IMG_20150704_085459

Ride to Shangri-la; Enchanting terrain transpiring ZEN

The mountain framed; yet dominated by the dagger of steep rocky ridge with capped snow around it, was the definitive dream inspired me for last few years.

LEH: the travelers abode, is the ride i have been desiring to pursue, which concluded recently. Thanks to my trek mate Srinivas, who pulled me into the planning, later to which i pulled in another colleague aka The hulk aka Dhana :p. In the initial days, our efforts just went into finding out proper information about the whole ride and the kind of support one needs and difficulties faced, etc.  With weeks passed by, searching many organizers, we finally finalized with HMC who seemed to be effective in terms of cost and offers being laid out.

We began the talks with them and finalizing the dates, these guys were very co-operative in answering all our questions regardless of how many emails shot at them or even the phone calls. The preparations started around 4-5 months ahead the scheduled batches from the HMC guys.   With my leaves getting approved (thanks to my manager, in getting convinced) and so of others while few others (initially agreed) dropping off sadly, we moved ahead in confirming our seats for 23 May 2015 batch with HMC and payment and stuffs.

Then the more tedious, elaborate process started, which was procuring the gears and other materials needed for our ride. Few of the guys wanted to ship the bikes to Delhi, HMC office from bangalore, the  searching and discussions with the vendors started. Finally we decided to go ahead with the Sainik movers and packers. These guys proved to be more professional movers than the rest with a bit cost effective.

With just a few weeks left, my heart started to thump harder and i was super excited to be part of the most adventurous ride ever. While, all our spirits were high, the discussions, detail planning, gear procurement, etc. continued. Some where in the same timeline, there was a sad news about Nepal’s natural disaster which also impacted all over the himalayan region. Few days rolled by, we kept constant watch on the news from all over; day by day more disappointing news of road closed, weather brutality, land slides, minor tremors occurring here and there keep pouring in.

With just 2 weeks left, we decided to postpone our slot to the next batch keeping safety, weather, etc. criteria into consideration. HMC guys were very co-operative and accepted our postpone request for 27th Jun 2015 batch. Again, thanks to our managers who were co-operative about the leaves adjustments.

Gears:

  • I borrowed the safety gears such as knee, elbow guards along with gumboots/rainboots from my close friend Malli. Thanks to him.
  • i bought general purpose rain-cold protective jacket from Decthlon: Arpenaz 100 Men’s Trekking Rain Jacket, which suited very well to this ride in protecting well from rain (riding under 3 days of heavy rain) and from cold of Rohtang pass, sarchu, leh and zozilla pass, etc.
  • I bought bungee cord from Ebay, which proved to be very worthy, reliable and tough for its price.
  • I bought rain pant/trouser from Decthlon: FORCLAZ 300 MEN OVERTROUSER, which is really good quality wise in delivering what it suppose it. Contraire, i also evaluated Wildcraft rain trouser, but for the same price, the material and stitching quality seems to be pretty low standard by wildcraft.
  • We carried 50L of rucksack with us for this ride. For rain protection, we got a custom stitched rexine material overcover for this bag which proved to be 90% effective. I also wrapped 2 big garbage covers for additional protection ;)

A Profound Ride:

It was a ride for 3000 kms, roundtrip from Delhi – Delhi via Leh, Indeed, this is an impeccable journey to be started off within few hours after reaching delhi on 26th of June. The day however, was hotter and dry, our zeal to be part of this ride was ever pounding hard in our hearts. After getting our bikes and discussions with the HMC guys, we settled back at our hotel aka youth hostel which really is well maintained and lies in the midst of classy area in New Delhi.

Day 1: Delhi – Ludhiana

We were asked to be assembled at the kutub minar by 3 AM next morning to beat all the messy traffic and heat of the day. As instructed, we reached the place by 4, and got settled up quick. Upon introduction speech by the group leader Surbhit and his co-leader Salman.

Ourselves got introduced to each other and this is where; i happen to meet the To-be awesome people for the entire trip to come. The whole group hit it off in no time with jokes being exchanged, clarifications inquired, etc. A final check up of all our luggage and check lists is done by the HMC folks before start.

By around 430 AM, we all started our ride. Every one assembled in a line and we started off after filling up the fuel. Our next stop was at a highway dhaba for breakfast. Around 3PM, we reached ludhiana and the weather was really hot. Every one was really tired and frustrated due to the heat with the gears on. The rest of the day just spent inside the AC hotel.

Day 2: Ludhiana – Udhampur

Next day, around 5 AM we all started off towards Udhampur, the weather was nice and pleasant for the drive. After an hour or so, we stopped for a breakfast on the highway, with roti and scoop of butter with curd, we were full.

We then left after an hour or so from this place and proceed towards Udhampur. The roads were in good condition but as the time passed on, the traffic increased and so is the heat. Hence, breaks were necessary.

By noon we stopped for lunch and so is the time for some snaps ;)

Reached Udhampur by evening, again due to the weather we all were tired and unfortunately the hotel we stayed didnt had AC and we were bombarded by the mosquitoes all night, thankfully none of us caught issues from them ;)

 

Day 3 & 4: Udhampur – Srinagar

This is the ride, we were all been eager to experience. Up the himalayas; has the great feeling to be part of. As usual, the drive started off early in the morning towards Srinagar. Since the road is over the mountain passes, we were warned about numerous army truck convoys along with the other trucks which naturally slows us down. So with that in mind, we carried off our ride with the stupendous display of mother earth all around us.

Since this route has alot of traffic and with narrow roads, our ride was a free one. Hence we took alot of breaks for photos and nature view. Every one grouped with their preferred ones and ride along for a better support and company, hence me and Dhana ride along occasionally meeting Srini, Mr. & Mrs. Ramu and other folks enroute.

Splendid first view of Kashmir valley from Jammu, post jawahar tunnel

By evening, we reached srinagar. The weather was very pleasant unlike ludhiana/udhampur, yet not too chilly. Since it was the time of ramzan, the streets and shops were not that crowded. The hotel was good and this place was near to Dal lake. We had a 1 day break at srinagar, for us to roam around this place. Initially we thought of going to gulmarg, however later dropped off the idea since it shall take away most of the day time by the time we woke up ;).

Bike health checkup

We spent the day lazying and chitchatting with the other folks. While few of the people went for local sightseeing at dal lake and others at the market, we decided to hit the lake by post noon.

abc

With an entire day just relaxed and roaming around this town, it was time to get some good sleep for the next day up the valleys.

Day 5: Srinagar – Dras – Kargil

Next morning, every thing was set to rumble. I would say this part of the ride was very emotional and most expected by me, as i get to visit the Dras: War memorial, enroute kargil. Since the war days and having an ex-servicemen’s in my family, i, like many others, have utmost respect, and love towards our men at the front lines.

At the outskirts of the srinagar town, we stopped by for the breakfast. The view at this place is serene and awesome all over. The roads maintained by the BRO was really great. Its better than my city infact. Though the roads were in great conditions, we rode at the last of the convoy and in lower speed to enjoy the nature way better.

The view of sonamarg was really awesome.

With few mins of breaks at the sonamarg, we continued ahead towards zojilla pass. This pass is known to be a bit tough, traffic congestion, crazy route with added rough weather. Thankfully the weather and the route along with traffic was at ease.

Around noon, we reached Drass war memorial. It was an intensifying moment for all of us to be here. The perception of the story narrated by the guard of what happened and the difficulties faced by the people and the army in neutralizing the enemy, brings down chills through your bones.
Here, we payed our respects to the brave souls who laid down their life for us via garland.

our Garland for their braveness, courage and contribution

Upon entering the museum hall at war memorial, one picture caught my eye and felt highly emotional. This image has alot of meaning in it. Sadly the person wrote, gave his life in the battle. :(

Post noon, with lunch done, we continued towards kargil town for the hotel.

The kargil is not a highly developed town, yet it is quite small and nice. I loved the town and the people. The roads are narrow with quite a good crowd. We spent the evening chitchat with the folks till end of the night.

Day 6: Kargil – Leh

It started to be a routine for us to be awake by 5 AM every day by now. The himalayan bliss absolutely made us not be aware of the day of week, time etc. With the daily chores brought to closure by the mother nature, it was another day light to venture out for a new set of stunning visuals, which mother nature has kept for us at every nook and cranny.

During this route, often the civilians are greeted by the army at their base camps canteens all along. Myself and Dhana had a tea and pakoda here, we were taken away by surprise. The taste of the pakoda was out of the world. While about to exit, we noticed a message board display.

