Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ramgarh - The mountains are calling and I must GO!!!


I have been to Ramgarh a couple of times earlier and everytime I go, the love for the place deepens. There's nothing much to do in Ramgarh except for the long beautiful walks. We stayed in Neemrana's Ramgarh Bungalows. 

I somehow love their properties. They call their properties "NON HOTEL HOTELS". There are no T.Vs in the rooms and no telephones either. For us, this is a perfect recipe for a peaceful holiday. 




Ashok Vatika, Neemrana Ramgarh Bunglows



Ramgarh is a small beautiful hill station ahead of Nainital on way to Mukteshwar. The air is fresh, the weather is lovely, the crowd is less and you get unobstructed view of the snow-capped ranges of the Himalayas. 


          Green structure is AshokVatika

The map shows you the location of Ramgparh. Ramgarh is around 360 Kms fromP Gurgaon and if you leave early around 4 am, you should reach your destination by lunch. 














Breakfast With A View


We love eating out in the sun and with views like this who would want to sit indoors!!!






Blue Room


Our room had a huge bed and beautiful setting. Ashok Vatika has four room:-
1. Blue
2  Green
3. Yellow
4. Pink

We advise you to book either Blue or Green rooms as they have beautiful views of the mountains and the valleys. We had booked Yellow room but upgraded ourselves to Blue as it was available and much nicer.   



We clicked the above photo while one of our beautiful walks.



Sitout Area



The property has some beautiful sitout points which are ideal if you love to read. 





Out for a short drive


It rained quite a bit and we decided to head out for a small drive in the mountains. There were clouds all around as we drove half way upto Mukteshwar.




He invited himself for the drive!!!










As mentioned earlier there are few beautiful walks around the property which are worth exploring. You walk thru the villages and fruit orchids. 

Other properties in Ramgarh are:-

1. Welcome Heritage Taradale Cottage 
2. Seclude Ramgarh 
3. Cedar Lodge

Foggy Sunday Morning In Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary




As we drove on the unpaved roads inside the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were in a jungle right in the middle of our concrete Delhi. The clock showed 8.30 am and it was still very foggy. 






We had come here for the Winter Bird walk organized by Mr Ishtiyak Ahamad of Conservation Education Center but the weather Gods had some other plans for us. It remained foggy almost thru out the day leaving little possibility  photography and sighting of birds. But to be honest I did not miss the birds, loved the drive and walk inside the jungle. We drove almost 14 kms inside the Sanctuary to reach the Bharadwaj Lake aka Asola Bhatti Lake. 





Peacock


We did spot a few birds but were not able to photograph them because of low light.




Sparrow








Asola Bhatti Lake or Bharadwaj Lake





The sanctuary has many lakes but Asola Bhatti Lake is one of the biggest and most pristine of them all. A part of lake also has a beautiful sandy beach making it a perfect place for nature lovers to spend a day.







 




The sanctuary is home to over 200 species of birds. Many migratory birds also make the sanctuary its home during this season.







Crystal Clear Water Of Asola Bhatti Lake


As the sanctuary is not promoted much by the Delhi tourism, most of us are also unaware of the presence of  these beautiful lakes in our Delhi.








Walk Inside the Forest

The are many trails inside the jungle to explore. As there are no sign marks so its almost necessary to have an experienced guide with you.



















Leopard Scratch Marks On Tree


As it was foggy and spotting birds was almost impossible so we went on one of the Leopard trails inside the sanctuary.







Spooky



The terrain provides them perfect camouflage. They say as per the census there are close to 6 to 7 Leopards inside the sanctuary.






Down The Hill On Leopard Trail


Don't forget to bring a good camera or a binocular if you are a birding enthusiast. .







 



We came out around 1.00 pm and not before one of us had a flat tire inside and the gentleman had no spare tire too. The roads are unpaved and at places rocky too so make sure that the tires of your car has good rubber left on them. Also a car with higher ground clearance will surely help. Also bring your packed lunch and water as nothing is available inside.

To sum it all, I loved the experience and would encourage nature lovers to go and explore the little bit of Jungle left in our Delhi.  



Location :-

The entry gate is from Dr Karni Singh shooting range road , New Delhi. If you are driving from Delhi towards Faridabad on Shooting Range Road, you will see Asola Bhatti Sanctuary gate on your Right hand Side. 


How To Get In :- 

You have to take permission from the Delhi Forest department to get inside the sanctuary and that too a day or two in advance.  The best way is to contact The Conservation Education Center and they will arrange the entry permissions for you or you can also join their one the many Nature walks which they keep on organizing. Their contact details are :- 

Bombay Natural History Society,
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Near Dr.Karni Singh Shooting Range,
New Delhi - 110044
Contact Number: 8800748967, 8800741864

E mail- cecbnhsdelhi@gmail.com
Website- www.cecdelhi.org

They are organizing the next bird walk on 14th Feb 2016. If you interested than following are the details :-



Date: 14th February, Time: 8.00 am- 10.30 a.m.

