A Weekend To The Hills- Dharamsala: Tibet’s Lost & Found

For the people in Delhi, hills are the favourite place to be, and what better than a long weekend trip to Dharamshala? Taking the advantage of the same thing, I decided to pack my bags and go to Dharamshala with a couple of friends.

Dharamshala is all about colourful Tibetan flags, rolling prayer wheels and the collective sound of the ringing bells and chirping birds.

Dharamsala is also a shopper’s paradise which is why the rest of the day rolled out in walking uphill from the hotel, shopping from the Tibetan markets at the Temple Road and the Kotwali Bazaar, where I shopped a variety of jewellery for myself and my mum and we tried the authentic Himalayan moms filled with Pak Choi (Chinese cabbage) and Potato. Further, we continued trekking to Bhagsu Waterfall and the notoriously infamous, Shiva Café where you can find some quality questionable stuff and also momos for when the munchies strike. Hippies mill around through the day but we insist that you go for the view and not the crowd. The breathtaking view is worth the hike. The evening was spent at Dharamkot, a small village next to Mcleodganj. This is for those who have stayed away from the bustle of the city and are enjoying the the wood-fired Pizzas along with some freshly made fruit juices and late night soirees of Dharamkot. We tried their Pita and Hummus and we must accept that an entire plateful of hummus is not for the weak.

Day three saw the adventurer in me setting off on a trek to Triund, the nine kilometre trek from Mcleodganj to Triund provides a breath taking view of snow-capped mountains and the Kangra Valley. The trek gradually steepens and the roads narrow as you move up. The trek to the peak is certainly worth all the huffing and puffing. To my respite, a small snack shop midway, provided refreshments. A soothing cup of the most delicious adrakki chai  and a few biscuits later, I headed further up, making my way through a narrow, stony route that led me up to the highest point of the hill. The view from the top was better than I expected. Locals told me that it’s also called ‘Magic View Mountain’ because of the panoramic vista it offered. It took us for about 13 hours for a roundtrip trek. I spent the evening relaxing at a hidden gem at the Temple Road, The Khana Nirvana Café, an infamous place great for late night chills and excellent homely service.

 The last day was kept for some more excitement and thrill. We checkout out and moved to Bir Billing Palampur, where I planned to jump off a mountain cliff, which is at an elevation of about 2600M. A span of 20 minutes in the sky, flying down to Bir, harnessed to a paragliding chute, & you wish to be transformed into a bird. And while enjoying the exquisite view of the tea gardens in Palampur in the afternoon, we headed back to our starting point.

If you have any queries make sure to connect with me by either commenting/email or any of my social media’s.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Meanwhile, comment below your experience of your last getaway?

Going Goa this Monsoon!

Hello Travellers!

Many of you know that for the past few months, I have been travelling in Odisha. When I arrived here in the first week of April, summer was at its peak already and most Odia acquaintances had advised against visiting the state at this time, citing the unbearable heat and humidity as the reason.

But I came here anyway, and NOW, after spending almost three summer months travelling around the state, I have turned expert enough to advise curious friends and fellow travellers to avoid coming here in the summer months, particularly April and May.

So after months of scorching myself exploring one of the hottest parts of the country, surviving the extreme pre-monsoon heat and getting myself tanned 5 different shades of brown, I am ready to reward myself with a little rainy break and what better place to soak in the rain, than Goa! Cliché, you would say, but trust me, when it comes to experiencing Indian monsoons in all its splendour, few places can match Goa’s magnetism. If I were to put pointers on the best reasons to visit Goa in Monsoons, the following three reasons would cover it all.

1. Green Paradise

With its exotic natural vistas and seductive charm, Goa keeps mesmerizing the visitors all the year round. However, during the monsoons, its seductive charm becomes tough to resist. Rain washes everything up, turning the land into a quintessential tropical paradise – with lush greenery reining all corners, swaying palm trees, shiny paddy fields, sparkling colourful houses, and so many shades of green all around.

2. Less Touristy

The icing on Goa’s ‘tropical paradise’ cake is the fact that it is less crowded this time of the year, thanks to the burgeoning seas and rolled up shacks. So for people like me, who are not too fond of the crowds, are not into water sports and wish to enjoy Goa at a leisurely pace, monsoons is the best time to be here. So lush landscape, choppy seas and a fewer people around…sounds just about right!

