Kedarkantha – A Dreamy Snow Trek

Fresh winter snow, picturesque sights, the forests, clearings and pretty campsites, the trails of Kedarkantha trek are straight from a dreamland. In fact, I got some sights and memories from the trek in my dreams even after 8 days of coming back; Though this wasn’t my first Himalayan trek, the “trek hangover” was a strong one, maybe because of the settings and my improved fitness levels.

According to trekking community – Indiahikes, Kedarkantha trek is the Best Winter trek. I was looking for a winter trek to consume my annual leaves, and the title of “The Best Winter Trek” tempted me to chose Kedarkantha. Also, I was particular about experiencing Garhwal Himalayas as my last trek was in Himachal (Sar Pass).Without any further thoughts, I booked Kedarkantha trek with Indiahikes, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Reaching Gainchwan Gaon:

The base camp for Kedarkantha trek is Gainchawan Gaon, it is an 8-9 drive hour from Dehradun. We had a pick up from Dehradun station. The drive is beautiful with forest covers and Yamuna river and Rupin River accompanying us.

Gainchawan Gaon is near Naitwar in Uttarkashi district. The drive is through Mussoorie and then the Yamunotri marg, but later diverts to Purola road. A special permission needs to be taken at the Netwar barrier as we enter the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park. The sights after Purola were very refreshing, and the best part of the journey for me was the last 5 km, on the top of the tempo traveller, adventure started before reaching the base camp itself. 🙂

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Guest House at Base Camp
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View from the window

The guest house is a beautiful wooden house, and I was lucky to get a room with amazing view. Even though most of the people had introduced themselves in the traveler during the 6-hour drive, we had again introduction and briefing session. It was a good icebreaker and gave an idea about the interests and profession of the trek mates. For me, the night at Gainchwan was an unforgettable night, gave some really good connections and memories. I have some amazing stories and memories at Gainchwan with my new friends and trek mates. The base camp fairly gives you an idea about the people with whom you can make a connection and enjoy the rest of the days. We were all very excited for the trek and hoped to see a good amount of snow, as that’s the highlight of any winter trek.

Gainchwan Gaon To Julota:

This was in actual, the first day of the trek. We were told it will be sunny, but I didn’t expect it to be that sunny. The trail goes through villages of Haltari and Altwar. The locals greeted us and we met some amazing kids along the way.

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The wooden architecture of the houses is pretty impressive. The trail was steep, but we were getting drained due to the sun, and not mainly because of the trail. I realized I had over packed when the sun was overhead and my bag felt really heavy. The second half was a forest trail with pine and oaks and less sunny, but I was already drained by that time. Even with the heavy bag pack, after a steep ascent, reached Julota campsite.

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The Julota campsite is a clearing and hence was surrounded by forest trees. Even after being drained, my trek-mates and I were chilling out and even walked a little to sit amidst the forests. It was a great feeling, just the three of us in the silence, soaking up every bit of nature and peace. However, a mild headache started post sunset, which increased in the night. I felt pukish as well, and later puked. I was getting quite anxious post that, as they are symptoms of mountain sickness. The trek leader was really helpful and told me it might be due to sun and exertion as well and to chill and take a good sleep. The good sleep really worked as my oxygen levels the next day was pretty good, more than that at the base camp. 😉 I decided to offload my bag pack as I wanted to do the summit climb, and not exert my body before the summit day.

Julota to Pukhrola (KK Base):

This was the most dreamy and fun-filled day of the trek for me. Some of the sights seemed straight from my dreamland. The day started with forest trails, and then after some distance, we find snow patches all around. We were so excited, and all of us clicked a lot of pictures. Our trek guide kept saying, “Mam ab toh snow hi snow hain aage, baad mein photos le lena” ( There will be a lot of snow, you can click pictures later). But I could not stop clicking, Amit, the co-guide warned us that he will throw a snowball if anyone stops very frequently for pictures. 😉 😀 The snowball fight in one of the clearings was the highlight of the trek. Just loved playing with fresh snow with everyone.

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The last part of the this day’s trail was the most scenic one. The river streams surrounded by snow and trees not only looked serene, but the sound of the water was therapeutic; Halted there for some time just to enjoy the moment. After that, we trekked through the trees to reach a Pukhrola. The beauty of Pukhrola campsite is breathtaking. It is like camping between the mountain ridges, one can see the Kedarkantha summit as well, we were at the base of Kedarkantha peak. It even started snowing for some time and was cloudy. Our trek leader was worried, as the summit climb becomes really difficult and slippery if it rains/snows. But soon the clouds cleared.

