--000-- Important statement - Some of those who are calling themselves as my so-called friends on the basis of acquaintance which has happened in a short duration of past time, behaved with me in past in a manner which was crossing over the limits of friendship in that time, vexatious, objectionable even after the frequent admonitions given by me, so I do not consider them as my friends who crosses over the limits of friendship. So I am not duty-bound to publish or answer their comments which are given on any of my blogs, or to answer their email, or to accept their friend invite on any of the social website like facebook, or to answer their messages sent through the comment form on blog. So please take a kind note that if it will be found out that the abovementioned persons tried to contact with me directly or indirectly by any types of means mentioned before or through any other person by incuring him / her inbetween or by maknig fake profile through it or by any other means, through the blog or through any other medium or if it will be found out that they have done any type of act which is vexatious for me, then proper action will be taken on it. Also by all this incidence the decision is taken that the right of publishing all the suspicious seeming comments given on the blog and the right of answering any of the suspicious seeming messages coming through the comment form is reserved, readers please take a kind note of it. ----- 00000 ----- महत्त्वाचे निवेदन - भूतकाळातील थोडक्या कालावधीकरता झालेल्या माझ्या ओळखीच्या आधारावर स्वतःला माझे तथाकथित मित्र म्हणवून घेणार्‍या काही जणांनी पूर्वी मी वारंवार समज दिल्यानंतरही, माझ्याशी तत्कालीन पद्धतीच्या मैत्रीच्या मर्यादा ओलांडणारे, मनस्ताप देणारे, आक्षेपार्ह वर्तन केले, त्यामुळे अशा मैत्रीच्या मर्यादा ओलांडणार्‍यांना मी माझे मित्र मानत नाही. त्यामुळे माझ्या कोणत्याही ब्लॉगवर आलेल्या त्यांच्या कॉमेंट्स प्रकाशित करणे किंवा त्यांना उत्तर देणे, किंवा त्यांच्या इमेलला उत्तर देणे, किंवा त्यांच्या फेसबुकसारख्या कोणत्याही सोशल वेबसाईटवर आलेल्या फ्रेंड इन्व्हाईटला ऍक्सेप्ट करणे, किंवा त्यांनी ब्लॉगवरील कॉमेंट फॉर्मद्वारा पाठवलेल्या निरोपाला उत्तर देणे यासाठी मी बांधील नाही. त्यामुळे उपरोल्लेखित व्यक्तिंनी आधी उल्लेख केलेल्या कोणत्याही प्रकारे किंवा दुसर्‍या एखाद्या व्यक्तीला मध्ये घालून तिच्याद्वारे किंवा बनावट प्रोफाईल तयार करून त्याद्वारे किंवा इतर कोणत्याही प्रकारे, ब्लॉग किंवा इतर कोणत्याही माध्यमातून माझ्याशी प्रत्यक्ष वा अप्रत्यक्ष प्रकारे संपर्क साधण्याचा प्रयत्न केल्याचे आढळल्यास किंवा मला मनस्ताप होईल अशा प्रकारचे कोणतेही कृत्य त्यांनी केल्याचे आढळल्यास, त्यावर योग्य ती कारवाई करण्यात येईल याची कृपया नोंद घ्यावी. तसेच या सर्व प्रकारामुळे ब्लॉगवर आलेल्या संशयास्पद वाटणार्‍या सर्व कॉमेंट्स प्रकाशित करण्याचे आणि कॉमेंट्स फॉर्मद्वारे आलेल्या संशयास्पद वाटणार्‍या कोणत्याही निरोपाला उत्तर देण्याचे अधिकार राखून ठेवण्याचा निर्णय घेण्यात आला आहे, याची वाचकांनी कृपया नोंद घ्यावी. --000--

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shimla, Kullu, Manali trip – Part 8

After taking rest for some time in the room of hotel we went out for dinner. In the restaurant where we had gone for dinner, we had to order it by taking coupons and people were kept waiting for the dinner standing in the queue. But the manager of that restaurant gave us seat at first. At that day five of us ordered Pavbhaji and others ordered the South Indian snacks. Taste of Pavbhaji was quite different, but good. Then all of us ordered lassi. The lassi was served in earthen pots. Lassi was also of good taste. Now we knew the reason, why there was so much rush for taking meals. From there we went into the hotel. We slept after playing cards for some time. We slept calmly in cool air as there was A.C. in the room.

The manager of hotel told us that breakfast will be served at seven o’ clock in the morning. But actually we didn’t got even the tea at eight o’ clock in the morning. The manager who was telling us, that breakfast will come now, sent our breakfast and tea at nine o’ clock in the morning. So we were late for the next travel. From there we went to the Rock Garden. Different idols of humans and animals in different shapes and some nature scenes are created in it by using different materials for it like different rocks, pieces of tiles and pieces of pots made of China clay, pieces of glass bangles etc. Artificial waterfalls made by using streams of water, use of different shapes of trees in the nature scenes, all this adds in the beauty of that garden. But one do not know immediately that where to go exactly next in this garden or how to come out of this garden. Except this there are different types of fishes in fish tank, mirrors reflecting light in different manners, games for children are also there.

From there we went to the Suguna lake in Chandigarh and only saw that lake. There is a facility of boating. But we had to go further, so we hadn’t done the boating. We went further from the lake. In the way at afternoon we went in the Food Plaza for taking lunch. All of us ordered the cutlet because only dishes like snacks and pizza were available there. Two cutlets decorated with too much potato fried chips in the dish were served in front. A cutlet was bigger in size than the ordinary two cutlets. All of us finished their cutlets, but the potato fried chips without salt were not finished soon. After finishing the meal our travel was started in the direction of Kurukshetra.

There is a railway station in the name of Kurukshetra, also there is Kurukshetra University. But the area is too big where the battle between Kauravas and Pandavas was fought actually, and all the spots of that battle are spread at various places in the Kurukshetra district. On most part of this ancient battlefield now the city is built up and on some part fields are spread except the part on which temples are built up. There are big lakes at various places in this plain land of Kurukshetra. This plain place might be selected as battlefield for the provision of drinking water for soldiers and animals in the eighteen akshauhini military. (One akshauhini is 21,870 chariots that is ratha, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 cavalary that is horsemen and 1,09,350 infantry.) In this land some other places of pilgrimage are also there other than the places of battlefield.

We saw first the place of “Jyotisar” where Shrikrishna gave his counsel of Bhagavad-geeta to Arjuna. Here is also a lake, and an ancient Banyan tree. The idol of Shrikrishna giving counsel to Arjuna in a chariot (ratha) is kept here. Also there are small temples of Saraswati, Shiva, Hanuman etc. nearby. At ancient time there was a temple made up of stones. It was destroyed in Muslim invasion. A broken piece of pillar from that temple is kept under the Banyan tree. From there we went to the place named as “Bhishma kund.” Bhishma was thirsty when he was fallen down on bed of arrows and he asked for water. At that time Arjuna hit his arrow in the soil to quench Bhishma’s thirst, and a trickle of water was gushed up at that place. That trickle of water quenched the thirst of Bhishma and a lake was formed there. Now there are small temples on the bank of that lake, there is a idol of Bhishma lying on bed of arrows in one of the temple. Some incidents in the life of Kauravas and Pandavas are formed there by erecting the idols. There is a tall idol of Hanuman nearby. In the shops the parts of battle from the serial of Mahabharata were shown on T.V. at both these places.

From there we went to the place named as “Brahma Sarovar” (a lake). After the battle was over, the after death rituals of the died soldiers had to be performed. There is a legend that for that ritual Shrikrishna created this lake using his Sudarshan Chakra. Here Udhishthira performed after death rituals of all the dead soldiers and freed their souls. This lake is very big. It is people’s belief that all sins of a person are washed up after bathing here. So here is much rush of people on the special occasions of Kumbh mela, Solar eclipse etc. Here the stairs of lake (ghat) and other buildings in the surroundings are built well. After watching Brahma Sarovar we went to Delhi. In the way we had a glimpse of “Kalpana Chawla Planetarium” at Karnal. But we didn’t had the time to see it, so we went further without watching it.

It was night when we reached in Delhi city. The banquet halls in Delhi are now moved out of the Delhi city. It was seeming that at each hall creative decoration and lighting was done. We had decided to see India gate first after we reached in Delhi. There was rush of people even after nine thirty p.m. in the surrounding of India Gate. India gate was shining in the glare of spotlights. After watching India Gate we went towards hotel. In the surroundings of small lanes and alleys the driver was not getting that hotel. The call was not received at hotel’s phone. Finally we got that hotel. We checked into the hotel at eleven thirty p.m.. We were thinking that now the dining facility will not be available, but the manager told us that dinner is ready and he will send it at room. Dinner was simple but good. There was A.C. in the room, so we didn’t feeling hot.

There was a long list of hotel’s rules pasted on the door of the room. “Do not wash clothes in the Bathroom, Do not keep clothes for drying in the room, It is mandatory to note on hotel’s register if any guest arrives on your room, If the guest is sleeping in your room then extra charges will be charged for it, If there is a complaint of trouble causing due to your misbehavior from any other passengers, then you will be expelled out from this hotel,” etc. by reading those rules we were feeling entertained and we also got the idea about Delhi’s work culture. It was late for sleeping, the clock was already stricken to twelve thirty a.m.. But due to A.C. we slept well.

Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here.

सिमला, कुलू, मनाली ट्रीप भाग ८

हॉटेलच्या खोलीमध्ये थोडा वेळ विश्रांती घेऊन आम्ही जेवायला बाहेर पडलो. आम्ही ज्या रेस्टॉरंटमध्ये गेलो होतो, तिथे कूपन घेऊन पदार्थ मागवायचे होते आणि जेवणासाठी लोक रांगेत उभे राहून ताटकळत वाट बघत होते. पण तिथल्या मॅनेजरने आम्हांला आधी जेवायला बसवले. त्या दिवशी आम्ही पाचजणांनी पावभाजी मागवली आणि उरलेल्यांनी साऊथ इंडियन स्नॅक्स मागवले. पावभाजीची चव थोडी वेगळी, पण छान होती. नंतर सगळ्यांना लस्सी मागवली. ती लस्सी मातीच्या कुल्हडमधून आली. लस्सीही चांगली होती. तिथे जेवण्यासाठी इतकी गर्दी का होती, याचे कारण आम्हांला आता कळले होते. तिथून हॉटेलवर गेलो. थोडवेळ पत्ते खेळून मग झोपलो. खोलीमध्ये ए.सी. असल्याने थंड हवेत शांत झोपलो.

