Tag Archives: Dehradun

Down in Lansdowne

Originally known as, Kaludanda, after Kalun (Black) and Danda (Hill) in the local language, Lansdowne was founded and named after the then Viceroy of India, Lord Henry Lansdowne in 1887.

IMG_1164Today, Lansdowne is a cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district of  Uttarakhand and houses the command office of the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army.

At an elevation of 4600 ft, Lansdowne presents a unique choice of a hill station still in its pristine glory. However this may deter those who would want all the amenities of a comfortable holiday.

It was a three day getaway to this place with family and the sights of this place that relaxed my mind.

This is one of the signs you cannot afford to miss if you are driving on your own (or like us you might end up a little lost).

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The first thing that meets the eye are unending blue pine forests and thick oak trees.

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After a refreshing time in the resort we headed out for the touristy places. First there was the War Memorial, at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center. The Regimental Museum (also called the Darwan Singh Sanghralaya), houses artefacts from the beginning of the Regiment. No photos were allowed of course 😦 only this one of the entrance.

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We then headed to the two churches that Lansdowne is known for:

St. Mary’s Church was was built by Colonel AHB Hume in 1896 and has been restored now by Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre.

st marys church hdr pano2-2 Pre-independence photographs and an audio-visual display of the Regiment’s history can be viewed at this place.

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St. John’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church situated on the mall road. St. John’s Church is the only Church of worship in Lansdowne.

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Experimented with a bit of HDR to get the feel of the church interiors

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The guest book there appeared like a divine list in the light of the window … 🙂

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The only place that offers a bit of the usual refreshment is the Garhwal Mandal Rest house.

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For me this place, was a set straight out of a horror flick!

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Fortunately, the GMVN is constructing new wooden cottages which I plan to visit if I make this trip again.

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Tip n Top (aka Tiffin Top) is a vantage point that promises both views of the sunrise and sunset, but which also has too many people vying for space.

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Because of a technical malfunction in my car I could not wait till sunset and had to head to the local market to get a puncture removed from the tyre.

The evening was spent at Bhulla Taal (Little Brother Lake) which is maintained by the Garhwal Rifles.

IMG_1075The serene waters and the colourful paddle boats were invitation enough for me to exercise my legs and spend the time with the ducks.

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Bhulla Taal has its fair share of wildlife, and these guinea pigs kept my little son in splits.

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But the best part of the holiday for me was spending time in the balcony of the resort letting in the panoramic view around.

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The tea they made there was unmatched to any I tasted before!

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Got a few stills of the birds too…

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The evening walk too were fantastic photo ops…

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…. and there was enough time to fool around with the camera settings to get a bit artsy

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And these are a few miscellaneous shots that bear a mention… 


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Three days and a lung full of fresh air later, it was time to get back to the grind!

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Like a moth to a flame

The perks of being a biology teacher.

Two students come rushing to me in the morning with eager expressions. In a folded sheet of paper they showed me a creature that left me spellbound. I had never seen something like it before. It was a beautiful and exotic moth.

Luna Moth

The wingspan (shown by a pen in comparison) was around four and a half inches.

Luna Moth - Size comparison

The wings were pale green with delicate tail streamers. The wings also had a prominent reddish rust colour along the edges. And the most striking were the “eye spots” on the wings.

Luna Moth
Only later in the evening, one of the investigators researched about it and found it was known as the Luna Moth (Actias Luna)

Clouds on a perfect canvas

The sky, a perfect empty canvas, offers clouds nonetheless. They shift and drift and beg interpretation… such is the nature of art.

~ Jeb Dickerson.

The Phoenix

The Phoenix

Clouds have always remained the most widely used metaphor in literature. They can signify both sadness and joy, hope and obstacles, dreams and unrequited love.

The Dinosaur

The Dinosaur

Clouds are always open to interpretation… they constantly change, move and look both enticingly beautiful and benign. As an English teacher once explained: ‘Looking up at the sky, we can impose our own feelings on to them. In literature this is called “pathetic fallacy”, where the clouds come to emphasize our emotional states.”

This was a day when I was dumbfounded with the patterns the clouds created in the skies above…

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A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed… It feels an impulsion… this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.

~ Richard Bach

It’s called ‘Building’

Inamulla Building… a landmark structure in Dehradun or better known as ‘Building‘”, this is what I was told by a friend.

 

I was awestruck by the ancient facade, which looks like a set straight out of Arabian Nights, complete with the crescent moon looming above the minarets.

But it was not just the sight but the smell which kept me grounded. All around the place there were carts making some of the juiciest kebabs I have tasted!

Dehradun does not cease to fascinate me!

Diwali with a difference

Diwali was celebrated with a difference this year, for two reasons… firstly my wife decided that we make our own lamps to illuminate the portico and in a short while she had tiny glasses painted in elaborate ways.

Together with some water and floating candles they indeed made a pretty sight outside and inside our home.

The second difference this year was keeping away from the colossal waste of money in the form of firecrackers and spending time with the residents of Cheshire Home in Dehradun.

This is where diwali being the festival of light made so much sense to me. Not only was the place lit up to enliven a festive glow all around

…but seeing the people at the home with tiny sparklers and an even greater sparkle in their eyes will remain in my memory forever.

Happy Diwali to all of you!!!

Virasat 2012 – Handicrafts and Heritage

Virasat is a fortnight long arts and crafts heritage festival in Dehradun. It brings together artists and crafts people from the length and breadth of the country. This year, for the first time, there were performances by groups from countries across the globe. I was lucky to be at the performance of the troupe from Morocco.

Some of the instruments there were playing were works of art in themselves. If anyone knows the names I would be glad to add them out here.

The stuff that is for sale is amazing from tie and dye fabrics, lac churi, terracotta pottery, dry flower arrangements, woolens from Bhuj, Lakhnavi Chikankari, leaf painting, fine Chamba embroidery on handkerchiefs.

(Picture courtesy above goes to a friend, Aldred Gomes)

It was here that craftsman would give you a live demonstration of their work…

Other than the handicrafts there were also some marvellous culinary delights… for the first time I savoured ‘makke ki roti aur sarson da saag’!

With a range of digestives to choose from too…

Compared to similar handicraft festivals in Goa the prices were very reasonable and I have done most of my Christmas shopping 😉

Kasiga@Dawn

The Kasiga School announced a cross country run for the students and I was dreading the moment because I was to be on duty at 5:30 am on a Sunday morning!

But when I reached the point where the run was to be flagged off I pointed my camera to the sky and captured some breathtaking moments of the the colours of dawn.

5:30 am – Blue skies at the entrance gate of Kasiga School

6:10 am – Sacred Dawn … the temple and the sun

7:10 am – The sky is ablaze

And here’s the proverbial early bird…

Next time, no cribbing about getting up early!