The sunset from Pukhrola was one of the best sunsets of my life, the colours, the beauty left me totally lost. The entire trek group watched and captured the sunset in peace. No amount of pictures or videos can give justice to that sunset. You have to be there, to feel it. It was an amazing time at the KK Base, we were glad we made it till here and anxious about the summit day. I prayed the weather remains supportive, as that plays a major role while climbing a peak.

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The Summit Day – Pukhrola to Kedarkantha peak

The summit day, the day for which we were waiting anxiously for the last three days. The wake up was at 4 am, and I was up before that, I am sure a lot of people were. The temperature had dropped to -2 to -3 degree in the night. With 4 layers of clothing, spikes, and gaiters, we started our attempt to conquer Kedarkantha peak. Step by step we were reaching close to our goal. In a single line, without overtaking we were following the narrow trail. We were lucky that it was a clear day. The first rest point was a good milestone, we could see the campsite from above. Snow peaks were all around us, but not at the eye level. After some rest, we started again. A steep climb for another one hour leads to a Shiva temple, mythology says this was the initial Shiva shrine Kedarnath, but Lord Shiva got disturbed during meditation and hence disappeared to the present day Kedarnath. It is said that he left his throat behind hence the peak name in Kedarkanth. (Kedar – Shiva , Kantha – Throat ). I took a halt before going up, it’s important to pause and appreciate how far you have come. And then when I reached the top of the peak, I was awestruck, mesmerized by the view. So many peaks at the eye level. A gentle reminder that we are very small, very small in this universe, yet we can conquer anything we want if we truly want it.

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The entire trek group made it, each with their own pace. We sat there enjoying the view and trying to capture the sight. That feeling was overwhelming, to make it successfully to the summit, and that breathtaking view. Our trek leader shared the names of the peaks visible, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Swaroghini and Rupin ranges, Har ki Dun valley, Drapaudi ka Danda, Bandarpooch, Kalanag. Each and every peak has a mystical story associated with it. After some group pictures, we started the descent. We had to trace the route back to the base, Pukhrola.

Kedarkantha peak- KK base- Akhoti Campsite:

Descending can become challenging when the snow melts, and as it was a steep one, our guide was keen that we reach the base on time. His common slogan changed from Chalo Chalo (Keep walking) to Bhaago Bhaago ( Run, Run). While he didn’t mean it literally, but the descent was a quick one for me. It’s more about the technique and the spikes gave good grip. Sliding was too much fun, and as the snow was fresh, we could slide on 2-3 patches. I lost balance and almost my phone on one the slide, but controlled using my elbows.

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After the point from where the campsite was seen, I purposely slowed down. When again will I get to see such sights, snow and get such good air, hence I took a halt as well. Deliberately I joined the last batch of trek mates, and then mixed feelings sink in, accomplished that we made it, sad that it’s over.

After the base, we had to descend further till our new campsite. We had to reach until around lunch time, and so all maintained a good pace. This was a fun trail, initially the same route we covered on the second day, the dreamy snow and forest trails, and then a diversion for Akhoti.

The final descent: Akhoti to Gainchwan Gaon:

Akhoti campsite is a new campsite, it is actually a thatch hence mules can be seen around. After Pukhrola, it was very difficult to like any campsite for us. Akhoti is surrounded by forests and some flowers. The sunset and even the sunrise was very beautiful from the campsite. It was beautiful in its own way, however comparing it with Pukhrola, would not be fair. As this was the last campsite of our trek, everyone was relaxing and enjoying each and every moment of it. We played few games as well.

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When we started the last day of our trek, the final descent, we realized the reason for having Akhoti as the campsite. The trail from Akhoti to Gainchwan Gaon is an amazing forest trail. There were Rhododendron trees and it was again a dreamy forest trail, minus the snow.

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We had to cross a river stream as well and climb few rocks. It was fun and challenging. This time again we took a halt to Haltari and had Maggi.As only the last part of the trek was left, we wanted to enjoy every moment of it, capturing as much as possible.

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Also, it was decided that we will do the last patch of the trek together, as a team, hence we waited for the entire group to come and then walked together till our guest house at Gainchwan Gaon. Feeling accomplished, we were back at the base camp. The stay this time at the guest house was a different one, we were relaxed, confident this time, and had a sense of achievement. Five days in mountains can change a lot of things. Spent some time walking in the village next morning, before the start of our return journey to Dehradun. The best part of travel, and in particular treks, is that you start alone, but come back with a bunch of good friends.

