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Friday, April 28, 2017

12 Genuine Secrets to Save Money on Travel & Trips

Raise your hand if you really want to travel more this year, but don't really have the money to make it happen. Well, my hands are up in the air. 😊🙌

Being a travel enthusiast, I love when I get great travel deals. Wouldn’t you?

I always keep my travel backpack ready and hit the roads whenever I can. I started as traveler only 12 months back and so far, I have been to Shimla, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Mohali, Haridwar, Jaipur, McLord Ganj, Garh Ganga, Varanasi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Bharatpur, Neemrana, Mathura & Vrindavan, Agra, Gwalior, Bhopal, Jhansi, Jabalpur, Mumbai and Lonavala. 
Mount Abu or Shrinagar in the plan for upcoming trips. 

No wonder, you might have a question, how I manage time with my corporate job and most importantly, how I manage my expenses. Undoubtedly, traveling can be a pricey hobby. 
But, I have learned a lot by being a wanderer and if anything these trips have taught me, then it would be how to make trips most economical in terms of time and money yet full of fun and joy. 

I will be sharing my secrets on “How I save money while traveling “ in a minute, but before that, a suggestion, that I follow religiously. Take control of trips and stay flexible. 

Flexibility in my travels plans is what I prefer most —  Don’t all of us have got enough deadline pressure in our lives! Then why to be forced into a snap decision, especially when it is meant for relaxation and obviously there would be no refund of either of things, time and money. I prefer to keep my plans flexible till the date I set off. 

Well, let's get to the secret tips of money saving while traveling. Here I am sharing my 6 every green tips to save money on travels. 
And, I think they could save you quite a bit of money when planning your next adventure.

1. Don’t stay in a hotel: 
Say no to hotels, for all your trips lasting more than three nights and less than 2 nights. 
For the trips lasting less than 2 nights, hunt for govt. guest houses, local charitable guesthouses or homestays. Talk to locals and you can easily find out more cost effective deals. 
On trips longer than 3 nights stay, you can easily save 40 to 60 percent of your lodging expense by booking an empty apartment or a service apartment or a condo with a kitchen, instead of a hotel room.
There are several online services that help you in finding local homestays. 
It saved me not only on lodging expenses but on meals too. 
2. Using specialized search engines to save on flights: 
Though I prefer road trips or trains, but when it comes to shopping for airfare, I check with Flight Search feature on Bing, Google, and Kayak. 
What I love about Kayak is, insisted on selling tickets, it culls data from plenty of travel sites and pops a discounter, to actually get the best available deal.
On the other hand, Bing advises, whether to wait for fares to drop based on historical pricing. That has saved me hundreds of dollars.

3. Cross Checking fares at the airline’s site, too: 
They’re frequently, but not always, cheaper than what you'll find with the search engines and discount-fare sites. (Read here on How to Get Cheapest Air Tickets.)

4. Checking Trip Advisor and Tripoto:  
I religiously check these two sites every time when I need to book a hotel. These sites always give the true picture of hotel and minimum price possible. 
TripAdvisor shares hotel and restaurant reviews are written by people who’ve been to those places already. No doubt, some people just like to gripe, but if you notice a pattern of comments making you leery, you should probably look elsewhere.

5. Calling Hotel Directly, rather than booking on a consolidator’s site or via travel agent: 
When I do need to stay at a hotel, I always get the best possible deals from renowned as well local travel agents. I also check online to find the best price. 
Then I visit the hotel website itself and call the number provided in Contact Us tab to see if I can get that price or a better one. 
Also, I find it easy to make special requests, like a room on an upper floor with a great view and negotiating the price, which is not possible online or with a consolidator.

6. Get on mailing or email lists of hotels or home stays:  
Generally, I prefer not to share my e-mail id with hotels or home stays, but if I find a place worth loving and feel that I could stay here on my next visit, I put my details on the list. Hotels often dangle their sweetest offerings to returning customers. 
And, that has actually saved me money and with great service in next visit.  

7. Travel in low season:
I prefer traveling to some particular places in off seasons. Traveling off season helps me in securing some better bargains. Hotel or homestay costs tend to be low in off seasons, the flight tickets get cheaper and most important, I find my destination a lot less crowded.

