Category Archives: Travel

Lodhi Art District: Explore Art on Streets.

Something’s fishy here.

Lodhi Art District

Address:  Between Khanna Market and Mehar Chand Market

Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh or INA Metro Station

How to Reach: Take Auto-rikshaw for Lodhi Colony. Buses also ply on this route.

 Opens: 24 Hours

Photography:  Allowed

What’s inside?

Big art, big creations and big ideas are climbing all over Lodhi colony’s walls and we took a detour to it.

Lodhi Art District, India’s first public art district, is a benchmark for rest of India. St+art 2016 grazed new heights as it brought together the first ever public art district in India—Lodhi Art District.

Lodhi Colony has been transitioned by a motley mix of artists. In conjunction with the Swacch Bharat mission, Lodhi Art District sees the intervention of public art and heritage of the city lived in.

Lodhi Art District is where 25 artists painted the walls of the colony and re-invigorated the iconic colony. It focuses on the idea of ‘art for everyone’ with the prime objective of having a positive impact on the society and also reaching out to wider audiences.

This will promote clean cities and Street Art form which is relatively new in India. Lodhi Art District has certainly raised the bar in developing and improving cityscapes with street art. The Public Art District paradigm should be replicated across India. Hope our urbanites are listening!

Why should you visit?

  • Location for photography. Visit if you are good at it.
  • The art and all is only if you like embracing it. The other houses are in shambles.
  • The place is less crowded, not really a place to explore.
  • People usually spend only about an hour here. Visit if you have spare time to walk around the colony as the wall art is spread over different blocks.

Meanwhile on the walls:

Dead Dahlias

Created by Amitabh Kumar, this is what the artist had to say about the work: “This mural is informed by the historical context of the site and the graphic possibilities that it opened. The root of the image is a story. It goes like this—When the Pandava’s lost the first game of dice, they were exiled to Khandavaprastha—the city of ruins.

Krishna, who accompanied them for the exile, did some magic, and overnight Khandavaprastha turned into Indraprastha, The City of Gods. This city is made of magic, which is now crumbling apart. Through this intervention, I’d like the viewer to catch its crumbling pieces and vanish.”

 

Where: Block 10

The Tourist

The inspiration for this wall comes from the social media/smart-phone revolution. While working in Lodhi colony, they observed how a lot of people came daily to click pictures of the murals and the ongoing work of the artists, taking selfies and group shots, or posing for fashion shoots. So the artists decided to turn the wall around on the viewer and comment as a comment on the selfie generation.

Where: Block No. 15

Amma

For his wall in Lodhi Colony, Indian artist Blaise Joseph chose to make the portrait of a mother figure who has diverse manifestations. As mother nature, she is carrying the memories of lost lands- in an urban context, our cities, which are becoming concrete jungles are inhabited by people who are all, in some way, migrants, and hence the concrete jungle reminds them of their own mothers and mother nature represented in forests and agricultural lands, whom they have been compelled to leave behind.

She also represents indigenous communities who are pollinators and can sustain ecological diversity with the knowledge they possess, yet who are forced to be displaced from their homelands.The mother painted in this artwork is in the image of Blaise’s own mother who currently resides in Kerala.

Where: Block No. 10

From your strength, I weave beauty

In Delhi, The Fearless Collective led by Shilo Shiv Suleman collaborated with Sewing New Futures to bring to visibility to communities that have traditionally engaged in prostitution in Najafgarh. Every winter, a thick blanket of fog descends over Delhi, casting everything in a misty invisibility blanket of white. Early in the morning and late at night, the most unrecogniZed inhabitants of the fog emerge. In the soft pink corridors of Lodhi colony, two women sit side by side.

On the left side, an older woman steps out of the mist. A struggle has carved its lines into her face as she navigates the night inside her. On the other side, her daughter pulls this fog out of the dark sky and weaves it into alchemical threads of gold, creating a new future for them both. Fearless.

Where: Block No. 9

Padma

In a mural called Padma, Chifumi blends together the Padma Mudra—a symbolic hand gesture to depict a lotus—and Khmer patterns from Cambodia, where she currently resides. Padma was one of the first artworks that kicked off the Lodhi Art District project.

Where: Block 8

Black girl with hat

NAFIR’s work is influenced by traditional Iranian art and culture and focuses on social issues. He has also worked around themes of Women empowerment in his work, in Iran and across the world.

Where: Block No. 7

Recommendations: Want to see the art? Visit the Lodhi Colony.

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Rajon ki Baoli: Mehrauli Archeological Park

RAJON KI BAOLI

 Address:  Mehrauli Archeological Park, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Qutb Minar

How to Reach: Take auto-rikshaw from Qutb Minar Metro Station

Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

Opens: All weekdays

Cost:  Entry Free

Photography: Allowed

What’s inside?

Rajon Ki Baoli also referred as Rajon ki Bain is a famous picturesque ‘baoli‘ or stepwell near Adham Khan’s Tomb in Mehrauli Archaeological Park of Delhi, India. A hidden subterranean treasure in the wilderness of Mehrauli Archaeological Park, this ‘baoli’ showcases a stone structure built for water; cool & serene under the hot Delhi sun.

