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Old 2nd December 2018, 20:53   #1
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Thumbs up Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

Quick Facts about Ramgarh


Location: 35 kms ahead of Nainital
How to get there: Drive from Delhi (approx 330 kms away - 7 to 10 hrs depending on traffic) | Train from Delhi to Kathgodam (approx 6 hrs), thereafter by taxi (approx 3 hrs)
Choosing Ramgarh for a Vacation: It's a laidback location. It is convenient to reach, yet away from mainstream (chaotic) locations like Nainital. Carry a book along, have some tea in scenic locations, and just unwind with nature. Lots of places to trek around. And the fresh fruits in the months of May-June are awesome.
Good Hotels Around: Neemrana's Ramgarh Bungalows, Seclude, Suvaasaa were the ones we considered. There're a lot of others as well.

_____

Travelogue Begins


Let's do a quick getaway to the mountains on the Dussehera weekend! she said.
Sounds good. I'll ask A, S, S, and a bunch of other friends to join too! he said.

And just like that, the plan fell apart.

The very next weekend, they booked their stay and got away.
Just the two.
About the friends there was no clue.

Here's the video of their adventure:




Note: English Subtitles (CC) available in the video - there're parts in Hindi, and subtitles can used for easy understanding.

__

It was on a cold October morning that my wife and I started for Ramgarh. The night before, I had checked the route and gotten three options, all diverging from Moradabad by-pass. I posted a query on the Nainital Route thread on Team-BHP, and went to sleep, hoping to get a response by the morning.

As we made our way out of Delhi, towards Ghaziabad, the new extra w-i-d-e section of road welcomed us, quickly sending us out of Delhi, and abruptly onto the messy Ghaziabad-Hapur section. This is the zone where the shared autorickshaws & local traffic form a nexus of chaos passing through which one ages 10 years. To add more years, now the Hapur approach is also made messy by the on-going construction of the Delhi - Meerut expressway.

We were deep onto the Hapur-Gajraula stretch by the time we passed the first toll booth, and caught up with some our simian ancestors.

A warm hug
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight123.jpg

Nursing Time
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By the bushes
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A portrait
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight126.jpg

Young Monkey
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Waiting for some offerings
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight128.jpg

So Alike yet So much cooler
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight129.jpg


At Gajraula, we made a quick pit stop at Burger King and got a move on. The toll road was smooth pretty much all the way to Moradabad. At the Moradabad-Rampur section, we decide to take a left towards the road going to Kaladungi.

The route was narrow, filled with traffic and loads of potholes.

Eventually, we crossed over into Uttarakhand, and got closer to Jim Corbett. This is where the drive reminded me of my childhood.. roads covered with trees on both sides, forming a tunnel-like effect. After all the smog in Delhi, this was a refreshing change. The tarmac was smooth, the traffic sparse, and the monkeys busy crossing the road. Never a dull moment.

Sloping downwards into the Leafy tunnel road
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight130.jpg


Nice bends
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight131.jpg


and some bridges too
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight132.jpg


We soon crossed Kaladungi and decided to cross over to the Haldwani side, avoiding the shorter route going from Kaladungi to Nainital. This was done to avoid passing through Nainital, where we heard was a lot of traffic.

The first turn from Kaladungi direct to Nainital - shorter, but more chaotic at Nainital
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight133.jpg

Headed this way instead
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight134.jpg


We stopped for a quick lunch at Bhimtal.
While trying to use the washroom at the restaurant, we were made to go through this dragon stage (90's childhood anyone?)

I love dogs. Sometimes they don't quite love me back.
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5452.jpg

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5453.jpg

Moving towards Bhimtal, we soon got onto the road to Mukteshwar. As we crossed Bhowali, the traffic became sparse, and the woods dense. The climb to Ramgarh began, and the temperature dropped further. It was delightful.

At Ramgarh, we turned towards the route heading to Ramgarh bungalows. It was a steep, narrow road sloping downwards. We kept stopping to click pictures, and soon arrived at the first bungalow cluster.

