Strolled 20 Km; Reached Landour

(A place to create your own experience)

Twisted path to less crowded nature’s coliseum, done and dusted still yenning for more.

Here’s my story to my recent visit to Landor.

Landor has always been in my heart-list because of Mr. Ruskin Bond. I have grown up reading his books like Cherry Tree, The Blue Umbrella, and The Room of the Roof etc.

Source : Wikipedia

I still feel wondrous, the way he visualized the world in all his books. I was on a search trip to Landor to find out Mr. Bond’s inspiration behind all his stories.            

                         

Beautiful View of Landour Street

My journey to Landor started from Mussoorie Library via picture palace. As being a bipedal, I opted to utilise my yomping stamina to reach Landor. The total distance was 10 km, uphill then 10km downhill.

Walked all the roads to reach Landour

One can find the right way, from the Y-intersect one-way towards Landor and other way to Picture Palace bus stand and other back to the Mall road.

For sure, it was nerve enfeebling and challenging when it came to uphill section but as being an adventure enthusiast hurdles made my mind to go on cross-dissolve to my previous experience in adventure sports. Hence, I bucked up and indeed it helped me to achieve my goal of seeing Ivy Cottage (Mr. Bond’s residence).

You know, it’s better to opt for walk as its give more scrupulous opportunity to explore the culture and street life of Mussoorie and Landor as it also shows us the way the tourism is expanding and ruining the surroundings.

Simultaneously, our god gifted camera that is eyes can capture and remember a lot when you be on foot. Also, it’s not bad to learn an art of street tactics to avoid world chaos and dubiety also you could use your experience to manoeuvre the art of getting rid of Monkeys because they are serious nuisance here (because of humans as they feed them for fun).

Street Art on the way to Landour

The streets will start narrowing as you start climbing up also the historical aspect will get richer for example you will see old building, markets and natives.

In fact, Clock Tower is also on this way so, do not forget to click this historical edifice.

Me hurdling the frame of famous “Clock Tower”

Finally when I reached Ivy cottage ( Mr. Ruskin Bond’s Cottage) the enthusiasm level had reached super up but unfortunately, on asking one of his care taker I got to know that he is out of town for few days but never mind I just dropped a letter for him. But one thing, I observed is; his all stories have several facts  like cherry tree, twisted roads, clouds, soothing breeze hence according to me he sifted his surroundings and nature so well ergo that’s his inspiration.

Ivy Cottage

On climbing ahead, I landed in front of the St. Paul’s Church but unfortunately it was Sunday and prayer session was going on.

Then I chose to see “Char Dukkan”, there I sat in one of the shop, ordered Maggie and tea but what I realized that first Landor itself is just a mountain and a circular path around that covers whole Landor.

Second, people do not have much option here hence these 4 shops are overly hyped and costly. Also, the most important information, one can find toilet just opposite of these 4 shops.

Now, my next sight was “Lal Tibba”, it’s a small place in Landor not just a point. Well, sadly I have to say that it was nothing. It is the highest point of Mussoorie famous for telescopic view of famous peaks like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Baanderpanch etc.

Can you spot any peak behind me?

but I Hardly spotted any, moreover this place has few cafes which is painted in red to attract customers and few natives could misguide you saying this café is “Lal Tibba”, also the cafes around have telescope fitted at the roof top.

People actually called the cafe behind me the famous “Lal Tibba”

Horse riding is also an option for those who enjoy it, but I would like to request everyone is, please stop being a callous and do not prefer riding a horse or any animal just for your pleasure. They are treated so badly and been asked to over-work “Just for your fun”.

You know, what I liked the most about Landor surrounding is one could sense halcyon days of this place also its balmy and quite roads

particularly cemetery road was really calm and surrounded with lush greenery. One could find perfect spot for photography and portraits.

Trying to be a fairy lost in the woods

Lets mop the whole road with unfurl pants

Then on completing the whole circle of the mountain I ended up at Kellogg’s Church , from there one can opt to head towards  Sister’s Bazaar but I opted to go back because I was super tired to explore that.

Front view of Kellogg’s Church
Tried and tested – failed pose

On the way back, I was so eager to try out something at Doma’s Inn as internet highly suggested that.

