Travel

Sunsets That Made Me Sway

Sunset brings with itself melting emotions of bygone days;

Golden days that make you sway to an unheard tune;

Tunes those were once the songs we hummed;

With our fingers intertwined only to watch it give way to night;

Those sunsets were different than the sunsets of today;

Sunset was an emotion then, it is just another evening today;

Each sunset was then captured in the eyes and saved in our souls;

Today I capture it with my camera to praise it as nature’s galore;

Sunset is an emotion, I remind myself again;

Lost in its beauty, I go down the memory lane.

Jallianwala Bagh Through My Lens

Jallianwala Bagh, a place that witnessed the worst massacre on April 13, 1919. If you’ll visit the place you will realise the agony which the masses had undergone with no escape at all.

They were shot dead by the British Indian Army on the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.

Pic 1 – The only entrance and exit the place has, which led to thousands of people entering the garden for a gathering. Who knew they would never exit the place

Pic 2 – The narrow lane of the corridor which could not allow people in such large numbers to exit and save their lives

Pic 3 – Windows of rot iron where the army men climbed to point their guns towards the unarmed Indian public

Pic 4 – Now, there’s a pyramid like stone, kept to depict the spot from where gunmen shot thousands of bullets in all directions. They horrifically killed masses which included men, women and kids

Pic 5 – The wall which has many bullet marks safeguarded till date

Pic 6 – The well which engulfed many bodies of people who jumped in it as an only option to save themselves, but unfortunately could not

Pic 7 – Granite stones mounted on a wall with history etched on them in golden ink in languages – English, Gurmukhi, Hindi

Pic 8 – Flame shaped memorial in the memory of the tragic incident and those who lost lives

Winston Churchill called the 1919 massacre of Indian protesters “monstrous.” Queen Elizabeth said it was “distressing.” Prime Minister David Cameron went with “deeply shameful.”

However, none of the Britain officially ever apologised for the grave mishap.

I’m deeply touched with the incident and whenever I think of it, the flash of incident appears before my eyes as if I was present there.

On this day, I take the opportunity to pay my tribute to thousands of families who lost their loved ones and the souls who battled till their last breath for survival. Jai Hind!!

Kamakhya Devi temple, Guwahati

Northeast Vol. 1 | Guwahati A Welcoming City of Ancient Temples on the Bank of Brahmaputra

It would not be fair to say that Guwahati was never in my wishlist, but certainly not on top, since I expected it to be yet another city. It remained such until I decided to visit Meghalaya and started checking for flights; I researched more on it. As rightly said, Guwahati is an entry point, a vanguard to the rest of the northeast of India and thankfully, I did visit this progressive city which has got some beautiful touristic destinations and especially the temples that make for a pleasant sight.

I covered the aerial distance of approximately 1400 km, travelling from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati; approximately 2 hrs. and 30 mins. journey. You’ll not see much scenic beauty while landing but do not get disappointed as Guwahati withholds multiple layers that it unfolds the more you spend time here. I wanted to start my journey from Guwahati because of the much famous Kamakhya Devi Temple.

Kamakhya Devi Temple in Guwahati, Assam is known for its Black Magic Art and Tantrism.

The Kamakhya Devi Temple is an ancient and renowned Hindu temple and is one of the oldest of 51 Shakti Pithas. Situated on Nilanchal Hills, the temple witnesses thousands of pilgrims and devotees daily. Its construction dates back to the 8th-17th century and it is said that the temple has undergone renovation a couple of times. Though the temple holds its significance because of its Black Magic and Tantrism, there’s an air of tranquil and positivity in the ambiance in and around this temple. Devotees visit this temple with a lot of faith which is seen when they patiently wait for their turn in endless queues for hours. These queues are to reach to the kund, believed to have dropped Goddess genital parts after she chose to become Sati and burn herself in a pyre. India, as we all know, is a land of rich culture and heritage and has lots of interesting and mystique stories from the historical period and this is one of them. One disturbing yet important activity is the animal sacrifice within the temple complex that happens on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, as every religion and culture have a story of its own, this is one of those. You may hold faith or just visit this temple to learn about its architecture, beautiful surroundings, management of thousands of devotees; certainly, there are multiple reasons not to miss visiting the Kamakhya Devi Temple if you are staying at Guwahati or nearby destinations. Best time to visit is 6.00 AM or even early. The temple’s visiting hours are 6.00 AM – 6.00 PM, however, to avoid the long queues one must visit at the earliest.  

