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Travel brings surprises with a new trip. Travel teaches me how to earn people. I always get excited before travelling to a new place and rarely fall asleep the night before. Before my trip to Nagaland, I got to hear a lot about the place from known and unknown people. Those were so full of predictions and hallucination that a normal person would drop the idea of visiting Nagaland. But when I finally reached Nagaland, I was overwhelmed to see Naga people’s hospitality.

Also Read My Extended Naga Family In Nagaland

The Unknown trip

During a trip, we get to mingle with locals which is vital too. And once we get to mix with them, their culture, their life becomes much easier for us to understand. During my Nagaland trip, I get in touch with some Nagas. We gel very easily, which smoothen my way to understand their culture. I have a lot of stories in this regard, all in all, this blog will not end in one page, it may become a little book. The story I will share here has changed my whole thought about Nagaland and its people.

Also Read Travelling-Explore the World From Your Home

The Naga Hospitality

Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest tribe festivals in Nagaland. More than two lakh people from all over the world come here every year to attend this festival. The main purpose of this festival is to showcase the culture of the sixteen tribes of Nagaland to the whole world through the carnival. And I meet here some local people who are my age. I get a lot of information about Naga culture, Naga food and their daily life from them. They tell me about some authentic naga food and for my first-time experience, they order some of the items too. And no one allows me to pay the bill. The reason for them is simple and straight, they can’t allow their guest to pay for anything.

Also read Food Has No Religion – Story Of Mutton Rogan Josh

Cheers…

New Bonding

Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet. The people of Nagaland have made me feel family. After our lunch at the Hornbill Festival, they drive me to different places around Kisama village. It turns out to be the special evening for me in Nagaland. I remember the moment when they take me to a hill to have coffee. We sit for a long time there and sing Hindi movie songs with hot coffee. That moment it feels like I am at home with my people. They all start forcing me to spend my rest days in Nagaland with them in their house and I can no longer stay at my guest house.

New friends…

They are waiting for me

Next morning a car comes to pick me from my guest house. They talk to the guest house owner and pick me from there. For the next few days, I belong to a Kohima house. I don’t know the name of that place.

From morning to afternoon, we roam around various places in Nagaland. I taste a lot of authentic Naga food, which are not usually found in any restaurant, only made at Naga home. They never miss keeping my only request of one cup tea in the morning. They request their Bengali neighbours for that tea. I don’t know how to say thank you to them. Every night we go to parties at hidden places in Nagaland. One night I pay our food bills secretly. But as they find out, they request me not to insult their culture. I feel ashamed. At that moment I don’t know what to say to them.

On the day of my return, they insist on driving me from Kohima to Dimapur. Kohima to Dimapur it’s around 4hr journey. I can’t let that happen. And somehow I manage to convince them. I already have my bus ticket from Kohima. I still remember when they come to see me off at the bus stand, we all group hugged. They say that next year too they will wait for me.

The T-shirt

Also read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Also Read Nagaland is NOT what you think

Cover Picture Source By Google Images

The only big question for travel enthusiasts around the world right now is if they can travel, what travel precautions can be taken during this Covid-19. Travel is eye-opening, fun, exciting, and can completely change your perspective on life. Like most good things, exploring the world doesn’t come without its risks. We need to take more precautions when travelling during Covid-19.

Also Read Travelling-Explore the World From Your Home

Travel Precautions

It’s a strange time to be travel enthusiastic. These past few months of being at home, even walking down the street not a possibility. Now various travel destinations are being opened for tourists in different parts of the country and abroad. When you travel, you’re more likely to have greater exposure to shared spaces, such as restaurants, hotels and public restrooms, which increases your chances of being exposed to the illness. If we want to travel somewhere during this pandemic, we need to be careful enough. I have listed some safety tips about travel precautions. Which can help you with your next travel.

Maintain Your Lifestyle

Whether we go on a trip or not, first of all, we need more caution in our lifestyle. Many of our old habits need to be changed at this difficult time.

  • First of all, we have to be careful not to touch anything unnecessarily, not any surfaces, railings, posts, doors, windows, handles etc.
  • We have to take care to keep ourselves as clean as possible.
  • Always have individual use drinking water or any kind of beverages.
  • A little difficult but we have to be careful not to touch the eyes, face and nose as much as possible.
  • Cigarette smoking is bad for your health, but if someone still smokes, it’s important to keep in mind.
    Smoking as far away from others as possible and taking care not to pass the same cigarette to others.

