About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Lost amidst Gods in Khajuraho... Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh

From Corbett, we headed back to Delhi as the next leg of our journey was in the other direction. We took the night train from Delhi to Khajuraho, went to a property near the station - Pace Resorts to freshen up before heading out to explore the town... 

We decided to spend some time soaking in the temples in the western side, there are about 11 temples within one campus here.. Bought the entrance ticket and then came the ordeal of dealing with a guy who badgered us about hiring him as a guide. He would not let go, so much so that after about 20mins, one of the girls said "chalo, lets ask him to take us around and then pay him what we think is fair"... The architecture, the intricate carvings and of course the grandeur of the place is what catches your eye as you step into the gates... 

Even though Khajuraho is known for the erotic sculptures, there is more to the place and even the erotic pieces tell quite a few stories... Since it is an ASI property, it is well maintained, with manicured gardens and plenty of benches to rest on, along with a small tea shop to refresh yourself. 

LAKSHMAN TEMPLE : This striking temple stands facing the giant Varaha Mandap. It is one of the three largest temples of Khajuraho and the western group of temples and is considered to be the earliest ( c.AD 954 ) built by the Chandella rulers. The temples faces the east and is dedeicated to vishnu, though it goes by a rather inappropriate name of Lakshman, the brother of Ram, the hero.. The temple faces the east and is dedicated to Vishnu, by a rather inappropriate name of Lakshman, the brother of Ram, the hero king of Ramayana. The temple is as tall as it is long, measuring approximately 25.9 metres in length. lt sits on a high platform which also has some interesting sculptures (royal processions, Court scenes) that you can see before ascending the temple stairs. 

KANDARIYA MAHADEV TEMPLE : While you may think all temples look the same, they store something that surprises you... This Temple is quite large and I would say magnificent, when looking at the details.. There is a small Mahadev shrine and the medium - sized Devi Jagdambi Temple, thereby accentuating its height and grandeur. 

DEVI MANDAP : Opposite the large Lakshman Temple are two small shrines. The one directly opposite is called Devi Mandap... The structure and cemented roof tells us it might be one of the newer ones.. 

VARAHA MANDAP : This Mandap stands on a tall platform, with a roof that is pyramid in shape capped with an amalaka and kalasha 

DEVI JAGADAMBI TEMPLE : One of the smaller temples in the campus, this one has a set of balconies, but only one mandap and no inner pradakshina path. Shorter in height, this and the Chitragupta Temples are quite obviously all about honouring love and conjugal harmony, with erotic sculptures of the divine couples and others depicting every mood of love. 

MAHADEV SHRINE : Between the Kandariya and the Devi jagdambi Temples is a small shrine called the Mahadev Shrine and consists of a small open - pillared porch and sanctum. A figure of the rampant lion fighting with a kneeling figure [the lion looks very different], presumed to be the emblem of the Chandellas, has some reason been installed in the porch. there are two similar rampant lion figures on the platform of the Kandariya Madadev and Devi temples.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Skies across Uttarakand to Delhi and beyond...

Some gorgeous images of the sky while up in the air and during the safaris across Corbett & Panna....

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My first real Safari- Jim Corbett National Park,Uttarakhand

From the word go, this trip was something I was quite excited about. I hadn't been to any of the National parks in the North, actually I hadn't done any Safaris yet.. We reached Delhi at different times on 2nd and met at A's place around evening, chit chatted a bit [ I was meeting the 3 of them for the 1st time, so there was some catching up] and then left for the station around 7pm. We were taking the train from Delhi to Ramnagar, which is few kms from the Jim Corbett park. 

After a good night sleep, I was up and ready by 5am as the train pulled into Ramnagar, Uttarakand. Woke the others up, grabbed our bags and headed out to look for some transport to take us to the property we were staying at- Corbett Machan Resort. Found an Innova taxi and within minutes we were at the resort. Checked into our room, freshened up and were ready by 5.55am for the morning safari.. Our jeep was there [ S had organised the Safari, booked them ahead of time through the contact she had and he was the one who was gonna be taking us for the Safaris.. The Cost was 20k for 4 of us for 4 safaris]

We were all bundled up, just that I hadn't carried anything to cover my head, and that was a big lesson learnt. The jeeps are the open kind, and it took me a minute to figure out how to haul myself into the seat, and thereon it was smooth sailing... The morning was cold, brrr cold, and there was mist dew everywhere... Add the open jeep setting and you get the picture right... hehe ..  All we carried along was our wallet, ID cards and camera apart from winter wear... 

After completing formalities at the gate, show your ID, Safari confirmation etc, we were off for our 1st Safari.. The girls were as excited as I was, and I was secretly hoping to sight a tiger...  

Jim Corbett National Park is India's first national park and known to be the most popular apart from bing the most attractive Park as well. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the midst of lush greenery and uneven mountains with varying heights, ranging from about 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet. 

As we rode along inside, some parts were open with short dry grass, while others had trees and tall grass, and then there were some sections that had water flowing across... It was breath taking... The guide took different paths, zig zagging going left, going right, coming around and some more. It was fascinating.. And then came the part of spotting paw prints on the sand road, I learnt how to differentiate between male & female print, which direction they were headed at and if it was a new one or old one... 

