Scaling the heights of Shrikhand Mahadev - one of the most challenging treks in India

Exactly 8 years ago, this blog was started with first post on Shrikhand Manadev . Blog-post was written in the month of July in 2008 and today we share a beautiful Photo Journey through Varun's Travellingcamera . And idea here is to about some tips to plan this heavenly trek in Himalayan State of India.Above photograph shows Nayan Sarovar, which comes on the last day of this trek. It's on the way to Shrikhand from Parvati Bagh. Shrikhand Trek starts in the month of July. Every year dates change but easily found on internet. This date drives a lot of things. Lot of communities arrange food and tents for pilgrims and trekkers. Langar arrangements are done at different places on this trek.Above photograph shows magnificent view of Bheem-Dwar.Varun and friends stayed at Barati nala from where the hike starts. Second day stay was at Bheem Talai and 3rd day at Bheem Dwar. On 4th day, they trekked to Shrikhand and came back to Bheem Dwar.Above photograph shows Bheem Talai.This year, snow was very less. There was only one stop where trekker had to cross through frozen snow. Somehow these are called glaciers, but technically they are not. I might be wrong here :)Danda Dhar is beautiful trek through forests. It comes in the beginning of the trek. Since trek happens in monsoons, it's important to keep rain suits and something to cover your bags. Another beautiful shot of Danda Dhar. It was disappointing to that almost everywhere tents are available and pollution is increasing. In one way, having multiple tents is convenient but every pilgrim, trekker and community work need to think about managing garbage as well.Kali Ghati looks beautiful with cloud-play all around. There are multiple Shrikhand  posts on this blog, so go ahead and check out more details about planning and things to avoid.Kali Ghati at it's best !Here is the view on top and the main khand on left is called Shrikhand. This year snow was less, otherwise most of these rocks are covered by snow.

Exactly 8 years ago, this blog was started with first post on Shrikhand Mahadev. Blog-post was written in the month of July in 2008 and today we share a beautiful Photo Journey through Varun's Travellingcamera. And idea here is to about some tips to plan this heavenly trek in Himalayan State of India. 

Exactly 8 years ago, this blog was started with first post on Shrikhand Manadev . Blog-post was written in the month of July in 2008 and today we share a beautiful Photo Journey through Varun's Travellingcamera . And idea here is to about some tips to plan this heavenly trek in Himalayan State of India.Above photograph shows Nayan Sarovar, which comes on the last day of this trek. It's on the way to Shrikhand from Parvati Bagh. Shrikhand Trek starts in the month of July. Every year dates change but easily found on internet. This date drives a lot of things. Lot of communities arrange food and tents for pilgrims and trekkers. Langar arrangements are done at different places on this trek.Above photograph shows magnificent view of Bheem-Dwar.Varun and friends stayed at Barati nala from where the hike starts. Second day stay was at Bheem Talai and 3rd day at Bheem Dwar. On 4th day, they trekked to Shrikhand and came back to Bheem Dwar.Above photograph shows Bheem Talai.This year, snow was very less. There was only one stop where trekker had to cross through frozen snow. Somehow these are called glaciers, but technically they are not. I might be wrong here :)Danda Dhar is beautiful trek through forests. It comes in the beginning of the trek. Since trek happens in monsoons, it's important to keep rain suits and something to cover your bags. Another beautiful shot of Danda Dhar. It was disappointing to that almost everywhere tents are available and pollution is increasing. In one way, having multiple tents is convenient but every pilgrim, trekker and community work need to think about managing garbage as well.Kali Ghati looks beautiful with cloud-play all around. There are multiple Shrikhand  posts on this blog, so go ahead and check out more details about planning and things to avoid.Kali Ghati at it's best !Here is the view on top and the main khand on left is called Shrikhand. This year snow was less, otherwise most of these rocks are covered by snow.


