Isn't it fascinating that we are living all the time until we actually die?? Situations & circumstances of a person and decisions taken in them make you what you are but It is the way one takes life that determines how its gonna be like.Let's spare how this trip came by but it was like * '' Wake me up, when September ends'' I decided to just leave for Dharamkot, Himachal on the 30th of September 2016, sick with the environment of Chickengunya everywhere having suffered myself, along with a knee injury in an accident prior to it to make worse. Limited cash, No bus tickets, no camera, no smartphone, no study and no idea how it's gonna be possible but my mind had already envisaged it with an approval from my soul, heart skeptic but frantic and all three made me decide to make it un solo by taking Hachi with me. (Hachi had came by in a very special way while on one of my travels like a gift from the mountains. I still remember our first eye contact, she crossed a swelled Parvati bridge to follow us till the road and jumped in from the driver seat to passenger's to sit comfortably as soon as my friend opened the door. She came in as threshold of a new phase her eyes making a deal with mine told me '' I'm not coming with you to be chained, i'm here to unbound you forever''. She's been like a talisman ever since amusing me with her magic spells). It is very difficult to sustain with limited resources but then there was something like, I'm here to look at these mountains with the sky I can hear people talk behind my eye, But I can't stop when my laugh wants to fly.. I'm impervious to jeers at my sight But even the celestial shine bright when they know how i love their sight. Sometimes i talk more than i hide But in my silence shooting stars pass by when i pray to the trees the wind replies with wrath my own knees jolted me down All the wilderness show me if i watch And Oh! How i love people when they sing and laugh God! What an energy it surpass Why Don't you get it?? I'm here to live, let money not be my boss, Be it the only servant i ever have..Sometimes you need to trust your intentions more than the fear of other's. So i also decided to hitch hike when required, I was vigilant and chary to avoid any problem plus oh! Damn, I had Hachi with me, her presence had turned it into an entirely unique experience coupled with a queer feeling of security. As i reflect on it now, I think every haphazard on this trip was planned by The Universe, even the ones i would hike from. Instead of travelling via Delhi i took the GT road NH 709A connecting Meerut to Karnal , straight ahead, smooth with exquisite countryside views of one of the most fertile lands of our Nation.Our brother dropped us halfway till Shamli. I was to take it from here, with some experience in hitchhike and people too. Trust me It's always not the girl who's scared most of the people don't stop, absolutely not in for any trouble a girl can get them into and at times i don't like the aura of someone who has stopped and i don't take it. The truck that stopped for me was of Himachal, unhurried, without a helper. The driver was reluctant to hike me till Karnal where I could have managed to get a bus to Dharamshala, he might have not even considered taking us in if we did not have our brother along, i could have passed for an absconded. Hachi on the other hand had decided to be perfectly okay with whatever happening wherever going, bewildered at getting on in the truck she made herself at home once I was in. We wished bye to our brother to continue with the switch. With awkward conversations at the beginning we both were soon composed with our company. Ahmed was a hardworking and honest family man who drove his truck real steady, without a helper so as to save some money on fuel and assistance, coming all the way from Agra headed Baddi with his truck loaded with glass bottles. He shared many experiences of his professional life I even slept for sometime. I could have gone all the way till Himachal with him but I needed to be faster than that, going few kilometers off his track he dropped me at a dhaba where the roadways buses stopped for meals. There were already two buses at the dhaba , I had to buy one extra ticket and I was allowed to take her after a verbal confirmation from my side that Hachi is absolutely innocuous to everyone except me. When I came back to say goodbye to Ahmed he was already gone, amazed by such an encounter I took my seat along with her who had chosen the most appropriate set for both, jumped to it like a regular passenger and we started off.
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72 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
The capital city of India is a glorious concoction of the old and the new. Temples that are centuries old, archaic Muslim quarters, and modern residencies, all exist alongside each other. Home to over a crore people, Delhi is a treasure trove of historic gems, gardens, museums and a thriving food culture. Travel to the metropolis for the vibrant bazaars of Chandni Chowk that give way to Lutyens’ New Delhi, which is the historic heart of the city. For an insight into the legacy of the Mughal era, go to the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the towering sandstone mosque of Jama Masjid, and experience the sound and light show at Red Fort. Tourists can spend mornings at the extravagant Akshardham Temple and evenings at the Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah (shrine) that boasts of sufi music and delicious kebabs. Another popular attraction of Delhi are its pulsating markets that sell everything from baubles to handicrafts, sell everything you can possibly think of. Those who have travelled to Delhi for its particular brand of food, will have a lot on their plates. From hole-in-the-wall eateries and local student cafes in North Delhi to lavish restaurants and bars in South Delhi, there is no dish or cuisine you won’t find here. A huge incentive for travellers is the variety of public transport, wherein the Delhi Metro is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city.
