and ran down the stairs, which led to a frozen lake called Sela lake.

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Stairway to Heaven

The whole area was covered with snow we were playing, while clicking some pictures on our phones and many many more in our hearts. While we were down near a frozen lake, those stairs which we walked down seemed like a stairway to heaven. God was generous and suddenly it started to snow, we had such awesome experience before we had to run back to the car as it was a hailstorm. My 1st snow was a helluva experience. Remember the liquor that we bought last night; finally we could do justice to it using fresh snow from the sky..

I even ate some snow. 🙂

Hailstorm turned violent & we had to leave or rather escape from Sela to reach our next pit stop aka Jaswant Garh war memorial. It’s about 22 Kms from Sela and 21 Kms before Tawang.

You must see this video to live Sela Pass a lil more

A bit insight about the memorial – Jaswant Garh is a famous tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh and it is widely visited all year round. It is dedicated to the warrior, Jaswant Singh Rawat who was killed during the Indo-China War in 1962. He was an Indian rifleman of 4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand and for his bravery; Jaswant Rawat was honoured by a memorial at the post where he fought the Chinese army. This magnificent memorial is well kept at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. A small canteen is run by army personnel offering free tea / coffee and hot water to all visitors to keep them warm in cold weather. It is unbelievable in today’s world of worshiping money as God, where almost everyone is running behind money and becoming rich leaving behind empathy towards fellow humans. We relished dosa and idli in Arunachal at such height, it still have the taste in my head while I write about it. My wife, Trisha loved the patty and muffins.

Last but not the least; there is a small shop from where you can buy jackets, socks, gloves, caps, etc to withstand the negative temperatures of Tawang.

The memorial is surrounded by beautiful valley perfect to gaze on while sipping your unlimited free tea.

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Panorama from Jaswant Garh

Hopped back in the innova with happier Simanta, he already had starting chewing mawa.

We reached Tawang in another 1½ hours, the sun sets early and it was almost dark by 5pm when we reached. While, Dev was co-ordinating with the pre-booked homestay owner we had some difficulties in locating the stay. Finally, have found the homestay just to realise that staying there was not a good idea. It was located far away from town in a dark and abandoned area. Girls felt some safety concerns, and we had to honour this being responsible companions. Simanta’s “never say never” attitude and always smiling face helped us find a hotel in the market area. Name of the hotel is Mon Paradise. It was freezing cold, we quickly changed and reached the lobby area with our packed food and theplas. The hotel guys were happy to heat those for us and serve it with dal, egg bhurji and rice which we ordered from them. Sharing our food with a soldier from Indian Army with a lot of border stories was the best thing that we could have thought of in this trip.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Read the part#2 of the story to see Tawang and Dirang from our eyes.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Guest Post || What I learnt from my travels by Naina

27 years old, 15 countries, 8000+ miles, 11 times circled the globe, 700+ hours, 23 mountains hiked, 9 different time zones..and the list goes on!!

Jet lag — That’s the 2nd most common word in my life.

Over the years I have been traveling to different countries on business or tourist/pleasure while sometimes just to escape the reality and find my focus.

While some people think travel is to : pack all the essentials, just hop on the plane, put your phone in the airplane mode, take that cozy blanket, put on your favorite movie and enjoy glass of fine vintage Château Côte de Baleau Grand Cru.

For me, travel= magic. So quick summary of the things I learnt from my travels :

1.You meet interesting and unforgettable people :

Once I was flying from Munich to New York, and met a very interesting student. She was quite intrigued by the book (Murder on the Orient Express) I was reading. I asked her name and then she introduced herself. As we continued to talk for the next few hours, she told me about her life, how she left everyone to pursue her dreams and how she is working as a part time bartender to make sure she pays her bills and completes her education. While I could see some hesitation in her voice, I was also impressed by her determination to be better in the life.

Life is not “bed of roses”, but how many do you think are determined to make it better every day?