A visit to Konark Sun Temple in Odisha - One of the 7 wonders in India

While in Bhubaneshwar ( Odisha , we planned to drive to Konark Sun Temple and witness it's grandness & heritage.Temple has beautifully carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A lot of portions of temple are in ruins, although remained part is being maintained. Some work was happening when we visited the temple this month (july’2016).Sun Temple in Konark is 65 kilometers from Bhubaneshwar and 35 km from Puri.ASI maintains the temple and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Konark Sun temple is also featured in the list of 7 wonders in India, along with Meenakshi Amman Temple of Madurai, Dholavira of Gujarat, Red Fort of Delhi, Jaisalmer Fort of Rajasthan, Nalanda of Bihar and Khajuraho of MP.The name Konark comes from Sanskrit words - Kona and Ark. Europian sailors had 2 important temples in this part of India - Konark Sun Temple and Jaganath Temple in Puri, which are called Black Pagoda and White Padoga respectively.Konark Sun Temple has used iron beams for it’s structure. It was made to look like Surya-Rath (Chariot of Sun God). There are 12 carved stone wheels which are 3 meters wide and is pulled by a set of seven horses, which you see on entry gate of the temple. It followed popular Kalinga Architecture.Maintenance of Konark Sun Temple was in progress and it made us feel good about the care ASI is taking of these beautiful heritage buildings in India. Although it made us worry about the way these structures are restored. Plain stones without any carving are being added to give support to the structure. It's understandable that same carving might be difficult to achieve but some creative stuff can be done. More than structure, the craved stones are decaying with time and wondering if there is a good way to avoid it. I am sure ASI must thinking about all these things.Konark Sun Temple is one of the most visited tourist places in Odisha and it's considered as one of the most popular places to visit around Bubaneshwar. We didn't want to miss and happy that it was a nice experience to be there. Although the weather was not suitable, but we had fun.There are some interesting facts about the architecture of Konark Sun Temple. Original temple had one part of the compound, which was 70 mgr high. Now the highest structure of the Sun Temple is 30 meters high, which is essentially the audience hall along with smaller structures like Dance hall and Dining hall.Orissa Tourism website  lists few interesting details around history behind this temple.Surrounding of the Konark Sun Temple is pretty green and the weather made it greener for us.We had great time roaming around this beautiful campus of Konark Sun Temple, which has lot to surprise you and make you think how it was built many centuries ago. Here we tried to click family selfie with our DSLR  and it came out well :)These are the Ashvas (horses) of Surya Rath. Somehow the faces are different and I am not sure why. There must be some reason behind these shapes.

While in Bhubaneshwar ( Odisha ), we planned to drive to Konark Sun Temple and witness it's grandness & heritage. 

While in Bhubaneshwar ( Odisha , we planned to drive to Konark Sun Temple and witness it's grandness & heritage.Temple has beautifully carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A lot of portions of temple are in ruins, although remained part is being maintained. Some work was happening when we visited the temple this month (july’2016).Sun Temple in Konark is 65 kilometers from Bhubaneshwar and 35 km from Puri.ASI maintains the temple and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Konark Sun temple is also featured in the list of 7 wonders in India, along with Meenakshi Amman Temple of Madurai, Dholavira of Gujarat, Red Fort of Delhi, Jaisalmer Fort of Rajasthan, Nalanda of Bihar and Khajuraho of MP.The name Konark comes from Sanskrit words - Kona and Ark. Europian sailors had 2 important temples in this part of India - Konark Sun Temple and Jaganath Temple in Puri, which are called Black Pagoda and White Padoga respectively.Konark Sun Temple has used iron beams for it’s structure. It was made to look like Surya-Rath (Chariot of Sun God). There are 12 carved stone wheels which are 3 meters wide and is pulled by a set of seven horses, which you see on entry gate of the temple. It followed popular Kalinga Architecture.Maintenance of Konark Sun Temple was in progress and it made us feel good about the care ASI is taking of these beautiful heritage buildings in India. Although it made us worry about the way these structures are restored. Plain stones without any carving are being added to give support to the structure. It's understandable that same carving might be difficult to achieve but some creative stuff can be done. More than structure, the craved stones are decaying with time and wondering if there is a good way to avoid it. I am sure ASI must thinking about all these things.Konark Sun Temple is one of the most visited tourist places in Odisha and it's considered as one of the most popular places to visit around Bubaneshwar. We didn't want to miss and happy that it was a nice experience to be there. Although the weather was not suitable, but we had fun.There are some interesting facts about the architecture of Konark Sun Temple. Original temple had one part of the compound, which was 70 mgr high. Now the highest structure of the Sun Temple is 30 meters high, which is essentially the audience hall along with smaller structures like Dance hall and Dining hall.Orissa Tourism website  lists few interesting details around history behind this temple.Surrounding of the Konark Sun Temple is pretty green and the weather made it greener for us.We had great time roaming around this beautiful campus of Konark Sun Temple, which has lot to surprise you and make you think how it was built many centuries ago. Here we tried to click family selfie with our DSLR  and it came out well :)These are the Ashvas (horses) of Surya Rath. Somehow the faces are different and I am not sure why. There must be some reason behind these shapes.