Basisth Temple dates back to Vedic age and is built on Saint Vasistha’s Ashram

Basisth Temple or Vasistha Temple as one would like to call this saffron colour nicely built temple at the outskirts of Guwahati in a small town of Beltola. It is a 45 min. long drive from the city centre and is advised to visit during the daylight. The route, however, is completely safe and housed by local residents so I did not personally see any issue. On way to this temple are Garbhanga Reserve Forest and Asia’s biggest proposed Butterfly Reserve. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and as the name suggests it dates back to Vedic Era, situated on Saint Vasistha’s Ashram where he used to spend time meditating. In addition to Lord Shiva, the temple also houses Lord Ganesha, Goddess Durga and a standing statue of Vasistha. It is said that carvings of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga emerged on rocks on its own. Surrounded by lush green trees, this temple has magnificent and natural water streams originating from Meghalaya mountains. These streams gush through huge picturesque rocks, contributing to River Basisth and Bharalu flowing through the city. You will find people soaking themselves in the sun, water or simply sitting under the trees, unwinding themselves after visiting the temple. Basisth Temple for me is the kind of divine place where I can spend hours peacefully and energize my senses. Since Basisth Temple is a nice, quaint and not so crowded temple, the best time to visit is anytime during the visiting hours i.e. 6.00 AM – 9.00 PM.

Some other popular temples in Guwahati are Bhuvaneshwari Temple and Umananda Temple.

Bhuvaneshwari Temple is famous because of its world acclaimed Ambubachi fair. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhuvaneshwari and people travel to participate in this fair from far and wide as it has a huge religious significance. The temple gates are always open during the day, however, the best time to visit this temple is during the Ambubachi fair or Navratri.

Umananda Temple is situated on Umananda Island or Peacock Island on Brahmaputra River for which the last ferry leaves around 4.00 PM so you must try reaching on time. The temple is open all days of the week between 5.30 AM to 6.00 PM. Depending on your wish to see the sunrise or sunset, or maybe both if time permits, you can plan your ferry rides to this temple. It is known to be one of the best temples in Guwahati so do not miss it.  I missed the opportunity to visit Umananda Temple by a fraction of seconds so I don’t want you to miss a chance, hoping to cover the details to its fullest.

I wish I had more time to explore the city of ancient temples, sited in the lap of nature. It’s a rare combination and Guwahati is a perfect destination to experience this.

For more information and pics visit gallery and follow on: https://instagram.com/appy_tales/

Northeast calling~The mountains, waterfalls and some peace

Let me not talk about how busy I had been in the last 6 months. It was exasperating yet nice. Nice because hardships and toil make me better. All’s well that ends well and this time it’s ending up into a Northeast trip.

This will be my first ever trip to Northeast and I’ve been planning for it since last 2 months. I’ll be visiting the valley in the first week of June and planning to cover places like Guwahati, Shillong, Cherrapunji and Kaziranga National Park, if time and weather permits. Also, planning to have a perfect vacation with loads of relaxation and soaking myself in nature.

Forgetting the toil in the last few months which was crazy, I wish to come back all charged up to take double the toil to further elevate myself.

Suggest me some good escapades. Stay tuned and follow me on Insta and Twitter for some live updates:  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/appy_tales/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anupriya_Mishra;

Pinewood Cottages Kasauli: A Jungle Retreat


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Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

Pristine, serene and majestic! These are the adjectives that completely define this place.

Pinewood Cottages Kasauli is a place to be. Located in the outskirts, these cottages are situated with village on one side and jungle on the other. The deep valley, the curvacious narrow lanes, the abundant greenery makes for the picturesque beauty.

Weekend Getaway

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

We planned to visit this place over a weekend. Provided, the stay was short, we had an amazing time. With me was my spouse, his friends and my pet. Yes, this place is pet-friendly and to my relief there were no other visitors than us, and my dear Labrador, named Dollar, had the best time of his life. We were not untouched with all the magnificent beauty of this place. The silence was overwhelming. Our senses could now unwind to a completely non-polluted hill station.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

The Journey Began

We left at 5 in the morning from Delhi on a Saturday and reached the destination around 2 PM. We booked a tempo traveler that cost us around 14 grands, but gave us ample space to even lie down and keep our bags. It was a smooth journey throughout. With a halt at Sukhdev Dhaba, Moorthal in Haryana where we had rich and most famous parathas served with excessive white butter. They were even more delicious when followed by tea. Without any other major stop, we finally reached Pinewood Cottages in Kasauli. The last 4 km stretch was a bumpy ride, as there was no pakka road.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

