Monday, December 27, 2010

River Rafting and Cliff Jumping @ Rishikesh Ganga Ji

Lots of speculations about water temperature and cold windy weather in Ganga River, five of us, excluding Prachi G, encountered 26KM Long River rafting. Water that day was extremely clear with green colour like a wide sheet of green grass. Since I had done river rafting earlier, I was not much worried about it other than cold freezing water.

I sat on right front, Sudhir on left front and Prachi K (Birthday Girl) in middle front holding rope tightly. We crossed first rapid and I sensed that low water level will make our rafting easier and less thrilling.

We encountered second rapid. Water took the raft up from left side and Sudhir could lock his feet and fell on me with force. It was unexpected and I fell off the raft in the middle of solid rapid in seconds. Sudhir was able to hold the rope on my side. The moment I fell into the water, freezing water made it very hard to breath. I saw another raft on small distance and moved towards them. I waited for our raft and jumped immediately into it. Water was around 5 degree C and there were only two rafts in entire Ganga River.

River was very calm and our raft moved slowly. All of us were quietly enjoying the calmness of river and beautiful valleys around Ganga except me who was shivering and my teeth were creating small noise for me like stain gun.

My dive into River
In some of the places clarity of water and sun rays helped us to see the surface of river.

We crossed few rapids and then our guides allowed us to jump off the raft. They clicked lots of beautiful pictures for us.

Cliff Jumping was an agenda on the way. So we stopped at the place. I opted for first to jump. I went up to the Cliff and looked down. The entire fear of Bungee Jumping got restored. Moreover this is free fall into the water. Paused for few seconds, looked straight and jumped. Water hit hard on my hands. Rest was thrill to do this. I could not think of doing this again because my hands were paining. Second went Sudhir, as usual jumped fearlessly. All others did not opt for this.

My Cliff Jump..deep into Freezing water of Ganga ma
Rapids like roller coaster, marine drive and golf course seemed less thrilling because of low water level. But sitting in front and watching each and every moment of water was an experience to count. The best thing was Golf course with small ups and downs. And view looked like a mesh of countless small hills spread over river.
The rafting ended unexpectedly at a strange place. But we thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

We reached back at Resort, ate Lunch and headed towards Delhi. All of us were quite in cab and driver asked curiously “Is River rafting so tiring?” But I think the quietness was because we were ending a great trip. All of us would never want such trips to come to an end.

After a small stop over at Rishikesh, we drove back to Delhi and reached Delhi midnight.

I wish such trips come again and again wherein I overcame the fear, encountered new things and above all I made new friends forever. A big Thanks to Anurag, Sudhir, Jason, Prachi K, Prachi G and Tanay, you all are superb company to make such trips lifetime memories.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox and Evening Aarti @ Rishikesh

Wow!! This was the most happening day. We started late but we did everything full of thrill this day.

We reached Bungee Jumping venue an hour late. With some formalities in their office, we moved to Bungee Jumping platform. Since it is normal to give lot of thought about such adventurous activity before conquering it, I had clearly decided to not to think about anything till the time I reach at jumping platform. I was very much successful in controlling my thoughts to that extent.

Birthday boy Jason opted for first jump and I opted for second turn. Platform has a passage of around 60 meters and Crew allow two people at a time to go up to jumping platform. Jason and I reached at platform. That was the time when I realized about what I am conquering today. Music lifted my heart beat a bit. First Jason was put on all Harness and locks and was asked to move ahead. He sat for a while when harness and all locks etc were put on to me as well.

I looked at Jason and he looked bit nervous to me. That added more spice into what I was undergoing. He was asked to move till the end of platform and Crew guy told something to him and he jumped smoothly. I heard some voice and I could sense that now he is enjoying it.

Hardly half a minute and Crew asked me to come forward and sit for a while. Two Crew guys cross checked all the locks three times each and then I was asked to stand up and move forward slowly towards the edge of platform.

Me & Anurag after Bungee Jumping
The experience after that showed completely different aspect of my personality. As I started moving forward towards end of platform I started shivering badly. By that time Prachi K was already there on platform for her turn. I kept saying to Crew that I am shivering, they ignored it and kept asking me to keep moving ahead slowly. Somehow I managed to reach the edge of platform and stood there for a while tried to clam down myself. I was unable to control shivering in my legs and most importantly my mind did not support me to jump.