Churdhar Trek - a good weekend option for nature lovers



Churdhar is a moderate trek in Himalayan State of India. I did it long time back and lost my photographs. Today I thought of writing about this trek, along with these brilliant photographs by Varun Chaudhary. Churdhar is one of the popular pilgrims in Himachal and lot of local people visit this place. It's at 3600 Meters + height and distance is about 16 kilomters which can be easily done in a day.

Nauradhar is the base of this trek and easily accessible through buses. You can also drive to the place and find some parking space, till you come down after the trek.  Buses to Nohradhar are available from Solan, Rajgarh and Nahan. Need to check recent schedule and frequency.

There are various stories associated with these beautiful hills. One story says that Hanuman took Sanjeevani story from these hills. And the name is also described as "Choor Chandni ki Dhar" – The ridge of the bangle of snow, which seemed to be source of of ice for parties at Mughal court by  Jahan Ara.

Trek starts with steep landscapes having grasslands and rocky paths. And then it’s relatively easy and moderate. Last stretch is again steep. It seems that there is another route which is longer but moderately steep.

Ideally this trek would take 2 days. One day to go up and another to come down. Now it depends how you want to plan it. Keep 3 days for comfortable journey and enjoying the nature. If you want to stay at the base, there is PWD guest house as well. Place has few dhabas and few shops. 

Trek starts from Nohradhar to Jamnala , then Teesri  and finally Churdhar. May to Nov is a good time of year to plan this trek, excluding monsoon time.

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

- Manage your waste well and don’t litter
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
- Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite 


Monsoon trip to the rain drenched hills of Himachal Pradesh || #DareToPerform with #Honor5C

As part of our explorations armed with nothing but the camera in our Honor 5c smartphone, we have taken you to Agrasen ki Baoli, India Gate, Lodhi Gardens, and Connaught Place. Next we decided to head to somewhere more exotic - our home town in Himachal Pradesh. With the onset of monsoon, we were really excited about this impromptu trip. Mountains are a real delight in the monsoons. Emrald green hills, cool rains, cool days and cold nights, field explorations - there was so much to look forward to. Moreover, we would be meeting our family after a long time.when we say our hometown, there are two places in Himachal Pradesh we call home. One is a little village called "Chauntra" in the Hamirpur District, and the other is a slightly larger village called "Bidahin" in the Mandi district. The former is where the maternal side of our family stays and the latter is where the paternal side stays. Both the villages have their own unique charms. This time we were headed to Chauntra. Our grandparents' house in Chauntra is a traditional Himachali house with mud walls, ingineous home-built plumbing, and tiled roofs. The kitchen is on the first floor with a mud choolha, and the bathroon is a hundred feet away from the actual home. One entire cluster of houses belongs to our family and one just has to step out of the house to run into uncles and aunts. The panoramic shots in this post are of that same cluster of houses. Our grandparents also own a buffalo and a little calf. Our grandparents' lives revolves around taking care of them. They also have some fields, some close by and some far flung that need tending to. Apart from taking care of the livestock and fields, they also need to bring fresh grass for the buffalo. All this might appear charming and exotic, but it involves a lot of hardwork. They wake up at around 5 in the morning and go to bed at around 9:30. And in between, they hardly take 15 minutes of break.The snack in the photograph above is called Pattaure. They are made from colocasia leaves, layered with chick peas flour and various spices. This is one of the common monsoon snacks of Himachal Pradesh, and is a good example of how people in the rural places try to use every part of a plant that can be used. The pictures in this post are all shot using the in-built camera of Honor 5c. The results for these compositions are satisfactory and go a long way in proving our hipothesis that if you don't intend to shoot professional quality photos, you don't need to purchase an expensive DSLR. The camera in your smartphone should be enough if you take care to choose the smartphone well.

