Saturday Aug 05, 2006

Photos from Valley of Flowers Trek (round 1)

Finally got some time to resize some of the photos and upload them to flickr.com Here is a first preview of some of my pics[Read More]

Thursday Aug 03, 2006

First day experience in Ireland

Very Bad first day experience in Ireland where we ran into all sorts of problems.[Read More]

Sunday Jul 16, 2006

Planning for my Next Trek in Himalayas.

Its been long time since I blogged. Was busy with work. So No time for blogging and also didn't get any topic to blog about.
But now I am excited as I am going back to my favourite place in India. Himalayas ;-)

Yes. I am going to Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath.
After  2 months of planning, Finally the countdown has started. I am leaving this Friday (July 21st).

Tentative schedule is

21st July :

Assemble in Delhi. (Preferably at Kashmiri Gate bus-stand )
Take a bus to Rishikesh (around 9.30 pm)
Take an early morning bus to Joshimutt (around 3 am)

22nd July:
   Reach Joshimutt at 6 pm and relax.
   Relax.

23rd July:
   Take bus to Govind ghat.
   Rent a lodge and relax in the evning.

24th July:
   Trek to Ghangriya  (about 13 kms or 6 hours )
   Halt at Ghangriya. (Ghangriya is a small town. It has few lodges. So accomadation is not an issue  )


25th July:
   Trek to Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangriya.

26th July:
   Trek to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangriya.

27th July:
   Leave early morning and reach Govindghat before afternoon.Take a Bus to Badrinath and halt in Badrinath.

28th July:
   Back to Joshimutt. If possible we will start the return journey and reach Dehradun.

29th July:
   Relax in Dehradun and Take a night bus or train to Delhi.

30th July:
   Fly back to Bangalore.

Tuesday Apr 25, 2006

Day 2 in UK

Today in the morning we met Achim in the restaurant. He has come from Germany to attend SVM training.
We decided to go together to Office. It is about 12 minutes drive to office from our hotel. But we took almost 45 minutes.
We lost our way and then went all together in a different direction. Somehow we managed to come.

The training was scheduled from 9.30 to 5.30 pm. By the time I reached office it was 9.15.
I didn't have anytime to catch up with my emails. I got sometime during lunch time to check my emails.
I made a call to my home to inform them I have reached safely and sent few email to the team.
I also came to know that there are few more visitors from US and Prague to attend SGR training.
Kim was here from US to teach the course.

I called up Sruthi and Ghanashree today. It is always a nice feeling to talk to your old friends.

The weather is so bad that I am not feeling to take out my camera and shoot some pictures.
I haven't seen sunlight so far this time in UK.

In the evening, I took the directions copy from Christian Rasmussen to drive back to hotel.
We fairly made it. We missed one exit and quickly realised it. So we took a U turn and came back to the right track.
It took hardly 10 minutes to reach hotel.

I went out with Achim, Kim, Christian for dinner in Frimley High street to an Italian restaurant. The food was good.
Vallish decided to enjoy his evening in Fitness centre.

Thursday Feb 09, 2006

Joshimat and Skiing in Auli (Part 2)



We had taken a video coach bus to Rishikesh. This bus was operated by private folks.
For some reason bus journey always put me into sleep. I can sleep for hours while traveling in bus.
So I was not very keen on boarding a video coach bus in the night.
I didn't raise my voice because others were interested in boarding this 'video coach bus'.
It was lot more cleaner than all other government operated bus.
They were playing a hindi movie 'Masti'. I hardly watched it for 10 minutes before I fell into sleep.

We reached Rishikesh at 3.30 in the morning. We took 4 am bus to Joshimat.
Joshimat is about 230 kilometers from Rishikesh and it would take around 12-14 hours to reach by bus.
I swear it is a roller coaster ride in those ghats section.

Some of the towns we passed on our way were

Devprayag,
Srinagar (Not J & K srinagar, we have one in uttaranchal too)
Rudraprayag,
Karnaprayag,
Nandaprayag

and then Joshimat.

