Posted in afghani chicken, chicken, chicken malai tikka, chicken tikka, chinese cuisine, delhi, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, hakka noodles, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, north indian, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

You got served, East of Kailash, New Delhi

Delivery: On time

Packaging: Hygienic and spill proof

Chicken Tikka: The ideal chicken tikka should be drenched in the tikka spices to the core, should be juicy and tangy. This one fulfilled all these criteria but was slightly salty. But I will HIGHLY RECOMMEND this.

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Afghani chicken tikka/Chicken malai tikka: Lord, please save me from the lovely taste of the afghani chicken tikka served here. Although slightly salty, the chicken pieces were slathered in the cream/yogurt mixture and grilled to perfection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Veg Hakka Noodles: Thin noodles with oodles of vegetables never fail but a slight off taste in the cooking medium does spoil the experience.

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You Got Served Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Posted in awadhi biryani, biryani, chicken, chicken biryani, delhi, dum biryani, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, godavari biryani, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, lucknawi biryani, mutton, mutton biryani, north indian, south indian, south indian cuisine, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

Biryani Project, Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi

Delivery: On time
Packaging: Hygienic and attractive.
Lucknawi Biryani: I shall stop myself from comparing this one with the authentic one from Lucknow. But I feel that till date, it is one of the very few Biryanis which is slightly closer to the original Lucknawi. The long grained aromatic rice, some of them drenched in the saffron tinge will entice you with its aromatic warmth. And who can forget those succulent and decadent mutton pieces which speak subtlety and class? The biryani is not spicy but flavourful and hot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Godavari Chicken Biryani: So instead of the Hyderabadi one which is way too spicy, I decided to indulge in a novel Biryani and was pleased to taste it. The earthy flavour of curry leaves along with a peppery taste of coastal spices does satiate your taste buds. Add to this the crusty layer on the chicken pieces and you have a winner! However, the aggregated cluster of spices could be improved. RECOMMENDED.

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The Biryani Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bisi bele bath, butter masala dosa, buttermilk, chutney, coconut chutney, coriander chutney, delhi, dessert, dosa, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, gurgaon, gurgaon restaurants, home made icecream, ice cream, idli, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mango icecream, masala dosa, masala idli, obattu, ratnagiri mango icecream, rawa dosa, rawa masala dosa, rice idli, rose icecream, sambhar, south indian, south indian cuisine, strawberry, strawberry icecream, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, uttapam

Carnatic Café, Sector 15, Gurgaon

Let us please move over the likes of Sagar Ratnas, the Uddupis and the Bhawans when it comes to pure vegetarian South Indian cuisine. We, the Delhiites, the north Indians are least bit aware about the home made delicacies prepared in the Karnataka region. And that is where the sorcery of Carnatic café comes in.

Quick fact – water is served in bronze glasses here, thus reminding you of the older and simpler days. The interiors are classy and give a nostalgic feeling of the South Indian cafes of the 90’s. The servers and the manager are humble and know their cuisine well and are swift to suggest the specials.

Buttermilk: Freshly prepared and frothing gloriously to the brim, the classic and the masala buttermilk are the best way to begin an authentic South Indian meal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Rice Idli: Fluffy and soft idlis with a prominent sour flavour served with piping hot sambhar; onion, coconut and coriander chutney. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Rawa coconut dosa: Loaded with desi ghee, crispy with embedded cumin and enclosing grated coconut – just how better it can get? The flavours are simple and not overpowering and when the dosa is served separately with mashed potatoes tempered in mustard seeds, onion and garlic, the taste is enhanced. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Malleshwaram 18th cross dosa: The air becomes redolent with the aroma of pure desi ghee when this dosa is brought to you. It is not a paper thin variety but a thick, crispy and fluffy one with the insides coated with white butter and podi or gunpowder mixture. HIGHYLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bombat dosa: This one is a bomb! Thick yet crispy variety with the insides layered with white butter, cinnamon and finely powdered onion garlic mixture. You can taste the prominent hotness of the cinnamon in this one – enough to ignite a small volcano inside your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bisi-bele-bath: A hot maelstrom of short rice, lentils, vegetables and spices served with a crispy pappad/poppadam and crunchy boondi, this one is a complete meal in itself. RECOMMENDED.