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Kedarkantha trek for me, indeed was like a dream, which I wished should have continued for some more time, but all dreams come to an end, and life goes on; Some lessons learned, new friends made and as always memories for a lifetime.

Straight From My Heart,

Prakriti Singh

Contest entry for The Adventurer Blog Contest May 2018 by Bikat Adventures” 

Tiny Diu Island- A Coastal Paradise

Diu island, this wasn’t even in my travel or bucket list this year. But still happened to be my first trip of this year, and I am so glad of the decision to cover Diu. I was planning something for 26th Jan weekend with my two close friends; After multiple change of plans, Diu was finalized. We read few blogs online, and it seemed promising, but was still not sure as some writers transform boring places to heaven with words. But Diu seriously is a coastal heaven, an underrated one. Most of the people don’t even know that Daman & Diu are different places ! (There is a distance of 684 km by road).

Reaching Diu:

Diu is easily connected via roadways in spite of being an island. There is good connectivity from Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Baroda. There are flights as well except on Saturdays, but they are usually expensive. There are no direct trains to Diu from Mumbai.

As we already had booked our tickets to Mount Abu via Ahmedabad ( one of the cancelled plans), we decided to take an overnight bus from Ahmedabad, and return by direct bus to Mumbai from Diu.

The Chill Vibes:

As soon as you get down from the bus, you can feel the chill vibes. Quite literally, as it was very cold and we had only bag full of beach wear 😉 but very soon we got acclimatized. We had no plans, hence first we took an auto to hotel from the bus stop. The auto fares are clearly mentioned at the Jethibai Bus Station. The rates will always be around that, hence it is better to keep a copy of it.

First things first, we were fairly impressed by the roads and cleanliness of the island town. Even though had read about the cleanliness, it’s always a surprise to see clean, well managed roads in India. Being a Union Territory, the roads are excellent and it’s vert safe to ride a scooter here.

The atmosphere is very laid back, more laid back than Goa or Gokarna for that matter. People have breakfast here till around 11 am. Everything is closed in mid-afternoon, people enjoy their afternoon naps. The beaches are serene, almost virgin; There were times when there were only we three girls on beach.

Sight Seeing:

The best part about Diu is it can be covered in a day. The top attractions can be visited and enjoyed in one single day and you won’t even feel tired, that’s the magic of Diu. One can either rent a scooty for sight seeing or take an auto package. For us, as we were 3 people, taking auto package was a better option.

Our sightseeing mode – Beautiful colourful auto with a cheerful talented driver. He played an excellent playlist for us.
Harsh, aur auto driver/friend, is a talented civil engineer living in abundance in Diu

Diu Fort & Fortress of Pani Kotha:

This was first in our sight-seeing list. Personally, I have an inclination towards forts, partly because of the history attached, and also for the architecture. The Diu Fort, known as ‘Prace De Diu’ is gives is spectacular view of the sea. If you love Portuguese architecture, you would love exploring the fort. In an opinion poll conducted in Portugal to list the New Seven wonders of Portugal built during their colonial rule, Diu Fort was chosen as one wonder from India. Personally, the structure is quite impressive, and top highlight of the island.

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One can see the fortress of Pani Kotha as well from the fort. Pani Kotha was a prison formerly, now features a lighthouse, we couldn’t go there by boat, the locals said they have discontinued tourist visits there. We were just amazed that even the jail seems so beautiful. 😉

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Fortress of Pani Kotha

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Diu Museum:

Diu Museum was once a church. The St Thomas Church was converted into a museum in 1992. Photography is not allowed in the museum. It has ancient, antique wooden artifacts from 16th Century. Get lost in peace and history here for sometime.

St. Paul’s Church:

St Paul’s Church is one of top attraction of Diu. Apparently it is the only functional church till now from the colonial times. This can be considered as a part of the Diu Fort itself as it’s almost in the extended area of the fort. This monument of ancient heritage is an architectural and art marvel.

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Naida Caves:

The Naida Caves are not in every tourist’s list, but they should be. The Naida Caves are uniquely picturesque with magnificent rock formations. The sunlight filtering through the canyons is a sight to behold. Exploring the Naida Caves was too much fun and we underestimated the beauty and area of the caves initially.

Jalandhar Beach:

This wasn’t even in our sightseeing plan, but we anyway had to cross the beach so asked our auto cum DJ to halt there. A very quaint little beach, with bridges and beautiful benches. A dreamy beach with hardly any humans around. I was tempted to go for a swim, but was warned by our local friend & auto-DJ that it is unsafe to swim there as the sand is very uneven.

