Below is the list of books I plan to read in 2014.
I have been using eclipse as an IDE for last two years, but lately I decided to give it up and get my hands dirty on Emacs. The reasons behind this shift is eclipse(Java) consuming significant amount of memory of my laptop; vim or emacs were two choices I could think of and decided to go with later.
I understand Emacs has a very steep learning curve, but once mastered can be turned into a powerful editor. Started with the default tutorial with comes with Emacs and http://david.rothlis.net/emacs/howtolearn.html.
The default tutorial is a good starter for which start Emacs and press C-h t(where C is control/ctrl key). Will update this content with news commands I learn on the way.
- C-h t
- C-f: Move forward a character
- C-b: Move backward a character
- M-f: Move forward a word
- M-b: Move backward a word
- C-n: Move to next line
- C-p: Move to previous line
- C-a: Move to the beginning of the line
- C-e: Move to the end of the the line
- M-a: Move to the beginning of the sentence
- M-e: Move to the end of the sentence
Finally I am back to mountains: a place I always wanted to be. It’s been a year I haven’t blogged. Hope to see more activity soon. Infact Arpit agreed to write again.
Our first day in McLeod Ganj was spent visiting Tsuglagkhang Temple (Dalai Lama’s Temple), Bhagsu Waterfall and some art galleries. But most of our time was spent sipping some new variety of tea at Green Hotel. In the evening we tried to follow a candle light procession and somehow lost track of them in the streets of McLeod Ganj. Overall it was a productive day. Somehow at the end of the day we started talking some strange stuff like spirituality, salvation, desire over a cup of tea; may be it was the effect of surrounding.
Our plan for the next day was to head towards Triund which is a one day trek from McLeod Ganj. We decided that we would stay there overnight. We started off early next day and staying at Green Hotel breakfast wasn’t a problem. The trip started with 15 mins bumpy ride in an auto rickshaw till Dharamkot. Triund was around 9 kms from this point. Weather in Dharamshala is really unpredictable. Sometimes you can witness a clear day followed by rain or may be storm and after a while you might see the sun again but you are not really sure how long will that last since you see clouds covering the sky again.
The mushrooming commercialization of tourism industry hasn’t left any place untouched. This place wasn’t an exception but Mountain Cleaners and the local of McLeod Ganj had taken a step forward to save the ecology of the place. The trekkers could carry a bag which was available at tea shops on the way and bring back all the thrash they found on the trekking route and dispose it in thrash bins kept at these tea shops. Some people were concerned enough to carry a bag and some were least bothered and very happy littering around.
After 4 hours of trek and a brief halt at Magic View tea shop we finally reached Triund. The top gave an unobstructed view of Dhauladhar ranges. Accommodation was available in tents but the place was hit by a storm previous night so we gave up the idea of staying there overnight.
We started exploring the place. The view was awesome and I could hear someone playing guitar somewhere in the woods. I followed the music and found that some one was playing guitar behind a rock. I stopped at a point where I could hear the music clear enough and soon was followed by Pranay. We sat there for a while enjoying the music and the view.
The sky was getting cloudy again so it was time to get back. We had food in one of the tea shops and headed back to McLeod Ganj picking up thrash thrown on the trekking route. Fortunately it didn’t rain much apart from a drizzle for few minutes. We reached McLeod Ganj and went to Green Hotel for a cup of tea. Had a brief talk about same spirituality stuff. The buses for Delhi left Dharamshala in the evening. As usual we didn’t have any prior booking. So we had to travel in different buses. Pranay headed towards Delhi and I took a bus to Chandigarh to start yet another journey.
The bus reached Dharamshala bus stand around 7 in the morning. A hot cup of chai(Indian Tea) was a perfect thing to start the day.
The journey to McLeod Ganj was another 20 mins by a bus. Summers, hill station, a bus full of tourists last night and auspicious day of birth of Gautama Buddha. Taking all the factors into account I had expecting that we would have a hard time to find a decent accommodation. We randomly moved towards a street called Bhagsu Road and checked for the availability of rooms in Green Hotel. No prior booking and the first hotel we pick up turns out be really good; I guess life couldn’t be more good.
The hotels had rooms ranging from $17 to $ 50. One of the best thing about the hotel was it’s restaurant. The restaurant opens up at 7 a.m. and it is one of the few places in town to head for an early breakfast. Not just it opens up early but the food is good too. The best thing we liked over there was the variety of tea they served.