Just 2 months back, I was flying from Shanghai to New York ( business class) and met an investor, must be in her 50’s. While she was happily enjoying her wine, after 50 minutes into the flight, we started talking and that’s when she shared her “grand perspective” towards life and startups. While she had few hiccups as an investor previously and on the personal front due to her marriage yet she never bogged down. I shared few start up ideas, why I thought it can be next the “big thing” and to what level it can succeed or fail. She asked me to send her a business plan. Just few days back I sent her the plan with an empty feeling that she must have forgotten me. I have always been a person who cared about time and details, she replied to me after 3 days and I was completely amazed by her detailed feedback. I thanked her later!

2. You find your “why”

There was a point in my life when traveling wasn’t just a hobby but a therapy. I called it my “inflection” point and it helped me in finding my why. I found myself and it made all the difference in my life.

3. Started writing a book

I have always been an avid reader (completed reading my 457th book recently). Having met so many people in my life and been through so many experiences, I started writing a book ( which I’ll publish soon). Experiences ranged from going on date with an absolute stranger — discovering different “kind of personalities” — an emergency landing — hitchhiking in a new country at 3am — — hiking with different group of people — camping with strangers— drinking wine with guys I never met in my whole life — diving 10 m deep in the sea — — ending up getting hitched for fun in a chapel in the Vegas and many more…

4. You feel “unstoppable”

Someone said it right that if you are feeling over confident, hike a mountain because mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence. Till now I have hiked 23 mountains and that created all the difference in my personality. One such place where I exhausted myself was “Pinnacles in Borneo”. Sharp blade like rocks ( pic below) tested everything I had in me. I cried with happiness when I completed the hike after 9 hours of climb and descend. It made me feel “unstoppable”.

Pinnacles

5. Humbleness and Grateful

More than 8 billion people on this planet from different countries, religion and cultures. Different cuisines, celebrations and colors, I have experienced it all and I cant be more grateful. I became more open to people’s opinion, appreciate the fact that different people react to the same situation in a different way. In short I became more acceptable to the fact that I can be wrong in someone’s opinion and can be idolized in someone else’s mind. Having met so many people I learnt how to be grounded and be a better listener even when I’m talking. Everyone has a story, perception of reality, opinion, experiences and thoughts. There is no right or wrong opinion.

6. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things

Travel allows you to experience living in conditions that you never thought you could survive. But you will. Only when you step out of your comfort zone, then can you really push yourself to your limits and discover what you can achieve. Now whenever I feel I cannot do something, I replay those moments when a task/situation seemed utterly difficult and the way I accomplished it.

“Your strength lies in all those things you completed which once deemed impossible”

7. Finding the way on your own after getting lost.

Ever got lost? No phone, no maps, language barrier, no one to help? Take a deep breath and look around. What do you feel? I felt like wandering on my own.

There is nothing like being lost in Rome where every street corner has another spectacular sculpture; or being lost in Brussels where every neighborhood has a cluster of bistros or bakeries.

By the end of the day, I explored more than I planned. Some one said it right :

“Not All Who Wander Are Lost”

8. Knowledge and fearless mindset

I faced language barrier many times especially when I was in China and Korea. So I learnt Mandarin and Korean. Life is full of adversities and I’m not new to such situations. Bus broke down? Train delayed? Road block? Severe food poisoning? Lost your way? It’s okay, slow down and find an alternative way out.

Many times I asked myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” and that’show I developed a “fearless mindset”.

9. Living the moments

This one is my favourite. I was just out of my cocoon and in Singapore. Like any amateur traveler I was clicking the beauty Singapore has to offer. A European guy was watching me. He came to me and said something I’ll always remember. He said “ Sometimes we are so engrossed in capturing/clicking things that we forget to live the moments and beauty the place has to offer”. He was right! From that time on, I started living in the moments and in my perspective it’s beautiful!

Living in the moments

“An amateur traveller tries to capture everything amazing in his/her camera whereas a mature traveller live those amazing things and moments”

Oh did I forget to tell you about the spectacular vast and infinite “ Sky views”?

Pics I clicked)

View from Plane

Why I wrote this post? Some day I’ll be 80 years old and still be traveling. When I’ll look back, I will read this post again and say to myself “The journey is more beautiful than the destination” and I lived every moment of it.