Chakratirth Beach:

From Jalandhar beach, we hopped to Chakratirth. Chakratirth beach is another dreamy place, and can be said as “almost-virgin”. One should look out for solitude and the Portuguese vibes here. This is a very picturesque beach with a small Shiva temple on one end of the shore.

Nagao Beach:

Well Nagao Beach is the most commercial beach of Diu, yet very clean and one can find their own perfect spot to chill, enjoy nature and have a swim. We were lucky to find a good spot, with very less humans around. ( such anti-human days 😉 ) There’s a small hillock from where one can see the beautiful sunset, that was one of the most beautiful sunset of our lives. More than the sunset, maybe the moment made it more memorable and mesmerizing.

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The Beach & Chill Life:

You need to soak in the beach and chill life to experience the essence of Diu. Though sightseeing gave us an idea about the history and major attractions, the highlight of the trip will definitely be the beach moments. The next day we decided to just experience the laid back nature, and I am glad we did.

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Chill, watch the sea or just do nothing at these beautiful benches near Diu Tourism Office

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Apana Foodland:

Had read about Apana Foodland on Natgeo Travel blog, and also other reviews hence this was on our list. We started our day with good food, sea view and amazing hospitality. The manager welcomed us and took our pictures as well, without us asking him 😉 Apana Foodland is a must try if you are looking for good food with a view.

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Ghoghla Beach:

It was here we concluded that we underestimated Diu. Ghoghla beach is a very serene beach with clean, long stretch of sand and hooka trees all around. With very less people around, this was the best place to swim, relax and forget the world. There are some decent restaurants on the beach, where you can grab some snacks and drinks before getting lost in the tranquility of the beach.

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Do the Diu ?

Diu is not in many people’s list, as was the case with us. But we loved the place so much that we many plan another trip soon. You should Do the Diu if you are looking for a perfect beach and chill holiday, Portuguese architecture, good food and views. I hope it remains the same always though, maintaining the tranquility and beauty of the place.

Straight From My Heart,

Prakriti Singh

Discovering myself at Sarasgad – My solo hike experience

I left, all alone for my first solo trek. But no, I wasn’t alone, I had the spirit of adventure with me, I had the desire to explore.
It was not a pre planned solo trek, it was supposed to be a group one, but later all backed out, some because it was risky in the season(it rained heavily one day before). But once I make up my mind for something, I go for it. So I decided to conquer Sarasgad fort, the base village for which is Pali, alone. At first, the thought seemed very scary, but then I planned for it. I decided to take 7 am ST bus for Pali from Panvel. As it’s very unsafe for a solo female hiker, I kept my pepper spray with me, and even practised few kicks, punches and aims with the pepper spray. I packed my bag with overall 1.5 L water bottles, stole, cap, extra clothes, sanitizer, towels and some fruits. There were many constraints which I was aware of, the major one that I had no power bank, and my phone has a battery problem; Imagining myself lost(worst-case) with no humans around, without any means of communication, made me question my decision. Later as a solution, I decided to keep mobile data off, and use my phone in battery saver mode throughout the journey, that meant no snapchats, no maps, just me and the people around in case I need help. I even made a milestone list to track my journey, and even motivate myself at every step. Once done with planning, I slept early to reach on time at Panvel. Both excitement and nervous filled me, somehow managed to sleep.

Milestone 1: Boarding Panvel-Pali bus 

The next day, I was on time, it was all dark when I left home. On reaching Panvel, I enquired about the bus for Pali, and within few minutes got it. For the first time in my life, I was travelling in a ST bus. There was a weird hesitation inside me, or I can say, a kind of fear, which accompanied me. This feeling was there inside since morning, when I was packing up, going through my checklist, wearing my shoes and when I left. Ignoring this weird feeling,  I concentrated on the surroundings, the view and decided to forget all tension. The song “Yuhi chala chal rahi, yuhi chala chal rahi, kitni haseen hai yeh duniya“( The traveler travels… just like that, The traveler travels…just like that, How beautiful is, this world) was running in my mind. The route was full of greenery, green  hills, green grass and green trees all around. The bus takes the Bombay-Pune road, from Khopoli, it enters the Khopoli-Pali road and enters taluka Sudhagad.

Milestone 2: Reaching Pali , Having Breakfast

As planned, reached Pali at 9, luckily the bus was on time. By this time, the weird feeling, the fear, the hesitation was vanished. Reaching Pali, was a major milestone of my plan. I decided to start by visiting Pali Ganpati temple, which is one of the“Ashtavinayak” Lord Ganesha.