A Crew guy played most important role. He told me that say that “I have come here to Jump” “I am going to Jump”, “I am not going back”. I kept doing what he asked me to do.

After few seconds, I asked him to start countdown and I jumped.

A Free fall and your mouth is just open and you see yourself falling down extremely fast. Then in few seconds you get a smooth shock of rope and gets a rebound towards upper side and then second and third. It is all about thirty seconds and you are done. By the time I stabilised in Air, I was shouting and I was really happy that I did not give up.

After me, Prachi K and Prachi G jumped. One jumped with some motivation and other irritated the crew so much that she jumped with the help of small push from crew.

Then came the stud, Sudhir. It was first time for him as well. But he is a true champ. Crew asked him “Is it first time?” He said “Yes, that’s why I want the best”. What a spirit!! So unlike me he took few seconds and jumped with the help of Arms on the edge of platform and Legs lifted up in Air with the help of crew. What a jump it was.

Last one in our team was Anurag. He was the only one who had done this earlier. This time he jumped backward. Wearing a T Shirt of Superman he did all the possible comedy stunts in Air. It was really great to watch him.

After doing Bungee Jumping we went for Flying Fox. Flying Fox is like a cable car without any cabin. We did not find it more thrilling than Bungee Jumping.

Evening Aarti at Rishikesh Ghaat took all of us to trans. After an adventurous day, worship of Ganga Ji took us to the different world.

Most happening day ended with good things and most importantly thoughts.

All you guys in team made it amazing adventure. Thank you Anurag, Prachi K, Prachi G, Sudhir, Jason and Tanay.

Jim Corbett to Rishikesh - A drive through Elephant prone Jungles

The day started with Tanay’s leaving back to Delhi in the middle of the trip due to some urgency at work.

Few pool table games and we moved towards Rishikesh. The plan was to attend evening Aarti at Haridwar and then leave to Rishikesh. But our as usual habit to start late made us unable to attend Aarti. So we drove towards Rishikesh.

Lakhan waiting for us outside a Dhaba
during Lunch
We reached Rishikesh at 7:00 PM. We had to cross Rajaji National Park which has lot of elephants. At the entry, we were warned by guards about elephants and were advised not to cross that area in dark as there are more chances of encountering elephants, but we had no choice than to drive through. Everyone was looking at road continuously out of fear and hilly terrains made it more thrilling as nobody knew what is there ahead of us. Our driver (Lakhan) drove Innova carefully and he was very much afraid, infact more than anyone else.

Three buffalos were sitting on the side of the road. The moment they came under Innova’s headlight, everyone for a while was stun. Everyone thought of Elephants sitting on road but thank god it was not.

We reached at Resort by 8:00 PM. Weather was extremely cold. The Resort Phool Chatti, around 15 KM away from Rishikesh town, is situated on the bank of a small tributary river and is a very calm place.

All of us stuck to bonfire because of extremely cold weather. Anurag and Prachi K left to Rishikesh to receive Jason, another friend and Birthday Boy from Mumbai joining us for rest of the trip.

The day ended with lot of gossips and funny things while sitting around bonfire.

We all slept in a wait of the most thrilling day which was just few hours away from us.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jim Corbett National Park - A jeep Safari

The idea started with exploring Jim Corbett National Park and then some adventure activities at Rishikesh with bikes, couple of months back. Extremely chilled weather of northern India gave us clear indications that biking will spoil the thrill of entire trip. So the final plan came out with a travel via cab.
The team of six people, Anurag, Tanay, Sudhir, Prachi K, Prachi G and me were ready for thrilling and adventurous trip. Prachi K and Prach G joined us from Mumbai, Sudhir from Indore and rest three from Delhi.

Day 1 – Jim Corbett National Park

We started the day early so as to reach at Jim Corbett by Lunch time and then go for Jeep Safari inside the park. Since some of us were new to each others, travelling was full of interactions and fun. Crossing rough highways, congested towns and overtaking slow moving Sugarcane tractors we arrived almost on time at Resort.

