TUNGNATH Trek – The Highest Shiva Temple

Tungnath Temple:

Tungnath is one of the five ‘Panch Kedar’ temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at an altitude of 3,680 meters (12,073 ft) and it is the highest Shiva temple in the world. It is said that the temple is over 5,000 years old and third in the order of the Panch Kedars; due to which it is also known as “Tritiya Kedar”.

Travel during Covid:

We know that Covid has affected everyone’s life but there was some positive impact as well. Being from Uttarakhand but never got time to explore due to job. Covid gave me an opportunity to work from home and that way we planned our trip to Tungnath this year in July 2020 while we were doing volunteering at a permaculture farm. We drove from Rishikesh to Mandal during Covid for our volunteering program.

We have heard and watched a few videos for Tungnath. While we were so near but did not realize the proximity to Tungnath temple, it was so funny as Chopta was just 25 km from the farm.

How to reach Chopta/Tungnath:

This was the first time when we both were clueless about such a famous place and apparently where we wanted to go but sometimes it happens. Finally, one fine day we made it. As it was a rainy season, so we waited for better weather conditions.

To visit Tungnath you can make your base point as Gopeshwar, Mandal or Chopta if you are travelling via Chamoli.

You can make Ukhimath as your base or Chopta, if you are travelling via Rudraprayag or Kedarnath. The distance from Haridwar to Chopta is 225 km and the distance from Ukhimath to Chopta is around 29 km. 

Route from Haridwar to Chopta

Haridwar – (24kms) Rishikesh – (70kms) Devprayag – (34kms) Srinagar – (33kms) Rudraprayag – (19kms) Agastyamuni – (10kms) Kund – (6kms) Ukhimath – (22kms) Duggalbitta – (7kms) Chopta.

Stay options in Chopta: 

There are few hotels and Oyo rooms within 1000-2000 per night for the families with a basic facility, do not expect any luxury here. Most of the trekkers stay in their tent as you can pitch the tent at a safe place by paying some fee to the locals or opt for a camping stay.

There are few dhabas just1-2 km before Chopta towards Mandal road, which also offer dormitory, or few rooms with the cost of 100 to 500 per person. So it’s better to reach early to get accommodation.

Tungnath Trek: 

We reached by 10 am at Chopta and started our first trekking for the highest Shiva temple in the world. Total trek for Tungnath is 4 km. Although the entire trek has a proper concrete road, but it is a little challenging due to steep climb. Any beginner who is physically fit can do this trek. You will find benches to relax and a few stalls for tea and quick snacks in between.

The entire way is surrounded by beautiful nature. You will see beautiful bugyals with pahadi goats, cows, and trees. Such a landscape view may give you a feel like you are in heaven. While enjoying nature, we covered the 4 km trek in 1.5 hours.

Stay option at Tungnath:

For those who wish to witness the morning aarti or special pooja, there are some places at the top as well, just before the temple. 

Tungnath is approachable throughout the year. During winters there are special guided tours organized by the locals and travel agencies for the trekkers. There is another trek goes from Tungnath to Chandrashila at another 1000mtr higher altitude, which is quite a famous location between the trekkers because of its view, calmness. 

Summit of Tungnath:

Chandrashila is a summit of Tungnath. The altitude of Chandrashila is 4000m(approx. 14000 ft.) and one may feel effects of (AMS) Altitude Mountain Sickness. So always keep water handy and in case of any distress, slowly trek back to Tungnath and take some rest.

Chandrashila Trek:

There is no proper way to trek to Chandrashila. It is quite a difficult trek for the beginners and trust me we did not get tired while trekking to Tungnath but this another 2 km trek tested our stamina and took another 1.5 hours to reach.

There is a small “Ganga Mata” temple at the peak and this peak provides views of the Himalayas, including Nandadevi, Trisul, Kedar Peak, Bandarpunch and Chaukhamba peaks.

The view gets clear by the noon and depends on the weather, as mostly you do not get the clear view here because clouds may obscure mountains. Hence it is recommended to reach Chandrashila as early as possible for a clear view of the peaks. The wind flows furiously here and you may feel freezing in few minutes. But with the sound of the bells, it makes a divine experience. An experience to behold and share, like I did in this blog post.