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Before starting I wanted to have proper breakfast, my friend Dinesh had given me a contact of a local resident Harshal who had a food joint there. I called him, but he dint pick up. I kept walking and found a good place and ordered misal paav, one of my favourite breakfast item.I found some people staring at me, maybe because I was alone, and everyone in group of friends or family, the only person seemed welcoming and smiling was the boy who got my order. Confirming the way to the fort from him, I continued.

Milestone 3: Start of the hike

Walking for few minutes landed me to the start of the journey. I could see the map, and a narrow way between houses.

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Wondering if it is the right way, I confirmed again from a female who was passing by. She confirmed back that I was on the right way, but after knowing that I am going alone, she started shouting that its very risky and I shouldn’t be going. She managed to gather few people too. Everyone said the same. Apparently there was no hiking group which started for the fort that day, and few “bad boys” according to them who went up. No this was something unanticipated, and shattered my confidence I had gained from Panvel to Pali journey. I could see the fort from below, and I thought it would be very stupid to return from there, hence started. I walked for few minutes and I came across a diversion, both ways I could just see narrow pathways surrounded by tall grass. I took one for way which seemed obvious, took few steps and all I found was, tall grass. The pathway was blocked completely because of grass and plants. No way was seen through it.It was very risky to get into it, now I could understand why the villagers reacted that way. Unwilling to give up, called up Harshal( the localite) , hoping this time he would pick up. He did in sometime, and came rushing there too, he was the same friendly guy who got the breakfast for me. Unknowingly we met before, had a conversation too, like we were destined to meet. After discussing with him, came to know that there is a separate route too, which is actually meant for hikers and trekkers , its from the opposite side of the fort. He suggested that his brother will guide me to that route.

I thought it would be a simple route, but it was steeper,more challenging and through dense forest.

Harshal’s brother insisted me not to go alone, but I insisted him to let me, as otherwise it wouldn’t serve the purpose. Finally he agreed; and I went by myself to continue.

Milestone 4: Reaching the top

With a stick in hand, eyes and ears alert, I kept walking and climbing. Tall grass, rocks in between, slippery hills, nothing could stop me.

I just had one thing in my mind,  I have to reach the top. There were places when I felt I wont be able to go further. The first time I came across a probable block, totally steep rocks, I panicked, wondering how would I manage. It was like a big challenge for me, but I managed, the grass which seemed hurdle for me, came to rescue, it gave me better grip while climbing. Similar blocks kept coming; I found my own way to keep moving forward. It became more and more humid, and the route more and more difficult. At a point later, I felt lost again, couldn’t find the way ahead. With no humans within kilometres, there was no point in shouting for help too. I halted, took deep breathes, and felt good about reaching so far. The small, quaint village of Pali was visible. I settled on a rock somehow.

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By this time, I started enjoying the silence; the silence of nature. I started enjoying being alone; I began my introspection, trying to find answers to the questions I had within myself. Then suddenly I hear a hissing noise, and felt something crawling near my feet, Yes , it was a snake !! Startled initially, but dint make any movement, and it just passed quietly. That time I realized, Nature doesn’t harm humans, humans harm nature.

Gaining confidence, started again. It was cloudy by then, something which was both a reason for being happy and worried, happy as the scorching heat won’t trouble me, worried as it would be really difficult if it starts raining. Hence I increased my pace to avoid getting stuck between insects and snakes. I climbed and climbed, and finally almost reached the base. I could see the fort , and was curious to get to the top, and other side.

Completely exhausted due to the humidity, I decided to give my back some rest. Lying on the grass, with a sense of satisfaction, was a beautiful feeling that nothing can replace. I walked a little further, and decided to stop, and go back. Not that I gave up, but my purpose was fulfilled, the journey gave me answers I was searching for. Also it was a calculative decision, as continuing the return journey, when it rained would be difficult; and I couldn’t afford to wait.

Milestone 5: Return Journey

I thought the return journey would be very easy, but again, obvious assumptions tend to be wrong. I was confident and bold, with no fear at all, but there were times I literally sloped down the steep rocks. Finding the way was another task, I got confused between the trees and landmarks which I thought would help me in my return trip.

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Instead of descending vertically, I started going horizontally, like a crab. Using this technique, I covered most of the area. I reached near to the village. But I knew I was going on a different route than I started. Looking at the village, managed to find the way. And this way, I reached down. I could see the twin fort of Sudhagad too.