Doma’s Inn

I had ordered veg-thukpa costed around 173 (INR). I really dint like it at all because, stock used was beef stock also flat noodles were not properly cooked.

Veg-Thukpa at Doma’s Inn

But yes, this restaurant cum hotel offers great picturesque walls. So, do not forget to capture yourself in this perfect arena.

Best place to get yourself captured on camera
Nature inspired marshaling

So, conclusion is do not go and try things as internet suggests. Just go to any place and create your own experience. Well, I liked Landor because of its seclusion from mountain rush and urban chaos. ❤

5 Things to Eat in Mussoorie

This blog simply tells you about the 5 food items you should try in Mussoorie with unknown facts about them.

सस्ता , स्वादिष्ट और टिकाऊ

Bhutta /Sweet Corn – As a part of Mussoorie (a Hill Station) exploration, its mandatory that you try “Zea Mays” alias Corn. Though Mussoorie doesn’t not do corn farming hence they get all maize from Dehradun ergo its expensive.

Raw Sweet Corn

Here you will get corn served in 2 ways – one way is that you can enjoy corn cob cooked on coal flame and the second way is- you can have boiled corn with lemon and lot of masala/spices in it.

Price – 30-50 (INR)

I tried – Corn cob cooked on coal flame

Rating – 6/10

Location – Roadside vendors

Mode of Payment – Cash

FYI- only one variety of corn is edible which is sweet corn. (So, stop saying, boiled corn as sweet corn and corn cob as corn both are sweet corn)

Momos – The smell of momos could be sense everywhere  in Mussoorie. The options you will have are of veg and chicken momos , few hawkers also sell paneer momos nowadays.

Momos at The Mall Road

Though you will have several options but personally I like momos from “The Yummy Bites” which is on the mall road.

The Yummy Bite Shop

Price – 50 (INR ) for veg momos .

I tried- Veg Steamed Momos , Maggie and Tea

Rating – 9/10

Best Place – The Yummy Bites

Mode of Payment – Cash or Paytm

FYI- Momos – Tibetan or Nepalese origin steamed food meant for appetite gratification most of the time served with chili sauce .

Dumplings  – Its a chinese wheat based snacks, which could have stuffing or could not have.

Dim Sums-   a chinese snack made from any starchy material , and could have any stuffing.

Wonton- Chinese (North) in origin, squarish in shape, fried ,ginger and garlic dominate the taste.

Maggie – You would say, Maggie well it’s common . Yes, it is a common thing on hill station and yes too overpriced but hey! you are in a hill station and having Maggie while eyeing on the Doon valley , isn’t makes this experience little different?

Maggie at The Mall Road

Price – 50 (INR ) for plain maggie .

I tried – Plain Maggie

Rating – 6/10

Best Place – The Yummy Bites ( Have several variety)

Mode of Payment – Cash or Paytm

FYI- Maggie isn’t a snack rather it is high in calories(400 calories per 100 gram).

Bakery items– What I love the most about Mussoorie is that, you could find freshly baked items but yes again overpriced but that’s completely fine because at least you are getting freshly baked items.

Price – Pastry was for Rs. 50 and a set of 4 muffins for Rs.60.

I tried – Pineapple Pastry and Vanilla Cinnamon Muffin

Rating – 8/10

Location – Near Library, Gandhi Chowk ( forgot the name of the cafe)

Mode of Payment – Cash or Paytm

FYI – Bakers journey in Mussoorie started as a part of communal oven i.e. bake-house.

Gulab Jamun/ G-Jam– If you have an extremely sweet tooth then you can go for this option. Having such brown -goldish sweet balls in the evening will give you more happiness. Why I said so, well experience it and then you will get to know and also do let me know.

G-Jam Near Picture Palace

Price – 20 (INR) per piece

I tried – Gulab Jamun

Location – Picture Palace Road

Mode of Payment – Cash

FYI – its india’s popular sweet dish around the world.

Cherry and Peach– As this area provides best temperature for such exotic fruits to grow . Hence you can find these in abundance.