The morning safari we did was at Bijrani Safari Zone was from 6am to 9.30am, and the evening one is 1.30pm to 5.30pm. The first morning, we sighted plenty of spotted dear, Nilgai, monkeys, few tuskers and plenty of exotic birds, but no tiger. Oh well, thats how it works... Got back to the resort, had a lazy breakfast, and chilled in our rooms a while. And by 1.30pm, we were once again ready and set for the evening Safari.  After about an hour or so, we reached a point at high altitude that had a watch tower, paused there a while. And then, we got off to explore another area when a jeep we met told us a Tiger had been sighted near the watch tower. So vroom vroom went our jeep, and we spotted quite a few others there as well. Joining the long line, a guide from another jeep told us a Tigress was lying nearly hidden in the grass.. And we all pried through the binoculars to spot her. I could make out her head and ears.. We waited, waited and soon she got up and started walking away.... 

Thinking she would go back near the watch tower, our guide zipped across and parked near a clearing. Within minutes, we saw the Tigress make her way, she literally walked straight towards our jeep.. Phew.. We were all standing, holding our breath, slowly pulling out cameras to click when we heard more jeeps pull in. She soon changed her path, and crossed our jeep and walked into the jungles.  She was Sharmili, a 12 year old gramma...I was shaking with excitement, and couldn't believe my eyes for a long while after she had gone...   The others were quite zapped that I got to see a Tigress, a head on during my 1st Safari.... 

After about half hour we were headed out when we heard there was a male tiger lounging at a distance. We could make out the body, but he was quite a distance away, at a height. Oh well, I was happy to have seen not one but two beautiful creatures within few hours. The next day we did 2 safaris, of which one was at Jhirna Safari Zone , but did not see any more tigers, just plenty of other animals and few exotic birds...  We did hear tiger growling, and a jeep that followed us few minutes after we got out told us they saw one cross their jeep .. Sigh!! It's all about timing and luck!  I did hear that Dhikala is the most popular, but we hadn't planned for Safaris in it... Always a next time... 

Tigress- Sharmili... [above 4 photographs]

 The Male tiger.

Lessons learnt from the Safari-- 
1. Carry extra warm clothes
2. Make sure to carry a cap/hat and another to cover your ears
3. Sunscreen lotion & lip balm
4. Water & snacks 
5. Camera and something to cover the lens [ cos the dust levels are crazy]
6. Sober coloured clothing- nothing bright/ loud/ shiny.. 
7. Socks and gloves [ if you are the kind who cant stand any cold at all] 
8. Plenty of patience!! :D

Website- http://www.corbettnationalpark.in/

Zones at Jim Corbett National Park-  Safari Zone, Bijrani Safari Zone, Dhela Safari Zone, Dhikala Zone and Durga Devi Zone... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Round up of the trip that was.... Phew!!

This year has been good,  especially with travels. I began the year with a trip that was focussed on the Textiles and ended it with the majestic Bengal Tiger and plenty of history & culture.. The last trip that I took ended  on 19th Dec, and was spread across 18 days. Yep, it was probably one of the few long trips I have done [ the longest being my US trip last year for a whole month plus]. 

Sometime in November, I spotted a post from a traveller on the only FB group am active announcing that she & a friend were planning a trip to 2 National safaris and asked if there were others who would be interested in joining the same. Since I hadn't been to any of the National parks in the North, I replied and soon there was a Whatsapp group where plans were being made, and dates being finalised. There was quite a bit of juggling, dates changed, one person who was to join couldnt make it on the changed dates, another chimed in and well, enough to say the weeks flew by with details getting sorted out slowly but steadily. I must mention that the other 3 who came along were quite experienced in the Safari circuit, and so knew what it was about. I was a newbie, who was gung-ho about travelling and quite excited, since I dint know what to expect.... 

And around end Nov, the trip itinerary changed, it extended by 10+ days where two of us would explore the state of Madhya Pradesh.  :-) 

Finally, this is how the trip panned out.... 

2nd Dec morning- I flew out to Delhi
2nd Dec night- train to Ramnagar from Delhi cantt [ 4 of us]
3rd & 4th Dec- Corbett - 4 safaris [2 morning, 2 afternoon] [Stay at Corbett Machan resort]
4th Dec - Night train back to Delhi 
5th Dec- Spend the day in Delhi 
5th Dec - Night train from Delhi to Khajuraho [ 3 of us]
6th Dec- Explore Khajuraho and head to Panna [Stay at Panna Tiger Resort]
7th & 8th Dec- Panna- Afternoon safari, Night safari, and Morning safari 
8th Dec - 1 traveller was heading back home, and 2 of us were off to Orccha 
[Cab from Khajuraho to Orchha] [Stay at Betwa Retreat]
9th Dec -  Orchha sightseeing - Around noon we left to Jhansi by auto... Night stay at Jhansi [Stay at Hotel Bhundelkhand Pride]
10th Dec - Jhansi sightseeing and off to Chanderi, 2 nights stay there 
[train from Jhansi to Lalitpur, auto to bus stand and bus to Chanderi..Stay at Kila kothi, property near Chanderi Fort atop the hill]... 
11th Dec - Local sight seeing in Chanderi  
12th Dec - Travel to Bhopal- [Take bus from Chanderi to lalitpur, auto to train station, train from Lalitpur to Bhopal - Stay at Hotel Sangam, near the station]
13th Dec - Bhimbetka, Bhojpur temple, Aashapuri and back to Bhopal 
14th Dec - Travel to Indore, take the bus from Bhopal to Indore. [Stay at Ginger in Indore] - Night food market in Indore 
15th Dec - Omkareshwar - Maheshwar  & back to Indore
16th Dec - Ujjain - Explore Indore and chill in Indore.. 
17th Dec - wind up.... Fly out of Indore... 
                 I flew to Delhi.. Spent 2 days there and flew back to Chennai on 19th Dec... 

Phew! Well, now that I have gotten this out of the way, time to get cracking and do posts across the amazing places we explored. .. Stay tuned....