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Harshal had come to pick me up. He was still worried, but happy to see me happy and safe. He told me it was a risky decision, to continue it alone, that too from the opposite side. I also became aware that monkeys in approximately groups of 20,attack hikers, particularly in that season.He purposely dint tell me prior to the start. I felt grateful, that I din’t encounter such attacks. He dropped me at a restaurant near ST bus stand and returned to his.

As soon I entered the restaurant, it started raining heavily. I looked back, and thanked God again. Feeling dehydrated, ordered fresh lime soda and puri bhaji after changing my clothes.

The Conclusion

I couldn’t conquer the fort, but I conquered one of the biggest fear, which every human share, the fear of being alone. An extrovert by nature, can enjoy being alone too. The writer within me loves to spend time alone, get lost in nature, because nature has its own way to answer questions, and provide guidance.The journey made me firmly believe something which I always read and found beautiful, Paulo Coelho’s quote, When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Connected everything to it- me unknowingly halting at Harshal’s restaurant, those villagers warning me, the snake passing by, my decision to descend, me being safe and not attacked by monkeys… and then it all made sense…

Straight from my Heart,

Prakriti Singh

Some Extra Shots:

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Kharghar Hills- The Unplanned Nature Trail

Kharghar hills signify the start of Kharghar, welcoming everyone who enters the node; with beauty at its peak during monsoon. I see them everyday, every time my train reaches Kharghar,every time when I take a train from Kharghar. But seldom do I go walking there, maybe because I am busy exploring the interiors and because of other commitments. I went there in December, but not during or just after the rainy season. Finally got a chance to visit, thanks to long weekends.:)
My friend Sneha and I had planned for an early morning walk, which ultimately became a nature trail. It is open only from 6 am – 9 am in the morning. But we started only late, 7 50 we were at the gate. People were coming down, while we were just about to start. The guard even warned us to be back on time, maybe because he saw Sneha’s camera or assumed we are lazy to come so late 😉

We started walking, initially at a good pace. Everyone there seemed so energetic and fresh, wishing each other good morning. The path was surrounded by green trees on both side. Our pace started reducing gradually, and then there was a time, when there were just two of us on the path !! We started capturing the beauty around us.While Sneha was capturing everything on her camera, I was just living the moment, and capturing everything in my heart. Due to monsoon, and even post monsoon showers, the flora and fauna were richest. There were  waterfalls also, some almost dried, and some small ones. Banana trees, Gulmohar trees and many wild plants accompanied us in our leisure walk. Crabs are very common, and keep running and side-walking throughout. Even butterflies, we saw so many of them !

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We were meeting after a long time, and there was lots to talk about. And the serenity of nature, gave the perfect moment for heart-to-heart talking session. We shared and discussed each other’s problems, and then ultimately left on a note that if something is meant to be,it will happen; We can only give our best and believe in positivity.

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The path seemed so very photogenic that we paused so many times for that perfect shot. The song “Tanha Dil” by Shaan came to my mind. I even shared this with Sneha, and then we both started singing the song. Then we realized that it was already 8:16 and we were not even half-way !! I told her to rush, but a photographer can’t miss to capture a place in its entirety. We saw a chameleon and she tried to capture it, but could not. We find them very fascinating, we discussed how it camouflages. In my mind, related it to life, how one should adapt to a situation, however it is.

Speeding up, I reached a little ahead of Sneha. There was a beautiful silence all around, and also the sounds of nature. The chirping sound of birds, the flow of wind, the humming noise of the insects and birds. It was so soothing. With the crowd of the city, and noisy horns we fail to listen the beautiful and diverse sounds of nature. I was lost for a moment, in the silence, in the beauty, or in my thoughts !! And then suddenly Sneha shouted, “Hey I got it”. She managed to capture a chameleon(not sure a garden lizard or a chameleon). Again, we restated, the power of positivity, hope and “if its meant to happen, it will”

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We reached the first view point, that time we realized that we have covered some distance and height. We saw some people there, resting after their walk/jog. It was a little foggy morning.

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Sneha wondered if there is more to see, and if we should go back. I told her to keep going, and it is worth it. By this time, all sweaty and drained because of humidity, still kept walking. We anyway had crossed the allowed timings, why not experience fully 😉

We met few villagers on the way. They seemed happy and content. I was wondering that they must be so used to climbing up and down the hill for basic necessities. I smiled and waved at them, they smiled back too 🙂

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Paced up and finally reached the end point. The point where it diverts into the village, and the view point. The Kharghar hill plateau was seen from there, full green and live. A better view of Kharghar, the entire node, the well planned one.