Maintaining Social distance

The most important travel precautions is maintain at least a 3-metre distance from any others. This includes avoiding hugging, kissing, or shaking hands. Stay away from crowded places or large congregations as much as possible. If you can’t guarantee the distance, wear a mask. Be sure to check local and national guidelines on the use of masks.  

Also Read My First Solo Travel At The Age Of 13- Off To Goa But Reached Digha

Where you’re traveling

Many places in India are open for tourists at the moment, notably Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Darjeeling and many more. But each place has its own set of rules and regulations for travellers. First of all, you have to know the rules and regulations of those places. As a standard protocol, tourists will have to present a negative COVID-19 report, not older than 72 hours, from an ICME-recognised lab, upon arrival. International tourists will be required to undergo seven days of institutional quarantine and seven days of home quarantine.

Transportation

Not all types of travel are equally risky. Traveling by air, for example, is riskier than crossing the city by your own car. 

Airports are a high-risk area because you have a lot of people from different areas moving through a central location.

It is best to travel by your own car or hired car without using local transportation as much as possible. It is better to rent a bicycle or scooter and go around all day without using local transportation for sightseeing in different places. And make sure your bicycle or scooter is disinfected. If one is using local transport, it is important to use a sanitizer at the designated seating area and of course, wearing a mask is very important.

Accommodation

We need to be careful enough to choose our hotels, guest houses, homestays. Any kind of accommodation at the moment has to follow the rules of the government in this pandemic time. If a guest develops symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough or tiredness, they should notify the facility manager and seek medical advice by contacting local health authorities. Please ensure high touch areas such as door handles disinfected regularly throughout the day for your stay. Hotels and other accommodations should have procedures for cleaning, disinfecting and ventilating the room properly between every guest’s stay. These processes allow the accommodations to be used immediately afterwards. Make sure it is done.

Activities

There are plenty of things you can do while travelling that allow you to maintain a safe distance from other people. Hiking, camping, even dining in a restaurant that has implemented appropriate safety protocols can afford you sufficient physical distance to stay safe. 

Last important thing

Travel, by definition, increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you get out of town, make sure to check state and local travel restrictions and do some research to learn whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area or where you’re travelling. Some states require out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine. If you decide to travel, it’s important to remember that the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, so the way to stop spreading it is your awareness.

Also Read A Unique Place – Baba Mandir – Sikkim

Many interesting places in India have only developed on human beliefs and myths. Later people’s faith and respect turned that place into a unique one. Baba Mandir in Sikkim, India is such that kind of unique place. People believe that Baba Harbhajan Singh died while on duty. And his demise does not stop him to do his duties. Until Harbhajan Singh’s retirement age, the Indian army sent his salary to his family every month. Every year his belongings are sent to his family in Punjab when Army officers are on holiday.

Sikkim

If you can’t find peace in any place, head to Sikkim. It’s the place where you will truly believe in the goodness of nature and humanity. The state of Sikkim, nestled in the North-Eastern part of India, isn’t exactly on the tourist radar. But it should be. The state has so much to offer to visitors. You will fall short of words to describe its natural beauty.

Changu Lake (PC- Google Source)

Baba harbhajan Singh -Hero of Nathula

The temple of Baba Harbhajan Singh of East Sikkim has been built through various mysteries and stories. This temple located at an altitude of 13,123 ft in the conjunction of Nathula Pass and Jelepla Pass is just about 52 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Baba Harbhajan Singh is revered as the “Hero of Nathula” by soldiers of the Indian army. He born to a Sikh family on 30th August 1946 at Punjab, Harbhajan joined the Indian Army at the age of 20. He was posted at the border. On 4th October 1968, while escorting a mule column from his battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla, he slipped and fell into a fast-flowing stream and got drowned. The army searched for his body for three days but didn’t found it. It is believed that one of his Sepoy friends was informed in his dream about the exact location of his body with his wish to be cremated there with full military honours. He was accorded the status of a saint(Baba) by the Indian Army. Later a memorial was built at the cremating spot which came to be known as Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir.