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Onion and Tomato Uttapam: A lovely soft pancake where the tomatoes are squished, thus imparting their tangy juicy flavour to the ensemble. The only drawback is its oiliness. RECOMMENDED.

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Obatto: You will have second thoughts of tasting this after having a hearty meal. But trust me, you won’t regret a bite. The crepe is oily yet crispy and encloses finely pulverised jaggery which is moderately sweet with aromatic green cardamom. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Home made ice-cream: I usually avoid ice creams because of my childhood over indulgence. But, each and every flavour here is prepared in house and extracted from its natural source. I happened to binge on the Ratnagiri mango one and the strawberry & rose one and both were light, subtle and out of this world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Carnatic Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in himalayan resort, himalayan river, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, karkotak peak, north indian, resort, river kalsa, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, wooden bungalow

Digital Detox Retreat in the lap of Himalayas

First of all, thank you to the very talented and resourceful organizers at The Transforming Travels for organizing this unique experience in the midst of nature. Chandni Aggarwal and Mihir Panda, you people deserve a salute!

So how about a calming trip with least use of your digital devices, comfortable stay at a colonial bungalow with wooden interiors, surroundings that speak organic nestled in the lap of Himalayas and amongst gleeful people who share your passion for travel.

Departure

We were picked up from Mandi House metro station, Delhi at around 10:30pm in a tempo traveller with flexible chairs that did not give your backs a resounding ache. We departed straight to Haldwani through Hapur with occasional stops in between.

Arrival – Day 1

The village in which we were going to stay for the next 1.5 days was an hour and a half drive away from Haldwani and was called Khatauni village. A light shower greeted us at Haldwani with the soothing shade of deciduous trees protecting us from a heavy spell. First time in Haldwani – too good!

We reached the Silent Valley Resort near Kalsa river at 8:30 a.m. and were warmly welcomed by the owners who showed us the bungalow cum house with rooms that exuded the old world charm.

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A delicious breakfast followed in the lap of coniferous trees and the wild twittering of birds. How delicious it is to move away for a few days from the city and enjoy a raw unhindered experience of the mountains.

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We were so hungry that when it came to clicking the picture, the quantity of every item was substantially reduced.

After a few hours rest, we went for a short downhill trek towards the river Kalsa. The dried pine leaves occasionally give you a surprise slip but the pleasant s walk in the shade of the towering flora makes you forget them.

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We also saw the organic farms in the vicinity of the resort where organic peas, cauliflower and other vegetables were growing and the workers engaged in their routine work rituals. We were warmly welcomed by the hosts to savour the fresh green peas from the farm and needless, to say, they were sweet and mellow.

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Organic farm

The flow of the river Kalsa was moderate but care should be taken while crossing the banks as the rocks are quite slippery. I was slightly careless and slipped quite a few times. In one such incident, my Ray Bans went into the flowing waters and I had to hanker along to get them back from the clutches of Kalsa.

Sitting on the rocks at the Kalsa river is a therapy in itself. The cool environment and the music of the gushing water transforms you into a blissful state.

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After returning from our sojourn, we were greeted with a delicious and humble home cooked meal of chappati, masoor dal, sautéed potatoes and okra. All the ingredients are organic and grown in the family’s farm itself. What a joy it is to eat a home cooked meal away from home!

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After this delicious lunch, I preferred to sleep in my vintage room for four hours! The cool surroundings with the comfortable environment of high ceiling roof and woody interiors aided in a relaxing nap.

Day 2

We were greeted with a heavy downpour which lasted two hours. The breakfast was shifted to the indoor wooden dining area while savouring the beautiful Himalayan rainfall.

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We geared for our trek to the Karkotak peak while leaving our main luggage behind which would be taken to Bheemtal by our traveller. The trek started after the crossing the Kalsa river and the initial terrain was simple and levelled. Gradually the trail started involving pebbles and dried pine leaves with breath taking views of the surrounding villages and the mountains.