We reached Joshimat around 5 pm. .
This ends of tiring bus journey. Our next journey is to Auli in ropeway.

Joshimat

This small holy town is full of temples and is where Adi Shankaracharya attained enlightenment while sitting in a cave.
This town attracts lot of tourists because it is just 40 kilometers to Badrinath.
This is also first base point for all the trekkers who wants to visit holy Hemakund Sahib and Valley of Flowers.

We checked into a hotel near bus-stand Komet. He charged us Rs 300 for a room with 4 beds.
It also had TV. First thing Saurabh did when he entered room was to tune to 'NDTV Profit' to check the stock prices.

We did inquire about the ropeway start timings from the hotel owner.
Ropeway service to Auli starts at 9.30 in the morning. We were told that they charge Rs 200 for a round trip.
I called up my home to inform that I have safely reached Joshimat.

Jan 29 2006

We reached ropeway station by 9.30 am. But there were already a bunch of people waiting for the first batch.
So we couldn't get in the first trip. We had to wait for second round which was scheduled at 10 am.

In the mean time I went around the place to find out more details about ropeway.
Here are some facts about Ropeway

System: Zig back, BI-cable with two cabin
Slope Distance : 3.96 kms
Total ascent : 1.15 kms
Number of towers : 10
Travel time : 15 minutes

This was the first time I am traveling in a ropeway. I was really excited.
It was fun seeing all those big houses becoming really small in front of you.
There was a notice in the base station prohibiting taking photos in the ropeway.
But no one was caring about the rule. Everyone was busy clicking the photos.

We got down at the 8th tower. This is the stop for Clifftop resort and GMVN guest houses.
The view from the tower 8 is fantastic.  I took lot of photos.
The attendant there said that they have lift to go down. I was pretty impressed with the facilities
and felt proud about technologies available in such remote areas.

Clifftop Resort

It's a unique resort of its own kind at an altitude of more than 10,000 ft and is the second highest resort in the world and is the only Skiing resort in Asia which is located on the Ski slope/track.

While sitting in the resort one can have a clear view of the snow covered Nandadevi range (highest in india & third highest in the world) other ranges include Dronagiri , Kamet , Trishul.

All the rooms had wooden interiors. We got a duplex room. Our room was in the top floor. After having a welcome tea,
We went on a walk to get more information about skiing.  We inquired in hotel too. They were charging Rs 500 per head.
This includes rent for equipment and instructor fee.

We walked little up the slope to a place where people were waiting for the ski lift.
Saurabh caught one of the guy who agreed to provide us equipment and teach us for Rs 100 per head.
The instructor name was Kailash Shelly.

He got 4 pairs of skii and shoes. First was the theory part. Teaching us what is ski, how should be your body position, how to balance, how to slow, how to fall etc.
Then came practical. All I remember in the theory was I have to have my skiies in parallel position to move and spread the heals to slow down. So I put the skies on and gave a push and concentrated to be in parallel position.
Boom !! I was now speeding down the slope. Now I got scared looking down the hill. Immediately I tried to slow down by going back. I fell down.
It was fun. We skied for 3 hours. Saurabh had done skiing before. So he was comfortable in balancing and controlling.
All others were first time to skiing. I don't remember how many times I fell. I was falling everytime I went down. Pretty much same state with Pramod and Jalan.
Later they kind of got the trick and got the body balance right.But I was not at all improving. I simply couldn't get the body balance.

We were completely tired by the end of the day. Didn't do much in the evening. Just watching TV to see how India did in the third test against Pakistan. Of course we played Uno.


Monday Feb 06, 2006

My trip to Auli

First time I am trying to blog about my vacation.
Though I have the habit of writing the dairy when I go on a vacation, I never converted them digitally.
This is my first attempt to narrate my trip experience. As I said in my previous blog, I am going to Uttaranchal for skiing.
My whole trip experience will be covered in my several blogs ( I will write as n when I get time )
I will also upload my photos and provide the link.

