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

YP Original || Dholkal – A Life Changing Trek by Akash

Back in Aug 2017, a fantastic Monsoon Saturday. It had been almost a year since I started my professional stint after completing my Chartered Accountancy studies and for obvious reasons I wanted to go somewhere. Did not know where but I wanted to spend some quality time with myself. Three days back I came to know about a travel company called “Unexplored Bastar” who plan trips to Bastar, a tribal district in state of Chhattisgarh. Since, then I could not think anything else but to go and explore my state. The biggest hurdle for me was to convince my mother that I will be safe in the wild trek and can take care of myself. Yeah, I was 25 but my mom thought I was still a kid who still needs her to be around him.

It was 4:30 PM on 12.08.2017 and suddenly from nowhere I decided that I wanted to go. I informed my boss that I need a day off and handed over my work. Bought a new pair of shoes from a nearby shop and reached home at round 7:30 PM. Phew !! my mother was all set to spoil my this plan like every other plan, but this time I was rigid and convinced her with all emotional blackmail and all possible tricks which I learnt during my entire life. Finally, my friend and myself boarded the bus at 10:00 pm to Jagdalpur. My friend felt asleep as soon as he hit that “sticky ragzine’s seat” and I started to enjoy my first solo trip.

We reached Jagdalpur at 5:00 in the morning and immediately went to the office of Unexplored Bastar. At the office Dheeraj introduced me to Mr. Jeet Singh Arya, Founder of “Unexplored Bastar” and some other team members. After this formal meet and greet all guests/travellers along with team of unexplored bastar departed for Farspal village, a small village in Dantewada District.

We pitched our tents in beautiful valley of Dholkal and greeted by hand made bouquets and some local delicacies.

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Once done with the food we all geared up for experiencing this thrilling trek. We were a team of around 25 travellers accompanied by around 15 members from Unexplored Bastar. These members were from farspal village only and they had thorough knowledge about the trek and terrain. They told us that there are 10K varieties of butterflies in this forest. We had to trek 8 kms uphill to reach “DholKal Ganesha” . Initially it seems like a cakewalk but at the end trek becomes a bit tricky.

There were many small problems while trekking including sudden rainfall and within seconds’ sun was at its full throttle but in the end, we made it to the peak. After trekking for around for another 45-50 mins we finally reached the Ganesha Idol and believe me people this was one of the best moment of my life. It took me some time to breath the fresh air and realise that I was there, completing the trek.

The Ganesha Idol was around 3ft in height, 3000 ft. above ground level and it is said that it was built around 11th century during the period of Nagvanshi Dynasty. Idol has many serpents covering the body of Ganesha.

We spend some time at the hilltop, worshipped Lord Ganesha , decorated him with flowers and offered prasadi, lived that moment completely and then went ahead for our next destination i.e. Surya Temple. Surya Temple consist of a flat rock and it is said that first light of after dawn falls on this rock. We were told by our tour guide that when light falls on this flat rock , it is reflected on the idol of Lord Ganesha and a magnified view of shadow can be seen on the mountain behind. Due to bad weather, we were unable to experience this unique natural phenomenon.

We came back to the base camp at around 4pm and were served with evening snacks, which were very good and tasty. At around 6:30 we all gathered around for campfire and enjoyed local folk song.

During a casual chat Jeet Bhai, told us that there is immense potential in CG to develop as a tourist state but due to negligence of Govt. and also we as a people of CG never ever thought to travel our own state. He (Jeet) and his team not only developing a fan base for state of CG but also providing employment and training opportunities to local tribal people. Generally, it is assumed that CG is a state of tribes and is dominated by Naxalites but it definitely a lot more than that. After this trip, I promised to myself that I would take measures to travel often and explore CG and India more and more. Unknowingly Dheeraj and Jeet bhai created a difference in my life, thanks to them.

Love !!

Akash Sharma

NoteWe have some fantastic stories on Chhattisgarh Tourism, check the by clicking the links below :-

  1. Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Naya(New) Raipur – A Smart City in Making

Story By

Akash

Edited 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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God’s Own Country – Kerala

I love traveling! It doesn’t matter whether the destination is at, above or below sea level. As you know, I work for a corporate house as well getting long leaves is a herculean task. I try to utilize all the long weekends and convert them into holidays. Trust me, it’s not that difficult when you plan in advance and have great set of friends to accompany you. I had 4 of them with me.