Baba Harbhajan Singh

Beliefs And myth About Baba Mandir

  • The people of Sikkim and Indian Army officers still believe that even after the death of Baba Harbhajan Singh, his soul is still working in the border areas.
  • Any army official not maintaining a clean and disciplined attire is punished with a slap by Baba himself. This shows how disciplined he was all his life.
  • It is also believed that water kept at the Baba Harbhajan shrine becomes capable of curing ailing persons. Devotees, therefore, leave bottles of water in the name of ailing people and then give this blessed water to the sick.
  • There is a belief in the army that Baba will warn them of an impending attack at least three days in advance.

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In honor of Baba Harbhajan Singh

  • Every year on 11 September, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri, from where it is then sent by train to the village of Kuka, in the Kapurthala district of Punjab. A small sum of money is contributed by soldiers posted in Nathula to be sent to his mother each month.
  • The Army is on high alert when Baba is on leave.
  • During flag meetings between the two nations at Nathu La, even the Chinese Army set a chair aside to honor him.

The End Story

Captain Harbhajan Singh retired from the army a few years back. Indian army hadn’t promoted him from Sepoy to the rank of a captain. One important thing is that his family never received a salary every month from the Indian Army directly. But the soldiers there created a fund in his honour which raises money for his family. In the year 2005, he was scheduled to retire but it postponed till the year 2006 based on his love for the duty.

Kolkata is an old soul. It knows everything. She knows when to love when to celebrate when to accept bandh, when to get serious and when to not. Kolkata opens wide arms for strangers. Kolkata balances her personal and professional life like a pro. She has her break down moments too, but when Kolkata gets up, no one shines like her. She is unconquerable.

Also Read Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh

The Grand Festival:

The festival, Durga puja, play Jenga with your emotions. Chatim phooler gandho works like a spell on your mind. Pizza, pasta, continental become things from different planets, vaat, daal, rui kalia, khashir mangsho,chaltar chutney become things you crave for, along with Chinese cuisine. I know I added Chinese in the Bengali cuisine list because chow-min and chilly chicken are very much Bengali. no debate on this. period.

We save money for Durga Puja. Celebrate the festival forgetting all the tension about the future. As a Kolkatans, the 5 days are meant to be enjoyed. This is our birthright. Like adda, gossiping, jhari mara, on Satyajit Roy, Rabindranath, gorer math. Sons and daughters are expected to fly down to Kolkata even it from hell. “Pujoy bari asbi nah, ma durga swargo theke morte baper bari chole alo, tui asbi nah”. This is our “abdar” and we are allowed to be spoiled. And this feels so good, this feels so right.

Durga Puja changes scenario in Kolkata:

In today’s apartment culture, we hardly know each other. While taking the same elevator ride, we look at the other person and try to remember “in which floor this person lives?” “have I seen this person?” “Is he eligible for my smile?”. Scenarios changes in Durga Puja. It gives a colourful sun-glass without any lens. We all are people who can feel the drum beats inside our veins 24/7- “dhikki chikki dhikki chikki”. We freely invite friends, relatives from outside, ” Tumi Durga Puja dekho ni, Durga pujoy chole aso Kolkatay. Thakar chinta ki, amar bari ache toh”.

The whole city becomes a joint family, a single home. We will hear random people giving you knowledge about when to visit which puja mandap to avoid the crowd. They are also concerned about the numbers of new clothes the other person received before Pujo. Our “hi”, “hello” changes to “pujoy kota jama holo”, “Pujoy ki plan”, “Pujoy kolkatay toh”…

Also read My First Solo Travel At The Age Of 13- Off To Goa But Reached Digha.

A festival which unites:

Durga Puja meant to unite people. It comes back each and every year to remind people of the same lesson. And Kolkata knows this, that’s why she will cherish, welcome, flourish Durga Puja to the world as her inherited proud symbol.

Keeping in mind the current COVID 19 situation, I urge to everyone to be safe and keep safe during Puja.

