Here is ma first post “ THE MONK WITH A SAFARI
1. Guys, this one is out from my trip to Lansdowne in Garhwal in January 12. I know most of you wouldn’t have heard of this place and many have even asked me with a big question mark on face-“ are you sure its in india?”. Well, its a beautiful place to be precise and surprisingly the roads are fabulous(stretch of UP in between is a pain!!
). So, me and wifey, thought over nainital, shimla, mussourie and what not then finally homed on to Lansdowne. We both wanted to take a short break as my leave was limited. No more discussions, packed our bag and off on the road from Dehradun to Lansdowne.
2. We started off early as distance involved is roughly 200 Kms only but involves hill drive. My music system was loaded with 8 GB of punchy(for me) and smoothies(for the likes of my wife) variety and I knew driving with smoothies is fun between the mountains.
3. Detailed route:-
a. Doon to Haridwar- Haridwar to Najibabad- Najibabad to Kotdwar- Kotdwar to Lansdowne. Total distance- 212 Kms. Time taken – 7 hrs(involves a 30 mins break each at haridwar and Kotdwar and slow hill drive)
4. You don’t get much of options to stay once you reach Lansdowne as it is Training Centre for Garhwal Rifles, so..seriously plan only if you have your uncle in Army(well, I have that luxury
). So, a guest room for us with damn good landscape scenery and lovely cultivation to welcome that early morning sun rays(as if you are in for your Honeymoon!). Now, about the car, Brilliant ride we both had. The car was absolutely comfortable and no tiredness whatsoever. The stretch from dehradun to haridwar was like playing NFS with maximum traffic option ‘ON’, so speed not beyond 60-70. The stretch from haridwar to Najibabad is again good with a bad stretch of 5 Kms in between, and believe you me-it is like craters that you get to see in pics of moon. However, back you are on the same lovely stretch till Kotdwar and comfortable to be reaching 100+ speeds.
5. Quick bite at Kotdwar and few snaps of a very famous temple “Sidhbali” and back to road. From here starts the hilly drive, absolutely serene and peaceful. Icing on the cake is the way Uttarakhand Govt has maintained the roads(lesson for Andhra, MP and Mah Govt), I mean what better can you have from those roads which take the maximum brunt of nature with landslides, rains etc. I even went to Tadkeshwar temple in the interiors of garhwal almost 40-50 Kms from my guest room and experienced the same lovely roads. The road is adequate for two trucks to pass and no special hill driving skills are required. Only imp points that are a must to be checked are:-
(a) horns - louder are better as hills have hairpin bends and weak horns may not be audible to traffic on the other side.
(b) lights – avoid night drive in hills at any cost but just in case, keep it always low. High can be inviting accidents.
(c) spare tyre – very imp. What to do if spare is flat? No road side assistance for miles(both upslope and downslope)
(d) Heater – Man, I tell you, temp here are low and sipping all the tea in this world won’t make you feel warm. Also, carry adequate clothes to keep you warm.
(e) Remember the most imp tip. Your mobile will show you no bars, more so if it’s not BSNL. So, work out all contingencies, contact nos before you start and do start early!
Safari has rugged power and I respect that. All 140 horses galloping and you will have no dearth of power in the most wanting situations also. It pulls effortlessly on all upslopes and leaves a smile on your face.
6. At lansdowne you won’t find a big market to shop for and that’s what I wanted (Saved a fortune). It’s a Regimental centre for troops of garhwal and a glorious history of 150 Gallant years welcome you. There is a museum that will showcase WW I and WW II vintage equipments and weapons. The valour and bravery of Indian Army needs no better explanation with this feather. Ok, back to the topic. Had a lovely stay there, visited everything including bunglaws, church and view points of Britisher’s era and became nostalgic(almost). I used to park my car at the view point, open the doors, play some smoothies with a cup of coffee and have a long chat with wifey (ohh, I miss those moments). Pics of course, just a few of them I have, next time will click more during a trip-