Thursday, 22 May 2014

Delhi - Winter Trip to Himachal Pradesh - December 2013

15 December, 2013 - Delhi

The Bus dropped us near the “Gurdwara Majnu Tilla” in Delhi at about 8:15 am.

After stretching out legs we decided to head towards “Pahar Ganj”

We hired a rickshaw to “Vidhan Sabha Metro Station” @ INR 20 per person.
After getting our metro tokens, we needed to scan our bags before being able to board the train, Frank was not allowed to enter since he was carrying the wine bottle that was purchased from Manali, so we decided to split up, Vivek Boarded the Metro so that he could reach quickly and has he intended book the hotel room in Pahar Ganj.

Frank and I had spotted a bus stop just outside the metro, we inquired and boarded the 901 bus to NDLS at about 8:50 am
We waited for some time but there was no sight of the conductor after the crowd had dispersed, I spotted the conductor glued to his seat (looked like a member of the parliament  J and apparently we were supposed walk to him and get the tickets @ INR 10 per head because he did really care J.  
We reached New Delhi at about 9:14 am.  From here we hired a “Cycle Rickshaw” to Pahar Ganj @ INR 100.

We met Vivek at “Hotel Pearl Plaza” the room cost was INR 500, after relaxing for a while Frank and I decided to explore, Vivek was expecting his friend from Delhi and decided to stay back

We headed towards “Connaught Place” - CP using the “Electric Rickshaw” which cost us just INR 20 per person.  
The ride was moderately comfortable and even though the rickshaw does not have a lot of pickup and overall speed it was indeed a good way to travel short distances.

Electric Rickshaw - Delhi
After breakfast in Mc Donald’s – CP we visited the “Palika Bazar” which is named after the Palika Bazaar of Mumbai. 
Palika Bazaar hosts 380 numbered shops selling a diverse range of items right from electronics to clothing, it also has a reputation for a wide availability of illegal products such as pornography, stolen goods, fake designer products and pirated CDs, software and movies.  

Palika Bazar - Delhi
After a long walk we decided to relax at the Inner Circle garden, which was apparently filled with a lot of young couples indulging in “PDA” (Public Display of Affection).

 At about 1:00 pm we left CP and headed towards Pahar Ganj by Rickshaw @ INR 25 per head.  Freshened up at “Pearl Plaza” and the three of us boarded an Electric Rickshaw to NDLS railway station @ INR 10 per head.

We were in two minds about Frank being able to enter the platform with the wine that he was carrying, we decided to simply walk in and face the music, luckily even though there was a scanner there was no one manning it and we smoothly entered the station.

We boarded the “Mumbai Rajdhani” @ 4:34 pm and reached Mumbai the next day i.e. 16th December @ 9:00 am.  Ticket cost was INR 1823 per head.

And so our 2013 exploring came to an end and it was a perfect winter vacation!!! 

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Monday, 19 May 2014

Manali - Winter Trip to Himachal Pradesh - December 2013

11 December, 2013 - Manali

Manali here we come...

Left Mcleod Ganj at about 6:15 am via the local Bus @ INR 400 per head reached Manali @ 5:45 pm.

We checked in at “Hotel Chandra Bhaga” @ INR 550 for each room, being off season we got a sweet deal, the rooms were facing the “Mall Road” and “Van Vihar” They were massive will all the basic amenities.     

Zariab and I had visited Manali many times before and were aware of the layout.
Frank and Vivek on the other hand were Himachal virgins.

Chopsticks” restaurant was amazing as usual with excellent service; Frank and I tried a Japanese dish called “Sukiyaki" with some “Tibetan Bread” which was sumptuous.

 12 December, 2013- Manali

After yesterdays exertion it was time to take it easy and soak in the Manali weather.
Breakfast was served at “Mount View Restaurant” the four of us packed on a healthy breakfast with “Chicken and Egg Salad”, “Mutton momos in Soup” and some “Toast with baked beans” 

Walked up to the “Hadimba Temple” which is situated in the “Doongri forest” the temple is surrounded by Deodar trees which make it a very pleasant place to simply sit back and admire the amazing 16th century temple. 

Ahead from the temple there is a good trek further into the Doongri forest, with apple plantations and a dent guest house- “Kalingcha Guest House”.

The weather got better towards evening, the frozen water on the trail did make it challenging, but it was an awesome experience.  We did not get to complete the trek cause it was getting dark and we had a good 5 to 6 hours of walking left if were to reach the top – Forest guest house.  As is with most mountain trails we descended swiftly right in time for dinner.