Childhood is one of the good time in our life. Whatever you do as child that come direct from your heart. What does travel mean, I did not know that time. For official reasons, my father used to travel a lot. I used to listen his travel stories. My general questions were, what did you see, what were the items you eat. He used to laugh and say it was official not an outing. Hearing him made me believe that travel meant only serious works, no fun at all. Contradictory, when I used to hear others travel stories, it seemed like full of fun, adventure, excitement. Then I got to know those people were on vacation unlike my father. So I was clear in my head that vacation is fun and trip means office work.
One day one of my friend and his family were going for a vacation in Goa. And when my friend came back to school he told his fun travel stories. Where he been, where and what he ate, fun rides, sunrise to sunset, music and many more. He gifted me little bag tag written Goa. And immediately he became my best friend. That time I realised fun means travel. And my fun travel would start with Goa.

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My first travel planning

1997 at the age of 13 I planned to go Goa for my first fun travel. I was not courageous to tell my parents about my travel plan to Goa. So I broke my piggy bank and found some 550 rupees. But I needed 450 rupees more. At that age, thousand rupees was a big amount to me. It was enough to cover my vacation, in my head obviously. So I made my mission impossible plan. In coming few days I asked my father to give me some money for my new piggy bank and I did the same with my mother and elder sister as well without letting them know. I collected some 350 rupees more. And I needed 100 rupees more.
So now, the question was how to go to Goa from Kolkata. My friend told me that they travelled to Goa by train. He said from Howrah rail station to Goa by train it would take 50 hours. And my house to Howrah station I planned to go by a local minibus. So my goa vacation plan was ready. After 53-54 hours, I would reach Goa. I was feeling excited like never before. I was so excited.

My Travel packing

I had a grey colour school bag. I removed all my books and took out the pencil box and packed my Binocular, walkman, red sunglass. And my most favourite colourful t-shirts and shorts, pair of jeans, some chocolates and most importantly my school identity card. Because I heard that without an identity card, hotels do not accept booking. So my goa plan was so on.

The day

I did not fixed a date to go. I was ready to go but needed a perfect time. One fine morning my parents were out for work. My elder sister was in school. I did not go as I faked my illness. I thought this is my day. So I wrote a letter to my family, I am going to Goa for my first vacation. Don’t worry about me I will come back in a week.

My Way to Goa

I didn’t had any knowledge of the road. But I knew somehow the bus route to Howrah station. I took a local bus and reached Howrah rail station. My plan was very simple. I thought I would go and buy a Goa ticket from ticket counter and board my train. After 50 hour I will be at Goa beach. I was excited as I asked for a ticket in the counter. When my turn came, I asked for a Goa ticket.The man looked at me shockingly and told me that I was at wrong counter. I was ready to move and looked for the right counter. But the man called me and asked me to fill a form first. I learned a new information that I need a form. But from where that was still not clear. Somehow I managed a form and again joined a long queue. But I was hungry by the time. When finally my turn came I handed over the form to the man. He asked me my age. I told him 13. He smiled and told me to come again when I am 18. People started noticing me curiously. Someone asked me, where is your father? I did not reply and moved away. I felt bad for not executing my Goa trip.

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When Digha plan is on

I had decided, firstly finished my lunch and after that, I will think about what can I do. I found a clean restaurant beside the rail station. And Suddenly I heard the sound, a bus conductor’s call for new passenger Digha, within 30 minutes the bus will start. Immediately I changed my plan. Digha is one of the famous beaches in West Bengal. So instead Goa, Digha will be the same fun. And I surely believe Digha exactly feels like Goa. So at least my Digha plan was on.

The Digha day I never Forgot

When my bus started, I was very happy. I almost forgot I didn’t inform my parents. What would happen when they would found my letter,? I was enjoying my journey, beside a window seat. And enjoying Ricky martin song, “Maria” in my walkman. What a day! After 2 hours our bus stopped for 15 minutes that time I bought a coca-cola and enjoyed every sip.
When I reached Digha, I was excited to see the seashore. But first I needed a hotel. Some people at the bus stop were grabbing my bag and asked me to come to their hotel. I thought Wow what an entry, so much importance. Now I chose a man and went to his hotel. Hotel named New Sagarika. At the reception, the man asked me “where are you coming from? What is your age?”. I gave my school identity card and told him that I needed a room for 5 days. Hotel receptionist asked me to wait and called the hotel manager. The hotel manager asked me a lot of questions. Why are you here alone? Where are your parents? What is your plan in Digha? I told him that I am here for a vacation. I wanted to go Goa but my age did not allow me to go, that’s why I came here. Hotel Manager called the local police. And then I was a little nervous and hungry again.