Corbett Wood Resort is situated in Dhela village, which is very close to Jim Corbett National Park. The resort is in the middle of green paddy fields and view of Swiss tents in valley of Himalayas looks very soothing to eyes. Everyone was charged up with the classic place to stay despite long and tiring travel from Delhi to Jim Corbett. As we were running out of time, we ate lunch in hurry and headed towards Jeep Safari.

An open Gypsy takes tourists inside the Jim Corbett Park as they are the only licensed operators for Jeep Safari. A government authorised guide accompanied us for the ride. As we entered the park, guide started telling us some data about animals inside the park. I was not so keen to hear but one thing I remember that Jim Corbett has 164 Tigers. We did not see anything other than dust, some deer, monkeys, a pig and birds. I was not disappointed much because this is what I was expecting. But we all enjoyed Gypsy ride a lot and lots of photographs with funny faces.

The day did not end here. Pool table was the next attraction for all of us. Two teams played couple of matches with Anurag and Sudhir on one side and Prachi K and me on the other. We won first game because of a mistake by Sudhir wherein he pushed Black ball into the pot, and we (Prachi K and I) labelled our team as “Winning Combination”. Next five matches we lost badly. But Prachi K was not at all willing to end the series on loosing note. And finally we won last match because of Prachi’s determination to win. And “Winning Combination” tag stayed for the entire trip.

We ended the day with bonfire and peace all around. There were not much of the talks and everyone was just enjoying that time wherein one feel its presence in big way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 Gurgaon Half Marathon - Awesome experience in Chilled weather

5th Dec 2010, Gurgaon Half Marathon, couple of days after Delhi Half Marathon, I was waiting for this eagerly as chilling weather was exciting me to conquer this marathon with personal best.

Finally the day arrived, as the race was to start at 7:00 AM I reached ground zero one hour earlier to get warmed up for the run. Unlike Delhi marathon this event was small with around 200 people running for half marathon and approximately 50 people for full marathon.

Well deserved warm up session and race started on time. As the weather was too cold with temperature of around 15 Degree Celsius,I immediately accelerated my speed and started running at second position. I knew that I lost on speed in Delhi Half Marathon wherein I had to slow down the pace after 7KM, so I ensured that I keep the pace under control which I need to sustain till I finish 21 KM.

All the runners were much behind me till 4 KM and runner running at first position was too ahead, so I was almost running alone for sometime.

Uphill stretch after 4 KM

By the time I finished first 4KM I was well ahead of my target time but I knew that the pace is not sustainable till last mile. Marginal uphill stretch after 4 KM forced me to slowdown my speed little bit and then I could hear some noise behind me. There was a couple (foreigner) behind me and chatting continuously. I was wondering about their stamina, they were really amazing and slowly they overtook me well before 5KM. I tried my level best to match my speed with them, overtook them once but it was not sustainable for me, so they ran much ahead of me.

Cool weather and fantastic route

December month in Northern India becomes quite chilled and the same was experienced on this day in Gurgaon as well. So this was the time to do best in marathon and enjoy the run. The route was on the outskirts of Gurgaon city (which I had never seen before), the road in the middle of fields and villages with marginal steeps and downhill run. The route was completely uncrowded and participants were also scattered everywhere on route.

First half of the run

The route was 5.5 KM and we had to cover this stretch twice to make it 21 KM. By the time I finished first 10KM I was able to sustain a pace and I knew I am going to run at this pace till end. Now more than 5 runners had overtaken me. But  I really enjoyed this marathon as all participants were cheering up each others and motivating people to stretch more.

Marathon Man -Dr Roy running his 107th Marathon at age of 78 years

I met an old man who was running his 107th marathon at the age of 78 years. He was running for full marathon which is 42 KM. His spirit motivated me a lot and I just stopped and said him "Dr Roy You are source of motivation for me". I found him really a jolly and lively man who has immense mental and physical  strength. I really admire him for what he has done at the age of 78 years.

Finished Half Marathon

By the time I was about to complete my half marathon I started feeling pain in feet but I did not let that pain dominate my speed and I finished 21 KM run well within my target and actual time I took was 1 hours 58 minutes. My Delhi Marathon timing was 2 hours 6 minutes and this time I had decided to bring it below 2 hours.