The 16th-century Rajon ki baoli or Mason’s stepwell is so named because it was meant to be used by the rajmistries or masons. Located at one end of the Archaeological Park, the greenery and solitude gave the stepwell and the adjoining 12-pillared mosque a perfect ambiance. The inscription on the mosque says that this magnificent three-storeyed step well and these monuments were built by Daulat Khan in 1506 during the reign of Sikandar Lodhi. Obviously, Daulat Khan had built this stepwell keeping in mind the welfare of local people and the mosque for his own spiritual well-being. In the olden days, these baolis supplied drinking water to the area.

With four levels, each narrowing down as one descends towards the well, Rajon ki baoli boasts of a colonnaded arcade running along three sides of the stepwell. The internal rooms of the arcade once provided a cool retreat to passersby. The rectangular shape, symmetrical arches of the arcade, and incised plasterwork only add to the beauty of the stepwell. Alcoves in the walls used for burning lamps suggest that it must have been a place for social, cultural gatherings, a public space frequented even during night times. It is obvious that the baoli must have seen better days when the water-level was just a little below the third level. Today, the well is almost dry and whatever little water can be seen in the shaft below has garbage, dry leaves and plastic pouches floating in it. Despite this, the structure has managed to retain its dignity.

Finding it may get difficult but it is worth the exploration. Not advisable for early morning or evening visits as the anti-social elements are high.

 

Recommendations: Gazing into the giant well and snaking your way down the little staircases around this complex is an unforgettable experience! Do visit.

Rating: 3.5/5

Read Related Post – Jamali Kamali Mosque & Tomb, and Qutb Minar.

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Prasad Nagar Lake, Rajendra Place

Peace amidst chaos!

Prasad Nagar Lake

Address: Prasad Nagar Lake, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, India

Nearest Metro Station: Rajendra Place

Phone: +91 11 332 0005(Tourist Information)

Best time to visit: Morning and Evening

How to reach: Walking distance from Rajendra Place metro station.

Cost: No entry fee

Timings: Open all days. Sunrise to Sunset.

Photography: Allowed

‘coz there’s nobody left, sitting in the water.

Why you should visit: The Prasad Nagar Lake is located in close proximity to the Karol Bagh district in the western part of Old Delhi. It is located in the west Karol Bagh area of Delhi. On a regular evening, you can find most locals residing in the surrounding areas going for their evening walks and enjoying the sunset. The park is home to several trees along with ducks quacking in the lake are a treat to watch. The lush green garden surrounded by shady trees makes it an apt picnic spot for both kids and families. This park is well maintained with its beauty of a Lake being surrounded with walk-away paths which are best for morning/ evening walks. The ducks here are an attraction for the kids feeding them with bread /dough can be a fun. Earlier boating was available at the lake by Delhi tourism but after some accidents, the boats have been taken back from the park. There are swings available at the park but are not in good condition for usage. The lake is nearby Kalindi College, University of Delhi. Students are often seen here as this place is a stress buster for them.

It is mostly known for the music festivals organized at the end of each year at its banks. The Delhi tourist development board also organizes special kayaking and canoeing festivals and training sessions here.

Shallow water is noisy, deep water is silent.

The Sharad Utsav: This Utsav is a much-acclaimed festival of Indian classical music, held every year at Prasad Nagar Lake in Delhi.

Sharad Utsav in Delhi is an annual festival that people of West Delhi look forward to. Organized by the Delhi Tourism Department, this festival showcases some of the finest Indian classical music and dance performances. The festival is organized every year with a view of promoting cultural activities in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Delhi.

Calm above the water, paddling underneath.

The term ‘Sharad’ means winter season, and as the title of the festival suggests, Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake is celebrated each year in the winter season only. During the festival, various cultural activities are organized, including exclusive folk dance performances of Rajasthan. Quite popular among the Fairs and Festivals in Delhi, Sharad Utsav Festival in Delhi attracts a large number of music enthusiasts from far and wide and is also popular among the tourists visiting the city.

An amazing blend of tradition and modernity, New Delhi – The fairs and festivals celebrated in Delhi like the Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake showcases the rich and diverse cultural heritage that the city boasts of.

Time of Celebration of Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake

Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake, Delhi is celebrated every year in the month of December. This year it might happen between 16th December – 23rd December 2016.

Recommendations: You should just go for it.

Rating: 4/5

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Qutb Minar: Ancient Hindu temples converted into mosques

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Couldn’t decipher what these calligraphic inscriptions have to say.

QUTB MINAR

 Address:  Mehrauli, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Qutb Minar

How to Reach: Take auto-rikshaw from Qutb Minar Metro Station

Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

Opens: All weekdays

Cost:  INR 20 (Ticket counter on the opposite road)

Photography: Allowed

Why you should visit:

  •  Must know your history.
  • Crowded on Weekends. Better to visit on Weekdays.
  • Location for photography. This place makes you more photogenic.
  • Big bags not allowed. Cloak room available near Ticket-counter. Charges-INR 20 per bag.

What’s inside?

Qutb Minar, (also spelled Qutub Minar) at 73 meters, is the tallest brick minaret in the world and second highest minar in India after Fateh Burj at Punjab, India. Qutb Minar, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its monuments are a group of religious and funerary buildings that display the architectural and artistic achievements of Early Islamic India. They are located in Mehrauli, South Delhi.

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Tall monuments breathe

The untold story: The entire Qutb complex is actually built by Maharaja Vikramaditya of Ujjain, the tower is known to have been erected to celebrate the victory of the great emperor Vikramaditya over the lands now called as Arab lands. They have known to celebrate the beginning of the Vedic way of life. (Adapted by Page 315 Sayar-ul-okul).