313 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
207 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Home to the seventh wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, Agra is best explored on foot or rickshaw or a rented bike. Renowned worldwide as not only a mausoleum but an epitome of love, the Taj Mahal is profusely crowded during the day till evening. If you're looking to escape the crowd, however, the city's Mughal beauty can be enjoyed from several rooftops and secret locations in the city, or at an early morning yoga session just 100 metres away from the monument. If you want to go further, why not go into the depths of its history through the light and sound shows and plays at the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre. Agra annually hosts the 10-day festival, Taj Mahotsav, a rostrum for culture and colour in the month of February, known for celebrity performances, food stalls and a creative congregate of about 400 artisans across the country showcasing their exquisite art and craft items. Agra easily competes with Delhi's Mughlai monopoly with decade old restaurants such as Bilal Restaurant and Hyderabad Handi, while the Agra cant area houses local food. Speaking of local, Korai village remains a lesser known location, which can give you an entirely different experience and a chance to interact with villagers. Travelling through this beautiful necropolis, one can also enjoy quiet spots, wholesome with nature such as the Keertham Lake and the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, before signing off with a visit to the Agra Fort, I'timad-Ud-Daulah (also known as baby Taj), Chini Ka Raza and Akbar's Tomb, architectural tributes to Mughal history, admired above and beyond India.
242 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,October,November,December
Once known as Shyamala, synonymous with Goddess Kali, Shimla has been a summer retreat long before India even gained independence. This famous hill station similarly has a lot of places and things to see untouched by time. For instance, take a vintage joy ride from Kalka station to Shimla in a charming toy train that will take you through towering Deodars, hills and villages. Shimla truly comes alive during winters when a blanket of snow covers it all over making every nook and corner gleam and glisten. One such place is the ice skating rink (natural ice) near Lakkar Bazaar that opens from November to December. More winter sports include skiing, which can be enjoyed 21 km from Shimla in Kufri. Adventure activities such as rafting at Tattapani or a trek to Shali Tibba and Pabbar Valley are also worthwhile experiences. If you are fond of haunted stories and interested in having your own spooky adventure, you'll love Shimla. A lot of people including the renowned Rudyard Kippling (in 'My Own True Ghost Story) have written various eerie stories set around Shimla. A place known most for giving many people the jeepers-creepers is the Charleville Mansion. Another time travelling portal is the antique bookstore, Marina Brothers, located on Mall Road, which is truly a reader and collector's paradise. There are many luxury and budget hotels here, meaning you'll never fall short of options. Popular places to eat include Wake & Bake, Ashiana, Cecil and Minchy's that serve commendable Indian and multi-cuisine dishes and delicious gourmet food.
218 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - August,September,October,November
A perfect combination of ancient and urban, this city has been deemed the most futuristic in the country, while also having been occupied by the Harappan civilisation almost 8,000 years ago. In fact, BBC has named Chandigarh as a perfect city with regard to its cultural growth, modernisation and architecture. Nek Chand Rock Garden is a unique and fascinating site, built solely by a man (after whom the garden is named), who used remnants from various demolition sites (particularly the debris while Chandigarh itself was being built) and a whole lot of scrap to build 2000 sculptures, statues, all integrated on walled paths, wherein one can also see man-made interlinked waterfalls. A short walk away from there is the artificial Sukhna lake, a landmark for families to relax and walk around while enjoying street food and keeping kids busy with quaint toys bought from vendors all around. Pertaining to Le Corbusier's (chief architect of the city) vision of Chandigarh being a garden city, Rose Garden is home to over 1,500 varieties of rose and the Garden of Fragrance is perfect for those mind-refreshing walks. Popular places to visit for an insight into Chandigarh and the entire country's history through various artworks are the Government Museum & Art Gallery and the Chandigarh Architecture Museum. Being one of the top four metro cities of the country, Chandigarh has a bustling food scene, home to every cuisine you can think of right from Mediterranean (Kelong, Virgin Courtyard) to Thai (Tao- Bar & Lounge). Some popular places for Punjabi dishes are Punjab Grill and Sher-e- Punjab. Chandigarh is also close to many hill stations such as Solan, Kasauli, Shoghi and Naldehra.