8. Flying indirect:
Though to me, time is more important. Also, I enjoy my journeys more than the destinations. But, if you feel that for travel, money is more important than time, then consider a flight with a stop-over. Search for indirect routes (as well as direct) which are often a far cheaper option. 

9. Bring my own food on board: 
Traveling by train, bus or bike, I prefer carrying my meals, snacks, fruits, salads and sandwiches. This helps in saving a lot on outside food and highway food. 
About flights, I am yet exploring India, so no flights have been longer than 3 hours for me. You planning your first international trip can for sure ask: Can I bring food when I fly?
Yes, you can, So long as the foods aren't liquid (soup, hummus, yogurt), it's fine to bring snacks and sandwiches. This will also save you a small fortune compared to the in-flight menu and airport menu. 

10. Weigh your luggage before you leave home:
Some of us get to the airport to find we're over our baggage limit and end up paying puffed up charges. In the case of train or road trips too, its becomes a pain to carry heavy bags. 
Avoid this by weighing your bag before you leave home and take out any unnecessary items if you find you're over the limit.

11. Be 'techie' - be ‘appy’:
In the era of technology and gadgets, use your smart phone as your handy money-saving travel buddy. 
I use my smartphone to market for everything including travel guides, maps, local eateries, and even torches! Download the required apps and you'll save not only a wad of cash on paper travel guides and maps but also a lot of space in your case meaning less chance of excess baggage charges. 

12. Eat like a local:
I am a foodie by heart and love to try our new cuisines as part of my travel. Let me share a secret, eating local cuisines not only is far better and is a lot of fun but also helps me in saving money too. 
It's simple maths, what would be cheaper, the food locals are growing in their backyard or the food they need to ship from other places. 
Another top tip is stocking up from the hotel buffet breakfast and shopping in local supermarkets for lunch and happy hours. 

So, you are a traveler too, what are your money saving secrets.. share in comments. 

- Alok Upadhayay 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Top 20 Must Visit Places in Dehradun

Dehradun, located in beautiful Doon Valley in foothills of the Himalaya, is the capital city of Uttarakhand, providing gateway to some well known travel stations of India, including Mussoorie, Nanital, Rishikesh and Haridwar. 

Popular among tourists and travelers for its pleasant climate, this city is bordered by two holy rivers of India - The Ganga and the Yamuna. 

During rainy days, this beautiful valley enjoys very heavy rains and during winters the climate becomes ice cold. During summers, the climate stays normal. 
Being a suitable destination to visit through out the year, this city has become a preferred destination for all kind of tourists like family, couples, foreigners, group travels, corporate holidays and travelers including solo travelers like me :) 

Being a part of the Princely Garhwal State the local customs of the Garhwali people have influenced the culture in the city. 

Read : 

देहरादून - अतीत से वर्तमान की पगडंडी पर बसा एक शहर

Local beauty can be enjoyed anytime of the day. But in order to enjoy all the sight-seeing destinations in Dehradun, you must stay for 3-4 days. 

Being a mobile photographer, I prefer capturing my travels in my cellphone only. Unfortunately I lost my phone in my travel and with that, almost all the images. Some are here, which I was able to save, as had shared with friends. 

Here, I am listing the top 20 must visit places in Dehradun, that I visited myself, with some other local attractions which are optional. If you are planning your trip to Dehradun, then you must visit these places : 

1. Sahastradhara, Dehradun
Sahastra Dhara, the name means - Thousand Fold Spring; got its name due to the waterfalls it has along with the water dripping from limestone stalactites in the caves and its waterfalls.

Being, comprised of waterfalls, caves and steppe farming lands and Baldi River, it provides a totally marvelous and rejuvenating experience to tourists. 

Owing to the presence of sulphur in the water of this spring, it is believed to have medicinal value. 
With its medicinal properties and beautiful views, Sahastradhara enjoys plenty of attraction. 

Just 14 km from the city, it is the must visit places in Dehradun. 

2. Tiger Falls, Dehradun
Tiger Falls, situated amidst a picturesque setting of dense forests at the foothills of the Himalayas, this 50 meters high waterfalls is located 1400 meters above sea level. 

The pond created by fall, makes a wonderful picnic destination for outing with friends and family. 

