Tag Archives: Baijnath

Family Trip: Delhi-McLeodGanj-Dharamshala-Palampur-Barot-Parashar Lake-Bir-Delhi

It had been a while since me & my family had gone on a summer break, so came end of May’16 when my adventure spirit, which was overloaded by office routines and ultimate boredom, took charge and forced by my Kid’s summer holidays and my wife’s constant push to move out of the city’s heat for a while, I decided to break free from office atrocities for a while, and traveled to a trip to Palampur-Barot – Parashar Lake, thanks to the expert advice given by my friend and colleague, Vijay Chauhan from PBC (Palampur Bikers Club) who did the honor of planning our trip and helping us in every way possible, all the way from UK. Using his expert advice, we planned a week trip to Delhi-McLeodGanj-Dharamshala-Palampur-Barot-Parashar Lake-Bir-Delhi. Before the start of the trip, all the arrangements were done by PBC and I was handed over all the travel tickets, hotel reservations and Taxi contact details which made our trip an effortless wonderful trip.

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Yes, it looks like a long trip but where the 7 days went, nobody knew. Now back in the city, I thought of writing this blog, as I promised to Vijay I will do after I come back from the trip, and also to refresh my memories and relive the moments once again, I am sharing the details of my wonderful trip with you:

Day 1: Packed all the bags, checked food items and DSLR, we started from Delhi on Saturday evening to board Delhi-McLeodganj bus from ISBT. Bus started at 7:30pm from Delhi and 2 hours later, stopped at Haveli for dinner. The sudden realization of the cold breezes flowing gently brought us to the reality that we are going away from Delhi’s scorching 48 degrees heat. After dinner, the bus started for McLeodganj once again. After watching movie in the bus, we quickly fell asleep in the bus.

Day 2: Early morning next day, our sleep was broken by the narrow roads & sharp turns of the bus. We had already entered Himachal Pradesh (HP) and was about to reach our first destination McLeodganj when the early showers welcomed us to HP. We reached McLeodganj around 5:30am and took a taxi to Dharamkot where our hotel, Dev Cottages, was. We were warmly welcomed by the hotel members and was given an excellent room with fabulous outside view. After tea, we decided to sleep a little, only to wake up at 11am. After having breakfast, it was time to visit local attractions like Bhagsu Temple, waterfall and the Dalai Lama temple and buy local mementos. It was a really hot day in Dharamshala and by the time we were back to hotel, we were so very exhausted. But nature mother did a favor on us. The moment we reached back hotel, it started raining heavily with hailstorms and suddenly the temperature dropped to near 20 degrees. We ordered Pakodas with tea from hotels kitchen and enjoyed our tea sitting in balcony enjoying our first rain of the summer. It was a exhausting day but the rain brought much relief. After having dinner we quickly fall asleep.

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Day 3: We woke up early to continue our trip the next day and after breakfast, started to Palampur for Maa Chamunda Temple where the rain again followed us. After a quick visit to the temple, we visited tea Gardens in Palampur. All the way, my kid enjoyed to the fullest. After lunch break, we started for our next destination JJH (Jungle Jerry Huts) in Palampur. JJH is around 200 meters from the main road and you have to cross a river stream or go around 1/2 km to the hotel premises. It was quite a distance, but the hotel staff met us at the main road and carried our luggage. We trekked along and took a 20min trek to reach the hotel. To our surprise, the JJH was setup in a very beautiful environment with all rooms beautifully made of wood. This was definitely a jungle hut and was our one of the best stay in this entire trip. All natural and setup on a hillside near a constantly flowing river stream, what else can you ask for? You can easily hear the sound of river flowing in your hut. Being close to nature, there were lots of lizards & chameleons outside the hut, and my wife is big scared of lizards (which I enjoy), but to our surprise, the inside of the hut was very clean without even a fly or any insects. We settled down and ordered tea. The staff was very cordial and brought us tea and asked us what we want for the dinner. They have an indoor garden where they grow their own vegetables and the lady owner herself prepared a fantastic & tasty dinner for us. We were really glad to come to JJH and would recommend it to anyone coming this way. After dinner, we roam a bit, took some snaps and went to bed. In night it again started raining and made the climate chilly, but thanks to JJH we already had everything we needed in place.