The concept of “Fill your bottle” was one thing to be appreciated. Mountain Cleaners (a non-profit organization based in McLeod Ganj) came up with this idea. The stuff is simple:refill your bottle instead of buying a new packaged water bottle which would eventually decrease usage of plastic bottles. So most of restaurants in McLeod Ganj will have a water dispensing machine where you can pay Rs. 10 per liter to refill your water bottle. 20 lt. of packaged water is mounted on the dispenser, it is the same packaged water you buy in any shop so it is safe for drinking.
Landed up in McLeod Ganj without a plan, managed to get tickets, luckily found a good hotel without much hassle. Sometimes traveling without with a plan helps.
P.S.: I finished writing this post at a place where I didn’t have access to the photos I had shot in McLeod Ganj.
Image courtesy: http://www.greenhotel.biz/ for the last two photos.
Traveling 7 hours from Ludhiana I reached Delhi around 4 p.m. to start another trip and I wasn’t really sure where actually I was heading. I wasn’t doing this trip alone and had my friend Pranay along with me. We had decided either we would head towards somewhere in Uttarakhand or may be visit McLeod Ganj.
We didn’t have prior booking to any of these two places. Forget the hotels we didn’t even bother to book bus tickets for the journey and it was highly likely that we won’t get tickets to either of these places at the last moment as mercury was rising high in Delhi and most of people were heading towards hills. And add to that we were planning we were planning to travel to McLeod Ganj(headquarter of Tibetan Government in Exile and official residence of His Holiness Dalia Lama) a day before Buddha Purnima.
According to PLAN Pranay reached ISBT Delhi around 6:30 p.m. and was trying his luck to manage tickets for the trip to Dharamshala. I reached there an hour later to still find him waiting in the line. Well we decided to try our luck first to manage tickets for Dharamshala and in case we weren’t able to do so we would head towards Dehradun. Things in India are mismanaged and living in India we get used to these things but imagine the situation of a guy who has just returned from Seattle. Well over here this guy was my dear friend Pranay. Well we waited in that mismanaged line where guys with long hands have higher priority in the queue to the person standing in front of them and there are some guys with jugaad who always have the highest priority. Well in spite of these guys we managed to get tickets to McLeod Ganj. Well the trip begins…
Note: Well we were lucky enough to get the tickets but would suggest that you get your journey tickets before hand especially in summers. The link below contains the bus schedule for Dharamshala from ISBT Delhi.
A beautiful small town on the Western Ghats, just 340 kms from Pune, Ratnagiri stands home to a number of forts, temples and places of historic importance.
I got to know about this city while reading one of Amitav Ghosh’s novel – The Glass Palace. It described the last king of Burma spending his time under British confinement at a small place in Ratnagiri. To be true, I loved the part in the book, where the king spent his time watching sea, mountains and birds with his palace there. It depicted a kind of tranquility factor for this place.
So, as usual unplanned to the maximum we were. Boarding our trains from Panvel and reaching Ratnagiri at a very early 5 am. We started our small search for a decent hotel, and ended up at a relatively good place called Swaroop Hotel. It was at a relatively easy to reach location. Anyways what we all were looking was a short power nap and get ready for this awesome weekend.
We went to RatanDurga Fort first. It’s not too far from the city, just a 20 minute rickshaw ride to the top. Covered three sides with sea; it presented a mesmerizing view of the unending vastness of the ocean. And if the weather wishes, you might just see a rain storm coming in front of you. The fort also holds Bhagwati temple which was just as calm as the peaceful sea encompassing it.
The other side of the fort was a light house too. No pakka path till there, so we just trekked to that location. And it was worth it. Like one more step closer to being natural. Cool wind, drizzle defining its texture and makes it more absorbing. Wow. Standing on a mountain cliff, with the vast Arabian sea till you can see and rain drops hitting your face. Godly.
Our next stop was the Theba Palace. Yes, the same place I mentioned before here. Place where last king of Burma was kept. It was on a different hill, with an entirely different view of the sea. I can somehow feel myself in his shoes and see the pain which someone of his stature and intelligence must have felt with his kingdom his everything lost. The place was tranquil no doubt. But somehow it gave me an impression of a lot of rebellious thoughts kept in detention. The place was balanced, but something somewhere was trying to tilt the equilibrium. May be that’s what Theba actually wanted.
The next places were the Theba view point (close to the palace) and the two beaches surrounding the Ratnadurga Fort. They were Mandwi and Bhyate. Lovely places both of them. Had some real good gaon ki chai over there.