The township adjoining the Qutub Minar is known as Mehrauli. That is a Sanskrit word Mihira-awali. It signifies the town- ship where the well-known astronomer Mihira of Vikramaditya’s court lived along with his helpers, mathematicians, and technicians. They used the so-called Qutb tower as an observation post for astronomical study. Around the tower were pavilions dedicated to the 27 constellations of the Hindu Zodiac.

Qutub-ud-din has left us an inscription that he destroyed these pavilions. But he has not said that he raised any tower. The ravaged temple was renamed as Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque.

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Peeping around the doorframe

The Hindu title of the tower was Vishnu Dhwaj (i.e. Vishnu’s standard) alias Vishnu Stambh alias Dhruv Stambh (i.e., a polar pillar) obviously connoting an astronomical observation tower. The Sanskrit inscription in Brahmi script on the non-rusting iron pillar close by proclaims that the lofty standard of Vishnu was raised on the hillock named Vishnupad Giri. That description indicates that a statue of the reclining Vishnu initiating the creation was consecrated in the central shrine there which was ravaged by Mohammad Ghori and his henchman Qutub-ud-din. The pillar was raised at the command of an ancient Hindu king who had made great conquests in the East and the West.

The iron pillar was the Garud Dhwaj alias Garud Stambh, i.e, the sentinel post of the Vishnu temple.

The minar was built on the ruins of the Lal Kot, the Red Citadel in the city of Dhillika. Lal Kot is the first of seven cities of Delhi established by the Tomar Rajput ruler, Anangpal in 1060.  Anangpal Tomar was the first ruler to make ancient Delhi his capital. The Qutub complex lies in the middle of the eastern part of Lal Kot.

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Isn’t our nature free talk to these monuments?

Construction of the might of Islam convocational mosque began in A.D. 1193 by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, completed in A.D. 1197 using the demolished remains of Hindu temples.  It was enlarged by Iltutmish and again by Alauddin Khilji. It’s the earliest mosque built by the Delhi sultans. Iltutmish erected a massive stone tower of the lofty five arches which imparted Islamic character to the building. The artists employed by Aibak and Iltutmish were Hindus and the raw material was also obtained by the existing Hindu and Jain temples. The figures carved on the pillars were disfigured by them because the depiction of human and animal figures isn’t allowed in Islam.

Architecture: Qutb Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments, which are historically connected with the tower and are part of the Qutb complex. These include the Iron Pillar of Delhi, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza, the Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Minar, Ala-ud-din’s Madrasa and Tomb, and the Tomb of Imam Zamin. Other minor monuments include Major Smith’s Cupola and Sanderson’s Sundial.

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Unearthed remains of a very early date.

Qutb Minar is the second highest tomb tower as well as the finest Islamic structures ever raised in India. The Qutb Minar is built of red and buff sandstone blocks rising to a height of 73 meters, tapering 3 meters of an amateur at the top to 14 meters of the base, making it the highest tom tower in India. It has 379 steps to get to the top. In its present form, it consists of five storeys. Each storey is separated from the next by highly decorated balconies carrying Muqarnas corbels. These storeys were replaced, repaired and rebuilt by the rulers of their times.

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Calligraphy on Qutb Minar as seen from bottom up
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Iron Pillar

The Iron Pillar: The nearby Iron Pillar from Gupta empire is a metallurgical curiosity. The pillar standing in the Qutb complex has Brahmic inscriptions on it describing the exploits of the ruler named Chandra, believing the Gupta King – Chandragupta II and it predates the Islamic minar. The Iron Pillar in the mosque compound was brought from elsewhere in India. The Iron pillar is 7 meters in length, I meter there’s been below ground. Cast in approximately the 3rd century B.C., the six and a half ton pillar, over two millennia has resisted all rust, is the largest hand forged block of iron from antiquity.

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Qutb Minar view from Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Accident: Before 1974, the general public was allowed access to the top of the minar accessed through a narrow staircase. On 4 December 1981, 45 people were killed in the stampede and there were 300 to 400 people inside the minar at that time that followed an electricity failure that plunged the tower’s staircase into darkness. Most of the victims were children because at the time school children were allowed free access to historical monuments on Fridays. Subsequently, public access to the inside of the tower has been stopped.

Still want to know how it looks from inside? 

Watch very famous Dev Anand and Nutan’s song – Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar‘ . Bollywood actor and director Dev Anand wanted to shoot the song “Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar” from his film Tere Ghar Ke Samne inside the Minar. However, the cameras in that era were too big to fit inside the tower’s narrow passage, and therefore the song was shot inside a replica of the tower.

Qutb Minar is nearby Mehrauli Archeological Park. A recently launched start-up in collaboration with Archaeological survey of India has made a 360o walkthrough of Qutb Minar available. Read related post – http://tangledtourista.com/jamali-kamali-mosque/

 KNOW YOUR HISTORY INDIA!

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Jamali Kamali’s Mosque: Mehrauli Archeological Park

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Jamali Kamali’s Mosque & Tomb

Address:  Mehrauli Archeological Park, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Qutub Minar

How to Reach: Take auto-rikshaw from Qutub Minar Metro Station

Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

Opens: All weekdays

Cost:  Entry Free

Photography: Allowed

What’s inside?