3. Robber’s Cave, Dehradun
Robbers cave is a 600 meters long river cave, which is locally known as Gucchupani. According to the local story, during British Era, the robbers used to hide in these caves after loot, hence owing its present name - Robber's Cave. 

Divided into two main parts with its highest fall being 10 meters long, Robber's Cave is famous for its unique natural phenomenon known as the disappearing stream, which suddenly disappears from the sight and appears again after few metres.

Located at a distance of 8 km from Dehradun, it is a must visit destination in Dehradun. 

4. Tapovan
Tapovan, according to the Hindu epic Mahabharatha, is the place where Guru Dronacharya performed his penance. The place is located on the banks of the River Ganges and is considered to be a major pilgrim spot. It is also known for its amazing meadows known as Nandavan which are trekked by various pilgrims and trekkers.

5. Mindrolling Monastery
Founded in 1965, this re-established facility of the original Mindrolling Monastery and was established by Khochhen Rinpoche. It is located in Clement Town area of Dehradun and is locally known as Tibetan Monastry. 
Originally it was established in 1676, by Rigzin Tendak Lingpa. The name of the monastery, Mindroling in Tibetan language means Place of Perfect Emancipation.
The Monastery houses the Ngagyur Nyingma College which is one of the largest Buddhist learning centers in India. 
The well maintained gardens and a 60 meters high stupa and contains various rooms which are decorated with murals and house various relics and a 35 meters high statue of Lord Buddha in Gold.

The Great Stupa, inaugurated on 28th October 2002 is one of the major attractions here. Being 185 ft tall and 100 sq. ft in width, these dimensions make it the world's largest stupa.

6. Tapkeshawar Temple
Tapkeshawar Mahadev Temple, located at the banks of the Nandi River,  is considered to be the oldest Shiva temple in Uttarakhand. 
The Temple is located within a cave which is characterized by naturally dripping water over the Shiva lingam placed here. The dripping water is the reason behind the name of this temple. Water drops ( Tapak in Hindi ), naturally on Shivlainga.
According to old legend, lord Shiva made milk flow here for Ashwasthama, son of Guru Dronacharya. 

The cool sulphur springs located around the temple are believed to have therapeutic value. Hence, these springs are ideal points for tourists to take a dip while visiting the temple.
Every year, the shivratri festival is organized here, that attracts a lot of devotees.  

7. Sai Durbar Temple
Sai Durbar Temple, located at a distance of around 8 km from the Clock Tower, is situated on the Rajpur Road. Built with marble stones, the chief idol is established in the core of this temple. The interiors of this temple are adorned with several beautiful paintings, which are made using different colours.

8. Laxman Siddh Temple
Laxman Siddh Temple, located at a distance of 12 km from Dehradun, is known for its scenic beauty. This temple is the cremation site of the Saint-Swami Laxman Siddh, which is visited by large number of tourists every year.

According to a popular belief, it is said that the temple is constructed on the same place where Laxman underwent repentance for killing the demon king Ravana. Thousands of devotees visit this temple during the annual Laxman Siddh Fair, which is also a major attraction. Tourists visiting the temple can reach the here only on foot.

9. Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park, spread over a massive 820 sq kilometers of land, it falls in a region shared by 3 districts, Dehradun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal. The reserve consists of subtropical and tropical moist broadleaf forests that house a plethora of wildlife, birds and fish species. 
It is also a major habitat of the Asian elephant and the Bengal Tiger in India.

10. Forest Research Institute
The Forest Research Institute, established in 1906, as the British Imperial Forestry Service; is a premier research institute. 
Spread over an area of around 2000 acres, the institute contains a museum for forestry with six main sections that are Pathology Museum, Social Forestry Museum, Silviculture Museum, Timber Museum, Non-Wood Forest Products Museum and Entomology Museum.

The main attraction of this institute is the building itself, which has been constructed in Greco-Roman colonial style. 

In addition, the place also houses a Botanical Garden, which is a popular picnic spot among travellers. Besides, inside the estate, there is Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy that trains probationer officers of the Indian Forest Service.

11. Lacchiwalla : 
The verdant forests of Lachhiwala lies along the Haridwar-Rishikesh Road at a distance of just 17 km from Dehradun and 30 minutes drive from Haridwar. Being an important picnic spot, people come here along with family and friends to spend some quality time, away from the frenetic rat race of the city life. 

