Gangolihat – Hat Kalika temple, Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave, all in the heart of Himalayas

Incredible beauty, caves as old as the earth itself with links to Ramayana and Mahabharata, a temple of the designated goddess of a regiment of Indian army and chosen by Adi Guru Sankaracharya: my road trip to Gangolihat at 1,760 metres in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand proved to be an ideal way to end 2013. The 500 km 3 day amazing road trip with wife and in-laws was a great driving adventure with the close on-the-road encounter with leopard being the cherry on the cake.

Reaching and staying at Gangolihat

For me the journey started first from Gurgaon and was likely to end at Haldwani after 300km drive, considering we were visiting my in-laws but better sense prevailed well in time and we decided to visit Gangolihat, the hill town my in-laws and their ancestors actually belong to. The 200km drive (Click for route) from Haldwani to Gangolihat was something that excited me immediately and a quick Google search revealed so many outstanding interesting places there that I could not wait to be there to see and visit each one of them.

To make it easier for you in case you plan to visit Gangolihat, from Gurgaon/Delhi take NH 24 through Moradabad (bypass), enjoy meals at Gajraula, cross Rampur and Rudrapur (expect potholes for 20km), start uphill journey from Haldwani/Kathgodam, take the Bhimtal route, reach Almora after approx 80 km from Haldwani (just under 400km from Gurgaon, close to 11hours) and maybe stay there for the night. Next day take the Badechhina – Sheraghat route, take right from Raiagar and after 20km you would have reached Gangolihat after close to 5 hours of drive from Almora and that too through the snake like route. In Gangolihat there are few good options for stay, my advice get your rooms reserved in advance at the KMVN tourist rest house (click for more), it’s cheap and very nice place to stay.

Hat Kalika temple at Gangolihat

Hat Kalika temple is one of the two most impressive and popular places of interest in Gangolihat, the other one being Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave. This is a temple located just a km from the local market and is dedicated to the goddess Kalika Mata. Adi Guru Sankaracharya chose this temple for installation of Mahakali Shaktipeeth, which makes it not only one of the most revered places for the Hindus but also over hundreds of year old (12th century). And that’s not all, this temple holds a special place for the Kumaun Regiment of the Indian army– a fact that is too hard to miss when you visit the Hat Kalika temple. There are like a dozen gates which announce this special relationship.Hat Kalika

The Hat Kalika temple deity itself is amazing. We were very lucky when we visited as we got plenty of time to do puja there to our satisfaction and the pujari allowed me to click pics of the deity. The whole experience of being in the temple surrounded by deodar trees and inhabited by naughty monkeys was memorable. And it was after a long time I visited a temple where animal sacrifice is still a common practice.

Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave at Gangolihat

Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave is the other most important place to visit when you are at Gangolihat in addition to Hat Kalika temple. This limestone cave at about 14 km from Gangolihat is as outstanding as anything can be. Its history, the fact it is supposed to be as old as the earth itself and the legends about links to Ramayana and Mahabharata and historical proofs of visit by Adi Shankaracharya in 1191 AD make it a must see place.

For me the visit to the over 150m long and scary 90 feet deep Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave was a mix of geographical excursion and religious journey, both at the same time. The mix of limestone formations and religious significance was quite amazing. At first I could not muster enough courage to enter the cave – it’s a 30-40feet drop through a very narrow cave opening but once I started going down it only got more exciting. And once you reach the bottom, the cave suddenly becomes bigger with some spectacular formations all around.

It’s a pity that you are not allowed to take your cameras and cell phones inside the Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave thanks to some stupid and greedy priest who stole a priceless idol some years ago. It would have been a great experience to capture the inside of the cave in my camera but that was not supposed to happen.

The incredible beauty of Gangolihat

And in the middle of this, what you won’t miss is the incredible beauty of the place. There are snow clad Himalayas all around. If you have time visit nearby places, you can even have a look at the Nanda Devi – the 7,816 m second highest mountain in India, something I wanted to but could not find time to visit.

The rich traditions and folklore of Gangolihat

There are plenty of things that you as a regular tourist may miss out in Gangolihat but since this is the native place of my in-laws, I had that privilege, well almost. Every family/clan here has its own traditions and way of life, e.g. they have a family deity which is revered highly and is only worshiped by the family members. I being the son-in-law could not be part of the worship and my wife on account of being married has also lost that privilege now.