3. Seasonal Discounts

Given the fact the most tourists stay away during the monsoons, it’s the best time to make the most of the seasonal discounts available at most of the hotels in Goa. While Goa has no dearth of accommodations catering to all kinds of budget, many top rated hotel properties offer a stay that defines luxury and indulgence. And monsoons are just the right season to check out their special packages.

While these are my top reasons to pick Goa for a monsoon holiday, I can go on and on about its heritage treasures and cultural delights. May be in some another post. For now, I will leave you with this alluring photo from Goa monsoons last year. Ah, the lush tropical vibes. Enjoy!

Manali | 5 Offbeat things to do in the Hill town!

Offbeat things to do in Manali? We present five offbeat things in Manali to enhance your travel experience to the hill town.

Yes, we are writing about not so familiar activities – Paragliding in Solang, ATB bike rides, the rope way in Solang, playing in snow in Rohtang or wandering aimlessly in the Mall road or even rafting on Beas river – one does in Manali. .

These are five enriching experiences you can get when you plan to visit Manali next time.

1 Go for treks

Unless one is an avid trekker, many do not know that Manali and its towering mountains offers marvellous treks. You can choose from a bouquet of options from the highest trek to Hanuman Dibba or to Hampta pass or Beas Kund. Each one beautiful in itself giving you an opportunity to be part of Himalayas. No traffic jams. No pollution. No crowds. Only you and the mountains. It is bliss.

2 Go for drives

When in Manali, you should plan for some nice drives. You can hire a bike for these short drives or go in your car. A drive to Jana waterfalls is a pure bliss. It will take you all the way up in the mountains. The falls in itself is nothing spectacular. But the drive is lovely. Go for a day trip to Parashar lake or to Kasol/Manikaran. Parvati valley is lovely and so is the winding road leading to Parashar lake.

3. Drive beyond Rohtang

Everyone drive to Rohtang Pass to play in snow and enjoy the rides on snowmobile etc. The charm of Rohtang lies beyond the touristy and crowded areas. Get a permit to drive beyond Rohtang Pass, drive to Rohtang top at a height of 13,000 feet and drive down till Keylong or Sissu. Experience driving through snow tunnels – if there is snow – and get a 360 degree view of snow-capped mountains of Pir Panjal ranges. After descending from the pass, enjoy spectacular views of Chandra valley till Keylong. Stay in any of guesthouses/Home Stays in these places and return back next day.

4. Stay in a Himachali Homestay

Still in infant stages compared to the home stay boom in Karnataka, staying in a Himachali home has its own charms. From eating local cuisine – different from Punjabi fare dished out in all Indian restaurants in Manali – to spend time around in the village will give a different perspective to one’s travel.

5. Visit a Shawl making factory

Kullu shawls are famous. Why don’t you spend few minutes to see how they are woven? You can stop for few minutes and checkout these factories on the way to Manali. It is worth a visit.

These were few offbeat things we thought will enhance your experience in Manali. Do you have any more to add?  We welcome your ideas.

Khajjar – Mini Switzerland of India

A rendezvous with India’s Mini-Switzerland, Khajjiar, in Himachal is simply breathtaking.

“Often called India’s Switzerland, the exquisite glade of Khajjiar, 1960 m has a circumference of about 5 km. Along its fringes, thick forests of deodar climb the slopes, the snow-line rests above these woods…,” says the government run website, which intrigued and hooked me to this quaint and resplendent valley.

If you still don’t believe about the place being known as the ‘Switzerland of India’, read this: “Khajjiar was bestowed with the title of Mini Switzerland in 1992 by Wiily Blazer, Vice Chancellor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland. Khajjiar is one of the 160 places in the world that bear tropical resemblance to Switzerland.”

Still not heard of Khajjiar?

Khajjiar is tucked away in one of Himachal’s most northern fringes of Dhauladhar circuit, away from the squalor of cities and untamed urbanization. Not many tourists are aware of this valley. Usual crowd heading to Himachal would go to the done-to-death ‘Shimla—Kullu-Manali’ route. But if you want something different and quiet, you should head to the Dhauladhar circuit. The nearest commercial town to Khajjiar is Pathankot, but that’s more than 100 kms away. Pathankot is also the nearest railway head if one wants to reach Khajjiar from New Delhi.

