Trip to Auli - Day 2

>> Friday, January 22, 2010

Contd from previous post "Trip to Auli - Day 1"

Neither of us realized the alarm go off at 4:00 AM and when we finally did get up, it was 8:30 AM..!! :-O

The only other option to reach Joshimath was to travel the 8 hours/300 kms by taxi. We knew it was going to be Rs. 3000 (as per our homework) two-way, as in we have to pay for the return journey as well. But it turned out to be Rs. 4000. We tried our bargaining skills with the taxi federation or whatever there, but to no avail and so we were put on an Ambassador car, our driver being a Akram. He later introduced himself to us as Vikram.

The views on the outskirts of Dehradun were good. It was very foggy as well.
Even at 10:30 AM, the visibility remained hampered.

There are a lot of camping sites on the way. There are lots of shops the locals have set up that offer camping, trekking and rafting. The camps looked inviting with tents and gazebo kind of things set up on the river side. The river itself was blue-green in color with white sands on the shores. With all that in India, who wants New Zealand n such ? :)

After crossing Rishikesh (about 50 kms from Dehradun city) the views get a little monotonous and boring, surrounded by humongous mountains on all sides. The river and mountains followed us the entire stretch.

The road was pathetic, very close to the Bangalore Mangalore Highway, you need to search for the road amidst the potholes. Our driver was good and used to such roads and hence the drive did not get uncomfortable. We stopped for lunch at Srinagar (not Kashmir's Srinagar, this is halfway to Joshimath). The food wasn't too good, or maybe we did not order the right things :P Anyway, after lunch we got the first glimpse of snow-capped mountains, a first for Ashwin, very far off in the horizon. The camera that came out then did not go back in until it was too dark for photography. I still cannot believe that he spent two hours when I dozed off doing nothing but clicking those monotonous mountains.

The drive through the mountains is unlike the ghats we had traveled earlier (i.e, ascending the mountain one way, descending the other). Instead we traversed the perimeter of mountain after mountain after mountain. Seven hours of the same thing.

We reached Joshimath at about 8:00 PM. We had our booking done at Hotel Dronagiri and the person in charge, Surendar was already waiting for us.

Looking through all the available options online we had settled for this one. We preferred to stay at
GMVN Resort, the log cabins looked so inviting. But on inquiring we found that the cabins are not rented during this time of the year. So the next option was Hotel Dronagiri. The room was spacious and the bathroom, clean. There was a heater but one needs to be within 30 cm radius to feel the heat. But I'd recommend Hotel Dronagiri for anyone going to Auli. The food is good, the room rent reasonable and the people friendly.

It was hard getting used to the temperature. Whatever we touched felt like ice - the walls, the door knob, the keys, the bed even. It was hard using the washroom - one
has to touch water :P

Going through the torture, we went down to have dinner and surprisingly the food was better than we expected. It was too cold to venture out for a stroll. With no streetlights it was too dark as well and so we decided to go back to our room.

The bed and blankets all felt like pieces of ice. Once you have slept in one place, be there. That is the only place that will be warm. Outside your perimeter, its all cold as ice :P With this knowledge and two thick quilts over us, we crashed.

End of Day 2.
To be continued...


Trip to Auli - Day 1

The trip started on 9 Jan, 2010 at the vee hours of 4:00 AM. The hardest part of getting up so early and the next hardest part of giving directions to our house to a confused taxi driver tackled, we were all set to the airport. I had not expected the roads and the lightings to look so spectacular in the dark. It was better than Mumbai's Queens necklace :D

Reaching the airport (Bangalore International Airport) and checked in, had an expensive Idli/vada/sambar (Rs. 90) and roamed around the duty free shops till it was time to leave. The Go Indigo flight was scheduled to take off at 6:30 AM. The gates opened at 5:50 and by 6:15 we were tucked in nicely in the aircraft, though the leg space was a little cramped. We even got to see the sunrise on our flight and it was oh so beautiful.

Landed at Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Airport) by 9:00 AM. The outside temperature was 10 degrees. It was cold, tolerable and thick smoke was visible when people spoke :D

Our next destination was Dehradun. The train was at 3:30 in the afternoon and we spent our time at the airport till around noon. At noon we booked ourselves a taxi from the airport to take us to NDLS railway station. The drive took about half an hour and cost us Rs. 300. Had a good lunch at the railway station. The cleanliness and hygene at the railway hotel took me by surprise. The food was good too. When we were done, the announcement was made that our train is delayed by one and a half hours, that is, it would be at 5:00 PM. We passed time in the waiting room. We had our respective novels packed too, so the waiting wasn't very hard :D

The train did come on time but the departure was delayed by another hour. It was the first time we were travelling by AC chair car and the compartment as well as the 8-hour journey was good. Ate chowmein, paneer pakoda, and cutlets in the train. We reached Dehradun at 11:30 PM, a good two hours later than we should have, given the delay. Our booking was done at Hotel Siddarth which is a 5 minute walk from the railway station. The room is OK for a night's stay, the hot water being the only plus point of the hotel. There is only one bus that goes to Joshimath from Dehradun and it starts at 5:00 AM. We were happy to have done our homework well and the receptionist at Hotel Siddarth had the same thing to share. A good bath and half an hour later we were dozing off under thick blankets with the alarm set for 4:00 AM.