Last year, we eyed on 15th August (Independence Day Holiday in India) long weekend and planned a 5 day trip to Kerala – God’s own country.

Flight tickets – Check

Accommodation – Check

Intercity Transfers – Check

After a few morning hiccups and winning over a hefty traffic jam on the way to Pune airport, we   on-boarded a morning flight from Pune to Kochi. We landed at the beautiful Kochi Airport to find our pre-booked cab waiting for us at the airport.

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Kochi Airport

It was a neat, a bit old but well maintained Toyota Innova(my fav car for longer roadtrips). I am always hungry to taste local food while traveling; the cabbie took us to a local restaurant in Kochi to enjoy some delicious local Kerala food.

We commenced our voyage to Munnar aka Kashmir of the south. En route Munnar our eyes could not stop peeping outside the car window without blinking. Mesmerized by the beauty of Valara waterfalls we got out of the cabs to click some memories. Valara falls, where the water cascades from an altitude of about 1000 mts, which itself was a treat to eyes and the camera lens. Munnar is known for magnificent waterfalls, we could not visit all (remember lack of leaves for this poor corporate junkie) here is a brilliant article which gives a great insight. http://www.munnar.com/waterfalls-in-munnar.htm#waterfalls.

Where to Stay? – We stayed in Hotel Munnar black forest www.munnarblackforest.com. It’s a budget hotel located on Kochi Munnar road. Rooms are not that great neither the food is. We do not recommend this hotel and search for better options. Munnar is full of better stay options.

Places to visit in Munnar – This gorgeous hill station in Western Ghats is located at 1600mts above sea level. The height and the climate make it apt for tea plantations. We witnessed the whole of mountains covered with tea estates till horizon. The green leafy carpet and the aura of tea plantations surely make it an #instagram paradise. We even managed to gate crash an estate on the way to breathe tea and some perfect clicks.

  • Munnar Tea Museum – As they say,” tea doesn’t ask silly questions, it understands.” When you have such a huge yield of tea, it needs to be processed, packed and marketed as well. This tea museum imparts you enough knowledge on how a tea leaf is converted and marketed as the tea which we use in our households. Established in 2005 previously owned by Tata’s and now by Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company (P) Ltd. (KDHP), this museum has so many historic machinery and models still preserved in good shape. They show a short film which depicts the history of Munnar and its lovely tea plantations. After the film, it also offers a tour to the factory in which you can see and learn the technicalities involved in processing your favorite beverage to come out of morning blues every day. You can taste and buy some tea varieties e.g ginger, masala, green and white tea.

Baith jata hun wahan, Chai bann rahi ho Jahan.

  • Mattupetty Dam – This dam is built near the confluence of mountain streams of Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundale Rivers. It is used to generate electricity using hydel power. The large amount of water favors wild animals and birds to flourish. There are a few small shops to buys some local stuff like cardamom, masala and some munchies.

Places to visit in Alappuzha – This laid back heaven in south India is also known as Alleppey and Venice of the East. Well known for the backwaters, canals, lagoons and houseboats.

  • Backwaters – Shikara(boat) ride across the backwaters is a must do and you may book the ride right from the boarding point at the river side. Ask locals or hotel reception for guidance. Avoid hiring the boat through any agent as you might strike a cheaper deal at the boarding point. There are public boat buses which run across this city of Venice … oops; Alleppey.

While on the boat tour cruising on the backwaters; close your eyes, spread yours arms wide and feel the wind pass through your body. The water is clean, calm and serene. One can write books on the breathtaking beauty of this lake city. It surely is a honeymooner’s paradise, a painter’s painting, a poet’s lyrics and a musician’s beats. The song which kept on playing in my head during this trip, as Godsmack brilliantly sung, “I need serenity and a place where I can hide.”

Link to the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A4Km5PTu5o

Alleppey also has a beach which is usually crowded and not very clean.