Beauty of the Cottages

On the right hand, I saw some varnished cottages. These cottages were looking all the more beautiful because of the sun rays, which made them look golden in color. There was abundant greenery and huge pine trees, the spiky needle like leaves shined splendidly. On these trees were found cones scattered here and there. These brown cones added to the beauty and I badly wanted one of them to take back with me as a memory. Unfortunately, these pine cones were too high from our reach and I could only bring back the ones I found lying underneath.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

There were around six cottages including the tree house. Each one of us picked the cottage and dumped the luggage. The rooms were neat, made of wooden logs, including the furniture. There were lights and a fan, but no electricity. The washrooms were clean and spacious, but the water was freezing cold. Since, there was no electricity, no point of expecting a hot water bath.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

The Stay

It was sunny at the time we reached this place, but with the setting sun the temperature fell down considerably and we had to put on our woolens. We sat on the front lawn where there were chairs for us and demanded for a bonfire arrangement. The two caretakers Inder and Ganesh arranged it for us and we were highly pleased with Inder; he was spontaneous. However, later to our surprise we were told that there was no milk for tea and no food. Each time we would ask for something, they would go to the market in main Kasauli and get it for us. And, it took them almost one to one and a half hours each time they went uphill to the market. There was always a probability that we would have had to stay without food. We were lucky enough to have stayed only without tea. Of course, we drank tea; without the milk.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

As it went dark and cold, we were at our best. The bonfire kept us alive under the open sky. Oh! That reminds me of millions of stars I saw after ages. The last I saw them was on one of the camps I stayed in Rishikesh, some two years back. It was marvelous. Imagine the soft cushion like grass under your feet, cold breeze caressing your cheeks, fire to warm the place and snacks and beverages to accompany you in your chit chat session with friends. Right in front of us was a valley and little farther, a mountain with trees symmetrically arranged that looked pitch black in the night.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

Finally, we had dinner, which the poor chaps had arranged from the market. The food wasn’t excellent, but good to satiate your stomach pangs and taste buds.

The only drawback was that we could not charge our mobile phones, which were completely dead by then.

The Caretaker

Inder was an extremely benevolent  and humble being, who had been on his toes throughout. He made the best arrangements to his capacity and told us stories about leopards that visited the cottages late in the night. He added to the thrill as the place was pitch dark, the only light we had was of the bonfire which was sure to die. He also promised to take us to the waterfall early morning. With this, we left for our cottages to wake up early morning.

We all managed to sleep soundly.

We woke up in the middle of the night to look out for leopards without stepping out of the cottages as instructed by Inder, till we saw the morning light.

The Dawn

The sun rise was splendid. The beauty of the sun cannot be ignored at the time of dawn. The sun rose beautifully behind the mountains and spread its redness, near and far to its circumference just like a deep red dye spreads across a white fabric–deeper towards the center and lighter towards the periphery. The pine trees in the front, still looked black, but distinct.

Pinewood Cottages-Travel-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

We planned to go to the waterfall, but it was nothing but a stream of water and we came back a little disappointed. On our way back we met the villagers and local people.  They were quite welcoming and had a warm smile on their faces.

We then decided to go down the valley, which were the farms of the villagers, their bread and butter. We must have touched almost the end of the valley and found a variety of plantation. Some of them were the citrus fruits, red hot chillies, ripe tomatoes, radish, bamboo shoots, cucumber and lots more.  After the trekking to the valley plantation, we decided to rest a while and eat breakfast.

 

Travel-Blog-Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit: Ashish Verma

We also went to the market in main Kasauli to curb our tea cravings.  Tea was exceptionally sweet for people like me who do not have a sweet tooth.

There is nothing much to see in Kasauli. Despite the drawbacks like lack of basic amenities and poor service, we enjoyed our stay because we were on our own. It was an overall thrilling experience to stay in the wooden cottages amidst forest.

Far from the maddening crowd

Pinewood cottages are worth a shot if you are in a large group of friends and family. The best you can do is to keep a backup for everything, be it torch, lighter, extra water bottles and food or snacks to munch. You’ll enjoy this place completely if you wish to while away with the traffic, honks and fast life. The beauty of vicinity, the silence of the mountains,  cottages amidst deep dense forests would make up for all the shortcomings. Try it out!

Tariffs:

One Night Room Tariff Only

Deluxe Cottage : Rs.3600

Super Deluxe Cottage :  Rs.4200

Duplex Cottage : Rs.5400

Tree House Cottage : Rs.6000

Child 5-10 years : Nil

Child (10+) / Adult : 500

without extra bedding

except in Deluxe and Tree-House

 

Website: http://www.pinewoodcottageskasauli.com/

Disclaimer: Do not go by the services and facilities mentioned on their website as they have none. It is believed that the place is now owned by a new person since couple of months, who does not take an interest in the property apart from the monetary aspect.