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Some views would definitely remind you of those old Bollywood numbers when the protagonists get lost in some coniferous forest.

For me, this easy trek was difficult because of my ankle inflammation and the knee injury sustained a day before. I was always the last one in the group, so at times, it got frustrating. Those 8.5km seemed like a lifetime because of the slower pace of my legs and continuous drizzling but after reaching the peak, those two aspects were readily forgotten.

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The Karkotak peak is situated at an elevation of around 1700m and a clear pristine view of the Bheemtal and Nauchekital is clearly visible. You will spot some local kids playing merrily around the temple area and you will slightly wish to be amongst them.

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The descent was easier and we met many local villagers there and enjoyed clicking a few pictures in the tall mountain grasses. An hour’s rest at a local guest house and an hour’s hangout at a pub made us forget the tiredness of the trek.

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Special thank you to all the fellow travel mates, who made this trip unforgettable.

Picture credits to Divyajeet, Gaurav and Mihir Panda.

Posted in bakery, Biscuit, Biscuits, cake, cookie, Fruit cake, gluttonyguilts, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, Lucknow, Namkeen, north indian, Uncategorized

Wadhwa Bakers, Alambagh, Lucknow

What would an Indian household’s evening be if there is no item to accompany our freshly brewed tea? Or people like me can imagine a day without having a glass of milk without our favourite cookies to binge upon?
Wadhwa Bakers, the very famous family run bakery house in Lucknow continue to maintain their supremacy in the bakery/savoury circles of the city. Their products are synonymous with quality and freshness and my happiness was out of bounds when I recently received a package of non perishables from their side.
Kashmiri mix Namkeen: The heavenly medley of moong dal namkeen, sev namkeen with crispies and roasted cashewnuts is a perfect accompaniment with your ritualistic cup of tea. The crunchy texture is to die for! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Oats cookies: A crumbly texture awaits you as you bite into these slightly chewy goodies. The only drawback with these are that they disintegrate with the slightest disturbance. RECOMMENDED.

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Sugar free kajoo biscuits: Diabetics and sugar haters, you can enjoy these cashew laden cookies with a soft crumbly texture that melts in your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Badaam lachha biscuits: Moderate sweetness with comparable texture to kajoo biscuits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Badaam lachha biscuits: Moderate sweetness with comparable texture to kajoo biscuits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fruit cake: As if the waft of freshly baked cake was not enough, the smooth outer texture with mellow crumbly insides with embedded bits of tooti-frooti will warm your insides. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Wadhwa Bakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in chicken kebab, chicken malai tikka, chicken seekh kebab, chicken tikka, dahi ke kebab, delhi, drums of heaven, fish tikka, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, hakka noodles, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, kebab, mutton seekh kebab, naan, noodles, north indian, seekh kebab, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

Shekaza, Kalkaji, New Delhi

There definitely arrives a time when you move over the glitzy restaurants serving fast food and return to the classy old school establishments which still serve the dishes of your childhood. Such places continue to improvise their dishes but maintain their uniqueness. And Shekaza is one such dine out restaurant which will impress you with their fine food and services.

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We have a thing for Britishesque or European interiors with minimalism and Shekaza is the epitome of such specifications. The restaurant portrays soothing paintings with peaceful environs.

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It has been running successfully for the past thirty years and with their impeccable service, we seriously wish they continue to achieve new milestones.

Non veg kebab platter: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Afghani chicken tikka – perfectly grilled and melt in the mouth

Fish tikka – extremely mellow and slightly tangy fish pieces with a subtle crusty exterior.

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Gilaafi kebabs – firm and flavourful with hints of sweetness because of the presence of chopped bell peppers.

