Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekend at Siddapur

A short weekend trip to Siddapur [Karnataka] was a perfect retreat from the busy life that we have got so used to being in a city like Bangalore. Krishna, my friend and colleague, calls Siddapur his hometown. It was his idea to spend the weekend there. After having known me and my preferences of spending time in peace, he was quite sure that I would find his place and the stay quite interesting. I couldn’t have agreed any less. The time spent was not only relaxing but a lot rewarding as well… Krishna’s parents are true gems and I was glad that I was able to know more about them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stay at Dharamkot, Dharamshala

An overnight bus from ISBT Delhi was the start of our short trip to Dharamshala, McLeodgunj, Bagsu, and Dharamkot. We tried to catch up small naps now and then which might be a good idea considering the fact that early in the morning there would be amazing sights to see prior to reaching Dharamshala. The bus took us through rivulets, valleys, mountains and bridges. A few mountain tops were lost in the clouds –this was just the beginning of what we were to see in the rest of the week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In and Around Minneapolis

You can guesstimate the number of lakes you’ll find in Minnesota when the car registration number plate says –“Minnesota, Land of 10000 Lakes”. Yes, Lakes are something that you absolutely cannot miss if you come to the state capital –Minneapolis. Quite prominent among all the lakes are the Chain of Lakes consisting of Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. Out of these four, Lake Calhoun falls on an important bus route 6 which connects the suburb of Edina to downtown Minneapolis via Uptown station. And due to the same reason, attracts a lot of people during the summers. Apart from the Lakes, you’ve got a couple of important shopping arenas in the form of The Great Mall of America and Albert Lea which calls Minneapolis home. The weather in this part of the country hovers from one extreme to the other… during summers we have almost 35 degrees centigrade which goes down to -35 degrees in the winters... and when it rains, its as if the world is coming to an end. However having stayed in Minneapolis, I've got fond memories of the place. I'd like to write a little bit about what I've been through in the 18 months that I've spent in this wonderful city.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trek to Triund

Having stayed in Dharamkot, Dharamashala for a day though was not enough to acclimatize me with 1800 meters of altitude (having arrived from zero MSL) but that was the most I could have afforded in the short vacation that I was able to squeeze out from my routine job.

Triund is about 2875 meters above MSL and 9 kms from Bagsu. This is the site from where the Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas is visible –provided the weather allows. This is an important piece of advice I’d have for anyone who has plans of visiting Triund –please do not visit during the monsoon, you would be just wasting your efforts, time and money. The best time is October when the trek is comfortable and you find no fogs or clouds to block the sight. I’ve heard from people that the sight of the range is so majestic and so huge from Triund that you would sometimes feel that it’s so close you can almost touch it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Jump!

Those of us who know me well know how crazy I am about flying and the closest I’ve ever come [apart from the regular travel via airplanes] is the paragliding experience in 2008 at Interlaken, Switzerland. And well ever since then I’ve always nurtured a secret desire of jumping off an airplane –of course in tandem and with an extra parachute. So it was no surprise when I readily agreed to skydive when Nupur informed me of a chance to do so not very far away from where I stayed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

South Dakota Trip

A few weeks before the Memorial Day weekend we had a couple of travel plans laid out in front of us. The one that we finalized was to visit Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Devil’s Tower, Needles and Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park… not in the above sequence though.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota is one of those unique landscapes that still exists and date back to about 75 million years! We’re not talk about centuries but million years… Apparently as per geologists (mentioned in the Badlands National Park information guide) the earth’s climate at that time was warmer than it is now and a shallow sea abundant with life covered the region we call the Great Plains -stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from western Iowa to western Wyoming.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Needles Highway and Wildlife Loop, Black Hills

Located along SD-87 as part as of Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, Needles Highway is a 14 mi driveway through pine and spruce forest with sharp bends, tunnels and granite structures in the form of “Needles”. Please do not visit this route if you want to speed your way all along. With more than a dozen pullover sights, the Highway offers enough to the visitors to capture the beauty of the place in their cameras. We were fortunate enough to see two rock climbers trying to scale the heights of these structures. The tunnels were so narrow that only one car could pass through it. This trail took us about 90 odd minutes with the halts and photo shoot outs.

Crazy Horse, Black Hills

While you are in the Black Hills, South Dakota, Crazy Horse is one memorial which offers a lot of cultural insight to the lives of the native Americans. Do visit the museum.

As you enter the Visitor’s Center there’s a nice 15-20 minute video which gives a history of how and why the Crazy Horse Memorial is being created… apparently to honor one of the greatest Native American –Crazy Horse. The monument is that of a Native American Lakota warrior [Thašúŋke Witkó] riding a horse and pointing to a distant land which he called his –“My lands are where my dead lie buried”.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Devil’s Tower, Black Hills

Devil’s Tower is a little less than a couple of hours drive away from Rapid City, SD, USA. The route is through the Black Hills National Forest and as picturesque as can be… plain grasslands on either side of the road I-90; something like the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. We left the Interstate at exit 199 for County Road 86 [instead of exit 185 as being suggested by the GPS] which promised to be scenic and longer.