Saturday 31 December 2011

Wish You a Happy 2012

May the dawn of 2012 bring you what you aspire and strive for. Year 2011 has been good for me in most respects - be it work, travel or in various other things.

A Dawn in the Beautiful British Columbia

I do hope that 2012 would brings to me as well as to those of you who like traveling new and more avenues of travel.

This is my last post of 2011 writing from Canada. I fly on the very first day of 2012 to Beijing and hope to see the Great Wall of China there.

I would blog about the visit to Canada and China as soon as I get the chance to write these posts.

Happy traveling!

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Boxing Day in Canada

I went to the Oakridge Mall in Vancouver today for seeing what happens on a Boxing Day. Well it was dissappointing as neither did I see huge ques nor fabulous discounts. Most discounts were in the order of 40 to 50% - but these discounts were already in place even before Christmas! Such discounts are common now round the year in India!

Boxing Day Shopping

As far as crowds were concerned - it was no different from the previous week. Except for one store where I saw some que outside, all other stores had normal rush - or the lack of it - in this mall.

Compared to this the 'Apple' Store had ques outside the store even before the Boxing Week.

Sunday 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish all the readers of my blog and friends across the globe a Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas

I am writing this small post from the beautiful British Columbia in Canada. All places here- be it houses, streets, markets or malls -  are lit for the Christmas festivities!

Saturday 10 December 2011

Accommodation at Renuka

This post is subsequent to my earlier post wherein I had stated that I would write about the accommodation scenario in Renuka.

Renuka in itself has only one hotel and that is 'The Renuka' managed by the HPTDC which is a Himachal Government enterprise. The closest private hotels to Renuka lake are at least three kilometers away and therefore at least in location no hotel can beat The Renuka.

The Renuka hotel has two wings - One is the newer wing as can be seen in the photo below. It has good looks from outside and the bath and toilet facilities are modern. This wing also has the dining hall and the kitchen. But then the good points about this wing stop here. No mediocre architect also would have aligned the wing in such a position that the rooms do not face the lake! That is the travesty of the modern India. People do not know how to make rooms!

Newer wing of Hotel Renuka
Compared to this the older wing was built nearly 60 years back (that is where I stayed) which gives you the best view from all rooms (as well as if you sit outside the rooms) of the lake. I would give 10 out of 10 for the positioning of the rooms.

Older wing of Hotel Renuka
You can see the lake (see the photo below) right from where you are sitting throughput the day. The older wing actually was a Forest Rest House earlier and only later became Hotel Renuka.

View of the Renuka from my Room
The rooms in the older wing have very high ceilings compared to the new wing and have 'roshandaans' or high windows for light as well as cross ventilation of air so that even in summers one may not require an air-conditioner despite the fact that Renuka's altitude is not very high.

High ceiling Rooms
I would definitely recommend the old wing for staying because of all the reasons cited above. The only problematic thing in the old wing is that the toilets are 'Indian' in all rooms except one. Also in the hotel rooms though the TV with satellite facility is there but it hardly works (though this was a boon for me as I prefer not to watch the idiot box when I go out of Delhi).  

Boat as flower pot at Renuka

An interesting use of the boats that have now been discarded is that they have been turned into huge flower pots as can be seen in the photo above as well as below. The boat shaped flower pots in the photo below are not boats but are side attachments of a boat. These were diesel boats that used to pollute the lake.

Side attachments of boat as flowerpots at Renuka

Boating facility (only pedal boats - which is good for the lake) is available here though I feel it is expensive (Rs 300 to 500 for half an hour).

The food at the hotel is decent and not very spicy. The best bet for breakfast is 'Aloo Parantha'. I stayed there for six days (normally people stay either less than 24 hours!) as I wanted a leisurely holiday. Therefore, I found the menu 'limited'. The 'Sabudana Kheer' was prepared well.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Renuka - the Reclining Woman

In beginning of October this year as there were several holidays I decided to hit the mountains and as usual I decided not to go to too touristy a place. I went to Renuka lake located in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. One has to take National Highway 72 from Ambala till Nahan. This distance is about 85 kilometers. The road condition is good and one enters Himachal at Kala Amb. After this one has to take a Major District Road till Renuka. Nahan to Renuka is about 40 kilometers. Some stretches of the road is not good but overall it is not bad.

It took me about eight hours of normal driving to reach Renuka from Delhi. At Renuka I stayed at hotel Renuka which is run by Himachal Tourism Development Corporation. The advantage of this hotel is its location as this is the only hotel located right next to the Renuka lake as one can see from the picture below taken from my room.

View of Renuka Lake from my hotel room
I will blog about the accommodation in another post. This is the biggest lake in Himachal situated at 672 meters above sea level and is named after goddess Renuka. According to the mythology this is the birth place of Lord Parshuram son of Renuka.

Reflections in the Lake

One can take a walk of the whole circumference of the lake, which would be a little over three kilometers. All around there is dense flora and a wild life sanctuary. Additionally boating facilities are available.

Two suns - sunset at Renuka Lake

The sunrise and sunsets, cloud permitting, could be beautiful.

The Renuka lake is supposedly having a shape of a reclining woman. As the shape is not visible at ground level I first drove several kilometers gaining altitude and then even trekked to get a glimpse of this reclining posture. With little bit of imagination mixed with reality (see the photo below) one can see that the shape of the lake is that of a woman reclining.

The Reclining Woman - Renuka

Unfortunately, the size of the lake is shrinking due to silting and weeds especially on the eastern side of the lake. The local authorities must take steps of rectify this else a beautiful place like this would one day cease to exist.