Moreover, you may not get to see the fruit orchards from close range if you are a regular tourist. I got the chance to see one owned by one of our relatives in Gangolihat and it was an experience in itself to pluck the oranges from the tree and relish them there and then. The taste of those juicy oranges was just splendid.

And if you are the luckiest of them all

The best part of the trip, the rarest for sure, was kept for the last. As we reached Almora on our way back from Gangolihat, a wild leopard was waiting for us to make our trip as extraordinary as it could have got. We took a 2 min halt at about 6:50pm to click the pictures of the Almora town and got out of the car. While we did so we didn’t know there was a leopard within 10-15 meter of the spot we were standing at.

When we restarted the journey, we took a right turn and came to a spot which was exactly below the spot where we had got down and took a few pictures of Almora and there it was, the leopard right in front of our car in the middle of the road. It was our bad luck that by the time I could take out my camera and “shoot” the wild animal, it was long gone and all we had left was the memory of those 4-5 seconds. I could not believe my luck – it was the second such leopard sighting for me in a 2013, the first one was in my home town in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. That time the leopard we met on the road was younger, may be 2 years old, and I could capture it in my mobile camera. I had my DSLR this time but the time was not sufficient, it was dark and the leopard was in real hurry. It was still spectacular nonetheless.

To summarize

If you are a sucker for road trips and hill stations which are not crowded with tourists, Gangolihat with its Hat Kalika temple and Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave, is more than a great destination. Since you will be travelling to a fairly far off place, it may make sense to spend more time in Almora, visit Ranikhet and also add Nanital and Bhimtal to your itinerary. Overall, you can be sure of a memorable trip.


Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – Bird’s, Bird Watcher’s and Everyone Else’s Paradise

This was my 2nd visit within 3 years to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and I am already looking forward to my 3rd visit (For pics from my first visit, click here). Best part of this place is perhaps not the spectacular views of the birds who come from as far off as Siberia (they could be travelling like 4000km), I think it is the fact that even a disinterested or indifferent tourist ends up falling in love with the experience that this place has to offer.

For everyone’s benefit – all about stay, food and the like

So, let me start off by sharing where it is and where to stay if you plan to visit and few other tips. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is about 20km from Fatehpur Sikri (it’s itself an awesome place to visit, click here) – so not far off if you are planning to visit Agra, and some 35km from Mathura – that’s the diversion you need to take if you are coming from Delhi/Gurgaon (which is about 185km). From Gurgaon it is 4 hour comfortable drive.

There are quite a few places to stay within 500m of the entrance to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. They are not too costly and serve just OK to good food. However be mindful of that fact that you will most likely have to eat in the hotel you are staying in as there aren’t any restaurants around and other hotels usually have food for the tourists staying in their hotels. We faced the problem with dinner as we didn’t like the food we got at Hotel Saras and had hard time finding another place to eat, though Hotel Sunbird served us good food.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – the actual sight-seeing

To enter the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary you’ll have to buy tickets at the entrance and you can park your car there for free. If you want you can take your car further 1 km inside by paying 100 INR but my suggestion is no need to do that. From wherever you park, to enter the main part of the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary you have three options – hire a rickshaw at 100 INR per hour (that’s what I did), hire a bicycle (don’t know the rate) or just walk. Walking and cycling can be tiresome as the sanctuary is spread over a large area.

If you want a guide you can get that for 250 INR per hour. The rickshaw guys have OK knowledge and they act as kind of guide at no extra cost officially except that at the end of the tour they expect you pay them extra for the extra service they have provided you. 2nd is better option as they in any case pester you for tip in the end. And yes, make sure to rent a good pair of binoculars (rate 100 INR for the trip) – the rickshaw guy should have one, that way you can enjoy the bird watching more.

Now coming to the serious point – why go there and my experience

I thoroughly enjoy each moment I spend inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, in fact I feel like not leaving the first spot that gives me a glimpse of the birds. Now with my heightened interest in photography how amateurish it might be, I want to just sit there and wait to capture that perfect, elusive and exclusive moment. But that means patience which I have in plenty and time which is unfortunately a luxury most of the times.