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Day 4: Early morning we were greeted by the lady owner with a wonderful breakfast and we bid farewell to her. We trekked back to the main road again but again the hotel staff helped us. We would have stayed there for couple of more days if we would have known JJH earlier. But having a plan already in place, we started to our next destination Barot. On the way, we visited Saurav Van vihar where we did boating & spent around 2 hours. Barot was a long ride from Palampur, we started in our taxi, took lunch at Joginder Nagar, and continued to Barot. For reaching Barot, we kept on travelling on the hillsides with narrow roads and mountain ranges in our range, moving up & down on the hillside for around 2 hours and ultimately reached Barot at around 4pm. The route was long but also very scenic with long trees and waterfalls on the way and we hardly felt exhausted on our way up. Barot is a very small town with very less population but the moment we reached there we were greeted with the river Dam and the white daisies all along the way. The white daisies on both sides of the road was such a lovely view to see. We checked in to our hotel Roshan and rested a while. Then in evening, we made a quick tour of the town and were glad that we chose Barot.

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Day 5: Today our roadmap was just to explore Barot and stay there in the night. We went to the Dam, took photos (though restricted by govt officials), but then you can’t resist yourself because Barot is such a beautiful place to be at. We took pics with the daisies, visited the local temple, had wonderful breakfast at a nearby restaurant and then started to nearby village Lohardy, which is famous for its tea gardens and is a very beautiful hillside village. On our way back, we visited few waterfalls and went to the end of rail line (also known as Khooni Ghaat). This rail line is very famous as it’s very steep and it goes upto 45degree. Due to a misfortunate event in the past, this rail line is now closed, but a rail line at 45 degree steep is worth a see. In the evening, we walked around the local dam and spent some more picturesque moment. Glad that Barot was on our trip.

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Day 6: Next morning after breakfast, we bid farewell to Barot and started our journey towards Parashar lake.  Parashar lake is a lake on top of a mountain, and known to be the ashram for Rishi Parasher. In the lake, there is a large patch of land which floats and keep on changing its position in the lake. The road to parashar was difficult with steep roads passing through forest area and the roads were rocky and very difficult to drive. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and reached Parasher around 4pm. First thing we checked into the government guest house that we booked (not very good with very little facilities. Also there was no power in our room due to some short-circut, but there is no other option of stay in parasher, the nearest village is around 15kms, passing through the forest area, which is not advisable in evening). Anyway, we settled down and trekked to Parashar lake walking. To our relief, we found Parasher lake very beautiful and soothing. It is a perfect setup for a lake – a lake in between with temple on it’s side, and all surrounded with mountains. and the best part – the floating land in the lake. We visited Rishi Parashar temple and did another round of photoshoots near the lake. Being on the top of the mountain, it was really cold there, around 15 deg). After spending around 2 hours there, we took our dinner at a nearby shop (a well-deserved Rajma-chawal at that place), only to come back to our guest house where we just dropped down on the bed and slept.

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Day 7: Got up early, we did a quick revisit to Parashar lake and came back to Guest house. Since Parashar was the farthest point on our trip, we started from Parashar soon and begin our way down to Palampur. Long drive on the way back, it took around 4-5 hours to reach Palampur. On our way back we visited Bhatu monastery, Bijnath temple, the Bir Paragliding site and the beautiful Bir Monastery. Checked into Palampur Hotel Suryadev, a good hotel and spent the day resting.

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Day 8: Our last day on the trip, we checked out of the hotel at 12pm and visited Jakhani mata temple and planned to revisit Saurav Van vihar(SVV). But being our last day, rain suddenly came to give us a farewell. With heavy downpours and hailstorms for more than a hour, we discarded the thought of SVV, and had lunch at Neugal Cafe. It was 3pm and our bus to way back was at 5pm, so we spent our one hour at CCD in Palampur, with awesome cold coffees. Bus was late due to heavy rains but it was a very comfortable ride back to home.