Hence, I decided to plan our journey to Khajjiar through a combination of railway and road trips. We took the Dhauladhar express from Old Delhi railway station. The train departs at 7.30 pm and arrives at Pathankot railway station next day at 8.20 am. Quite interestingly, we had to struggle our way through Delhi’s maddening traffic to catch this train. We caught hold of the train by a whisker.  The moment we reached Old Delhi railway station, it was already 7.15 pm and we had to just rush our way through the crowd to the platform.

However, after we stepped onto the train, we actually thought, our trip to Khajjiar is still on. The train was surprisingly on time and we arrived at Pathankot for our onward journey to Khajjiar. We had arranged for a pick up through our hotel (Mini Swiss, Khajjiar); and as we stepped out of Pathankot station, we occupied the cab. Some friendly conversations ensued with the driver and in a moment, we could see the beginning of the hills.

After an hour’s drive, we stopped at a Dhaba (restaurant) for our refreshments and breakfast. We didn’t have much though – just a hot piping Aloo Parantha, dipped generously with butter – and a cup of tea. Zarak, our two year old had to have his mouthful as well and his mother generously helped him have his baby food. The uphill journey began to unveil gradually, as we curved our way through pine and deodar covered forests and ridges in the Himalayas.

After a drive of over 90 kms we realized, we have reached Dalhouise. We knew that this hill station was on our itinerary and hence we didn’t quite get down to hover around a bit. Our excitement was obviously palpable and we managed to hold on to it tightly. At 1.30 pm we arrived at our hotel in Khajjiar. Hotel Mini Swiss is not one of those three or four star hotels that packs in all amenities and facilities, but nonetheless provides a comfortable accommodation, with friendly staffs. It is one of the very few resorts in this area – Hotel Royal Residency and the government owned resort – being the other ones. A quick shower in the mildly cold waters, a cup of tea and we were ready to head to the majestic meadows of Khajjiar valley. The meadows were in fact a stone’s throw from our hotel and comes across as a pristine undulating landscape with a lake at the centre.

The meadows were surrounded by a sheath of deodar trees throughout and buzzing with activities (I was told this ground looks completely different and covered by snow in the winters). It was a bright sunny noon and quite expectedly, tourists have thronged this place from nearby state of Punjab, Delhi and far off places such as Kolkata and Tamil Nadu. One could stroll around this verdant landscape for hours, have food or snacks from hordes of roadside stalls or take a slow pony rides. We bargained for it and got a deal of Rs 200 for a roundabout trip of the meadows.

The lake at the centre of this landscape looked quite dry and could have been managed well by the tourism department. It appeared bit scruffy. Tourism plays a vital role in Himachal’s economy. It is one of the three major mainstays for the state’s gross domestic product, the first two being hydro-power and horticulture. 

Nonetheless, we spent a good two – three hours here and enjoyed the sun, breathed in the fresh air and experienced the mist and the clouds. We gave another activity – zorbing – a miss though.

Next day, we headed to the heart of Chamba valley. The town, at a distance of 26 km from Khajjiar, has a brisk population and we could see exciting people in the festive mood. It was Dusherra and locals were seen gathering in large numbers in the main market ground.

However, we parked our cab, got down, and went around the town. Our first disappointment – the Museum was closed as it was Dusherra; dejected we went around strolling to see the Lakshmi Narayan temple. It looked quite resplendent, and we did manage to click few images capturing its architectural magnificence. There were few steady tourists around and they chatted blithely, taking selfies.

We began our day next, early with a quick breakfast and headed for the trekking point in Khajjiar. The trek was marked distinctly and by the time we reached, we could see a bevy of tourists already lined up for the trek. The trek was a sharp 4 km up hill and we joined in our excitement to reach the peak. All the hard work and efforts paid off when we got to see the view of the nearby hills and forest cover from atop the misty and cloudy peak.

 Done with our adventure and achievement, we headed straight to the historical town of Dalhousie. The town had an insane old world charm to it – the post office, church, schools and the ambience was magical. The weather was brilliant to say the least.  It seemed, we are walking on the clouds. We got down at the chowk and took a stroll sampling a dish of locally made Momos.