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One Good Man

Within 10-minutes the police came and asked me the same questions as the hotel manager did. But this time one officer asked me a unique question “did you come to Digha to commit suicide? “. I told him, why would I spend money and come to come to Digha for suicide! I could have done this in Kolkata. Police searched my bag very rudely. I was disturbed. Outside of the hotel, many people gathered and were watching me. At that moment, one young gentleman came forward within the crowd and asked me very politely “Are you hungry”.
After a few minutes, one hotel boy came with egg roll and coca-cola. The man started talking separately with the police and the manager and kept an eye on me. Later that man introduced himself to me. He was Sanjay Sen, and he had a hotel too. He asked me if I want to stay in his hotel instead. I nodded yes. Then Mr Sen suggested me to call my Parent first to inform them about my safety. I was in dilemma. If I made that call my travel would have ended there. Mr Sen made me understand the intensity of the situation. If I did not call them, then Police would do whatever they feel right. I was scared of the police as they were treating me like a criminal.

The call ruined my travel plan

So I had to call home and informed my father that I am in Digha. They were already searching for me and filed a missing complaint at the local police station. Mr Sanjay Sen spoke to my father and told him not to worry about me. Next day, he will personally drop me home safely. Again My brain worked. I requested Mr Sen to call again my parents to inform them that tomorrow he won’t be able to come but the day after tomorrow he will. He was surprised until I gave him the logic. I came for a vacation which I did not want to destroy. It already got spoiled because of the fiasco. at least I could have 2 days to explore the place. He laughed and took me to his hotel.

End of the day

I realised tomorrow afternoon I would be at my home. So I had very little time to enjoy my vacation. I asked Mr Sen, would you like to come for an evening stroll or I shall continue. He agreed as he had no other option because I was his responsibility. That was my first and last visit to Digha. But that night I enjoyed a lot. We walked through the beach. Sat somewhere near the beach. I saw every people were happy and roaming around enjoying the beach. Mr Sen offered me a horse ride. I told him that I don’t like to ride animals. Then he bought me some fresh fish fry and coconut water. I bought a black hat and a new sunglass for me. After that, he took me to a nice restaurant for dinner. I was going to stay with him in his hotel for that night, next day he would take me back to Kolkata. So I requested him again to sit beside the beach for some more time post-dinner. That time he laughed again but agreed.

In this pandemic situation all over the world, travelling is one of the difficult tasks now. It’s a strange time to be a traveller or travel enthusiastic. Our world predicated on the belief that everywhere, anywhere, is just a drive, ride or flight away. These past few months of being strictly at home, even sometimes walking down the street not even possible. If there’s no travel, there’s no travel blogging. During this time I realise maybe travelling is not physically possible for certain time but there is many way to explore your travelling passion.

Please Note Cover Image source by Google.

When travelling in your hand

Virtual travel experiences that let you explore the world from your suitable place. This tours can take you pretty much anywhere, without your passport. Travelling is a learning process. Either you are in physically travel or either you travel virtual, you learning lots of unknowing things. In this pandemic situation, we don’t live our nomadic life that’s right but we watch travel documentaries, travel show and many more things. In the digital platform, there are a ton of travel vlogger publish their travel experiences. You want to know lots of new things, tips and idea about your travel destination, then there it is.

Also Read Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh

Reading an alternative to travel

I always prefer to read some book, about my travel destination. Because its help me making a sudden decision during my trip. Reading is mind travel. Reading a book is clear your thought and it gives you imagination power. Last few months we all are stuck at our houses for the pandemic situation. No travel at all. Maybe coming few months are also a little difficult for the travel lover. So do that mind travel choose your next travel destination and pick the book about your destination. And I am sure your mind reached your destination. In India, there is a famous Bengali author named Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay he never been African jungle, but he wrote a famous novel called Chander Pahar (The Mountain of the moon). This Novel is published in 1937 and believe me that era not even know the power of Google or the internet. The mind is the most powerful thing we have.

