September 14, 2017

Roojoom Backpackers Guesthouse- Review

Surrounded by mountains and glaciers, Sangla valley is probably the prettiest region in Kinnaur and is absolutely gorgeous after the monsoons when the valley spreads an array of colours, apples turn red and the climate is pleasant. Amidst all this landscape is Roojoom Backpackers Guesthouse, one of the best places to stay in Sangla. Located a kilometer away from Sangla bazaar on the way to Chitkul, the guest house is a lovely colourful place with fluttering prayer flags, apple orchards in its backyard, a rooftop café and spectacular views all around. They have five rooms, all with attached baths, basic amenities and face the mountains. What more can you ask for?.

What I loved:

Location: The views from the guest house are breathtakingly beautiful. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides with the Baspa river flowing way below.

Comfortable rooms: The rooms are spacious and well maintained with comfortable beds and quilts.

Clean baths: All rooms come with clean attached baths. They also provide hot water on request.

Café and common dining area: The roof top café might well be a place you wouldn’t want to leave as the views are surreal. The café is open to outsiders too. The common dining space on the ground floor is a nice place to meet likeminded people and share travel experiences.

Joey and his staff: Joey from USA runs the guest house and both he and his staff are very friendly and helpful.

Tariff: This is a good budget option in Sangla and is priced at INR 600 per night for single occupancy and INR 700 per night for double occupancy.

What I did not like:

Wifi: There is no wifi provided, however, most data networks function well here.

Payment: They accept only cash.

Verdict: Excellent

Sangla Chitkul road, Sangla, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Ph: 9805897887 (Joey) 

P.S.- This is NOT a sponsored post.

September 13, 2017

Riding through the Mountains- A Photo Essay

All the above frames were captured during my ride from Solan till Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. September 2017.

September 9, 2017

Frames from an Indian Train Journey

Indian train journeys are always special and sometimes inexplicable. While frames one after the other pass by your window as you gaze through them, some moments get frozen forever. They just don't seem to move out and remain in front of your eyes for long. The lone guard at a deserted station waving the green flag until the last bogie disappears is my all time favourite frame. It tempts me to get off at such stations. The cry of the tea seller, the long whistle from the engine and the numerous short eats that you relish en-route gives you a sense of nostalgia and takes you back to the days when you took that long train journey to your grandparent's house during summer holidays. Indian train journeys are and will always remain nostalgic for many of us.

Below are a few frames from my 53 hour train journey from Bangalore to Chandigarh. Kindly excuse the clarity as most of them were taken while the train was in motion.


September 5, 2017

Beaches of Madh Island

Home to a few quaint fishing villages, Madh island is a nice getaway from the crowds of Mumbai. Located very much within the city limits, this island has a line of secluded beaches. Due to the strong presence of the Naval command, access to Madh fort and a couple of beaches such as Hamla and Marve have been restricted. However, beaches such as Aksa, Dana Pani and Erangal are quite popular. 

View of Global Vipassana Pagoda from Marve jetty

Fresh catches at Marve jetty

Aksa beach

Aksa beach

Stalls at Aksa beach

Dana Pani beach

Rocky outcrops at Dana Pani beach

St. Bonaventure church at Erangal beach is a few centuries old

Erangal beach

Erangal beach

Drying fishes are commonly seen across the island 

September 4, 2017

Frames from Bandra, Mumbai

City skyline and Bandra- Worli sea link

Bandra- Worli sea link

The 17th century Bandra fort was built by the Portuguese

View from Bandra fort

The 18th century Basilica of Our Mary of the Mount

Bandra railway station has a quaint charm with its tiled roof and archaic architecture

Bandra is one of the popular neighbourhoods of Mumbai and it houses an upscale society apart from being home to many bollywood stars. 

September 3, 2017

Unending Love for Juhu Beach

The people of Mumbai have a special love for Juhu beach, a prominent beach in the city. They throng there in large numbers every evening and if it is a weekend it turns out to be a sea of crowd. However, Juhu keeps charming despite all the odds and people keep going back to her.

August 31, 2017

Wayanad On Wheels

There was a light drizzle as we gathered early in the morning on the first day of #WayanadOnWheels facilitated by ScoutMyTrip. That however wasn’t a deterrent, and was actually quite a welcome start to the lovely ride from Bangalore to Wayanad. Travel bloggers, riders and travel enthusiasts on royal enfields from ONNBikes were on their way to Dare 5000 Nature Camp, nestled deep in the hills of Vythiri. We were on eight bikes, 7 Royal Enfields (Classics, Thunderbirds and Standards) and 1 Bajaj Avenger Street. Though ONNBikes caters majorly to commuter segment, touring is an area that they are exploring. ONNBikes provides the cheapest rental rates and bikes are available on rent from a few hours to even a year in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Udaipur.