सकाळी सात वाजेपर्यंत नाश्ता येईल असे तिथल्या मॅनेजरने सांगितले होते. प्रत्यक्षात सकाळी आठ वाजता आम्हांला चहाही मिळाला नव्हता. आत्ता नाश्ता येईल असे सांगणार्‍या मॅनेजरने आम्हांला नऊ वाजता चहा आणि नाश्ता पाठवला. त्यामुळे पुढच्या प्रवासाला उशीर झाला. तिथून आम्ही रॉक गार्डनला गेलो. विविध प्रकारचे दगड, चिनी मातीच्या बरण्यांचे आणि टाईल्सचे तुकडे, काचेच्या बांगड्यांचे तुकडे असं वेगवेगळं साहित्य वापरून तिथे निसर्गदृश्यं आणि प्राण्यांचे आणि माणसांचे विविध आकारातले पुतळे साकारलेले आहेत. त्यातच ठिकठिकाणी वाहते पाणी सोडून निर्माण केलेले कृत्रिम धबधबे, झाडांच्या विविध आकारांचा तिथल्या दृश्यात करून घेतलेला वापर हे त्या गार्डनच्या सौंदर्यात भरच घालतात. मात्र या गार्डनमध्ये पुढे नेमकं कुठे जायचं किंवा बाहेर कसं पडायचं हे पटकन लक्षात येत नाही. याशिवाय मत्स्यालयातले विविध प्रकारचे मासे, विविध प्रकारे प्रकाशाचे परावर्तन होणारे आरसे, लहान मुलांचे खेळ हेही त्या गार्डनमध्ये आहे.

तिथून आम्ही चंदीगडमध्ये असलेल्या सुगुना सरोवरावर गेलो आणि फक्त ते सरोवर बघून आलो. तिथे बोटींगचीही सोय आहे. पण आम्हांला पुढे जायचे असल्याने आम्ही बोटींग केले नाही. लेकवरून आम्ही पुढे निघालो. वाटेत दुपारी जेवण्यासाठी एका फूड प्लाझामध्ये गेलो. तिथे फक्त स्नॅक्स, पिझ्झा असे पदार्थ मिळत असल्याने सगळ्यांनी कटलेट मागवले. बटाट्याच्या भरपूर फ्राईड चिप्सनी सजवलेले दोन कटलेट डिशमधून समोर आले. कटलेट आकाराने नेहमीच्या दोन कटलेटपेक्षाही मोठं होतं. सगळ्यांनी कटलेट संपवले, पण मीठ नसलेल्या बटाट्याच्या फ्राईड चिप्स काही लवकर संपेनात. खाणे झाल्यावर कुरूक्षेत्राच्या दिशेने आमचा प्रवास चालू झाला. 

कुरूक्षेत्र या नावाचे रेल्वे स्टेशन आहे, कुरूक्षेत्र युनिव्हर्सिटीही आहे. पण कौरव पांडवांचे प्रत्यक्ष जिथे युद्ध झाले तो सगळा परिसर खूप मोठा आहे आणि युद्धाची सगळी ठिकाणे कुरूक्षेत्र जिल्ह्यात ठिकठिकाणी विखुरलेली आहेत. जिथे मंदिरं उभारलेली आहेत, तो भाग सोडला, तर या प्राचीन युद्धभूमीवर आता शहर उभारले गेले आहे आणि काही भागात शेतजमीन पसरलेली आहे. कुरूक्षेत्राच्या या सपाट भूमीत ठिकठिकाणी मोठी सरोवरे आहेत. अठरा अक्षौहिणी सैन्यातले सैनिक आणि प्राण्यांची प्यायच्या पाण्याची सोय व्हावी, म्हणूनही कदाचित या सपाट जागेची निवड युद्धभूमीकरता झाली असावी. (एक अक्षौहिणी म्हणजे २१,८७० रथ, २१,८७० हत्ती, ६५,६१० अश्वसाद, १,०९,३५० पदाती.) या युद्धभूमीतल्या स्थानांव्यतिरिक्त काही तीर्थस्थळेही या परिसरात आहेत.

"ज्योतिसर" जिथे श्रीकृष्णाने अर्जुनाला भगवद्गीतेचा उपदेश केला, ती जागा आम्ही प्रथम पाहिली. इथेही एक तळं आहे, प्राचीन वटवृक्ष आहे. श्रीकृष्ण अर्जुनाला रथात उपदेश करत असतानांची मूर्ती इथे ठेवली आहे. त्याशिवाय शेजारी सरस्वती, शंकर, हनुमान इत्यादींचीही छोटी मंदिरे आहेत. प्राचीन काळी इथे दगडी मंदिर होते. मुसलमानी आक्रमणात ते नष्ट झाले. या मंदिरातला एका तुटक्या स्तंभाचा तुकडा वडाच्या झाडाखाली ठेवलेला आहे. तिथून आम्ही "भीष्मकुंड" या स्थानी गेलो. भीष्म शरशय्येवर पडले असतांना त्यांना तहान लागली आणि त्यांनी पाणी मागितले. तेव्हा त्यांची तहान भागवण्यासाठी अर्जुनाने जमिनीत बाण मारला आणि त्या जागी पाण्याची धार उसळली. त्या धारेने भीष्मांची तहान भागवली आणि तिथे सरोवर निर्माण झाले. आता त्या तळ्याकाठी छोटी मंदिरे आहेत, त्यातल्या एका मंदिरात भीष्म शरशय्येवर पडले असतांनाची मूर्ती आहे. याशिवाय कौरव-पांडवांच्या जीवनातील काही प्रसंग तिथे मूर्ती उभारून साकार केले आहेत. तिथे थोडे बाजूलाच हनुमानाची एक उंच मूर्ती आहे. या दोन्ही ठिकाणी दुकानांमध्ये महाभारत मालिकेतल्या युद्धाचे भाग टी.व्ही.वर दाखवले जात होते.

तिथून आम्ही "ब्रह्मसरोवर" या ठिकाणी गेलो. युद्ध संपल्यानंतर मृत झालेल्या सर्व योद्ध्यांचे श्राद्धादी विधी करायचे होते. त्यासाठी श्रीकृष्णाने सुदर्शन चक्राने या सरोवराला निर्माण केले अशी आख्यायिका आहे. इथेच युधिष्ठिराने सर्व योद्ध्यांचे श्राद्धविधी करून त्यांना मुक्ती मिळवून दिली. हे सरोवर खूप मोठे आहे. या सरोवरात स्नान केल्यास माणसाची सर्व पापे धुवून निघतात अशी लोकांची श्रद्धा आहे. त्यामुळे कुंभमेळा, सूर्यग्रहण अशा काही पर्वांच्या वेळी इथे लोकांची भरपूर गर्दी उसळते. या सरोवराचे घाट आणि आजूबाजूचा परिसर व्यवस्थित बांधून काढलेला आहे. ब्रह्मसरोवर पाहून आम्ही दिल्लीला निघालो. जातांना वाटेत कर्नालला "कल्पना चावला तारामंडल" दिसले. पण ते बघायला वेळ नसल्याने ते न बघता आम्ही तसेच पुढे निघालो.

आम्ही दिल्ली शहरात पोहोचलो तेव्हा रात्र झाली होती. दिल्लीमधली मंगल कार्यालये आता दिल्ली शहराबाहेर हलवली गेली आहेत. रात्री त्या प्रत्येक ठिकाणी दिव्यांची रोषणाई आणि कल्पक सजावट केलेली दिसत होती. दिल्लीत गेल्यावर आधी आम्ही इंडिया गेट पाहणार होतो. रात्री साडेनऊनंतरही इंडिया गेटच्या परिसरात लोकांची गर्दी होती. इंडिया गेट दिव्यांच्या प्रकाशात उजळून निघाले होते. इंडिया गेट पाहून आम्ही हॉटेलकडे निघालो. अनेक छोट्या गल्ल्यांच्या त्या परिसरात ड्रायव्हरला आमचे हॉटेल सापडेना. हॉटेलच्या फोनवर फोनही लागत नव्हता. अखेर एकदाचे ते हॉटेल सापडले. रात्री साडेअकरा वाजता आम्ही हॉटेलमध्ये चेक इन केले. आता जेवायची सोय होणार नाही, असे वाटले असतांनाच मॅनेजरने जेवण तयार आहे, खोलीवर पाठवतो, म्हणून सांगितले. जेवणही साधे पण चांगले होते. खोलीमध्ये ए.सी. होता, त्यामुळे उकडत नव्हते.

खोलीच्या दरवाज्यावर हॉटेलच्या नियमांची लांबलचक यादी चिकटवलेली होती. "बाथरूममध्ये कपडे धुवू नयेत, खोलीमध्ये कपडे वाळत घालू नयेत, तुमच्या खोलीत पाहुणे आल्यास, हॉटेलच्या रजिस्टरवर त्याची नोंद करणे बंधनकारक आहे, पाहुणे तुमच्या खोलीत झोपणार असल्यास त्याचे अतिरिक्त दर भरावे लागतील, तुमच्या गैरवर्तनाने हॉटेलमधील इतर उतारूंना त्रास होत असल्याची तक्रार आल्यास तुम्हांला हॉटेलबाहेर काढले जाईल." इत्यादी नियम वाचून करमणूक झाली आणि दिल्ली मधल्या वर्क कल्चरची कल्पनही आली. रात्री आम्हांला झोपायला उशीर झाला, साडेबारा वाजून गेले होते. पण ए.सी. मुळे शांत झोप लागली.

नोंद - ट्रीपचे सर्व फोटो इथे पाहता येतील. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shimla, Kullu, Manali trip – Part 7

At first there is a temple of Shiva in front of Vashishta temple, and both of these temples are built up of wood which is carved. Just ahead at upside there is an old temple of Rama, whose half old part is built up of stones, and the half new part is built up of carved wood. We first paid our visit to Shiva temple and then went into Vashishta temple. The idol of Vashishta is having only moustache but no beard. In the yard of Vashishta temple there is a hot water pool. Separate bathrooms are built up on that pool for men and women. The water coming from the tap of basin is the same water coming from that pool. I washed my hands with that tap water. The water was quite hot. From there we went into the Rama temple situated upside. It’s construction is of ancient time. The idols of Rama, Laxmana and Sita in temple are made up of gold.

We had to peep in the shop while coming down because the vendors were chasing us. Chingu is a kind of blanket. After hearing it, we thought that it will be not of much use in Mumbai, and we came out of that shop. I purchased a sweater for me in one shop. Here we were acknowledged that the good quality shawls made in Himachal are very expensive. All the other material is coming here from outside that is Kashmir. Most of the material which was getting sold from nearby shops was came from Kashmir.

