This Himalayan Photo was taken from Tungnath Mahadev Temple in the Month of August 2016. The Tungnath Mahadev Temple is world’s highest altitude Shiv temple which located at 3600 meters (11811 feet) above sea level. Also, this photo was taken from iPhone 6s in the early morning.
It was January 11th, 2017, 12:00 AM at Gurgaon. Lokesh Gahlaut & Pooja reached Gurugram from Noida. We put all our bags in the car and were ready for our next destination. We were 6 members, Nakul Rajhariya, Nivi Choudhary, Lokesh Gahlaut, Pooja, Naira, and Devansh. Our plan was
Day 1 – Gurugram to Jodhpur
Day 2 – Jodhpur
Day 3 – Jodhpur to Jaisalmer
Day 4 – Jaisalmer to Jhunjhunu
Day 5 – Jhunjhunu to Gurugram
Jodhpur is the largest metropolitan city of Rajasthan state and 10th largest city in India. Jodhpur is also known as Sun City for bright and sunny weather all the year. It is also known as Blue City because most of the house in the old city is of blue color. This city was founded on 1459 by Rao Jodha. It is famous for popular tourist destinations and Rajasthani food and shopping. Popular tourist destinations are Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhavan Palace.
From Gurugram to Jodhpur
We started at 12:00 AM. It was very cold weather and the temperature was 6 degree Celsius. Since it was Wednesday so traffic was smooth. We reached Jaipur at 4:00 AM. We decided to have a rest at Jaipur. We stopped at Nivi’s house in Jaipur. We had hot tea. Since we didn’t sleep even for few minutes so I take a nap. Then again we started at 07:00 AM for Jodhpur.
From Jaipur to Jodhpur, the route is via Ajmer. Road condition is very good. Once you cross the Ajmer, it is very beautiful. There is about 9-10 toll tax booths between Gurugram to Jodhpur and have to pay lots of tool tax. In between the way, there is hilly area also. We all enjoyed the way. When we were about to reach Jodhpur, Google map routed us to the shortest route but the road was not good on that shortest route so it is always better to have a second advice from local people. We finally reached at Jodhpur at 2:00 PM.
Stay at Jodhpur
We stayed at Chandra Inn in Jodhpur which is located at located at PANCH BATTI (Five Lights) Circle. It was very near to Umaid Bhavan Palace, Nai Sadak (New Road) Market, and Mehrangarh fort. The hotel room was good and well maintained. We were having two rooms booked for us. We had rest in Hotel and then in the evening went for shopping.
Shopping At Jodhpur
Nai Sadak market was close to our hotel. It is only named as Nai Sadak (New Road) but it is an old market. If you are going on your own Vehicle then there are chances that you won’t get parking space there especially on evening and weekend. We parked our car on McDonald’s basement parking and then walked for 500 meters for the market. In the market, there is a famous shop, National handloom where you can get all kind of Rajasthani dress, ornaments, decorative items etc. There are few sweet shops also where you can enjoy hot milk with Jalebi and faini. There is also famous Tripolia market which is a very famous market for Rajasthani clothes.
We first had some hot milk in cold weather and then Nivi and Pooja went for shopping. I and Lokesh were taking care of Naira and Devansh. Then we went to Tripolia market for shopping of Saaris and famous Rajasthani dress. Once they completed their shopping, we hired an auto and came back to Nai Sadak. We had dinner and pick our car from Mcdonalds parking. We came back to Hotel at 10:30 PM. Since we were tired due to all night driving and shopping, so we had a good night so that we can enjoy our next day in Jodhpur.
Historical places we Visited at Jodhpur
Next day, our plan was to visit Mehrangarh fort, Jaswant Thada, and Umaid Bhavan Palace. We all were ready and reached to our first destination, Mehrangarh fort. This fort is one of the largest forts in India which was constructed in 1460 by Rao Jodha. This fort is 125 meters above the city and there are very thick walls around the fort. There are different parts of this fort. At the entrance, you have to buy tickets to enter the fort and there is a different ticket for the camera. No selfie sticks are allowed inside the Fort, I was not able to understand why. At the outside of the Fort, there were few camels available for the ride if you want.
