Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bannerghatta National Park in 2014... A must visit in Bangalore.

Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore-2014.
The Lion

It's always very enjoyable to visit Wild Life Sanctuaries, National Parks around India. At some point of time visiting Wildlife Sanctuaries was part of my job. Bannerghatta National Park in Southern part of India is a recent visit and I was so enamored again in the world of wildlife. The drive to Bannerghatta National Park is a smooth drive and not that long as it's a National Park almost in the viscinity of the Bangalore city or a bit outskirt of Bangalore, just a few 22 Kms away in the hills of Anekal range. The park consists prominently of a Biological reserve - The Bannerghatta Biological Park, a Zoo, Butterfly enclosure, Snake Park etc. 

The day was started by taking tickets for the grand Safari, which was reasonably priced for adults at Rs 260 for the grand Safari (Tiger, Lion, Bar & Herbivore Safari). As being enthusiast Photographers, took cameras to shoot the wildlife in its Wilderness. For still camera, it charged Rs 25 (Indians). I came to realize that Boating was also there, which I missed out. Jeep Safaris were also there, but I chose the one with the Bus service and I have had expereinces of Jeep, Elephant, Bus altogether before. I found the Bus service by KSTDC tremendously satisfactory though I have to do some running to get the right angle for the Wildlife pictures. So, decided to take the Jeep safari on my next visit. Ultimately, travelling with loads of people was so nice instead of Jeep Safaris with few people for a change. 

A Tiger resting in one of its waterholes.

Once inside the Bannerghatta National Park, got to see so many Wild Animals in a sequential order one after another, not like random, I used to always experience before, after so much trail. Here, for the simple fact, that there were separate enclosure for different animals - Elephants,  Bears, Lions, White Tigers, Bengal Tigers besides Deer, Sambar etc. 

Best part was getting to see the animals from such close encounters, distance and getting to take the pictures without disturbing the wildlife as much as we were safe in the caged vehicle.

It turned out to be a trip into wilderness with so much to offer to us. Couldn't ask for more. It was followed with a trip to the zoo, which equally left us contented. It was a Zoo visit after so many years. I felt animals kept in Zoo must be cramped as I have seen animal  in their natural habitat or wilderness all the time. There were Snakes of different kinds as the Zoo was of reptiles, different birds, mammals etc. Seen the Brow Antlered Deer (Sangai), Black Bug, Mithun, Himalayan Black Bear, Ostrich, Crocodiles, Hippopotamus, Owls, love birds, etc 

I will like to have a special mention here about the Brow-Antlered Deer/Sangai as I didn't expect and for the simple reasons, its inhabitant is at my state, Manipur. Well, when I used to go for School/college trips or Family New Year Trips, I never could sight any Deer so far, though we used to go many time, year after year at Keibul Lamjoa National Park only. So, It was so good to see the Sangai. And next was Black bug, which I have heard so much. So, got to see both as they were put adjacent.  

Never thought again that a visit to a National Park and Zoo will be as good as I have experienced. Well, Bannerghatta National Park didn't disappoint me at all. Infact, it made my day.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ri Kynjai - Serenity by the Lake, Shillong... Meghalaya

Meghalaya Trip: Ri Kynjai

One of the best experiences being in Shillong, Meghalaya was the visit to Ryn Kynjai, Serenity by the Lakes. I really didn't have any idea of it though I was aware there were few good Hotels / Resorts in  Meghalaya.   We went there as our Family friend suggested and we decided and go out with a bang there. It was half an hour drive from hub of Shillong. The journey from main Shillong to Ryn Kynjai  was as good and enjoyable as the short visit to the picturesque resort which was one of its kind with its unique local Khasi Architectural designs of the cottages and the surroundings of greenery and lines of pine trees. As this was like not perfect or enough, it was further enhanced with the view of the  lake - The Umiam Lake.  



By the time, we reached Ryn Kynjai, it was evening. After half an  hour stroll, walk inside   the resort. We decided that it will be good to have our high tea there. The view from the Restaurant was just great as the Umiam lake can be seen there and the interior of the restaurant was done up with crafts and handicrafts of North Eastern part of the Country, India. So, there were pine cones and weaves from the North Eastern part of the country.      