How about a nice thank you message for the beloved army: a thought ran through.

Serene spots during breaks

The roads here never ceases to amaze you.

I been through the desert on a horse with no name

By evening we reached our hotel called Ri-Rab, which was pretty good and spacious.

The next 3 days saga continues at LEH..

Day 7: LEH

An additional day allotted for us to roam around the town, this as well gives the organizers a chance to do health checkup of our horses. With the rest of the day having noting to do, we 9-10 people decided to hire a local taxi and hit around the town.
Shantistupa, monastary, palace are the few places we covered at this town and then we straight away head for the hotel to rest, while others visited other places.

collage-2015-08-03

collage-2015-08-03

Due to the ongoing issue with the local taxi-bike rental association, i and others, riding on rented bikes off delhi were forced to go for renting another bike from leh, though it was upsetting, but its more a political-survival issue for leh people, which i shall not discuss about. While our delhi rented bikes were resting at the LEH hotel, i enjoyed riding the RE 350 Standard, for next 2 days ;).

Day 8-9: LEH – Pangong TSO – LEH

Next day, early morning we left for the pangong TSO, we were a bit cautioned as the weather there would be more chilly than at LEH, but it turns out to be more warmer. The lake is slowly depleting its beauty and its size. It’s unfortunate, to see that the conservation is not been done and the visitors/travelers do not respect the value of the lake.

The road for most part of it to this lake is in good condition. Our break at Chang la pass turned out to be more fun and playfun than at the lake for that matter.

High altitude drunkenness :p

We reached the lake around 5 PM in the evening, the weather was still pretty warm and not windy. Our tents were quite near to the lake banks. While every one were getting comfy from the ride, couple of us went ahead to the lake to feel the beauty upclose.

Enroute lake, a break from the heat ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Next morning, the weather was again splendid and quite warm, though the previous night wasnt that chilling or worse.

Around 8 we had lake view breakfast which was the best thing ever did on the spot.

Post breakfast, we bit adieu to the lake via one last visit to the shore in bikes for a group pic.

Biker Divas ;)

Lake exit

On the way back, at chang la again we stopped by for some refreshments. The tenktu was really good here than i tasted at a local restaurant outside leh.

We reached back to leh around evening time, yet most of the shops were already closed. The only fun was to stay back at hotel and chitchat with the team.

Day 10-11: LEH -> Nubra -> LEH

Next day, we started out to nubra via khardung la, early morning. Unfortunately before entering the khardungla la route right out of the leh, we were stopped by the local association guys to check the bike vis-à-vis documents validity to identify rented vehicles. For about an hour, the discussions went to settle out the issue and then we continued.

We decided not to stop near the K-top during the onward journey as the crowd was too much there, plus the traffic including army convoy was increasing, along with the snow melting and flooding the roads. During this stretch, we had to cross alot of water streams which were not only a bit risky, yet lot of fun.

The ride all along was really good with enjoyable views.

Around noon, we reached the Nubra valley, where we took some time off to enjoy the new splendid view of this beautiful landscape. IMHO, this valley had the best view and landscape to drive, to see and to enjoy all over the ride. The memories of riding there and being there are still haunting my memories till day. For me, it was the most enjoyable ride ever on this land.

Our next stop was towards hunder. From this junction enroute hunder, the whole valley looks stupendous.

Another hour of ride towards hunder town, we reached our hotel which is just a km away from the nubra sand dunes. To my surprise and probably to the entire team, the hotel was in a superb location with really good view of environment. I loved this place alot more than any other hotels else where in the ride. IMO this was the best of all in every aspect. Thanks to HMC for this wonderful experience, specifically for this and thanks to Snow leopard hotel folks.

Evening we spent at the nubra sand dunes, few folks went on the camel ride, while others enjoyed a stroll in the desert.

Selfie with the grumpy ;)

collage

The rest of the night went down with lot of fun at the hotel, while for others head back to the sand dunes for a night-time star-gazing.

Next morning as per routine, started off around 8 towards leh, again the valley gave me a spectacular view. Outside hunder village, we stopped at a monastry, overlooking the hunder valley.

Buddha guarding the valley

We then continued towards nubra valley, upon so a break for few snaps ;)

Next stop was at K-top, by the time we reached near the top, the traffic was at its peak and so was the jam due to river crossings.

After about 30 mins or so, we left the TOP as it was getting more crowded, the downhill roads were in pretty bad condition due to the melting snow taking away tarmac. The BRO is constantly trying to rebuild the road, thanks to them. A few kms before LEH, the nature along with roads gave us a pretty good view-point.

Once the hill terrain was done, the outskirts of LEH road is just brilliant to ride and the environment around it is just beautiful to look at.

Myself and fellow rider, Mahesh, did really enjoyed riding through these roads, together.

The rest of day went straight away lazying around at LEH.

Day 12: LEH – Sarchu

The route towards manali is really horrible. On this stretch i observed for the first time the bike was pretty much crying hard to move ahead at good speed. However, as usual the view was pretty good but heavily dusty. Alot of fuel tankers were observed on this route than anywhere else so far, this was probably due to the fact that the next fuel station after LEH is around 350+ Kms away.
Knowing this fact, we carried extra jerry cans which we bought at LEH market for 70 bucks each.

By before noon, we reached tangla la. This place was pretty cold.

Some where along the route, the rain started to pour in, this is when the whole terrain started to look way different from being dusty, even the sky turned grey-white which added a good contrast to the ground hovered upon.

The drizzling continued till sarchu, the weather along with the terrain got more wonderful and romantic/lovely. It became very pleasant and pleasing to be there. Added to this, the mild cold air all around adds up much effect to the view.

By around 6, we reached the Tent area at Sarchu. The weather turned a bit colder as the time passed by, yet it was not chilling or brutal. The whole place/valley is very spectacular. Sadly there was no snow fall/snow on the ground.

In winters, this place is loaded with snow, almost cutting off any road communications with the rest of the world. Without any much luxury, living here is highly challenging yet adventurous. The only way one can verbally communicate to the outside world is via a sat phone in a near by police station. Listening to these stories from our tents owner, sounded more fun and thrilling.

Day 13: Sarchu – Manali

Next morning, we left this place towards manali. The road from here is in good condition with minor off roading.

On this stretch as well we had to do some good water crossing over the road.

BRO workers constantly working on the road repair. Hats off to them.

Bus stuck on the high current water channel.

Break time when a bike broke down

Waiting inline for the crossing

As we started to ascend towards rohtang pass, the climate turned towards more cold and entire terrain started turning white from green.

Finally we got the glimse of the rohtang pass, but due to heavy fog, at first most of us could not identify this place, upon told we were like “Oh kool” :D. With in next half hour, the weather god gifted us the enormous amount of rain for the rest of the day.

Post this stretch under the low light, gloomy, rainy weather along with a nice chilly wind, we drove all the way towards manali. Unfortunately this was the last time and place, we enjoyed taking snaps with our camera. Reached the hotel by around 9 PM, but the rain poured all night.

Day 14: Manali – Chandigarh
Day 15: Chandigarh – Delhi

The next day, rain had taken a break for a while. We decided to leave early due to the traffic congestion, land slide issue. Around 7 AM, we were on the road towards chandigarh.

We drove at good speed to cover up the distance. Around noon time, the weather god again started to pour heavily on us. We had to drive in the rain regardless. For me, this was all together a new experience but was really fun. By noon, the traffic got more denser, but no where we encountered any congestion’s.

Finally, around 6 in the evening with alot of breaks due to strain from the rain, we reached chandigarh. Upon settling up in the room: which was cozy, we finished our dinner and off to bed.

Next day, the rain took a break. We left the hotel around 8, to our dismay, the rain again started off real bad post an hour or so. All along the Chandigarh – Delhi highway, we drove under the rain. With 3 days of continuous driving in the rain, we were frustrated to the core. Around 7 we reached delhi, and unfortunately due to our lack of route in delhi, we circled delhi for an hour before reaching our destination :IGNOU road near Kutub minar.

We changed our wet cloths into dry ones at HMC office and finally called in our movers and packers for sending off our bikes.  With all packing and loading the bikes, it was around 11 PM. By thanking and bidding adieu to HMC guys (surbit, prathamesh) for their good support and all the help, we continued our way towards Chanakya puri.

Next day, we met up Dhana’s cousin at delhi for a lunch at Andhra bhavan for Biryani, which was really good for that price. Post lunch, we visited CP, for some sweets to office and off to our hostel. Around 4 PM, we left the hostel for airport.