Stopped to click some pictures

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5463.jpg


Parked for the day in this special parking bay
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight136.jpg


The Ramgarh Bungalows were built by the British as their first stop on their way from Nainital (their summer capital), to China. They also planted lots of fruits trees here, effectively converting the region to a fruit belt. One can find loads of apples, plums, pears, kiwis, and many other fruits in the orchards in and around Ramgarh. The bungalows here were frequented by a lot of renowned Indians like poet Rabindranath Tagore (and his daughter).

The Ramgarh Bungalows are spread across three clusters. The first cluster has Cliff House Villa and Ashok Vatika. The second has Writers' Bungalow, and the third is the biggest, housing the Old Bungalow (earlier known as the Dak Bungalow), the Dining Hall (built in a stable), the Rose Cottage, and others.
Refer to the video for the full tour of the property.

Cliffhouse Villa - where we stayed
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight147.jpg

Parking Bay near the Stable (dining hall) at Old Bungalow cluster
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight151.jpg

Path going upwards to Ashok Vatika - in the same cluster as Cliffhouse
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight148.jpg

A swing for kids outside Ashok Vatika
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight140.jpg


Going upstairs towards our room, we saw a window that opened to a gorgeous view:
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5479.jpg

On closer inspection, this is what it looked like
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight135.jpg


We settled into our room at the Cliffhouse villa, and walked out into our balcony to this view:
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight164.jpg


Each cluster has its own dining area, including both indoor and outdoor space. Our cluster had its dining area at Ashok Vatika. High tea with some pakoras was served outdoors, and we were blown away by the view.

View from outdoor dining space at Ashok Vatika

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5490.jpg

Take a look at those curves!

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5481.jpg


After relaxing for a while, it was time for dinner. We went up the path again to Ashok Vatika, and this time sat in the indoor space. This can be viewed in the video. We then went out to chill near the bonfire.

The bonfire:
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight117.jpg

We headed back to Cliffhouse.
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-img_5548.jpg


It soon time to call it a day.
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight115.jpg

____
The Next Day


Thumpety thump thump! Claaaash! Bang! Raffle!


Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight107-2.jpg

Continuing soon in the next post due to limitation of images here

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 2nd December 2018 at 21:02.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 22:05   #2
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Smile Final Part: VIDEO TOUR: Ramgarh Bungalows - the Fruit Belt

Clash! Clang! Boom! Bam! Scrap!


Who needs roosters when you can have monkeys on a tin roof?
We were up on what I consider an ungodly hour when I'm on vacation.

But I quickly forgave the monkeys and all other hell makers.
Because when we stepped outside, we found these beauties:

Daisies
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight54.jpg

We gazed at these Orange flowers gazing at the sun.
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight107-2.jpg

they were everywhere
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight112.jpg

Even these were growing beautifully
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight137.jpg

The property also has some gorgeous roses
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight139.jpg


We even chased this beautiful poser all around:
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight141.jpg

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight142.jpg


For breakfast, we were seated on our favourite table at Ashok Vatika. Basking in the sunlight, we felt as warm as the toast on our plates. Being a fruit belt, Ramgarh has a massive opportunity at its hands. And Neemrana is tapping into it quite well - fruit jams & juices. We were served fresh fruit jams - no less than five varieties - Apple, Pear, Plum, Kiwi, and Lemon marmalade. There was also some fresh apple juice.

Slurp, Chomp, Swallow, Glug, Glug, Swallow, Slurp!
Buurrrrppppppp!

Breakfast went quite well.

We then went about photographing and video graphing the property. This took most of our morning. There was lots to see, lots to soak in.

This beautiful hut housed the staff on night duty
Click image for larger version

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Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight146.jpg

Lantern
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight120.jpg

Beautiful houses around the property
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight108-2.jpg

The tent that housed the Ramlila - this was the only annoying point about this trip - they went on and on in the late hours of the night
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight109-2.jpg

The valley views
Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight110-2.jpg

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight111.jpg


It was soon time to get ready and step out. We wanted to see some snow covered mountains.

