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A date with Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Toy Train, Kurseong

February 23, 2017 5 comments

A date with Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Toy Train

Kurseong

See also: Maragaret’s Deck FAM

A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

500 miles

We heard the whistle blow, but it was not hundred miles away, in fact it was less than hundred yards away. It was a foggy winter afternoon and we were at the Margaret’s Deck digging into a exotic lunch spread.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Toy Train in front of Margaret's Deck

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Toy Train in front of Margaret’s Deck

Off went your lunch and we rushed out of the Margaret’s Deck, with our cameras, to photography the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Toy Train (Also read: Chasing the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Kurseong – Mahanadi), an UNESCO Heritage site.

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Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

February 15, 2017 12 comments

Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck

Goodricke’s Margaret Hope Tea Estate, Kurseong

See also: Maragaret’s Deck FAM

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are exxcited, it will calm you.

William Gladstone, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom

My first stint with Tea Tasting happened at the Goodricke office in Kolkata. I remember tasting several version and trying to distinguish between the different tastes and flavoures.

 Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

But I always wanted to have a tea tasting experience at the heart of chai country. The opportunity again came from Goodricke, with MSL Group as the public relation partner.

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Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

January 27, 2017 2 comments

Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, MP

Malik Mughith’s Mosque, Caravan Sarai, Dai ka Mahal, Dai ki Chhoti  Bahen ka Mahal and Unknown Tomb

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Sagar Talao, the largest lake in the Citadel of Mandu is located on the southern part of Mandu. Along the eastern banks of the lake are several monuments, which are clubbed together as the Sagar Talao Group.

sagar-4

A panoramic view of the Malik Mughith’s Mosque, Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

North of the Sagar Talao Group is the Darya Khan Group and further south is the Rewa Kund Group (see: map).

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Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Abode of Ahilya Bai

December 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Abode of Ahilya Bai

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Ahilya Bai is second to none in valour, sagacity and eminence. Nobody can equate her in these matters.

Nana Phadnavis

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

The massive Maheshwar Fort stands on hill overlooking the Narmada River on the south. The stupendous walls of the Maheshwar Fort rises straight out of the Narmada River to a height of more than 30 meters.

The Maheshwar Fort dates back to antiquity and there are no clear evidence of its first construction. The fort as we see today was conceived during the reign of Ahilya Bai Holkar (1767 – 95).

Ahilya Bai, was the daughter in law of Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of Hindu Maratha dynasty of Holkar, who ruled central India from Indore.

Ahilya Bai was born in 1725 in the village of Chondi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Her father was Mankoji Shinde, a village chief. Unusual for the time he tought her daughter to read and write.

According to legend one day Malhar Rao Holkar, while passing through the village of Chondi spotted the 8 year old Ahilya Bai.

Pleased with her beauty and personality he brought her home as a bride for her son Malhar Rao Holkar. They were married in 1733. Ahilya Bai become a widow in 1754, when her husband Malhar Rao Holkar, died during the siege of Kumbher.

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Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

December 7, 2016 2 comments

Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

Birding Trip for a non Birder

Also see: Familirazation (FAM) tour of the Birding Trail of East Sikkim

It was a hot summer afternoon in a cafe in Salt Lake, Kolkata, I was having a discussion with Siddhartha of Wandervogel Adventures on my future blogging projects. As the discussion progressed Siddhartha briefed me about Wandervogel Adventure’s next trip to Sikkim a Birding Trip along the Silk Route of Sikkim. 

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

The briefing was soon complete and to my utter surprise Siddhartha invited me to join the Birding Trail of East Sikkim. Wild life tours and photography has never been cup of tea and joining a group on experienced birders on a birding trail is the last thing I imagined.

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Rewa Kund Group, Mandu, Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion

November 2, 2016 10 comments

Rewa Kund Group, Mandu

Baz Bahadur Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion

Eternal Love Story of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

The Rewa Kund Group, consisting of Rewa Kund, Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion is located at the southern end of the Citadel of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

L: Baz Bahadur and Roopmati enjoying a horse ride, C: Both riding in the moonlight, R: Attack of Mandu by Akbar's army (Source: Wikinedia Commons)

L: Baz Bahadur and Roopmati enjoying a horse ride, C: Both riding in the moonlight, R: Attack of Mandu by Akbar’s army (Source: Wikinedia Commons)

The most enchanting and romantic of the Mandu groups is the Rewa Kund Group. It stills speaks of the legend of Baz Bahadur and his consort Roopmati. The stories of the love affair of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati make up some of the most enchanting folk lores of Mandu.

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British War Memorial, Nathang, Sikkim Silk Route

September 14, 2016 3 comments

British War Memorial

Nathang (Gnathang), Sikkim Silk Route

Also see: Familirazation (FAM) tour of the Birding Trail of East Sikkim

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East from China to the Mediterranean Sea. [Source: Wikipedia]

British War Memorial, Nathang (Gnathang), Sikkim Silk Route, East Sikkim

British War Memorial, Nathang (Gnathang), Sikkim Silk Route, East Sikkim

The original silk route connected China with Mediterranean and past north of the Himalayas, but there were several other routes, which connected the Indian subcontinent with the main silk route. One such route passed through North Bengal and East Sikkim and entered Tibet via Nathu La or Jelep La.

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