**** This is my first post, apologies if you find any error/mistake. And, if you like it and want me to write more posts, please don’t forget to “like & comment” because your appreciation would motivate me***** 🙂

Keep traveling !!!

Love Naina 🙂

 

Disclaimer: *Contents of this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

**Photos from google

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

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Guest Post || 8 Things to do in Barcelona – By Daniyal

When traveling, one of the objectives is to make the most of the time and to return home with the feeling of not having lost anything in the newly discovered city. It’s a complicated task, I know, so I’ll give you a hand with this selection of the 8 things you can do in Barcelona. If you have many on the list you can always come a second time.

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Walk to discover the city:
Barcelona is a big city, but it is perfect to witness beauty while walking. Forget about a day of the subway or the tourist bus and re-cross it by giving nice walks and wandering around the roads. You can choose to visit the most important buildings and parks of the city such as Citadels, Joan Miro Park or Montjuic castle, but there is also a Barcelona that does not come in the guides. We encourage you to go up to Horta, to know the charm of the Saint Andreu neighborhood, to see a side of the lesser known Example and enjoy unique panoramas.

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Go to concerts:
Barcelona has plenty of live music venues such as Razzmatazz or Sala Apollo, but it also has wonderful concert halls. The Gran Theatre Del Liceu is a splendid survivor decorated with gold leaf, luxurious red carpets and lots of ornamentation. Check the schedule since the tickets are not always as expensive as it may seem and is a place worth a visit.

On the other hand is L’Auditori, an elegant space with capacity for 2,400 spectators that not only program concerts of classical music but also jazz or world music. The Palau de la Musical Catalonia’s is famous for its modernist architecture and the number of activities it hosts. Barcelona also hosts various festivals from Primavera Sound to Barcelona International Jazz Festival, Sonar and Cruilla, and others.

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Gaudi and Modernism:
Undoubtedly, one of the tourist attractions (and also for those who live here) is to admire the modernist architecture and the works of Gaudi in particular. You can find several examples of his work throughout the city, whether civil or religious buildings. The most famous is the Sagrada Familia, impressive on the outside and inside; The Park Guell, a place almost of the story that emulates an English garden or the Pedrera, but do not miss the opportunity to visit other buildings of Gaudi that sometimes occupy a smaller place in the guides.

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Discover the Barcelona of the young Picasso:
Picasso remembered Barcelona as beautiful and brilliant, a city where he spent his first years. Follow the steps of the genius by visiting the regions that marked his youth. Walk along the street of The Queen Cristina and then cross to street number 3 (street of Merce) where his family lived, although the building was destroyed. If you need to stop on the way, get closer to Ells 4 Gats, a place where artists of the time met for dinner parties, dinners, and art meetings. Finally, visit the Picasso Museum, a gallery that houses
the works of Picasso’s formative years.

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Try the seafood cuisine:
Nobody should leave Barcelona without trying their seafood cuisine. The city offers Rias de Galicia, in Poble-sec and Cachitos which is famous for its fantastic variety of fish and seafood. Cal Pep, in La Born, is known for its three-phase, a mixture of fried chanquetes, squid and shrimp and exquisite noodles. In La Barcelonnette, you will find La Mar Salada and Can Sole with fresh fish and seafood every day.

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Climb the mountain of Montjuic:
The Montjuic Mountain is perfect for strolling through trees and having a great view, but it very costly to access… There are facilities that were built for the 1992 Olympic Games, including the Palau Saint Jordi or the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Those who have more energy and climb to the top of the hill will find the Olympic Stadium and the Jardi Botanic at its feet, Plaza de Espanya is the most popular entrance to the mountain, and you can also take advantage of the Pavello Mie’s van der Rohe and the Caxias forum cultural center.

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Bath in the Mediterranean:
Barcelona has a little more than 4 kilometers of beaches in which to stretch the towel, plant the umbrella smeared with cream and put the backpack to a good collection is a good choice. With just a few minutes by train or a short drive, you can visit other coastal towns with dream beaches. The Mediterranean is a gift!