From there we went into the Hidimba (Hadimba) temple. There was very large queue for paying visit to this temple. In the surroundings of Hidimba (Hadimba) temple, a garden is made by planting trees of Pine, Devdara etc.. In the shadow of these trees in the surroundings of this temple, it feels very calm. This temple is also made up of wood. The skulls of animals like deer with their horns are hanged on this temple. There is a wooden threshold nearly two feet high while entering in the sanctum of the temple. There are clean cut large sized footprints as a symbol of Hidimba (Hadimba) in a deep but small cave like part in the sanctum. Also there is a small idol of a Goddess at one side. On the backside of this temple there is a temple of Ghatotkacha – the son of Hidimba (Hadimba) and a temple of Barbarik – the son of Ghatotkacha. After coming out of the temple, we saw small shops at side just like that of in the fair. Here also there was a facility of taking photographs, by wearing Himachali dress or by sitting on black and white mix coloured Yak. Also there was facility of taking photo, by taking big eared white rabbits in hands.

When we departed from there, driver stopped his bus near the club house. From there we had to go in the Manu’s temple. This land got it’s name Manali as it means Manu Aalay – that is home of Manu. Manu temple is situated on a hill having very high slope. The bus do not go there. Rickshaws were going only up to half distance on road, because the road construction was going on there. The driver gave us two options either Manu Temple or Club house. Here we were divided into two groups. Some of us started to go to Manu temple, and others started to go to the Club house. The school was started up near Manu temple. The schools in Himachal do not have Summer vacation, but they have vacation in rainy season. We had to take ticket for going in the Club house. Differently ticket checking was done after we went ahead. There are shops, hotels, gaming zones, boating zones in the Club house. We returned to the bus at decided time, after passing some time in Club house.

From there we went walking into the hotel for lunch. It was a Gujarati hotel. We ordered for Gujarati thali. A notice was put up on the wall of hotel in clean Gujarati language, that “Please do not wash your hands in thali (dish).” After taking lunch we strolled around in the market and took rest sitting in the Vanvihar garden. Then again went walking where our bus was parked. There also a Vanvihar garden was made nearby. There the bird “Monal” which looks like peacock and some other birds were kept in cage. We took photographs of those birds and flowers and went out. The basin of river Vashishta was very near. But we went into the hotel. Though we reached at hotel earlier, we sat at one side waiting for dinner because there was much rush in the dining room for taking dinner, and took our dinner at last. At the next day we had to depart from Manali.

At morning our travel was started after taking lunch. We were going to Chandigarh via Kullu. In the way driver stopped his bus by seeing a board of river rafting. There those people wrote down our names who wanted to do river rafting (four hundred rupees each). Actual place for doing river rafting was at long distance. Our bus went there, behind the vehicle of those people. Eight of us wanted to do river rafting. The plastic dress was given to us, for wearing externally to not to soak in water. Then life jacket and helmet were given to us to wear on it. It’s belt were tightened carefully. And we became ready to do the river rafting. All of us sat on that rubber boat as four of us on the front seat, in middle both of us and the other two on back seat. We only had to hold the rope in the boat tightly with both our hands. Those on the front side had to bent down, only if they got the signal for it at that time. The rafting people were going to row the boat.

At backside sat down one rafting man who was giving the signals for rafting. The other two men brought our boat in water and started to row the boat according to signals by sitting at our external side in the middle part. Whenever any strong current of water was coming in between, it’s water was directly tumbling on our body and we were getting soaked. The water was as cold as snow. The water was surging up again and again and going into the eyes. So for some time at start I closed my eyes tightly. I opened my eyes when the surge of water became less, but now the boat was changing it’s direction continuously. Water was going with force in my left ear when the boat was changing the direction each time. In the way the boat came at one side of stream. The men who were rowing the boat got down in to the water and gave direction to the boat according to the signals given by signalman. Now we were just used to rafting and enjoying it, in that time came the place where we had to get down. The jeep of rafting people and our bus was reached there by the road which was parallel to the river. We had crossed the distance of seven kilometers. Three of us, me and the other two at front were soaked very much. There was a provisional changing room nearby. The video shooting of our rafting was showing in the room which was near to it. Those people were giving us it’s C.D. for two hundred rupees.

We took the C.D. and started our travel. We came into Punjab finishing our travel on smooth and clean roads of Himachal Pradesh. While going to Chandigarh we only stopped in a hotel for taking lunch in the way. We had decided earlier to eat Makke ki (Corn) roti and Saranso ka sag (vegetable of mustard) in this return journey, but now only half of us ordered for simple lunch and the others took lassi. In next travel the driver switched on the A.C. in bus at four o’ clock in afternoon. We were sensing the increased heat in the surroundings after we came to Punjab from Himachal Pradesh. The sky which was looking clear blue in Himachal Pradesh, now in Punjab it was looking smoky and polluted. Then in next travel we only stopped for drinking tea at one place in the evening. There I captured the beautiful scene of sunset in my camera. We didn’t saw anything else in that travel. When Chandigarh came near, the curtains in the bus were tied up. In Chandigarh it is not allowed to keep curtains inside the vehicles. Chandigarh is a city which is cleanly planned and designed. At seven o’ clock in the evening we all came in one and same hotel. Here we had no question of parking of bus, because there is place kept for parking in all the city.

Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here.

सिमला, कुलू, मनाली ट्रीप भाग ७

वशिष्ठ मंदिरासमोर आधी एक शंकराचे मंदिर आहे, आणि ही दोन्ही मंदिरे कोरीव काम केलेल्या लाकडाने बांधली आहेत. थोडे वरती रामाचे एक जुने देऊळ आहे, त्याचा अर्धा जुना भाग दगडांनी बांधलेला आहे, तर अर्धा नवीन भाग लाकडात कोरीवकाम करून बांधला आहे. आम्ही प्रथम शंकराचे दर्शन घेऊन, मग वशिष्ठांच्या मंदिरात गेलो. वशिष्ठमुनींच्या मूर्तीला फक्त मिशी आहे, दाढी नाही. याच वशिष्ठमंदिराच्या आवारात गरम पाण्याचे कुंड आहे. त्यावर बांधकाम करून स्त्रिया आणि पुरूष यांच्यासाठी तिथे स्वतंत्र स्नानागारे बांधली आहेत. त्याच कुंडाचे पाणी तिथल्या बेसिनच्या नळाला येते. मी त्या पाण्याने हात धुतले. पाणी एकदम कढत होतं. तिथून आम्ही वरच्या रामाच्या मंदिरात गेलो. त्याचे बांधकाम प्राचीन काळचे आहे. मंदिरातल्या राम, लक्ष्मण, सीतेच्या मूर्ती सोन्याच्या आहेत.

तिथून खाली येतांना विक्रेते मागे लागल्याने आम्हांला दुकानात डोकवावेच लागले. चिंगु म्हणजे एक प्रकारचे ब्लॅंकेट असते. हे ऐकल्यावर, चिंगूचा मुंबईत फारसा उपयोग होणार नाही असा विचार करून आम्ही त्या दुकानातून बाहेर पडलो. मी एका दुकानातून माझ्यासाठी स्वेटर घेतला. इथे आम्हांला कळले, की प्रत्यक्ष हिमाचलमध्ये तयार होणार्‍या चांगल्या शाली अतिशय महाग असतात. बाकीचा सारा माल इथे बाहेरून म्हणजे काश्मीरमधून येतो. आजूबाजूच्या दुकानातून विकला जाणारा बहुतेक माल काश्मीरमधूनच आलेला होता.

तिथून आम्ही हिडिंबा मंदिरात गेलो. तिथे दर्शनासाठी पुष्कळ मोठी रांग लागली होती. या हिडिंबा मंदिराच्या आजूबाजूला पाईन, देवदार असे वृक्ष लावून उपवन तयार केले आहे. या वृक्षांच्या सावलीतल्या या मंदिराच्या परिसरात खूप शांत वाटते. हे मंदिरही लाकडाचे बनलेले आहे. या मंदिरावर सांबर, हरीण इत्यादी प्राण्यांच्या शिंगासकट असलेल्या कवट्या लावलेल्या आहेत. मंदिराच्या गर्भगृहात शिरतांना जवळजवळ दीडदोन फूट उंचीचा लाकडी उंबरठा आहे. गाभार्‍यात खोल गुहेसारख्या छोट्या भागात हिडिंबेचं प्रतिक असलेली मोठ्या आकाराची रेखीव पदचिन्हं आहेत. त्याशिवाय देवीची एक छोटी मूर्ती बाजूला आहे. या मंदिराच्या मागच्या बाजूला हिंडिंबापुत्र घटोत्कचाचे मंदिर आहे आणि घटोत्कचाचा मुलगा बर्बरिक याचेही मंदिर आहे. मंदिरातून बाहेर पडल्यावर आजूबाजूला जत्रेतल्यासारखी छोटी दुकाने दिसली. इथेही हिमाचली ड्रेसमध्ये आणि काळ्यापांढर्‍या मिश्र रंगाच्या याकवर बसून फोटो काढून मिळत होते. शिवाय मोठ्या कानांचे पांढरेशुभ्र ससे हातात घेऊनही, फोटो काढता येत होते.

तिथून निघाल्यावर ड्रायव्हरने क्लब हाऊसच्या जवळ गाडी उभी केली. इथून मनूच्या मंदिरात जायचे होते. मनूचे निवासस्थान - मनू आलय या अर्थानेच या परिसराला मनाली हे नाव मिळाले आहे. मनूचे मंदिर खूप चढ असलेल्या टेकडीवर आहे. तिथे बस जात नाही. रस्त्याचे काम चालू असल्याने फक्त अर्ध्या रस्त्यापर्यंतच रिक्षा जात होत्या. मनू मंदिर किंवा क्लब  हाऊस असे दोन पर्याय ड्रायव्हरने दिले होते. इथे पुन्हा दोन गट पडले. काहीजण मनू मंदिरात जायला निघाले, तर उरलेले क्लब हाऊसकडे निघाले. मनू मंदिराच्या शेजारी शाळा भरली होती. तिथल्या शाळांना उन्हाळ्यात सुट्टी नसते, पावसाळ्यात सुट्टी असते. क्लब हाऊसमध्ये जायला तिकीट काढावे लागले. पुढे गेल्यावर तिकीटाचे वेगळे चेकींग झाले. क्लब हाऊसमध्ये दुकाने, हॉटेल्स, गेमिंग झोन, बोटींग झोन आहेत. तिथे थोडा वेळ टाईमपास करून ठरलेल्या वेळी बसकडे परत आलो.