As you take a leisurely walk in the sandstone tracks of the Mehrauli Archeological Park in Delhi, less than half a Kilometer from the renowned Qutub Minar, you’ll find yourself in the premises of the abandoned forgotten mosque. You would’ve reached the Jamali Kamali’s Mosque. This architectural structure comprises of two monuments. One being the mosque and the other being the tomb of two people who go by the name Jamali and Kamali.

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The mosque brings to life the grand Mughal architecture style with high ceilings and intricate designs. Built in 1528-29, it is claimed to be a forerunner in the designs of Mughal mosque architecture in India. Notably, the Mughal style jharokha system that was missing from earlier monuments.

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Jamali which means beauty and positivity are the alias of the Sufi saint Shaikh Hamid bin Fazlullah, who was also known as Shaikh Jamaluddin Kamboh Dehlwi, Shaikh Jamali Kamboh, or Jalal Khan. The poor saint had a prodigious life. His poetry landed him a place in the courts of Sikandar Lodhi. He lived through the famous battle of Panipat, 1526. Had a place in Babar’s court and died during the lifetime of Humayun. It is said that it was Humayun himself who had the tomb built after Jamali’s death in 1535. It took a whole year to make the mosque, from 1528-1529, during the reign of Humayun.

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Jamali Kamali’s Tomb on the other side of the door.

Who Kamali was? Remains a tantalizing mystery.

Some say he was a disciple, brother or servant of Jamali. American author, Karen Chase, in her book Jamali-Kamali: A tale of passion in Mughal India, mentions that they were both homosexual partners. A few others believe that Kamali was the beloved wife of Jamali.

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The place also attracts some adventurous ghost busters as there have been tales of inexplicable phenomena including Iris sounds and sighting of parishes.

There is no entry fee here, and one can see kids playing and elderly people taking a walk in the park surrounding the monuments. Approachable from all parts of Delhi. This place is a haunted one and not at all safe after the evening.

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So, all you history buffs and those looking for a new muse. Jamali-Kamali is the place to visit.

Take a closer view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny239RYa7kE

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Mc Leod Ganj – The best travel guide

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Mc Leod Ganj – Little Lhasa

State: Himachal Pradesh

District: Kangra

Elevation: 2,082 m (6831 ft)

PIN: 176219

Telephone code: 01892

How to reach:

By Air – The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport, 15 km from Dharamshala.

By Rail – The nearest railway stations on the narrow-gauge Kangra Valley Railway line are at Kangra and Nagrota (about 20 km south of Dharamshala). The nearest railhead (broad gauge) is at Pathankot (85 km).

By Road – There are many buses from Delhi to McLeod Ganj every day, or take a taxi. Most of the buses leave from Majnu ka Tilla, the Tibetan camp, and many other points in Delhi. Delhi – McLeod Ganj bus ticket costs 650 Rs or Rs 1,200 approximately for Volvo A/C bus.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Mcleodganj is during the months of September to June. It is better to avoid July and August due to the heavy rainfall Mcleodganj receives.The monsoon (late June to early September) is particularly wet here, and warm clothes are needed between November and March. Winters (October to February) are chilly and snowfall is common in December and January. Many shops and businesses close on Monday.

Where to eat: There are numerous restaurants in Mcleod Ganj offering Indian as well as international cuisines on Jogiwara Road serving Tibetan snacks like momos, thupkas, and tingmo. You will mainly find Momos, Maggie and omelet in all the stalls on the trek. For Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisines, bars and cafés visit Jogiwara Road (Main Square). Restaurants are generally open from 8 am to 10 pm. But in the off-season (i.e. September to November) all the restaurants and food cafes get closed around 8.

Where to stay: There are numerous options of accommodations available. We landed at the Pink House hotel, Opposite Yongling School, Jogiwara Road.

Pink House 

It’s an amazing hotel if you are prepared to walk down & climb up the stairs. Creatively done interiors and the superior room offers amazing views of the hills as each room comes with a balcony. Wall art right from the entrance up to the reception is a treat to the eyes. Cooperative staff, amazing view from the rooms & good food is all you need, and you surely get that. They take care of your entire needs. The roof top cafe filled with books and games offers good food. They also provide tour packages. This hotel offers everything you’d want on a trip.

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Places to visit:

Tsug la Khang: Dalai Lama’s Temple

The temple is located a short walk down the hill from the main square at the center of town. Cameras and phones must be left at a counter before the temple entrance.

Tsug la Khang, The Dalai Lama’s temple, is the life-blood of the village. Tsuglagkhang is the place where the Dalai Lama resides. The Dalai Lama’s residence and administrative offices are adjacent to the monastery. It houses the Namgyal Monastery and shrine rooms.The largest shrine contains a huge gilded statue of the Buddha, along with two smaller statues of Chenresig and Guru Rinpoche. The central image is a gilded statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha (the name refers to the Buddha’s birthplace Sakya).  Parts of these statues were brought at great sacrifice from Tibet.

The temple is always busy. Services are held daily and are attended by lamas, monks, and nuns. In the shrine, you might come across a group of monks building an intricate sand mandala, and outside in the courtyard on Thursdays, monks debate Buddhist philosophy. Around the temple hill there is a long meditation trail — LingKhor — with small shrines, stupas, and a massive Chorten. The shrines near the Chorten are always covered in thousands of prayer flags placed by devotees.

