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Old 17th June 2014, 06:44   #1
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Default An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

It's 5:15 P.M by the office clock on what has been a rather busy Friday. And then, the phone rings-

S: Hey bro! I'm done for the day. The weather outside is simply amazing and we should just go someplace. The next two days are off anyways.
Me: (Jumping in excitement!) Yeah, you're right! I've got no one at home either. They're all (Mom, Dad & my younger brother) enjoying their time in Hyderabad and I definitely don't want to be sitting alone.

S: So let's get going, shall we?!
Me: O yeah!

S: Okay, you reach my place and I'll speak with the rest of the gang by then.
Me: Done. Over and out!


The clock strikes 5:30, the melodious 'Japanese Gong' goes off, laptop's shut in a jiffy and I hastily rush towards the parking, to find the weather outside to be really a revelation. Lovely indeed. A blessing that one seldom sees during Delhi summers. No way we could have sat indoors then!

Home is a good 50Kms away and I am all charged up. We were to be leaving for yet another trip! Where? Well, we didn't talk about that during the above phone call or did we?! I started thinking of the places where we could drive tonight and come back by Saturday night. Yes, the folks at home were on vacation to Hyd and would be back in town by Sunday morning. So, had to get back before them!

Chandigarh/Nainital/Solan/Lansdowne were some of the options that came up while discussing in the car with my colleagues on the way back. Yes, we have a lovely car pool group. Saviors of the Environment you see!

Reached S's place at 7 and got to know that the other two were showing some tantrums. 'V' didn't have an off and 'A' was voluntarily going to devote the Saturday to his IT company for it to be burnt to ashes! We knew we would persuade them, so without wasting anymore time, straightaway started the T-Bhp and Google search over the prospective destinations.

If we go to Solan, then going to Chandigarh and Shimla was inevitable. But had been there many a times. And didn't have time to go to Narkanda. So, this option was ruled out. S had been to Nainital and wanted us to do a stay if we go there. Ruled out again due to the time constraint we had.
Lansdowne was something we had always heard about. Logs and posts confirmed it to be a good place and so did the colleagues. Checked the distance, 250Kms one side was easily do-able and very suitable to return the next evening.

So, Lansdowne it was going to be then! We would leave tonight, reach there early morning and be back by the evening. Instant recipe for a flash trip!

Now it was time to get the other two in! Called up A and he was traveling back in one of the shiny new Ford Figos that his Company provides as cabs (one of the many perks of working in IT!). He was just around the block, asked him to get off immediately and that we were on our way to pick him up to 'just meet' over a few Pani Puris! He agreed. He was with us within the next five minutes and the pleading had already begun!

Because if we go, either all would, else none! It's a sort of pact that we have, 'Wherever one goes, the others follow'! A gang of 5 school friends who love traveling. Sadly, the fifth one has been posted to Pune to work in another IT firm since a few months now. But he's keeping the traveling spirits high there as well!

After much persuasion, A almost agreed, but not before putting across a very unique condition. A dramatic twist to the story-
"I'll bring my nephew along. His summer vacations are on and he's been after me to take him out". After looking at each other's shocked faces for a moment and knowing that we won't be able to budge him anymore, with a very heavy heart, we said "Okay". And so, A was in!
Haggling with V was much easier. Few emotional dialogues and he was inside the door!

So, we were finally going! To Lansdowne. Tonight. Would leave at 10. And in S's Alto-800, codenamed-'TheToad'!

Left for our respective homes to get fresh and then S would start from his home at 9:45 and do a milk-run, picking everyone up.

It was 10:15 and we were all in the car, with an aura of somber silence prevailing inside. He was sitting there. In the middle. At the back seat. A small little kid, face full of determination, eyes full of anger. You wouldn't want to mess with him! It was like your first day at college, when even before entering the classroom, you had to face your seniors! How would we speak a whole sentence without even using a single curse-word was something at the top of everyone's horror list! Masking off such instances, if there are any that is, by increasing the volume of the music was one of the quick ideas that came from the audience! An intelligent one, I must say! We finally gave our introductions to the Big Boss and hoped for the best for the next 525Kms!

Tanked up TheToad with both Petrol & CNG at the Vivek Vihar pumps, docked up S's trusty old Lumia 720 on the dash mount, fired up Here Drive and we set sail at around 10:40 p.m.
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10155909_794749463869525_5670293104959869920_n.jpg

Took the GT Road, crossed Hindon river and joined the Meerut Highway (NH-58) after turning left from the Ghaziabad signal. Didn't take the Rajnagar Extension bypass as that road is not lit at all and the traffic on the main Highway itself was not dense at this hour of the night.

Found the highway to be in pretty good condition and there was nothing much except for the usual truck traffic and some unexpected Nightlife!
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We were maintaining a relaxed 70-80Km/hr and enjoying the cool breeze outside with the windows rolled down by about one-fourth of their height. We've been on the NH-58 umpteen times and the only detour one needs to make to go to Lansdowne is a right turn after traveling some 70 odd kilometers on it, to join the NH-119 through some intermediate roads, all the way till Lansdowne. Here Drive was doing all the guiding and we were focusing only on enjoying the music and the talks! Talking of music, there was everything from never ending 50-minute Armin tracks, keeping the driver awake to the sweet sounding recordings from V's band working as lullabies to set the BigBoss, me and A asleep! V has got an amazingly cool band from his college and plays drums.