तिथून चालतच जेवायला एका हॉटेलमध्ये गेलो. हे गुजराती हॉटेल होते. तिथे गुजराती थाळी मागवली. हॉटेलच्या भिंतीवर "कृपया थाळीत हात धुवू नका." अशी सूचना चक्क गुजरातीतून लिहिली होती. जेवण झाल्यावर बाजारात थोडेफार हिंडलो आणि तिथे असलेल्या वनविहारात बसून विश्रांती घेतली. नंतर पुन्हा चालत बस उभी होती तिथे गेलो. तिथेही जवळच एक वन-विहार तयार केला होता. तिथे हिमाचलमधला मोरासारखा पक्षी "मोनाल" आणि इतर काही पक्षी पिंजर्‍यात ठेवले होते. त्या पक्ष्यांचे आणि फुलांचे फोटो काढून आम्ही तिथून निघालो. तिथून वशिष्ठ नदीचे कुंडही जवळ होते. पण आम्ही हॉटेलवर निघालो. त्या दिवशी हॉटेलमध्ये लवकर पोहोचूनही, डायनिंग रूममध्ये जेवायला भरपूर गर्दी असल्याने आम्ही बाजूला थांबलो आणि सर्वात शेवटी जेवलो. दुसर्‍या दिवशी मनालीहून निघायचे होते.

सकाळी नाश्ता करून निघाल्यावर आमचा प्रवास चालू झाला. आम्ही कुलूमार्गे चंदिगडला जाणार होतो. वाटेत एका ठिकाणी रिव्हर राफ्टिंगचा बोर्ड पाहून ड्रायव्हरने गाडी थांबवली. तिथे त्या लोकांनी रिव्हर राफ्टिंग करणार्‍यांची नावे लिहून घेतली (प्रत्येकी चारशे रूपये). प्रत्यक्ष रिव्हर राफ्टिंग करण्याची जागा लांब होती. तिथे आमची बस त्यांच्या गाडीमागे निघाली. आम्ही आठजण रिव्हर राफ्टिंग करणार होतो. आम्हांला भिजू नये म्हणून वरून घालायला, त्यांचा प्लॅस्टीकचा पोषाख देण्यात आला. त्यावर घालायला लाइफ जॅकेट आणि हेल्मेट देण्यात आलं. त्याचे बेल्ट व्यवस्थित बांधण्यात आले. आणि आम्ही राफ्टिंग करण्यासाठी सज्ज झालो. त्यांच्या रबरी बोटीवर पुढच्या सीटवर चारजण, मध्ये आम्ही दोघे आणि पाठीमागे अजून दोघे असे आम्ही सारे बसलो. आम्हांला फक्त दोन्ही हातांनी बोटीतली दोरी घट्ट धरून बसायचे होते. पुढच्यांनी इशारा मिळाला, तर त्या वेळी पुढे झुकायचे होते. बाकी बोट वल्हवायचे काम राफ्टिंगवाली माणसे करणार होती.

पाठीमागे इशारा देणारा त्यांचा एक माणूस बसला. दोघाजणांनी दोन बाजूंनी बोट पाण्यात नेली आणि ते मधल्या भागात आमच्या बाहेरच्या बाजूला बसून इशार्‍यानुसार बोट वल्हवू लागले. मधूनच पाण्याचा जोराचा प्रवाह आला की त्याचे पाणी थेट अंगावर उडून भिजायला होत होते. पाणी एकदम बर्फासारखे थंडगार होते. पाणी उसळून सारखे डोळ्यात जात होते. त्यामुळे सुरूवातीला थोडा वेळ, मी डोळे घट्ट बंद करून घेतले होते. पाणी कमी उडायला लागल्यावर डोळे उघडले, पण आता बोट सतत दिशा बदलत होती. प्रत्येक वेळी बोटीने दिशा बदलली, की माझ्या डाव्या कानात जोरात पाणी जात होते. मध्येच बोट प्रवाहाच्या एका बाजूला आली. वल्हवणार्‍यांनी इशारा देणार्‍याच्या इशार्‍यानुसार पाण्यात उतरून परत बोटीला दिशा दिली. आता आम्ही राफ्टिंगला जरा सरावलो होतो आणि राफ्टिंगची मजा घेत होतो, तेवढ्यात उतरण्याची जागा आली. नदीच्या प्रवाहाला समांतर जाणार्‍या रस्त्याने त्यांची जीप आणि आमची बस तिथे येऊन पोहोचली होती. आम्ही सात किलोमीटरचे अंतर पार केले होते. पुढचे दोघेजण आणि मी असे आम्ही तिघे खूप भिजलो होतो. तिथे जवळच कामचलाऊ चेंजिंग रूमही होती. त्याच्या शेजारच्या एका खोलीत आमच्या राफ्टिंगची काढलेली व्हिडिओ चित्रफीत दाखवण्यात येत होती. दोनशे रूपये घेऊन ते लोक त्याची सी.डी. बनवून देणार होते.

सी.डी. घेऊन आम्ही तिथून पुढच्या प्रवासाला सुरूवात केली. हिमाचलमधली गुळगुळीत आणि स्वच्छ रस्त्यांवरची सफर संपवून आम्ही पंजाबमध्ये आलो. चंदीगडला जातांना वाटेत फक्त दुपारच्या जेवणासाठी एका हॉटेलमध्ये थांबलो. या परतीच्या प्रवासात तिथली मक्याची रोटी आणि सरसोची (मोहरीची) भाजी खायची असं आधी ठरवलं होतं. पण आता अर्ध्याच लोकांनी साधे जेवण मागवले आणि उरलेल्यांनी फक्त लस्सी घेतली. पुढच्या प्रवासात दुपारी चार वाजता ड्रायव्हरने बसचा ए.सी. चालू केला. हिमाचलमधून पंजाबमध्ये आल्यावर वातावरणातला उकाडा कमालीचा वाढलेला जाणवत होता. हिमाचलमध्ये दिसणारं निरभ्र निळं आकाश आता पंजाबमध्ये धुरकट, प्रदूषणयुक्त दिसायला लागलं होतं. नंतरच्या प्रवासात संध्याकाळी चहा घेण्यासाठी एका ठिकाणी थांबलो. तिथेच मी सूर्यास्ताचं सुंदर दृश्य माझ्या कॅमेर्‍यात टिपलं. बाकी त्या संपूर्ण प्रवासात काहीच पाहिलं नाही. चंदीगड जवळ आल्यावर बसचे पडदे वरती बांधून टाकले. चंदीगडमध्ये गाड्यांना आतून पडदे लावायला परवानगी नाही. चंदीगड हे एक आखीवरेखीव शहर आहे. संध्याकाळी सात वाजता आम्ही सगळे एकाच हॉटेलमध्ये आलो. इथे सगळीकडे पार्किंगला जागा सोडलेली असल्याने, बसचे पार्किंग कुठे करायचे हा यक्षप्रश्न उभा राहिला नव्हता.

नोंद - ट्रीपचे सर्व फोटो इथे पाहता येतील.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shimla, Kullu, Manali trip – Part 6

The paraglider vendor took us some distance by walking and then told us to sit in the jeep which was standing on the road. Their four men were kept standing outside the jeep while holding the jeep top and the jeep was started. I was not understanding why those men were standing outside of the jeep strangely instead of sitting inside. Therein I didn’t had my mobile with me. I had only limited money with me. I was asking them again and again where we were going, to confirm that they are taking us to the right place. Finally jeep stopped near a high hill and we got down. The people doing paragliding were seemed on the upper side. Parachutes were tied up on our jeep top, and the men were standing outside of the jeep holding it carefully, so that it will not fly away. Those men told us to come up by climbing on that hill. And the men went up climbing on that hill very fast.

All the other enthusiastic people were going up, climbing on that hill fast. While walking on slope I start panting. Therein here I had to climb this hill in thin air. Slope was not much difficult. But even after climbing up to short distance I was panting very much. I was stopping and taking rest for five minutes at each place. Finally we reached the place where paragliding was going on, whereas our third member was ready to do paragliding and came for it. While I was climbing on that hill, here my other fellow travelers were observing me from the snow plain at downside. Due to my noticeable orange coloured dress, I was easily spotted by their eyes. They were discussing about whether I will do paragliding or just leave it in between. They were believing, that if I would do paragliding then they can easily do it. But they all stopped down only because they were not feeling well. Four or five of us would have definitely done paragliding if they would have felt well.

We all three decided to do paragliding one by one. The paraglider took our money from me before tying the parachute. He gave us the reason, that after going down their men are in a hurry to fold that parachute and in that it might be messed up while taking money at that time. I was doing paragliding at first. Those people gave me safety jacket and helmet to wear and tied it carefully. Then a parachute was attached to it. There was one expert ready to come with me with his safety jacket standing behind me. The parachute was also attached with him. Then the strings of parachute were spread well. Then that parachute was half opened up. At that time two men who stood on both my sides held my hands. I started to run with them at downside on that hilly slope when they gave me the signal. They left my hands when it was confirmed that the parachute was fully spread with air. The expert behind me gave proper direction to the parachute by pulling the break handles in his hand. He told me to sit in the sack which was attached behind the jacket, after the parachute started flying properly. I was sat in that sack when I just bent on backward side. Then for some seconds he took some whirling rounds on that snow plain and softly landed down.

I was not used to landing so I lied down instead of sitting in the snow and at that same time a photographer took my photo. I was unable to stand till my belts were opened up. When I stood up, the photographer came to me and he showed my photo to me. I was not interested in that photo which was taken in such a landing position. I told him that I didn’t wanted that photo as he told me that, “he will delete that photo, if I will not buy it.” The other two members who came behind also didn’t bought their photos. Then we walked for some distance and a paragliding vendor came running, asking for money, “Madam you didn’t gave your money, at first give me money.” I told him that, “I have already paid my money. Call your person on hill. I will speak to him.” He called that person on phone. When I started to talking with him, he realized by my voice that the Madam who didn’t paid money is some other woman.

Then after walking some distance ahead we strolled around in sledge. At that time all others were went toward bus. Then after taking about seven eight photos we also went toward bus. There was not sufficient place to turn our bus, where our bus was stopped. The driver was unable to move the bus ahead or back side till the next vehicle moves from there. But the car next to us was moved. When the next three four vehicles gone behind it, then our driver told other vehicles to stop and took the bus ahead obliquely and again took it back obliquely. Again he took it ahead more obliquely and again took it back. In this way our driver was turning the bus skillfully where there was not the sufficient place to turn that bus. If he might have done a little mistake while turning the bus, then our bus might have fallen down in the deep valley directly. But the driver turned his bus safely in the opposite direction without any harm and took it farthest as our way became free.