AIRBNB Coupon FOR 2021 – Up To ₹ 5000 Discount

Tip: You should log-out if you have an existing Airbnb account before clicking the button below. You will have to create a new Airbnb account with a new email to get this ₹5000 Airbnb Coupon.

Airbnb Coupon Code: Get up to ₹5000 INR off on your first booking.

Use this link use the coupon: https://www.airbnb.co.in/c/keertit4

This Airbnb coupon codes are for everyone. It’s a referral program that the Airbnb is running to inspire people to use their platform. This is an Airbnb coupon code in India and worldwide, so it will work wherever you’re accessing it from.

Every Airbnb promotion code is for ₹5000 INR (or the equivalent in your local currency). To get the full ₹5000 INR Airbnb coupon, you can book accommodation and an experience.

Getting ₹5000 Airbnb Coupon Code

Getting the ₹5000 Airbnb discount is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is click the link below, start a new account and you’ll get a ₹5000 INR credit coupon codes for free. In this blog, I’m not only going to tell you about the ₹5000 coupon Airbnb is offering. I’m also going to share other ways to save money while booking a place on Airbnb every time.


How To Use The Airbnb Coupon Code

Once you’ve clicked the Airbnb coupon code link above and you set up a new Airbnb account with an email that’s not been used to create another account, the ₹5000 INR Airbnb coupon will automatically be added to your account.

After getting the coupon via email, go on the Airbnb app or website, enter your dates and pick a place to stay or an experience. Then, from the listing click “Reserve”. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged yet. In the next screen you will see your coupon subtracted from the total cost as “Credits”. So you pay rest of the amount or maybe no amount at all if the listing price is less than the credit.

If you’re on mobile, then after you create a new account and get your Airbnb coupon, you’ll see it appear by where it lists the nightly rate, but you’ll only see it when you’re looking at a specific property. If you don’t see it at the top, click on the menu (your profile image) and then click the “Invite Your Friends” link.

If you don’t get your Airbnb promo code after clicking the discount link, please contact Airbnb as there is likely an issue with your device or perhaps you already have an Airbnb account, in which case the Airbnb promo code won’t work.

Other Ways For Saving Money On Airbnb

While the Airbnb coupon is a great way to instantly save ₹4000 INR on your next booking and ₹1000 INR off an experience, there are other ways to save money on the platform. The people who run Airbnb have a some hidden features that you won’t know about, but can save you a lot of money when making a booking via Airbnb.

1. Book a Longer Stay

Long-stay discounts are automatically added to Airbnb rentals and the owners of the listings are able to tweak the amount of the Airbnb discount. If you book a place for a week, there’s often a discount of up to 20% off the nightly rate (on an avg.), while if you book for 1 month or more, you’ll get a monthly discount that often surpasses 35% or even more (on an avg.).

2. Ask The Owner For An Airbnb Discount

This is a feature that very few users know about. The platform actually allows hosts to add a special price for anyone who books their property. All you have to do is ask. When selecting a property on the website, You’ll see a button that says “Contact Host”. You can simply message the host and ask them to offer you an Airbnb discount.

Perhaps you’re staying for 4 nights and the weekly discount doesn’t appear, or the place is just a little bit out of your budget. Many a times, the host would rather have you stay for a little bit less, rather than losing the booking. Try sending them a message and ask for an Airbnb discount! It might work out. 🙂

3. Use The Kitchen To Cook For Yourself

One of the best parts about booking on Airbnb instead of a hotel, is that most of the times you get your own kitchen while you travel. Take advantage of this and save money by cooking for yourself. Even if you just eat breakfast and have tea/coffee there and then eat lunch and dinner out, this can save you money for overall stay.

4. Become a Host & Earn Extra Money

Okay, so you’re not actually earning any Airbnb coupon for becoming a host, but you can earn quite a bit of money by renting out your place. If you travel a lot, why not put your place up on Airbnb and earn some extra income? Maybe you have some extra space/rooms/property that you can rent out.

Becoming a host is easy and you can quickly go through the sign-up process. Airbnb will help you through the steps of listing your property like picking a “home type”, “room type”, “occupancy” and the city your property is listed in. Once you’re done, after a verification step you’ll be able to earn an income from Airbnb. They’ll even show you a calculator to guess how much you can list your room / property for and how much you can expect to earn per night, per week, and per month.