12. Mall Road, Dehradun 
Mall Road in Dehradun is one of the busiest shopping centres and is located in the heart of the city. It is a perfect place to talk a walk with your loved ones. 
Shopping at Mall Road can be a memorable experience for the whole family. It is a one stop place for shoppers and exhibits a wide range of products such as electronics items, ornaments, second hand books, handicrafts and readymade garments. 
Though the main attraction in this place are the woollens items like Tibetan carpets, blankets and Garwahli shawls, other products like wooden bangles, traditional jewellery, dry fruits and traditional embroidered garments are easily available. 

13. Clock Tower 
Clock Tower, located on the Rajpur road, is one of the most prominent attractions of the destination. Encircled by the commercial centre of the city, the Clock Tower is one of the most renowned landmarks of the city that was constructed before independence by the British. A beautiful tourist attraction, this tower has six faces.

At present, this clock tower is not functional but it is said that previously the chime of this clock was audible even far away from the commercial centre of the destination. Tourists visiting the Clock Tower can also head towards the important institutions, schools, hotels, shopping complex and tourist spots located in the vicinity.

14. Indian Military Academy
Indian Military Academy, located in Dehradun, became functional from 1st October 1932. It is situated at a distance of around 8 km from the main city, on Dehradun-Chakrata Road. Initially, it started with a batch of 40 Cadets. The first commandant of this academy was Brigadier L.P. Collins.

In order to establish Indian Military Academy, the government acquired the former Railway College of Dehradun. Popularly known as Chetwode Building, the academy was named after Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode. He was the Commander-in-Chief of India at the time of establishment of the Indian Military Academy. In addition, he was the one who inaugurated this academy.

15. Malsi Deer Park 
Malsi Deer Park, located at a distance of 10 km from Dehradun, is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. Situated on the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range, this park is a Zoological Garden.

Apart from Deers, tourists visiting the park can also spot beautiful peacocks. In addition, this reservoir is home to Nilgai, which is also known as Antelope. This place is an ideal picnic spot, where the park authorities have even installed several slides for children to play.

At present, there are several attractions located within this academy that attract travellers. Museum, War Memorial, Shooting Demonstration Room and 18-holes FRIMS Golf Course are some of the attractions located within the Indian Military Academy.

16. Paltan Bazaar
Looking for local stuff, Paltan Bazaar is here for your. It is the main local market in Dehra Dun, is permanently filled with the fragrances of Basmati rice and spices, for which it is well known.
These woollen garments are made by the local tribes. Among the woollen garments abundantly available in the bazaar are sweaters, cardigans and shawls woven by the Nepalese women. The market is also famous for woollen carpets.
Other attractions in the market are the products made of bamboo and cane. 
Local paintings, brass statues, gift items and ornaments are also available in the market. The Paltan Bazaar is the right place to buy some mementoes on your visit to Uttarakhand.
The other nearby markets in Dehra Dun are Rajpur Road, Ashley Hall area, Sahakari Bazaar, Mall Road and Connaught Place. Dehra Dun, which is famous for Doon schools, is easily accessible by all modes of transport. October to April is the best season to visit the place.

17. Sri Ram Rai Gurudwara 
Sri Ram Rai Gurudwara, constructed in early 17th century, established by Guru Sri Ram Rai Ji, the 7th Sikh Guru, is one of the oldest gurudwaras in this valley.
It is said that Guru Ram Rai was casted away for becoming a Sikh Guru and was forced to leave his native place. 
After being moved out from his home town, he settled in Dehradun, where he constructed this famous gurudwara. 

18. Chandrabani
Chandrabani is located at a distance of around 7 km from Dehradun. This temple is also the site of the popular Gautam Kund, where devotees take a dip in the holy water.

According to ancient mythology, it is believed that the place was the resident of Maharishi Gautam, his mate and Anjani, his daughter. In addition, it is also believed by many that Chandrabani is the spot where the daughter of heaven, Maa Ganga, manifested herself.

19. Asan Barrage Water Sport Resort
Developed by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam at the Asan barrage, the water sports facility was opened in 1994. Located at the Dhalipur Lake the Asan Barrage Water Sport Resort offers various types of water sports facilities like boating, kayaking, canoeing and is also known as a shutterbug’s delight for its various migratory birds.

20. Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology
Previously known as the Institute of Himalayan Geology, the facility is one of the best centers of Himalayan Geology in the country. The best attraction here is the museum that displays the diverse geographic locations of India and visitors often get to know a few stunning facts about the geology of different regions in India.

Other Places : Chetwoode Hall, Jwalaji Temple (Benog Hill), Lakha Mandal Temple, Santala Devi Temple

How To Reach Dehradun

Want to know how to go to Dehradun? There are a lot of options for sightseeing in Dehradun. Hotels in Dehradun are also quite easy to find, the pre-booking facility is available for most hotels in this place and you should book in advance as it is a popular sightseeing spot. HolidayIQ provides you with a detailed guide about how to reach Dehradun.

By Bus: Dehradun trip by bus is scenic experience. You can choose to go for the Dehradun trip by bus by doing pre-bookings from any of the major travel websites. 

By Train: You can board a train to Dehradun from any part of the country. 
Book you tickets on a Dehradun train through IRCTC website. Get off at the Dehradun railway station from where other transport options are available.

Train No. 12017 - Dehradun Shtbdi
Train No. 12055 - Dehradun Janshtbdi
Train No. 13009 - Doon Express
Train No. 14041 - Mussoorie Express
Train No. 14113 - Sangam Express Slip

By Flight: You can reach Dehradun by flight as well. The Jolly Grand Terminal also known as the Dehradun airport is a domestic terminal located in the foothills of the Himalayas. There are a number of flights to Dehradun connecting major metro cities.

By Cab/Car: Dehradun is one of the most popular many hill stations in India. Most commonly travellers access Dehradun by road in order to experience the angelic beauty of the Himalayan Ranges. Travel to Dehradun by car through the hairpins and mountain roads.

Post By -
Alok Upadhayay 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

10 Best Places for Desserts in India, You Must Visit

Mostly people in India are dessert lovers and are the proud owners of the sweet tooth. Especially in India people don’t search for a reason or occasion to have dessert. Below is the cherry picked list which the hardcore lovers of desserts can visit to satisfy the taste buds.

Also Read :  Top 20 Must Visit Places in Dehradun

Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfi Wale, Delhi
Looking for something freezing yet tempting, then this place is a perfect fit for you. 

Located in Old Delhi, walking distance from Chawri Bazaar, this hidden gem hosts a lot of flavored Kulfies for you. 

Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale serves the best kulfis you’d ever have. You can find varieties of kulfies here, in different flavors like - Mango, Tamarind, Pomegranate, Paan and Falsa. Actually they serve, kulfies over 50 different exotic flavors and that's their specialty. If you are visiting, don't forget to try stuffed kulfis. Trust me, they are so fingerlicious.

The Society Cafe, Delhi
This newly opened nice cafe is located in South Extension 2, New Delhi, bang on Ring Road and since the day I visited here for the first time, I have been in love with this place. Awesome ambiance, soothing music and aroma of delicious food, just push your appetite sky high. Though they have really amazing mouthlicious food, but in desserts, your will love their Brownies with ice cream.
So tempting that, you just cannot stop without asking one more.
Delicately baked brownies, gently topped with vanilla and chocolate ice creams, melting slowly.... yummm yumm... its a must eat, if you are visiting Delhi.

Kayani Bakery, Pune
Kayani Bakery of Pune has been serving since British’s era and probably that's the reason behind its colonial charm too. I came to know about it during my visit to a friend in Pune. When she told me about it, I thought to give it a try and I am glad that I did. There Shrewsbury Biscuits are rally so delicious and just melt away in your mouth the moment you take a bite, leaving a buttery signature. You sometimes may need to wait for your turn as this place is always flooded with buyers. Oh ! Yes, must try their Mawa Cake and Sponge Cake too.

Nahoum and Sons, Kolkata
Knowing my love for desserts, my friend in Kolkata, recommended me to visit this place during my brief trip to Kolkata, and turns out, he was right. This bakery is very famous for its amazing and piquant taste of desserts. I tried, lemon puff, custard rolls and strawberry cubes along with varieties of chocolate pastries.  Visiting Kolkata !! must check it out.