Frank and I tried some delicious “Trout with Black Bean in Chilli Sauce” along with some “Chicken Fried Rice” at “Chopsticks”  

Trout with Black Bean in Chilli Sauce

After an amazing dinner it was time for some night snack, we feasted on “Apple Strudel” and washed it down with some Rhododendron wine.

13 December, 2013- Manali

I woke up early at about 7:00 am for no particular reason and decide that I need to go for a morning walk, to my surprise as soon as I got out of the hotel the December cold felt like I had been smacked across the face. Since most of the restaurants don’t open before 9:00 am, I quickly made my way to the local bus stand for some hot tea which just felt awesome in the cold weather.

Manali Mall Road Temple

After the boys woke up we had breakfast at “Mount View Restaurant” which consisted of, “Russian salad”, “Niçoise Salad”, “American Breakfast” and “Chocolate Milk”

American Breakfast
Niçoise Salad
Russian Salad

 Frank and I entered the “Van Vihar” @ INR 10 each which was about 5 minutes walk from the “Mall Road”, it was a good place for a leisurely walk or some power reading, the Deodar trees provided a peaceful and tranquil feeling, towards the interior, the park gets parallel to the Manali River, as per the ticket we were not allowed to exit the park or the ticket would be void, anyways we did exit the park from there and the river was worth it, the sound and the surrounding trees along with the mild sun juts felt right.  After a relaxing walk alongside the river we headed back into the park J and made our way towards the Mall road.

We were supposed to meet Vivek at “Vashisth village” which was about 4 Kilometres away, after a lot of bargaining we boarded the Rickshaw @ INR 35 per head, the village was on an upslope and the area near the “Vashisth Hot Springs” was filled with overpriced shops and vendors.  The Vashisth Temple was well maintained and the hot springs was basically a small cement swimming pool with stone walls, the warm water sure felt good and seemed relaxing for my feet, spent about 4 to 5 in the temple and since there was not much to be done in the vicinity we boarded a Manali – Mall road bound rickshaw @ INR 20 per head

Vashisth Hot Springs
Had a quick snack at “NYPFC” (New York Pizza & Fried Chicken) which is located near the mall road,  Frank an expert with this kind of food gave the place a “Thumbs Down” since he got a bone in his “Special Chicken” burger J...

Fruit Wine from Tap
This was the last stop before heading back to Delhi and was a good place to shop for some souvenirs, we spotted the “Tibet Emporium” just on the mall road which was a cool place filled with hand crafted good and novelties made by the Tibetans.

The owner was very composed, we spotted her sitting outside the store knitting wool, Frank however was impressed by her assistant who was this super cute young Tibetan girl, who loved the colour blue and I don’t blame him J  
Tibet Emporium - Mall Road
Tibetan Religious Art 
We also picked some Herbal Tibetan Tea and some Rhododendron wine from the shops near buy. 

Dinner was served at “Chopsticks” we tried the “Sui Gyoza” which was a Japanese dish.  

Sui Gyoza

14 December, 2013- Manali

This was the last day in Manali for Frank, Vivek and me, Zariab would be staying back since he had a few more days of leave.

He moved to a less expensive hotel since he would be solo for a few days, “Hotel Rudraksh” @ INR 400 per day, was located just behind the Mall road.

We had breakfast at “Chopsticks” this time it was “Yaki Gyoza” and “Baked Beans on Toast”

Yaki Gyoza
 After some last minute packing we headed towards the lower Manali bus stand which was about 6 minutes walk from the mall road.

We had booked the Delhi bound Mercedes-Benz bus the day before @ INR 900 per person through “Indo Canadian Travels” 

Indo Canadian Travels
The bus left at about 4:30 pm and reached Delhi at 8:15 am the next day.

Our travel experiences were far from over; we had got a discount on the bus tickets since it was off season, having travelled by Luxury Volvos before we knew what to expect but to our surprise this Merc. was in no way comfortable, they were quite a few passengers suffering from motion sickness, the bus attendant was rude and completely useless, they did not even bother passing “Sick Bags” around they probably did not have any. They also had some mix up with over booking and they asked Vivek to move to another seat, being kind he obliged, they wanted him to move again and he rightly told them to f**k off.

One poor soul was badly stricken with motion sickness and he puked a few times twice near the bus entrance, the bust attendant got furious and started yelling about the money it costs to clean the bus and that they waste a few litres of fuel every time they stop, he also asked him to alight and take the next bus 

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Soloing using Chord tones.Part 6 ( Playing your own solo)

I have used the same chords played in Part 4 and 5 of this series to build a small solo.Shift the Chords around as you please to make your own solo.