5. Share & Get An Airbnb Coupon

Now that you’ve received your Airbnb coupon code and you saved ₹4000 INR from your first booking on the account, it’s time to get your own Airbnb discount codes. All you have to do is share Airbnb with your friends.

Just like I’m sharing with you, you can also email or message your friends and tell them to use your link to sign-up for a new Airbnb account and get an Airbnb coupon. When someone signs up using your code, they’ll get ₹4000 INR and you’ll get a credit as well. How cool is that? It’s kind of like a pay it forward type scenario.

To give your friends an Airbnb coupon and to get an Airbnb coupon yourself, you just have to login to your account, click on your profile picture and then click ‘Account’. On the account page, click on Invite friends and then share that link with your friends.

Famous Places to see in Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are one of the most popular weekend destinations because of thrill and adventure activities like trekking, hiking, boating, bird watching, rock climbing, and cave exploring to thrill seekers. Mahabaleshwar is easily accessible from Pune and Mumbai, it is 120 km away from Pune and 285 km away from Mumbai. There are luxurious Volvo and state transport buses available from both the cities. Mahabaleshwar also offers lots of quiet, undisturbed places among stunning landscapes, peace and relaxation to nature lovers.

1. Arthur’s Seat

Winters View at Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s point is at a distance of 13 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand and 7 km from Old Mahabaleshwar, Arthur seat point is the most popular viewpoint in Mahabaleshwar for its grand canyon like views having Konkan on one side and Deccan on the other. Beware of Monkeys here as they can grab your food and water. Monkey grabbed our water bottle. Arthur’s Seat Point area has 6 points in total viz Arthur’s Seat Point, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Tiger Spring Point, Window Point and Malcom Point.

Timings 9 am to 8 pm

2. Babington Point

The path that leads up to this point provides a fantastic view of the land beneath. The Chinaman Waterfalls and the Koyna valley are two places that can be clearly seen from here. If you wish to spend some quiet time in Mahabaleshwar attaining peace and admiring nature, then Babington Point is the perfect place.

Timings 6 am to 6 pm

3. Bombay Point

Sunset at Bombay Point

Bombay point also famous a sunset point is at approximately 3 km distance from Mahabaleshwar bus stand. Bombay Point is the oldest point of Mahabaleshwar and named to its location on the old Bombay road. The place has a large open space with a bandstand. Sunset point here is very crowded because people can view the magnificent sunset over the valleys below at Mahabaleshwar. Many activities like Horse riding, Chaupati games are popular with the tourists at this point.

Timings 6 am to 6 pm

4. Connaught Peak

Misty Clouds at Connaught Peak

Connaught peak is located 5 km from Mahabaleshwar bus station. This peak was renamed as Connaught Peak after Duke of Connaught visited this spot, formerly it was known as Mount Olympia. This peak offers beautiful view of Venna Lake and Krishna Valley. This peak is also a vantage point for observing the Kamalgadh, Rajgarh and Torana in the north and Ajinkyatara in the south. You can see Panchgani and Pasarani Ghat in the east, while Pratapgad can be seen in the west. The nearby places that you can explore while visiting Connaught Peak are Helen’s Point, Venna Lake, Ram Mandir, Krishnabhai Temple, Falkland Point, Old Mahabaleshwar Temple, Wilson Point and Dhobi Waterfall.

Timings: 9 am to 6 pm

5. Elephant’s Head Point

The very famous Elephant head point during monsoon

Elephant’s head point is at a distance of 7 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. It is situated next to the Kate’s Point. The rock formations here are set in a way that they resemble an elephant’s head. Due to its appearance the point got its name as the Elephant’s Head Point.

Timings: 9 am to 6 pm

6. Lodwick Point

Memorial Pole at Lodwick Point

Lodwick point is at a distance of 4 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, it was previously known as Sydney Point. To honor General Lodwick’s achievement, his son erected a memorial pole of about 25 ft. There is a huge statue of Lord Lodwick situated here.