 A walk down little further and we spotted Sunil. He is the town’s most popular ‘two wheeler restaurant’. If you have been to Dalhousie, chances are you may have come across Sunil. He can be easily seen selling fast food items at a brisk pace to tourists near the Dalhousie chowk. He usually sells omlette, french toast and hot piping noodles in his humble mobile scooter. He doesn’t have a printed menu, unlike a physical restaurant. All his food items are named in the body of his yellow scooter. He proudly flaunts a framed article of his interview given to a popular Hindi newspaper.

Sunil was surrounded by customers, when we caught hold of him. How long have you been selling here, I asked, curiously?
“20 years,” pat comes his reply. In Dalhousie, you can also spend time and shop at the local Tibetian market and visit the Church.

An unforgettable Road trip to Leh Ladakh: Exploring it the Raw Way!

Spectacular. Magnificent. Unreal and More~ I can fill this blog with every adjective that I know of to describe what I have experienced, but I will try to keep this one brief and informative. When I decided to join this road trip of 10 days, I did a bit of googling and asked couple of questions, but still managed to get lot of surprises…so I am peppering this blog with all the information which I felt I should have known before!

Ladakh, land of high passes is a region in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh is the biggest city in Ladakh.

So Why Leh? Because it is a perfect destination to Escape. Escape from work pressures, pain of a broken heart, space from family members, daily grind and 24X7 connectivity! It all started with my search for a place to escape, a friend recommended this ‘Raw way to experience Leh Facebook page’ and I decided in an instant to be part of it! So find your escape here with the most stunning sights, in the simple conversations with warm locals and in the stimulating debates with the fellow bikers. This was my reason..what is yours?

Who did I go with? A group of 9 strangers who I first met on the day our Journey started from Majnu Ka Tila, New Delhi.

Travelling with friends and family is regular, travelling Solo is Passe… travel with strangers and see what magic happens!

What to expect while you try to get Leh’ed?

Day 0: Left Delhi in a Volvo from Majnu Ka Tila with a 60 ltr rucksack, a sleeping bag (5 degree-10 degree), sleeping mattress and one shoulder bag.

Day 1: Enjoy the Manali Trance!

We reached Manali at 12:00 pm and stayed at Brahma Guest house in Old Manali. Now, Old Manali is a little piece of heaven and after almost 14 hours of bus journey, we were rewarded with sunny weather, chilled beer, gurgling stream, feet dipping in freezing river, lip smacking food, cycling and shopping. You may stroll around the bazaar area or go for a walk in the forest area. Head up to the hot water springs at Vashisht, a small village 3 km from Manali. There is also the option of heading up to Solang for adventure activities.Try some authentic Israeli and delicious Italian food. I definitely recommend People Cafe for karoake, live music and sushi, Chopstick for Thupka and momos, Sunshine Cafe for English breakfast and Lazy Dog for your Italian dinner.

Day 2: Experienced first view of Snow, Emerald lake and bone chilling cold

Manali – Rohtang Pass – Jispa – Surajtal – Zing Zing Bar

We departed for Sarchu early in the morning at 6:30 am and crossed the Rohtang Pass and got our first glimpse of snow. Rohtang literally means pile of corpses due to people dying in bad weather trying to cross the pass.Though very touristy and dirty patches of slushy snow, we did not really went in there as we did not had those rented jumpsuits and rubber boots. I would suggest that if you are going in the peak summers, you better wait for Baralach La pass to enjoy the snow.

After crossing Jispa, enjoy this gorgeous view of Surajtal, the beautiful emerald like lake that lies just below the Baralacha la pass and is also the third highest lake in India. We made a pit-stop at Zing Zing bar and enjoyed the community camping. This was the coldest place that we came across with temperature going below 5 degree, so carry your warmest jacket, woolen caps and gloves. We were lucky enough to enjoy the full moon night. Experience the sleep in tents under a blanket of stars on this night.

Day 3: Experience being at 17000 feet, encounter the jagged mountains and the winding roads that can only be in Leh

Zingzing bar – Patseo – Baralach La pass – Taglang La pass – Sarchu – Leh City

We left the Zing Zing bar at around 7:30 am for the rustic and remarkable city of Leh. Enjoy the high mountain pass of Baralach la with the view of snow hugging the sides of the road. Get a mandatory click at Tanlang La Pass which is known (though incorrectly) for being the world’s second highest motorable pass.

And then, experience the Gata Loops which literally took our breath away! These are a series of twenty one hairpin bends in the Manali and Leh highway, no photo can prepare you for it. This filled us with awe and wonder.