If you are lucky, you might get to meet the Dalai Lama.

McLeod Ganj
Tsung La Khang Temple
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Prayer Wheels

Triund Hill

Yahi wo pahadi hai jisne hamari faadi thi ” 😉

Triund is a 9,000-foot ridge behind the Dhauladhar range and is the goal of a popular nine-kilometre trek for a day or overnight stay. Food is available at tea shops on the way and at the top. But it is always safer to carry one’s own food and drink, just in case you reach there to find the tea shops closed. There is a Forest Rest House atop the ridge, which can be booked through Himachal Tourist Office in Kotwali Bazaar. The trail begins from Tushita Road above the main square.

The starting point of the triund trek is Galu, however, there are many options to reach galu. Either you can hire a taxi from Mcleod Ganj till galu or you can start the trek right from Mcleod Ganj. Trek can also be started from Bhagsu Nag. From galu, there is an unambiguous byway which goes through a beautiful forest of oak, deodar, and rhododendron.

Difficulty Level: High (Overheard people saying – Daru ki jagah protein lana chahiye the” 😉)

A trek to Triund is NOT short and simple. It can be done from either McLeodganj or Dharamkot, which is 2km ahead of McLeodganj. The first half of the trek is a gradually inclined walk with the last 2km from Snowline Café which involves a vertical climb all the way till Triund. The evening sky from Triund is a sight in itself and is a good excuse for camping here at night. Triund offers scintillating views of the Dhauladhar range. Travelling and transport in the hilly region are quite difficult. Mules are still used as means of as transport. Don’t forget to wear proper gripping shoes and carry enough water.

Triund is comfortable for the most part of the year except for when the byway to triund is cut off by heavy snowfall in the months of January and February. The best time for trekking is from March until May in the first part of the year and September till December in the second half of the year. Though it is rainy in June and July but still trekking is possible, the meadow is lush green presenting out of this world vista.

Shorter way to Triund
Shorter way to Triund
Tushita Meditation Centre
Tushita Meditation Centre
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Galu Devi Temple
Magic View Point
Magic View Point

You need to book your travel guide, camp and overnight stay at Triund. We had our Triund travel guide from Babu Ko-Adventures. It can cost you around INR 1800 per person. (Inclusive of cooked food at uphill)

Things to carry on a trek:

  • Daypack to carry water bottle and packed lunch
  • Personal clothing: T-shirts, loose trousers, woolens
  • Raincoat in case of rain
  • Sports shoes
  • Flip-flops
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, cap
  • Small torch
  • Personal medicines
  • Paper soap
  • Power bank
  • Camera
  • Should not carry all the luggage to Triund
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Triund Hikes
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Temple at Triund
Temple at Triund
Temple at Triund
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Camping under the northern lights

St. John in the Wilderness

The church is about 2 km from McLeod Ganj, towards Forsythe Ganj. This brooding Gothic church (dating from 1852) is one of the few remaining traces of McLeod’s days as a British hill station. It’s open on Sunday mornings for a weekly 10 am service. The cemetery contains the graves of many victims of the 1905 earthquake, as well as the rocket-like tomb of the Earl of Elgin, the second Viceroy of India.

This small, neo-Gothic style Anglican Church, dedicated to John the Baptist, was built in 1852. The church is known for its Belgian stained-glass windows painted by an Italian artist. In the 1905 earthquake, the belfry of the church was completely destroyed. However, the rest of the building escaped damage. A new bell, weighing 600 kg and made of 9 different metals, was built in England in 1915 and installed outside in the compound of the church. The church witnessed a special event in 1992 when visitors from 39 countries participated in a service there.

The church is situated in a deodar grove, and there is a small graveyard on the grounds. Behind the church is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, who was Governor- General & Viceroy of India in 1861 during the British Raj, and died in McLeod Ganj on 20 November 1863.

St. John's Church
St. John’s Church
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St. John’s Church
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St. John’s Church
Bell at St. John's Church
Bell at St. John’s Church
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History of St. John’s Church

Bhagsunath Temple

Bhagsunath Temple is in Bhagsu village, three km from McLeod Ganj. It’s a tranquil medieval temple, with plentiful pools around, considered sacred by Hindu devotees. It is a significant place of worship and spirituality and at the same time, one of the most popular and visited spots in the area. The pools around this temple are believed to be sacred and contain miraculous powers of healing. The temple was built by King Bhagsu and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Bhagsunag Temple
Bhagsunag Temple
Story of Bhagsunag Temple
Story of Bhagsunag Temple
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Waterpool at Bhagsunag Temple
Gorkha Rifles at Bhagsunag Temple
Gorkha Rifles at Bhagsunag Temple

No Name Cafe

Find it on your way to Bhagsunag Waterfall. Serves brilliant tea, Maggie, and Momos with lip-smacking sauce. Would have stolen some from their store.

No Name Cafe
No Name Cafe
No Name Cafe
No Name Cafe
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Momos at No Name Cafe

Bhagsu Waterfall

The waterfall is about 500 meters behind Bhagsunath Temple. Set amidst lush greenery and dreamy sceneries in a pristine atmosphere, these falls have much grandeur and breathtaking beauty. While in McLeod Ganj, they should not be missed. Trekking is also an enjoyable option here. There are also a few cafes near this region where tourists can find light refreshments. During monsoon, the Bhagsu Waterfall turns into a 30-foot cascade. It is a good spot for picnics and recreation.