Timings: 6 am to 8 pm

7. Lingmala Falls

Lingmala Fall

Lingmala fall is located at a distance of 6 km from Mahabaleshwar bus stand and it is situated on the Mahabaleshwar – Pune Road and is sourced by the waters of Venna River. The forest bungalow of Lingmala is situated near the falls. Dhobi Waterfall and Chinaman’s waterfall are situated near the Lingmala waterfalls and best time to visit Lingmala falls is between July and December.

Entry Fee: Rs. 15 per person

Timings: 8 am to 4.30 pm

8. Wilson Point

Sunrise and Sunset at Wilson Point

Wilson point is at the distance of 2 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, its known as Sunrise point and one can experience the beautiful sunrise from this point. Wilson point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar. The original name of the point is Sindola Hill. This point is named after Sir Leslie Wilson, the Governor of Bombay province. Wilson point is the only point in Mahabaleshwar where both sunrise and sunset can be seen.

Timings: 6 am to 8 pm

9. Dhobi waterfall

Gorgeous Dhobi Waterfall

Dhobi Waterfall is situated 3 km away from the main town of Mahabaleshwar. This waterfall is in between the lush green trails of western ghats. Best time to visit this waterfall is during monsoon otherwise the flow will be less although one can go in between and take a dip in cold water. The water streams down into the Koyna river and forms mists and rainbows magnificent gift from nature.

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

10. Chinaman’s falls

Chinaman’s Falls is located at a distance of 2.5 km from Mahabaleshwar and are another set of waterfalls apart from the Dhobi Waterfalls that should not be missed. Chinaman’s falls offers a breathtaking sight with the water cascading down rocky mountains. This spot gives a spectacular view of the deep Koyna Valley. The best time to visit the falls is during the monsoon season.

11. Mahabaleshwar by Local Transport

Everyday government operated Mahabaleshwar Darshan bus runs at 02:30 PM to 07:00 PM covering around 13 famous points including strawberry farm. The bus is regular red bus (or sometimes semi luxury).

    Time: Every day at 02:30 PM to 07:00 PM

    Tariff: Rs. 155

    Boarding Place: Mahabaleshwar ST Bus stand (City Center)

    Booking: Max 1 day prior at Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand

    Tour Duration: 4.5 hrs

Sights covered:

    Kate’s Point, Echo Point, Needle Hole Point

    Arthur’s Seat, Window Point, Tiger Spring, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Malcom Point

    Elphinstone Point

    Old Mahabaleshwar

    Strawberry Farm

    Sunset Point (Mumbai Point)

12. Prepaid Govt Taxi Tours in Mahabaleshwar

Travelers can opt for prepaid govt approved Taxi from a taxi stand near to Mahabaleshwar bus stand. They have fixed rate packages and we found this is also a good option if you don’t have personal vehicle.

13. Stay in Mahabaleshwar

During our Airbnb Stay

There are many budget hotels and resorts available for stay. But mostly pocket friendly hotels have problem of damp walls and seepage issue due to heavy rainfall, so choose wisely. There are few good Airbnb options available for stay and resorts also, although most of the resorts are not pocket friendly, but we had a pretty good experience with cloud mist resorts. Location and views are amazing from this property and have lots of activity to do including infinity swimming pool with a view of Dhoom dam. If you are in a big group then Homestay cottages on hill top is a good option you can book it through Airbnb and other websites too.

14. Mahabaleshwar Market

Mahabaleshwar market is near to Mahabaleshwar bus stand. There is a 1 km+ road where both the sides you will find shops for handicrafts, Kashmiri blankets, shawl, leather products, footwear and many food joints in between the shops. You can buy fresh strawberries, Mapro and other companies squashes at the factory outlets rates, fruit candies, different flavored roasted chana. Nights are cold here and you can have relaxed nice time in CCD with a cup of coffee. CCD is near Mahabaleshwar bus stand.

Traveling In lock-down From Pune to Delhi, first hand information and experience

Please read this post before planning to go to Delhi or neighboring states during the lock-down. We were working from our home in Pune since 2.5 months. It was quite a bit of mixed feeling of frustration and being isolated in one place. Although, I do realise that we are quite blessed that we have a shelter, monthly salary and enough food unlike many others in the difficult times. But we still thought of moving to stay with our aging parents for sometime during these hard times in Uttarakhand. We reached our home safely early this week. It was so swift to take permission from Pune police online. As instructed, we submitted medical fitness certificate to prove that we don’t have covid symptoms, added adhaar number and uploaded a self declaration form to state that we are in living in non containment zone. We got the permission in just 4 hrs.