What Next

Running for me has become an integral part of my life. It not only gives immense pleasure but makes one physically and mentally strong. My next marathon target would be to finish the run in 1 hours 40 minutes. Lets wait and watch what comes next.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon - A Run not to compete with peers but with self

21-Nov-2010, entire Delhi was on run. 35,000 plus participants and Cozy morning of November made it really awesome experience. Its not only young crowd but also senior citizens, middle aged people and a large part would be in their late forties. One can feel the spirit of being healthy, being fit and being united over there.

My passion for running this time brought me to Delhi Half Marathon event, a much awaited event by Delhi every year. My excitement to run and write a beautiful chapter for life time did not allow me to sleep well in the night.

The race was to start at 7:30 AM and I made sure that I hit the ground at least an hour before it. The crowd of people raised my spirits very high ,spent sometime on my warm up and relaxed for a while.

Normally when it comes to Distance Running, one thing comes to mind it physical fitness and youngsters but this event defies all such rules. So many old people take part in it that you would be forced to think whether you will be able to maintain this much of physical fitness and mental strength in later part of your life?


The run started at 7:30 AM from Central Civil Services Ground at Chankyapuri towards India Gate. And my and run started with a big mistake and that was OVER SPEED. With lot of people running around me, I just lost on my normal pace ran with crowd. It was 5K when I realized that I am running at a pace which I will not be able to sustain for full run and if I continue with the same I will collapse somewhere. For me it was better late than never and I reduced my speed to make it sustainable.


By the time I finished 8K distance of my run, lot of people have started overtaking me and that was the time I found myself lost in crowd but self motivation was needed the most at this time. Sun was heating up and it added more flavor of difficulty into my run.


Crossing through India Gate was very interesting with open space and lot of people cheering up there for runners. There were so many English ladies who really had a great speed and ran like crazy.


10.5km and all the energy was sucked in the heat of sun. But I had to do the equal distance yet. So kept going. Completed another couple of KM by chatting with few people around.


Oh God !! This was the stage where I started fighting with my mental strength also. Moreover along with feet and knees now my hands also were paining with cramps. I had never experienced a single KM so long, it was  like a full marathon for me. I managed to reach 16KM without any break.


Well, the sun was hot enough to force me to take a small break and stretch ahead was also not so short. I picked up the bottle of water, sipped it, put rest of the water on my head and started running again. I was running out of energy by the time I finished 17KM. From 17KM to 19KM I stopped three times for few seconds to accumulate energy for next 500meters.


By this time we were very close to the holding area and lot of people were there to cheer up the runners and last 1KM did not pain much. Lots of cameras keeping any eye on you and people acknowledging your achievement really makes one happy.

I had a target to finish 21.09 KM in 110 minutes but due to Sun it took me 125 minutes to complete Half Marathon. Its all about practice, since I never practiced in heat and sun I found it difficult to do this first time.

The entire mood was in high spirits and people were helping each others to make this event the memorable experience for all.

It is not the competition with others but a challenge to ourselves and to prove ourselves that yes we can do it. And this was the only motive I had. What else I need I just proved myself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips for running Half Marathon

Delhi Half Marathon countdown has begun and it will end exactly after 5 days from today i.e 21st Nov 2010. My registration for this year has been confirmed and I am too excited for the event. Practice for long runs is on and so is the focus on nutritious food.

Its not only practice for longer stretches which would make your half marathon successful run but also the food intake for at least last couple of weeks before half marathon.


Running is an activity or sport in which relatively lesser gears are needed. Some critical things to do:-
1)      The most important is to have best of the running shoes. Do not get carried away on saving small amount of money by compromising on cheaper brands.
2)      Normally people tend to least bother about quality of Socks. It becomes more important to have best socks as it will be in direct contact with feet throughout the run. Right choice of socks will protect your feet from blisters and discomfort caused by high temperature around it.
3)      Knee caps are advisable for people who are not comfortable with their knees on long runs like half marathon.
4)      Dress should be preferably, Shorts and T Shirt, needless to mention that make sure that you are comfortable with dress.
5)      Avoid carrying unnecessary accessories with you.