The place was the right blend / marriage of the Traditional Khasi and the modern architectural designs. The cottages  were done up aesthetically, completed with the world class amenities of satellite Television,  Tea / coffee maker, Hot / Cold water, Room heater, Fireplace, Balcony sit out. Anyone wants more? I won't ask for more. The  Restaurant  was Multi-Cuisine  with a Bar completed with the artefacts procured  locally and  naturally, with the local handicrafts used on the table setting. How can I forget? I had the best Assam tea there and with the backdrop as the Umiam Lake, sitting inside the restaurant was just good time rolled on among Besties with  non ending chats, enjoying the place.  We were sure - on another world or perhaps out of this world experience... 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer days in Shillong... Cool breeze and beautiful blooms. Is that spring round the corner?

 *    ***************SUMMER   HOLS IN   SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA**************       *

Overlooking the Barapani from Ryn Kynzai, Outer Shillong.

I never thought Summer would be that lovely in Shillong. Its been so long... While I was looking forward to go home to enjoy the summer bliss... Things happened the other way round and turns of events took me to Shillong, Meghalaya.

It was a sudden decision. So, that year flight fares were so high and we took the tickets at triple times the normal flight fares. The lovely experience was worth it.

Shillong is connected from Delhi via Guwahati by direct flights as well as trains and again reconnected by roadways.

We took a flight to Guwahati and a road trip of 4 hours to Shillong. The road trip was one of the most enjoyable road-trips I have taken so far. Guwahati was hotter during that  time to Shillong, but it was nice and pleasant.

Summer was amazing with the cool breeze and just couldn't believe that one day back I was in the heat wave ,or the so-called sweltering Delhi summer. Once a colleague in Dehradun said, "No one can escape the Delhi summer even inside a cave". That was funny and so true. (Food and Fodder for LOL, Indeed!) No one escapes. Its so hot with hovering 45C to 46 C most of the time. There is no respite of cooling it down after 10 pm like in some small towns of North India.

The cool pleasant weather of Shillong is best enjoyed visiting the Ward Lake, which at that time of summer was full of lilies in the water and lots of other flower blooms and greenery. The walk inside the Ward lake kept me reminded if the weather was for real. The breeze kept coming and I ascertained myself its for sure going to remain nice like that. There were so many locals visiting there and with Umbrellas. Boats rides were there but we decided to take a tour of the whole place by ourselves and inhale the beautiful, sweet smells of the flowers. Sitting inside the lake at that point of time was a blessing by catching up with old friends and sharing of good old days stories.

So, after that trip... Next after a few hours, we took a trip to Ryn Kynzai in  outer Shillong.

That gave the true glimpses of Shillong, abode of clouds. The clouds were all there on the roads and we bought the famous kwa of Shillong. ( Betel leaves & Areca nuts) It was getting so cold and that was height of summer in any other part of North India. After  half an hour drive or so we reached our destination. The sight was amazing with clouds coming in and the beauty of the place everywhere. I love the Maruti Taxis of Shillong which takes to the winding, hilly places of Shillong. Shillong reminded me of my visit to Switzerland somehow and everyone made a fool out of me that I was exagerating things and hilly places ought to look same anyways in someway. Though drivers were quite reliable and good there in Shillong. My cousin was very concerned and sent us with one of her known drivers from her house and we enjoyed more giving us the assurance as it will be friendly & safe journey/ long drive.

Thus, we started a journey to the many lovely places, roads amongst clouds of Shillong which takes us to the  many beautiful, another experience of a new place.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Look East Policy

India’s Look East Policy

          Look East Policy (LEP) was started by our then PM Narsimha Rao. The aim and effort was to have an extensive economic and strategic relation with the South Asian countries so that India does not lack behind its strong competitor China.

           Along economic liberalization and moving away from cold war era, China and India have been strategic competitors for a long time in SE Asia ever since the Chinese invasion of Tibet and Sino Indian War of 1962. China has always had close commercial and military relations with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Not only that, China became the closed partner and supporter of the military Junta of Burma ( also Union of Myanmar ) which had been ostracized from the international community following the violent suppression of pro-democratic activities in 1988. China's close relation with Pakistan and border disputes in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have threatened the improvement in bilateral relations.

         India’s strategy had always focused on forging economic and commercial ties, increasing strategic and security cooperation and the emphasis of historic cultural and ideological links.

          India has established strong commercial, cultural and military ties with Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia along with Burma.

          In 2006, China and India opened the Nathula pass for cross border trade for the first time since the 1962 war. Trade between China and India increases by 50% every year. India’s support for the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama also causes some friction in bilateral ties. Mekong – Ganga co-operation, BIMSTEC, forged extensive cooperation on environmental, economic development security and strategy affairs, permitting the growth of influence beyond South Asia and without the tense and obstructive presence of Pakistan and China that has stalled its effort in SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation).