Route taken: Pune – Mumbai – Surat – Vadodra – Udaipur – Ajmer – Jaipur – New Delhi – Meerut – Roorkee

Total travel time was 29 hrs in our Ecosport – including 4 hrs of total break time from Pune to Roorkee (Haridwar). Total driving distance – 1600 km. We just packed our stuff in the evening and left from Pune at 3 am. We kept enough water, fruits, snacks and food for the next 30 hrs or even more. Crossed Mumbai at 5 am, nobody stopped or checked on us in Maharashtra, maybe because we pasted the digital pass on the windscreen. But still in my opinion, looking at the situation here; there should be some checking on the city and state borders. Gujarat police scanned QR code on our pass, we went through the checking quite fast. They were just stopping people who didn’t had digital pass. The police was very diligent to check if people have mask on or not. But it was saddening to see so many people walking the scorching heat. Also, saw some buses as well taking migrants. I kept wondering is it plain mismanagement or because we have too many people to take care. 😔 We tried to help as many people and animals as possible for us during our journey but it won’t be even a fraction. If you are planning to travel by road, I urge you to carry extra stuff to help the needy on your route.

Pune to Delhi during corona lock down, how to take permission, what to know.
Pune Mumbai Expressway

Rajasthan police also stopped us thrice to check on where are we heading, we had to fill our details in a register each time. There were also multiple camps for people coming from other states. They were getting registered district wise for further journey. I didn’t see much people walking in Rajasthan though. Maybe because there would be less migrants coming to Rajasthan. It was already late evening when we reached Ajmer. We decided to stop on a petrol pump to rest a bit. We were carrying our induction stove and a pan to make maggi. The owner was kind enough to let us do that. We ate our first warm meal of the day and pushed off in 40 mins or so. It was a good break after covering at least 1100 km. After Jaipur, it was already 11 pm and we were bit tired and were looking to stop somewhere. There were lot of dhabas and hotels as well open in Rajasthan (Surprisingly) but it was quite risky to stay somewhere during the pandemic. We finally decided to stop by a busy toll and slept for 3 hrs there, there were other cars and trucks as well parked there.

After a good rest we started again at 2 am something because it was important to cross Delhi early morning because we heard from people that there are long waiting lanes to cross or enter in Delhi and we wanted to avoid any hassle. Surprisingly, reaching on Haryana border (Gurgaon), there were policemen but didn’t stopped us. Nor did Delhi police bothered to do any scrutiny. We crossed a lot of barricades but nobody stopped us or inquired our whereabouts. Saw many people walking again in Delhi area. Reaching UP border (Ghaziabad), nothing at all – same story. Just one police after crossing couple of UP cities inquired.

In few hours, we reached Uttarakhand border. On the border itself we had to under go Covid -19 sampling and thermal screening. We were then asked to go to our home in Roorkee and self quarantine. It was a very prompt and smooth process. I saw a women with two children walking from Haridwar to Jammu. On inquiry from police she said – she is stuck since March, got food and stay but now just want to walk back. She was taken to a camp. It is heartbreaking to see some many people stuck, stranded and hopeless amidst the chaos. Next day, we got our detailed negative report online via sms. Got a call from the civil hospital and the police station as well. Kudos to the administration. I don’t know about whole Uttarakhand but commendable administration by Roorkee city. 👏👏

All You Need to Know to Travel with Your Dog in Indian Railways

It is so amazing and nice to know that Indian railways have the facility that you can take your dog along when you decide to travel by train. Such options are always such a relief to canine parents who want to take their fur babies when they travel. Although it is a bit daunting at times in terms of ticket availability, cleanliness, etc. For me, it is the best option because I never want to leave Jenny behind in a kennel as much as possible. So far in 5 years of companionship, I left her in the kennel only once and regretted. We have already documented our road trip when we took her with us from Pune to Uttarakhand via Delhi in a car. It was memorable and Jenny adopted the whole journey so well that I was confident that we can really take her on all our adventures now. We have taken her to Goa, Udaipur, Hampi, Konkan and some other places so far.