Stay in Alleppey – This being  an important tourist destination you can find many stay options from budget homestays to exotic 5 stars. Houseboat can also be a unique idea to stay which serve you great food, comfortable bedrooms and tidy western toilets while sailing across the backwaters. We stayed in a mid-ranged 3 star resort called Pagoda Resort which can be booked here www.pagodaresorts.com. The rooms are comfortable and food is to be relished forever (we were there at the time of kerala food festival). In Pagoda resort, you must gift yourself a kerala ayurvedic massage therapy, to help you forget the worldly affairs, work pressure, targets and let you meet your better and relaxed self. We opted for the relaxing Shirodhara and I vouch for it totally.

When to Go – In Munnar the weather is pleasant throughout the year but if you do not like rains avoid going in Monsoon (June, July and October) season as it rains cats, dogs and sometimes elephants too. Whereas in Alleppey summers are hot and winters is the best season to explore. Or you may plan Alappuzha at the time of Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, on the second Saturday of August every year (we missed it by a week).

What to eat – I strongly recommend eating local food which includes idli, rice, appam, uttapam, dosa, sambhar, rasam, etc. Kerala is known for sea food. One must also try variety of chips/ wafers which are a local delicacy. We enjoyed an authentic south Indian meal and various other food items served on a banana leaf at the very famous Sarvana Bhavan in Munnar.

After cruising about 450 kMs(excluding the air travel) through a few cities and villages, beautiful landscapes, mystic mountains, pleasant waterfalls, a soothing beach, a healing ayurvedic massage, lip smacking kerala food and mesmerizing backwaters we ended up this amazing journey to the God’s Own Country with some memories to be cherished for lifetime.

We can help you plan one such trip. Please write to us on info@yatripandit.com

Abhimanyu@yatripandit

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Guest Post || Vrindavan: Radhe Radhe – by Shivendra

If you are planning to visit Vrindavan, I’m sure you have love for Lord Krishna & Radhe in your heart or you have an eye to appreciate the beauty of magnificent, ancient and deeply revered temples.

This year 2017, I happened to be in India during the Holi festival. I decided to celebrate Holi with God at Mathura-Vrindavan. I booked my room almost 15 days before online. In fact, that was the only room available on the site at that time. During the festive season one must book hotel about a month in advance.

HOLI CELEBRATION AT BANKE BIHARI TEMPLE

How to reach : Reaching Vrindavan is not a problem. It’s 4-5 hrs train journey from New Delhi to Mathura and takes about half an hour from Mathura to Vrindavan. I think 2-3 days are enough to explore Vrindhavan – Mathura. One must prefer to stay in Vrindavan.

Pandit Pitche – Ready reckoner for foreigners visiting Vrindavan

  1. As Vrindavan is a religious city, alcohol is banned in Mathura-Vrindavan.
  2. During the Holi festival and New year eve, you will find heavy rush. Book your hotels well in advance.
  3. Please limit your passion of photography outside the temples, Photography is strictly prohibited inside all temples. Your mobile phone or camera can be confiscated. I remember, ISKON temple is one of the exceptions.
  4. Don’t forget the monkey menace, prevalent in many temples and almost all the narrow lanes of Vrindavan. Be cautious of monkeys, they may snatch anything interesting in your hands, especially sunglasses, mobiles, small handbags, food items in your hand.Monkey Menace
  5. No need to wear shoes or expensive slippers at least during rush time, they might get lost as thousands of pilgrims visit daily. Choose some cheap ones, which you can afford to lose.
  6. Beware of Pick Pockets at crowded places. Especially, take care of your mobile phone. Keep only Rs 200-300 with change of Rs 10 with you in a zip lock. Take back-up of your photos daily, before any unfortunate event happens.
  7. Take care of yourself only on the day of the Holi festival, people throw colours at each other. Sometimes, it becomes nasty on that day. Better be safe than sorry. I preferred to stay in my hotel room.
  8. Suggest you buy printed T-Shirts, short Kurta which will give unforgettable colours to your memories. Buy some for your friends at home, they are inexpensive yet valuable.
  9. Instead of Thank you, Namaste, Good Morning in Vrindavan greet everyone with Radhe Radhe. You can make them your own.