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Photograph is another journey

Travel without photographs means an ocean without water. A photograph is the first thing to encourage your travel. When you are home during this pandemic situation watch travel photographs. Watching travel photograph is eye-soothing and cheerful. In my childhood, I saw some African safari photos these photos till then encourage me to go to Africa. I am sure you have some travel photograph in your mind when you want to go someday.

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People have a lot Travel Stories

In my childhood, I used to listen to my father’s travel stories. I used to cherish those. Every detail, every incident used to take me to that place. Not only that, but I also got to know about so many places that hardly mentioned in any travel destination list. Now when I am an adult, I still use the same old trick. In my neighbourhood, there are people who travelled to many places. From them, I get to know about Visa procedure, places to visit, their best travel experience. These tips always help me to plan my travel and bookings.

Travelling is in your mind. Nothing in this world can stop that travel. It’s only you who can set a limit. Decide your own limit and travel as far as you can.

Also read The Galwan Valley

Please Note – Cover Image source by Google.

The Galwan valley recently is in news. Here today I am not going to tell you about the war or the reason for any confrontation. Today I Will introduce to you a great fearless traveller. The name was Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He was a Ladakhi adventurer and explorer who had assisted many explorers at the turn of the 19th century. This valley named after him.The 80-meter long Galwan river flows through the valley.

Galwan reached Leh in 1895. He is also written a book titled “Servant of Sahibs: A Book To Be Read Aloud”. He has narrated his life which, full of adventures and journeys as he assisted Francis Younghusband to scout the regiment. At that time British ruled India, worried about Russian expansion towards Tibet. Galwan assisted British expeditions in the region as a guide. As troops tried to gather information about Russian intrusions in the valley which could pose a threat to British Interest in India.

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The Aksakal

Galwan for almost 35 years assisted the expeditions led by British, Italian and American explorer. And he eventually rose to the rank of “aksakal” or chief assistant of the British Joint Commissioner of Leh in 1917, as reported in Economic Times. This Valley was then the famous route for silk traders. At that time it’s believed to be swarming with robbers. No knowledge about the route caused people to lives. Besides robbers, cold, high peaks and lack of oxygen also caused much death. Some say the beautiful sight is breathtaking. And it’s beauty has a high price.

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How the valley named the Galwan Valley:

In 1892, Sir Charles Moore the 7th came to India. He came here in a secret mission. Moore has given a nice description about his travel in his travel diary ‘The Pamirs: Being A Narrative Of A Years Expeditions On Horseback and Foot Through Kashmir, Western Tibet, Chinese Territory And Russian Central Asia”. He had commenced many such trips for his secret jobs. But that time he fell into serious trouble.
Near Ladakh, he developed a sudden breathing problem due to heights. By the time, he also reached a place surrounded by peaks. The troop was unable to return with their horses. They got stuck badly there. On their way, they found animals and humans bones too. They all were scared to death. But the troop had a 14 years old cook, Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He made the troop wait there and he went to find the path. That fearless boy risked his life to find the correct path and brought everyone down safely. Moore so moved and indebted to this boy that he named the valley after him.

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The Forgotten Hero

We all recall and embrace Vasco-Da-Gama, christopher Columbus. They made a difference and explored the unexplored. They opened a new horizon to the world. But according to world history has so many travellers, so many explorers who hardly remembered. What Gulam Rasoul Galwan, 14 years old, had done is just commendable.

Also Read Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh

Please Note – Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh Blog Cover picture source by timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Chhattisgarh was one of my travel list in 2020. But COVID 19 pandemic change all travel enthusiasm plan. If I will be allowed to going Chhattisgarh this year, then Dholkal hill Ganesh temple was one of my top list places. This temple not like that normal classic temple. The 1100 year old this small, mysterious shrine located atop a hill in the middle of a dense forest In Dantewada district, about 350 km from Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The small hill shape of which resembles a dhol (Indian drum), and hence, it became popularly known as Dholkal. I don’t know this temple is man-made or some mystery had happened. But this temple’s location and its scenic beauty attracted everyone. I am just eagerly waiting to visit this place

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Chhattisgarh the untouched melody

Sliced off from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh is one of the newest states of India, but one of the oldest enclaves, thriving with ancient tradition and customs. Weekly Haats (markets), ancient temples, dense and deep jungles, frothing waterfalls, a well-defined spiritual circuit and intriguing customs are some of the things that awaken travellers to a new but old era.