Ritz Restaurant,Lucknow
My love for Motichoor Laddoo, pulled me to this famous restaurant in Lucknow. Ritz Restaurant, well famous for its Motichoor Laddoos made of desi ghee. These delicious laddoos are so moist and  tempting that you don’t have to chew them as they will just melt by their own. Other than that, I am a die hard fan of Kaju Katlis and at this place, they taste utterly dreamy.

Leopold Cafe, Mumbai
For a dessert love like me, The Leopold Cafe in Mumbai was like holy triad The most heavenly Raspberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Carrot Cake and Chocolate pastries will put you in dessert-land the moment you take a bite. If you are in Mumbai, and are a dessert lover like me, then you must visit this place. .

I have my childhood memories from this city, and theVaranasi’s Chowk has got a spacial place in my heart for its frothy, light and creamy Malaiyo.
Malaiyo is kind of milk foam prepared under morning’s fresh dew, very delicate and is flavored with saffron and dry fruits. Yes, to enjoy it, you need to be in Varansi in winters. .

Paradise Restaurant in Hyderabad
If you love Apricots, then Paradise Restaurant of Hyderabad is a must visit place for you. They serve the best compote of apricots, popularly known as Qubani kaa Meetha.
Take half bowl of Qubani kaa Meetha and top it with scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy this nawabi dessert with dry fruits, saffron, cardamom and other exotic flavors and spices.

Mehru Halwai, Shimla
Walking in the Lower Bazaar, Mall Road, Shimla, my host told me to try the Gulab Jamuuns of Mehru Halwai. It was an awesome rainy day and my sweet tooth just pushed me in the direction. Though I was intended to order only Gulab Jamuns, but ended up ordering Gulab Jamun, Chaina Murgi (  Sweet Coated Paneer Pellets ) and Jalebi along with a cup to hot creamy milk with saffron. Their specialty lies in mouthwatering mawa barfi served with an invaluable addition of almonds and coconut powder. Delicious and fresh preparations in desi ghee enticed my taste buds and made that evening memorable. If you are visiting Shimla, and especially in rainy day, must visit this place.

Honey Hut, Rishikesh
Honey Hut, an elegantly decorated cafe, with wonderful ambiance just near Lakshman Jhula, is a must visit if you love reading, good view, delicious dessert and are in Rishikesh.
As the name says itself, they have honey as their signature. You will find honey in every dish instead of sugar, and that makes the coffee, pastries and other desserts experience way better.
I ordered choco swiss roll, ( super soft pastry with loads of chocolate on top ), it was so fingerlicious that I ordered one more and trust me this dessert is all worth giving it a try with one more and may be one more, if you have appetite.

Stay Connected for more.. 
- Alok Upadhayay
Instagram : @myminilens
- Solo traveler, Avid Reader and Writer.. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dehradun - City on its Pathway from Ancient to Modern

Dehradun, capital city of Uttarakhand capital and center of Garhwal, a city about which the famous Beatles Musical Band's member George Harrison's had written and sung a song in 1969, -
Dehradun Dehradun
Many roads can take you there, many different ways
One direction takes you years, another takes you days
Dehra Dehra Dun

Written in 1969, for the song, everyone can have their meaning and significance.
Well a lot has changed since then in Dehradun. For the first time in 1900, the city got connected to the rest of the country through rail, when the first train ran from Haridwar to Dehradun. It took next 1 year for phone rings to chirping, i.e, in 1901 when the telephone service began here.
Surrounded by the beautiful Shivalik range and The Himalayas, there is a story behind this beautiful valley being called Dehradoon. 
It is said that Sri Guru Har Rai Ji's, son Sri Ram Rai when came to this valley, his disciples made a camp ( डेरा in hindi ) here. Which with time became डेरा दून and with time passing by, it became Dehra Doon / Dehradun.
On the slopes of the mountains, you will see beautiful villages. 
Villages, reflecting multi-cultural ambiance. Sitting somewhere in the between spaces of Village - City - Metro-city, in this beautiful vally you will find reflections of cultures of Nepal, Tibet Punjab and Himachal. 
Traditional cloths include, the famous woolen blankets (Laba), which is still worn in the villages. The women wear full sleeve shirt and jacket (Angra in local language ) with saari, worn beautifully. Long Skirts ( Ghaaghra ) is also a part of young womens' traditional dresss.
There is much to see here, which is:

  • Robber's Caves
  • Sahasra Dhaara 
  • Mindrolling Monestry
  • Lacchiwala
  • Sri Raam Rai Gurudwara 
  • Tapovan
  • Rajaji National Park 
  • Tapkeshwar Temple 
  • Kalanga Memorial
  • Chandra Baani
  • Lakshman Siddh 
  • Forest Research Institute
  • Santola Devi Temple
  • Wadia Institute
  • Malsi Deer Park
We did see some, some were left for the next time.
In addition to tourism, Dehradun is also known for its educational institutions, which are the famous Doon School and Velhams school. 
In 2000, afte Uttarakhand being a state and Dehradun as its capital city, things certainly changed a lot in the city in terms of development. 
However a song from a renowned Garhwali singer Narendra Singh Negi, writtn and sung in 2011, that I heard from my roommate during my stay in Chandigarh, (I do not remember the lyrics, though the meaning is ); मेरे को पहाड़ी पहाड़ी ना बोलो, मैं देहरादून वाला हूँ ', is says a lot in a different way.
The people are very senstive about being called them पहाड़ी. And this song indicates the same. So many of my friends from college, explained it to me.

Corridors or Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, I loved my solitary moment here... 

Sahastra Dhaara - Dehradun, It was amazing experience, diving in it... :) 

Amazing view from Maa Santla Devi Temple - Dehradun
Ages old history of development of Dehradun has its own importance but more important is the fact that, the city is not carrying its centuries-old history but has turned to a modern city. 

With all the modern development in recent years, the city itself shout out loud its story of its conflict of being stuck between modern and ancient. It wants to say that, even though rooted to its ancient values and traditions, its not the same city now. 
With the new routes and large tunnels connecting mountains, modern infrastructure came the change in the atmosphere of social, political and economic life of the town. Over past few years, with new multiplex, shopping malls, cafes, open houses, etc. in abundance the city is on its route of modernization, yet it still has its time. 

- Alok Upadhayay

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

देहरादून - अतीत से वर्तमान की पगडंडी पर बसा एक शहर

देहरादून, उत्तराखंड की राजधानी और गढ़वाल का केंद्र, एक ऐसा शहर जिसके  सुप्रसिद्ध म्यूजिकल बंद बीटल्स के सदस्य जॉर्ज हैरिसन ने 1969 में एक गीत लिखा था और उसे गाया भी था - 
Dehra Dehra Dun
Many roads can take you there, many different ways
One direction takes you years, another takes you days
Dehra Dehra Dun

1969 में लिखे गए इस गीत के लिए, सबके अपने अपने अर्थ और मायने  हो सकते हैं। 
ख़ैर तब से अब तक देहरादून में काफी कुछ बदल चुका है।  1900 में पहली बार यह शहर बाकी देश से रेल मार्ग के ज़रिये जुड़ा।  तब पहली बार हरिद्वार से देहरादून के लिए रेलगाड़ी चली थी।  फोन की घंटी को चहचहाने में अगले 1 साल और लगे, यानी 1901, जब यहाँ टेलीफोन सेवा प्रारम्भ हुई।  

शिवालिक श्रेणी और हिमालय से घिरी हुई इस ख़ूबसूरत दून घाटी के देहरादून नाम होने के पीछे भी एक कथा है। कहा जाता है कि श्री राम राय जी के पुत्र गुरु श्री हरराय जी जब इस  घाटी में आये तो उनके शिष्यों ने उनके लिए यहाँ कैंप (camp) लगाया था, जिसे डेरा भी कहा जाता है। 
वक़्त के साथ डेरा हुआ देहरा और फिर वक़्त ने ही इसमें दून शब्द भी जोड़ दिया और फिर इस घाटी का नाम पड़ा देहरादून।  

पहाड़ों की ढलानों पर मिलते हैं आप को ख़ूबसूरत गाँव। गाँव जिनमे आप को नज़र आएगी बहुसांस्कृतिक झलक। गाँव - शहर - मेट्रो-शहर के बीच वाले स्थानों पर बसे इस शहर की छटा में मिलती है आप को नेपाल, हिमाचल, तिब्बत और पंजाब की संस्कृति की झलक, बड़े तरतीब से एक दुसरे से सामंजस्य बिठाये।  
परंपरागत पोशाकों में मशहूर है ऊनी कम्बल (लाबा), जो अभी भी ऊपर के गांवों में पहना जाता है। स्त्रियां पूरे बांह की कमीज़ और जाकेट (अंगरा) के साथ साडी बड़ी खूबसूरती से पहनती हैं। साथ ही युवतियों में घाघरा का प्रचलन भी है।  