After some 15 days of tyre ripping ride, we flew back to Bangalore.

Thanks,
Zen :)

Videos:

P.S: I Would like to thank all my ride mates in this batch along with HMC guys for their immense support, guidance, care and all the fun they poured into this adventure. This ride shall be a life time memory for me due to these awesome people.

Photo & video credits: Myself (picasa), Dhana, Srinivas, Ramu, Sharad, Aaron, Anand, Mahesh (picasa), Saahil (picasa), navin, Manu.

IMG-20150802-WA0012

Recent Selfie…

Dilettante attempt @MustacheJS with ASP.NET

Dear Reader,

For some reason i stumbled upon the javascript templating topic and found out about MustacheJS and its simplicity, though i am not an expert at this topic, but i felt the ease of learning this is quite nice.

It took me for a while to understand and proceed in getting started with Mustache. My skills with JS is also needs a lot of sharpening, yet its slow and steady. In attempt to learning this engine, i made a sample application which is easy enough to understand myself in future as well as any others.

With that in mind, i came up with a small application of getting some messages data based on the options/choices chosen by a user i.e Admin vs Guest. Its tiny and simple but i hope its very easy to understand. It might look like re-inventing a wheel, but i wanted to try in my own way.

Default.aspx:

Untitled

As you can see, i have only 2 radio buttons on the default page: Admin and User. The rest is all self-explanatory.

Admin.html:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
<div id="AdminTemplate">
    <h2>Welcome aboard {{UserName}}</h2>

    <h3>select type of action:</h3><input id="Manage" name="SettingsType" onclick=
    "OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked(this)" type="radio" value="Manage">Manage <input id="News"
    name="SettingsType" onclick="OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked(this)" type="radio" value=
    "News">News <input id="Tasks" name="SettingsType" onclick=
    "OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked(this)" type="radio" value="Tasks">Tasks List <input id=
    "Messages" name="SettingsType" onclick="OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked(this)" type="radio"
    value="Messages">Messages

    <div id="TemplateHolder"></div>
</div>

As you can see from the above html page, i have added a place holder for a dynamic text from server at line 2; the place holder for mustache to recognize is placed between {{xxxx}} braces. Then there are few radio buttons provided to choose.

User.html:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
<div id="UserTemplate">
   <h2>Welcome aboard {{UserName}}</h2>

    <h3>Below listed messages. Have fun</h3>
    <div id="TemplateHolder"></div>

</div>

The template or the data for the user is kept very simple without any option to make it very distinguishable.

The div element with id= “TemplateHolder” is the tag which will hold a message board for both Admin and Guest user based on their choice; if any.

In this example, i wanted to list down the messages in a bulletin format or list wise, hence i chose below message board template:

MessagesBoardTemplate.html:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
<div id="MessagesBoardTemplate">
    <h4>{{ChoiceMessage}}</h4>
    <ul>
        {{#ChoiceInfo}}
        <li>{{.}}</li>
        {{/ChoiceInfo}}
    </ul>
</div>

In Mustache, one can print an array items in the form of a list as shown above. The array start is done on-line 4 and the line 5 i.e {{.}} iterates (internally to MustacheJS) over each item of the array and substitutes it.

Now comes the part where we need to fetch the data and then prepare the template info to be displayed.

Template.js:
Snippet 1:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
14
function OnRadioButtonClick(element) {
    if ($(element).attr("id") == "Admin") {        
        
        getHTML(function (html) {
            processTemplateHTML(html, "Admin");
        }, "/Templates/Admin.html");       
    }
    else if ($(element).attr("id") == "Regular") {
        getHTML(function (html) {
            processTemplateHTML(html, "Guest");
            requestMessageData("Messages");
        }, "/Templates/User.html");
    }
}

As you can see from the above code, this function/event gets executed when the user selects an option on Default.aspx page.

getHTML is a callback variable (delegate in .net terms) at line 4 and 9, used here to invoke/load the template/html data from the server. Since every thing in Javascript is an asynchronous operation, the code flow here is a continuous styled. Making it a synchronous operation kills the usability/operational style of the browser, hence the delegate/callback approach is used here.

Snippet 2:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
var getHTML = function (onResult, url) {
    $.get(url, function (htmlContent) {
        onResult(htmlContent);
    });
}

function processTemplateHTML(templatehtml, userName) {
    var uName = { UserName: userName };
    var htmlContent = Mustache.to_html(templatehtml, uName);
     $("#UserTypeDataHolder").html(htmlContent);
}

From the above code, the getHTML callback variable is declared at line 1 here which holds a reference to a function taking 2 parameters. The first argument is another callback function being passed in the previous snippet 1 at line 4 and 9. Here, i am using Jquery.get() method to get the html content from the server. I am not using .load() method here because, i need the html content in a in memory variable than being appended to an DOM tree element; which may or may not be made hidden. The .load method does not load the content to a variable in memory nor to a dummy div tag created by the jquery, hence the next best is chosen.

OnResult argument is another delegate (remember the continuous code flow layout of javascript due to its asynchronous modus operandi?) being passed which is; processTemplateHTML() at line 7. This method, takes the template (html from server) and then creates an associative array (line 8), this is then passed to the MustacheJS at line 9. The musatcheJS thus parsing the html content will place the values being supplied in the second argument onto the place holders in the first argument at suitable matching places.

In above snippet, at line 10, the template data holder is assigned the final html content for further operation using jquery.

Snippet 3:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
function OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked(element) {    
    requestMessageData($(element).attr("id"));
}

function requestMessageData(elementId)
{
    getHTML(function (html) {
        $.ajax({
            type: "POST",
            url: "Default.aspx/GetSettingsActionData",
            data: JSON.stringify({ "choice": elementId }),
            dataType: "json",
            contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8",
            success: function (data) {
                setTemplateData(data, html);
            },
            error: function (request, status, error) {
                alert(request.responseText + " ===== " + status + "---------" + error);
            }
        });
    }, "/Templates/MessageBoardTemplate.html");
}

function setTemplateData(jsonData, actionTemplateData) {
    var html = Mustache.to_html(actionTemplateData, JSON.parse(jsonData.d));
    $("#TemplateHolder").html(html);
}

On line 1 above, the method/event OnSettingsTypeRadioButtonClicked() is invoked by the multi choice radio button provided by the Admin.html template.

requestMessageData() function invokes a server AJAX request to the ASP.NET code behind (c#) method to fetch the dynamically populated data based on the choices made. Line 10 is a better choice to make things obvious of the data conversion being done, some times the ajax request fails if this is not used i.e explicit JSON string conversion. The line 12, is also a must, if data is passed to the server via “POST” method in AJAX request: this helps the code behind and the browser to decipher the data better.

On success request, setTemplateData() callback is invoked, wherein the json data fetched from the server is applied to the MessageBoardTemplate html. Please note that the json data received must be parsed back to JSON at line 26 else the Mustache fails to parse the string.

C# Code behind:

Default.aspx.cs:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
public class SettingsData
    {
 
        public string ChoiceMessage {get;set;}

         public List<string> ChoiceInfo { get; set; }
    }

    public partial class Default : System.Web.UI.Page
    {
        [System.Web.Services.WebMethod]
        public static string GetSettingsActionData(string choice)
        {
            SettingsData data;
            switch (choice)
            {
                case "Manage":
                    data = GetConfigData();
                    break;
                case "News":
                    data = GetNewsData();
                    break;
                case "Tasks":
                    data = GetTasksData();
                    break;
                case "Messages":
                    data = GetMessagesData();
                    break;
                default: data = null;
                    break;
            }

            string json = new JavaScriptSerializer().Serialize(data);
            return json;
        }

        public static SettingsData GetConfigData()
        {
            SettingsData d = new SettingsData();

            d.ChoiceMessage = "Choices";
            d.ChoiceInfo = new List<string>()
            {
                "User Configuration",
                "WebPages Configuation",
                "DateTime Congfiguration",
                "Performance Tests",
                "Server logs Configuration"
            };

            return d;
        }

        public static SettingsData GetNewsData()
        {
            SettingsData d = new SettingsData();

            d.ChoiceMessage = "Important events:";
            d.ChoiceInfo = new List<string>()
            {
                "10 Users at server x.x.x.10 blocked",
                "2 Users at server x.x.1.20 granted additional rights",
                "Servers at 10.3.3.5 went offline for 4 hours",
                "Users at 2.3.101.222, 9.89.32.22, 2,3.51.55 were logged in for more than 36 hours",
                "System detected users at 10.0.0.1, 0.2.3.4, 21.1.2.3, 33.2.12.4 for suspecious activity"
            };
            return d;
        }

        public static SettingsData GetMessagesData()
        {
            SettingsData d = new SettingsData();

            d.ChoiceMessage = "Messages";
            d.ChoiceInfo = new List<string>()
            {
                "Your password about to expire in 10 days",
                "Your last login was 2 days"                
            };
            return d;
        }

        public static SettingsData GetTasksData()
        {
            SettingsData d = new SettingsData();
            d.ChoiceInfo = new List<string>()
            {
                "Server 2.1.3.200 needs restarts",
                "Server 20.4.65.22 updates pending",
                "Database upgrade done, restart required for server oxc.edm.com"
            };
            return d;
        }
    }

The above code is mostly self-explanatory. Based on the selection choices,i am filling up the DataObject and at line 33, its recommended to use System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavaScriptSerializer API for serializing the managed type objects than the API’s from System.RunTime.Serialization assembly.