This beautiful red Omni caught my eye - so timeless

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight149.jpg

We drove to the upper part of Ramgarh, and then about 10 kms towards Mukteshwar.

The roads to Mukteshwar

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight163.jpg

We were told about a ‘German House’ at a small town outside which there’s a view point for the snow clad mountains. We got to that place and discovered some adamant clouds.

Oh no.. now what?
Now we’ll go over to view something even better.. the river flowing near Ramgarh.

Fuelled by my online research, I drove another 10 kms to the lower part of Ramgarh, where I was told (online) flowed a river.

Where’s the river, buddy? Yahaan koi nadi hai?
Nadi? Accha woh! (Oh by river you meant that little thing!) smirked all the random locals we asked on our way.

It wasn’t looking good.

On reaching the river, I was overjoyed. Not to see the very little water flowing by, but to see the mules in the water. It was amazing.

Me pointing to the mules

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight58.jpg


We then drove back to the hotel, and this time took the advice of the locals. We got onto a ‘road’ which was basically a steep dirt track going upwards. Lots of loose gravel, and many tight turns later, we found that someone was very mad at us.
Google Maps. It was confused, and showed us in the middle of nowhere. It was scary and hilarious at the same time. Check this part out in the video.

We were back on the road to the bungalows after about 15 mins, and quickly made our way to the lunch area - the dining hall at the Old Bungalow.

Lunch was ordered in advance by us as we did not want the full buffet meal (had limited options).

After the meal, I went around the property with the manager, Mr Shailesh, who’s a local of Ramgarh, and has been working with Neemrana since quite a while. He gave us a tour of the factory where they make the jams ans juices, and of the Old bungalow and Writers’ Bungalow clusters. All the information shared by him is in the video (refer to the first post).


We were surprised to find some cotton plants in the property

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight55.jpg


The sun & the clouds continued to entertain us

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight56.jpg

The living area of Cliffhouse had interesting bits of history:

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight143.jpg

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight144.jpg


Later, we went back to the Cliffhouse/Ashok Vatika cluster, where another employee, Mr. Anand, gave us the tour. He also told us some tales of his childhood, particularly about his grandfather. This very interesting information is also available in the video (in the first post).

Soon, it was time to have dinner.

Before turning in, I had to hear the moon saying hello:

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight116.jpg

We headed into cliff house to call it a day.

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight118.jpg

We turned off the lights. Or some other excuse to insert an image of this pretty lamp

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight155.jpg


The next morning, the clash! bang! boom! clang! special monkey alarm clock woke us up in time to get ready and leave for Delhi.

On stepping out, the moon again said hello. It was nice of it to stick around.

Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt-enlight122.jpg


On the way back we got lots more traffic, and reached home by the evening.

This trip was an interesting one.
I recommend visiting this place in the summers if you want to see the fresh fruits in the orchards. There’s also lots of snowfall here in the later part of the year.

Hope you enjoyed this travelogue.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 3rd December 2018, 10:12   #3
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post
Quick Facts about Ramgarh

Location: 35 kms ahead of Nainital
I had to take help of Google Maps to locate it - Even then the first result points out to a place with the same name in Jharkhand!

Quote:
How to get there: Drive from Delhi (approx 330 kms away - 7 to 10 hrs depending on traffic) | Train from Delhi to Kathgodam (approx 6 hrs), thereafter by taxi (approx 3 hrs)
Once again, let me say it - you Delhi guys are so lucky. The mountains are just a day away. Unlike us chaps, you can easily goto the hills on an extended weekend.

That apart, could you also let us know the connectivity by state transport buses? Reason being I had travelled some parts of UK and HP in local buses and had a really good time. They also turned out to be cheaper by a fair margin instead of the train+taxi combo.

Quote:
Choosing Ramgarh for a Vacation: It's a laidback location. It is convenient to reach, yet away from mainstream (chaotic) locations like Nainital. Carry a book along, have some tea in scenic locations, and just unwind with nature. Lots of places to trek around. And the fresh fruits in the months of May-June are awesome.
Thats my kind of a place. I usually try to travel to new places in the non peak season and weekdays to avoid the crowd. The laid-back nature of the place is appealing to me for a quiet break from the daily grind.