As part of our explorations armed with nothing but the camera in our Honor 5c smartphone, we have taken you to Agrasen ki Baoli, India Gate, Lodhi Gardens, and Connaught Place. Next we decided to head to somewhere more exotic - our home town in Himachal Pradesh

As part of our explorations armed with nothing but the camera in our Honor 5c smartphone, we have taken you to Agrasen ki Baoli, India Gate, Lodhi Gardens, and Connaught Place. Next we decided to head to somewhere more exotic - our home town in Himachal Pradesh. With the onset of monsoon, we were really excited about this impromptu trip. Mountains are a real delight in the monsoons. Emrald green hills, cool rains, cool days and cold nights, field explorations - there was so much to look forward to. Moreover, we would be meeting our family after a long time.when we say our hometown, there are two places in Himachal Pradesh we call home. One is a little village called "Chauntra" in the Hamirpur District, and the other is a slightly larger village called "Bidahin" in the Mandi district. The former is where the maternal side of our family stays and the latter is where the paternal side stays. Both the villages have their own unique charms. This time we were headed to Chauntra. Our grandparents' house in Chauntra is a traditional Himachali house with mud walls, ingineous home-built plumbing, and tiled roofs. The kitchen is on the first floor with a mud choolha, and the bathroon is a hundred feet away from the actual home. One entire cluster of houses belongs to our family and one just has to step out of the house to run into uncles and aunts. The panoramic shots in this post are of that same cluster of houses. Our grandparents also own a buffalo and a little calf. Our grandparents' lives revolves around taking care of them. They also have some fields, some close by and some far flung that need tending to. Apart from taking care of the livestock and fields, they also need to bring fresh grass for the buffalo. All this might appear charming and exotic, but it involves a lot of hardwork. They wake up at around 5 in the morning and go to bed at around 9:30. And in between, they hardly take 15 minutes of break.The snack in the photograph above is called Pattaure. They are made from colocasia leaves, layered with chick peas flour and various spices. This is one of the common monsoon snacks of Himachal Pradesh, and is a good example of how people in the rural places try to use every part of a plant that can be used. The pictures in this post are all shot using the in-built camera of Honor 5c. The results for these compositions are satisfactory and go a long way in proving our hipothesis that if you don't intend to shoot professional quality photos, you don't need to purchase an expensive DSLR. The camera in your smartphone should be enough if you take care to choose the smartphone well.

Reflections at India Gate - Literal as well as Proverbial || #DareToPerform with #Honor5C

Question: What is that one place in Delhi that symbolizes patriotism, the "coolness" factor, the common man, and the top bureaucracy, peace, and struggle, all at one go? And the right answer is... you guessed it. India Gate!The simple, yet imposing, structure, the India Gate is also home to the Amar Jawan Jyoti - the eternal flame that is kept alight in the memory of soldiers who were martyred in the various wars and during India's struggle  for freedom. India Gate is also at the centre of the annual Republic Day Parade, which fills every Indian's heart with pride and also showcases the strength of Indian Armed Forces to the world. Today, India Gate has also come to be known as the place where the common people of Delhi and beyond gather on a pleasant day or in evenings and hangout till late in the night munching on spicy bhelpuri, golgappe, and sweet potato chaat. It is the place where women-hawkers, draped in colorful Rajasthani or Haryanvi attire, sell trinkets to tourists, where patient young men lighten up the surroundings with magical soap-bubbles in an attempt to entice children into buying the soup solution and the bubble blower. Tea-sellers roam the lawns with their shiny aluminium kettles selling tea to youngsters sitting on the green lawns, while photographers try to convince people to get their pictures clicked with India Gate in the background. The entire vista is bubbling with happiness and life. And this becomes even magical in the monsoons when the sky is clear and the puddles form everywhere offering opportunities to click spectacular reflections of India Gate. All pictures in this post are shot with our smartphone Huawei Honor 5c. We take pride in calling ourselves the Huawei Honor family as almost all of us own a Honor phone. And we can't be more pleased with the results. At India Gate, this gathering of common people is happening in the backdrop of the President's House. And this is what Delhi is all about - the land of contrasts and contradictions. Even though we are mighty proud of the pictures in this post, no picture can ever do justice to the enigma that is India Gate of today.