I hope i have made things simple and clear. If any mistakes/suggestion, kindly please leave a detailed comment, if possible.

Thanks,
Zen :)

Sample: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5DC25Y3gdgrR3BzRk1CQzNobEE&authuser=0

References:

DSC_0946

Rejoice in the woodlands by trine daylights

With the long weekend around the corner, i was still undecided: if i need to make use of it or just lazy around at home. The hot summer still hitting the mother earth harsher as usual, it was making my decisions vary. Most of the famous places has already been attended by us, thus making the place list much slim.

With just 1 week left for the D weekend, I thought visiting either Ooty, kodaikanal, munnar. Later on found out about Mahabaleshwar too. Upon discussion with HKC, visiting Maharastra also considered, but later shot down both (Mahabaleshar and MH) due to the less number of days and immense heat in MH. Later we decided to hit Ooty and Kodai. Upon looking at the hotels, homestays, etc. everything was booked.

Then HKC suggested to hit Sakleshpura, thus we got to know availability of a homestay there via some contacts. Finally all settled down. Two friends dropped off at the final stages. So finally myself, HKC and other friend of my decided to hit the place.

Day 1:

Early morning of 1st: around 3 AM, we decided to depart bangalore towards hassan. As it all turned out, we delayed it by 1.5hours ;). Even at this hour, the traffic was a bit rush than the normal weekends. The ride was comfortable and so is the weather.

We reached saklespura around 10AM, there we decided to visit Manjarabad fort. I had been to this fort around 6+ years back during my yedakumeri trek. Yet things have improved quite a bit. Still alot of improvements are required, hope the Govt. shall look into this monument much better.

The scenic beauty all around this fort is really spectacular.

HKC wanting to be a statue ;)

We spend around 2 hours at this fort, though the sun was blazing its heat upon us, the high altitude and the gushing wind kept us cool. We left this place around 12 PM. Our next stop was at bisle ghat which was around 50kms away. The road this place is really bad, although the roads are getting fixed now but it shall take its own time. Till then, do avoid this.

Next this pathetic road (narrow) took us deep into the village scenic side yet cost us 2+ hours to reach the bisle ghat village. All through, the road is really bad and one has to drive in just 30 speed or less. Since the place was a heaven all around, the bad roads and slow speed allowed us to really enjoy the serene nature all around.

Finally we reached our homestay which is just right off the forest perimeter. This makes the place even much serene and awesome to stay at. Our homestay was not of high featured, but enough to stay put for the people who wish to adjust for the village living style.

This house has 1 bed room with 1 big living room and a kitchen with other essentials.

This house is very spacious for around 10 people to accommodate. The owners of this home stay are very friendly caring brothers who make sure you have a very pleasant stay and taken care off.
Since the time we reached this place was close to 3PM, we decided to just take rest for the rest of the day after the lunch. The weather was pretty hot yet this place was quite cool all around. With the view of the spectacular nature around, we just hang around this place lazying out.

Me spending time with a very friendly cute doggie called Dinga. His name reminds me of my school days comic character from the books. ;) While he was enjoying his afternoon his ways, we enjoyed in our style and chit chatting.The owners offered us a local drink fresh off a tree sap; locally called as “sendi” which is almost equivalent to alcohol, if consumed at large.

Rest of the evening passed just lazying and watching the nature around.

Day 2:

Next day, the early morning welcomed us with a nice weather and the hills around us looked way awesome than the previous day. Though to the previous days of our visit, this place welcomed alot of rain, but to our unfortunate, it did not rain at all.

We decided to hit the near by owners fields.

We found guava tree and right at it we plucked fresh fruits and started to consume.

Upon returning back to house, i asked the owners to witness the retrieval off the local drink off tree sap. So we went right ahead to a nearby place and it was entirely a new experience to me watching how its done ;)

Tree sap drips sendi, is constantly being collected in a pot tied to it as in the above picture. The content was brought back to us thus it was a really refreshing feel and taste for me. Loved it though. Then right near by, we spotted a wild jack-fruit tree. Plucked a ripe one-off the tree and started consuming right away in the jungle, every thing just feels like: i am a tribal man :D

Upon all these new enjoyment done, we returned back to the house for breakfast session. While the breakfast getting prepared, we took some time off with a dummy air gun.

Breakfast served was neer dosa with buffalo ghee which was very tasty.

We completed our breakfast and were planning on TO DO tasks for the day, we decided to hit a nearby view spot which needs a small trekking for around 2 – 3 kms uphill. We rushed towards the same.

Above, is a very tall mountain called pushpagiri is right next to Kumarapravatha, where in, the top mostly covered with clouds almost all day long, thus looking spectacular from afar.
Thanks to the owners for taking us to these places which are very much untouched by the dirty-careless tourists/visitors.

After returning back from trek around lunch time, we got refreshed and finished off the lunch and then with some relaxing nap. By evening, to our surprise, the weather baba blessed us with much anticipated malnad rain, still we wished it poured cats and dogs but it didn’t. :(

My babez looked much more spectacular drenched in this rain.

After an hour, the rain stopped, while we just were wasting time in the evening, a thought provoked us to go for a ride in that rainy weather which was really awesome, thanks to the owner suggestion.

The day comes to an end with more chit chat and laughter.

Day 3:

Next day it started out very lazy and late, then one of the owner brother suggested us to go for a short trek again to a near by hill top famously called “Mirror hill” due to its look from the front where in it just straight flat and plain looking like a standing mirror. The edge of this cliff is just straight down 1000+ feet drop which looks suicidal. Again this place is very much unexplored by most population making it very clean, raw nature.

While returning back, i had already planned a photoshoot of babez on the hill top over looking the mighty mountain ;)

With the homestay owner : Ganesh

Returning back to the homestay, we got ready to say good bye to this heaven and to the wonderful humble owners of this place. They even served us a catla fish for the lunch which was really tasty and awesome. I can never thank enough for those people who took utmost care for us.

Thus around 4 PM we departed from this place by visiting a last view point inside the forest region locally called beauty spot

with homestay owner

This place is filled with filth which denotes that its heavily visited by tourists. Shame on our people :(

We dropped back our guide-owner of homestay and with heavy heart filled with memories, friendship, their hospitality; we left this place once for all. The owner suggested us to take a different route towards shanivarsante -> Arakalgudu -> holenarasipura -> Channarayapatna. This route is really awesome and scenic all around. I enjoyed driving in this road. It took us around 3 more hours and finally around 10 PM we reached bangalore with all the breaks necessary.

Screenshot_2015-05-09_14-49-03

Finally, as always i have a great team who always accompany me and make my trips wonderful and memorable. Thanks to HKC and Raj for that.
My utmost respect and i am highly thankful for Mr. Ganesh and Mr. Belli gowda of Bisle ghat home stay for their care, hospitality and fantastic non-veg food served (chicken, pork and fish) all the time for us.

Thanks :)

P.S: A kannada version of the same:
https://kcharish.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/bisleghat_sakleshpura/

bluetooth-unter-linux-1-638

Bluetooth (ObexFTP) file transfer timeout on Linux

Dear Reader,

Lately i have been experiencing a weird issue on my Linux box of Zenwalk 7.8. I am using blueman app here to transfer the files.

Strange part was, i was able to send files to my linux box (Laptop) from my mobile device, but not the other way around. This always irked me a bit but did not bother much as i hardly use the bluetooth. But today, i decided to do a bit of research (logs and google) on this and i happen to run some diagnosis.

