A solo trip to the Valley of Flowers

To visit places within the Garhwal circuit, including the Chota Char Dham, Haridwar is the starting point. The Haridwar Jn. (HW) on the Delhi-Dehradun route has direct trains to major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Madurai, etc. The Jolly Grant Airport, 44 km from the city provides air connectivity to the rest of the country. Ample bus services are also available from the neighboring states - Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab - to reach Haridwar. 

As I was based in Allahabad, I took the 14163 Sangam Link Express, the only daily train between the two stations. This is a bit slower train and one can also board the tri-weekly 14115 Prayag Ghat (PYG) - Haridwar (HW) Express. The scheduled arrival time for Sangam Express is 10:48 hours while for the PYG-HW Express is 14:15 hours. Taking either of these trains allow enough time to explore Haridwar before heading to the higher altitudes. Additionally, with Indian Railways being well known for their punctuality the time can be kept as a buffer to avoid delay in further plans.

Haridwar bridgeHaridwar Haridwar Ganga aarti


Tourism in Garo Hills

Garo Hills is one of the three regions that form the state of Meghalaya in the North-Eastern part of India.

Destinations:

Links to resources across the internet:

[Note: This article is being updated.]

Road trip to Nainital

"Once a year go to a place you have never been before." 

This quote by Dalai Lama has become one of my favourite in the last few years. I have even tried my best to follow it by visiting a new destination on the first day itself or at least in the first month. I was in Hyderabad during new year 2016 and in Kerala on Pongal holidays 2017. 2018 was a bit loose and had to wait till march to visit Gwalior. In 2019, I was back to celebrate new year in a new destination -  NAINITAL. The 2018 year end trip was another milestone as Uttarkhand became the 18th Indian state I touched down at.

I tried hard to cut down cost by availing the Indian Railways but luck would not have it and it had to be a road trip. I started from Prayagraj at 8:00am on 28th December 2018 bound for Lucknow. After around 5 hours of smooth ride I was dropped off at Alambagh bus station in Lucknow. This newly opened bus stand, I must say, is one of the finest I have ever seen in India. The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) must have been the same when it was opened. As it was lunch time I visited the food court on the first floor and tried their aloo paratha served with pickle. The pricing has been kept in budget. The food court serves a variety of food at pocket friendly prices.

Places to visit during Kumbh 2k19

Sangam: The holy trinity of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati must undoubtedly be the first on this list as Kumbh is all because of this. Prayagraj is all about this. The Prayagraj Kumbh is being held at this river junction since ages.

Bade Hanuman Mandir: This is probably the only temple where Lord Hanuman can be found in reclining position.

Akshaya Vat, Patal Puri Mandir and Saraswati Koop: Set within the fort Akbar built on the banks of Yamuna, this is another important religious place. Saraswati Koop is believed to be the last of the remains of river Saraswati.

Sri Adi Shankara Vimana Mandapam: This is an important landmark in the vast flood plains of Sangam. Standing out from the remaining of the building in terms of architecture, this is the tallest structure one can see in the area.

One District One Product: This is an initiative to showcase the cottage industry of Uttar Pradesh. One prominent product from each district has been promoted here. ODOP is located at Sector 1/Parade ground near the triangular park, Chungi.

Namami Ganga: What can be better place than Kumbh to educate people regarding the importance of river and it's protection. This camp set just beside the ODOP complex hosts several important information regarding the initiatives being taken under the Namami Gange program. Desks by the Wildlife Institute of Indiahas been setup to create awareness about the non-human species that are dependent on Ganga. Apart from WII, desks of CSIR-NEERI and Ganga Task Force has also been setup.

India Post: The postal department is hosting a philetelic exhibition on the theme Gandhi.

Pustak Kumbh: Book exhibition cum sale set up in sector 1.

Sanskrit Gram: 17 galleries showcasing the different periods of India right from the Harappan civilization till Indian independence movement. A perfect place to know and/or brush-up your knowledge about Indian history.

Kala gram: If ODOP was to promote artisans from Uttar Pradesh, this zone in sector 19 is for rest of India. In collaboration with the zonal cultural centres, handicrafts from different corners of India have been exhibited at the Kala gram.

VIP Ghat: This is the place for your official selfie. 

Toilet cafe:

Map of Kumbh 2019

(Source)

On river Saraswati

Is the river Saraswati really mythical? Or did we let it go extinct like some other rivers that are on the verge of drying up completely.