Question: What is that one place in Delhi that symbolizes patriotism, the "coolness" factor, the common man, and the top bureaucracy, peace, and struggle, all at one go?

And the right answer is... you guessed it. India Gate!

Connaught Place after the sun has set || #DaretoDream with #Honor5C

At the very heart of Delhi lies the "showpiece of Lutyen's Delhi", the business and commercial centre we know as Connaught Place or CP. The place not only houses some of the biggest names in the financial scene of the country, it is also one of the most happening places as far as restaurants, shopping options, and crowd is concerned. A favorite amongst young couples, foreign tourists, college students, and families, Connaught Place offers immense opportunity to photographers as well. Teeming with hawkers dressed in colourful traditional clothes, young and old beautiful faces, colonial architecture complete with pillars, arches, and buttresses, a photographer cannot resist the charms of CP. Portraits, architecture, candid - you name it and CP offers it. So we, armed with our Honor 5C, descended upon CP for photography on a Saturday. But we decided to add a twist to it. We went there after sunset to capture the CP of the shadows. When the crowds have dwindled, the hawkers are wrapping up their make-shift shops, and the practical jeans and t-shirt of the days are replaced by night dresses and high heels, a new CP emerges. Less "happening", but yet glamourous. Just a reminder - this series is an attempt to see if we need a DSLR camera for day-to-day photography or whether a smartphone suffices. All photographs in this post are shot using Honor 5c in CP under low-light conditions. Be it the panning shot of the auto in motion, or the dog sitting like royalty under the lamps, our phone managed to shine through. Now you can see for yourself and decide whether you need to purchase a DSLR if you don't intend to shoot like a pro, and are happy with regular shots based on a good composition. After spending some time in and around CP, we headed home. However, our explorations with Honor 5c are not over yet. Next we will head out of the city to the mountains with the smartphone that hadn't yet given us a single opportunity to complain. To find out how that goes, stay tuned.

At the very heart of Delhi lies the "showpiece of Lutyen's Delhi", the business and commercial centre we know as Connaught Place or CP. The place not only houses some of the biggest names in the financial scene of the country, it is also one of the most happening places as far as restaurants, shopping options, and crowd is concerned. 

The Land of Red Stone Buildings and Lush Green Lawns - Lodhi Gardens || #DareToPerform with #Honor5C

Continuing our explorating of our favorite city Delhi with the new smartphone on the block - Honor 5c, our next stop was the park that offers different things to different people - Lodhi Gardens. For people in search of greenery, Lodhi Gardens offer trees of a wide variety and velvetty carpet-like lawns. For people in search of birds butterflies, there are 100s of species that can be spotted here. For health-freaks, there's an open gym and walking tracks. For people in search of history and architecture, there are four structures from the time of the Lodhis. For couple looking for some us-time, there is plenty on offer. Even for kids there are options of entertainment such as hillocks and swings.  If you happen to be at Lodhi Gardens early in the morning, you will not only see joggers and walkers, but also people doing various activities such as yoga, aerobics and other sports. come a little late and you will come across people walking various breeds of dogs. In the afternoon, the garden transforms into a lovers' paradise, and in the evening, families descend upon it to sit in the grass, to let their toddlers play, and to feed the geese and ducks. Talking about geese and ducks, there are some very friendly Geese and some reclusive ducks near the little artificial lake. The geese like to stay around people and on days when the birds are feeling extra-social, you can easily walk amongst them without having your feet pecked at by them. These geese are very popular with the people visiting the park and receive a lot of love in the form of bread crumbs and corn. The ducks though prefer to stay at the other end of the lake, or on the tiny island in the middle of the lake. They make it clear that they don't like people. Apart from these, there are other birds such as egrets, parrots, kingfishers, and a strange green bird, we don't know the name of. The monuments in the garden are Mohammad Shah's tomb, Sikandar Lodi's tomb, Shisha Gumbad, and Bada Gumbad, all built by the Lodhi's in the 15th century. The structures are interesting and the ceilings and walls have some interesting Mughal carvings. In the past we have visited Lodhi Gardens many times with our DSLR, but this time we were equipped only with a smartphone with a decent camera - Honor 5c, and were pretty pleased with the results. When photography is more about the composition, you do not necessarily need high-end equipment to achieve desirable results, unless you are doing a professional photo shoot. With its various offerings Lodhi Gardens are a photographer's dream come true especially on bright sunny days right after the monsoon rains. There are a lot of opportunities and a lot of moments worth capturing in these lawns. Imagine children running down the hillocks or a toddler learning to run. Imagine a flock of birds suddenly taking flight. Imagine the geese cleaning their feathers. Imagine an egret poised for a strike. Imagine an old man watching a family play from a distance. It is all there, all waiting to be captured, waiting to be eternalized. So what are you waiting for. Grab your camera or smartphone and go get that perfect shot!