Indian railways journey with a dog
All set for the train journey – Pune to Delhi

Let me break it down into two parts:

Last year after Diwali, we had sudden plans to go attend my dad’s retirement party in my hometown and we were thinking of the road trip again. It is always fun but tiring and time-consuming, so we thought of attempting the train travel with her. We did some research, read some blogs and watched some videos to see what does it take. The information is scattered all over. It is usually just a list without any mention of real-time issues especially if you haven’t done it before.

  1. If you want to book tickets in 1st Class, book the 2 birth coupe if you are two people along with the dog. You can take your dog along with you in the coupe. If the tickets are booked from the counter, then an application needs to be submitted to the station master to request for a coupe. If the ticket is booked online then IRCTC online booking also has the option to select coupe.
  2. If you have tickets for any other class, you need to keep your dog in the brake van for the entire duration.
Taking dog in Indian train
Bit sad, bit confused at the beginning of the journey.

In both the situations, you need to contact the parcel office at least one day prior to the commencement of your train journey with a confirm PNR number. Show up at the station 3 hours before the journey to complete the formalities. You need to fill in the form, show vaccine history of your dog along with a certificate from the vet that your dog is fit to travel. They would weigh the dog and will make a receipt based on weight.

A short glimpse of our travel experience

Problems in taking your dog in 1st AC:

  • It is important to have the consent of your co-passenger in 1st AC. If they are not comfortable or the dog is creating any nuisance, the dog needs to be taken to the brake van. To tackle this, even if you are only 1 person with the dog, book 2 tickets in coupe.
  • Your dog is your responsibility. All his water, food, comfort needs to be taken care of by you. The railway will bear no responsibility in case of death or illness.

Problems in taking your dog in Brake van and some tips to solve them:

  • Your dog is your responsibility. All his water, food, comfort needs to be taken care of by you. The railway will bear no responsibility in case of death or illness.

Tip: Keep treats, food and water for them all the time. Make sure you give motion sickness tablet if they are not used to travel. Choose a train which is an overnight journey, especially during summer-time.

  • There will be less time to meet your dog in between. You need to make sure that you choose a train which has a reasonable number of stops.

Tip: There should be some 10 mins stop so that you can feed your pooch and take him for a short walk to finish his business.

  • The dog box in the brake van is usually dirty. So be mentally prepared for that.

Tip: Try to choose a train which starts from your boarding station so that if need be you can ask some cleaning staff to clean. spread anti-tick powder on the surface of the box thoroughly and on your pooch too.

  • Although it depends on the temperament of your dog, they would feel anxious and confused when you put them in the box, which is natural. So do visit them as much as possible so that they know that you are around.

Tip: Take your dog a few days before the journey to the platform through the parcel office route. They will recognize the smell when they visit on the day of travel. Try to convince the guard in the brake van if he allows you to sit there for some time to calm your dog.

  • If the train is not commencing from your station, and is coming from some other station; there is a chance that there is a dog already in the dog box. There is no way to find that out unless the train reaches your station.

Tip: Always prefer a train which starts at your departure station.

  • There is no defined rule on when to submit a form for your dog. This is based on my experience in Pune, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Tip: Don’t assume, go to the station a few days prior to your journey day and ask when should you come to fill the form.

Our experience: It was overall ok, I am glad that I could take her with me in train safely. The guard was nice and very understanding. Although you have to be patient and follow all the rules and regulations. I am sure it would be so much easy to take a dog in a 1st AC. I will try to get the ticket to such train with proper planning for next time.

Jenny’s experience: Naturally, she was very scared and confused initially. She also cried a bit, we kept on visiting her on every station even if just for a couple of minutes. Slowly she understood that we are around. In the return journey, she was all calm and understanding that it is just a journey and we all will be together soon. 🙂

Train journey with dog from Pune to Delhi
Finally when we de-boarded at Nizamuddin Station, Delhi

I have tried to cover all issues, rules, aspects and personal experience here. Feel free to ask in the comment section if you have any questions. Happy travels with your pooch. 🙂

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