First, via blueman i paired the devices. Trying to send the file from box to mobile device, it reported time out error. Looking at the dmesg logs, it turned out nothing much useful.

Next, i went on to see if the device has been properly recognized by the bluetooth service. So ran few commands as root (sudo) user listed below:

bash-4.3# hcitool dev
Devices:
hci0    3C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

The MAC address printed from the above command is the bluetooth chip on my laptop/desktop.

To know HCI0 bus info, you can run command:

bash-4.3# hciconfig dev
hci0:    Type: BR/EDR  Bus: USB
BD Address: 3C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX  ACL MTU: 1021:8  SCO MTU: 64:1
UP RUNNING PSCAN
RX bytes:15273 acl:156 sco:0 events:648 errors:0
TX bytes:109775 acl:248 sco:0 commands:419 errors:0

Once the device is detected, next i ran another command to make the device (BUS) up, in case it hasn’t.

bash-4.3# hciconfig hci0 up

The above command doesn’t print out any return lines. All is well so far.

Next i wanted to know if the mobile device is in the radar, i need to scan it:

bash-4.3# hcitool scan
Scanning …
7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX    zenwalker

Note the MAC address printed above is of the mobile device.

Then i wanted to connect the hcitool to mobile device:

bash-4.3# hcitool cc 7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

Everything seems to be on track. Now, since the blueman is unable to transfer the file to my mobile device (Hint: Make sure your firewall isn’t blocking connection), its of no use using it further. So i tried via obexftp tool, since the blueman app uses the same tool underneath.

bash-4.3# obexftp -b 7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX -p /home/zenwalker/Pictures/abc.jpg

I tried sending a pic to my mobile device via above command, but it returned me some errors:

Connecting…failed: connect
Tried to connect for 3ms
error on connect(): Invalid argument

Further investigation revealed that, i need to explicitly mentioned the channel to which it should communicate. Usually this shall be figured by itself, but some times some mobile devices act crazy or the tool here itself is not bullet proof.

So what the heck is this channel or where do i get it? :o

Run this command:

bash-4.3# sdptool browse 7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

This command outputs following result:

Service RecHandle: 0x10000
Service Class ID List:
“Generic Attribute” (0x1801)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
PSM: 31
“ATT” (0x0007)
uint16: 0x1
uint16: 0x5

 

Service RecHandle: 0x10001
Service Class ID List:
“” (0x1800)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
PSM: 31
“ATT” (0x0007)
uint16: 0x14
uint16: 0x1e

 

Service Name: Headset Gateway
Service RecHandle: 0x10002
Service Class ID List:
“Headset Audio Gateway” (0x1112)
“Generic Audio” (0x1203)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
“RFCOMM” (0x0003)
Channel: 2
Profile Descriptor List:
“Headset” (0x1108)
Version: 0x0102

 

Service Name: Handsfree Gateway
Service RecHandle: 0x10003
Service Class ID List:
“Handsfree Audio Gateway” (0x111f)
“Generic Audio” (0x1203)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
“RFCOMM” (0x0003)
Channel: 3
Profile Descriptor List:
“Handsfree” (0x111e)
Version: 0x0106

 

Service Name: AV Remote Control Target
Service RecHandle: 0x10004
Service Class ID List:
“AV Remote Target” (0x110c)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
PSM: 23
“AVCTP” (0x0017)
uint16: 0x102
Profile Descriptor List:
“AV Remote” (0x110e)
Version: 0x0103

 

Service Name: Advanced Audio
Service RecHandle: 0x10005
Service Class ID List:
“Audio Source” (0x110a)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
PSM: 25
“AVDTP” (0x0019)
uint16: 0x102
Profile Descriptor List:
“Advanced Audio” (0x110d)
Version: 0x0102

 

Service Name: Android Network Access Point
Service Description: NAP
Service RecHandle: 0x10006
Service Class ID List:
“Network Access Point” (0x1116)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
PSM: 15
“BNEP” (0x000f)
Version: 0x0100
SEQ8: 0 6
Language Base Attr List:
code_ISO639: 0x656e
encoding:    0x6a
base_offset: 0x100
Profile Descriptor List:
“Network Access Point” (0x1116)
Version: 0x0100

 

Service Name: OBEX Phonebook Access Server
Service RecHandle: 0x10008
Service Class ID List:
“Phonebook Access – PSE” (0x112f)
Protocol Descriptor List:
“L2CAP” (0x0100)
“RFCOMM” (0x0003)
Channel: 19
“OBEX” (0x0008)
Profile Descriptor List:
“Phonebook Access” (0x1130)
Version: 0x0101

 

Service Name: OBEX Object Push
Service RecHandle: 0x10009
Service Class ID List:
  “OBEX Object Push” (0x1105)
Protocol Descriptor List:
  “L2CAP” (0x0100)
  “RFCOMM” (0x0003)
    Channel: 12
  “OBEX” (0x0008)
Profile Descriptor List:
  “OBEX Object Push” (0x1105)
    Version: 0x0100

Above is a series of channels available in my mobile for many types of communications. Search in your output for “OBEX file transfer” or “OBEX object push” or similar text under service name section (highlighted in RED), the rest all is gibberish related to this subject. Take a note of the Channel value. In my case its 12, for Nokia phones it could be 11 and for some other phones it could be something else.

Lets try again to transfer the file by explicitly stating the channel:

bash-4.3# obexftp -b 7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX  -B 12 -p /home/zenwalker/Pictures/abc.jpg

But again dead-end with errors:

Connecting..\failed: send UUID
Tried to connect for 120ms
error on connect(): Success
Still trying to connect

Back to drawing board :(. Further investigation revealed that i should force the obexftp tool to ignore UUID (hint taken from error message :D )

So now, lets use options “-U NONE” for the above command:

bash-4.3# obexftp -b 7C:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX  -B 12  -U NONE -p /home/zenwalker/Pictures/abc.jpg
Suppressing FBS.
Connecting..\done
Tried to connect for 112ms
Sending “/home/zenwalker/Pictures/abc.jpg”…-done
Disconnecting..\done

Yuppie, at last success :D

Next step is to add these options into the bluetooth config files to make blueman work successfully. That’s for another blog post ;)

Thanks, hope it helps
Zen :)

DSC_0109

A twist, A turn; there’s the Coffee land

With a week gone by admiring the western ghats, of my beautiful state. It was time, i took my tigress for a spin in the similar trench, and time she needed some fresh air.

With multiple options in our head, we finally shortlisted chikmagalur to roll. As usual, we 3 folks: Varun aka sleepy joe, myself aka zenwalker and Harish aka HKCrazy, initially decided to drift. With just  a day left for the big day, another friend Mallikarjuna aka Malli tagged along.

By tradition, we always depart on friday evening and do the night drive to save the day time, but this time we broke that out and decided to do early morning drive due to people commitments. Around 0300, the other three reached my home in their carriage. We departed bangalore around 4AM and took the Mangalore highway. Early morning drive was pleasant and enjoyable as the traffic is almost zilch.

Enroute Hassan

A burst out laughing moment, when our HKCrazy, went looking for a compass in his kitty to find out the rising sun direction :D After tears in the eyes with pain in the belly, we started off. The drive was calm and serene all along the highway. Was about to skip the detour towards Shravanabelagola, the guys decided to hit this place as well few of us hadn’t been there till. Shravanabelagola is around 15+ kms away from the highway, the road passes through calm serene farm lands and villages.

Since, we reached this place early morning, the sun heat was less and the rock was much cooler. Climbing this hill wasn’t of a big task except for sleepy joe.

Spend another hour at this place enjoying the morning breeze, mild sun heat and the environment around.

Having breakfast, we left towards Hassan. In next an hour, we reached hassan and took a break for a while. Then we left towards destination via Belur. Around 1 PM we reached chikmagalur town. There we bought some stuffs and then departed towards our home stay which was around 20 kms away from the town.

Around 1500 we reached our home stay. The home stay was in the midst of coffee plantations and it was a pleasant to be in this pace. The road towards the homestay wasn’t that good yet it brought a good feeling to drive through.

This Oakridge homestay sits in the midst of 300 acre coffee plantation and very near to the highest peak of Karnataka: Mullayangiri.

The home stay is pretty big enough and has around 5 rooms with 2 big halls. Can accommodate at least 20 people. We paid 2k per head which includes 3 time food. The rooms are kept pretty clean, the rest rooms were facilitated and maintained well.

The homestay has alot of resting places one can relax by either indoors or outdoor watching the beautiful nature ahead.