The myth

As per the mythology, folks belief, a battle occurred between Lord Ganesha and sage Parashurama on Dholkal hill a long time back. This was a fierce battle in which Parashurama attacked Ganesha with his farsa (axe) and cut one tooth of Ganesha. That’s why Ganesha is known as “Ekdant“. The village nearest to the hill named Faraspal (the name derived from Parshuram’s weapon). It is also saying that, because Parshuram’s farsa fell here, the Bailadila mountain range became rich in iron ore.

source by timesofindia.indiatims.com

11th century’s Temple

According to history, In memory of the battle between Parashurama and Ganesha, the kings of Chindak Nagvanshi dynasty set a stone idol of Lord Ganesha at the hilltop in the 11th century. The 2.5 to 3 ft idol has carved in the shape of a Dholak (musical instrument) hence, the hill has been named Dholkal. The idol depicts Ganesha seated in his typical Lalit asana or playful and easygoing posture. The local villager worships the idol of Ganesha throughout the year, and a special fair has held at this site in the month of Magha, between January-February.

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The Journey

The most interesting part about the ancient temple its journey. Raipur to Jagdalpur 300 km and Jagdalpur to Dantewada town another 80 km. Both private cabs and public buses are easily available from Raipur to Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Dantewada town to Faraspal village is 18 km away and Faraspal to Dholkar hill another 5 km trekking in the dense jungle it would help you immensely to hire the service of a local guide to make your way through the dense conifer forests. So definitely Dholkar Ganesh temple and Chhattisgarh is my bucket list. You also join me actually for this ancient city travel. Till then be safe.

In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted demand for bicycles, with people using them to commute, for exercise instead of going to gyms and to get some fresh air. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released technical guidance on moving around during the Covid-19 outbreak, advocating cycling and walking overcrowded public transports to limit physical contact during the pandemic.

Bicycle -The way to Home

In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. Covid-19, the pandemic has given us a scope to consider cycling as an important mode of commute as its environment friendly and economical. During the National lockdown in India, we hear about lots of real and courageous incidents to travel thousands of kilometres by cycle to reach their hometowns.

Bihar girl who cycled 1,200km carrying injured father

A 15-year-old girl Joyti Kumari, who won praise for carrying her injured father hundreds of kilometres across India by cycle. During India’s strictest nationwide lockdown Joyti and her father stuck in Gurugram (outskirts Delhi). A tenacious Jyoti asked her father to sit on the rear side carrier of her cycle and took him to his native place (Bihar), covering 1200 km in seven days.

Mumbai to Odisha

Migrant labourer Mahesh Jena pedalled 1,700 km across India over seven days to reach home. His biggest challenge was keeping the wheels moving. Jena followed his usual pre-dawn routine, but with an unusual plan in mind. Usually every day, he would head for his factory, a little over 10 km away in the industrial zone of Sangli in Maharashtra. But this time, he was headed home — to a small village called Bhanra in Odisha, nearly 1700 km away.

Migrants On The Road

There is lakh of migrants people are travel by walk or cycling to reach their home during the lockdown, the cycle has also come to the rescue of people in an emergency. On social media, a short video of a batch of migrant workers from Bengal starting for their home on bicycle from Chennai, embarking on a nearly 1,700 km journey. New Delhi to West Bengal, two Bengal youth are travelling 1600 km. 45 years old man travelled 1486 km with his cycle to reach his home. There are so many real travel incidents happen across India, during the lockdown.

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India is turning to cycles again

As workplaces start reopening, some are choosing cycles to avoid the risk of contamination on packed public transport, while others improve fitness levels. Many people in India have decided to ride a bicycle. People repaired there old cycle or buy a new one. Some Intelligent people of India prefer to waiting a long line of cycle shop instead of a liquor shop. Across all over India people are preferring this mode of transport to move about, whether it’s to go to work, do chores, or exercise.
Cycling is one of the greatest medication of anti-depression. Many people say during this quarantine days they are stuck and depressed but when lockdown over they start cycling regularly and this work out are removed all kind of depression.