While returning our bus was got caught in the traffic jam for more than half an hour. But when the road became free it went ahead rapidly. Now we all removed our protective dresses. And checked if anything was remained in it’s pockets by mistake. Then driver stopped his bus near a hotel for taking lunch. Only two of us took lunch, others took lassi, those who were not feeling well took lemon water. Then in the way, we returned the dresses took on rent and went to Solang valley. There is a facility of horse riding and paragliding (four hundred rupees each) by going through rope way in the Solang valley. There the driver parked his bus away, because there was no place to park it near. Three four of us were enthusiastic, they went there by walking fast. Three of us were coming behind by walking slowly. The others were stopped in the bus. After going near we had to go upstairs by climbing the steps. Those who were with me, told me that they were not ready to climb those steps and come up. I was also not having much enthusiasm to go up. Then we returned to the bus. There was some time till the others returned. There were pine cones fallen down below pine trees, I found one of the good cone without any breakage from them to take home, till the others were coming to bus. From there we came to our hotel.

We took rest for about one and half hour and talked with each other on the hotel. We went to stroll in the market at seven o’ clock in the evening. We just went into one store. The store keeper was keeping all of us involved while showing us the materials and speaking gently. All of us purchased something from him. It was nine o’ clock at night when our shopping was over and we came out of the store. The same store keeper told us that, “There is a ban on plastic carry bags which is not only written on paper but people adhered to it in practice from last fifteen years.” Hearing that we really felt admired from our heart for the Himachali people. The shop keeper was talking with us in broken Marathi. In Himachal Pradesh most travelers came from Maharashtra, the second number is of Bengali people and third number is of Guajarati people. So even if we talked something in Marathi, our feelings were reaching to Himachali people. I don’t know what will happen with Marathi in Maharashtra, but Himachali people are learned to speak broken Marathi. Funnily all travelers whom we met in our travel were all Marathi.

From there we went into the hotel, that time dinner was ready. All of us were tired so slept immediately after the dinner was over. On the next day we had to go at places in Manali, so we were going late. When we woke up at morning, we became ready taking our own time, took breakfast and sat down in the bus. Taking our fellow travelers with us the bus went to Vashishta temple. Vashishta temple is also situated on a small hill. Here small cars can go up, but the bus can not come up, so our bus was stopped at the foot of the hill. We were climbing up. There are small stores on both sides of the road. The vendors from the shop were chasing us to, “see chingu.” We told them, that we will see chingu while coming back and we went to the Vashishta temple.

Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here.

सिमला, कुलू, मनाली ट्रीप भाग ६

पॅराग्लायडींगवाल्यांनी आम्हांला थोडे चालत नेले आणि पुढे रस्त्यावर उभ्या असलेल्या त्यांच्या जीपमध्ये बसायला सांगितले. त्यांची चार माणसं जीपच्या वरच्या बाजूला धरून जीपच्या बाहेरच्या बाजूलाच उभी राहिली आणि जीप चालू झाली. ती चार माणसं जीपमध्ये बसण्याऐवजी अशी विचित्रपणे बाहेर का उभी आहेत याचा मला बोध होईना. त्यात माझ्याकडे मोबाईल नव्हता. खिशात मोजकेच पैसे होते. ही माणसं आपल्याला बरोबर नेत आहेत ना, याची खात्री करून घेण्यासाठी मी त्यांना पुन्हापुन्हा आपण कुठे जात आहोत हे विचारून घेत होते. अखेर एका उंच टेकडीपाशी येऊन जीप थांबली आणि आम्ही खाली उतरलो. वरती पॅराग्लायडिंग करणारी माणसं दिसत होती. जीपच्या टपावर पॅराशूट्स बांधलेले होते, ते उडून जाऊ नयेत म्हणून ते व्यवस्थित धरून ती माणसं जीपच्या बाहेरच्या बाजूलाच उभी होती. त्या माणसांनी आम्हांला ती टेकडी चढून वरती यायला सांगितले. आणि ती माणसं खूप भरभर टेकडी चढून वरती गेली.

आजूबाजूचे सगळे हौशी लोक भरभर टेकडी चढून वर जात होते. मला जरा थोडी चढण चढली की धाप लागते. त्यात इथे विरळ हवेत ही उंच टेकडी चढायची होती. चढ कठीण नव्हता. पण थोडं चढलं तरी पुष्कळ धाप लागत होती. मी प्रत्येक ठिकाणी थांबून पाचपाच मिनिटं विश्रांती घेत होते. अखेर आम्ही पॅराग्लायडिंग होत  होतं, तिथपर्यंत येऊन पोहोचलो, तर आमच्यापैकी तिसरा मेंबरही तयार होऊन पॅराग्लायडिंगला आला होता. इकडे मी टेकडीवर चढत असतांना आमचे बाकीचे सहप्रवासी खालच्या पठारावरून माझं निरिक्षण करत होते. माझ्या उठून दिसणार्‍या केशरी रंगाच्या ड्रेसमुळे मी सहजपणे त्यांच्या नजरेत भरत होते. मी पॅराग्लायडिंग करेन की अर्धवट सोडेन यावर त्यांची चर्चा चालू होती. जर मी पॅराग्लायडिंग केलं, तर आमच्या सहप्रवाशांपैकी कोणीही ते सहज करू शकेल, असा त्यांचा विश्वास होता. फक्त तब्येत बरी नसल्यानेच ते सगळे खाली थांबले होते. बरे असते तर अजून चारपाचजणांनी निश्चित पॅराग्लायडिंग केलं असतं.

आम्ही तिघांनीही एकामागोमाग एक पॅराग्लायडींग करायचं ठरवलं. पॅराग्लायडिंगवाल्याने पॅराशूट बांधण्याआधी माझ्याकडून आमचे पैसे घेतले. खाली उतरल्यानंतर त्यांची माणसं पॅराशूट गुंडाळण्याच्या घाईत असतात, पैसे घेण्यात गडबड होऊ शकते म्हणून ते आधीच पैसे घेतात असंही स्पष्टीकरण त्यांनी दिलं. सगळ्यात आधी मी पॅराग्लायडिंग करणार होते. त्यांनी मला सेफ्टी जॅकेट आणि हेल्मेट घालायला देऊन ते व्यवस्थित बांधलं. नंतर एक पॅराशूट जोडलं. माझ्याबरोबर माझ्यापाठीमागे त्यांचा एक एक्स्पर्ट सेफ्टी जॅकेट घालून तयार होता. त्यालाही त्याच पॅराशूटला जोडले गेले. नंतर त्या पॅराशूटच्या दोर्‍या व्यवस्थित पसरवल्या गेल्या. मग ते पॅराशूट अर्धवट उघडलं गेलं. त्याच वेळी माझ्या दोन बाजूला उभे असलेल्या माणसांनी माझे हात पकडले. त्यांनी इशारा दिल्याबरोबर मी त्यांच्याबरोबर टेकडीच्या उतारावरून धावायला लागले. पॅराशूट वार्‍याने पूर्ण फुललं आहे याची खात्री झाल्यावर त्यांनी माझे हात सोडून दिले. माझ्या मागे असणार्‍या एक्स्पर्टने त्याच्या हातातले ब्रेक हॅंडल्स ओढून पॅराशूटला योग्य दिशा दिली. पॅराशूट नीट उडायला लागल्यानंतर त्याने मला जॅकेटपाठीमागे जोडलेल्या सॅकमध्ये बसायला सांगितलं. मी किंचित पाठीमागे झुकल्याबरोबर त्या सॅकमध्ये बसले गेले. त्यानंतर त्याने काही सेकंद त्या बर्फाच्या पठारावरून गिरक्या घेतल्या आणि अलगद खाली लॅंडींग केले.

मला लॅडींगची सवय नसल्याने मी बर्फात बसण्याऐवजी आडवी झाले आणि त्याच क्षणी एका फोटोग्राफरने माझा फोटो काढला. माझे बेल्ट सोडवेपर्यंत मी उभीही राहू शकत नव्हते. मी उभी राहिल्यावर तो फोटोग्राफर माझ्याकडे आला आणि त्याने माझा फोटो मला दाखवला. माझ्या अशा स्थितीत लॅंडींग केलेल्या फोटोत मला फारसे स्वारस्य नव्हते. शिवाय "आपण तो फोटो घेतला नाही, तर ते लोक तो फोटो डिलीट करून टाकतात," हे त्याने सांगितल्याने मी त्याला फोटो नको म्हणून सांगितले. पाठीमागून आलेल्या दोन्ही मेंबर्सनीही फोटो नकोत म्हणून घेतले नाहीत. मग आम्ही तिथून थोडे अंतर चालून गेलो आणि एक पॅराग्लायडिंगवाला धावत आला, "मॅडम तुम्ही पैसे दिलेले नाहीत, आधी पैसे द्या" म्हणून पैसे मागायला लागला. मी त्याला सांगितले, की "मी पैसे दिलेले आहेत. तुमच्या टेकडीवरच्या माणसाला फोन लाव. मी त्याच्याशी बोलते." त्याने फोन लावला. पलिकडच्या माणसाशी मी बोलायला लागल्यावर, माझ्या आवाजावरून त्याच्या लक्षात आलं, की पैसे न देणारी मॅडम दुसरी कोणी तरी आहे.

मग थोडे पुढे गेल्यावर आम्ही स्लेज गाडीतून एक फेरफटका मारला. तोपर्यंत बाकीचे सारे बसकडे निघाले होते. मग सातआठ फोटो काढून आम्हीही बसकडे निघालो. बस थांबली होती तिथे गाडी वळवायला पुरेशी जागा नव्हती. आमच्या पुढची गाडी हलल्याशिवाय ड्रायव्हर गाडी पुढेमागे घेऊ शकत नव्हता. पण पुढची छोटी कार हलली. तिच्यामागे तीनचार गाड्या गेल्यानंतर पुढच्या गाड्यांना जरा थांबायला सांगून आमच्या ड्रायव्हरने बस थोडी तिरक्या दिशेत पुढे घेतली आणि परत तिरकी मागे घेतली. पुन्हा जास्त तिरकी करून पुढे घेतली, परत मागे घेतली. अशाप्रकारे ज्या रस्त्यावर वळण घ्यायला पुरेशी जागा नाही, तिथेच ड्रायव्हर कौशल्याने बस वळवत होता. बस वळवतांना थोडी जरी चूक झाली असती, तर बस थेट खाली दरीत कोसळली असती. पण काहीही इजा न होता, ड्रायव्हरने सुरक्षितपणे बस उलट्या दिशेला वळवली आणि जसा मार्ग मोकळा होईल, तशी पुढे काढली.