Continuing our exploration of our favorite city Delhi with the new smartphone on the block - Honor 5c, our next stop was the park that offers different things to different people - Lodhi Gardens. For people in search of greenery, Lodhi Gardens offer trees of a wide variety and velvetty carpet-like lawns. For people in search of birds butterflies, there are 100s of species that can be spotted here. For health-freaks, there's an open gym and walking tracks. For people in search of history and architecture, there are four structures from the time of the Lodhis. For couple looking for some us-time, there is plenty on offer. Even for kids there are options of entertainment such as hillocks and swings.  

Continuing our explorating of our favorite city Delhi with the new smartphone on the block - Honor 5c, our next stop was the park that offers different things to different people - Lodhi Gardens. For people in search of greenery, Lodhi Gardens offer trees of a wide variety and velvetty carpet-like lawns. For people in search of birds butterflies, there are 100s of species that can be spotted here. For health-freaks, there's an open gym and walking tracks. For people in search of history and architecture, there are four structures from the time of the Lodhis. For couple looking for some us-time, there is plenty on offer. Even for kids there are options of entertainment such as hillocks and swings.  If you happen to be at Lodhi Gardens early in the morning, you will not only see joggers and walkers, but also people doing various activities such as yoga, aerobics and other sports. come a little late and you will come across people walking various breeds of dogs. In the afternoon, the garden transforms into a lovers' paradise, and in the evening, families descend upon it to sit in the grass, to let their toddlers play, and to feed the geese and ducks. Talking about geese and ducks, there are some very friendly Geese and some reclusive ducks near the little artificial lake. The geese like to stay around people and on days when the birds are feeling extra-social, you can easily walk amongst them without having your feet pecked at by them. These geese are very popular with the people visiting the park and receive a lot of love in the form of bread crumbs and corn. The ducks though prefer to stay at the other end of the lake, or on the tiny island in the middle of the lake. They make it clear that they don't like people. Apart from these, there are other birds such as egrets, parrots, kingfishers, and a strange green bird, we don't know the name of. The monuments in the garden are Mohammad Shah's tomb, Sikandar Lodi's tomb, Shisha Gumbad, and Bada Gumbad, all built by the Lodhi's in the 15th century. The structures are interesting and the ceilings and walls have some interesting Mughal carvings. In the past we have visited Lodhi Gardens many times with our DSLR, but this time we were equipped only with a smartphone with a decent camera - Honor 5c, and were pretty pleased with the results. When photography is more about the composition, you do not necessarily need high-end equipment to achieve desirable results, unless you are doing a professional photo shoot. With its various offerings Lodhi Gardens are a photographer's dream come true especially on bright sunny days right after the monsoon rains. There are a lot of opportunities and a lot of moments worth capturing in these lawns. Imagine children running down the hillocks or a toddler learning to run. Imagine a flock of birds suddenly taking flight. Imagine the geese cleaning their feathers. Imagine an egret poised for a strike. Imagine an old man watching a family play from a distance. It is all there, all waiting to be captured, waiting to be eternalized. So what are you waiting for. Grab your camera or smartphone and go get that perfect shot!