Freshly Plucked Cherries by Farmer from his farm

I tried – both red cherry and peach

Rating – 10/10

Price – cherry – 80 (INR) /Kg and Peach – 80 (INR)/Kg

Location – Buy these items from roadside fruits store.

Mode of Payment – Cash

FYI – Cherries belong to the rose family. ( but it doesn’t look like, right? )

More blogs on the way on my recent visit to “The Queen of Hills – Mussorie” .

“Invitation – a class and status judging entity”

#usewastetosave

Recently, my sister got married and as obvious, invites are must to invite guests and relatives at this auspicious ceremony for a joyful and memorable jiff.

What I have seen since my childhood is that, people spend a lot of money to make their children wedding look luxurious and dreamy. As the part of this lavish journey invites have an important role because in our society people judge your status and also they pre-decide the money they will give as a wedding present ; that all depends on the look of the invites. As a result people end up spending hefty amount on useless- invites.

Even this ribbon is made out of a worn out fabric

But, here I had wanted to revamp the scenario and use the discarded invites to create new invites. Hence I came up with this idea of recycling invites to a beautiful invitation box. As I was the in-charge of this department, I preferred using digital platforms to send invites and also I used postcard size invites made from plantable paper plus invitation boxes to share the happiness.

My only purpose to write this blog post is to

  • Give a DIY idea to create beautiful invites from the waste.
  • I want to promote recycling stuffs, specially among the younger generation because our present and older generation still believe in show-offing their class and orthodoxy.  
  • And, I believe even single person has the ability to contribute in saving our planet, which is fading its charm every seconds.
  • Lets join hands together to bring change. If you use this idea then do use the #usewastetosave .

 “ Sarpa Santhal-The tribe at extreme ”

I was on an unofficial visit to Jharkhand. It’s in my habit now to not be a boredom sack rather I utilize my time to explore the surroundings.

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My friends and few my colleagues had said to me that Jharkhand is a, not happening place but here I would like to say opposite of what they said as I was fortunate enough to find a gem in a mine.

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Tribal Cultural Center, it is a place which showcase the amalgamation of tribal world in contemporary sphere. One need permission to visit this Center. I was lucky enough to get the permission.

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This Cultural Center is a great venture by TATA Steel.  This Center helps tribe to showcase their culture and talent by providing platform and resources. The moment I entered the beautiful arena, I experienced something vehement and unique.

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Can you believe; to experience the tribal culture in this urban chaos? And that too, when we have studied that their existence and their culture is fading away.

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Well, I experienced and witnessed it. I met famous Santhalis, famously known as “Sarpa Santhal Tribe”. Though they have located in several part of India like west-Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha etc. The one I met were from West-Bengal. I had read it that their contribution during the British Regime could not be explained in words and hence still people remember them as the courageous soul. Also got the tag of “The Tribe at Extreme” because of their heroic participation in need.

In Jharkhand, there are total 32 tribes, which have been recognized till now. Most of them are categorized in 4 types on the basis of cultural types.

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I noticed, that the tribe is amiable but yes only their male head was allowed to interact to the outsider first and when he will find the interaction safe then only he will allow you to interact further. I find tribal women quite hesitant about the interaction but it was a plus point for me as a woman for the first time because both male and female part was comfortable talking to me.

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Sathalis have very unique faces which is common or can say characteristic features of their tribe like dark skinned, wrinkled and stretched skin, thick, curly and black hair. Women wear sari with borders whereas motif in it is most of the time are inspired from Mother Nature like flowers, leaf in fact color of their clothes were also inspired from the beautiful nature. Whereas men matches their bottom attire with of women. Santhali men prefer to wear their traditional clothes like dhoti for all auspicious moments. Santhali Women wear silver anklet. Music was inspired from their residing surrounding, perhaps nature is one of the influencer here hence their dance movement also had kind of patience and dedication in every step. They were vacillating as the branches of trees swing during rainy season. They dance in a particular rhythm and sequence with their musical instrument. The tribe I met was capable of communicating in Hindi, Bengali and also in Santhali. They are also categorized under the settled agriculturists.