151 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - March,April,May,October,November
Dehradun is easily one of the most popular hill stations in India. Though easily accessible by all modes of transportation, taking the road would be the best way to experience this heaven. The drive will take you through dense forests on the hilly road and if you're lucky, you might even see a wild elephant or leopard pass you by. The fresh and dewy hill air will infiltrate your lungs and put you in a great mood right away. In terms of things to see, there is Robber's Cave, a river cave formation and Sahashtradhara, which is also a stunning sight of nature consisting of sulphur springs. But more than its sights, Dehradun is the perfect place for a family getaway. After all it has everything that you could need for a relaxing holiday. The town has many vintage bookshops (Natraj Publishers, The English Book Depot), college campuses with hilly backdrops, architectural marvels (such as the Forest Research Institute), alleys filled with quaint restaurants, adventure sports gear shops and forest resorts and hotels to fit every budget. Vishranti, a resort tucked away discreetly in the Sal forests of the Doon valley, deserves a special mention for its beauty and luxury. The city is a haven for foodies as Dehradun offers a lot of variety and affordability in its cuisine. Restaurants and cafes such as Doon Darbar, renowned for devour-worthy Mughlai dishes and The Buffet for its mouthwatering burgers, cutlets and coffee, are popular options.
293 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
A kingdom that has risen above disasters like the 2010 cloudburst and is still able to magnetise a plethora of tourists and travellers every month to it, even when the mercury dips below sub-zero levels. This former capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is chiefly dominated by the ruined Royal Palace of Leh and the eternally serene Pangong Tso, Tibetan for 'high grassland lake', which is spread for 134 km from India to China. If you're someone who loves travelling unconventionally and is interested in the lifestyle that thrives in this high altitude desert, you can stay with locals who have turned their homes into 'homestays' and are open to interacting with non-natives. For a more spiritual and mystical experience, one can also spend the night at monasteries such as Thiksey, Lamauru or the Hemis Monastery, where you will get a chance to interact with Lamas (Buddhist teachers) and learn all about their lives and what they preach. For more visual and audio insights and treats, one can attend the 6 day Ladakh festival, a multihued explosion of Ladakhi culture and tradition, celebrated annually in the month of September in Leh's villages. Leh can always keep you entertained, for instance, with trekking (frozen river trek to Chadar, Padam to Darcha trek), mountain biking, skiing, camel safari, paragliding and even having your car pulled uphill by the magnetic force at the Magnetic Hill. Foodies will get no better thrill than eating at the highest cafeteria in the world, Rinchen Cafeteria. Other popular cafes such as Gesmo, Nirvana Garden, Cafe Jeevan and Norlakh are a must to go to for their lip smacking Italian, Himalayan and local dishes.
168 Kms from Meerut
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,August,September,October,November,December
A quick getaway destination for Delhi-NCR residents, Mussoorie or the 'Queen of Hills' is the most favoured place for anyone battling urban heat. It remains quite crowded from May to July, as popular hotels and hangouts such as Mall Road, Mussoorie Lake, Kempty Falls and Gun Hill remain pervaded with tourists no matter where or what you may set your eyes upon. But if you carry the spirit of an explorer within you, Mussoorie can surprise you in many ways. For instance, if you curious to check out where the man who Mt. Everest is named after, once lived, you can reach the house and laboratory through a picturesque 4 km walk from Library Bazaar or Gandhi Chowk. Ditch the customary visit to Kempty Falls and take an uplifting trek to the quiet, serene and crystal clear Jharipani Falls instead. Mussoorie, when mist free, provides frame-worthy views of the Himalayan ranges, which can be enjoyed at points such as Lal Tibba, Nag Tibba and Camel Back Road, all of which need to be trekked or walked to, with the effort being worthwhile. Devalsari, a village quietly burrowed 55 km away from Mussoorie, is the gateway to the Nag Tibba trek and a location perfect for seeing beautiful butterflies and birds in the heart of nature. For those curious to delve into Himalayan life, history, art, culture and spirituality, Soham Heritage and Art Centre gives exquisite displays of the former, through various artefacts. As for foodies, restaurants such as Neelam, Imperial Square, Meeting Point Cafe and Casa Mia bakery do justice to North Indian, European and Tibetan cuisines and also offer delicious cafe knick knacks and drinks.