Surrounded by Walls that Tell Tales - Agrasen ki baoli || #DareToPerform with #Honor5C

When loitering around in Cannaught Place or navigating traffic on Barakhamba Road, it is difficult imagine that barely 5-minutes away, hidden amongst trees, lies the magnificient stone structure of Agrasen ki baoli. The 14th-century step well was restored by the Archaeological Survey of India in the year 2002. Now the Baoli is clean and well-maintained. We visited Agrasen ki Baoli on a humid Sunday afternoon and were expecting to find a more or less abandoned structure with may be a couple of people loitering about here and there. But we were in for a surprise. The baoli was buzzing with well-dressed, pouting, selfie-clicking youngsters. They were there in such large numbers that it was difficult to capture even a single shot without people in it. This was heartening. I don't know whether this popularity is because the Baoli was recently featured in the popular Bollywood film PK or because the Baoli is clean, litter-free and situated barely a kilometre away from the heart of the city. It may be all of these, but it is wonderful to see the hard work of the ASI bearing fruit. Usually when we head out to explore the city, we make sure that we carry a DSLR and all the required lenses, but this time we had decided to do something different. The impact of camera phones on the photography ecosystem is the hot topic for debate nowadays, and we decided to settle it with a practical. So this time instead of a DSLR, we were carrying a smartphone - Honor 5c to be precise. All the pictures that you are seeing in this post have been clicked using Honor 5c. Based on the results, we can comfortably say that for everyday non-professional use, a smartphone, if used well, can suffice. One would of course need to study all the capabilities and features of the particular smartphone camera in details to be able to use them in appropriate situations. Coming back to the Baoli, we captured the structure, the pigeons peeping out of the gaps in the walls, the contrast between the modern skyscrapers of CP and the medieval architecture of the Baoli, the people exploring the structure and a lot more. The baoli is situated in one of the lanes branching out of the very pretty Hailey road, and this lane is dotted with some very interesting grafitti. We captured some of that too. If you haven't yet seen Agrasen ki Baoli, we recommend that you should. But make sure that the day is pleasant and you have time on your hands, because there is a lot to take in at the Baoli and in the surroundings.

When loitering around in Connaught Place or navigating traffic on Barakhamba Road, it is difficult imagine that barely 5-minutes away, hidden amongst trees, lies the magnificent stone structure of Agrasen ki baoli. The 14th-century step well was restored by the Archaeological Survey of India in the year 2002. Now the Baoli is clean and well-maintained. 

When loitering around in Cannaught Place or navigating traffic on Barakhamba Road, it is difficult imagine that barely 5-minutes away, hidden amongst trees, lies the magnificient stone structure of Agrasen ki baoli. The 14th-century step well was restored by the Archaeological Survey of India in the year 2002. Now the Baoli is clean and well-maintained. We visited Agrasen ki Baoli on a humid Sunday afternoon and were expecting to find a more or less abandoned structure with may be a couple of people loitering about here and there. But we were in for a surprise. The baoli was buzzing with well-dressed, pouting, selfie-clicking youngsters. They were there in such large numbers that it was difficult to capture even a single shot without people in it. This was heartening. I don't know whether this popularity is because the Baoli was recently featured in the popular Bollywood film PK or because the Baoli is clean, litter-free and situated barely a kilometre away from the heart of the city. It may be all of these, but it is wonderful to see the hard work of the ASI bearing fruit. Usually when we head out to explore the city, we make sure that we carry a DSLR and all the required lenses, but this time we had decided to do something different. The impact of camera phones on the photography ecosystem is the hot topic for debate nowadays, and we decided to settle it with a practical. So this time instead of a DSLR, we were carrying a smartphone - Honor 5c to be precise. All the pictures that you are seeing in this post have been clicked using Honor 5c. Based on the results, we can comfortably say that for everyday non-professional use, a smartphone, if used well, can suffice. One would of course need to study all the capabilities and features of the particular smartphone camera in details to be able to use them in appropriate situations. Coming back to the Baoli, we captured the structure, the pigeons peeping out of the gaps in the walls, the contrast between the modern skyscrapers of CP and the medieval architecture of the Baoli, the people exploring the structure and a lot more. The baoli is situated in one of the lanes branching out of the very pretty Hailey road, and this lane is dotted with some very interesting grafitti. We captured some of that too. If you haven't yet seen Agrasen ki Baoli, we recommend that you should. But make sure that the day is pleasant and you have time on your hands, because there is a lot to take in at the Baoli and in the surroundings.