Chicken tikka – Spicy and tender chicken pieces which are difficult to resist

Drums of Heaven: For a change, this was hot but not spicy to the point of burning your palate. The magic of chopped onion and garlic along with a slight drizzle of vinegar and honey on a crusty leg piece of fried chicken can leave you in splits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Dahi ke kebab: The sweet yet sour hung curd deep fried in a crunchy exterior of a secret ingredient (we are aware but will not reveal) is bound to give you a major food gasm. The presence of chopped green chillies and bell peppers does give a different dimension to these lovelies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Lemon chicken: Boneless chicken pieces drenched in a subtle yet tangy gravy of lemon and fresh vegetables – broccoli, carrots, baby corn, zuchhini, garlic, tomatoes, sweet corn and spring onions – maelstrom of flavours which can not be forgotten easily. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Shekaza special Hakka Noodles: The finest noodles tossed with boneless chicken chunks, eggs, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli and spinach and served to you without the addition of vinegar – could we stop ourselves? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Rara: Boneless chicken pieces drenched in a tomato based thick gravy of fine chicken keema – why not? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Overall rating: 5/5

Will we come here again? Yes and with family

Shekaza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in camp, gluttonyguilts, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mountain, mountains, nag tibba, north indian, shiwaliks, showononeplus, snow, snow trek, snowflake, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writing

The crowning jewel of the Shiwaliks – Nag Tibba

What will be life if we do not follow our heart’s wishes for adventures?
My first Uttarakhand and a winter trek happened at the beginning of 2018. The temperatures in Delhi were already below 5 degrees and Uttarakhand signifies a red signal for cold prone people like me.
But regular adventures satisfy the soul and I am no different. When the opportunity came calling, I had to respond; otherwise I would have faced the regret of not going for a winter trek for a year or so.
Departure
I along with a bunch of three enthusiastic friends enrolled ourselves for the weekend trek of the professional trekking company Trek The Himalayas. We boarded the midnight train – Nanda Devi Express from Delhi and reached Dehradun by 6a.m.
Arrival – Day 1
Since we were not going to bathe for the next two days considering the requirements of this strenuous trek and a six hour journey through Mussoorie, we decided to slightly freshen ourselves at the railways station waiting room.
And man, what an experience it was!
Keeping your trekking and day bag alone and then going towards the rest rooms to refresh your mouth and wash your face sounds scary at first but trust me, it was not. I had a lady friend with me and we made sure to back each other up. But 6 a.m. in the morning is not the time that the thieves (they are actually waking up!) wander, looking out for precious something of travellers; so you are perfectly safe.
The tour guide from Trek The Himalayas picked us up at 6:45 a.m. and we were comfortably seated in a tempo traveller. We relished the silence of the Dehradun while its residents slept peacefully.
And then after two hours, came Mussoorie – the hill town I was most anxious to visit since childhood. The winding drive through the tree-laden roads with the sun light filtering through the swaying leaves is exhilarating to say the least. The colonial balustrades and the Britishesque street lamps did transform to a different universe, because I was in a different universe!
A few kilometres from Mussoorie, we halted for our breakfast break around 9:30 a.m. A local dhabha serving the most delicious butter loaded paranthas was opened graciously to the customers and boy, could we say no?

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At the restaurant, a small balcony beckoned us to savour the beauty that solemnly waited. The snow clad Shiwaliks with a few green patches stood there with the cold waves swirling around them like an enchantress.

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But this ephemeral moment was marred by a red butted mischievous macaque ready to pounce any moment. Time to rush back!
The journey from here to Pantwari village went in a quiet power nap which lasted another two hours.
The drive through the village was definitely eventful considering the frolicking crowd – an afternoon Pahadi wedding in full gusto. Half sleepy, half awake, we listened to the cheerful crowd singing the local Pahadi songs and tried to decipher what each word meant, although we were unsuccessful!
At Pantwari village, we were provided changing rooms at a local guesthouse and the next hour was spent in freshening up again, changing into our trekking gear and preparing our carry on luggage. A quick fulfilling lunch provided us the necessary energy required for the daunting journey ahead.
The Nag Tibba trail begins from the Pantwari village (1450m) and ends at the Nag Tibba top 9-10 km away. Since it is a steep trek with fewer gradual trails in between, it takes time to reach the top and so in between the village and the top, there is an area designated as the Nag Tibba Base Camp where temporary camping facilities are provided.
Compared to the breathtaking trails of Himachal (my view at that point of time), Nag Tibba trekking route is least serene. The initial journey is through a pebble and mud laden trail which is steep as well as slippery due to dry leaves. You need to carry a light bag and comfortable clothes because the continuous uphill trek saps you of energy and will power. As my bag was around 8kg and I was wearing three layers (because of below ten temperatures), I had to remover a few layers and tighten up the straps of my bag. Taking frequent rests became a routine here which was never the case in my previous treks.
The scenery is not as enjoyable as you would expect – dry parched terrain, scattered greenery and big lose boulders and pebbles on which you have to tread carefully lest you shall suffer a back breaking fall. But the surrounding view of The Lesser Himalayas compels you to forget the hurdles of the journey.