If you are running first time for Half Marathon and you have not practiced longer stretch as equal to 21KM, it is highly likely that you would not be able to complete it in Half Marathon event. Moreover if in case you are completely not into running, in those cases forget about Half Marathon without practice.

Here is how one should approach practice:-
1)      Practice everyday minimum of 5 to 8 KM starting two months before the event. Run on longer stretches of 15, 18 and 21KMs in between at least once.
2)      Do not run continuously more than three days; take minimum one day break after three days run.
3)      Do not accelerate suddenly and vice versa; run at same pace.
4)      Avoid hard surface like Roads.
5)      Do spend few minutes on Stretching before and after the run.
6)      To avoid injuries run at pace as per your comfort level, it’s a practice for 21KM and not for 100 Meter wherein speed plays a great role.
7)      Do take nice sleep everyday, it will reflect in your efficiency of next day’s run.
8)      Do not get carried away with nicely marketed supplements available. It promises to give you so many things but in reality takes away lot of precious things from you. My advice would be to stay away from them.
9)      Longer stretches like Half Marathon not only check your physical strengths but to large extent your mental strength. Set your own goals and measure your efficiency against it, it will keep you motivated and going.
10)   Treadmill is the biggest enemy for runners. Treadmill Dashboard shows nice number in terms of your speed calories weight etc but fact of the matter is that after practicing on treadmill (at least a month) when it comes to actually running on surface you will realise that you are not even able to do 1KM.  
11)   Stop the practice completely at least 4 days well before the event.


Nutrition and food intake is vital part for any runner. No one would like to add extra pounds well before events like Half Marathon. So we need a detailed nutrition and food intake plan. 

Food need to be selected focusing on four following contents:-
1)      Carbohydrate
2)      Protein
3)      Fat
4)      Water

Carbohydrate is most important content to be taken. The source for Carbohydrate is banana, wheat, brown rice, beans, corn, carrot, guava and mango etc.

Protein needs to be balanced to large extent so do not go high on it. The key source for protein would be Eggs, Pulses most importantly soyabeans, Cheese and Fish etc. Avoid eating Non Vegetarian food a day before the event or preferably two days.

Fat, a careful approach need to be adopted, lower intake as well as higher intake will be visible to you. Main source is Oils, Butter/Ghee, all fried Indian food and non veg and egg etc.

Water plays key role among all. Make a point to drink lot of water and you can also take Fresh/canned juices. Say no to Supplements or energy drinks.

Now you are ready to make a record. When it comes to the event like Delhi Half Marathon it really does not matter whether you are in top of point’s table or not, such events leaves a life transforming impression which becomes the source of infinite motivation to live life happily.

This time it’s your turn go ahead and make it happen, HAVE A GREAT DELHI HALF MARATHON.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Spanish and an Indian on Golden Triangle Delhi - Agra(Taj Mahal) - Jaipur -Delhi

My Colleague Ulises was planned to arrive in India on Night of 1st October 2010 and he had only 2nd and 3rd October to explore some places nearby Delhi. 2nd Oct Gandhi's Birth Anniversary and 3rd Oct Opening Ceremony of Common Wealth Games in Delhi made it difficult for me to make a plan to explore Delhi's historical places. Keeping in mind that Ulises had an interest in exploring historical places, the final plan I made was to go to Taj Mahal on 2nd Oct and same day reach Jaipur, Explore Jaipur on 3rd Oct and head back to Delhi in the evening, and this makes perfect Triangle on map.

Delhi to Agra on 2nd October 2010

We started our day at 8:00 AM and we had opted for a cab which remained with us for full two days with Driver and a Guide. Since I met Ulises first time so we had enough of topics to discuss about our countries, starting from culture, politics, people to living standards etc. On the way from Delhi we crossed few villages wherein I realised that Ulises was too excited to see cows and buffaloes roaming on the road. And he had numerous questions about it.

Ulises and me
Unfortunately the drive from Delhi to Agra was not smooth as we kept getting stuck in traffic jams at many places. It was lunch time when we reached Agra and instead of visiting TajMahal first, we opted for lucnh. Now Spanish man was ready to try  Indian Food. Once Ulises had Chicken Tikka and Cheese Nan he reacted in his Spanish accent "Its too Spicy". Well that was relatively less spicy, so I thought what if he had encountered fully spicy Chicken Tikka?

