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AlanD

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About AlanD

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    Southampton UK

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  • My favourite food is..
    Indian, of course
  1. AlanD

    Happy Birthday To You!

    Happy Birthday Jyoti and all the best for the coming year!
  2. AlanD

    The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

    What a great idea! If I was about 40 years younger I might join in. Obviously you all will be pushing things to the limit - friendships will be made and broken - things will fall apart and come together again and you will all probably need a good rest at the end of this. Hope you've all allowed for a few days r n r at the end of the journey. I think you will all look back on this as the journey of a lifetime. Would love to know what happens so please write it up on the forum. Bon voyage to one and all.
  3. AlanD

    Some Advice On Upcoming Trip

    Hi Cyberhippie I am in Istanbul at the moment so just a quick note. Yes the Apana does paratha curd and pickle for breakfast. Enjoy your trip.
  4. AlanD

    Some Advice On Upcoming Trip

    Hello Cyberhippie Although I've been to some of the places you are planning to visit, like Bhuj, Mandvi, Palitana, Dwarka, Bhavnagar etc I'm afraid my info may be well out of date. Things change very quickly in most of India these days. However, we did spend a few weeks in January of this year in Diu and found it, as ever, a very pleasant place to be - not too hectic, equable climate, good food and good lodgings. We stayed at the Apana Hotel on the waterfront where we paid 700R's for a room on the second floor, attached bathroom, TV and with a balcony which looked out over the channel between Diu and the mainland. The balcony was a great place to have early morning tea (the temperature was in the mid to late 20's C) and bird watch at other times of the day. The Apana's restaurant was always busy with visiting Indian tour groups or Indian families touring on their own and we ate almost all of our meals there. As you would expect they served a lot of seafood - prawns (Karai, Sweet and Sour and Goanese) and Kingfish and Pomfret fresh from the fishing boats at the nearby quay. Their chicken dishes were pretty good too. When we were there it seemed to be the only place that was doing a lot of business. You can also have a beer with your meal, you just pay the waiter and he goes and brings it from an off licence a couple of doors down. A bottle of beer was about 40 R's. If you want to travel around the island or head back onto the mainland, scooter hire is about 150R's per day and traffic is pretty light on the roads. Another good place to eat is the Hoka Resort at Nagoa Beach run by Aditya Dogra - they also do tasty seafood dishes for about 150 R's per dish. Up at the old Portuguese church which is now a museum there are also some rooms to let. We had a look up there but some of the rooms on the roof looked as if they would be very hot during the day. The young couple who run it usually have a fish barbeque every other night just outside the church for about 150R's a head. No matter where you stay I'm sure you will have a great time - Diu seems to retain its laid back atmosphere over the years. If you make it to Mandvi try to pay a visit to Zorba the Buddha restaurant, just inside the city walls - they do great vegetarian thalis. Our photos of Diu and the other places in India we visited on our last trip are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/east_med_wand...57616437833378/
  5. AlanD

    Boats No More

    Without its Mughal monuments I doubt that Agra would have any fascination for tourists, both Indian and foreign.
  6. AlanD

    Boats No More

    Sorry to hear about lack of rain which is so important to India. This follows on from a very dry winter in the northern plains and Himalayas - during the five months from November to March this year we only had a couple of light rain showers, one in Himachal and one in Pokhara, Nepal. It's still not too late though. Some years ago we arrived in Delhi at the beginning of August just at the monsoon arrived. We were shopping on our second day in Delhi in the Central Government Crafts Emporium on Janpath when all hell (or heaven) broke loose - thunder, lightning and torrential rain. The streets were flooded and traffic was disrupted but people seemed pretty happy about it. The lakes at Udaipur have dried out a few times now in recent years - hope this is not becoming a pattern. Despite cheaper hotel prices because of this, I don't think I would want to stay there with dried up lake beds.
  7. AlanD

    What Sort Of Money?

    We normally take a mixture of Amex TC's and pounds sterling with bank cards as a backup. We've just done a five month trip to India and Nepal and had absolutely no money problems. We were in and out of Delhi a few times so we would change enough TC's to see us back to Delhi, asking the money changer for large denonmination notes to keep the bulk down. We would usually produce these when paying restaurant or hotel bills so that we always had a supply of smaller value notes. In the last couple of years we've had a problem with our bank cards - twice our bank has voided our cards as they suspected that there has been an attempt at fraud. This has been a bit inconvenient as it took a few days for the new cards to arrive through the post. I wouldn't want to be in this position in India. We usually take about four times the amount of TC's compared to cash - the advantage of TC's is that if you genuinely lose them they can be replaced. I don't think it's advisable to carry large amounts of cash.
  8. AlanD

    Your Favourite Hostel?

    As you are planning to visit the Nubra Valley in Ladakh, I would suggest the Snow Leopard Guest House in Hundar village. It's a very peaceful place with a marvellous flower filled garden to relax in and the owner also grows vegetables to supply the Indian Airforce base (out of bounds) a few kilometers up the road, so the food is fresh and healthy. They haven't got many rooms though, about six or seven, so this is a place that you should try and book in advance from Leh. We went by vehicle on a package from a travel company in Leh which had pre-booked us but you can also make your own arrangements and take a bus from Leh - I think they don't run every day but you can find out from the bus station in Leh. I think this is the phone number - (01980) 221097
  9. AlanD