Why should you Cycling

Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, perspire and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. And the end of the list you are Happy..

The health benefits of regular cycling include:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Please Note -Cover Picture source by cooktube.in

To the people of India I have met on my travel. Thank you all for all sharing yourselves so generously and welcoming rather intimidating looking stranger with so much warmth and such awesome food.

Indian cuisine dates back over 5000 years. Each region has its own traditions, religions and cultures that influence its food. Indian food has been influenced by Mongolian, Persian and Chinese cuisine, among others. The common thread throughout the centuries remains the distinct mixing of spices that invariably give Indian cuisine its flavor and aroma. Today I will talk about the famous Kashmiri dish which travel to Persia to India with a rich history.

Food Connection

When I was at Kufri in Himachal Pradesh, one fine night in dinner buffet menu, I found Mutton Rogan Josh. Before that I filled my plate with prawn, chicken, paneer, fish and probably one or two more dishes. But Rogan Josh made me feel like this was it. I did not need anything. I cleared my plate for it by placing all the dishes back to its utensils. Then I took more than a decent amount of Rogan Josh rice and sat in a table alone. I was about to start when a man came and sat in front of me. He was a complete stranger. I looked at the dining hall, it was quite empty. still he chose my table.

He looked at me and said “please don’t bother and enjoy your meal”. I started. He asked again, “how is it?” I said, “the best” and I put another morsel. He laughed. And I felt humiliated. My reaction made him realise that he is an evader in my peace. “I am Amitabh” he said. “Until you are Bachchan too, I have no interest” I said mockingly. he laughed again. “My friend you can’t name it the best, until you taste the best”, Mr. Amitabh said. ” I am telling you all this, because you are a foodie. The way you returned all the dishes for Mutton Rogan Josh, I connected with you. Being a foodie, I know it is prime duty to tell you about Mutton Rogan Josh. My friend you must taste the original Kashmiri Mutton Rogan josh. And you will able to find that when you know the history”.

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Story of Kashmiriyat

In Kashmir the amalgamation of hindu and Muslim culture gave birth to Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat was bred during Zain nanak and Akbar’s time and evolved through the local language art lifestyle and food. Kashmiriyat means people of different religions, different sects are living together amicably as a group. Here Hindu Pandits also celebrate Eid and Muslims wish them on Ram navami and they eat from each other’s utensils at home.There is no strict provision. So this is a beautiful and wonderful thing about Kashmir about Kashmiri culture and Kashmiriyat.

But unfortunately , this secular Kashmiriyat was butchered due to the political games played in the name of religion. And this difficult time Kashmiri pandits who have been expelled from their own land. Without Kashmiri pandits Kashmir remains incomplete. But few Pandits live in kashmir and even today they have kept kashmiri culture alive.

The actual hometown of Kashmiri Pandit is Kashmir valley. Kashmiri Pandits are Brahmins but since they lived in the Kashmir Valley there is a custom of eating meat and fish. And they are the people who make perfect Mutton Rogan Juice.

Kashmir valley(Google Image)

Mutton Rogan Josh

This mutton dish which kashmiri pandits cook and eat with relish, called ‘Rogan josh’. All Over the country in novice Mughal restaurants you find a substandard version of Rogan Josh containing insipid curry and colors.The real Rogan Josh cooked in the homes of Kashmiri Pandits contain less gravy.

Rogan Josh arrived in kashmir along with the Mughals around 400 years ago when Jahangir used to come to Kashmir. But Rogan Josh can be traced back to Persia, where Rogan means Ghee (clarified butter) and Josh means cooking on heat. Traditionally the dish is prepared in pure ghee, with the spices fried in fat to stimulate aromas and infuse the fat with the essence before adding other ingredients.

Yogurt is the base for the sauce. It gives a lovely tang with tomatoes while almonds add texture. It also thicken the sauce. Chillies and peppers mild heat are needed to complement the dish. with a die for taste, this dish complements with rice, chapati, paratha, naan. The choice will help you to mop up the rich gravy.

“Food is an emotion. It should not be cheated. Now you know the difference, it depends on you to find yourself the best.” Amitabh left me alone there. I finished that Rogan Josh and still waiting to taste the best.

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