Friday, September 24, 2010

Travelogue Part 4 - Rishikesh

Continued from here.

Rishikesh is a small city in Dehradun, just 25 kms from Haridwar. On the 30th of July, we set out in the late afternoon to see the famous Lakshman Jhula there. Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula are two major attractions at Rishikesh. 

As soon as we reached there, we had to walk our way to the Lakshman Jhula; the Ram Jhula was closed for some reason. There are small shops along the way that sell gemstones and other small artefacts. There are also food and tea joints that are located in a way that they give you a good view of the Ganga. Spotted some of these monkeys too :D

After a good 10-minute walk, we finally reached. 

They say that Lord Rama penanced here after killing Ravana, the king of Lanka. His younger brother Lakshman crossed the river using a jute rope bridge which then became the Lakshman Jhula :) Ram Jhula was built much later.

We spotted a lot of "Kaavadias" here too. 

We then headed to German Bakery and Restaurant for some evening snacks and chai. The place is thronged by foreigners, and looked to be hygienic as compared to other small food joints there. Also, it provided a beautiful view of the Lakshman Jhula. Their menu interested me; so many different varieties of tea:

So after the tea session here, we headed on our way back to Haridwar. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Travelogue Part 3 : Mussoorie

Okay, I know I haven't been writing lately. I've been busy with a lot of things. I better finish this travelogue before it's too late and I get too lazy!

Continued from here.

So, on the 28th of July, we left for Mussoorie from Haridwar on the tour bus we had booked a day before. The entire bus ride from Haridwar to Mussoorie and back plus the tour fee cost us only INR 150! We were supposed to come back the same day. We left at around 8:45 am and our bus was packed with tourists. We got the front seats though! :) Reason being there were a lot of honeymoon couples who obviously preferred being at the back! ;)

Our first halt was at this amusement park called Fun Valley just outside Haridwar which was like a small version of Esselworld. We had to pay 70 INR for a ticket which was actually worth 280 INR. Some discount for the tour bus people! My cousin told me the people (tour organisers) who take us there are paid a commission for every ticket we buy. The rides were all the same and we sat in every one of them- except the water rides of course since we just had one hour there and we hadn't carried any costumes for it.  It was enjoyable nonetheless.We befriended a sweet Delhi family there who was also on the bus with us. They spoke with a strong accent and you could easily tell where they've come from.

My all-time favourite ride

From there, we carried on our way to Mussoorie. It was all getting beautiful as our bus climbed up the ghats. It was getting cooler too. Our next halt was at this Shiva temple on the hill- the only temple where you couldn't donate money. You got plenty of grams and tea as prasad! There were shops outside the temple though where one could buy gemstones and there was a great variety of them! Also, I figured that's where they must be getting the funds from considering the temple is so well maintained, and the idols are adorned beautifully! There were also two shiva-lings made of a special stone called sphatik which looks like a mixture of marble and plastic.

The temple

Shiva-lings made of sphatik

The beautifully adorned idol

Next was Mussoorie city. As we climbed higher, it felt as if we were going to touch the clouds any moment now but the higher we went, we felt the same. The clouds never seemed to come. And before we knew it, we were going THROUGH the clouds!!! That's when I tweeted about literally being on cloud 9 :D A board that read "Pahado ki rani Mussoorie mein aapka swagat hai" welcomed us soon after. As soon as we reached the city, it was a whole different world out there. On our way there, we hardly saw any people and here, there was an entire township! We saw school going children wearing sweaters and going back home. It was a whole different world out there- people, climate everything!

The welcome board. It looked more beautiful from the front angle- amidst the clouds and all that. Captured it a bit late :(

And through the clouds!

We even saw the Himalayas from there and our tour guide told us that China was on the other side. Then the part that I was waiting for finally arrived. I had been tweeting about wearing the Garhwali dress ever since I planned this trip and I got to wear it here:

Me in the Garhwali dress

And that's my cousin Rohini! The dress suits her more, no? :)

The Himalayas - China on the other side! :)

After goofing around some more in the dress, we went exploring the city. White roads, cute chinese-eyed locals and beautiful wooden articles kept for sale everywhere is how I'd sum up those twenty minutes. We then stopped at a dhaba for lunch and got back into the bus soon after.

Our next destination was Kempty falls on our way down the hill between the Dehradun-Mussoorie path. 

Me at Kempty Falls

It was originally called "Camp-Tea"; they say the Britishers used to organise tea parties here. Over the years, it became "Kempty" :D (I just noticed, this is the second place that I visited in the same day that was associated with tea and a tea addict like me should be able to connect with this place soooo well :D). The place was peaceful, there were different levels to the falls and we could use steps to climb higher. They had built a small pond at each level. 

As we went up though, there were people using the ponds like a swimming pool with floating tubes and the like. It looked almost like a mini water park. Thank God they didn't build any water rides there! 

We bought two bhuttas  (maize) and searched for a quiet pond. We finally found one and munched on the bhuttas whilst dipping our bare feet in cold water. After a while though, I spotted a black faced monkey there who was running away after having *just* snatched someone's bhutta and right then, I threw my own bhutta into the pond out of fear! My cousin had finished hers. I really need to learn to start eating early. So anyway, we fled from there and found a safe little corner to video-shoot that naughty bhutta thief:

The video shows the falls and the surrounding area too.

We then hopped into our bus again and resumed our journey. The tour guy asked us if we wanted to stop at this small pond where you could paddle boats. All of us were tired though and just wanted to return to Haridwar. We finally returned to our room at 9:30 pm. A day fruitfully spent!