I have traveled to many hill stations around India and there is a common saying that all the locals keep telling us that the village is better than “Switzerland” when it snows in the winter. I have heard this some many times that I have actually started ignoring this whenever I am traveling to hill stations. So when I was traveling in the Bloggers Bus along with six other bloggers from around the country on a trip organized by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board in coordination with GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited) I was not expecting something different when I was told that this Harsil is the real “Switzerland of India”.
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It was a never-ending bus journey we had traveled for more than five hours and were yet to reach our final destination. As I looked out the window of the bus all that I could see were large shadows of mountains against an equally dark moonless sky. Only some blinking stars were always following our bus as if to accompany us on our journey across Uttarakhand. The dark winding hill roads were only illuminated by the headlight of the bus and I could see a signboard with the words “Raithal – 0 Kilometers”. I looked at my watch and the time was 11.30 PM and by then the entire village had gone to bed as is the norms in the hills.
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When you are in an alien city a lot can go wrong but thanks to smartphones with GPS enabled maps it’s sometimes rather easy to track and locate offbeat tourist locations. During one of my trips to the capital I decided to visit the Delhi War Cemetery. It was important for me to visit the site for two reason one being that fact that it had to do something with World War which interests me a lot and on this subject I had written two blogs Japanese Air Raids on Kolkata during WWII and Balloon Squadron That Protected Calcutta Against Japanese. Secondly it was important for me to keep a promise. While researching about the Balloon Squadron during WWII I had come in contact with some friends from UK who helped me with lots of facts about this regiment and one of the member of this regiment who was killed during an air raid by the incoming Imperial Japanese Airforce was supposed to be buried here.
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After tracing Mirza Ghalib in my city of Calcutta (Kolkata) and then his last home in Old Delhi I now had the last task in hand that is to find the last resting place or the tomb of Ghalib. So one fine morning during one of my trips to the capital I force myself to wake up as early as possible and visit the grave. It was a beautiful Delhi morning and for a change, the smog in the air had somehow mysteriously settled and created an environment for the perfect ending to my journey.
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Ghalib was in my head, Ghalib was eating me from inside and I had to track Ghalib to his grave. After reading and researching about Mirza Ghalib and his adventures in my city of Calcutta (Kolkata) I had to meet the man in his hometown of Delhi. I found the perfect excuse to drop into the capital and thus began my search for Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan in the streets of Old Delhi. I found some books which talk about the poet and his house in Ballimaran which is of course in the Old Delhi locality.
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