Day 25th Jan 2006, Time 8 pm IST

It is real. I am going to Auli for skiing. No last minute changes/obstacle in my plan.
I am checking my packing list again and again to make sure that I haven't missed any item to pack in my Rucksack. My training in packing the Rucksack in my NIM helped me fitting all the items required in my 50 litres backpack. It included

High Altitute Sleeping bag
My SLR camera (Nikon N80 with tamaron 28-200 lens)
Thermals
Binoculars, Music player, Novel, clothes, medicines etc

I met Saurabh Mishra, Pramod Batni, Prakash Jalan at Yeshwanthpur Railway station.
We boarded 11.30 pm train to Delhi (Sampark Kranthi express). As usual as soon as the reservation chart was put up, I quickly scanned to see whos who in our train. (No points in guessing that I was looking at F18 - F25 :-) ) But I didn't have too much luck this time.
It is 38 hours journey from Bangalore to Delhi in Sampark Kranthi express. We spent most of the travel time in playing Uno, listening to music and reading. We reached Delhi (H Nizamuddin Railway station) on 27th jan at around 2 pm.

Delhi

We were in Delhi for about 6 hours. This is not the first time I have visited Delhi. Somehow I am jealous of this place and people working in Delhi. It is so close so many mountains. People working in Delhi can do a overnite journey to reach a lot of these mountains. I really wish all these mountains were near to Bangalore.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Delhi is Chole Bathure. This place is famous for Chole Bathure. Even before we reached Delhi, I had made up my mind that I will have Chole bathure for my lunch. :-) As soon as we got out of railway station, we searched for a good,decent place to eat chole bathure. But I couldn't find any. So we skipped our lunch.

We took an auto to Saurabh's sisters place. I must appreciate Saurabh's bargaining skills. He bargained  with auto driver to take all 4 of us in 1 auto with all those luggage. Saurabh's sisters place was quite near to railway station. After a quick refresh, we (except saurabh) went out to have a walk and do some last minute shopping in New Friend's colony shopping complex.

First thing we were looking in shopping complex was a good place to eat. All of us were damn hungry.
We found a place which was serving Hot Chole bathure. Now it was time for our lunch break.

Then we went around the complex did buy few warm clothes. I bought a sweater.We came back to house by 7 pm.
Before leaving Saurabh's sis place we met with one of my ex-colleague Dheeraj who now works from a Delhi based company Solidcore.

We left saurabh's place by 8 pm. We took a bus to Kashmiri gate ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminal).
We had our dinner in dhaba within ISBT and took a bus to Rishikesh. Rishikesh is about 6 hours journey
The plan is to reach Rishikesh by 3 in the morning and take a bus first bus (which is at 3.30 am ) to Joshimat

I will write about my journey to Joshimat and Auli in my next blog.

Monday Jan 23, 2006

Back to Himalayas

Each one of us lot of first times in our lives. Like First time we stood on our own legs, first time driving a cycle, first time driving bike, first time going to college etc. All these are memerable events and will be in our mind for a long time. I too have many. But one of them first first sight at himalayas.

The first time I got the glimpse of himalayas was in October 2003. I was travelling to Uttarkashi to attend Basic Mountaineering Course. I still remember my first glimpse of the snow capped mountain.

I got an early morning ( 3 am ) bus from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi. I was sleeping till sun rise. When I woke up, our bus was travelling next to a huge mountain in the valley of River Bhagirathi. All along I was amazed by this mountain. Suddenly we took a turn and saw a huge mountain in front which is almost double the height of the mountain next to me. It was right in front of me and it was covered by snow. That moment I will never forget.

During my course in NIM, I stayed in that region for a month. Every day I used to see the jaonli/DKD 2 and other peaks. I enjoyed every moment of my stay there. I told myself that I will visit himalays every year. I followed that next year with my trip to Leh/Ladak. I couldn't do a trip last year.

I am going again this time. I am going to Auli for skiing. I am excited. I hope I get a good weather so that I can take few good photos.

Oh! BTW we have conference room in ground floor of Bangalore office by name 'Himalaya'. And I sit in 6th floor. Prabably this is the only place where I have to walk down to reach 'Himalaya' :-)

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madhu

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