After resting for some time and then lunch (thanks to caretaker, who waited till evening on lunch), we took some power naps. Then around 1630, we decided to refresh ourselves with a bit of sport. There was a huge area in front of the house which used for drying coffee seeds available for playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cricket went on for another hour or so. The scorching heat was something unbearable during the hour.

The evening went on a bit relaxing after the sport activity. We just took shower and then tea with snacks were served. The caretaker at this premiss is a very nice lady who took care of us and rest of the family who were in the adjoining rooms, well. She even voluntarily offered us some juice.

 With all the snacks done, it was time for us to take a stroll and enjoy the nature and prepare the night fall while the other family in next rooms decided to wander out to nearby places.

And the final class act of our “Dead bowler”, was hilarious :p

Around 7ish, caretaker played the music and a fire for the snacks (kababs and bajjis), we enjoyed the evening for another hour or 2 and then for dinner around 0930. Rest few hours just passed away by chit chatting ourselves next to the fire, before hitting the sack.

Day 2:

Next day, we all woke up around 8 and got ready by 10. Finishing off the breakfast, we decided to hit the mullayanagiri. After fresh up, off to the highest peak in karnataka. From the homestay, it was around 13 kms away. It took as another 30 mins to reach; the roads were not that great.

Driving at this altitude was really awesome with the nature around.

The view from the up top was really spectacular.

Admiring the beauty

Fella enjoying the vacation, perfect place ;)

Stairway to heaven!

The Ariel look at the tigress was splendid and to me it looked as if the guards were surrounded ;)

Spot the tigress ;)

Next hour we spent at the hill-top enjoying the view and then back to the parking lot. By this time, the tigress grabbed my attention towards her. What happens next is just obvious ;)

While, i was busy shooting the tigress, one of the visitor dropped by and requested to take a pic. Apparently, he was a FIAT freak too and a member of Team FIAT India forum and goes by name Renju (Sorry, if i  have spelled it wrong)

We then departed, since the roads on the hill-top was really narrow and the traffic increased, i had to slow down a lot. It was a bit of challenging yet fun to drive down the hill, while the beauty of nature impresses the corner of the eye.

We had left our luggage back at the homestay, we drove back and got refreshed a bit and finally bid adieu to the plantation. We then decided to visit Kemmannugundi.

It was another 40km away distance. Another hour or 2 well spend driving in the midst of the nature and through the curves. What better feeling one can get than driving our beauties, ye? ;)

On the way, we visited a coffee shop which was again in the coffee plantation run by the owner. Though the prices here were exorbitant, we still wanted to sip away a cup. On the way, we managed to click away few snaps.

With refreshment break done, we then departed towards kemmannugundi. While the fellow guys took a turn by turn for back-seat nap, we finally reached the place. The road enroute kemmannugundi is not good. For few kms the road is just gravel and muddy. At this point, the rain started to pour. Looks like the rain gods wanted us to cool down and have more fun of the nature around.

With a lot of heat around, it was big relief that it rained. We enjoyed the cold breeze, the rain and not to mention the spectacular beauty of nature around.

Love is in the Airrrr!!

With african Drug lord ;)

When the rain stopped after 30 mins or so, we decided to depart from this scenic beauty. Next was to visit kalhatti falls, which is widely known for its medicinal benefits from the waterfalls.

Surely this place is really messed up and our people have created hell lot of garbage in the name of divine. Sad! :(

With more curves down the terrain of chikmagalur, we reached the skirts of this district, where the roads stopped being fun to drive. Yet the distant mountains were looking spectacular to mesmerize.

Then as we had planned earlier, we visited HKCrazy’s distant relative home. With a bit of coffee and snacks, it was time we finally bid adieu to this heaven.

The return route we chose via Berur -> Kadur -> Tiptur -> Tumkur. The roads were good but single lane. Thus it took around 5 hours to reach bangalore.

It’s often said by wise folks that to make any thing better, not just the place/environment matters but equally the company one has. I am glad and thankful to proudly say that, i have the vibrant, enthusiastic friends who always make my trip an awesome event.

Thanks for reading :)

More pics : https://plus.google.com/photos/104890710223822575506/albums/6127078325195441185

DSC_0622

Drifting across Sumptuous city : Part 1

How the weather has changed in just over night!, I kept wondering, when i woke up from the paddling dreams of golden odyssey when the train roared its horns across the jaipur junction.

Start of Day 1,

We had already planned the hotel in which we wanted to stay for the entire 5 days. Initially we had planned for just 3 days in jaipur. But upon deeply exploring and planning we realized that more is required. Since we already planned for Ranthambore safari, so we just get 2 days to spend at jaipur alone.

From the station in the morning we proceeded towards Hotel Rani Mahal, hawa sadak which was around 5 kms away. Reaching the hotel we were informed that the rooms wont be available till 10 AM onwards. So we had to wait till then. Thankfully the hotel management provided us a spare room to refresh, upon our request.

By around 9 AM, we decided to wander around the city leaving behind the luggage in their custody. This hotel to our dismay, wasn’t at a commercial place nor at a different place where usually hotels shall be, but in between the residential environment. The owner has converted the house into a hotel and make it look like it’s a heritage one.

Even the interiors have been decorated to look like it’s a palace.

The room we got wasn’t that spacious nor equipped to fit in 3 people. However, since we hardly spent a few hours except for night sleep in the room, we decided to accept it.

After refreshing, we prepared for the days visiting places which was City palace, hawah mahal and Jantar mantar. All these 3 places are just adjacent to each other in the midst of the busiest place of the city.

As we go higher in the hawah mahal, the narrow channel window designed here allows the air to gush through which keeps this place very windy and cool.

Further on, we proceeded towards City palace which was adjacent to this mahal. En-route, we found public dropping by and buying few grains then offering to the birds.

On inquiry, we came to know that it’s a belief that by offering some thing every day to birds/animals something, one can wash off their sins.

On one side, its great that people believe in such good things and treat animals/birds like they should which allows human:Non-Humans to live in harmony but on the other hand, i wonder why still human does sin? o_0

 

The city palace is quite big and neatly maintained. Thanks to the Govt. who has taken keen interests in keep such monuments to its great form by cleanliness and restoration activities.

The city palace is quite vast and very rich.

Its been said that, the hawah mahal was mainly built for the queen to enjoy her times when the king is away or king spending time carrying out his duties in the city palace. Being their, i realized how much of an enjoyment she must have had.

Next stop, Jantar mantar. Though it looks great to see all the astronomical works done by past folks, yet many things is not understood.

Spending time here for a while, we then had lunch at the nearby hotel before decided to hit the Chowki dhani as we had planned up.

Chowki dhani exists very outside of the city beyond airport, which was around 40 mins away drive. This place gets crowded as the sun goes down.
From outside, this place looks as a normal hotel, but upon entering it gets much interesting.

The whole place is ranges around few acres, and its fully converted and simulated to look like an exact typical village aura of 70s time. Not only it looks splendid, but it carries one to the past. I loved the whole vibe going on in here.

All the structure are built to exactly look vintage.

There are a lot of events happening here. One never gets bored here. Beyond the cold weather, this place just carries you away to enjoy every moment.

This place has also many vintage play stuffs for the younger ones.

This place also has resort, restaurant and bar. The whole place looks very pleasant to chill out.

After spending some time at this place, we decided to hit the dinner table around 10. Still this place was busting out with a lots of activities.

I must confess that the food here was just bad as it can be. Though the quantity and varieties were very, but without taste it just blows.

Around 1030, we decided to depart from this place. Luckily the rickshaws were available outside this place due to its fame.

Await for the Part 2. ;)

Thanks,

Zen :)

DSC_0396

An Aurulent Odyssey : Jaisalmer, YHAI Desert Trekking

After a cold night long journey in the train from Jodhpur visit, we landed in Jaisalmer around 5AM. We caught the auto from the station and immediately hurried towards the BSF (Border Security Force) camp, where our YHAI camp was set up. All along the road one can see the BSF base on either side with here and there hotel buildings. We landed at the camp site in 15 odd minutes, and in that bone chilling cold morning, we were expected to fill up some forms and attest our photos to the admit card.

With all that done, finally we were allocated an empty tent. Apparently we were the first ones to be there from our batch. So an tent number 8 was allocated to us, we rushed off towards it, in desperate seek of shelter and warmness from the bitter cold.

We took some rest for a while till we get acclimatised for the cold weather and then wander around the camp site to see its vastness. This camp site was pretty big to accommodate Family, cycling and trekkers with each batch of 50 odd members.