          In the light of political scenario stated, LEP was launched with a view to establish closer economic integration with South East Asian states. India did not have any concrete strategy before LEP, to create an economic hub in its NE region, or explore the trade and commerce potential with its ASEAN neighbours. It was a significant shift in India’s policy prioritization. The LEP holds the potential to make NER, the commercial corridor of India, linking the ASEAN Nations enabling its people to harness economic wellbeing through Trade and Tourism. India’s LEP was to look to NE first.

        India has an objective of becoming a superpower by 2020. We cannot neglect the business and potential which has to be taken up with South Asia nations. Their importance is immense. Besides, the policy will enhance the economic status or progress of NE states. India  with its growing economy can comfortably do business with all emerging nations of SE Asia which are rather smaller in size like (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore ). If India neglects our Eastern neighbours in terms of relations, the overall influence of China will surely be overbearing and too dominant in Economic affairs of SE Asia

***************          From MSK Class Speech/2010/B School)                 ********************

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra...

My Ganesh Chaturthi Experience...

I love traveling, no doubt. I love being in festivals too. My love for traveling, festivities and faith took me all the way to Pune, Mumbai once during the time of Ganesh Chaturthi. Having relatives in almost every place, or so to say first cousins helped me in realising whenever I want to land somewhere sometimes. ( Perhaps on Earth. I'm on Earth....) Ganesh Chaturthi is more elaborately and widely celebrated at the southern part of the Country like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa etc. Its also celebrated in Bhopal, MP in the central part of the country. Its also celebrated abroad by Indians in UK, United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, Fiji, Nepal etc.

Pune is the best place to be during the Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival is celebrated in the best way here. Believed to being celebrated as a public event in Pune since the times of Shivaji (1630-1680), the founder of the Maratha Empire.The preparations for the celebrations started out quite early, well before the actual events of the Ganesh chaturthi. I, often have heard my cousins, very excitedly telling me all about the roads lined up with Ganeshji idols, all almost the places of Pune. Even just hearing from them makes me so full of joy. It much be so Amazing.

It was five years back. When I visited, Pune's weather at that time of the year (it was September) was so cool, breezy with some rains. We loved the visits to Laxmi market for, to see the many Ganesh Chatturthi celebrations. Some with themes, story telling, great light works, though too crowded and excitement all around us. We ourselves were so excited. Laxmi bazaar in Pune is famous for the Maharastrian sarees. Amidst the festivities going on, many people were also shopping around like anything. So, we love to bring back some sarees for ourselves. Magarpatta city was in celebration, apart from many other places in Pune with local singers and some celebrities as well.

It was such a nice feeling to be enjoying the festivities. Ganesha is widely worshipped all over India, but more so in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. Ganesha is considered as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. It is traditionally considered invoked and blessed to take the Ganesha's blessings for the start of any new venture, or at the start of travel.
Ganesh Chaturthi/ Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Ganesha is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the Gods.

Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days. On the 11th day, visarjan is done by taking the idols through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual of see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees. Modak is the special sweet during the Ganesh Chaturthi. Devotees made this special sweet during the festival for friends & family. I, once had some tasty modak in Bhopal when one of my Maharastrian friends brought some for all of our friends during the festival. Before that, I was not aware of the Modak ,or the elaborate celebration of Ganeshji with such opulence and fanfare. With that, some years later, I had Chocolate Modak at a family friends house in Mumbai which was offered by her lovely daughter.

Witnessing the Visarjan in Mumbai, standing by the Juhu seaside/ beach was an experience which was memorable, rewarding. It was lovely to see all the smiling faces all around. There was happiness all around with people dancing, doing Puja before the idols were immersed finally in the sea. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roadtrip to Jaipur...

A day trip to Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Jaipur's just a few hours away from Delhi. It's one of the favourite places Delhiites frequently, so lovingly visited on Weekends. Hardly four hours drive from Delhi and it has many places of interest. So, on a day's trip, we managed to visit few places in Jaipur which was very enjoyable. Indeed, a superb and wonderful trip all on a day.