Highlight: yahan par hukkah bhi milta hai

Bhagsunag Waterfall
Bhagsunag Waterfall
Bhagsunag Waterfall
Bhagsunag Waterfall
Rainbow at Bhagsunag Waterfall
Rainbow at Bhagsunag Waterfall

Shiva café

If you climb your way up from Bhagsu Nath Falls, you will stumble across a beautiful bucolic cafe hidden in the mountains. The cafe, made with stones, looks like a beautiful mountain hut. The ambiance is a sheer hippie with gypsy-inspired motifs all around and needless to say speaks of Lord Shiva to its core. This cafe is above the waterfall. It’s not the cafe which is beside the waterfall. Reaching here is a task; you probably need to hike another few minutes to reach there. The outside seating is absolutely serene and breathtaking.

The food was not so good; nothing unusual, special or exciting. Food served was incompetent and flavorless dishes. The quantity on each dish was unpleasantly moderate. So great are it’s culinary misfires.”It’s not every restaurant that gives you something to think about on your way home”.

Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
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Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
Shiva Cafe
View at Shiva Cafe
View at Shiva Cafe

Main Square: City shopping

The Jogiwara Road or the Main Square is where you can get a lot of options available to shop. Shops are stocked with various kinds of souvenirs including the famous Tibetan carpets. Many traditional Tibetan artifacts can be found in Dharamsala such as jewelry and trinkets, woolen shawls, prayer flags, prayer wheels, Tangkha and Mandala paintings or musical instruments like the Tibetan Singing Bowl. It is also famous for the Buddhist handicrafts, garments, and Thangkas. You can just enjoy Virtual cinema in this market and visit the bookshops, cafés, and museums. Shops remain open from 8:30 am to 8 pm. For authentic hand-woven Tibetan carpets, go to Tibetan Handicrafts Cooperative Center on Jogiwara Road.  Bargaining is acceptable in most of the shops here.

City Shopping Market, Jogiwara Road
City Shopping Market, Jogiwara Road
City Shopping Market, Jogiwara Road
City Shopping Market, Jogiwara Road
Save the Nature
Save the Nature

Add these to itinerary if you plan to meet the blue skies and snow-clad Himalayan mountains.

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The Ultimate Roadtrip Playlist

play-on-the-road

Hit the r0ad with the ultimate roadtrip playlist of amazing songs best for a road trip ! 🚗💨🔊🎶

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Diwali Melas – New Delhi: “No crackers, Only awesomeness!”

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Here is the Melas which would make your Diwali special. These Diwali Melas have so much to offer.

Dilli Haat

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Dilli Haat is an upgraded version of the traditional weekly market, offering a delightful amalgam of craft bazaar and food joints located in Delhi, run by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC). Unlike the traditional weekly market, the village Haat, Dilli Haat is permanent. There are three Dilli haats: INA, Pitampura, and Janakpuri.

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Dilli Haat is considered as the brainchild of the tourist development in Delhi. It was established to encourage arts and crafts in India. You can enjoy shopping several ethnic products as well as increase your taste buds by having several dishes and snacks in food plaza served at reasonable rates under a single roof.

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Dilli Haat also organizes and conducts Diwali Melas. These melas are known for their fun-filled and lively atmosphere. These Diwali Melas are treasure houses of Indian culture, handicrafts, and ethnic cuisine. The unique bazaars, in the heart of the city, display the richness of Indian culture. While the village haat is a mobile, flexible arrangement, here it is craftspersons who are mobile. It boasts off craft stalls selling native, utilitarian and ethnic products from all over the country. It is not just a marketplace; it has been visualized as a showpiece of traditional Indian culture – a forum where rural life and folk art are brought closer to an urban clientele.

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The handicrafts offered here are commendable as it includes sandalwood and rosewood carvings, brass ware products, metalware, jewelry made from gems, camel hide footwear etc. The colorful earthen diyas and beautiful decorative materials add a unique charm to the mela. Dance performances to cultural events; decorative items stalls to accessories and home décor items; traditional imitation jewelry and hand-painted trays for great Diwali gifts are the attractions of the melas. This Diwali Mela is also a hit for its food stalls which offer cuisines from different states of India.

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This Diwali Mela is also a hit for its food stalls which offer cuisines from different states of India. Dilli Haat covers a big area and it serves a single destination to shop for art and craft products as well as delicious dishes along with cultural activities conducted here. It also offers separate playing ground or place for children. The food offered here is neatly and hygienically cooked.

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The best time to visit the place is during evening time as the haat gets glittered with the lights, which increases the charm of the village and even you can enjoy the diversity that is offered in Indian culture.

 

DILLI HAAT – INA

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Address: INA, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: INA

How to Reach: INA Market is accessed through INA underground station of Delhi Metro, which opened in 2010

Timings: 10:30 am to 10 pm.

Opens: Seven days a week

Cost:  Indian nationals for adults – INR 30 entry fee, children – INR10; Foreigners – INR. 60.

Photography: Allowed

What’s inside?

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The vibrant, colorful India presented in the form of beautiful handicrafts. Each nook and corner of India are covered by each representing state’s shop over here. Handlooms, paintings, woodworks, idols, earthen pots and all sorts of hand-made items are available here. It is an open air market with brickworks for structures so avoid it in the summer afternoons as it can get very hot.