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I’m attaching pictures of my fantastic trip, perfectly planned by PBC, and I am really glad that we took some time off and came on this trip. My wife had great relief from Delhi heat and household work, my kid had a great time and also that he can tell his teacher all the places he visited and activities he did but I’m just happy that I kept my adventure spirit alive, only to go on another trip perfectly planned by PBC.

Thanks PBC for making our trip a roaring awesome trip and helping us all the way. Cheers!!

Vijay Dhania

Triund-Bir-Billing-Palampur

Palampur Bikers Club organized a one of a kind, Multi-Activity Program (MAP) during month of April 2015. The program started from 2nd April and ended on 6th April. I was one of the participants of MAP and here is a story from a participant’s perspective.
 
We started off our journey to Dharamshala early morning on 2nd April from Delhi, fully excited and eager to participate in the programs scheduled for next 3 days. We covered a journey of about 500 Kms in about 12 hrs with breaks and fun in all way. Rains played spoil sport while we entered Himachal but we reached Dharamshala around 10:00 P.M ; had dinner and slept for the day.
 
Route we followed

 
On 3rd April, at around 7 A.M. we all geared up our shoes and got ready for the trek to Triund. Triund is one of the major tourist attraction situated in McLeodganj, Dharamshala, giving a perfect view of Dhauladhar Mountains. It is a very popular trek attracting people not only from India but all over the world. Trekking to Triund hills can be easily covered by any age group.
 
A group photo after Breakfast at the Mclo Roof top restaurant
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It was a challenge for us as the weather conditions were not favorable, the rain Gods were too happy to see us as it was raining cats and dogs in McLeodganj. There were lot of questions coming in everyone’s mind but nothing could stop us. In the meanwhile, while we were waiting for the rains to stop, the group members decided to visit the nearby Monastery. It turned out to be good decision as the place is so peaceful, Buddhism culture spread in every corner indicating the power of the Almighty Lord.
 
Monestery at McleodGanj
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The monks were offering their regular prayer while all the visiting tourists were mesmerized by the beauty and art of the place. The idols of Lord Buddha were imposing with an exotic fragrance surrounding the environment.
 
At the Mclo Monestery entrance
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After the visit to monastery the members decided to start of the trek, the weather was somewhat clearing and we thought let’s start and will see what happens. I guess the saying- “Where there is a will, there is a way”, suited us best at that moment. There were groups of people heading towards the Triud hill as everybody was on a long weekend.
 
Triund Trek begins
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We started the trek around 11:00 AM and covered the half way mark quickly. Even rain gods encouraged us to carry on as there were no rains since we started. But it was not long before rain gods came to greet us, everybody was enjoying a different experience this time, but hold your breath there is a lot more to come this way this time. By the time we reached Magic Café, the oldest tea stall on our way, heavy rains welcomed us.
 
We also met the other PBC members and Participants who were coming down from the Triund after enjoying their night stay at Triund hill. A quick introduction round with all members and participants followed with photo session.
 
A group photo with all the members and participants
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We also got the first-hand information about the conditions ahead and after a quick tea break our group moved on towards Triund hill while the other group moved down.
 
As we moved on, rain gods came again and this time they were not alone but came with a companion. The companion called,”Hail Storm”; we were in the tricky part of our trek and this was not a good time for Hail storm. You cannot reason with nature and Gods, that’s the way they are, we mortal souls have to adapt to their ways. We adapted, pulled up our socks, covered our self with everything we have got and marched on.
 
Negotiating thru slippery snow surface on the way to Triund
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By the time we reached the top of Triund Hill we were all wet, but the excitement was still there. After such an experience, looking at the snow covered top of Triund finally gave us a feeling that we made it again. But this was not enough that day, lightning and thunderbolts, shocked us. This was truly adventurous experiencing everything in one go. It was all foggy and we could hardly see for few meters. It would have been great if clouds could vanish for few minutes to get us look of mighty Dhauladhars.
 