Introducing V, our man Friday! He got behind the wheel from the word go and is looking fresh even at our first and the only halt to answer nature's call, at around 2:30 a.m in the middle of somewhere!
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It was a quick stop at some Dhaba. No one was hungry. Me, A and the BigBoss were in our sweet sleep in the utterly spacious and immensely comfortable back seat of TheToad! So, just replied to the call and moved on instantly!
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V drove all the way till we hit the hills at around 4:30 a.m and finally surrendered the wheel to S, who was navigating all this while.
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A chilled breeze tickled us as we moved a little higher and then woke up to this!The view was breathtakingly amazing!
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S, embracing the serene landscape!
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We just couldn't get enough! To be right there in nature's lap at 5 in the morning was an experience par words! The wind became S-T-R-O-N-G! And the air as fresh as it could get!
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A getting chilled to the bones by the extremely strong wind!
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An overly amazed Yours truly and S! Maybe we just saw a Chimpanzee!
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Here's introducing, the one and the only! No prizes for guessing who! His Highness already teasing us with a victory symbol!
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And here's TheToad, in all its glory!
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Standing proud wearing the livery!
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We moved ahead very slowly, stopping every now and then. Wanted to live it all! The whole valley was resounding with the sound of the trees sprawling out so early in the morning!
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We finally reached the entrance to the Town and had to pay a measly toll tax/parking fee of Rs. 50. I would say it could have been much higher for the levels of cleanliness they've maintained here. A phenomenally clean place it is!

Probably due to it being an Army area and is hence, being maintained by them. Salute to their discipline and hardwork.
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We entered the town and reached Gandhi Circle. There were a few shops, some restaurants and some tea stalls. Most of them were just opening up. While they did so, used the paid public convenience there to get fresh and decided to have breakfast before we went any further. V was still in his deep slumber in the back seat and wanted us to just go away and let him be there! He forcibly threw BigBoss out of the car, and then bore the consequences, "Inko toh lana hi nahi chahiye tha" (we shouldn't have brought him here in the first place!), was the immediate reply by His Highness! And we burst out laughing!
Ordered Aloo paraanthas, Maggi and Tea. The service was awefully slow. The paraanthas came way before the Tea and the next set even after the bill! The taste was okay, not so bad and nothing to write home about either. The good thing was that we got enough time to charge our dead phones and bring them to life. We enquired about the places of visit and got a list on the back of the visiting card of one of the Hotels. There were some 8-9 places. Asked for opinion, did the shortlisting there itself and decided to see three of them.

First, we set off for the Lake, called the 'Bhulla Tal'. One has to go further up from Gandhi Circle to reach there. The slope across whole of Lansdowne is gradual and not extremely steep anywhere. TheToad could climb all of it with full load pretty easily.

An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-dscn4882.jpg

It was a beautiful little place with greenery and flowers all around and the pristine lake in between. Got 4 tickets for boating. Cause someone finally got the courage to tell the BigBoss that he was still a kid and that he could do the boating for free! Grabbed our life jackets and set sailing again.
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-dscn4952.jpg

It was amazing to see the excitement on the Kid's face! We knew he's just gonna love it and boy he did!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-dscn4936.jpg

And he loved playing with the ducks even more!
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And then, with the bunnies!
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And then, with the butterflies!
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And then, with the flowers!
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And then, with the fauna!
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And then for a while, we all just played in the beautiful landscape!
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S, getting some enlightenment!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10155203_794350343909437_3471858151091102983_n.jpg

That's how you do it! His Highness giving some how-to-pose lessons!
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The family bonding! In such a short span, all of us became extremely close to the BigBoss and were loved more than we could have imagined! Some in the audience are already voting for a pre-booking of his seat for the next trip! No one would disagree I guess!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10306082_794350260576112_6606595197063181838_n.jpg

So after spending some quality time, we finally decided to bid adieu to the beautiful Bhulla Tal to move to the next point, Tip-n-Top. But not before a couple of parting shots:

Of the Gang!
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And Me!
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Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by forester : 23rd June 2014 at 02:18.
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Old 23rd June 2014, 03:49   #2
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Default An Overnight Escape-To the Lan(d)s Downe Under!

After all the excursion at the lake, we were feeling quite hungry and just a thought of some good hot Maggi and a few Omlettes saw us all salivating.

We had begun for Tip-n-Top and never did we know that we'd be eating one of our tastiest Maggis, sitting in a peaceful and beautiful place like this!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10394481_794349940576144_4442275371043306936_n.jpg

Tip-n-Top apart from being a vantage point to see the whole of Lansdowne from the top, is also a Hotel cum Resort cum Restaurant run by the State Govt. The place again was extremely clean. The service of the Restaurant much faster than what we had experienced in the morning. And the taste, it was great too! We kept eating like anything! BigBoss is a die-hard Maggi fan and we could see a distinct glint in his eyes at every single order of the dish!