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Approach the sky:
Even if you are not a loyal believer, you should visit the magnificent churches of Barcelona for pure artistic and architectural pleasure. Saint Pau del Camp is a rare example of Romanesque architecture with a fantastic cover-up and superb pathway and the elegant Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the best example of the survived Catalan Gothic architecture and is a place of peace up to the atheists. The Gothic religious building par excellence is the Cathedral of Barcelona, dedicated to Santa Eulalia, the
patron saint of the city. The majestic Gothic with a monastery is famous for its 13 white hollows.

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About the author in his own words: This article has been written by Daniyal Buksh a Dan.jpgprofessional content strategist and digital marketer at flights to Stockholm from London. You can catch him on Facebook.

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

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Cheers !!

Hawa Mahal- An Architectural Marvel

When we visited Jaipur Pink City last time, our schedule didn’t allow us to visit Hawa Mahal, but this time we made sure it is on our list.

Hawa Mahal is an architectural marvel, you will be in awe after witnessing the beauty and engineering of the palace.

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god.

Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas

The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen since they had to obey strict “purdah” (face cover).LRM_EXPORT_20171214_114431

Windows (Jharokha) has colorful panes so it will light the hallways with different colors.

Stay tuned for our upcoming story on Garadia Mahadev – Grand Canyon of Rajasthan

Story & Pictures by Utkarsh

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Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary

At yatripandit, we believe there should be no boundaries on travelling especially when it comes to jungle and wildlife. It is the only one, out of 543 wildlife sanctuaries in India where you can drive your own car inside the protected area. When we came about this unique fact about Barnawapara, we were already inside our Ford Ecosport heading towards the Jungle.IMG_20170203_155409672

My younger brother suggested us this trip and 3 of us along with him, left from the capital city of Chhattisgarh, Raipur at 2pm and within 2 hours we were at the entry gate of Barnawapara. The highways are maintained in tint condition and cruising on them gave us great adrenaline rush.

Where to stay: We chose to stay at CG Tourism’s, Hareli eco resort ditching the more famous ones like Muba Resort and celebration. We did not regret the stay and hospitality even one percent and saved some bucks as well. The resort is well maintained, wide spread, and located on a lake side. Its service is fabulous as well and can be booked from various online platforms.

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After getting our room keys and dumping our luggage, we boarded our car and headed straight to the protected area entry gate. A guide, who are usually local village boys can be hired from the entry gate at a nominal price of 300-500 INR. Getting a guide is a must otherwise you might get lost forever in the wilderness(just exaggerating a little more).  It was a good 1.5 hours ride on bumpy jungle roads. And we were lucky to spot a sloth bear lazing around by the road side, wild boar and a heard of deer.

Deers

Back to our machan like rooms in the Hareli resort, changed and got fresh to have a relaxed time sitting in balcony sharing some talks from our old jungle trips(read about Bandhavgarh and Bastar), laughs,  relishing some drinks with freshly cooked snacks and doodling over music. All we needed after that was a good dinner and some nice sleep. The dinner was cooked on demand and was more like a home cooked food. We truly enjoyed every bite of it.

What to do: Jungle safaris are all about waking up before dawn and in Hareli resort the chirping birds played our alarms clocks. Within minutes we were driving in our Ecosport again and reached the entry gate driving through the fog and mist in no time. Hired a new guide and there we were inside this beautiful jungle which is spread over an area of about 245 sq km in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh. Bird watching in Barnawapara is one of the most enjoyed activities. The major fauna of the Barnawapara Sanctuary include Tigers, Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrels, Jackals, Striped Hyena, Wild Dogs, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Cobra, Python, Antelopes, Leopards, Chinkara, Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Monkey, Bison, to name a few. The sanctuary also has a large population of birds that include Parrots, Bulbul, White-rumped Vultures, Green Avadavat, Lesser Kestrels, Peafowl, Wood Peckers and the list can go on and on. We could spot many of these but tiger. 😦

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Africa look alike lake

Do not miss climbing to the highest watch tower and observe the forest silently breathing pure and light. That greenery; spread till the horizon is the best treat you can offer to your eyes, tired of laptop and cell phone screens.