Once you enter the fort, there was sitar maestro to welcome you. These are few in every 50 meters at the entrance to the Fort. This fort is still in good condition and there is a museum which is having paintings, old dresses etc. Once you exit this part, next part is armory located at the top of the Fort. In the last of the Fort, there is Chamunda Devi temple. From here, you can see blue colored housed of Jodhpur. If the weather is clear, then you can see complete jodhpur clearly from here. We asked the security guard if we can come early or late evening to take sunrise or sunset photos. Since the fort open at 09:00 or 09:30 so it was not possible in the morning however in evening, there were chances that we can see sunset till 6:00 PM.
From Mehrangarh Fort, we went to Jaswant Thada which is very close to Mehrangarh fort. Jaswant Thada was created in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh in memory of his father Jaswant Singh. There is also entry fee for Jaswant Thada and you can park your vehicle in front of the Jaswant Thada. Visiting Jaswant Thada does not take more than 1 hours. It is a nice place and must visit if you are going to Mehrangarh fort. You will feel peaceful environment here. There is a small lake at the entrance of the Jaswant Thada. Entry for the lake is not open.
From Jaswant Thada, our next destination was Umaid Bhawan Palace. We were tired so first, we were looking for lunch. It was around 3:00 PM so were late for our lunch. There was a good restaurant in the fort but it was very costly. We searched for a good restaurant in Google Map. We were going to some other restaurant but on the way, we found one restaurant named The Rock. It was a really good restaurant and was create in a unique way like a forest. The food was also good there. After lunch, we went to Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Umaid Bhavan Palace is one of the world’s largest private residence. A part of the Umaid Bhavan Palace is managed by Hotel Taj and a small part is opened for tourists which are converted into a museum. We followed the Google map and we reached the entrance gate of the palace which is used by VIPs so we asked local peoples and they guided us correct way. It was a very small part which was open for us. The best thing which I like at Palace was the vintage cars used by Royal family.
Till the evening, we were exhausted and tired. We went back to the Hotel as it was very near to Umaid Bhavan Palace. Nivi and Pooja went to the market again to get the dress which was pending to pick from yesterday. In the night, we had dinner at Nai Sadak.
For next day, our plan was to go to the Jaisalmer. Here is my blog for Jaisalmer.
This was the first time when I tried night photography at Nako, Spiti Valley. Normally we do not get clear sky view from Delhi or any nearby place where we live. Nako is on high altitude place so we were getting clear sky view. Nako is situated at 3662 meters above sea level.
It was 09:30 PM on the month of March 2017 at Nako. We, Nakul, Sunny and Jatin, finished our dinner. The temperature was around zero degree Celsius. There were cold winds outside. It was very difficult to stand outside for a long time due to cold weather. When we went outside, we saw a very clear view of stars. Stars were like very close comparing to when we see from Delhi.
Jatin was having an app on his iPhone which tells the exact location of Milky Galaxy. We were unlucky because Milky Galaxy was just opposite side of the earth. We have to satisfied with the clear view of the shining stars that we were getting that time. We decided to have to photography. We went into the room in pick our gears.
The small accommodation was situated at the entrance of Nako. It was having only two rooms above the DHABA (restaurant). On the back side of the Dhaba, there was a helipad. This helipad is only used during any emergency conditions. It was very close to Nako village surrounded all side by snow capped mountains.
We set our camera’s on helipad for night photography. For night photography one should know how the camera works and some rules of physics. When we take a photo, it all depends on light, camera sensor sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed and aperture. When shutter open, light strike to the camera sensor thru the lens. Based on the light conditions and ISO, we control the shutter speed that how long shutter should open so that only the required amount of light enter the camera. For example, during the day time, shutter opened for 1/250 second with low sensor sensitivity (ISO 100) could be enough for a good shot. During the night, we have a very low light so we have to open the shutter for a long time from 1 to 30 seconds with ISO from 100 to 6400. As we increase the sensor sensitivity, noise increase on the photo.
One most important point to keep in mind that during the night, since we open the shutter for a long time, so we have to put the camera on the tripod to avoid the camera shaking. Even if we are using the tripod, when we click the shutter release button, camera shakes a little bit which adds blur in the photo. To avoid blur, there are two options. One is to use remote to release the shutter and second are to use 2 or 10-second delay timer for shutter release to avoid shake when pressing shutter release button.
We all were ready in very cold weather on the helipad. If it is very dark outside, then camera auto focus do not work. There was the same situation with us. In this condition, we have to use manual focus. When using manual focus, it becomes difficult that where to focus. The best way is to find the brightest thing in the frame and try to manual focus. Sometimes it comes with the practice. After 2-3 attempts, I was able to focus on the brightest star and that was the first successful shot.