The rain was with us every now and then. And gave us no chance whatsoever to completely dry up at any part of the day. Exactly what I wished for.
Ate the famous Ratnagiri Haafus mangoes. It made me realize why we call mangoes as king of fruits over here in India. The turn was to eat and taste some authentic Konkan sea food curries. We tried crab and oysters. Made me realize everything requires some practice before you can actually enjoy it. Eating seafood properly could also be a PhD topic in few years.
Well, for the second day, stay tuned for the next post.
Standing on the hill top of Maikal ranges in Chhattisgarh I stared absently at the vastness of the dense forest below and realized that still such places exist that are left untouched by mushrooming commercialization of tourism industry. Chaiturgarg fort one of the 36 forts of Chhattisgarh is situated on this hill top which now lies in a dilapiatated condition with few stone statues and rock painting on the walls of the fort.
The fort is located around 80 kms from Bilaspur and hardly sees few visitors and often visitors are from nearby places who come here for a weekend recreation. I had visited the fort in the month of February on a foggy day. The fog had made the trek into the forest more thrilling as you are not really sure what lies inside the woods. It took around 45 minutes to reach the top of the hill from the point where the vechiles had to be parked. On the hill top one can find an old temple and some shops which basically sell stuff like packaged water, chips etc and even cook food for you which is very limited in option. In case you aren’t carrying our own food make sure to place your order at one of such shops before you start off with your trek. Well we did the same thing, placed the order for the lunch and went exploring the jungles and the fort.
The trek into the forest is sort of circular path which takes around 3 hours to finish and there are couple of points on the way which give you a spectacular view of the forest. The fog had made the trek a bit thrilling as there was no visibility beyond 100 meters and fear of attack by some wild animal made chill run down our spine. After visiting the Shiv Gufa(has an interesting story behind it) on the way we reached back to the place we had started around 4 p.m. and the shop owner was sort of pissed off as we had told her that we would be back by 2 p.m. The food was simple which consisted of rice, vegetables and daal. After having food we left for Bilaspur.
From past few years I loved traveling to unexplored places but had never imagined that I would write about some remote place in Chhattisgarh one day. Well you never know what is next when you rely on more on your fate than your plans while traveling.
Traveling lets you experience and witness some things which you thought to be non-existent or just a myth. Things like a dead man coming back to life, a bunch of saints dancing in a state of trance and beating themselves with chains and swords and still enjoying it.
Believe it not but when you see things happening in front of your eyes you just can’t deny the fact. Well what I witnessed brought a felling of astonishment and a bit of fear. What else one could expect when you see a dead man coming back to life in front of your eyes. Kullu better know as Kullu-Manali is a popular hill station. The place has a rich tradition and to experience it you have to go beyond the popular destinations mentioned in travel guides and head towards villages. Usually in the month of May most of the villages in Kullu have a mela(fair) going on and it is here where you can experience some interesting things happening. Well let me narrate what I saw in one such fair. The locals have a strong faith in the village deity and in these melas the deity is worshiped by the locals. What I saw in one such mela goes like this. I saw a man all dressed up wearing a yellow turban and really excited and happy. I was told by the locals that he would be killed in few minutes and the deity of the village would bring him back to life. I said to myself: “Why is that guy so excited to be killed !!!. I know he would get his life back but still in case something goes wrong you are screwed.”. Well that guy really lost his life and was brought back to life again. I don’t know how it works but it really did.
World is full of strange things and traveling makes you experience such things though it’s hard to believe but when things happen in front of eyes you can’t deny it.
P.S.: I have lost my laptop while I was traveling to Chandigarh last year. So for a while bear with articles without photos. :p
Luck is an essential factor for wildlife photographers and travelers. Sometime one has to wait for hours just to spot a tiger while exploring some tiger reserve and sometimes when luck is in your favor a tiger crosses the road in front of your car.
Well this is a tale about a unlucky traveler( that would be me) and some lucky minister. So here we go. I have been driving through Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh from past few days. Everytime I cross the tiger reserve I wish that will I be lucky enough to spot a tiger, leopard or at least some wild bison or a deer. But I guess I wasn’t lucky enough to spot some animal except monkeys. But somehow some minister of CG spotted a panther in the same tiger reserve on the same day and few minutes before we passed the place he spotted the panther.
Luck wasn’t in my favor this time. I thought I could spot some animals on my way back or may be next time. Though I passed through this reserve couple of times in a span of 10 days but wasn’t lucky enough to spot anything other than same old monkeys.