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Hence we considered our journey as successful, reaching till the top of hill. Learning so many things, getting so close with nature, spending quality time and clicking so many wonderful pictures. We asked for a lift while coming down, the driver had permissions to take the villagers, hence we were not asked any questions..

Let the journey never end…Keep moving

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Photo credits:  Sneha Panchal

Special thanks to her, contact her for photography assignments Contact Sneha Panchal

Contact me for exploring Navi Mumbai 🙂

Straight from My Heart,

Prakriti Singh

Gallery:

Owe Dam, Kharghar: The Beauty and the Beasts

The more I spend time with nature, the more I find myself, the more I realize that happiness lies within, yet we search it in others.

Owe dam, Kharghar is such a place, to find oneself , to get lost in nature, to experience peace ! The moment I reached, I was mesmerized by the beauty, green hills all around; the calm and quiet water in centre.

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The journey is more amazing, starts with wide clean roads and ends with off roading on muddy ground; starts with city and ends falling in love with a village, Owe camp.

I have been there many times, and every time I go there, I find and learn something new. The first time I went there, I was speechless. The nature lover within me wanted to stay there forever, and experience nature in its true form. Only a few minutes there can make someone feel so relaxed and peaceful from within.Every time I promise myself to be there back again. My friend took me there for the first time, it was an unplanned visit. We were four of us in car. The way is through Owe camp, and includes off-roading.Muddy roads surrounded by rice fields accompany us till the destination. We felt like dancing in joy, the colour green has some energy attached to it; it denotes freedom, freedom to grow. The green grass all around made us feel free, free from pollution, free from the crowd, and free from the hustle and bustle of the city. There were few villagers who were swimming in the dam water. We crossed the hill and sat peacefully on the other side. The place seemed untouched by humans, and that fascinated us more.

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The second time, we were three girls on a two wheeler. More fun to drive on the muddy roads 😉 Actually no, I was at the last and had to get down every time it got stuck. Unaware of the destination, they kept doubting me and my decision to come there, somehow I convinced them to keep going. This time we had to park our vehicle, a little far from the destination.

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On the way we met a villager, she owned the rice fields there. We confirmed our way to the dam, and kept going. The feeling and sight on reaching was just the same, but there was something which was changed. The beauty of nature, which I described as untouched by humans, seemed disturbed. The place which was earlier just green had plastics and wrappers for biscuits and snacks. There were bottles at some places, bottles of alcohol. I don’t understand why people destroy nature to consume alcohol. There are places meant for that. We just sat for sometime, discussed few life-goals and left. On our way back, we met the same female, she was so excited to show the fields, so we had a look. She even posed for us. She explained a little about her life, and views on how “city people” act smart and destroy the beauty of the place. It was nice interacting with her, we learned that few boys got drowned while swimming in the dam. She then continued her work, and we continued to the “city”.

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The next time, I went there in the morning. My office friend wanted to see the place. It rained a lot the night before, hence the drive was difficult this time too. We had to park a few metres ahead of the destination, because of the fresh wet mud and puddles. Everything seemed more beautiful in the morning, the fresh green grass, the fields, the hills and the water ! We tried to capture the serenity of nature, which slowly got transferred within.  It is difficult to describe the feeling, because some things can only be experienced.

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On our way back, I was disappointed to see that the stone quarrying activities near it, have increased to a significant level. In the middle of such beauty, it was a disturbing sight !!

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I wonder why do we humans keep disturbing nature ? Why do we disturb the balance, why do we destroy beauty, litter, pollute and spoil everything ! Are we humans , or beasts ? Can’t we keep some things as it is ? Can’t we live in harmony !

Hoping the next time I go there I don’t find some new beastly activity of humans. Till then, have a feel of the journey…

Humble request – If you plan to go there, please do not litter and be a human, not a beast 🙂

Thanks

Straight from my heart,

Prakriti

Video credits: Matthew Varkey

Song suggestion for video: Sindhya B.

Contact me for exploring Navi Mumbai 🙂

Lets Get MODIfied

Narendra Modi’s victory , or rather India’s victory , has led to waves of happiness, hopes and anticipation of betterment. No, I am not going to write ‘Ab ki Baar… ‘ slogans or about hopes of change. Social media is already buzzed with it.. I obviously want the change to occur, India wants change and hence the decision.

People need to change first, specially the youth. There is a lot to learn from Modi’s life, from his story, and from his future plans… Implementing those learnings in our life, will help us become better people, better citizens and ultimately will help build a nation of energized and optimistic youth.