After the first shot, it came in our mind that let’s try having us one by one in the frame and then try. I set the camera on manual focus on one point and set this to 10-second delay timer shutter release and stand in front of the camera. It worked and we tried multiple shots.
Sunny Malik was having Nikon with a good lens which was having an option to focus on infinity and was showing that where it is focusing so it benefited for him. I and Jatin were having Canon lens on which we have to rotate focus ring with some idea that where it is focusing but this comes with practice. It was good learning.
We thought to continue our session however it was very cold outside and it was planned to wake early in the morning and have to drive from Nako to Delhi which was more than 750 KM. We decided to pack the camera bags and have rest. We went into our rooms where Karan and Anil were already doing rest. We set the alarm for 5:30 AM, put temperature meter outside to record the lowest temperature and had a good sleep.
Here are the tips for night photography.
Use a tripod to stabilize the camera.
Use remote to release the shutter. If shutter release remote is not available, use the timer to avoid camera shake during pressing shutter release button.
If it is completely dark, autofocus may not work so use manual focus to capture a shot.
Do not use very high ISO as it may add noise into the photo. So use low ISO with large shutter open time.
Shoot in raw format so we can make light adjustments later during post processing.
We can have any kind of problem in our life due to any unknown reason. Sometimes we fix the problem easily. In some cases, we know the solution but it didn’t work. This is what happened with us in Spiti where we stuck in a situation. Everyone in our group knew the solution but all the doors were closed for us, may be for some good reason.
Always be prepared for all kind of situations, handle the situation with patience and have faith in God.
Last month we planned to go for Spiti. This was our third trip to Spiti. We were going every year since last 3 years. The Spiti valley is a cold desert mountain located high in the Himalaya mountains in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. There are two ways to go to Spiti, one is from Delhi to Shimla and the second one is from Delhi to Manali. The best way to go to Spiti is from Shimla.
We decided that Anil Banger, who was coming from Sikar, will meet me at Hero Honda Chowk and then we will pick Karan Bhardwaj and Jatin Sharma from Central Secretariat Metro station. Then we all go to Meerut and will gather at Sunny Malik‘s house. We reached Meerut at 12:00 AM.
Our plan was to cross the Shimla early morning to avoid Shimla traffic. Shimla is 380 KM from Meerut. There was traffic jam between Shamali and Karnal. There was no reason for traffic jam and when we think about the traffic Jam reason, we still can’t stop laughing. There was traffic jam because a truck driver was sleeping in truck stopping in the middle of the road. All other drivers behind that truck were thinking that there is jam on the Road and they was waiting for clear but they were not aware the truck driver is sleeping and the road is clear. It seemed to us that earlier there was jam which cleared and that driver was still sleeping.
We were late as per our plan. We reached Shimla at 09:00 AM. Again there was traffic at Shimla. Our next plan was to stay at Nako. Nako was 330 KM from Shimla and road condition was not good. To reach Nako, the route is Shimla, Narkanda, Rampur, Jhakri, Pooh and then Nako. When traveling off roads, it is mandatory that you take proper liquids and food. As always we had lunch at Tapri on PAPPU KA DHABA.
The construction of the road is not possible on some patches on this route because these mountains are not solid and a mixture of sand and stones. There is always landslide and have shooting stones on the road. Our car missed with few millimeter when a stone dropped from the mountain in front of our car. That is the reason this route is known as World’s most treacherous road. This is national highway number 5.
Our two friends Rakesh Bishnoi and Dhirendra were going on the bike and were ahead of us. In Spiti, after some location, only BSNL cellphone network works. We were having two BSNL phone on each group. Dhirendra and Rakesh reached to Nako early. They booked two rooms at Nako. We reached there around 8:00 PM. It was completely dark and very cold outside. We thought to do night photography but everyone was so tired so had rest. In the night, the temperature was minus 6 degrees.
Next day in the morning, we wake up early. We took group photographs and started our remaining journey. It was a nice day. No one knows that how will be our remaining day. So far everything was going great. Our plan was to go till Kaza. Based on the time we reach Kaza, we will plan for Kibber, last Indian village or Langza. We took good photographs on the way to Kaza. On the way to Kaza from Nako, there is famous Dhankar Monastery. Also on the way, there is Gui Mummy which is 9 KM on the different route.
Kaza is having world’s highest fuel station. We reach Kaza at 3:00 PM and decided to go to Kibber Village. Dhirendra and Rakesh planned to rest at Kaza. Something wrong was about to happen with us. On the way to Kibber, there is very famous Kee Monastery. We decided to go to Kibber directly.
