Archive for September, 2015

Milan Duomo and Duomo Museum

Posted: September 27, 2015 by obsesessivetraveler in Italy
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The Duomo is the most magnificent piece of architecture in Milan with its Gothic white building and sculptures carved out at every nook and corner of the entire building. The museum of the duomo also houses interesting artifacts- sculptures, pottery etc.

Duomo

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Duomo Museum

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Italy Itinerary

Posted: September 27, 2015 by obsesessivetraveler in Europe
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With art, architecture, history, food and nature, Italy has no dearth of places to explore for any traveler. I had always wanted to travel to Italy but knew that I would need at least a month to do any justice to the great country. After having spent a month there, I know I can spend another month in South Italy and a lifetime in Rome but even that won’t be enough. Most countries, the architecture gets repetitive. In fact, north Europe in all countries the architecture is so similar. But in Italy, every city has a very unique architecture, so different from the preceding city and everywhere else in the world that it never gets repetitive. Milan is perhaps the only city that reminded me of North Europe but rest every city was so unique in itself- both the architecture and the food. Also you can never get tired of watching Italians as they are so animated while conversing, even though you may not understand a word they say. Here is my one month itinerary to help you plan yours.

Milan: 3 days   italy-itinerary

Verona: 3 days

Venice: 3 days

Bologna: 2 days

Florence: 3 days

Pisa: 1day

Volterra: 1 day

San Gigimano: 1 day

Sienna: 3 days

Assissi: 1 day

Perugia: 2 days

Rome: 4 days

Naples: 2 days

Pompeii: 1 day

Amalfi Coast: 1 day

The places I missed out in North Italy were: Padua, Genoa and Cinque Terra and the Alps and of course I am yet to cover anything to the south of Naples, perhaps during my next trip!!

Kangra Fort

Posted: September 17, 2015 by obsesessivetraveler in himachal pradesh, India
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Kangra Fort is the largest fort in the Himalayas and perhaps the oldest fort in India (and hence in the world) and definitely one of the most picturesque forts I have seen thus far offering breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar range, although major part of the fort is in ruins owing to the 1905 earthquake. I would strongly recommend to anyone with interest in history and architecture.

Location and how to Reach: 3 km from Kangra town and 20km from Dharamshala and best reached only by hiring a cab or auto from Kangra.

Timings: 9am to 6pm; all days of week

History: The exact year of its construction is unknown but it was built by the Royal family of Kangra (The Katoch Dynasty). As per legends, Rajanaka Susherma Chandra, after being defeated in the battle of Mahabharata (allies of Kauravs), retreated to the valley and built this fort.

1009: plundered by Mahmud of Ghazni

1337: Captured by Muhammad bin Tughluq

1351: Captured by Firuz Shah Tughluq

1622: Conquered by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir after a siege of 14 months

1789: Raja Sansar Chand-II

1809: Maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh

1846: British Government

1905: Earthquake

Layout: The Fort is surrounded by a high rampart over a circuit of about 4 km. The fort has many gates, stairs and courtyards, believed to be added during the various stages of its history and siege by different rulers. The palace fell down and the shrines were defaced during the earthquake and remain as such today but looking at them one can imagine the grandeur of the entire structure before the earthquake!!

Interesting Trivia: Kangra= Kaan=ear + gaddha= create/mold. Thus the city was named such because it housed the ancient plastic surgeons of the region

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Kareri Lake Trek

Posted: September 14, 2015 by obsesessivetraveler in himachal pradesh, India
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Dates of trek: 4,5, 6 Sep 2015

Day 0: Overnight bus from Delhi (ISBT) to Dharamshala: Time taken 12 hours. Cost: INR 1000. Booking website: hrtc.gov.in/

Day 1: Dharamshala to Ghera village (1306 metres): 20 km away cab (Alto): INR 800

Ghera to Kareri Village (1746 metres): 2.5 hours

The road after Ghera is in a state of disrepair and hence there is no option but to start trekking from Ghera itself although many sites say you can take a cab till Kareri village. We got a lift from a pickup truck till some distance further, which was quite a bumpy ride and we had to hold on to the truck for our lives.

Hike from Ghera to Kareri village takes roughly 2-3 hours and the trail is pretty straight forward passing through Sari Village and one river crossing along the way, although there are options of using the so—called longer motorotable road or the much-touted shortcuts with steep stairs most of the way. We took a mix and match of the two routes and reached the village in 2.5 hours. We had lunch at Kareri at a local’s place and hired him as a guide along with tent for INR 700 per day.

 

Kareri Village to Camp:

After the village, the trail is a wide road still under construction but easy to tread on. Parts of the road had overgrowth so it appeared to be a scene from a Harry Potter movie. The welcome surprise for us were these temporary tea shops that had been set up for trekkers on account of Janmashtmi on 5th Sep, thus we got tea at regular intervals during our trek.

After the road there is a dirt trail for some time which gives way to boulders and stones acting like stairs that form majority of the trail. A number of times you would be required to skillfully hop over large boulders to cross the various streams of Nyund River, that flows almost all along the trail. Thus there is no dearth of fresh water supply throughout the trail.

There are warnings about bears and leopards, but we did not encounter them. We did get stung by bees on our way and by the poisoinous shrub that locals call “bichhu buti” and seem to be growing almost throughout the trail. Brushing past the leaves of the shrub causes severe rashes and itching. Ironically the sheep of the region feed on the shrub!!

We camped at the dedicated camp site, roughly 4 kms before the lake.

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Day 2: Kareri Camp to Lake (3034 meters):

Next morning we started late and covered the remaining 4 kms in roughly 2 hours, arriving at the Temple overlooking the lake just in time to enjoy the Janmashtmi langar.

Kareri Lake is a high altitude, shallow, fresh water lake fed by melting snow from Dhauladhar range, but dam has been built on the side of the temple to prevent water from overflowing. A few Gaddi kothis (Shepherd’s temporary dwelling place) are present on the other side of the lake and they live and graze their livestock there when there is no snowfall and after snowfall return to their village- Naholi. Post lunch we just hiked around the lake and enjoyed the views. At night the night sky was just mesmerizing, of course could not be captured by the camera. So the sight of the sky strewn by stars, of nebula clouds and of shooting stars every 15 minutes remains only as an indelible memory.

 

Day 3: Kareri Lake to Mcleodganj:

We descended about 19 km in 5 hours and caught a cab to Mcleodganj from Ghera (cost: INR 1000) and my feet were numb post that with blisterds. We enjoyed a great meal at Mcleodganj before catching our bus back to Delhi.

Local Guide Contact Details (highly recommended): Purushottam: 09736986581 (stays at Kareri village itself and can arrange for tents, sleeping bags etc)