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We started the trek at 2pm and the swiftest person reached the base camp by 5:30pm covering 6km. I reached by 6:30pm due to multiple factors – a heavy bag, back ache and ankle inflammation which developed during the journey and loss of time as I went astray in the trails and had to wait for about 15-20 minutes for the people preceding me.

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When I lost my way in the trails

As the night drew in, the ambience got colder and it must have been around 1 degree in the night. Basic camping facilities were prepared for us with pit-hole washrooms. Trek The Himalayas took good care of everything – tea, dinner, temporary restrooms, warm sleeping bags but better facility for water should have been there because there were no nearby streams.

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The night sky was star studded and it was mesmerizing to watch so many twinkles after ages. You do not get to see the children of universe this clear in Delhi.

Trek to Nag Tibba top – Day 2
The back breaking journey had been so tiring for me that I decided to not go for the early morning trek to Nag Tibba top. I took my time in getting up but then eventually decided that I would not be able to forgive myself if I did not trek all the way up to the peak. The opportunity seemed too precious to miss!
The biting cold was so ominous that it was difficult to change into my second trekking gear which had to be cold specific considering the chilling mountain waves lingering around us. A quick breakfast of soul satisfying plate of steaming maggi brought me back to my fighter instincts.

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This particular trail to the Nag Tibba top is also steep but easier compared to the harrowing one we had completed on the previous day. The pebbles had gone though the boulders were still there with slippery edges of melting snow. And my all weather trekking shoes weren’t for snow because hey, no spikes!

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So what did I do when I saw a few flakes of snow for the first time in my life? I kept looking. I tried to keep a few in my hands but the warmth melted them away.

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The melted snow on the trail was a tad challenging considering many of us were first timers for a snow trek. Slipping now and then on the trail, I managed to reach the top where a large patch of snow awaited the avid trekkers. Many of our trekking mates experienced snow for the first time and so went on to play body skating games on them. I, however, having slipped and fallen a few times, stayed away and took on a few lovely snowflakes.

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The Nag Tibba top is adorned with a pole which carries prayer flags in multiple hues. And the view from the top is soul filling to say the least. At 3022 m, the highest peak of the The Shiwaliks or The Lesser Himalayas, you do feel a sense of achievement while enjoying the breath taking ranges. The whole Lesser Himalayan range along with a few peaks of the mighty Greater Himalayas is a sight to behold and lose yourself in.

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But as they say, the descent is always tougher than the ascent. And on a steep trek you have to be highly careful, especially on slippery melted snow patches. We had to tread cautiously on the loose pebbles, boulders and mud lest we would have suffered a bone breaking fall.
Back to the base camp, we had a delicious protein and carbohydrates filled lunch of kidney beans, rice, chappati and legumes. We had to take care of the time factor while trekking down as descending during the evening can be dangerous.
We finally reached Pantwari around 5pm and changed back to comfortable apparels after spraying our whole body with Moov.

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Dinner at the Sagar restaurant, Dehradun

The journey from Pantwari village to Dehradun was spent in taking a few scattered power naps and watching the lighted view of Mussoorie and Dehradun. The tempo traveller of Trek The Himalayas dropped us at the Dehradun railway station at around 9pm and we had dinner at a nearby restaurant – Sagar. The Nanda Devi Express geared itself again to ferry the travellers from Dehardun to the national capital and we also went along with her flow.

https://www.trekthehimalayas.com/