Monday, May 30, 2005

Phew, am back :-)

I am back to my good old furnace. Every year I wish vacations never come to an end, but as always it's gone in a jiffy :-(

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A good 7 hours travel from Delhi. I had luckily managed not to evaporate during the journey. Don't waste money on A/C vehicles coz unless it is fitted with a 2 tonne A/C, you will know the A/C is on only after seeing the switch! At the same time, don't try for any top-open vechicles like a jeep coz there is a very high probability that you may need to include Kutralam in your itenerary. In short, avoid travel.

The guides here irritate you. They run along with the car, cling on to it and try to get some commision for this monkey act. They don't deserve even a banana.

No idea how this place is popular. Nothing much to see and the climate is just like Kodaikanal, nothing special.

Khufri point is supposed to be the main attraction here. But you have to reach the place only on horses, which I suspect, were last given bath before the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi. Nobody informed us about this and we had not taken any oxygen masks with us.

There is a big zoo in Shimla with lots of trees and around 13 animals, out of which 8 are barking deers which never bark, 2 are black bears, 2 are brown bears and one is a snow leopard. The snow leapord is a very shy. It prefers to stay in its inner cage sipping away milk. Snow leapord illa adhu, periya size poonai.

English is a very funny language, yeah. But it is even funnier in Shimla. "Brown Beer", "Chilled Bear", "Brakefast", "Dineer" are some of the common boards you'll see here. The authorities, I guess, have completed a Vivekananda Rapid English course. Not only is it rapid, it is also revoultionary.

The place outside the zoo has lotsa small shops. Shirts, sweaters, blankets, fruits, handicrafts and what not. Probably a good place to get your friends a small gift.

There is also a big market area here. You reach there by a flight of stairs or by an elevator ride which would cost you 7 bucks. 1000ft market-nu build up vittanga, paartha 4 storeys height dhaan irukkum. Pongada-nu vanthuttom.

That innocent pic of mine was taken in the hotel at Shimla. Idhai paarthaavathu naan evalo nallavan-nu ellarum purinjukittu en pugazhai parappunga :-)

No shortage of beautiful trees and flowers though, the only thing which keeps reassuring you that this is indeed a hill station.


A truly amazing place. The ice cold Biyas river adds to the beauty of the place. The journey from Shimla to Manali was very long but I never felt a thing thanks to the lovely locations I kept staring at.

On the way to Manali

Evening Shadows


The hotel we stayed on was on the banks of the Biyas river. We could hear it flowing even from inside our rooms. Caught a decent video of the river flowing, will upload it to some space if possible. Any suggestions?

Guides bother you here too. They try to get you into some hotel and as a result get some commision. But by now, I had enough experience to handle the situation. They ask you stuff even when you sit inside your car.

Guide : Aapko hotel booking chaahiye? (Need hotel booking?)
Me : Booking hai hamaarey paas. (Already booked?)
Guide : Kis hotel mein hai, bathaayiye naa? (Can u tell me which hotel?)
Me : Hotel Subramani mein hain, check kariye na! (Hotel Subramani, check if u wish too)

Snow point was great fun. The last time I had seen something close to snow, on a small scale, was ten years ago before we disposed our Godrej fridge. Played a lot with snow, throwing it at people. It was a great task to walk on snow and reach a lil bit of height. From there we came sliding on snow. No skiing, just sliding on out bottoms! It was great fun minus the fact that there was no blood circulation on our rears. Too much of fun in snow left me shivering that night. I was wearing a jerkin, a sweater, two shawls, a pair of gloves, a pair of socks and two quilts on top of me. But still managed to shiver! Crocin poattu kuppara kavunthu paduthuttaen :-)

Our next stop was at some temple. I still quite don't know which temple that was. Said to be a Shiva temple, but I went in to find out "Bhagwan Vasisht" in it. Two other temples were next to it. One Ram temple and the other Durga I believe. These temples have hot water springs. The water is super hot and people take bath in there. Me no like that much of freedom :-)

A bunch of temples form the main tourist attraction in Manali except for Chennaiites like me for who snow is prohibited even in dreams. Paragliding and horseride are somethings we skipped. Paragliding here is more than twice as expensive as in Bangkok! We did relax ourselves in a Club House which offered TT, Snooker tables, Badminton courts etc.

Kulu was not part of our itenerary. We did not have much time on hands either. So we skipped rafting on the river at Kulu.


Very less time spent here. It was just a transit from Manali to Delhi. Stayed over one night. A beautifully planned city with superb roads. Just as I was saying Chandigarh is a lot better than Chennai, there was power cut. It seems thats a common problem those people face. Unakku Chennai dhaanda naaye laayakku-nu tellings :-)

The boards in Chandigarh had funnier English than the ones in Shimla.Both capital cities!

We stopped at Pinjore gardens on our way to Chandigarh. The above is a pic of Sivagami computers outside the garden :-)

The gardens were lovely with beautiful flowers and fountains. Would have been more effective at night. We unfortunately did not have enough time on our hands to stay there till night. Rose gardens and Rock gardens are supposedly a must see in Chandigarh, but again as I said Chandigarh was just a stop-by.

Reached Delhi on Friday afternoon and managed a few hours of shopping and sight-seeing. The India Gate offers a spectacular sight at night. The Red Fort, from outside, is just a big red wall like E-2 Police Station. Not possible to be covered by the lens!

Left for Agra early morning. Managed to capture the sunrise from the car. I was unsually brisk inspite of just a few hours of sleep.

Visited Krishna Janma Bhoomi at Mathura on the way. The jail, were Lord Krishna was supposedly born, led to some interesting discussions.

Uncle : Vasudev was imprisoned by Kamsa coz the eigth child of Vasudev and Devaki would kill Kamsa.
Cousin : Devaki was also imprisoned for the same reason.
Me : It is because Vasudev and Devaki were left in the same prison that eight children were born.
Cousin : Yaen different prison-na eight children pirakkatha?
Me :
Cousin : Why?
Me : Dei over-a pesaatha, adhu vaasthu shaastram padi appadi dhaan.

The road leading to Taj Mahal is no better than those at Dumil Kuppam. Sewage water and garbage on the already rugged roads did not do justice to a world wonder. People wait with entry tickets under the hot sun and high above their heads, on the entrance is a bulb which is normally seen in public toilets. Inspite of all this, Taj Mahal did not fail to fascinate me. Walking without shoes is next to impossible, but people did not mind that. Inside the Taj Mahal, however, it was very cool as if the A/C had been swicthed on. The carvings on the walls were simply out of the world. Agra MLA kai-la kadaicha seruppala adichiruppaen. Avanum kidaikkala, kai-la seruppum kidaikkala.

Our last stop was at Qutub Minar. Just a dash before we could go and catch the flight.

On the whole, yet another enjoyable tour. Last year it was Singapore, Bangkok and Malaysia. This year, North India. Next year hope to make it to Colombo.


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