Friday, May 30, 2008

Chardham Yatra : useful helpline numbers

Feeling good to be back in my blog after such a long time. It has been a hectic month. So much was the work pressure that I finally succumbed to a recurrence of spondylosis after a couple of years. I hope that the worst is over.

The month of June always reminds of the first visit to Badrinath. The pilgrimage routes to these shrines was thrown open around mid May. The period till monsoon is the peak season. However, the unprecedented rains this May has certainly hampered the peak yatra season. Travelling in the hills during rains is no fun and is full of potential dangers. One can get stuck anywhere, anytime. Uttaranchal tourism seems to have undertaken few measures to facilitate the yatra season, which is the main source of income to many locals and also to the tourism industry. Here is some of information that may be useful to you :

Emergency medical vans are made available in the entire route. Emergency contact no. is 108.
Disaster management teams in case of mishaps and natural calamities. Emergency contact no. 1070.
In case of any other emergency call the following nos :
Helpline : 0135 – 2722323
Disater management Center : 0135-2710334 / 335
BRO contact nos : Rishikesh – 0135-2430109, Gauchar – 01363-240605,
Pipalkoti – 01372-266518, Joshimath – 01389-222820

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Driving holidays

While returning from office, I was wandering about driving abroad. From what we see in movies or TV, it appears to be pleasant experience. The thought of exploring a state on wheel is something unimaginable here. Everybody jostles for space on the clogged highways. You are caught in a virtual race of autos, two wheelers, bullock and horse carts, thelas and ricksaws.

I had explored the scene of driving holidays abroad. Take for the example of France. The suggestion I came across is to avoid large cars as they can be very unwieldy and it often makes sense to just park and then use public transportation. This indicates that the situation though better is not free from all headache. Priorité à droite - the old French system was to give priority to all traffic coming from the right.We also have the same rule writen at all traffic roundabouts. But who cares here! One travelling on the major roads has priority in France. But not here

We had probably borrowed many of the systems. But do not want to follow them.Roads in France are classified into following three types :

1) Autoroute, also called Motorway / Freeway. These are generally toll roads.

2) National road, which probably is similar to our National Highway (NH)

3) Departmental Road

We do have more type of roads, but fewer real good roads. There are no real Motorway or Freeway. But few expressways have been built around Delhi, e.g. the Delhi-Noida Expressway. But lack of traffic sense and reckless drving results in tragedys every now and then on this expressway. Just think of a road where you can drive without worrying about the stray cattle or cyclist. Just think about driving from Paris to Bordeaux to Toulouse to Merseilles choosing to stay in plenty of accomodation options offered on the way. There is no surprise that Paris is the top tourist destination in the world according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).