परततांना अर्धापाऊण तास आमची बस ट्रॅफीक जॅममध्ये अडकली होती. पण रस्ता मोकळा झाल्याबरोबर बस वेगाने पुढे निघाली. आता सगळ्यांनी संरक्षक पोषाख काढून ठेवले. आणि कोणाच्या खिशात चुकून काही चीजवस्तू राहिली नाही ना, हे चेक केले. नंतर ड्रायव्हरने जेवण्यासाठी एका हॉटेलपाशी गाडी थांबवली. फक्त दोघे जण जेवले, बाकीच्यांनी लस्सी घेतली, ज्यांना बरे वाटत नव्हते, त्यांनी लेमन वॉटर घेतले. वाटेत भाड्याने घेतलेले कपडे परत करून आम्ही सोलांग व्हॅलीला गेलो. सोलांग व्हलीला हॉर्स रायडिंग करण्याची आणि रोप वेने जाऊन पॅराग्लायडिंग करण्याची (प्रत्येकी चारशे रूपये) सोय आहे. तिथे पार्किंगला जागा न मिळाल्यामुळे ड्रायव्हरने बस लांबच उभी केली होती. तिघेचौघे उत्साही होते, ते भराभर चालत तिकडे गेले. आम्ही तिघे हळूहळू चालत पाठीमागून येत होतो. बाकीचे गाडीतच थांबले होते. अगदी जवळ गेल्यानंतर पुढे पायर्‍या चढून जायच्या होत्या. माझ्याबरोबरच्यांनी पायर्‍या चढून वरती येणार नाही, म्हणून सांगितले. मलाही वर जाण्याचा फारसा उत्साह नव्हता. मग आम्ही बसकडे परत फिरलो. बाकीचे परत यायला वेळ होता. ते येईपर्यंत तिथे पाईनच्या झाडाखाली पाईनचे कोन (पुष्पगुच्छ) पडले होते, त्यातला एक चांगला, न तुटलेला कोन मी घरी नेण्याकरता शोधून घेतला. तिथून मग आम्ही हॉटेलवर आलो.

हॉटेलवर तास-दीडतास विश्रांती घेतली आणि एकमेकांशी गप्पा मारल्या. संध्याकाळी सात वाजता आम्ही तिथल्या बाजाराचा फेरफटका मारायला निघालो. असेच एका दुकानात शिरलो. दुकानदार गोड बोलून सर्वांना काही ना काही दाखवत गुंतवून ठेवत होता. सगळ्यांनी त्याच्याकडून काही ना काही खरेदी केली. खरेदी करून बाहेर पडेपर्यंत नऊ वाजून गेले होते. याच दुकानदाराने आम्हांला सांगितले, की "तिथे प्लॅस्टीकच्या पिशव्यांवर फक्त कागदोपत्रीच नव्हे तर प्रत्यक्षातही बंदी आहे आणि ही बंदी पंधरा वर्षांपासून आहे." हे ऐकून हिमाचल प्रदेशमधल्या लोकांचे मनापासून कौतुक वाटले. दुकानदार आमच्याशी मोडक्यातोडक्या मराठीत बोलत होता. हिमाचल प्रदेशात सर्वात जास्त पर्यटक महाराष्ट्रातून येतात, त्यानंतर नंबर लागतो तो बंगाल्यांचा, तर तिसरा नंबर गुजराथी लोकांचा आहे. त्यामुळे आम्ही मराठीतून काही बोललो, तरी आमच्या भावना हिमाचली लोकांपर्यंत पोहोचत होत्या. महाराष्ट्रात मराठीचं काय होईल ते माहिती नाही, पण हिमाचली लोक मात्र मोडकीतोडकी मराठी बोलायला शिकले आहेत. गंमत म्हणजे आत्तापर्यंतच्या प्रवासात आम्हांला भेटलेले इतर सर्व पर्यटकही मराठीच होते.

तिथून आम्ही हॉटेलवर गेलो, तेव्हा जेवण तयार होते. सगळे दमलेले असल्याने जेवण झाल्यावर लगेच निद्राधीन झाले. दुसर्‍या दिवशी मनालीतच हिंडायचे होते, त्यामुळे आम्ही जरा उशीरा निघणार होतो. सकाळी उठल्यावर आम्ही सावकाश आवरून, ब्रेकफास्ट आटोपून बसमध्ये जाऊन बसलो. आमच्या सहप्रवाशांना बरोबर घेतल्यावर बस वशिष्ठ मंदिराकडे निघाली. वशिष्ठ मंदिरही एका छोट्या टेकडीवर वसलेले आहे. इथे छोट्या कार वरपर्यंत जातात, पण बस वरपर्यंत येऊ शकत नसल्याने टेकडीच्या पायथ्याशीच थांबली होती. आम्ही ती टेकडी चढत वर निघालो होतो. रस्त्याच्या दोन्ही बाजूंना छोटीछोटी दुकाने आहेत. त्या दुकानातले विक्रेते "चिंगु" बघा, म्हणून मागे लागले होते. चिंगु परत येतांना बघू असं त्यांना सांगून आम्ही मंदिराकडे निघालो.

नोंद - ट्रीपचे सर्व फोटो इथे पाहता येतील. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shimla, Kullu, Manali trip – Part 5

Next to that driver stopped his bus near a shawl – sweater factory. We went inside to see that factory. Five six handlooms were kept there. There were two half knitted shawls on two handlooms and only one man was sat on a handloom showing how to knit the shawls. There was their store for selling shawls, sweater etc. nearby. In remaining part, there were no other workers were seen working there and the huge material for keeping in the store was certainly not manufactured by only those five handlooms. In short here the material was sold in the name of a factory. The real factory must be somewhere else. Then we went into the store. The prizes of materials in the store were same as that of in Mumbai. In fact there must be some low prize, when we purchase the material directly from factory, but even in market of Shimla prizes were low than the factory. At last we went out in despair with empty hands. The scenery of mountain tops looking from outside was very beautiful. We took our evening tea there and went ahead.

Now we were going by the bank of river Vyas though Kullu. In way driver stopped his bus in front of Vaishnavi devi temple. Here duplicate model of original Vaishnavi devi from Kashmir is built up. Beautiful stream of river Vyas was flowing in front of temple. We first did our photo session there, then only we came into the temple. This four floored temple is beautifully built. When we went ahead from there, we saw a wedding procession of a Himachali boy in the way. All the men and women in wedding procession were wearing the Himachali caps and shawls decorated specially for wedding. After going ahead, there looked a table and five chairs arranged in stream of river Vyas. Some distance ahead a crate of soft drinks was kept there. The hotel owner had kept it there purposely to attract the travelers. Driver stopped the bus here also. We descended down into that stream one behind one. It was not possible to stand there for much time, because the water was as cold as snow. But still we sat there in chairs, took photographs with enthusiasm and went ahead.

The next journey was very beautiful. There were apple orchards on both sides of the road. The small green apples were hanging on apple trees. The coloured tents for summer camps were erected in those orchards. At some places children were playing. In between small beautiful houses were looking around, in the way. In the garden of each house, rose plants were seeming to be planted. On every rose plant roses were looking bloomed in bunches. The scene was unprecedented as so many roses were bloomed in bunches having different colours, and were kept as it is on plants without cutting them. Some rose plants were appearing like that of a rose bouquet. The scene of differently coloured roses bloomed in bunches on the background of clear blue sky and snowy mountain tops was only unforgettable. Catching that view in our eyes, we went in the direction of Manali.

The number of snowy mountain tops started increasing, as Manali came near. Here hotels of both our groups were near. Our hotel was situated on a small hill top. Driver got his bus upside on that narrow way, but it was difficult to take out other vehicles after our bus was parked there. It was also difficult to bring that bus down. So driver decided to park his bus in the ground of nearby big hotel situated downside from next day. We came into our rooms. The snowy mountain tops were looking in front from the windows of our rooms. Here the hotel service was quick but neat. Here there was no rule about washing the clothes in bathroom, but the facility of laundry was available. There was also a discotheque near the dining room, situated below. Here also meals were self served. Though the list of both veg. and nonveg. type of dishes was given in the menu card, only veg. dishes were arranged on the table. Those who wanted dish other than that had to give different order for it. We took our dinner early. We had to go for Rohtang pass on six o’ clock morning on the next day. The hotel service was to give us packed sandwiches for the breakfast.

All of us were ready to depart at six o’ clock morning the next day. Keeping in mind the experience of the day before, I had taken a tablet to avoid travel sickness. Packed breakfast was also ready. But the time was six fifteen, when the driver took down his bus from that narrow road with some difficulty. We went taking along our fellow travelers from nearby hotel. When our bus just started for the road of Rohtang pass, the vendors from both sides were chasing us saying, “Take the protective dress from us.” After passing some distance, driver stopped his bus in front of a store and told us to take only one peace dress to avoid catching cold in chest without wasting much time. The rent was decided to be two hundred rupees for each dress. Everyone was checking that whether the dress given by store keeper fits well or not. First I got the tightly fitting dress, the next orange dress was quite big but warm. So I took that orange dress to not to be too late.

After dress we took sox and boots. Here it has to be carefully observed whether the bottom of boot is well or not. Otherwise there is a possibility of snow penetrating inside boots while walking causing trouble to foots. After taking all this, they gave us the hand gloves as free (we have to return it to them afterwards). They don’t give hand gloves on rent now, because while playing in snow the hand gloves are slipping away and lost sometimes. After completing all this we purchased goggles from a vendor. (These goggles were very useful later in Delhi.) In this way when all were ready, driver took his bus farthest. There is a base camp of Indian military after going ahead from this way. The food and other provisions for this base camp are supplied from the same way. After snowfall in days of winter this road of Rohtang pass is closed for some months. So the food and other supplies for the base camp, sufficient for this period are sent earlier.   