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You can also savor the inimitable flavors of the delightful local foods from the various regions of India be it the momos from Sikkim or the Bamboos hot chicken from Nagaland, Kahwa & Kebabs from Jammu, Pooranpoli from Maharashtra or the Gujarati Dhokla. The food stalls offer you a variety of foods served in an Eco-friendly manner. It provides the ambiance of a traditional Rural Haat or village market, but one suited for more contemporary needs. Here one sees a synthesis of crafts, food, and cultural activity.  Food stalls are amazing; do try fried momos at Sikkim stall.

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DILLI HAAT – PITAMPURA

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Address: Pitampura, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: NSP (Netaji Subhash Place)

How to Reach: Dilli Haat, Pitampura is serviced by Netaji Subhash Place Metro Station. It is situated on Ring Road near AIIMS. From NDLS Rly station you can reach by Delhi Metro. From Delhi Airport You can reach by bus crossing AIIMS.

Timings: 11 am to 10 pm.

Opens: Seven days a week

Cost: Indian nationals for adults – INR 30 entry fee, children – INR10; Foreigners – INR. 60.

Photography: Allowed

What’s inside?

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This Haat’s Diwali Mela offers a crisp and contemporary feel, ready to celebrate the shades moods, events, legends, and festivities of Diwali. Dilli Haat Pitampura is located on a strategic point that is easily accessible from various centers in the city. The Haat has 108 craft stalls, exhibitions, performing art, music and dance show. The fabulous concept of the Haat at an excellent location, just near the Netaji Subhash Place Metro Station is a boon for Art and Craft lovers among Delhiites.

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DILLI HAAT – JANAKPURI 

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Address: Janakpuri, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Janakpuri East

How to Reach: Janak Puri is in West Delhi. The best way to reach there is by taking metro till Janak Puri East station and from there you can either take metro shuttles or an auto rickshaw to Dilli Haat.

Timings: 10:30 am to 10 pm.

Opens: Seven days a week

Cost:  Indian nationals for adults – INR 20 entry fee, children – INR10; Foreigners – INR. 60.

Photography: Allowed

What’s inside?

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DHJP is more spacious than the other two Dilli Haats which are at INA and Pitampura. The Diwali Mela stalls showcase ethnic and exotic products and materials exclusive to India. There are endless shopping opportunities for the visitors as it brings India’s old rural tradition of open market space to contemporary and modern Delhi. Dilli Haat Diwali Mela, Janakpuri gives ample opportunity for food lovers to savor delectable lip smacking food as there are 14 food stalls set up where one will be able to savor the flavors from across the country and 15 food stalls serving cuisines from around the world. This Haat in West Delhi not only encourages art and culture but is also a one stop destination for various cultural events.

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Recommendations: These complexes are not only artistic but also recreational in nature for the entire family. These are places where one can unwind in the evening and relish a wide variety of cuisine without paying the exorbitant rates. Step inside the complex for an altogether delightful experience by either buying inimitable ethnic wares, savoring the delicacies of different states or by simply relaxing in the evening with the entire family.

 

Overall, INA Dilli Haat is the best amongst all.

Don’t just read.

Go see! Light up your festive season.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Durgotsava : Delhi looks like Mini-Bengal ! Plan your Durga Puja pandal visit here.

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Durga Puja

Another name: Akaal Bodhan

Observed by: Bengali

Begins: Sixth day of Ashwin Shukla Paksha

Ends: Tenth day of Ashwin Shukla Paksha

Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomizes the victory of Good over Evil. In Bengal, Durga is worshiped as Durgotinashini, the destroyer of evil and the protector of her devotees.

The festival is celebrated with family and other social gatherings, shopping and gift-giving, feasting, pandal-visiting, lighting decorations, cultural dance, idol immersion, Ceremonial worship of goddess Durga, temple services, etc. Bengali married women participate in Sindur Khela, smearing of the vermilion on Durga Puja’s last day.

Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted sculptures (murti) of Durga. Pandals and sculptures inspired by a particular theme have been the hallmark of many communities or Sarbajanin Pujas since the 1990s. Puja committees decide on a particular theme, whose elements are incorporated into the pandal and the sculptures. The design and decoration had usually been done by art and architecture students based in the city. The budget required for such theme-based pujas is often higher than traditional pujas. They attract crowds and are well received.

As we soak in the festivities of Durga Puja, Bengalis in Delhi feel at home in parts of the capital. Here, We are acquainting you to the two beautiful Durga Puja pandals in Delhi.

 

Jute Durga idol

Location: Near Aaram Bagh, Panchkuian Road

Nearest Metro Station: R K Ashram Marg

Entry: Free
Photography: Allowed

Organized by: Arambagh Puja Samiti

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Arambagh Durga idol

The Arambag Durga Puja is one of the big budget Pujas in Delhi. Arambagh Puja Samiti here has designed the pandal on the theme, “In Search of Roots” for which they have procured a “small” jute idol of the Indian Goddess from Purulia in West Bengal. “This Durga idol from West Bengal, will be preserved in a museum after the puja,” says Abhijit Bose, Executive Chairman of Arambagh Puja Samiti. The idol has been designed by Gouranga Kuila, a Bengal-based artist who received the National Award for handicrafts in 2002.