 

When to go: The protected area is closed for tourist during Monsoons(June to Sept) every year. The most suitable time of the year is winters i.e. November to March.

Not to worry if you donot have your own can to offroad, Gypsy’s and jungle safari’s can be hired at the entry gate or Hareli resort can arrange the same for you.

Bidding adieus to this self motorable jungle; we were back again to smaller concrete Jungle(Raipur) in 2 hours and next day to a bigger one(Pune). We captured many memories and pictures. We surely are returning back to this jungle very soon.

Stay tuned for our upcoming story on rules of the Jungle (Which are NOT location specific).

Story by: Abhimanyu

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Tour Package || Bhutan on Budget

The Trip

This edition of our Bhutan trip is meant for the backpackers, for the budget travelers, and everyone in between. Take part in this 1-week adventure in the land of happiness with EIT and explore the vast mountains, the royal monasteries and so much more!

 Day 01:

Arrival at Phuentsholing. Transfer to Thimphu. Travel Time – 6.5 – 7 hours.
Check into hotel

 Day 02:

Local sightseeing after breakfast (Memorial Chorten, Buddha Statue, Thimphu Dzong, Takin Reserve,
National Museum of Textiles)
Evening sightseeing (Changankha Lhakhang and sightseeing left over from previous day) and shopping etc.

 Day 03:

Mild hike to a monastery near Thimphu
Personalised postal stamps at Thimphu Post Office, and evening free for rest and shopping

 Day 04:

Check out of hotel after early breakfast & leave for Punakha district. Travel time – 2 hours.
All sightseeing in Punakha via Dochu La Pass (Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong & iron suspension bridge)
Evening free for rest after a hectic day

 Day 05:

Early breakfast & leave for Paro Travel time – 3 hours
Local sightseeing at Paro (Paro Dzong, Dungtse Lhakhang, Kichyu Monastery)
Evening free for rest

 Day 06:

Early breakfast and begin climb to Tiger’s Nest/Taktsang. Climb will take about 2.5 – 3 hours.
Evening visit National Museum and thereafter go shopping/exploration in Paro town

 Day 07:

Departure from Paro after breakfast

This itinerary can be customised to include a longer stay in Thimphu, especially for first time visitors to the country. However, the Price Tag will then change

Note: Bhutan trips are planned in association with our travel partners, Easeindiatravel

For reading a traveler’s 1st hand experience please click Here

For Tariff

or

you can directly contact our tour partners, “EASEINDIATRAVEL“on info@easeindiatravel.com. Mention Yatripandit’s name to get special tarrifs.

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Cheers !!

Guhagar – with Sandy, White Sand and Serenity

We know you liked our last story, kuch khaas hai kaas on Kaas Plateau published in September 2017 and as promised here we are sharing the 2nd phase of that amazing Road trip with Sandy. If you missed reading the preceding story, click here and then read the current one.

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Here you go, After dumping the idea of quitting jobs and realizing that its getting dark, we hit the road again to reach our final destination- Guhagar. It was about 180 kms drive from Satara via karad and Chiplun. The roads were not in a good condition throughout the journey and there were some steep ghats, then we reached to the pre booked Nilambari Resort.

Where to STAY: It was a 3 bed non AC room with attached toilet and television. The resort owner is very friendly and we could bargain and get the fare down to Rs 1000/- from Rs.1500/-. After having typical Konkani poha and tea served at the Resort, we headed to the beach which is about a five minute walk from the resort.

What to EAT: While in Guhagar, one must try Konkani vegetarian food like ukdi chamodak, sol kadi, Bhaves, kokam sharbat and Thali-pith of Suruchi hotel is a must eat. Konkani sea food is globally recognized for its taste and while in this part of the sub-continent, one cannot afford to miss:  kalva, mhakala, vaghal, bonbil, kolim, kombadi vade, mori mutton, Ghol, Rawas etc.