After a few initial pit stops, we had our first break at a Kamat hotel on Mysore road to refuel ourselves with some soft idlis, crispy dosas and filter coffees. Though the ride ahead was filled with a fair amount of traffic, it eased up after exiting the city of Mysore. It was only then that I could completely enjoy the ride on my shining blue Thunderbird 500, which definitely is a wonderful bike for a long ride. Though not sunny, the sky cleared up as the convoy headed to Gundlupet with intermittent stops. Gundlupet was covered in shades of orange, yellow and violet as flower beds spread before us on either sides of the road. It was not long before all colours changed to various shades of green as we rode into the forest stretch where monsoons had accentuated the charm of the jungle.

A couple of stops at Chayakadaas (tea stalls) and a late lunch later, we rode further to Vythiri. It was dark by the time we reached Vythiri and took a detour off the highway onto the road that led to Dare 5000 Nature Camp. Parking our bikes at a house at the base, we were driven up in 4x4 wheel jeeps. It is a further 6 Kms from the base and can be covered only in 4x4 vehicles due to the terrain. It was quite dark, but the roar of a falls, the sound of crickets, the rough terrain and the silhouettes of hills made us realize that we were getting away from civilization. We checked in, freshened up and had a round of bonfire discussion about travel, blogging and other random topics along with a delicious dinner. Had to call it a night as one after the other sneaked into their rooms after the long riding day.

WanderTrails which is an aggregator of various properties across India focuses on experiential travelling and facilitated our visit to Dare 5000 Nature Camp. This nature camp built during the times of British rule for the stay of plantation workers has been renovated and offers basic but neat rooms with en-suite baths. Located at a height of 5000 feet above sea level, this nature camp is one of the highest in Wayanad.

It was not until morning that we had any idea where we were expect that we were up in the hills. Though there was a plan to go for an early morning walk for bird watching, only three of them made it while others slept cosily in the rooms. When I walked out in the morning I realized we were surrounded by lush greenery and engulfed by mist along with a light drizzle. Isn’t it wonderful to wake up to such mornings? I couldn’t have asked for more.

It rained incessantly as we had a quick breakfast and numerous black coffees. Mist played peek-a-boo as we patiently waited for the rains to subside. Soon we left for an unnamed waterfall recommended by the hosts. The short trail goes behind the property deep into the woods. Though armed with rain covers, salt and dettol, leeches still caught up and happily feasted on us. The surroundings however were absolutely surreal that I decided to ignore the leech bites and walked ahead to the falls. The cascading falls was an absolute stunner tumbling over many boulders and spraying water all over. We spend quite an amount of time there as many got into the waters while others gazed at the beautiful setting. The stomachs grumbled soon and we headed back to the nature camp to delve into a delicious lunch. The rain reduced to drizzle and we walked up a trail within the property. The walk led to a vantage point which offers magnificent vistas of the valley, towns below, rising mist, distant hills and verdant greenery all around. This was another gorgeous sight for the day after the beautiful falls. On clear days this point offers spectacular sunsets. While we sipped more black coffees as the evening set, it turned misty and slowly darkness engulfed the place.

The final day of Wayanad On Wheels began with some delicious Puttu and Kadala before we were on our way back to the base. In a 4x4 jeep, we manoeuvered through the treacherous trail going past tea plantations and waterfalls to get back on the saddle. The bikes thumped their way again through the small towns of Wayanad. Back in the forests, we were lucky to spot an elephant and a few spotted deer en-route. The ride again was absolutely a delightful one through the meandering roads of Muthanga sanctuary, Gundlupet and then to Mysore. We changed our route from Mysore and skipped the Mysore- Bangalore highway to avoid the traffic. Instead we took the road to Malvalli and then onto Kanakpura road to reach Bangalore. That was a great decision as the roads were good and devoid of traffic.

Some trips like Wayanad On Wheels are memorable for many reasons. Here it gave a great opportunity for like minded travel enthusiasts to explore a beautiful nature camp with a ride on the lovely Royal Enfields.

#WayanadOnWheels was made possible by ScoutMyTrip, ONNBikes and WanderTrails


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