Day 4: German bakeries, Biker cafes, shopping and everything Ladakh

We stayed at the Home stay Chandan guest house at the most happening lane of Leh City- Changspa lane. Enjoyed the Kashmiri kebabs and Tabak mass on Old Fort Road for dinner and a breakfast of fresh apple juice, Yak cheese sandwich and nutella pancake! After serving on Wai Wai noodles and dal chawal for the entire road travel, It was time to treat my stomach!

Day 5: Pangong Tso Lake and hospitality of Yokma house

We left the rucksack in the guest house and left for Pangong early morning with a smaller bag as we planned to stay overnight at Pangong. This iconic highest salt lake is divided between China and India. This place was an oasis of calm and such a brilliantly hued color palette. We stayed at a home stay-‘Yokma’  and our day here reminds me of delicious chicken curry, warm bottle of old monk, cosy beds, hot tea and the wrinkled happy faces of our hosts! And this place was as serene as it looks…

Day 6- 3 Idiots school, Rancho’s cafe and a night in the city

We left Pangong at around 11 am after getting all typical shots of jumping and getting clicked in the midair, we reached Leh City to enjoy a relaxed evening with some bonfire, music and conversations! Check out the 3-idiot fame Rancho school too (Druk White Lotus school). They have 15 minute guided tours in the school for visitors to show you the shooting point and also why is it awarded by BBC for innovation. Reach there before 5 and carry some cash to buy ‘All is Well’ fridge magnets or other souvenirs from the school!

Day 7- Our Leisure and sightseeing day in Leh

This morning was supposed to be our leisure day after covering some 1200 km and 17000 ft in few days, but our overexcited group decided to do rafting on Zanskar river. Get prepared to change into bodysuits which are mandatory to wear to save your body from freezing water! So carry an extra pair of clothes and enjoy the 16 km rafting as we did in Rs 1400 including lunch. On our drive back, we stopped at Magnet Hill. This was a bit of an anti-climax as we were expecting to see a car being pulled towards a hill, then we were told it is an optical illusion and nothing more! But this highway is beautiful, though my advice, do not go there only to see this ‘spot’.

Day 8 – Aaj hum upar, aasmaan neeche!! cheesy…but hell….yes!

After spending a night in the Leh City again, we left early morning for Nubra Valley with one change of clothes. On our way to Nubra we crossed Khardung la Pass, the highest motorable road in the world. Stop for a cup of tea or a plate of Maggie at the highest cafeteria in the world.

Nubra, is a high altitude cold desert. We reached our guest house-Gharyok by 4:00 pm and got delighted to see our rooms right next to a gushing stream.  It is like a small village nestled in the middle of nowhere. Walk to discover this quaint small place. We followed the path to a ‘Yak farm’ but couldn’t find any Yaks..instead we found a gem of a place serving chilled beer in small private areas in an open ‘restaurant’ (no food though), think of it as Gurgaon’s Machan! Speak with the locals and they may just take you there!

Day 9: Exploring the desert of Ladakh-Nubra Valley

Next morning, we visited the Diskit Monastery. It is a long walk uphill, I will suggest hitchhike or ride till the vehicles are allowed and then start walking. After your prayers, visit the tea room which offers tea to all the visitors. This place encourages you to be silent and will bring you sense of peace. It did to me.

Then we visited the 30 meters Buddha statue near the monastery, lunched at one of the restaurants just outside the Monastery. Carry some cash to buy some beautiful souvenirs from the Lama shop there. And, finally see some double hump or Bactrian camels. We were lucky enough to see the entire herd on whom our entire silk route depended and out of them one closed enough to get clicked…camera friendly guy!

Day 10– We reached Leh to spend the night there after Nubra and then early morning bid farewell to Leh and headed back to Manali. Last night in Leh-we had the dinner with the amazing family who opened their houses. Their hospitality was genuine, unconditional and inspiring!

Day 11- The last day at Manali, we stuffed ourselves with every cuisine possible, sang songs on karaoke and discovered how these 10 days made 10 of us strangers into one gang of friends. And I an quoting, ’10 of us became one’.