    Booking Hostels In Advance

    Agree with Shiver me Timbers. In many travels in India we have never had to sleep out. We only book a hotel for our arrival in Delhi and then just pick something out of whatever guidebook we are currently using or on the basis of what we have heard from others. There always seem to be enough guest houses and small hotels, especially in places of interest frequented by foreign tourists/travellers. Many locals (sometimes too many) in these places have sized up the situation and opened small family run and usually very pleasant guest houses. Quite often you won't have to find them - they will find you, at the bus or train station but it sometimes pays to check a few places out. It also depends though on your temperament. If you are the sort of person who really needs to have things definitely arranged in advance and would feel under stress if you didn't, then by all means pre-book. The last thing you want to do is spend your days worrying about where you are going to sleep that night. It might be of use to say here that we are a couple of senior citizen backpackers, aged 68 and 64. By the way, we have been to Ladakh twice and found a place to stay in Leh quite easily in August - there are many small guest houses in the Changspa area, just a 10-15 minute walk away from the centre of town. Enjoy your trip!
  10. AlanD

    This Year's Trip

    Excellent set of photos TQ - enjoyed looking at them. Perhaps you might like to add the historical ones to the "Historic India" group on flickr where I am a moderator. Seems like you had a great time.
  11. AlanD

    Music Festival In Pushkar

    If anyone happens to be in the region of Pushkar during the 18th, 19th and 20th of January, a music festival has been organised by Ravi and Shashi Sharma of the King's Good Music Zone record shop in Pushkar. The programme is Prem Joshua and Band, Sunday 18th, Indian Ocean, Delhi based band, Monday 19th Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, santoor maestro, Tuesday 20th Concerts begin at 1900 hours, door opens at 1700 hours. The venue is Krishna Dam, next to Moon Dance Garden Restaurant. Tickets are available at the shop, telehone 01425-2773387, 09414415287 and 09414300287. For more information you can visit www.kingsgoodmusiczone.info and www.premjoshua.com and www.indianoceanmusic.com Ticket price is 400 rupees for each night or 1000 rupees for all three. Unfortunately we won't be able to make it as we are in Jaisalmer at the moment and heading south to Diu shortly.
  12. AlanD

    Mutant Insects Over Delhi

    Delhi seems to be suffering a plague of small insects at the moment. Small leaf hoppers that are attracted to electric light in their millions, if not billions. Every morning we see shopkeepers brushing out the dead ones and we can't have our hotel room lights on and the windows open at the same time as they are suddenly all over the place. It seems the sprays that have been used to control them in the paddy fields of the Ganges Plain are no longer effective and there has been a population explosion. The good thing is that unlike mosquitos they don't bite. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/rssarti...3,prtpage-1.cms
  13. AlanD

    Keoladeo Np, Bharatpur

    AN UPDATE We've just recently spent four very enjoyable days in the park. There's a fair amount of water in some of the ponds - the result of an excellent monsoon and resulting overflow from the dams that supply the surrounding farmland. The result has been that for the first time in five years the larger breeding birds have arrived back in the park and are successfully raising their young. Species include Painted Stork, Open-billed Stork, White Ibis, Spoonbill, Purple and Grey Herons, Sarus Crane, Cormorants and Egrets. Most of these are nesting in trees close to the metalled road that runs through the centre of the park. Some migrant species of duck have also already arrived from Russia to overwinter. Entrance to the park is 25 rupees for Indians and 200 rupees for foreigners and the park is open from 6.00am to 5.00pm every day. You can hire rickshaws for 50 rupees per hour. These can only take you along limited suitably surfaced routes but if you would like like to range beyond these on slightly rougher tracks, then the park hires out bicycles from just inside the park entrance at 25 rupees per day. If you would like to have the help of a registered park naturalist you can also find them (more likely they will find you) at the park entrance. They charge 70 rupees per hour. This time we stayed at the Park Hotel, quite close to the park entrance and had a nonAC room for 500 rupees. AC rooms cost 750 rupees. We also rated the food there pretty highly, especially their spicy chicken tandoori and their Indian breakfasts of puri bhaji and paratha and curd. Our total bill for four days lodging and food also tallied to within a few rupees of our calculations - always a pleasant way to leave a hotel! We're still not sure what will happen later on in the winter as the ponds dry out but we have been told that no more water will be available for the park. Now is the time to visit if you want to see and/or photograph the spectacular breeding colonies.
  14. [quote name='kullukid' post='14602' date='Sep 29 2006, 01:46 PM']She also wrote an article for the Cornhill Magazine in the summer of '72 called "Notes on Hippies and Drop-outs in the Upper Kulu Valley" which I have not managed to procure a copy of, but if any of you reading this knows where I can find a copy then please let me know.[/quote] Likewise. We actually walked up the Kullu Valley in November 1971, not that we think of ourselves as hippies or drop-outs. We were on a one year journey that took in most of the countries of Asia but I'd love to know what she thought of some of the wanderers she met in her travels. Great article KK!
  15. AlanD

    Diwali In Delhi

    Plans at the moment KK are Take a train to Pathankot, bus to Dalhousie, stay a few days, then Kajjiar, Chamba and possibly Bharmour. Back to Pathankot and take the Kangra Valley Railway, stopping at Kangra town and a couple of other places, perhaps Palampur and Jogindernagar. Then bus to Mandi, stay at Rewalsar Lake for a few days, back to Mandi, stay a couple of days then up to Naggar and Manali for some days. Down to Chandigarh and take a bus to Rishikesh, stay at least a week, then back to Delhi before heading to Rajasthan and Gujarat. At least that how it stands at the moment and nothing is booked, apart from our first night's stay in Delhi on Wednesday night. We always tend to chop and change our arrangements - if we don't like a place we move on and if we do, then we stay longer than we planned.
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