The most interesting part was their tribe name i.e. “Sarpa Santhal” which was taken from a musical instrument named Sarpa. The sound of the fixed small copper bells in the instrument was similar to the sound of Rattlesnake void tail.  The quad-pod instrument was made of a particular kind of wood. Had 4 strings/nylon rope attached along with bells at the bottom. So, when they used to pull strings up, one could hear the bells in sync.

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In my perception, it is important to understand our culture or sub-culture before adapting or understanding any other culture. Do, visit places like this which encourages tribal people to face reality with much confidence. Moreover, it broadens the mind set of our young generation to understand our cultural hierarchy and diversity in perfect manner.

Few points to note

  • No entry ticket.
  • Need permission before.
  • Photography and videography allowed with due permission.
  • No food joint available inside.
  • Washrooms are there.

Yana Caves – ಯಾಣ ಗುಹೆಗಳು

Recently , I  ticked a place on my travel wish list which I so wanted to visit and that place is known as Yana Caves. These caves are located in the premise of a small village named Yana in Kumta which is near to Gokarna, Karnataka.

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Monsoon is not that great idea to visit this place but even after much of difficulties I managed to reach to the top. Certainly, I am not going to discuss any history related to this place as this blog is more of based on my observation.

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I was staying at MG rooms, which is near to Gokarna beach and from there the distance of Yana caves is approx. 55 km. So, I opted for a car rather being a nomad as I had only a day to explore places.

 

One can also opt for 3-wheeler auto, they will charge around Rs.1500/- per auto for trip to 4-5 places. In an auto only 3 people are allowed. Going from bus is also an option but for that you need to be punctual all the time because bus services here are quite rare.

 

Things to pack before going to the caves

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito & worm repellent , hat, umbrella.
  • Keep raincoat, waterproof bag, plastic sheets, first-aid, lighter, pepper spray and Swiss knife.
  • Wear waterproof shoes, keep extra pair of clothes.
  • Do not wear white.

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Trek to Yana Caves

Entering to this is completely free. Reaching to Yana Caves would not be that easy for few because one has to trek for 2km and then have to walk up 200 steps.

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I assure you this might seems tiring but believe me the arena will keep you showing a magical show every minute. So, it will take around 1 hour maximum to reach to the top. While trekking few things you need to take care of which I am listing down below.

  1. At the very starting of the trek, you will meet a tailless black cat. Do not get into any superstitious story of ghost around . That cat will follow you up for 0.5km just because it knows tourist will offer something to eat.
  2. I was wearing slipper during trek as it was raining as I had no option but I would suggest you guys to wear waterproof hiking shoes and along with that if you could wear leech socks.
  3. Leeches, yes during monsoon especially this place is full of leeches. So, be very careful while going up or down.
  • Walk in the middle of the path as leeches most of the time hide under shade and at the corners.
  • Keep walking, don’t lean on trees, benches etc.
  • Keep small packet of salt along with you. If in case leeches start making love with your blood just sprinkle salt on it, it will immediately leave the surface.
  • Never try to pull out leech, if its already sucking your blood as it can make bleeding unstoppable.
  • You can use leech repellent, sprays.
  • On running water, you can not find leeches so you can be a water baby.
  • Keep first-aid along. Particularly antiseptic.

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One more thing, this trek has only one washroom is available there on half way.

Flora and Fauna

If you are fond of seeing variety of plants and small creatures then go ahead. This place is perfect for the exploration. As on the way to the top I met centipede, cat, snake, worms and obviously leeches. This whole forest is full of mosses, ferns, colocasia, berries and several other useful plant or trees. Do not try to eat any one it as it might be poisonous.

On the top

There are 2 hills one is named Bhairaveshwara Shikhara which is 390 ft in height and the Mohini Shikhara which 90ft in height where Shikhara” means “hill. The first one is open for general public whereas I didn’t see any way to Mohini Hill. At the bottom of Bhairaveshwara hill you will see a self-made Shiv Ling which is present in the Gangodbhava Temple.

Way inside to the cave is through the temple, so if you wish to enter the cave one needs to remove his/her footwear . You need to be very careful while stepping up as surface is full of algae ergo it makes it more slippery and no way to cop.

Rest the cave is not that huge, it will just take around 15-20 minutes to see and capture things. Visit to the temple is incomplete if you will not circle around the same through the caves.