"10 most exploited places in Himachal by tourists" - a conversation initiated by Varun Chaudhary


This is how Varun Chaudhary initiated a conversation on facebook and mentioned Triund & Shimla. The conversation took interesting turn when lot of folks started participating and added more names to this list. Varun is an accomplished Travel Photographer and a strong supporter of eco-friendly initiatives. He belongs to Himachal and cares a lot about his state. I chose to write about it because it's not about specific places discussed in this thread but more about lot of other places in our country which bring some value to travellers but loose the charm over time or get dirty/unbearable. 

How to reach Churu and main things to do around Churu/Ramgarh, Rajasthan

After reading various posts about Churu  & Ramgarh , lot of viewers have asked very questions in past – how to reach Churu, what’s good time to visit these place, any recommended place to stay, main things to see/explore or something which shouldn’t be missed when in Churu region of Rajasthan, India. All these questions make me think about the quality of my earlier posts :), but then I found reasons to justify it. Anyways, all my earlier posts were more about the experience of various places in Churu & Ramgarh and I hardly talked about the way I reached there etc.How to reach Churu, Rajasthan - So we chose to drive from Delhi to Churu, but I don’t recommend that. Haryana roads are pathetic and frustrates you to the core. Although roads in Rajasthan are amazing. Since there is railway station is there in Churu, why not travel comfortably and hire a taxi for local commute. And in fact, try out local transport system to enjoy the trip in better way.Where to stay in Churu (Rajasthan) -As far as stay in concerned, I was invited by Malji Ka Kamra  which is a haveli converted into hotel. A nice place to stay. Apart from that you should be able to find some home stays in this region.Main places to do/explore around Churu region of Rajasthan state in India – I am sure there must be lot of things which I didn’t explore. But here I would mention some of the places I visited or recommended by close friends or bloggers I know.Haveli Tour  - Churu is popularly known for it's heritage and havelis left behind by Kothari business families. There are huge havelis spread over the streets of Churu and lot of them are in ruins. Accompany a local who can tell you some eye opening stories about different families who owned these Havelis. Families of care takers are living in some of these Havelis, but it's certainly hard to maintain these huge buildings in Churu.Lacquer Jewelry of Rajasthan state is very popular and there are few families in Churu as well, who are into this business for many generations now. That can be a good gift for your family and friends, when you return from your trip.Pabuji ki Phad is dying craft of Rajasthan. It seems that there are very few folks now who can tell the whole story accurately. It's essentially a story depicted through songs, music, dance and pictorial representation. Some publications have tried to capture the history and stories associated but it seems that skill of telling stories is the key and that was honed by few families. In Churu you can experience it.Desert Camping Churu is also surrounded by desert on one side and hence one can plan to camp in desert. I am not sure, if there are camps to stay overnight but one can certainly go there for few hours, enjoy snacks and star lit sky.Wood Carving Artists (National Award Winner Family)Churu has National Award winning family which is famous for it's unique wood-carved art pieces. This was my best experience to see unimaginable art-pieces and family of artists who won national awards multiple times and shown the talent over the generations.Prem Sarovar  is another water body nearby surrounded by farms and trees. Such water bodies are spread over different parts of Rajasthan.Golden Temple of Jains There is a beautiful temple near clock-tower in the middle of Churu market. Beautifully designed. Check out the link to see more photographs of the place.Desert Bonfire - Bonfire in desert can also be a good idea. Thanks to Malji Ka Kamra folks, who arranged everything for us. It was very special experience during Churu trip. Do check out the link to know more.Sethani ka Johara is a beautiful place in Churu town. It's a huge water body surrounded by beautiful architecture. I found it a good place to spend time around sunset. It's little away from hustle bustle of the town and safe as well.Shopping options (Silver utensils) - While visiting Churu, I got to know that lot of Silver stuff is made in these streets and exported to different parts of the world. This boy was making beautiful silver spoons and there were good number of such shops making silver utensils.Here are few options which Tripadvisor suggests - 10 Best places to visit in Churu.

After reading various posts about Churu & Ramgarh, lot of viewers have asked very questions in past – how to reach Churu, what’s good time to visit these place, any recommended place to stay, main things to see/explore or something which shouldn’t be missed when in Churu region of Rajasthan, India. All these questions make me think about the quality of my earlier posts :), but then I found reasons to justify it. Anyways, all my earlier posts were more about the experience of various places in Churu & Ramgarh and I hardly talked about the way I reached there etc. 

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