We were awestruck after feeling the smooth white sand on this virgin Guhagar beach. The water was clear and so was the beach. It felt as 3 of us were the only tourists.  After having a dip in the Arabian sea, we headed towards the famous Gopalgarh fort which has great historic significance. It is believed to be built at the start of 16th Century by the Siddis. It was captured by Shivaji Maharah in 1660.

Being one of the most important lighthouses of India, Anjanvel Light house is a must visit. The lighthouse operator explained us the technicalities involved in signaling and controlling the ships. We halted at an unknown and unnamed venue on the hill and facing the mighty Arabian Sea for some time and did not realize when we ended up halting there for hours. The air was the freshest that we ever had inhaled and the breathtaking view was the best ever experience we could have captured in ours lens, eyes and hearts. The thought of quitting job was dwindling all over again. We enjoyed some late night drinks on the beach in the moonlight and under the sky full of twinkling stars.

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Vyadeshwar and Velaneshwar temple:  Both are temples of Lord Shiva and are the Kuladaivat of a lot of Kokanastha Brahmins.

Next morning we were all set to hit road and decided to take the road less traveled, where we had to cross Dabhol creek on a ferry along with our car, which was a superb experience to reach Ratnagiri. Visited an ancient Chandika Devi Temple to reach Pune via not so easy to drive Tamhini Ghat. The ghat is full of waterfalls and scenic beauty during the monsoon. We drove back to Mumbai with a lifetime experience, much improved bond of friendship and promises for the many more upcoming roadtrips.

Must carry stuff on a roadtrip: Aux cable, cigarette point charger, knife, water, jacket, extra pair of shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, old newspapers, mat, bedsheet, nail cutter, mug, DSLR, football, snacks,  beachwear (if the place you heading to has a beach)and hell lot of great music.

Do not miss to listen to the music what we love on roadtrip by clicking HERE

Story by: Abhimanyu

Pictures by: Utkarsh & Sandy

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Kuch Khaas hai Kaas – Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers

Did you ever wish to visit heaven prior to death? Yes it is possible and is situated in a very close proximity to Mumbai. I am talking about “Kaas plateau” aka “The valley of flowers.” The Plateau has been recognized as “bio diversity heritage site” by UNESCO.

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A car, 3 friends, a DSLR, some beer and kickass music what else do we need for a road trip! All of us being fresh graduates did not own a car but we hired a self-drivediesel car from Girikand cars and headed straight to Mumbai-Pune expressway and reached Satara town in about 6 hours(it’s not that far but we took a couple of breaks to enjoy the journey). Being a national highway, the roads were smooth and there was no scarcity of eateries. We halted at one of the dhabas to fill our tummies and kept moving. It was an uphill journey from Satara to 1 of the 7 wonders of Maharashtra – The Kaas Plateau. This 22 KMs ghat is not a very tough one to drive on and its full of scenic beauty. As we went closer we could seethe blossoms and suddenly it started drizzling making the journey more pleasing. Car parking space is after you cross the valley of flowers and you have to walk back to the valley. Once we reached on the plateau, all we witnessed was an endless carpet of colorful blooms on both sides of the road. It seemed as if the rainbow has been laid on the ground.

The whole stretch was so refreshing and rejuvenating that for once, we thought of quitting our jobs and stay in the valley forever. It is a surely a paradise for shutterbugs and can be an inspiration for poets and painters. Kaas also endorses a breathtaking aerial view of Shivsagar lake. The Kaas plateau is known to be home to around 850 varieties of plants of which around 600 are flowering plants and about 40 of which are only found in Kaas. The volcanic soil i.e. rich in natural minerals is the reason for such wide floral diversity. This plateau is surely an ocean of learning for botanists and researchers. Being a weekend it was crowded.We were luck to visit the heaven in the days when there was no entry fee but now a days, a very minimal fee of Rs 100/- is charged per person. We are sure you won’t mind this once you soak yourself in the carpet of flowers.

