Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I was planning to go to Tehri for years. Seeing an old city going under water would have been some memorable memories but my plans never materialized. These vacations I got some time to take my kids to Tehri and also fulfill my long standing wish. Plans were not clear, leave aside accurate. No idea of the accommodation or the tourist rush. Anyway starting from Kurukshetra I drove all the way to New Tehri (There is no old Tehri now) via Yamuna Nagar, Saharan Pur, Rishikesh, Narender Nagar and Chamba exactly 250 KMs.
Chamba is some times projected as a place of "unspoilt beauty" by some tour operators and some times by the Government also. But Chamba totally disappointed me the hills are almost barren. There can be some Resorts etc. at some vantage points around the place that are generally shown in the Pix otherwise it is not inviting at all and you are forced to move towards Dhanolty or Tehri. Any way. New Tehri was equally a disappointment, I have heard the people saying that at one time the people of nearby areas were very optimistic (when the new township was being planned) about the first planned hill-city of the independent India. But tourism never flourished here and the place became a nondescript transit point for the people rushing on the highways taking them to one of the "Dhams". It was the time when Old Tehri was rearing its head from the vast expanse of water, some crumbling walls of the old Royal Palace were visible. I think that one can always find a room to stay in Tehri in one of the 6-7 hotels there.
Returning from Tehri when you cross Chamba and after some distance before Kanatal, your mood changes totally the place is like heaven totally lush green and these 40 kms including Kanatal, Kaddukhal and Dhanolty are excellent for any nature lover.
At a number of bends over this road you will find valley on both sides of the road, I mean this thing I have never seen so frequently at other places the road is on a cliff. There 2-3 resorts in Kanatal and nothing more living options but the place is really excellent for long-long walks like Dhanolty. Kaddukhal is base for Surkanda Devi temple and walk to the temple is really rewarding in terms of 360 degree views of the surrounding areas. You are likely to find a lot of snow in the season here. Living options in Kaddukhal are nonexistent but GMVNL is developing a 12 room facility here and will be ready before snow season.
Dhanolty is really a gem, the place I liked the most and can be an ideal place for a relaxing and fragrant holiday away from the madding crowds. There are enough living options in the off-season but during peak-seasons you have to be a little careful. This whole stretch can best be used for Walking and munching on local juicy fruits like Kaafal, Phulam, Litchi Chullu etc.

Some Pictures of the trip are posted HERE

Monday, March 31, 2008

Brick Temples of Kalayat

It was another lazy and hot Sunday. This time I decided to have a ride in a Haryana Roadways bus on the most "EThnic NOrth INdian" route. The bus took me to Kalayat; a small town (village) in Kaithal District of Haryana.This village has one of the oldest existing bricks structures (Temples) in India dating back to 7/8th Century. These temples are the examples of early architecture of "Gurjara-Pratihara" Kingdom and the use of beautifully carved small bricks is magnificent.
Mortar has not been used in these carvings. The beautiful patterns of the bricks and carvings are still there on the walls of temples. Very first glance on the main temple takes you down the ages and the 19-20th century built temples give a bitter taste. What is important is the fact that none of the two olden temples matches any architectural patterns of the newer temples.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Muslims of Indian origin

Got a chance to lay my hands on a (nice) book about the "Muslims of Indian Origin during the Sultanate period". I could not stop myself from going through it "cover to cover". I under stand that no one in the present day generation is interested in the related issues. The matter is highly academic but can be of immense importance for methodology to be employed for the study of emergence of the attitudes of the Indian Muslims and the attitudes of the early converts. It is a very nice account of the developments in the medieval period, collected from various authentic sources.
A number of incidents of interest lay scattered in the stories recorded by the contemporary sources, including travellers. These incidents will certainly be of some interest for any one interested (to any extent) in history of this era. The author has tried to take back the reader to the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.All the Khaljis, Aibaks and Saiyyads etc. pass marching by your side. Khusrau and Barani try to drive home their theories about the Turks, Afghans and Arabs.