End of Day 1.
To be contd...


Update on the get-together

>> Monday, January 4, 2010

The Prabhu family get together was a huge success, as in saw some new faces, met old ones n enjoyed. What surprised me more was that Ashwin took part in the games too. Usually he likes to sit n watch or if pulled into some work by his dad, he'd do that. But participating in something like this is so not like him. But it did make me happy that he did.

The program started with breakfast. After that the family tree was explained. Then all the families were introduced. One person from each family came up to the stage n introduced their family. A slideshow was played with pictures of family members. Those present there had to come forward and a pic was clicked.

After that there was a discussion whether the get together should be continued in the future, and if yes, how often it should be done - yearly, once in two/three years. The final conclusion I don't remember, I was too nervous about my upcoming dance performance.

Yeah, so the next program in line was the entertainment programs. There were 3 dance performances by kids, 3 by adults, one play and one karate show. I went for my make up along with MIL. It was really sweet of her to help me with the make up n stuff. Ashwin's cousins too helped me with my dress n make up. After that they went back to the audience n I sat waiting for my turn. Meanwhile 2 of the kids' dance was over. There was one more to go before mine. I was a nervous wreck, wanted to visit the loo so very much but the sight of it only made it worse. I wanted to puke. Thankfully, just then Ashwin came to the dressing room to check on me and I asked for water. That was only my 2nd glass of water for the day. My kidneys were about to blow when suddenly my name was announced. With hands/legs shaking I went to the stage n stood there without lookin at the audience, praying. Why wasn't the song starting...God... And then finally... 'Na re na re...' (the song was Barso re Megha from Guru; no this isn't the traditional dance I was planning on doing earlier. I was thinkin of doing Kaahe chhed from Devdas. Thank God, sense prevailed in me). I don't know what happened after this. I only remember that halfway through a few seconds of the song were broken n I picked up from the next second too... And after it was over people started to congratulate me on a performance well done. I was happy. It was only when I watched the video later that I felt "Aww... this sucks".

Note to self: Next time record a video BEFORE the performance so that all the mistakes are there for me to see n correct.

I was glad when it was over. And strangely, I did not feel the need to pee till after 6:30 in the evening.

So then I removed the extra make up and went back to the audience to watch the rest of the program. All the programs were nice n entertaining. After that it was lunch break. Food was good - Pulao, paneer curry, gobi manchurian, chilli papad (happolu), rice, rasam (saaru), some sweet (that sweet puri that u eat after pouring milk in the middle, go figure :P ) n curd.

After lunch the whole family was divided into four groups. A little cheating (hush now.. ;o) )n all four of us (MIL, Ashwin, Bharath n me) ended up in the same group. The quiz was quite easy n we were leading by quite a few points. It was sooo much fun. By the end of it my throat was sore shouting/screaming. Looked like no one could beat us. Then came the "flush". The quiz points would be retained n the points of other games would be added and the final winner team would get some prize. The very next game had us trailing :( Sudoku. Only one person completed it and she was from our closest rival team. After that though we won quite a few games, we never actually overtook them :( Housie-housie next. The winners got a 1 kilo packet of basmati rice... :D Nope, none of us won them.

The rest of the games were fun too. Some games for kids n then fire in the mountain rounds (whatever.. don't ask me the name), there came the couple rounds. There 2 -3 of them. No amount of coaxing could make my partner to take part. And after a while, after I had stopped, just like that he got up said, 'Let's go' :D He even agreed to have me tie him a pony (for a game). He had refused to have me do that to him even when we were alone n that he agreed for it to be done in public was just so surprising :) And not to mention, we won that game for our group :D But like I said our group came second :(

Oh, there was biskut rotti (yes, biskut) for evening tea somewhere in between.
After that we had to run home to pack our bags. We came back after changing for a quick dinner of rice, kolmbo n tendle talasani. All yummier than the lunch menu. Then it was time for our bus to Bangalore :(

But it was all so much fun... No complaints. :)


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