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Lankawi – A photologue of a protean paradise..

Travel destinations usually have a taste associated to it. Himachal for it hilly serenity, Australia for sea beaches and adventure, Europe for its beauty & monuments,India for its multicoloured ethnic outline and enriching monuments etc…etc.. Very few destinations provide experience of  all tastes and colours of travelling. Lankawi is one protean paradise which holds within almost all travelling experiences one wishes to explore.

For serenity you can laze around on its sublime beaches, for adventure you can explore its hilltops and rain forests or go parasailing. If you love food, you can experience almost all kinds of cuisines on a single street. For shoppers its kinda heaven. Here is a glimpse of the fairyland through my shutter, though its much much more than what i could capture…

 

An ethnic dance group at hotel Meritus Pilangi

A view from sky bridge….

Pitstop on the way to skybridge by cablecar

On the way to mangrove

Ancient limestone cave in mangrove

Strait to the sea

Road back to the nest…

The lankawi landmark

At Berjaya Lankawi resort…

 

Nainital & Mukhteshwar Travel Diary

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Day -1: 19 june nainital & mukhteshwar

Probably the best moment in a trip is the day before you begin. It is all so filled with excitement of new, the chaos of managing things, fear of missing out important stuff at the last moments and of-course the loud quagmire of children running around and adding more to the mess.
We begin our short unplanned trip to nainital tmro morning with intention to visit bhimtal, nainital, mukhteshwar and sattal. We are taking the morning 6pm shatabdi express from new delhi to kathgodham and from there we will take a taxi to Nainital. We stay there for 3 ninght and followed by 2 nights at mukteshwar. Thinking of getting few days of relief from the delhi heat is one motivation which tops the list of reasons for a vacation. Alternatively one can also drive to nainital. For room bookings we have been hearing about airb&b with some good reviews, hence Unlike previous times we booked our room through it. Hopefully it goes well as it sounds. Nainital, bhimtal, ranikhet and mukhteshwar are the locations around which can be explored. For 3 days we are staying in Bhimtal and intend to visist nanital and near vicinity for a day at a time. Mukhteshwar is for two nights.

Have a nice trip…

Day 0: from Delhi to nainital

So nostalgic is the feeling of the station slipping by as the train leaves the platfomr. A gentle jerk,  few heavy clinks here and there and the journey has begun happily bidding adaeu to the platform, the tea wala, sleepy beauties at the window of a train halting at the adjacent platform and our revered RBI governor Mr.Rajan. We had our train at 6am from new delhi railway station and inted to reach kathgodam by 12am, from there a taxi to bhimtal. Delhi kathgodam express is what it is called, the clinks and chunks of a moving train has reduced a bit these days however the indigenous mix of wild shrubs, garbage and sqatting bums stays along..a well begun journey‎. With steam engines being replaced with electric ones I am so missing the chugging noise of an engine along with the clink and clanks from the tracks. As we cruise along the tracks murky suburban is soon replaced by more clean and green
This pic is at a cafe on the way to Bhimtal from kathgodam metro station
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All my copa cup and eufa cup marathon watching dream goes kaput. Nonethless cannot care much. Next plan of action, a subtle lunch followed by a walk around the vicinity and finally ending with cold beer. Logging out for the day….

Our cottage pics: thanks Sheff for arranging a lovely place.

Pindar Cottage

Pindar Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: 21 June

Today we plan to take the local route to nanital from our cottage. One can either take a taxi which ofcourse can be steep at time or just hop and walk. For us it’s a two stop hop, from our cottage a short walk to farsauli, small bus hop to bhowali. From bhowali a shared cab or bus to nanital. Let the March begin….and we scurry back. Guess rain gods are on duty today. Waiting for the drizzil to pass by.  Thank you raingod, finally hopped on to the bus for bhowali. A short adventerous rollercoaster ends well at bhowali. From there begins a enqaully enterprising trip to nailital served with some breathtaking landscape outside and amorous lip gazing at the rear view mirror. Like any other journey this nice trip also ends abruptly at nanital leaving me with sweat and sexy hangover.

Birds eye view of Nainital lake

Birds eye view of Nainital lake

Nainital rondevous begins with a 30mnts boat ride followed by a personalised rowing session. An hour wellspent and A new skill acquired. Nanital besides it’s lake is famous for its Mall road and Tibet market and ofcourse naina temple. The temple which blesses the nanital lake. We the took a cab to nearby visitable points to ‎Himalya view, lakeview, sookhatal, baraftta trekking area, suicide point, khoorpotal.‎ What we missed were

A day well spent….