Out of all the  forts and monuments in the pink city- Jaipur, founded by Maharaja Jai Singh, visited  Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, City Palace, Albert Hall Museum, Chokhi Dhani besides some important shopping places like Johari Bazar (Jeweler's hub), Bapu Market (Mojri footwear) to name, which provided amazing shopping spree for any die hard shopholic.Well, can't missed out on that, apart from the visits to the Palaces, museum and the drive in and around Jaipur.

Jaipur markets are famous for its Bandhani, block printing, zari, gota, Meenakari, Gems, Kundan, Jewellery, Miniature paintings, Blue pottery etc.

Also, in the must visit  List was Chokhi Dhani. Visited Chokhi Dhani, Five star village resort which brings alive the rural lifestyle, fun and frolic of Rajasthan on the outskirts of Jaipur. It provides tourists and locals with Camel, Elephant rides and other entertainment like Rajasthani dances and other games etc which keeps alive the Rajasthani tradition & culture. Its a tribute to the rich heritage and culture of Rajasthan to people who wants to know about India, precisely Rajasthan. The food- Thali ( fit for a King, so to say) there at Chokhi Dhani is another introduction to the vegetarian cuisine of Rajasthan.

Hawa Mahal, Palace of Wind, or Palace of the Breeze  is  located in the heart of Jaipur city which is also the business hub.  It provides a striking view with its  red colour as its built of red and Pink Sandstone.
It also forms a part of the City Palace and extends to the Zenana, women's chambers (the chambers of the harem).

City Palace is a magnificient palace, located in the heart of Jaipur City, very nearby to Hawal Mahal. It consisted of many buildings of  historical significance like the Diwan- I - Khas ( Hall of Private Audience), Diwan- I- Aam, Maharani Palace, Bhaggi Khanna, Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Pitam Niwas Chowk etc. There was so much to explore in City Palace.

Visiting Amber fort, or Amer Fort/ Palace was a scintillating experience, surrounded on all sides by rugged hills. In Amber/ Amer Fort... It was stunning and very royal. A visit to Jaipur, Rajathan remained very fulfilling and complete with the visit to Amber/ Amer fort. Quite a huge place in itself to explore and so spectacular. So much of an enchanting view to the visitor that can satiate a Traveller's quest for something extravagant, remarkable and marvelous.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Golden Temple, Amritsar

Known to be the sacred most place for Sikhs and most popular destination among Non- Residential Indians(NRI) in the whole of India, Golden temple (Harmandir Sahib- The abode of God) is a special and spiritual place especially for the sikhs. Everyone in India consider it a holy place and a must visit to Golden Temple for the Well- being and blessings regardless of their religion, colour, creed, or sex.

Considered holy by Sikhs, the most holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside the Golden Temple. The Gurudwar is a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions. The Gurudwar accepts everyone and there's a common saying all around Amritsar from almost everyone that nobody goes hungry in the Land of Golden Temple, Amritsar. Hardly any beggars in and around the Temple, or no beggars at all as none was noticed. It's a good place of worship for all.

People were required to leave the shoes and wear a head covering along with washing one's feet before entering the Gurudwar's premises. Its maintained for the purity of the Sacred place.

Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water is the the most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex where Devotees pay their respects by touching with their foreheads on the temple floor and walls.

The water that surrounds the Hari Mandir is a sacred pool known as the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar). The temple is reached by following the Parikrama, which circumscribes the sacred pool in a clockwise direction. Connecting the pathway with the Hari Mandir is a marble causeway called the Guru's Bridge, which symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. Darshani Deorhi,the gateway to the bridge has magnificent silver doors.

The temple's surrounded all around by Sarover or water tank. After coming out of the Gurudwar, Holy water is taken by devotees followed by Prasad.

The people who visited the Gurudwar can also have Langar at the Community Kitchen inside the premise. Food is continously served for the devotees all round the clock. It was a very humble experience to have the Guru-Ka-Langar where devotees made an effort to help run the community kitchen in all possible way. There are Guest rooms/ Quarters to stay inside the Premises.

Amritsar's a Splendid Weekend Getaway from Delhi and nearby places.
There's Shabtabdi train to Amritsar and I find that a very good way to go to Amritsar. Friends also recommended and suggested for a enjoyable roadway trip when I visit next. Until next time... Will keep alive the Goodtime spent in Amritsar.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baha'i ( House of Worship)/ Lotus Temple


Delhi has so many places of worship and attractions. Lotus temple can be counted as one. With the metro line passing nearby, anyone can see the Lotus temple while traveling on the Delhi Metro. Traveling to Lotus temple has been quite easier for Tourists as well as Delhites like never before.