Next we went on to look for our morning accustoms which needs to be done. The restrooms were organized by the BSF themselves properly and the camp organizers had separated out in 2 sections: one for family and other set for trekkers and cyclist.

Thanks to YHAI and BSF folks in maintaining and providing and constructing the comfortable restroom at this premises. With wind gusting through the tents, nature calls were really relished :D

By around 8 AM, still the weather outside was chilling and there was no much mood for us to enjoy the outside arena. Yet we marched out of our tent for some snaps. One thing its must to emphasis about YHAI and all of its camp site is (based on my experience as well) is that the cleanliness which is strictly followed and emphasized to all by every one here is just commendable.

While we waiting for our breakfast to be served, we then decided to charge all of our digital equipments here while more and more batch mates enrolling in.

It was evidently noted here is that where the charging point was present there a big circle used to be always present exchanging talks and getting to know each other.

In this new digital age, to group up people, provide a common charging place is the mantra ;)

With spending the whole life in the concrete jungle such as bangalore, this place provide a tranquil setting in which to unwind. Moving on, as the first day was just for acclimatize and sight seeing, and by this time we had made a good friend who was a solo traveller for the first time and a tent mate, himself calling as “vatsal” and was from Mumbai. At first he looked very pale and malnourished to us yet a determined chap with silence much visible. With more getting to know about each other we then decided to unravel the plan for rest of the day. Vatsal as well wished to join us for this plan. We 4 of us got our-self prepared and left the camp around by 9.

Bada Bagh:

This place existed outside of the city and we took a rickshaw to this. Legend says that this place is the only place in and around jaisalmer which has greeneery all over it.

This is due to the fact that a small reservoir was being constructed by the kings who ruled over this place. This reservoir helped the people all across this land for water resources and farming.

The roads in and around the jaisalmer is being well maintained by the army force. Its definitely commendable about their hard work and keep it well clean of the surrounding areas.

Around 10 kms away from the main city, we reached this place wherein a 50 INR entry fees was received. From distance this place looks beautiful, but at a closer look its all ruined and no maintenance done to the least. An entry fees taken is what made useful, i wonder! This place was then turned graveyard for the royal family, ever since.

There were alot of royal graves here belong to the kings and their relatives depicting the number of wives each had.

Along with the king, the age old tradition also mandate the wives to scarifies themselves via sati system, hence one can see the grave of kings and his queens along in the same place.

We roamed around this place and wondering about the number of wives these kings had by looking at the markings on their grave stone.

I kept thinking, what make these kings wanting to marry so many : was it because of the status? or was it because of wish? I never know! :o

The guide we hired to explain about this grave did gave us quite a good information and knows how to talk. Quite a smart person himself, we chatted away for a while with him though.

Once the show was over, we decided to have some look around a bit with few photo shoots. Doing so, we found the typical mess our people create : Beer bottles, plastics. When do we improvise? :o

These sculptures draws the inspiration from the mogul age yet some essence of our own. Unlike the moguls, these are built in a interlocking pattern such a way that it can withstand the earthquakes. These interlocking joints are free to move thus providing any one to disassemble them away like lego blocks ;)

Gadsisar Lake:

After finishing the royal grave, we then decided to hit back to the city center by visiting this water reservoir build ages ago by the kings for not only consumption purposes but as well serving as an entertainment theater.

This lake is surrounded by temple and mini fort. Boating is as well available in this lake.

Our camera wandered across this place for few snaps which depicted the local culture. 386223904882614pizapw1422811122

Fort:

After finishing this place, we then decided to visit the living fort in Rajasthan. This fort looks beautiful from outside and almost golden due to its special stone color from which its built from ground up.

Standing on the roof top of this fort, one can easily draw an virtual circumference of this city which is very small.

This fort is overly crowded with dwellers just as it used to be in the olden days but with less population, i believe. It also has few temples with in its boundaries.

Camel skin based or so claimed as items are sold outside of this fort, although one has to be cautious when buying such items at not so cheap price.

2014-12-27-935

By around 6 PM, we decided to hit back to the base camp as the evening shall gets more colder here and prepare for the next day trek.

Day 1: 28th Dec

The first day of the trek, the camp leader and the program director with few others assembled all of us for some briefing.

After an hour program, we had our breakfast at the base camp which was always finger licking good and memorable. We were then commanded to form a line and get ready with our minimal baggage for the next 5 days of no bath or proper cleanup and deposit back the remaining luggage so as to make room for the incoming batch people.

By this time we had found 2 another good people who were part of our tent from the previous night. They each named themselves as Rafiq and Aditya from Kerala and TN respectively. Our group from 3 (Myself, Harish and Mallikarjuna) had now become 6 (3 + Vatsal, Rafiq and Adithya) and we all seemed to do well together so far regardless of our language, culture, etc.

Once the depositing was done, we then proceeded towards the bus which would drop us off to the next camp which was around 30 kms away from the base camp. hmm..Not so walkable, to hell with trekking : i felt :(

Our first camp was Khabha, the bus dropped us off around 3 kms away from this camp.The ride in this bus was as usual, but the view we got around along the road side was beautiful though deserted over the horizon.

After grabbing our gear, took few snaps at this deserted place next to the highway.
All around us, the place was just barren with no single soul lurking to the miles apart.

By this time, our camp leader : an retired teacher arrived. Greeting all of us, he took us to the camp site. Meanwhile we spotted few deers in this landscape as per his words.

As we started walking silently, at the distance of around a km away all of us started to spot herds of deer.
No matter how quite we marched ahead and tried to spot those deers with a better camera shots, they were always 1 step ahead of us in spotting us and running away. Yet with the small digital equipment we had, we managed to get few snaps of it though at a distance. This was one of those moments, we wished to have a bigger lenses :(

After around 20-30 mins of walk in that dusk time, we reached the khabha camp.

Once reaching this camp, few of us rested and few of us went ahead to occupy our tents and cleaning it.

 

 

 

 

 

As usual, once we reach any camp site, after settling down with the tents and taking up the sleeping bags by each, we are given instruction about the camp site, open air toilet locations for males and females, washable vs drinking water locations, food and tea timings, etc. by the camp leader.

By around 5 PM, we were served with tea and biscuits and then we went for a near by farm land over the small hill for the sun set as informed by our camp leader. There we spend few hours taking snaps and playing around.

A few masti at this place wouldn’t do any harm ;)

2014-12-28-953

That evening, we just spent more time in the tent discussing and joking around. At around 8 the dinner was served. Later we went for a walk around the tent area. The day did ended with not so well trekking yet with justifiable getting to know people and making new friends.

Day 2: 29th Dec

Next morning, we all woke up early finished off all our open air nature calls in the very early hours then decided to hit the near by area for a better sun rise view and few snaps.

Unleashing our creativity with the cameras ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 7 AM or so the tea was ready with biscuits. After that we had breakfast around 8 and then departed to the next camp. This upcoming journey was the real one which lasted for more than 5 hours of walk in the middle of nowhere. Walking under the hot sun yet breezy wind in midst of desert land is really awesome feeling one must get.

While we were trekking, out of no where a dog runs by us, it played with us for few minutes and then we wanted to feed it with the biscuits in our bag.

Unfortunately the dogs in this area never have tasted biscuits, i believe. The food we offered was straight away rejected with out even tasting it by this cute dog. It then left us waving goodbye by its wiggling tail and disappeared in few minutes over the landscape.

Further on, we found a large patch of bright yellow sand and the vast land surrounding it gave a good location for some photo shoot ;)

386223904882614pizapw1422890675

Walking in the bright hot sun in the desert sand, we not only felt a bit strained in the legs but we also were visited by the junglee camels grazing all over the places. One such gave a good pose for us over looking the horizon ;)

Our convoy looked best, trekking over the desert land.

Around noon, we stopped for a resting point till the rest of the convey catches up to proceed.

Before our next pit stop, we decided for a few landscape photoshoot.

Further into our path, we encountered few local village folks, dressed in the cultural heritage who looked like folk dancer group.

 

After enjoying folk dance for a while and paying them up, we then continued our journey in the hot sun. In the cold December month, the desert was quite a bit hot, while i kept wondering in summer weather if it would be a hot oven.

At around 4 PM, we reached the Sam sand dunes camp site. To our dismay, unlike other camp site, this one was in the middle of over crowded area and next to highway. Sam sand dunes is pretty famous place and people all over the country visit this sand dunes and the resorts available here.