The driver was taking our bus ahead from the zigzag mountain pass hilly road. Probably the air also might have became thin. So half of us started feeling sick due to travel. Fortunately I had taken a tablet, so I was not having any trouble. Driver stopped his bus in front of a stall. There those who wanted to take tea, took tea. Those who were hungry, ate sandwiches. Those who were feeling sick, sat calmly without eating anything. There also we did our photo session till the tea came. After taking tea we went from there. Bus was going upside and suddenly we saw half melted ice on soil at one side. For us it was the first sight of ice so close to us. Then we started to see if there is more snow, and on both sides snow was started to look in more or less amount. After some time sides of mountain were started looking completely snowy. At one place we saw people breaking the ice from mountain.

Driver took his bus ahead as near as possible to the snow point. Still we had to go away walking next one and half kilometer. We were now became wise due to Kufri’s experience and started walking instead of going there by horse or by motor bike and reached in the snow. There we took rented sticks for walking into the snow. We were getting good support from those sticks while climbing up and getting down in snow. At start we only sat down in snow and took photographs. Here there was also a facility of taking photographs wearing Himachali dress and sitting on a white yak. Some of us went for rubber tube sliding and skiing and some others went for strolling in sledge vehicle because the vendors were chasing much. All were scattered afar. In that time a paraglider vendor caught us. (At start his rate was thousand rupees which came down to five hundred rupees after about two hours.) I wanted to do paragliding. But those who were with me, were feeling sick, so they didn’t wanted to do paragliding. I was thinking to do rubber tube sliding instead of spending so much money on paragliding. But one of us became ready for paragliding, so I was ready to go for paragliding.

Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here.

सिमला, कुलू, मनाली ट्रीप भाग ५

पुढे ड्रायव्हरने गाडी एका शाल-स्वेटरच्या फॅक्टरीजवळ थांबवली. आम्ही ती फॅक्टरी बघायला आत शिरलो. तिथे पाचसहा हातमाग ठेवले होते. त्यातल्या दोन हातमागांवर अर्धवट विणलेल्या शाली होत्या आणि फक्त एकाच हातमागावर एक माणूस बसून शाली कशा विणतात ते दाखवत होता. बाजूलाच त्यांचं स्वेटर शाली वगैरे विकण्याचं दुकान दिसत होतं. बाकी कुठे कामगार काम करतांना दिसत नव्हते आणि त्या चारपाच हातमागांवर मिळून दुकानात ठेवण्याइतका प्रचंड माल निश्चितच तयार होत नव्हता. थोडक्यात फॅक्टरीच्या नावाखाली इथे वस्तू विकल्या जात होत्या. प्रत्यक्ष फॅक्टरी दुसरीकडेच कुठेतरी असावी. मग आम्ही दुकानात शिरलो. दुकानातल्या वस्तूंच्या किंमती मुंबईतल्या त्यांच्या बाजारभावाएवढ्याच होत्या. प्रत्यक्ष फॅक्टरीतच खरेदी केल्यावर त्या वस्तूंची किंमत थोडी तरी कमी व्हायला हवी होती, पण सिमल्यातल्या बाजारातही यापेक्षा स्वस्तात वस्तू मिळत होत्या. शेवटी आम्ही निराश मनाने, रिकाम्या हातांनी बाहेर पडलो. बाहेर दिसणारे पर्वतशिखरांचे दृश्य खूपच सुंदर होते. तिथेच संध्याकाळचा चहा घेऊन आम्ही पुढे निघालो.

आता आम्ही व्यास नदीच्या काठाने कुलूमार्गे निघालो होतो. वाटेत वैष्णवीदेवीच्या मंदिरासमोर ड्रायव्हरने गाडी थांबवली. काश्मीरमधल्या वैष्णवीदेवीच्या मूळ मंदिराची इथे प्रतिकृती उभारली आहे. मंदिराच्या समोरच व्यास नदीचा सुंदर प्रवाह वाहत होता. पहिल्यांदा तिथे फोटोसेशन करून मगच आम्ही मंदिरात आलो. हे चार मजली मंदिरही सुंदर बांधले आहे. तिथून पुढे निघालो, तर वाटेत एका हिमाचली मुलाच्या लग्नाची वरात जातांना दिसली. वरातीतल्या सर्व स्त्री-पुरूषांनी विशेष पद्धतीने सजवलेल्या हिमाचली टोप्या आणि शाली परिधान केल्या होत्या. थोडे अजून पुढे गेल्यावर व्यास नदीच्या प्रवाहातच एक टेबल आणि पाच खुर्च्या मांडलेल्या दिसल्या. तिथे थोडे पुढे एक सॉफ्ट ड्रिंकचा क्रेटही ठेवला होता. पर्यटकांना आकर्षित करण्यासाठी तिथल्या हॉटेलवाल्याने ते मुद्दाम तिथे ठेवले होते. ड्रायव्हरने तिथेही गाडी थांबवली. आम्ही एकामागोमाग एक त्या प्रवाहात उतरलो. पाणी बर्फासारखे थंडगार असल्याने फार वेळ त्या पाण्यात उभे राहवत नव्हते. तरी आम्ही त्या खुर्च्यांमध्ये बसून हौशीने फोटो काढून घेतले आणि पुढे निघालो.

पुढचा प्रवास फार सुंदर होता. रस्त्याच्या दोन्ही बाजूंनी सफरचंदाच्या बागा होत्या. सफरचंदाच्या झाडाला छोटी हिरवी सफरचंदे लागलेली दिसत होती. ह्या बागांमधूनच लहान मुलांचे समर कॅंपचे रंगीबेरंगी तंबू उभारलेले दिसत होते. काही ठिकाणी मुले खेळत होती. मधूनच वाटेत छोटी छोटी टुमदार घरे लागत होती. प्रत्येक घराच्या बागेत गुलाबाची झाडे लावलेली दिसत होती. त्या प्रत्येक गुलाबाच्या झाडावर गुच्छांनी गुलाबाची फुले उमललेली होती. इतके रंगीबेरंगी गुलाब उमलेले होते आणि ते न तोडता झाडावर तसेच ठेवलेले होते, हे दृश्य अपूर्व होते. काही गुलाबाची झाडे म्हणजे एखादा गुलाबाच्या फुलांचा बुकेच असल्याचा भास होत होता. निळेभोर आकाश, बर्फाच्छादित हिमशिखरे यांच्या पार्श्वभूमीवर दिसणारे, ते रंगीबेरंगी गुच्छांनी उमललेले गुलाब केवळ अविस्मरणीय होते. ते दृश्य नजरेत साठवत आम्ही मनालीच्या दिशेने निघालो.

मनाली जवळ आली, तशी आजूबाजूच्या हिमशिखरांची संख्या वाढू लागली. इथे आमच्या दोन्ही ग्रुपची हॉटेल्स जवळजवळ होती. आमचे हॉटेल टेकडीवर वसलेले होते. ड्रायव्हरने त्या अरूंद रस्त्याने गाडी वरती आणली, पण गाडी पार्क केल्यानंतर इतर गाड्या तिथून काढणे अडचणीचे होते. गाडी खाली आणणेही खूप कसरतीचे होते. शेवटी ड्रायव्हरने दुसर्‍या दिवशी शेजारच्याच पण खालच्या बाजूला असलेल्या मोठ्या हॉटेलच्या आवारात गाडी पार्क करण्याचे ठरवले. आम्ही आमच्या खोलीवर आलो. खोलीच्या खिडकीतून समोरची हिमशिखरे दिसत होती. या हॉटेलची सर्व्हिस जलद आणि व्यवस्थित होती. इथे कपडे धुवू नये असा काही नियम नव्हता, पण लॉंड्रीची व्यवस्था होती. खाली असलेल्या डायनिंग रूमच्या शेजारी एक डिस्कोथेकही होता. इथेही जेवणासाठी सेल्फ सर्व्हिसच होती. मेनूकार्डावर जरी व्हेज आणि नॉनव्हेज या दोन्ही प्रकारच्या पदार्थांची यादी दिलेली होती, तरी टेबलावर फक्त शाकाहारीच पदार्थ मांडलेले होते. त्याव्यतिरिक्त काही हवे असल्यास त्याची वेगळी ऑर्डर द्यावी लागत होती. आम्ही लवकर जेवून घेतले. दुसर्‍या दिवशी सकाळी सहा वाजता रोहतांग पासला निघायचे होते. हॉटेलवाले आम्हांला नाश्त्यासाठी सॅंडविच पॅक करून देणार होते.

दुसर्‍या दिवशी सकाळी सहा वाजता निघण्यासाठी सगळे तयार होते. मी आदल्या दिवसाचा अनुभव लक्षात घेऊन, बसमध्ये मळमळू नये म्हणून गोळी घेतली होती. नाश्ताही पॅक करून तयार होता. पण त्या अरूंद रस्त्यावरून कसरत करून गाडी खाली काढायला ड्रायव्हरला सव्वासहा वाजले. जवळच्याच हॉटेलमधल्या आमच्या सहप्रवाशांना सोबत घेऊन आम्ही निघालो. गाडी रोहतांग पासच्या रस्त्याला नुकतीच लागतेय, तो दोन्ही बाजूंनी विक्रेते "आमच्याकडचा संरक्षक पोषाख घ्या" म्हणून मागे लागत होते. थोडे पुढे आल्यावर ड्रायव्हरने एका दुकानासमोर गाडी थांबवली आणि तिथून सर्वांना जास्त वेळ न घालवता, छातीला थंडी लागू नये म्हणून वन पीसच ड्रेस घ्यायला सांगितले. प्रत्येक ड्रेसचे दोनशे रुपये भाडे ठरले. प्रत्येकजण दुकानदाराने दिलेला ड्रेस बरोबर होतो आहे का ते पाहत होता. मला आधी टाईट फिटींगचा ड्रेस मिळाला, नंतरचा केशरी ड्रेस जरा जास्तच मोठा पण उबदार होता. त्यामुळे जास्त उशीर व्हायला नको म्हणून मी तोच ड्रेस घेतला.

ड्रेस नंतर मोजे आणि बूटही घेतले. इथे बुटांचे तळ व्यवस्थित आहेत, की नाहीत ते नीट बघून घ्यावे लागते. नाहीतर चालतांना बुटात बर्फ जाऊन पायाला त्रास होण्याची शक्यता असते. हे सगळे घेतल्यावर त्यावर त्यांनी हातमोजे घालायला फ्री दिले (अर्थात ते नंतर त्यांना परत करायचे होते). बर्फात खेळतांना हातमोजे निसटून हरवतात, म्हणून हल्ली हातमोजे भाड्याने देत नाहीत. हा सगळा जामानिमा झाल्यावर एका विक्रेत्याकडून गॉगल्स विकत घेतले. (या गॉगल्सचा नंतर दिल्लीत चांगला उपयोग झाला.) अशा प्रकारे सगळेजण तयार झाल्यावर ड्रायव्हरने बस पुढे काढली. ह्याच रस्त्यावरून पुढे गेल्यावर भारतीय सेनेचा तळ आहे. या तळाला रसद पुरवठा ह्याच रस्त्याने होतो. हिवाळ्याच्या दिवसात बर्फ पडल्यानंतर रोहतांग पासचा हा रस्ता काही महिन्यांसाठी बंद होतो. म्हणून सैन्याला या कालावधीत पुरेल एवढी रसद आधीच पाठवली जाते.  