View from the Triund Hill
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We had our lunch in the small shop at the Triund hill and spent around an hour roaming around on the Trund hill. We atrted our journey back around 4 P.M and rain gods accompanied us all along. The decent down was more challenging then the accent. There were a couple of tricky sections but the groups managed to cross them and were back at the road head by 6:30 P.M.
 
We then moved on to our next destination i.e. Palampur which was our halt for next 2 days. All tired and drenched in rain, the members decided to take rest as tomorrow was an another big day.
 
As per the schedule, around 8:00 AM everybody started off for the next big adventure sport, Paragliding from the world best 2nd highest place, Bir Billing around 30kms from Palampur. We reached there in about an hour but again the ball was not in our court today as the clouds covered the dhauladhar range and this type of weather is not favorable for Paragliding. We were left with no option but we had to wait for the weather to be clear, we used this spare time to visit some monasteries in Bir. I must say the monasteries are the place where one can find peace and can have a deep dive in their own selves.
 
Bir Monestery
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We had amazing lunch in Bir and kept waiting for the Dear God to make some magic and allow us to fly. But our hard luck , the weather did not clear.
 
Another view of the beautiful monastery
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So we decided to go back to Palampur and try again tomorrow, if weather permits. On our way back to Palampur we went to the famous Baijnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is amongst the 12 Jyotirlings in the world.
 
Baijnath Temple
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The temple is magnificent with devotees all around. It is believed that the temple is based there as while taking Lord Shiva along with him, Ravana, the king of Demons, handed over the Shivling to Lord Krishna who was in disguise of the shepherd which he was not actually supposed to do. As blessed by Lord Shiva, Ravana was to carry the shivling in which Lord Shiva based himself and do not put the shivling down anywhere but as a part of game which all the Lords planned out Ravana made that mistake. And that is the shivling which was then merged on the ground and is today preached. The temple has beautiful carving on it. The temple is surrounded by gardens from all 4 sides.
 
With this another day of our trip was passed by visiting all the blessed places and enjoying to the fullest now it was time for some social activities.
 
PBC members and participants installing dust bins
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PBC installed 12 dustbins between Saurabh Van Vihar and Awarna village. PBC strongly believes in preserving Mother Nature and aims at keeping the beautiful place Palampur clean. A clean up drive was taken up too.
 
Contributing towards social initiatives by PBC
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After having a tough schedule, all the gap-shap and dinner everyone decided to take rest as the following day was actually packed. We left the hotel around 8:0 A.M in morning and towards Bir again just with a hope to fly.
 
Members getting ready to fly from take off point at Billing
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Finally the weather was pleasant and sunny. We were taken to Billing,14 kms, the takeoff site for gliders by our pilots who were to accompany us in flying. It is 2400 mtrs above the sea level. And now comes the best part of this tour- CANOPY..HEIGHT..PILOTS..RUN..AND..AND..AND…A FINAL FLY…I must say it is thrilling once you run against the wind flow and within fractions of seconds you find yourself up in the air. It’s the best feeling one could get. One would feel like a bird up there with the beautiful dhauladhar range just parallel to you and all the houses on the ground appearing to be tiny toys. Well each one of us got a chance to share the experience of pilots with us.
 
 ?????????????Members enjoying their time during the flight
 
A member of PBC even did some stunts up there in the air getting his canopy into 360 degree rotation 4 times…..and this was actually stunning and of course PBC is all about adventure and pleasant surprises. We all got a chance to make our videos with GoPro cameras while flying. This flight left everybody lost in their own world of amusement. Finally we landed at different intervals of 30 – 40 mins. It was worth every bit of it. If you have that spirit in you, “Do not miss it , Just go and do it.”
 
With this our wonderful trip to the sky was fully accomplished and we all started back for Delhi and finally a wonderful journey was covered in about 12 hrs and the members reached by 6:00 AM on Monday morning.
 
Magical view of Pir Panjal Range
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So guys just go and do it.
 
“This is the right age..the right time..and the right group that would take you to the best places around. Come and join and be a part of Palampur Bikers Club as – “Some Call it adventure, We call it life” “
 
Travel Story by Aakanksha Sandhu