Day 2: 22nd June

Our second day begins sunny side up promising an active day ahead. Today’s POA is morning visit to kaichi wali baba followed by visit to the less chaotic bhimtal and ending the day with bbq at our cottage. Kaichi dham is baba neem karolis abode a pretty revered soul around this place. There is a famous story which trends around here which goes like this, once baba neem karoli had arranged a feast and a function for to commemorate some significant day. During the preparation his discipiles discoved that they had finished ghee and to cater to the overflowing crowd more ghee was required. The revered baba orderd his disciple to borrow some ghee fro ganga maiya ie the river beside the temple, the desciple went and filled the can with water and during the transit from the river to the temple  water turned into ghee. After the commemoration ceremony  baba ordered his disciples to retunr the ghee to maa gange. They took the can of ghee and during the transit from the temple to the water source the ghee in the can turned into water , the desciple pored the water back into the source. Such is name and fame of baba that internationally acclaimed personalities like Steve jobs visited  his mandir for his blessings. Jobs during his initial days had visit neem karoli baba but was not fortunate enough to meet him personally. Jobs mentee Mark jukerberg is also an enthusiastic follwer of baba neem karoli and had visitedhim in the year 2007. Few basic points about the place;

* It’s called kaichi dham because the name of the place is kaichi
* It’s actually called neeb karoli which is babas colloquial name. I gues no one knows what his real name is but neeb karoli is the name of the village where he belonged to
* Babaji is hanumajis devotee and the temple is actually a hanuman temple established by him and that is where he stayed all his later part of life.
* 15 June is the establishment day, devotees from across the world visit him on this day.

We too are trending the same path and my wife who is also an entrepreneur has decided to follow the path, and I being a meek follower follow my wife all along… Happy women empowerment. Setting aside all my scepticism’s and prejudices against any religions  buildings i loved the peace and comfort it offered. From there we set on for Bhimtal, the second most famous lake in vicinity. On a slightly overcast day i haven’t seen a more beautiful lake..(not that i am a globe trotter..)

Bhimtal on an overcast day...

Bhimtal on an overcast day…

At bhimtal, some zorbrolling followed by a aquarium visit, nice little funtime. For those who have visited aquariums at Singapore or queenlands it would not attract much.

On the way to sattal  through some breathtaking landscape I guess the light drizzel is adding to scenic beauty.  On the way to sattal you would find garudtal, an amazing place without any hustle bustle and an ideal place to camp, swim and do your own stuff. Guess the best among all the tals. BTW a “tal” means lake in hindi.

Day 3: 23 June

Today we go to Mukteshwar which is about 2hours drive from Bhimtal. On the way we plan to take a short break at Ghante wale baba which is again a famous religious point. We plan to start by 12 and reach by 3pm to Mukhteshwar. A fairly cool morning, from last couple of day I can make out that the weather condition in the beginning of the day does not mean the day will stay that way. Rain norain, sun nosun keep your day the way you planned irrespective of the weather. You will enjoy anyway, just keep and umbrella. FYI there are some amazing places where you can do camping all by your self with minimum fuss. There are also commercial camping points where you can visit but the fun of doing thins by yourself will not be there. Mail me if you wish to and I and guide you to those places (umesh.msr@gmail.com)
The temple is also called as ghorakhal temple. “Ghora” is the name of the place, which aslo mean horse in hindi and “Khal” in local language means lake

Some key points:

* This temple was established in 12century ad.
* The temples deity “golu dev” is believed  to be an incarnation of lord shiva. People visit here for their unfulfilled wishes and one they are fulfilled they come back to pay homage either in the form of flower, fruits or a bell. The most practised tradition is giving a Bell as homage.

We begin our voyage further up to mukteshwar. A breathtaking picturesque drive.

Somwhere on the way from Bhimtal to Mukhteshwar

Somewhere on the way from Bhimtal to Mukhteshwar

Day 4; 24th june

Penultimate day, an early morning start to a beautiful day. We plan to trek to hamuna temple at thr mukteshwar hiltop. Met with one of establishers of mukteshwar mandir.

A souvenir pic of babaji at mukteshwar temple……

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What a way to end the day, first a 4km hilly trek from the temple to our hill top hut and then again a village trek of 7km in dense forest with wifey n my babyArisha.  Tea with village folks and for once amidst not cooked but live turkeys and hens. Landed back tired and tested. A bonfire and a constellation filled sky to end the evening. Haven’t seen a clearer sky for as long as I can remember.

 

Day 5: 25th june

A well spent night in the jungle. Looking forward to more such visits. We return back today. Railway station about 70km from mukhteshwar. We have couple of hours serpentine drive from here to the railway station, followed by 6 hours train journey to delhi. ETA to Delhi at about 9pm today. Factoring in unforeseen hurdles and cloudy weather we are starting a bit early ie at 11am. I guess cities messedup life has grown into us over the period, five days of outstation life has left us wanting it back like an addict.

Back to pavilion but with loads of goodwill and memories. I wish i could find as empirical estimate of rural vs urban lifestyles

Keep Smiling...

Keep Smiling…