Taj Mahal - Spectacular Monument

Once we were done with our Lunch, we met our Guide who took us to Taj Mahal. The benefit which we got from Guide was that we entered through back gate and skipped all the crowd standing in queue on other side. 

This is what you see first at entrance
It was not the first time I was visiting Taj Mahal but I have to accept that when I stood at main entrance and looked straight on the monument it looked completely new, fresh and different to me. Last time I went there was around 2 years ago and I had criticized it because of its poor maintenance but this time it looked so fresh that I had to recollect 2 years old experience and compare both, but did not find correct answer for two different opinions. I think that is all about the great work done by Spectacular and Unbeatable Engineering and Art.

Spectacular monument of White Marble created in 16th Century

Marble Factory at Agra

After spending some time at Tajmahal and listening to the stories from Guide on Tajmahal, we reached at a Marble Factory in Agra. We learnt that descenders of worker who worked on Tajmahal in 16th Century makes various marble items by hand. I was excited to see as I had never seen it before. Contrary to what we were told it was a Marble Items showroom. But the collection of marble made items was huge. The entire Shop looked really beautiful as if it was decorated for some festival or celebration.

A Chess Table

Drive from Agra to Jaipur on 2nd Oct 2010

Time had become constraint for us so we cut down the plan to visit Agra market and left Agra at 5:00 PM. The drive from Agra to Jaipur was heavenly, our Innova was cruising like boat on water. The National Highway was too good with almost avoiding all main cities with flyovers on it. We reached Jaipur by 10:00 AM in the night and slow traffic and rough roads of Jaipur welcomed us by awaking us from sleep.

Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) at Jaipur - 3rd Oct 2010

Next day 3rd Oct 2010, Our Guide joined us at Hotel itself and first place he took us was Hawa Mahal. It is situated in the middle of the city and roads crossing Hawa Mahal are too busy with local traffic.

Amber Fort - Jaipur

Soon after parking for a while at Hawa Mahal we went to Amber Fort, one of the most famous and beautiful fort in the city. Amber Fort has an unique characterstick of having built in blend of Hindu and Muslim style. It is situated on the top of a small hill and entire Jaipur City can be seen from there. The fort has been protected by the wall all around the hill.

A view of Amber fort from Jaipur City

Amber Fort

A window for Queens to look outside view from Amber Fort

The field was made on Water to grow saffron in ancient times

Wall on the entire hill made to protect Fort

Water Palace

Water Palace is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur City. The Palace was built earlier than 18th Century. It was renovated in 18th Century by then King Jai Singh II. Water Palace situated on Lake looks breathtaking and small mountains behind lake adds the flavor of greenery into the entire view.

A Boy at Water Palace. At first sight this boy looked to me a beggar but soon I realized that he is a small magician. I have a great respect for him. A true Indian - Earning his living with respect.

City Palace

As the name suggests, it is situated in the middle of city and crowded roads connects its entrance from outisde. From outside it looks an ordinary building but once you enter it you realize that it is other way round. We spent sometime going through the history along with our Guide.

Busy entrance of City Palace. Neither Ulises nor I missed the opportunity of clicking much talked Cows of Indian Streets

King of Jaipur still live in this Palace

It was noon time and Sun had sucked almost all the energy out of us. We decided to wrap the day and headed for lunch. Ulises was very careful about the food by now and opted for relatively light food.

The last Line of the triangle was yet to be drawn to make a perfect Triangle and we headed back to Delhi immediately after Lunch. I reached home at 7:00 PM and that was the time when Live telecast of Common Wealth Games Opening Ceremony started. It was all over on TV.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diwali 2010 at Chamba Himachal Pradesh - My Hometown

This Diwali I was fortunate enough to celebrate it at Chamba my hometown with my parents and my sister's family. With my niece this Diwali became really special and full of fun for all of us.

My Niece Diya "Fully excited"

A candle lit for lighting up the Temple

Diwali "A festival of Love and Affection"

Kids having fun with crackers 

Crackers are enough to light up the surrounding

Naked eyes can not see what I have got it here for you

Its all about Light, Noise, Fun and lot of Food

She is not gonna stop


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