Some last pointers:

1. We all will have altitude sickness at some point or the other, diomox is a very popular medicine among Leh travellers which helps in acclimatization. Couple of my co-travellers took it at the start of the trip, others when nausea hit them. I avoided it inspite of my asthma. I suggest speak with your doctor and only then take any medicine it. You may not need it all. Remember, the fear of altitude sickness is worse than altitude sickness! Keep your body hydrated, drink lots of water, wear good woolens and cover your ears! I followed it and remained healthy throughout.

2.. Pack smart! Carry T-shirts for day time, warm jackets. Layering works best in this kind of hot-cold-hot weather. Keep gloves, lot of socks and woolen caps to cover your ears when its very cold at night and at high altitude. Carry 2 pair of shoes, so that you have a spare one in case one is wet because of snow or water. Travel light, you will be carrying your own bags there! Carry sunscreen, wet wipes, petroleum jelly, a very very good moisturizer(weather is VERY dry) and lip balm!

3. Carry Cash- ATMs you will find only in Leh city and Manali. Do not depend on ATMs.

4. Phone connectivity- Leh city have all postpaid connections working. Wifi availability is also good. Places like Nubra, Pangong have zero phone connectivity, be prepared for that.

5. Be prepared for No toilets! or err…well..weirdest of ‘toilets’ (if a ditch, a stone, a 3×3 tin or cloth covered corner can be called that) ..but have to say, the view and the ventilation was fantastic in every one..nice and open..if you know what I mean! Infact, I can probably write a separate blog on my toilet stories.. Cos we took the locals advise of staying hydrated pretty seriously and drank water as if our life depended on it..and that made us take a leak after every 45 minutes in the most adventurous of places! Anyway, so carry lot of tissues(you do not want a UTI here) and carry on

Picture credits and inputs for this blog: Everyone who was on this trip, and let me repeat myself:

Travelling with family is regular, Travelling Solo is passe..Travel with strangers and experience Magic!

Go, get Leh’ed…and do tell me about it!

Know your Author: 

 Geetanjali

Love travelling without much planning! Life is for travel, rest all are the fillers..the in-betweens! Greedy for food and travel..join me in my wanderlust! Know more about me and follow my blog: https://geetanjalihq.wordpress.com/ Follow me on my Instagram handle: geettravels

Camping at Chandratal Lake, Spiti Valley

CHANDRATAL LAKE, SPITI VALLEY

The mystical, beautiful, almost always frozen Chandratal Lake is known by a lot of names – Chandra Tal, Chandra Taal, Chander Taal – all of which translates to Moon Lake, a name derived from the crescent shape of the lake.

The Chandratal Lake is believed to have been discovered by traders travelling from Tibet and Ladakh to Kullu and Spiti, who would stop by the lakeside to rest a while before resuming their journey.

Located at a height of 14,100 feet, the Chandratal Lake can be accessed only during the three months of summer. The immensely blue lake is the source of the Chandra River which flows down to merge with the Bhaga River and in turn the Chandrabhaga River which later becomes the Chenab.

The Chandra Bhaga mountain range forms a striking backdrop for the lake, which changes appearance according to the pictures painted in the sky.

 ACCOMMODATION IN CHANDRATAL LAKE

Spiti Valley is located in the remote part of the Himalayas and has limited accommodation options when compared to hotels in the lower Himalayas. At Chandratal Lake, you will be staying at a comfortable and warm camp.

Here, you will be camping about 2 kilometers away from the lake as the law does not allow one to camp next to the lake. Hippy Traveller can arrange state-of-the-art high altitude camping equipment including warm minus degree sleeping bags and waterproof tents which will keep you safe, warm and comfortable in Chandratal Lake.

The camp will also provide three delicious freshly cooked meals to make it an extremely memorable part of your Spiti Valley Tour.

Contact Us to book a camp near Chandratal Lake at best local prices.

 CHANDRATAL LAKE WEATHER 

Chandratal Lake, like the weather in the rest of Spiti Valley, is very cold during winter and difficult to approach. Temperatures drop well below even – 30 degrees in the winter and temperatures hover between 0 and 20 centigrade during summer. Rainfall is almost zero and heavy woolens are recommended both in Summer Winter.

The best time to visit Chandratal Lake, weather-wise, would be between Mid-June and Mid-October.

HOW TO REACH CHANDRATAL LAKE

BY PRIVATE TAXI:
Taking a private taxi is the most comfortable way to reach Chandratal Lake. While it is the most expensive option, it is also a valuable investment as you get to enjoy the stunning landscape of Spiti Valley on the way at your own pace.