Some of the lessons that should be taken from Narendra Modi’s life are:

Optimism:

He is always optimistic regarding India’s future. He strongly believes that changes will take place. ”In 5 years, India will be a better nation ” shows the positivity in his attitude. When someone can be so confident about the condition of the country and his capabilities to do so, why do we doubt ourselves for even simple tasks! Its the positivity which gives us energy to reach our goals.

Find a goal and follow it;

Identify what makes you happy, what do you actually want to do in life. It can be as broad a goal like ” I want to do something for the country” . Once realized, narrow it down and find a path towards it.
Its fine if we dont know what we want from life, Modi wandered in the Himalayas, leaving family and home behind in search of finding a goal !

Turning Adversity into Opportunity:

This trait is very evident in our PM, from a tea seller at Vadnagar station, to the PM, it shows that he took all the unpleasant situations as an opportunity.

Dare to Dream:

Whatever be the present situation, always have a dream. However impossible may it seems but real winners are those who have a dream. Narendra Modi dared to dream inspite of the adverse situations, he dint go by the conventional path , and joined RSS and began his political career.

True Success is not a matter of few days

Narendra Modi’s story is another big example that there are no shortcuts to success. Success comes with struggle, failure, hardwork and perseverance. Also that success is not easy and it may take years for one’s actual dream to get fulfilled.

We , the youth wants instant success , we want high initial packages, we want our own house, car and what not, in very less time!! And these desires when not fulfilled, we are filled with disappointment and regrets. We search for happiness in materialistic things. And in this pursuit of happiness, we tend to forget our dreams, goals and passions. The number of dissatisfied or unemployed engineers and doctors is an evidence of this…

Hoping for a better youth and a stable economy…lets learn something from today’s hero…

– Straight from my Heart,
Prakriti.

Spirit Of Independent India

15th August 2013 , Today India celebrated it’s 67th Independence Day. Our Indian flags , patriotic songs,  movies,  speeches the day was full of patriotism.

Everywhere,  there was the beautiful tricolour,  our National flag. I was dressed in tricolour too. It made me feel very good, dressed in those three colours. It gave me a sense of love and respect for the country. I wanted to show that I am proud, proud to be an Indian. I was not alone, I saw many people wearing the colours of India. I am always very happy and enthusiastic for Independence Day, like most of the people are for other festivals.

I came across a message in a mall today, “Saare jahaan se acha se Hindustaan hamara, Tera na mera , Bharat mahan mera ” meaning, India is the best , it’s not yours nor mine, it’s our, Our Great India. 🙂 I found the message very beautiful, and the underlying message of unity which it gives.

The day went very good. I was very happy to see the Independence Day celebrations everywhere. But there are few things which disturb me too.There are some people, it’s just one day, when they should think about the country! It’s such a shame when people think like that. It’s your Mother Land, how can one not love it, respect it or be proud of ir always !!

Yes our country is not perfect, there are many flaws but no country is perfect !! If it is not are you doing anything for it? Or atleast do you wish to do anything for it. It’s not necessary that one needs to be great to do anything for the country. Small small things and changes can make a difference too. For example, there are many who say India is not as clean as other countries, then why don’t they change their attitude and stop littering !!
Many teenagers share morphed and edited pictures of Indian leaders on social networking , and making fun of their failures, it doesn’t prove your greatness, but it is showing the world that you are weak. I broadcasted a message on whatsapp, saying to keep the spirit of independence alive, not only today but forever. And I get a reply like ” Independence Day is over ” I felt so shocked and irritated. So what?? Does it mean to stop loving or respecting a country?!

I know few people, teenagers and college students, who describe girls who wear Salwar kameez as ‘ Behanji ‘ . I really pity them. Why should someone be ashamed to wear Indian and ethnic clothes?! The youth believes it’s not ‘hep’ or not ‘cool’. But I feel it’s a shame when one doesn’t respect the traditional attire.

It’s human tendency to see the bad things first. Even a baby or a small kid learns bad things very easily than the good habits. There are many things in India to be proud of. It’s rich culture, diversity, unity. India has contributed a lot in fields of science and mathematics too. Well there are many many things. ( I can write a separate blog on it 😉 )

So be proud of your country. Don’t be ashamed of it. Just love it selflessly and truly. I do.
If you want changes to take place in your country, be the change, because the youth today, is the future of India.

Jai Hind.

– Straight From My Heart,

Prakriti Singh

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