वळणावळणाच्या घाट रस्त्याने ड्रायव्हर गाडी वरती नेत होता. बहुधा हवाही थोडी थोडी विरळ झाली असावी. त्यामुळे बसमधल्या अर्ध्या मेंबर्सना मळमळण्याचा त्रास व्हायला लागला. सुदैवाने मी गोळी घेतली होती, त्यामुळे मला कसलाच त्रास झाला नाही. ड्रायव्हरने एका स्टॉलच्या समोर गाडी थांबवली. तिथे ज्यांना चहा घ्यायचा होता, त्यांनी चहा घेतला. ज्यांना भूक लागली होती, त्यांनी सॅंडविचेस खाऊन घेतली. ज्यांना त्रास होत होता, ते काही न खाता शांत बसले. चहा येईपर्यंत तिथेही आमचं एक फोटोसेशन झालं. चहा झाल्यावर आम्ही तिथून निघालो. बस वरती चढत होती आणि अचानक एका बाजूला मातीवर अर्धवट वितळलेला बर्फाचा थर दिसला. आम्हांला जवळून झालेलं ते बर्फाचं पहिलं दर्शन होतं. मग आम्ही अजून  बर्फ दिसतोय का, ते पाहायला लागलो आणि दोन्ही बाजूंना कमीअधिक प्रमाणात बर्फ दिसायला लागला. थोड्या वेळाने बाजूच्या डोंगराच्या भिंती पूर्ण बर्फाच्छादित दिसायला लागल्या. एके ठिकाणी माणसं डोंगरातला बर्फ फोडून काढतांनाही दिसली.

ड्रायव्हरने स्नो पॉईंटच्या जितकी जवळ नेता येईल तितकी जवळ गाडी नेली. तरीही पुढे आम्हांला एकदीड किलोमीटर चालून जायचे होते. कुफ्रीच्या अनुभवाने शहाणे होऊन आम्ही घोड्यावरून किंवा मोटारबाईकवरून जाण्याऐवजी, पायीच चालत निघालो आणि बर्फात पोहोचलो. तिथे बर्फातून चालण्यासाठी भाड्याने काठ्य़ा घेतल्या. काठ्यांमुळे बर्फात चढ-उतार करतांना चांगला आधार मिळत होता. सुरूवातीला आम्ही बर्फात नुसतेच बसलो आणि फोटो काढले. इथेही हिमाचली ड्रेस घालून आणि पांढर्‍या याकवर बसून फोटो काढण्याची सोय होती. आमच्यापैकी काहीजण रबर ट्यूबची स्लाईड, स्कीईंग करायला गेले, तर काहीजण स्लेज गाडीवाले खूपच मागे लागल्याने त्या गाडीतून फिरून आले. सगळेजण दूरवर विखुरले गेले होते. तेवढयात एका पॅराग्लायडिंगवाल्याने आम्हांला गाठले. (सुरूवातीला हजार रूपये असणारा त्याचा रेट दीडदोन तासांनी पाचशे रुपयांपर्यंत खाली आला.) मला पॅराग्लायडिंग करण्याची इच्छा होती. पण माझ्याबरोबर जे होते, त्यांना मळमळण्याचा त्रास होत होता, त्यामुळे ते कोणी पॅराग्लायडिंग करण्याच्या मनःस्थितीत नव्हते. एकटीने इतके पैसे खर्च करून पॅराग्लायडिंग करण्याऐवजी रबर ट्यूब स्लायडींग करण्याचा मी विचार करत होते. पण आमच्यापैकी अजून एक जण तयार झाल्याने मी पॅराग्लायडिंगला जायला तयार झाले.

नोंद - ट्रीपचे सर्व फोटो इथे पाहता येतील.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shimla, Kullu, Manali trip – Part 4

We went to the point instead of going into the temple. From that point the border of India and other five points were showing using telescope. But when we heard that it will cost sixty rupees per person, then we decided to not to see it. I went ahead because I just wanted to take a photograph of the view which was seen from that point, but ropes were tied there from top to bottom, so that other people could not enter inside. Only the people giving money for viewing points through telescope were allowed to enter inside. Some of the people were just going ahead by crossing the ropes. The front view was looking good from another vacant place, but there was too much rush of people taking photographs. When I was just going to take photograph, at that same time I was called at another place. There were two three vendors who were giving Himachali dress to wear and taking it’s photos. We decided to wear that Himachali dress and take it’s photo. We had to give sixty rupees per photograph, and the photo was taken by wearing their dress. We were getting photos immediately.

Five of us were going to take photograph wearing Himachali dress. It took much time to wear their shawls and jewelry in specific manner and tie the belt and be ready. Again it was decided to take a group photo of all of us, so we were wearing that dress for long time. We took many photos of all of us from our camera, before their photographer took our photos. The other two decided to take photo in Himachali dress when our photo session was over. Up to that time the beginners went to the dark black Yak standing in front of us. It costs us twenty rupees each for sitting on that yak, with cap on head and gun in hand and taking photograph from our own camera. Some of us were ready to experience the thrill of sitting on a different animal, and were photographed by our camera. We sensed that the animal Yak is of very peaceful nature. Those who went to temple were now returned. There was no other special thing to see. All wanted to start return journey. We took our photographs in Himachali dress, and started our return journey without passing any time.

While returning our horse carrier was a Nepali boy. Fortunately he hold the reins of horse neatly and brought us back and we got down from horse. It was decided to take lunch in the hotel situated on a small hill, which was near where our bus was stopped. We were out of breath while climbing that hill slope. When we reached in the hotel, the staff told us that the dining hall is on second floor. There was no lift in that hotel. There were small stairs, climbing those stairs we were searching for their second floor. Their second floor was actually fourth floor to us. We were panting because of climbing it without stopping anywhere. We drank water immediately after going there and sat calmly for some time. We asked for Gujarati thali, because it was available there. While taking lunch we were talking with other Maharashtrian travelers who were sat on nearby table. They were came from Manali. When they were gone to Rohatang pass, they played in the snow without wearing the protective dress which was available there. But due to it, their skin was blackened due to Sunburn. So they suggested us to wear that protective dress before going into the snow. They also told us, that there will be cold in Manali.

After returning from that place we came to the Green Valley Point, which is in the way. From this point, this valley looks lush green, due to the high raised trees like Pine and Devdara with which it filled completely. We stopped there for some minutes, took photographs and left for Shimla. In Shimla the driver left us near that famous lift. After going up, there is a Mall road that is market of Shimla. We went to the point named “the Ridge” while walking through Mall road. While going there we could see the orange coloured large idol of Hanuman from “Jakhu temple.” From the large ground of The Ridge, we can see Shimla city placed on hills. There is a famous church near this ridge, and shooting of some movies has done here, I stopped near the church because my legs were aching, all others went ahead and returned. From there we descended down the steps and took tea.

But I didn’t liked Shimla city much. Then we came on Mall Road and did some shopping there. In Shimla dress material is quite cheap than that of Mumbai. While shopping, here we marked that the shopkeepers were taking back the plastic bag of any thing and putting it in the paper bag or bags made of wood pulp and were giving it to customers. We returned to the lift from Mall road and said goodbye to our fellow travelers and went into the bus. From there we came into hotel. We took our dinner earlier that day. Then played cards for some time and slept. We had told the hotel management that we had to leave the hotel at eight in the next morning, so we wanted breakfast earlier.

When I woke up next morning, I noticed that skin of my hands was became red and was irritating, because I was forgotten to apply the Sunscreen lotion on my hands on the previous day. We were ready in time, but it took some time for the meals to be ready. So it was late for our departure. That day we had to go to Manali via Kullu from Shimla. The starting of our journey was good, but while descending down hilly, mountain pass, zigzag roads, me and some others had a feeling of travel sickness. It was a complete mountain pass zigzag road. Finally the driver stopped his bus and went into the nearby hotel to drink tea. There was also a pure water spring flowing through mountains, and the words “Drinking water” were written near it. We filled our bottles with that cold water. After taking some rest and drinking cold water we felt better and our journey was started again.

At afternoon driver stopped his bus near a hotel for lunch. There was much rush in the hotel. Fortunately we got seats immediately. Only half of us ordered for the lunch. Others took only lassi and I ordered for Ice-cream. Our two tables were kept together. Those who were taking lunch sat around one table and we were sat around another table. Lassi came earlier so they drank it early. But I was slowly eating the cold ice-cream in big bowl. In that time some people came and stood behind us, guessing that our table will be empty in short time. I started eating cold ice-cream fast to give them seat as early as possible. Others on my table stood up, before I ate my ice-cream completely. The people behind us pulled our table fast from the other table, while seeing that still I was eating there. I was angry, but there was no use of quarrelling. Without complaining I ate remaining cold ice-cream in one gulp and I stood up. Those people immediately sat down in chairs, without giving me any time to drink water. Finally I went into the bus and drank water there. Here those who had taken a lunch, now bought ice-cream from nearby ice-cream parlour and with others also bought ice-cream for me. This time I tasted ice-cream at ease, because I was sitting in the bus.

Driver started his bus. The next road was quite straight. In next journey we encountered with a river. Driver told us, that “This is a Vyas (Biyas) river. It will be with us in our journey up to Manali. Sometimes it will be on this side of road and sometimes on that side. It will seem to be disappeared in the middle part at some place, but again will be by our side in few minutes.” The green blue foamy stream of Vyas river, the rocks and boulders in between, and a hanging bridge on it looking in between, all that natural scene was looking very beautiful. At a place in between a dam was constructed on the Vyas river. The big stream was flowing out of the dam in the foamy form. Next it was turned into a quite pool and next from that pool was flowing out the calm stream of river. Driver stopped his bus there. We came out and captured that scenery of river in our cameras. And bus went ahead. In the way there was a small temple of a Goddess, we got down there and after visiting that temple went ahead. Immediately after it we saw a very long tunnel. The bus came on the open road after travelling in that tunnel for some minutes.

Video -

While traveling on the banks of the river Vyas
Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here