This camp site was a bit led down to me personally though since i always love the deserted place to conceal myself away. As usual, the camp leader welcomed us and we were distributed our sleeping bags and we assigned ourselves comfortably to the respective tents available for men and women.

While we rested for a while, hot beverages with biscuits were made ready to us. As the instructions were laid out to us about the camp site, nature call sites, dangers of outsiders might lurk around, etc. we then decided to hit the sand dunes in the later part of the evening around 6 for the sunset.

Then before the sun starts to set down completely over the horizon, we decided to play along in the sand for a while. So time to unleash our childishness :D

The hope of friendship bonding ;)

After dusk, we returned back to our camp site as we were requested to not lurk outside the compound as it could not be much safer around. When we were back, we were served with dinner around 730. Then a small folk concert was arranged by the YHAI with half paid expenses by us.

The performance was really good and it went on for an hour. In the cold night, we all sat down and watched the performance by them. It was truly commendable art.

Day 3: 30 Dec

The next morning, we all prepared for the surprising ride of this trek: The camel ride. This was fully sponsored by the YHAI themselves.

Required number of camel were already assembled in front of our camp site to pick us up. We were informed to leave early as possible due to the longer distance. Around 8 AM, we all boarded the desert ship and began to march ahead.

To me personally, the whole camel ride seemed pointless as the terrain in which we traveled for like 2 hours was not that difficult nor bad than a plain land, with no sand, yet it was longer one in a colder morning.

We made a pitstop for feeding the camels and take a big of rest in the bright hot son. We were not that tired as the weather was really cold even at the peak hours of the day.

After along walk in the deserted cold landscape, passing along few villages, we were finally dropped along a road side from where we are supposed to walk for the rest of the day to reach our Sudasari camp site.

In the middle of nowhere, there was a road with zebra crossing. Hmm.. we wondered ;)

Traveling further on the road was more fun and all along the stroll, no where we could find a soul till our eye sight could meet the horizon ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onward, we traveled on this road, the landscape was getting more beautiful all along. The yellow-golden sand, cold breezing wind, desert barren texture with hardly can be noticed canopy made the journey more pleasant yet different.

Next comes our pit-stop for lunch around 1PM.

The cold chilling breeze was still something to irritated about and i preferred for some sun. After the lunch, what else one prefers under the warm sun from the irritating cold wind with nothing to ponder upon the world pleasures ;)
The best sleep one can have without any man-made comfort. The mother earth is just beautiful and comfortable.

After an hour, we decided to start off, with tough breaking my sleep, i continued towards the camp with the rest of the troop.

We were suppose to reach the Sudasari National Reserve forest area where our camps were laid down with special permission from the Rajasthan national forest conservation authorities.

 

 

 

 

We could not find this black buck bird at all, though we camped in the same area for a day long. Only the memory of this sign board with the bird is available with us today, sad! :(

Finally, we entered the Sudasari Forest Reserve, wherein we were greeted by our camp leader who all the way from Camp had come to the forest entrance area to receive us.

From the entrance of the forest reserve, we had to further walk down for another 3 kms or so to reach our camp area. The whole area just looked so deserted and wild. This serene vast wilderness just gives you more adrenaline to explore much more ;). Truly the mother earth is just beautiful beyond imagination.

At last, we entered the camp site in between of no where ;)

The first cute fella to greet was this naughty puppy who was really cute, cuddly and playful. I just dropped off my rucksack and started to play with him :D

 

 

 

Like rest of the camp sites, the protocol is to rest for a while in the camp area with sipping hot coffee with biscuits and chit-chat with the fellow convoy about the days experience and joke around for a while. This followed by cleaning up our tent area and assembling at a common point for the rules to be laid down by the camp leader.

At distance we could eye upon a deserted sand dunes which was just what we wishes all along to experience as the Sam sand dunes were just too commercialized and crowded with garbage every where. This sand dunes of Sudasari seemed to be just tailored to our wishes. Thanks to YHAI for providing us this experience of sand dunes.

As planned, we hit it out to this sand dunes in the evening. All around us, no garbage, no soul was found lurking around this area. Perhaps the pleasant feel was nurtured by this dunes.

While we were at this sand dunes, we were able to spot the desert fox doing its business, though we tried to slow down and get close to it for a better photo, the wild fox was much smarter than us to run away.

Nevertheless, we chased it down and tried to capture the photo of it with our limited capacity camera equipment.

The best shot we could got. (Left side of pic, zoom in,)

After chasing the fox, we were back to have some fun on the dunes in the dusk.

Meanwhile, the 2 tweety birds started dancing to the tune of the dunes dusk :P

After the sun went down, we returned back for the camps.

Day 4: 31 Dec

The next day morning was much more brutally cold. We were wake up early in the morning to a bone chilling cold weather.

It was almost impossible to touch the freezing cold water. Few minutes out of the gloves, our fingers would go numb. With much difficulty, we prepared ourselves and washed our utensils.

For the days journey through the dry land and desert to the next camp :Barna, we were accompanied by a camel wagon which carried the water needed and luggage if any body cant carry it.

We again traveled through barren lands with a patch of cultivation done here and there with lonely huts up the hill. These lonely houses looked beautiful and pleasant to live in. With deep thinking in the back of my mind of wishing to have such houses in the middle of now where, i continued the journey.

After a while of plain desert land, we were again welcomed by the path of sand dunes. The convoy again rested here for the rest of the troops to join up. Though the sun was bright and hot, the cold wind continued to keep us cold and normal.

Time again for us to play in this sand for a while ;) These sand dunes just made us go back in time from our younger days :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canon ball throw of Mr. Rafiq was really a surprise move to him by us and it was way fun throwing him off :twisted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a few more stunt photos of our-self, the fun ended as the rest of the troops joined us.

 

 


 

At last we got the group photo taken with almost all folks present at the same location.

With the barna camp visible at a far distant, we continued our journey towards the camp in the bright hot sun.

This camp lies within the PAK border range of 60 Kms. We rested in the camp for a while and then hit out the near by sand dunes next to the highway for the year end sun set enjoyment in the nice company.

As the sun went down, the weather started to hit much harder and cold. The night was much colder than ever. While i decided to rest inside the warm tent, few folks tried to enjoy the new years night in the harsh cold wind with a camp fire.

Day 5: 1 Jan

The next morning was even worse than ever. It was colder, windy with dense fog.

The fog was really thick with only few feet distance of visiblity. Meanwhile, when we were getting ready, our transport had arrived back to drop us to base camp.

As our ride continued along the highway, the fog got more dense with more chilling weather. After 40 mins of ride, we reached the base camp.

The base camp was almost deserted with most of the batches have left for their voyage, we were given a tent and our rucksacks back from deposit counter.

While few of us took bath, i continued to shiver with all the woolen cloths on my body, yet it turned futile against this cold weather.
There was plenty of time for us to spend time here as our train was in the evening towards jaipur.

Few of the team from our batch waved good bye to each other and us for their onwards journey, we stick back to the base camp wasting time with the hope of some sunlight to warm up.

For the last 5 days, our device batteries were dried out, as one would find the oasis in the desert much importance: most of us rushed towards the charging point at the base camp with the same importance :roll: . Again this became a social point for alarge number of people to exchange words. Fate of new age, i say :shock:

We spent a while talking and wasting time at the base camp while we finished our breakfast and lunch there.

There after around 2PM we left the base camp with adeui to rest of remaining convoy, we departed towards the train station. On the way, our autowala took us to a handloom shop based on our request about buying things back for our home.

We spend next ~2 hours or so looking things to buy at this shop. The rates were not reasonable though but looked genuine products being sold here. They as well showed us alot of order receipts from different parts of the country.

We ordered few bed sets, sarees and stone made utensils and gave our addresses to be shipped back and departed to train station around 5 PM as our train to Jaipur was at 530.
I am yet to get the product from that shop due to the mishaps and idiotic mistakes done by the initial dispatch via stupid bastards Professional couriers :mad: , now my package is again dispatched second time via India post. Praying this time i get my package in a reasonable time.

Myself, Harish, malli and Rafiq departed towards jaipur, while adithya continued his journey towards Delhi.

With 6 long days of memories, sand in our shoes and dresses, we finally said adieu to the golden city : Jaisalmer, and welcoming for the pink city : Jaipur.

Thanks for reading,
Zen :)

P.S: Await for the next travelogue on Jaipur :mrgreen:

A kannada version on the same topic can be found here:
https://kcharish.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/inthelandofmarwarsdesert-jaisalmer/