Quote:
At Ramgarh, we turned towards the route heading to Ramgarh bungalows. It was a steep, narrow road sloping downwards. We kept stopping to click pictures, and soon arrived at the first bungalow cluster.
Wow. The road looks quite steep there. How was the car's performance in the hills?

Quote:
The Ramgarh Bungalows were built by the British as their first stop on their way from Nainital (their summer capital), to China. They also planted lots of fruits trees here, effectively converting the region to a fruit belt. One can find loads of apples, plums, pears, kiwis, and many other fruits in the orchards in and around Ramgarh. The bungalows here were frequented by a lot of renowned Indians like poet Rabindranath Tagore (and his daughter).
Intersting trivia. Thanks for sharing about this place and my must visit places' list has one more name to it.

Cheers,
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Old 3rd December 2018, 15:43   #4
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Default Re: Final Part: VIDEO TOUR: Ramgarh Bungalows - the Fruit Belt

Beautiful location, thoroughly enjoyed reading your travelogue. Expected to see photos of the different fruits grown around that region. Also how come very few snaps of your car.
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Old 3rd December 2018, 22:23   #5
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Default Re: Final Part: VIDEO TOUR: Ramgarh Bungalows - the Fruit Belt

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
... a place with the same name in Jharkhand!
Haha So true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Once again, let me say it - you Delhi guys are so lucky.
It is true.. But then we need the mountains more than most, right, with our super clean Delhi air, lol!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
That apart, could you also let us know the connectivity by state transport buses?
I didn't see buses going in this direction. I know loads of buses go from Delhi to Kathgodam (but again, so do the trains, and they're better than the buses for many reasons - comfort, no traffic, food, etc.). Kathgodam should be the changeover point to get a bus towards Ramgarh or beyond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Wow. The road looks quite steep there. How was the car's performance in the hills?
The road was steep, but the car handled it well. I had to keep the momentum where possible, or shift down to first and then quickly to second so as not to revv too much.


Quote:
Originally Posted by majumon View Post
Beautiful location...Expected to see photos of the different fruits ...very few snaps of your car.
The location was prettier than the car, I guess
We went in October, and the orchards have fruit in the summers, as mentioned in my earlier posts.. Hence I had to borrow some footage of fruits from my cousin who did travel to the same location earlier this year.. You can find that in the video I linked in the first post.


Cheers,
Sam
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Old 4th December 2018, 10:10   #6
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

Very nice travelogue,

It was a wise decision to bypass Nainital, we didn't know any better and got stuck in jams last year despite being on bikes (mountains don't have footpaths like delhi..lol)

I just loved Mukteshwar, but the black ice on roads is a turn-off, one has to tread so so carefully, despite that many members of the group fell.

The views are mesmerizing, and it's still commercially untouched.
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Old 4th December 2018, 13:32   #7
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

One of my favorite places to visit.
I've been a regular to Ramgarh Bungalows for the past 16 years!

Seems to me you missed the jam factory. Also, the chef Ram Singh makes a mean chocolate moose.

Take a look at Pangoat for your next visit to the hills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
That apart, could you also let us know the connectivity by state transport buses? Reason being I had travelled some parts of UK and HP in local buses and had a really good time. They also turned out to be cheaper by a fair margin instead of the train+taxi combo.
Night/Early morning train to Kathgodam from Delhi. Thereafter a bus to Bhowali and taxi to Ramgarh.

Last edited by Viraat13 : 4th December 2018 at 13:35. Reason: Avoiding back to back posts
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Old 4th December 2018, 13:34   #8
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Default Re: Final Part: VIDEO TOUR: Ramgarh Bungalows - the Fruit Belt

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One picture that made my day! Thanks a lot and a very nice travelogue.
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Old 4th December 2018, 20:03   #9
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Cool Do Watch The Video For The Complete Experience Of This Travelogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitish.arnold View Post
Very nice travelogue,

The views are mesmerizing, and it's still commercially untouched.
Thank you. Yes, Mukteshwar has some splendid views. I rode there on my thunderbird a couple of years back. I didn’t face any black ice because I went earlier in the year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viraat13 View Post

Seems to me you missed the jam factory.