Lotus temple attracts lots of foreign tourists as much as Local people. Its a much visit for anyone who's visiting Delhi for the first time.

Bahá'í House of Worship, popularly known as Lotus temple so named because it looked like a flower specifically that of a white Lotus is a piece of aesthetic artwork or an architectural marvel.

Once considered to be most visited even compared to the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal, even today Lotus Temple is visited by almost all the tourists who visited Delhi.

The best part of the place of worship is it let everyone in. Silence is maintained inside the structure where everyone can pray without making any noise or disturbances. It's very strictly made to maintain by its volunteers so that everyone can have a peaceful prayer time. People of all religion can worship here.

Though, I used to stay very close to these temple. I never could visit Baha'i or Lotus temple until sometime back recently. I only have visited many, many years back a few times when I first started staying in Delhi and again few years after that. So, when I shifted my accomodation nearby to these places. I was quite thrilled I would get a frequent chance to visit, which never ever happened even once except for few visits at Isckon temple. But, I kept on thinking of visiting Lotus temple quite often. It was visible from the terrace top of the building I used to stay. Watching from the terrace was that all I managed.

With time, I forgot that the Lotus temple existed in Delhi. I shifted to another place in Delhi, have been out of town for some years. And I got the chance, unplanned when everything about it was erased from my mind. Once made the effort, when parents visited us to visit, but it was a monday and so found it closed.

A promise perhaps, so to say, I made to myself that I will visit it with my cousins... as siblings have started telling me that will be a superb idea... I enjoyed thoroughly my visit with my cousin and Nephew when I did it at their recent visit to Delhi. All thanks to Delhi Metro, which saves me from driving all the way there of some 80 Kms (to and fro)... Loved and cherished d moments, laughter and contentment :) Truly Divine :)


Friday, July 29, 2011

Mind Rolling Monastery

I fondly remember my visit to Mind Rolling Monastery. I was in Dehradun and was glad I got to visit the famous Monastery, which was in Clement Town. The roads outside and nearby the Monastery was rough and untidy, to be precise. Inside the premise, it was Mind rolling, signified its namesake, for it was quite, serene and lovely. Just "Bliss" to summarise and cut short.

My friend who has been staying at Dehradun for sometime because of her work told me that the Dumplings and chopsueys were so good and worth a try inside the Monastery.She loved visiting the place. The many shops have souvenirs and Tibeten artefacts, lovely decorative pieces and bangles.(One of my beautiful German colleague was so impressed about the bangle, when she saw me wearing it, in one of our jungle trips together . She kept on harping and sking where I have got it from. She liked it so much and told me that she will ask, one of her students to get it from Dehradun).

Inside the Monastery, there were so many monks doing about their daily rituals and chores. It was so beautiful and well maintained. Indeed,everything about the Mind Roling was clean, clear and peaceful.

In nearby places to the Monastery, I get to see a large Tibetan settlement. It was so nice to get a glimpse of the Stupa, i.e World's Largest Stupa, of the re-established Mindrolling Monastery from Tibet. I came to know it was inaugurated on 28th October 2002 and was surrounded by a 2-acre (8,100 m2) garden. Walking inside the monastery was relaxing. The food was good, though they only serve vegetarian tibetan cuisine. From the Monastery, I also got to see the tree canopies of the Rajaji National Park as they shared the borders with the Monastery.

There was also a high statue of Buddha, 103 feet (31 m)which was dedicated to the Dalai Lama. Inside the monastery, I felt as if I was not in India, but in some place secluded from this world. ( This was testified as all my friends kept on asking me where the location was, when they saw the stupa after I uploaded the pics in one of the social networking sites). And then to thier surprise, it was in India.

The Monastery also have a very prestigious college, Graphic Era Institute of Technology. Founded by Mr. Ghanshala. Many tourists thronged in there as well as Localites as it provided a sanctum to everyone.

I thanked my friend, in my heart of heart for taking me there. We have had a lovely time which remained so good even today, time and again...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lodi Gardens...

It's always good to visit Lodi Gardens... be it spring, summer,or winter. It never fails to charm in any season of the year. In a hot place like Delhi, summer can be a respite and cool place in Lodi gardens.

In spring, flowers bloom everywhere inside the garden.

There are a few monuments, tombs which enhance the beauty and charm of the Garden manifold.

It's a picnic spot for people all throughout the year and a jogger's park for some people in all the seasons.