— Atul(@Atulgoyal) February 29, 2012
Though ever since my childhood, I’ve always loved nature but call it circumstances or my destiny wanting me to wait till this time, have been unable to spend quality time in nature for last several years.
Last few months have been a lot different in the sense that with some friends also excited about it, we have been able to actually get travel trips planned and done successfully, which is easier said than done given IIIT-D environment where it’s usually not so easy to plan a trip for anything more than a weekend as sometime someone is busy and at other times, there are gazillion reasons ready for which someone else cannot go. Frankly speaking, I’m convinced that if you are interested in travelling, you got to get over with this sense of “busy”ness (and yeah obviously have to have atleast a few friends around you who are equally excited as you about travelling).
Being one of those who remained excited about trip planning throughout any of our discussions, I’m pretty much satisfied and actually amazed by the success of our trips.
It all began as some of us expressed interest in travelling this semester which continued to more discussions and after a few discussions we decided that we’ll make several travel trips during this (probably?) last semester and in each of the trips we wanted to maximize the fun to expenses ratio! (forgive me about anything geekish, in what I write, but every black cloud has a silver lining, so please bear with me )
So, the first trip planning was for January and for that time, having fun in snow at a hill station seemed to be a perfect choice and 5 of us got ready to go to Shimla (Thank you Jaunty, Vacky, Gauti and Rathi!). We spent some good time in Shimla and nearby places like Kufri where the hills were covered with snow!! Overall, our Shimla trip turned out to be perfect!
— Atul(@Atulgoyal) February 1, 2012
— Atul(@Atulgoyal) February 1, 2012
Now our second trip in February was planned for Jim Corbett. Adventure lovers as we are, I love going at a new place as an explorer and the first thing we did while we were moving to our resort was to go downhill in the Kosi river valley which was totally unplanned. The time of sunrise at such a beautiful place was worth going for it.
After coming back uphill, we moved to our resort where we had our breakfast and moved to a suspension bridge on Kosi river for adventure activities. We did several activities including the Rang de Basanti style free fall in the river from the suspension bridge on Kosi river whose water coming from the melting snow uphills, must have been at a temperature just above the freezing point!! Even though these activities were with all protective measures, but since it was first time I was going for something like this, there was a moment when I took a deep breath before starting that seemingly impossible *journey* to cross the river through the rope tied to the tree on the bank of the river.
We had fun going for safari in which we were exploring the rich fauna of the oldest national park of India. In Corbett one has to stay on the gypsy (*Thanks* to the long list of things you CANNOT do, which apparently is more than what you CAN do!), and as they say for our own safety we must never step out of the gypsy. Still, there was a time when, while trying to scan the jungle as far as we could see from the gypsy, I spotted something a bit far from us which was looking like a big animal, and I couldn’t contain my curiosity and jumped off the gypsy and ran towards that animal when suddently the gypsy driver asked me to come back for my own safety and I immediately realized how mad I was in doing that! Phew!
The day safari was not enough and we had one more amazing experience waiting for us after the dinner – the night safari!! Our gypsy driver – Munna bhai (not the MBBS one ), who I must say is an awesome guide – and not a boring one like the driver who took us for day safari! – took us in deep forests and the best moments are when the jeep is stopped at places mid-jungle and all lights (including headlights) are turned off and he makes out noise of animals and as a response you can clearly listen to animals walking!!
The extreme darkness, the clear sky on which gazillion stars were embedded like diamonds, the cool pleasant air which was more refreshing than anything else, the silence except those occassional sounds of the rich fauna around us, was one of its own kind of experience.
The last activity we did before leaving for Ranikhet was 3-4 hours trekking during which Munna bhai had one more surprise for us – mountain climbing (about 150 feet very steep slope) and that too without any ropes or any other protection, though yeah his expert guidance was with us! No doubt, it was the most adventurous (and most difficult as well) activity for us and half of our group had almost lost the hope mid-way. Clearly, a small mistake there in getting a proper grip would have made one (or possibly others climbing below him as well) fall on the rocks down there from such a height leading to certain death then and there itself! But, it was FUN!
Loved spending time in those serene environments and the experiences have been beyond awesomeness. This time spent with friends is one of the best time and can never be forgotten. To be honest, I think it was not just the places that we visited that played their part in these enjoyable experiences, but more importantly it was this circle of friends and the friendship that was surrounding us that made it fun and enjoyable
In the end, I can only say:
physically back to Delhi, but mentally still there in those lush greeneries of foothills of the great Himalayas…!!!