This part summarizes and concludes Parts 3,4 and 5.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Dharamsala - Winter Trip to Himachal Pradesh - December 2013

07 December, 2013 – Dharamsala

We woke up during the wee hours of morning and as expected the weather was awesome. We had a lot of distance to cover and few buses to change while heading towards the Lama country.    

6:30 AM
9:45 AM
10:00 AM
3:50 PM
4:25 PM

5:00 PM
5:30 PM
Bharmour BUS
McLeod Ganj

INR 90

INR 190


INR 14

Mcleod Ganj was refreshing as usual, after looking around a bit we finalized on “Hotel Snow Lion” @ INR 600 per room 

Frank and me had dinner at the “Gakyi” restaurant which served an amazing veg. Cuisine nothing like we had ever tasted before, would strongly recommend this place especially for the Veggies out there. 

08 December, 2013 – McLeod Ganj
After a good night’s rest in what was the best stay so far, we headed to the “Shangri La” restaurant for some healthy Tibetan breakfast consisting of “Tan Thuk” with some Ginger Lemon Tea.

Tan Thuk
We had visited the “Dalai Lamas Residence” in the earlier visits, from outside of-course, however there were no restrictions with carrying a Camera inside the monastery,  this time however they were particular about security, apart from obvious cameras, they were restriction on camera phones too.

The monastery as expected was peaceful and ideal for just relaxing and spending quality time.
For lunch we relished some Italian cuisine at “Jimmy’s” the Baked Potatoes with bacon filing was delicious, the “Gnocchi Fungi” wasn't bad either.  

Baked Potatoes with bacon

After some long hours of X- Box gaming at the local gaming den it was time for dinner, sticking to this year’s vacation theme – Travel, eat and sleep, we tried out “Norling” which was a restaurant endorsed  by “Highway On My Plate

Which is a Travel and Food show airing on NDTV Good Times

The food and ambiance was decent, we tried a dish called “Lamen


09 December, 2013– McLeod Ganj

After trying the breakfast menu at “Snow Lion” we hiked towards the “Triund Path” the initial slope was very steep, after taking a few breathers we reached a junction, it had a nice bench to relax and admire nature.

There was a Stupa to “Geshe Rabten” who was a renowned spiritual teacher.

Hey There

After taking a few clicks we headed towards Triund, Frank had already scampered ahead; we had started the trek at about 11:00 am and even though it was about noon the weather was very pleasant, we tried to catch up with Frank but after reaching a junction were not sure which route he had taken, the phone network didn't want to play ball so we decided to enjoy nature and meet up directly at the hotel.

We had reached the “Dharamkot Village” which was a different side of Mcleod that I had not seen before; it looked like a proper village with farms, farm animals, small houses and so on.  Spotted this beautiful painting on the aptly named Radha Krishna Cafe which just ahead from the “Himachal Vipassana Center”

Himachal Vipassana Center
Radha Krishna Cafe

GREEN Himachal Pradesh

After lunch/snack we headed towards “Bhagsu Village” and then to McLeod at about 5:00 pm.

After all that walking it was time for some good dinner.

Frank and I dined at “Tibet Kitchen” feasting on  “Shakam Datse”, “Slice Pork in Mushroom Oyster Sauce” and some “Peach Beer”.  Being a meat eater I have tasted a lot of pork but this was by far the best preparation I have savored

Shakam Datse

10 December, 2013– McLeod Ganj

Another leisurely day, had breakfast at Jimmy’s we tried the American and Farmers breakfast with some combination of fresh fruit juices.

Spent the entire day just relaxing at the monastery and shooting some X-Box towards the evening, for lunch we headed to our favourite restaurant “Tibet Kitchen” this time Zariab and Vivek joined us, giving us a chance to try a variety of cuisines, our menu consisted of “Kung Po” – Chicken, “Shapta”, Thai Veg. Green Gravy, Mutton Fried Rice and some Peach and Fruit Beer.  What a meal this was with such a wide variety of flavors.

After such a banquet of food and few hours of gaming dinner had to be light, Frank and Zariab shared the local “Thukpa” – “Tibetan Kitchen” and Vivek and me had a couple of “Fungi Pizza” from Jimmy’s. 

American Breakfast

Farmers Breakfast

Zariab and I had been to McLeod before and this place seems to have changed to some degree, there was this plush general store a miniature version of D’mart which was very convenient, some Punjus blasting music near the usually quite interiors, restrictions on photography in the monastery, major cement construction near the monastery rod and so on..  In Spite of all these changes McLeod had a lot to offer in terms of culture, people, food and the amazing nature and weather.      

This was a perfect end to our time in McLeod Gang and it was excellent. 

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