 

What to see?

Prem Mandir: I started from Prem Mandir, No bags, selfie-sticks are allowed inside. They need to be deposited at the entry gate. As you enter, you will find various statues depicting a story of Lord Krishna. It is picturesque outside the main temple.

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Prem Mandir

ISKON Temple: God can’t look more beautiful than we find in ISKON temples. It’s mesmerizing. I suggest when you visit here, spend some time sitting with them and recite “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. Notice them, how contented they are in loving the GOD. 

Shahji Temple: The grandeur of Shah Ji Temple welcomes you with magnificent architecture. One of the biggest temples, its ribbon curved marble pillars and paintings in the sanctum temple which are carved out of black and white marble stones. It makes me wonder how they have built it in 1876. Lord Krishna here referred as ‘Chote Radha Raman’.

Nidhivan: Nidhivan is a sacred temple of Bankey Bihariji which is surrounded by huge bushy forests. It’s believed that these bushes are ‘Gopis’(friends) of Shri Krishna and at night, they perform ‘Rasleela’(Dance) with Shree Krishna and Radha Rani. Hence, they are revered and temple is closed after sunset. From here, the Bankey Bihariji idol was unearthed in 1860s. When you visit this temple, take blessings from the bushes which stay lush green all the year round.

Bankey Bihariji Temple: The Bankey Bihariji Temple is amongst the holiest and famous temple of Krishna in India. Shri Swami Haridasji installed Bankey Bihari ji appeared in Nidhivan. There is no bells or conch in the temple. You will feel eternal bliss, love & blessings showering on as soon as you meet Lord Shri Krishna (Bankey Bihariji). Especially during Holi festival, you will definitely feel as you are in Heaven.

Main temple - Radha Krishna idol
Bankey Bihari Ji

Radha Raman Temple: Sri Radha Raman temple is the most revered temple which was built around 1542. The idols of Radha Ramanji were self-manifested.

Shree Rangji Temple: Largest temple built in 1851 in Dravidian style. This kind of temple architecture reminiscent of South Indian temples which is dedicated Lord Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu)

Mirabai Temple: Mirabai was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. She came to Vrindavan in 1524 in search of Lord Krishna. She was married in Royal Family of Chittor where it was not acceptable to sing songs in temples for Lord Krishna. After the death of her husband, his brother tried to kill her many times. Lord Krishna saved her every time miraculously.

Shri Dwarikadhishji (Thakurji) Temple at Mathura: On my way back to Delhi I visited Mathura and visited the Shri Dwarikadhishji Temple (King of Dwarka, Lord Krishna). The Rajasthani style vibrant yellow colour entrance leads to the courtyard. The murals on the walls, paintings on the roof using gold make it unique and immensely attractive.     

Shri Dwarikatheeshji Mathura
Shree Dwarkadheeshji

 

What and where to eat at Vrindavan?

Brijwasi: If you want to buy Peda (sweets made of milk) for home, buy from Brijvasi in Vrindavan/Mathura. Good quality sweets are also available from the outlet in ISKON temple.

Ammaji Resturant: It is most referred and famous restaurant. Google it or ask anybody, you will find the way to reach there. Paneer Cheela (Indian Cheese Pan Cake): The market, on the way to Bankey Bihariji Temple has Paneer Cheela street food outlet. I had to wait 20 minutes to get mine. Lassi (Sweet Curd Shake): It is available at every corner. I got the best Lassi nearby Shree Rangji Temple.

There are various local delicacies other than I mentioned. Tell me about your favourite ones in the comments section.

Shivendra Rastogi ImageAbout the Author: Shivendra is an “Oil & Gas Professional” and a fabulous company to hangout with. He is an avid solo traveler and always encourages yatripandit.com. He provides expert consultancy in Process Safety and Flare Technologies. You can check his work at http://www.processblogs.com. In addition, he loves to mentors students in unlocking their minds and hearts and encouraging them to create the lives they dream to live. He believes, “travelling alone helps to you to find your TRUE self.”

 

 

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