Take a look at Pangoat for your next visit to the hills
I did come to know a lot of people are regulars to the Bungalows . And I can certainly see why
__
There’re a bunch of things covered in the video that I haven’t mentioned in the write up. I would go so far as to say the this travelogue is incomplete without watching the video The video covers the jam factory, and a complete tour of the property , showing all three bungalow clusters, and all the room types . The video also mentions why Rabindranath Tagore’s daughter came there, and a bunch of other interesting things narrated by Mr Anand. Do check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rav11stars View Post
One picture that made my day! Thanks a lot and a very nice travelogue.
Glad you liked it

Sam
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Old 5th December 2018, 10:11   #10
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

Ah.....you brought back memories of my trip to Ramgarh about 9 years ago. Had gone there sometime in 2009, and guess what? we stayed at the same place - the Neemrana Ramgarh Bungalows.

Beautiful, idyllic place - away from the crowd with good clean air and natural beauty all around. Very happy to see that the place has not changed much in the past 10 years, which is quite rare for typical Indian tourist spots that keep deteriorating with time.
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Old 5th December 2018, 10:15   #11
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

Excellent and very detailed thread. Offbeat locations on western Himalaya is now more in demand. Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep traveling and writing such epic threads.
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Old 5th December 2018, 10:29   #12
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Default Re: Ramgarh Bungalows - The Fruit Belt

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Once again, let me say it - you Delhi guys are so lucky. The mountains are just a day away. Unlike us chaps, you can easily goto the hills on an extended weekend.
+1
And believe me, this thing keeps annoying me when I come across this kind of
travelogues of some offbeat place in the Himalayas.

Thanks, samarth.bhatia, for this amazing travelogue with excellent photographs. Thanks for making my morning amazing with those beautiful photographs. Keep travelling Keep writing.
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Old 5th December 2018, 11:52   #13
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Default Re: Do Watch The Video For The Complete Experience Of This Travelogue

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Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post

I did come to know a lot of people are regulars to the Bungalows . And I can certainly see why
__
There’re a bunch of things covered in the video that I haven’t mentioned in the write up. I would go so far as to say the this travelogue is incomplete without watching the video The video covers the jam factory, and a complete tour of the property , showing all three bungalow clusters, and all the room types . The video also mentions why Rabindranath Tagore’s daughter came there, and a bunch of other interesting things narrated by Mr Anand. Do check it out.

Sam
Thanks for the heads up! I usually access Team BHP from office (like now), and YouTube is blocked here.
I will take a look at home.
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Old 5th December 2018, 12:11   #14
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Default Re: Do Watch The Video For The Complete Experience Of This Travelogue

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Ah.....you brought back memories ...
Beautiful, idyllic place - away from the crowd with good clean air and natural beauty all around. ..
Hope it remains this way. I used to travel to Bhowali about 14 years back. Me and my friend used to trek up the mountains, and I remember it being lush green, quite unlike the ugly, chaotic concrete jungle it is today.

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Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
Keep traveling and writing such epic threads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJM1214 View Post
+1

Thanks, samarth.bhatia, for this amazing travelogue with excellent photographs. ..
Glad you guys liked it!
If you didn't check them out already, I have written a bunch of other VIDEO TOUR travelogues on Team BHP:

1. JAIPUR Video Travelogue (Video Tour | Tree of Life, Jaipur | Staycation)
2. KAAS Video Travelogue (Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers)
3. KRABI Video Travelogue (Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation)
4. 2nd Oct Special - GANDHI Museum Videolog (Video Tour: National Gandhi Museum! 150th Birth Anniversary Special)

Will be sharing another travelogue, this time from a different part of the country soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viraat13 View Post
...YouTube is blocked here...
Oh, ok!

Cheers,
Sam

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 5th December 2018 at 12:20.
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