Humble Suggestion: Do not pluck or disturb the blossoms and walk only on the pathways marked with stones. Also, buy some stuff(snacks, etc) item from the local vendors as tourism is probably the only source of income.

When to Go: Best time to visit is end august to November as the flowers bloom during these months. Do check this website https://www.kas.ind.in/ before visiting Kaas to see the current pictures of Kaas.

Where to stay: There are a few stay options on the way to Kaas plateau but we went further downhill to a laid back village called Bamnoli and stayed at a local home stay on the lake side. Check our story on this pretty lazy village.

Must carry stuff on a roadtrip: Aux cable, cigarette point charger, knife, water, jacket, extra pair of shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, old newspapers, mat, bedsheet, nail cutter, mug, DSLR, football, snacks,  beachwear (if the place you heading to has a beach)and hell lot of great music.

After experiencing Kaas and staying at Bamnoli, we headed to an un-touched white sand beach on the Konkan coast. Stay tuned for next story to know more about this virgin beach.

Story by: Abhimanyu

Pictures by: Utkarsh

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Guest Post || 6 Awesome Hacks to Maximize Your Road Trip by Jonathan

Get a comfortable and spacious car’s gas tank full, holler up your friends and just leave. That’s all you need to do enjoy a perfect DIY road trip which saves you from a crazy mess of plane tickets and visas. So the next time you’re looking for some fun on a road trip, follow these simple six steps and you’ll have an awesome trip, without any doubt: 6 awesome hacks to maximize your road trip

  1. Always Keep A Backup Plan:

Road trips are full of unexpected happenings and events; you cannot quite predict a predetermined way in which the trip might go. You need to have your car in the right condition, always keep a spare tire. Keep an eye out for hotel deals because you might need to spring into a hotel room for a night if you lag up due to traffic jam or simply because you couldn’t drive. Keep your car’s security your top priority. Consider getting a good quality alarm for it.

  1. Be Spontaneous:

Always leave room for spontaneity, unlike train and plane trips you do not have preset schedules and you do not need to stick to conventional ways of travelling. Take this opportunity and step out of your comfort zone, and just go with the flow. Make random stops, if you come across different places that are not very famous. This is something you might never regret in the future, so make the most out of these unplanned moments.

  1. Divide Responsibilities:

As much as the element of spontaneity is essential to keep the trip’s fun intact, planning out certain things like designating each traveler their tasks and their responsibilities leaves no room for mismanagement and everyone plays their roles effectively to ensure the trip remains fun. And this way, the whole burden is not laid upon one person altogether so that they don’t feel all worked up.

6 awesome hacks to maximize your road trip1

  1. Find Entertainment On The Way:

Don’t forget to enjoy the roadside sights. It might seem really childish but spotting the world’s largest dinosaurs or stuff like that can be really enjoyable. Check out if you can find some applications which let you know what sights you could come across when you hit the road. Look out for restaurants that provide ethnic food while on the way, often you’ll find specials of an area. Cherish the culture you across while on road trips, the native dialects of standard languages and much more.

  1. Keep Snacks Stocked!

Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks stocked up in your icebox. Having snacks helps you avoid roadside patrol pump shops with aisles full of candies.  Find a couple of recipes that you can put together easily and stock up for some time. So do not sacrifice your health and wellness goals and routine for a road trip, you can definitely manage to maintain along.

  1. Manage The Expenses:

You have to figure out a way to keep your expenses in track because chances are; you chose a road trip because it saves from soaring airfares. Have one person in the group keep a track of all the spending so it splitting the money doesn’t become a problem later.

Yatripandit’s add-on: There are many apps available these days for managing the expenses for e.g. Splitwise and settleup which can be downloaded from the app stores on your cell phones.

If you love Bollywood music check out Roadtrip Playlist by Yatripandit

Also, we have taken various roadtrips across India which can be viewed by clicking Various Yatripandit Roadtrips

jonathanAbout the Guest Author: Jonathon is an IT expert and a researcher. He is obsessed with cars and all the digital accessories. He regularly posts at www.sakerracing.com

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

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Cheers !!