यहाँ देखने के लिए बहुत कुछ है, जो है :   

  • रॉबर्स केव ( Robbers Caves )
  • सहस्र धारा ( Sahasra Dhaara), 
  • मोनेस्ट्री ( Mindrolling Monestry), 
  • लच्छीवाला ( Lacchiwala), 
  • श्री राम राय गुरुद्वारा ( Sri Raam Rai Gurudwara), 
  • तपोवन (Tapovan), 
  • राजाजी नेशनल पार्क ( Rajaji National Park ), 
  • टपकेश्वर मंदिर ( Tapkeshwar Temple ), 
  • कलंगा स्मारक ( Kalanga Memorial), 
  • चंद्रबाणी (Chandra Baani), 
  • लक्ष्मण सिद्ध (Lakshman Siddh), 
  • वन अनुसंधान संस्थान ( Forest Research Institute),  
  • संतोला देवी मंदिर (Santola Devi Temple ), 
  • वाडिया संस्थान ( Wadia Institute), तथा 
  • मालसी डियर पार्क (Malsi Deer Park)
 कुछ हम देख पाए, कुछ अगली बार के लिए रह गए।

Corridors of Forest Research Institute

Sahastra Dhaara 

View from Maa Santala Devi Temple 
पर्यटन के अतिरिक्त, देहरादून अपने शैक्षणिक संस्थानों के लिए भी जाना जाता है, जिनमे मशहूर हैं, दून एजुकेशन और वेल्हम्स स्कूल जहाँ से पढ़ कर निकले लोगों का राजनीति से ले कर अकादमिक तथा बॉलीवुड तक में बोल बाला है।
2000 में उत्तराखंड के बनने के बाद निश्चय ही इस शहर में बहुत कुछ बदला, जिसे हम विकास का नाम दे सकते हैं। पर, 2011 में आये गढ़वाली गायक नरेन्द्र सिंह नेगी का लिखा एक गीत, जिसे मैंने अपने चंडीगढ़ के प्रवास के दौरान अपने रूममेट से सुना था, (बोल मुझे याद नहीं, अर्थ है ); 'मेरे को पहाड़ी पहाड़ी ना बोलो, मैं देहरादून वाला हूँ ', काफी कुछ कह जाता है।  
यहाँ के लोग खुद को पहाड़ी कहे जाने को ले कर बहुत संवेदनशील हैं। ये गाना उसी और संकेत करता है। ऐसा मेरे कई कॉलेज के मित्र जो गढ़वाल से हैं, उन्होंने ही बताया।  

देहरादून के विकसित होने का इतिहास सालों पुराना है, जिसका अपना ही महत्व है, परंतु इससे अधिक महत्व इस बात है कि, यह खूबसूरत घाटी सदियों पुराने  इतिहास को नहीं ढो रही है बल्कि यह एक आधुनिक शहर हो चुका है।  

यहां  की चका चौन्ध, संकल्पना, भौतिक विकास , यातायात, संचार की सुविधाएं इस बात को चीख चीख कर कहना चाहती हैं की यह हमारे ही विकास की कहानी  है।  
भले ही तथाकथित रूप में आधुनिक शहरों में शुमार होते हों, लेकिन मूल्य और परम्पराओं की जकड़न अभी भी हमें नए और पुराने के द्वन्द के बीच फंसाये हुए है।  

पहाड़ों को आर-पार जोड़ते यातायात, संचारक्रांति, इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर के साथ साथ इस शहर की राजनितिक आबोहवा और सामाजिक तथा आर्थिक जीवन भी बहुत बदला है।  पिछले कुछ वर्षों में यहाँ मल्टीप्लेक्स, शॉपिंग मॉल्स, कैफ़े हाउस इत्यादि बहुतायत में खुले हैं पर अभी भी बड़े शहरों का रंग चढ़ने में वक़्त है।  

- आलोक कुमार उपाध्याय 

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