There was a snow wall on both sides of the road. The height of the snow wall was about 5 feet. The road was so wide that all the local vehicles were crossing very smoothly including Tata Sumo. It was our turn to cross the snow wall. When we crossed, our XUV touched both sides on snow. Since it was soft snow, we could easily cross it. Sunny Malik was driving the car. Suddenly I heard air leakage sound from the tyre. I asked Malik to stop the car and to check the tyre. He reversed the car. When we checked, left back tyre was completely flat and the front tyre was having a puncture.
There was cut on both tyre. Malik always carries puncher kit, air pump, and tools to handle any kind of bad situation. Since there was big cut on one of the tyre so we decided to replace the tyre with spare tyre. We were thinking that we will replace the tyre easily but we were wrong. When we started opening screw, we were not able to open even one screw. It becomes worse when our screw opening tool bent and it was of no further use.
We called Dhirendra, who was doing rest at Kaza, to carry a tool to open screw and a mechanic who can help us. We were 9 KM far from Kaza. While he was arranging mechanic, we send Karan and Jatin to get help from Kee monastery. There were very fewer vehicles on the road as it was extreme outside. No one was having the tool that we were looking. Malik put multiple puncture rubber strips on the tyre cut and we were able to drive for 2 KM but again air starts leaking.
Rakesh arranged a tool. When we tried to open the screw with the new tool, we were able to open three screws but then new tool also broke. Rakesh also took a packet of rubber strips for puncture. We added these more rubber strips on the cut then we were able to reach Kaza. The mechanic also tried to open these screw but no luck. When there was no more option available to remove the screw, the mechanic removed complete tyre assembly, removed the tyre from stepney RIM and added on the rear back tyre. then we were able to reach to Gurgaon back. Check Sunny Malik vlog about How do I get out of life threatening Situation?
We should always be prepared for all kind of situations, handle the situation with patience and have faith in God. Since Malik was having all gears for puncture so we were able to handle the situation for some extend. If there will be no gears then it was not possible to reach back to the city where we get help. If our planning is perfect and having all necessary things then we can come out of trouble.
Next day again we stayed at Nako, and first time tried night galaxy photography. it was a nice experience. I will discuss this on another blog.
On Friday, June 15, 2012, when I returned home from office, Santosh, asked me “are you interested in coming with us for Manali and Rohtang?” At that time, I used to work on weekends for office related technical issues so chances were less that boss will allow however I got permission. Finally, I was going to Manali.
We were a group of 8, Nakul Rajhariya, Sunny Malik, Santosh Jat, Bharat Bhardwaj, Manish Sanghi, Ritesh and two other friends.
We reached Kullu around 12:00 PM next day which is on the way to Manali. In 2012, the public was allowed to bath in Vyas river at Kullu. Now it is closed. It was June and Delhi temperature was 48 degrees Celsius but Vyas river water was so cold as it was directly coming from mountains due to snow melting. we all had a bath in extremely cold water of the Vyas river.
Manali is crowded places. We never prefer to stay at Manali. Our favorite location is Kothi which is 12 KM from Manali towards Rohtang Pass. We did rest for few hours in the hotel and search a location in the forest for the bonfire. The weather was cold. This location was near river.
Next day we planned to go to Rohtang early morning though when you are in a group it becomes very difficult to follow the schedule. When you go to Rohtang Pass early morning, you can enjoy the nice sunrise view with orange peaks. As usual, we were late. At Rohtang, there is not much space to park the vehicles and in winters, there are lots of visitors so when you are going Rohtang late in morning hours, you can expect traffic. Same thing happened with us, we reached Rohtang late.
At Rohtang Pass, there was heavy snow. Since there were lots of visitors so it was not pure white. Friends who were having drinks with them, they put the drinks in the snow for some time to make these cold and they finished these.
At that time I was not much aware that where these roads go from Rohtang, but now since I crossed Rohtang multiple times so now I know that these go to Leh and Spiti.
After Enjoying half day at Rohtang, back to the hotel and then back to Delhi. While going back, a group Photo at Rohtang.
Snow wall and our Scorpio. This is the same place where a song YE ISHQ HAAYE from JAB WE MET was shoot starring Kareena Kapoor.
This was my first trip which inspired me for travelling. Thanks to Sunny Malik to trip, Santosh for Asking and boss Amitendra Rana to allow me to go on that weekend.