Chandratal Lake can be driven to by taxi from two routes:
1) Manali – Kaza Road (Manali – Rohtang Pass – Chandratal Lake) – This drive takes about 8-10 hours and can be done in one day.
2) Hindustan-Tibet Highway (Shimla – Kalpa – Kaza – Chandratal Lake) – This drive takes close to 22 hours and can be split between two days with an overnight halt at Kalpa.

Hippy Traveller has its own set of comfortable cars and reliable and safe drivers to help you drive up to Chandratal Lake. Contact Us for more details.

BY SHARED TAXI
Like the name suggests, you will be sharing a taxi (usually a Tata Sumo) with 8-10 people. If you opt for this, we can help you connect with a reliable and safe driver. Contact Us for more details.

BY AIR
The closest airport to Chandratal Lake is Bhunter. From Bhunter, drive to Manali and then onwards to Chandratal Lake via the Manali – Kaza road.

BY BUS
Daily local buses ply on the Shimla -Reckong Peo – Kaza route and the Manali – Kaza route. From Kaza, you will have to switch to another local bus / shared taxi to get to Chandratal Lake. While it is not very comfortable, it the most economical way to reach Chandratal Lake.

Bollywood’s Favorite Shooting Locations in India – Have you visited them yet?

We all love watching movies especially Bollywood movies. Hindi movies are a great blend of dance, drama & emotions and so never fail to charm viewers both in India & abroad. So much so that in Europe Shahrukh Khan is the king of hearts and in former Soviet Republic countries daughters are still named Nargis  and Raj Kapoor still loved and fondly remembered.

Well, we Indians while deciding upon travel destinations have a common trait of overlooking the beauty we have in our own country and fancy places located in foreign countries like Switzerland, Paris, and more. But Bollywood doesn’t do like that.

Since Raj Kapoor era to Deepika Padukone lead modern times, Bollywood has time & again shot at some of the most beautiful & eye-catching places in India. So here is a list of jaw-droppingly beautiful places In India that are a must visit.

Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir: 

The picturesque snow laden landscape where Salman Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Harshali Malhotra were shown walking in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, do you remember it? Yes, this place called ‘Sonamarg’ is in India and located in Jammu & Kashmir that’s the Heaven on Earth!

Doraha Fort near Ludhiana:

Now this location was brought into the limelight when Aamir Khan starer Rang De Basanti was shot here. I am sure most people still remember the epic scene whereAamir Khan, Siddharth Narayan, Sharman Joshi & Kunal Kapoor jump in a quest to chase an air force jet and then the beautiful romantic number Tu Bin Bataye shot on Soha Ali Khan & R. Madhavan was also filmed here. The lush greenery around this fort makes it even more picturesque. A little spoiler here is that there is no air force base anywhere near this fort as depicted in the film!

Leh, Ladakh & Rohtang Pass:

It’s once in a lifetime experience to come and witness this part of India. Trust me it is as beautiful as it is shown in Jab We Met song Ishq haaye filmed on Kareena and then it has been taken to another level in movies like 3 Idiots, Jab Tak Hai Jaan & Alia Bhatt starer Highway.

Rajasthan:

Rajasthan being a culturally & heritage wise rich state is as a whole not to miss tourist destinations in India. There have been numerous films that have been shot in its vivid cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and more. Some of them being Jodhaa-Akbar shot in Amer Fort (Jaipur), few scenes of Rang de Basanti were shot in Nahargarh Fort (Jaipur). Sunny Leone starer Leela film was shot in Khimsar fort & Lakshmi Niwas Palace. Not to forget the classic films like Beta was shot in Hawa Mahel (Jaipur) & major portions of Sridevi-Anil Kapoor starer Lamhe was shot in Rajasthan. Also, have you watched the promo of Mirzya – the launch movie of Harshvardhan Kapoor, it has been shot in a never seen before place in Udaipur.

Athirapally, Kerala:

Famous movies like Bahubali, Guru & Ravaan have been shot here the latter two films had Aishwarya Rai as the main lead. The famous song Barso Re Megha from the film ‘Guru’, it was shot here.  Especially there is one resort from where one gets to have mesmerizing views of the gigantic waterfall and lush greenery.

So which all places among the above have you visited? Do these movies inspire you to visit these places and more, write to me?