Venue: Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary

Fees: Rs 350 per head/- (Includes entry fee and expert guidance)

For Registrations contact: Mr. Ishtiyak Ahamad, Education Officer on 011-26042010 or 8800741864, 9868441983

Email: cecbnhsdelhi@gmail.com

Last date for registration: 13th February 2016



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tirthan Valley - A Paradise in Himachal



I am a person of the mountains and of open blue skies. I know I cannot stay away from them too long. Mountains have always left me feeling renewed, content and more positive. I found one such place in Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Tirthan is gateway to The Great Himalayan National Park and is blessed with immense beauty. It's still not crowded, you can sit alone in the lap of nature and talk to yourself with no one disturbing you. Tirthan Valley borrow its name from Tirthan River, a tributary of Beas river which originates from the Himalayas.

I went there in start of June 2013. Green was the prime colour of the valley with clouds flirting with the mountains.

















Round trip from Gurgaon to Tirthan is close to 1200 kms if you take the more secnic route from Shimla side and then crossing over Jalori Pass to enrter into Kullu.



Route taken was-

Gurgaon- Ambala- Dharampur- Kumarhatti- Chail- Narkanda- Ani- Jalori Pass- Jibhi- Nagini(Tirthan Valley)- Aut- Mandi- Ropar- Chandigarh- Gurgaon


For the less adventurous or if you want to avoid Jalori Pass you can take the following Route -


Gurgaon- Ambala- Ropar- Mandi- Larji - Nagini(Thirthan Valley)- Larji- Mandi- Ambala - Gurgaon



Started  from Gurgaon to reach Dharampur by evening. After a good sleep I started the journey ahead to reach Tirthan but nature had its own plans!!! As I reached Narkanda, the rain started to pour heavily. I decided to stay in Narkanda as climbing Jalori pass becomes very difficult when its raining.





Tented accommodation in Himachal Tourism Hotel Hatu


 They have many rooms but just one tent and its beautiful. The tent is big and is neat and clean. You will not find it on their website and hence will not be able to make on-line booking. The only way is to get there and hope its not occupied.












After settling my stuff in the tent I ventured out on a small trek around the hotel. It turned out to be a rewarding decision. I got some beautiful views of the snow capped Himalayas.
























I did nothing but rested, enjoyed the surroundings as someone has written beautifully , "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time"







































































Got stuck on way for more than an hour due to landslide.














Jalori Pass is closed in winters and can be crossed over only in summers. It usually opens in Mid March and closed in December. The road going up to Jalori pass is tightly hair-pinned and has many sharp and blind curves. As many of you may agree, we men like curves and this is no exceptional case :) The views that you get from these curves makes up for what your car has to go thru crossing the treacherous road.




















There are few restaurants or Dhabbas as we call them at Jalori Pass. They serve simple, basic but tasty food.











You can very well see the road condition in these two shots. It was still raining. I would strongly advice to be extremely careful while driving down and drive down on low gears specially is its raining.


































Finally I reached small village named Nagini in Tirthan Valley which had to be my home for next 4 days. The shot above that you see is an evening shot taken from the rooftop of Khem Bharti Homestay called Hotel Trout Valley. Hotel Trout valley gets its name from the Trout fish found in adundance in Tirthan river which flows only at stone throw distance. It is said that during the british rule, the britishers found Tirthan River water so clear and thus suitable for Trout fish that they bought best seeds of fish from Scandinavian countries.





View From The Lobby












Isn't it Beautiful???

















This was my room and what a view it had!!!! I had thought of hiking around but when I found my corner, It felt so complete.






















Tirthan River

















I loved Tirthan Valley more than I ever thought I would. The place is still not commercialised and acts as a base camp for some of the beautiful treks in the region. There are 2 beautiful waterfalls which can accessed by foot. I visited Tirthan around 2 years ago and never managed to finish the blog until one of my readers asked for a suggestion for a offbeat summer destination. Thanks Reader!!!

Places to Stay-

1. Khem Bharti Home Stay a.k.a Hotel Trout Valley - http://www.troutvalley.co.in/
    Mobile no - +91-9459101113

2. Raju Guest House, Gushaini.
    Mobile no- +91- 9418149808

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BOM BOM - Ristorantino Italiano

"I'll serve Carpaccio to you tomorrow for lunch" he said with his thick Italian baritone throat.



While I never knew how to pronounce the dish, however ! I agreed to it. What I figured later while relishing it that It's a culinary wonder made with ultra thin & raw meat slices submerged in olive oil & marinated with lemon... Served with shavings of Parmesan cheese. 



I hadn't ever ventured to raw meat ever  but it was scrumcious . I realised that knowng that it's raw meat, I would have perhaps not let it pass thru my one & only blessed gob ... Well, glad to have ventured & not miss savouring the flavour. There are many things that we don't opt to do or try only because we hold our own notions . Some one said it so right say " the biggest risk is not having to take one !!!" U Don't know what u r missing ?




Coming back to the BOM BOM ...The chef cum owner of this little Italy .. Or should I say culinary twinkle in Agonda, once had a restaurant in Italy. He wound up all and now runnning this shack named BOM BOM in Goa .. 



The restaurant is simple but the chef's perfectionism & passion surfaces in every dish you order ... be it sea shell Pasta or or pork or French roast chicken . 


         Chicken in white wine




           Sea Shells for Pasta

And the best was Tiramasu with cocoa sprinkles over ice cream scoops . Haha ..its a battle between your weighing scale over your taste buds :) .. Well He plans to double the size of the restaurant next year and add more options to the menu. Well while I write this my mouth is watering .. Catch u later .. I better finish my meal .. :) 


Bon appetite !!!