Trekking Down

If you want to sip in tea or coffee at the top or at the starting. Then, there you will find only a shop at the top and in the starting. Be little extra careful when trekking down. I unfortunately visited in monsoon which made trek 70% more dangerous. I had taken great care while putting even a step. A walking stick can help which you can get from the mother nature.

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Overall, It was a really very unique and nice experience to cross several water streams and being a pebble walker. I indeed suggest all to visit this place to make yourself lost in the natural world for a while.

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Extra info-

  • I had a great company whole way, as I was travelling with my family and a very responsible driver named Sachin. So, for all who wants to explore Gokarna in a budget and that too  in your own chariot then you can certainly call Sachin. As he is well- aware of every nook and corner of Gokarna. You can rely on his driving skills too.

 

      Sachin – +91-9481204432 ( You can refer my name Shilpa, if needed)

Mentioned number of this person as many of you have asked me to   keep sharing the information, contacts which can help them too to make their trips more interesting.

  • No telecom network will work here.

Weekend Fun: F9 Go Karting

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This weekend spent so amazingly well. It was in my wish-list to do “Go karting” with my female bunch. So, I landed up at “F9 Go karting” as I had heard good words about the place so, I desperately wanted to know what all this place has to offer me. 

How to reach?

By Metro (Cheapest way)

The nearest metro station is IFFCO chowk , which is on the yellow line towards Huda city. This place is around 1.5-2 km far from the metro station. You can opt for the shared auto,e-rickshaw or can take 3-wheeler. Though the option of cabs are also available from the metro station. Travelling cost would be like Rs.58 (Metro) ,shared auto-10rs/person, e-rickshaw- 20/person and full auto for Rs.50.

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This adventurous space had been established in year 2010. Mr.S.K Tyagi is the sole owner of the place. From the outside this place is creatively made using truck chambers.

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From inside they have nice track, scraps have been used cleverly to make washrooms.

To make experience better I am listing out best things.

Best Things

  • Helmet hygiene- A new term for you? Well I am writing helmet hygiene as this was the first time I saw a Go karting people using shower cap before placing helmet on your head. 10/10 for that. 

  • Skilled and motivating trainer- The crew is actually helpful and they do guide you so well before the race.

  • Height issue sorted- If you are thinking how I am gonna put my feet on paddles as I am too short? Don’t worry they have the right solution to not let your enthusiasm go down.

  • Video and picture- As you gonna be busy in driving, duh then who gonna take picture and videos? Well don’t worry you just need to give your phone to them and tadda they will capture it perfectly.

  • Pocket-friendly- I had searched several apps to get the best price for Go Karting. Trust me they will offer more than your expectation. I had opted for Rs.350 package for 7 laps whereas got 3 laps free as a surprise.
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  • They have restaurant attached to the track- What could be more beautiful than cheering your friends while having sumptuous food. So, don’t forget to be the part of this fun fiesta.
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  • Super easy for non-drivers – Do you have a question of how to drive a go kart as you don’t know driving? chill ! they don’t ask for driving license rather they help you to learn it better as there is no clutch or gear change . Its just about race and brakes. 

I had great conversation with Mr.S.K Tyagi ( owner) , where he shared many information about the place. He is so kind and fun when it comes to the children. He moreover offered us free laps later and also the whole track to get ourselves clicked. 

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Timings for Go Karting is – 1 pm to 10 pm

So, next time when your heart wants to do something new and different on weekends. Don’t hesitate in experiencing the things you never tried before. Like I tried “Go Karting”.

Wedding Cards DIY

“Recycling the invitation of joy”

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Wedding season always bring happiness, excitement also loads of invitation cards at home. Most of times we end up throwing it whereas few prefer to keep it as it has several divinities drawn on it. To deal with the cluster, I have worked on few amazing DIYs like making “Shagun Envelopes” from wedding cards.

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Trust me you can make really beautiful and never seen envelopes .  I have made few envelopes from two wedding cards ( see in the pictures ).

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In India, These Shagun envelopes are used for giving cash as a shagun means blessings for happy future. Particularly on any auspicious occasion, these lifafas ( Envelopes) are used. Hope you will find this way of using invitation cards interesting.

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