The Maggi love! BigBoss taking away S's plate to finish it off within a blink of an eye!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10336780_794349617242843_6867682905036387040_n.jpg

This was at the beginning. We gobbled down quite a few of these two items by the time we finished!
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We all were tired and lazed around sitting there in the sun for some time.
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And just admired the place!
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And then with his artillery ready,
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BigBoss asked us to go to the vantage point to see the view. And it was wonderful! Wanna drive the Linea on those curves! TheToad didn't fail to amaze either!
An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10403336_794349577242847_6567916381348090735_n.jpg

Another pleasant view!
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After basking in the sun for a while now, we finally decided to move to the final spot, the St. Mary's Church, do our prayers and head back home. The Church is just a couple of hundred meters down from Tip-n-Top. Again, a fantastic, little, peaceful and beautiful place.

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Ah! simply beautiful!
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And continuing to be so on the inside as well.
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We were all silent and with our own selves once inside.
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An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-10339554_794349377242867_2335551980022762202_n.jpg

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?! V caught in the act!
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This hut was there outside the Church. The scenery was so pristine, it was hard to believe that we were seeing things for real!An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!-984103_794349410576197_5712414168830746440_n.jpg

We came out of the Church in around half an hour and it was 1:30 p.m by the clock and we started heading back home. Everyone was exhausted by now. I took the wheel with S sitting in the passenger's seat. He was falling asleep every now and then and not to mention the other's were already asleep in the back seat. I drove quite patiently and kept myself engaged with the Music and some biscuits!

The way back was brilliant as well. NH-119 is one fabulous single lane highway going through lovely farms and having huge trees along both the sides. The road as well is butter smooth with only a couple of bumpy sections for some very short stretches. We didn't stop anywhere at all. The A/C of the Alto-800 is a chiller and kept us cool all the way home. The ride is comfortable with only the space becoming an issue for such a long journey. We felt cramped and couldn't stretch our legs. But that would be asking too much! We reached at around 6:30 p.m with no signs of stress or laziness. What we had experienced throughout the day was the sole reason for the freshness! Slept peacefully with dreams of the scenic landscapes that we had just came from!

Lansdowne is one of the most cleanest, beautiful and silent places we've ever been to. On the top of our list now, if ever we want to do an escape like this in future-525Kms in 18 hours flat!
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Old 24th June 2014, 16:34   #3
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Default re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th June 2014, 02:35   #4
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Default Re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

Something similar happened to me too on our new year trip to Goa in 2012. One of our cousin tagged with us and I was not very keen in taking him. But once we were on the road he turned out to be the biggest surprise and we all thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

Brought back those beautiful memories.
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Old 25th June 2014, 17:29   #5
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Default Re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

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Something similar happened to me too on our new year trip to Goa in 2012. One of our cousin tagged with us and I was not very keen in taking him. But once we were on the road he turned out to be the biggest surprise and we all thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

Brought back those beautiful memories.
Glad it did.

It sure gets wonderful in the company of a kid. There is that constant energy and cheerfulness throughout and those priceless times when you've got to become a child with them and it does makes for some lovely memories!
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Old 27th June 2014, 00:29   #6
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Default Re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

Great story man. Lansdowne has always been my favourite weekend getaway. Been there 6-7 times now. Next time you go, dont forget to visit the Tarkeshwar temple which is 2 hrs away from there. It is a beautiful little temple nestled in a thick forest. The drive itself is awesome with butter smooth roads and amazing views.
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Old 27th June 2014, 17:34   #7
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Great story man. Lansdowne has always been my favourite weekend getaway. Been there 6-7 times now. Next time you go, dont forget to visit the Tarkeshwar temple which is 2 hrs away from there. It is a beautiful little temple nestled in a thick forest. The drive itself is awesome with butter smooth roads and amazing views.
Thanks a lot SHANKY11. Glad you liked it.

Would surely try and go to the Tarkeshwar Temple. This just gave us just another reason to visit this region again! The thought of thick forests and smooth roads has already got me imagining the views! Thanks a lot for the info.
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Old 8th July 2014, 16:24   #8
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Default Re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

Amazing that you pulled this off in a span of 48 hours! Just loved the pictures
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Old 8th July 2014, 19:42   #9
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Default Re: An overnight escape - To the Lan(d)s Downe under!

Nice pictures. Lansdowne is always a nice place to visit. :-)
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Old 18th August 2014, 23:39   #10
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Amazing that you pulled this off in a span of 48 hours! Just loved the pictures
Thanks a ton joybhowmik We pulled it off within 24 hours though!

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Originally Posted by Baddychat View Post
Nice pictures. Lansdowne is always a nice place to visit. :-)
Thank you very much Baddychat Yes, it is a lovely place for sure. Hope the recent landslide disturbance in the region doesn't affect this beautiful place.
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