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decor @arambagh
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decor@ Aram bagh

The pandal has been richly decorated with traditional artworks including Madhubani paintings adorning the walls. Innovative murals in betel nut skins render an element of Bengali authenticity to the celebrations. On all four sides of the pandal are images that narrate the episode of Ram’s Akal Bodhan to Goddess Durga from the Hindu epic “Ramayana”. The 45-feet gate of the pandal is in the form of a tribal woman holding a ‘diya’ in her hands, symbolic of the way of life in Purulia.

decor @arambagh

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drums for cultural dance @ arambagh

Though the ceremonies start from 8 PM to 12 PM, but you can visit the pandal at day time also.

 

Kali bari

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Durga pandal @ kalibari

Location: Near Gole Market, Mandir Marg, CP

Nearest Metro Station: R K Ashram Marg

Entry: Free
Photography: Allowed

Organized by: Abasan Durga Puja Samiti

The temple is located on the Mandir Marg, situated west of Connaught Place in New Delhi. The temple is easily accessible from the city by local buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws. Nearest Delhi Metro station is R.K.Ashram Marg, located about 2 km away. The Kali Bari, Mandir Marg Durga Puja is one of the oldest one in Delhi, dating back to 1925. The puja celebration at Kali Bari is traditional in feel. You will find traditional ekchalar thakur (single frame for idols) and sholar kaaj. Interestingly, the puja rituals too have remained unchanged since 1936. The traditional competitions in Rabindra sangeet and recitation are still organized during the puja.

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decor @ kalibari

The puja celebrations will also recreate mini-Kolkata with food and festivity galore. Popular performing traditions from Bengal such as Baul, Chou, Gambhira, Yatra, and Kavigaan will be part of the cultural program, besides specialized artisans in ‘Dokra’ and ‘Poktkatha’ performing live on the occasion. The puja samiti attracts thousands of people every year through its grandeur in decoration and big budget pandals. Among all the puja celebrations in the Capital, this one is the most popular for its dhaaki (dholak) performances.

You wouldn’t be able to put your eyes off the Kali idol in the temple. It’s so prepossessing.

Recommendations: Must visit these pandals as the idol makers are creating the ‘Creator’ in various Indian themes.

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National Rail Museum – There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, it’s a TRAIN.

Ticket Counter @ National Rail Museum

National Rail Museum

Address: Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: AIIMS

Phone: 26881816, 26880939

 

Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Closed: Monday

Cost: INR 20 entry fee and INR 20 extra for toy train ride.

Photography: Allowed

Guide Map @ National Rail Museum

What’s inside?

The National Rail Museum is a tribute to the Railway Heritage of India. This is a fantastic place to visit and enhance your knowledge. This museum has a fascinating and exotic collection of exhibits of rails. The mystic world of trains unfolds its magic in a sprawling campus right in the middle of the city. You cannot ask for a better place to let the kids enjoy and also ‘touch-and-feel’ locomotives. (Flip-side – it is an open place, so it may be too draining on a hot summer day)

This unique museum has a fascinating and exotic collection of over 100 real size exhibits of Indian Railways. Static and working models, signaling equipment, antique furniture, historical photographs and related literature, etc. are displayed in the museum. The line-up of old coaches includes the rare steam- locomotives; one can peer in through the windows for a good look.

The display inside is broadly divided into the actual display of railway coaches and engines displayed outside and the museum having miniature displays. The entrance ticket you buy gives you access to this. Sadly, some of the interactive displays may not work.

Locomotive @ National Rail Museum

The collection of locomotives is good and the information placards are also good. Good place for history – to learn the evolution of Indian railways. Especially the facts about princely states before partition. The railway engines and bogies on display outside are very old vintages and uses. Though the dates and historical vintage of the engines and bogies is not marked, one can make it out. The coach designs and fabrication are to be looked at and imagined.

Though prohibited and discouraged with the threat of a fine, do get inside the steam engines and coaches just to have a look at the vintage technology.

 

The entrance ticket you buy gives you an entry into the main building which throws light on the history of railways explained with help of various miniature models and interactive displays, manual as well as visual displays.

There is a toy train inside which costs INR 20 a ticket and is absolutely a must; you can buy the extra ticket at the entrance or at the beginning of the ride. Had a ride in the train which takes you to see the whole museum. The rail track is approximately one foot wide i.e. 12 inches. It entails a model of an engine and about six very small bogies. You get to sit on these bogies and then it takes you to the museum at a snail’s pace.

Picture Gallery is awesome depicting Indian railways history, present, and future. There is a small shop near picture gallery. Prices start from ₹20 to ₹2000. You can get Indian railways badges key rings, T-shirt, antique items etc.

Fountains @ National Rail Museum

Do not bring eatables inside as they are not allowed. However, snacks like packaged chips etc are ok. There is a snack cafe inside offering water, Pepsi, etc. There are snacks, ice cream kiosks of well-known brands available in the parking outside the main gate also.

Service: Found the staff very positive and helpful.

Ambiance: Ample parking, good food-stalls, enough space for kids to run around. And don’t forget to take your cameras along to click those beauties.

Experience: ‘Awesome’ is the word for the experience.

Recommendations: A great place for Train Lovers. Good for those who are interested in knowing the evolution of rails. Entertaining, informative and a good educational place for children. Fun place for people of all ages to hang out.

Ratings: 4/5

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