Anyhow, till I reach that stage where I can share something worthwhile through pictures that I capture, let me take you through my me-too-syndrome try outs. Here’s some of the moments from my recent visit to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, please click on the   thumbnails to enjoy more:

Fatehpur Sikri – amazing Mughal history and architecture, too many guides and countless memories

Fatehpur Sikri – a beautiful place (forced to live under the shadow of more popular and nearby tourist destination Agra), has a charm of its own and having read a little history myself and with strong recommendation of my dad who doesn’t waste his opinion, I finally made my much awaited trip to history a reality. And like I always like to do, I thought I’ll share my experience and maybe be of some help to the tourists and enthusiasts who may plan to visit it one day and also to those who may never.

Reaching Fatehpur Sikri fort, little tricky

First things first. Fatehpur Sikri is about 40km from Agra and about 20km from Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Reaching the Fatehpur Sikri fort is not that easy as it could have been, especially since the signages on the highway could have been a little better. We drove from Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and struggled a little in finding the right diversion, however with some help from the locals we finally made it. Though the real trouble was yet to start.

“Govt approved” guides can make life miserable, leave bad taste in mouth too

Once you reach there the first thing that hits you is not the Mughal history and architecture for which you would have gone there, rather its lack of management by authorities, confusion, non availability of right sources for information and the most striking and annoying of them all – too many unsolicited guides. These “Govt approved” guides will throw themselves at you, butter you, tell you how economical it would be for you to hire them and start misguiding you from the word go. And if you show lack of interest, they’ll start reducing their rates, tell you their livelihood depends on you so you must hire them and finally if you still not hire them, may end just short of cursing you in front of you, they may do it behind your back though.

Park and take the CNG bus- they pretend but it’s no Agra

Anyhow, if you are going by your own vehicle, there is a parking place about a km and half short of the fort, you can park there for INR 60. From there take the bus, the fare is only INR 5. To board the bus, go towards the back of the parking, there you’ll see a shopping area – cross it and at the far end you’ll see a few buses parked. I don’t know whether this is intentional, but the place to board the buses is almost impossible to find and just too far off. Anyhow.

Fatehpur Sikri fort – lots of amazing things, just right there

The Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri has so many things that it offers and I just loved it. The architecture of course is impressive, the red colour a strong reminder of Red Fort at Delhi and Agra Fort and having taken my new DSLR to its first historical place – which is my favourite kind, I had a rocking time. What you get to see inside the fort or the city includes Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Anup Talao, Panch Mahal and lots of stories and anecdotes. Good part, it’s not too spread out so you can take the complete tour in just about 2 hours.

The guides who don’t leave you for your life even here will tell you there are like 26 mahals and what not and that you should hire them but I am not sure how useful hiring them is. We gave in to their (read my wife and my friend’s wife) demands and finally a guide became part of our tour, or should I say we became part of his tour. He agreed to show us the fort and everything around for 100 INR, which of course at the end of the tour was something he first disagreed to and demanded more, then accepted as what we had agreed upon initially but asked for more as a matter of his right, then as a favour or tip and then finally as something moral for us to do. For us the moral of the story – DON’T HIRE THEM.

Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid and Tomb of Salim Chishti are close by too

Anyhow, once we had finished the tour of the city/fort, we walked (3-4mins) to the very impressive complex which houses Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid and Tomb of Salim Chishti and a few other things too. We entered from the King’s Gate, which is remarkable. Once we entered the complex two things caught our eyes straightaway – one, the white marble Tomb of Salim Chishti and two, the huge backside of the Buland Darwaza. As a matter of fact the Buland Darwaza is so huge that it’s distinctively visible even from the Fatehpur Sikri city/fort.

While inside, pay your respects and pray at Tomb of Salim Chishti if you want, take a round of the entire complex and all the structures inside and then go to the Buland Darwaza. It looks fantastic when you are looking at its backside and it’s breathtaking once you look from the front. I think for many of the tourists this one gate i.e. Darwaza would be worth a trip to this place if nothing else.

Be one with history or just buy a souvenir

The kind of sad part though is that right outside the Buland Darwaza as well as the King’s Gate you’ll find hawkers selling one thing or the other and I think many tourists like it also as they get to buy souvenirs, I for one somehow don’t like it much. When I visit a historical place I like to be left alone and appreciate it more if the place looks and feels like as it would have when it was actually inhabited – a feeling that was so strong when I visited the Bhangarh Fort (click here to read about it) and walked through its streets. But I guess this is the price more popular tourist destinations have to pay for being popular. Anyhow.

To sum it up – Fatehpur Sikri is a place that has a lot to offer and good thing is all you need is 3-4 hours and you can enjoy it all. And though the time of our visit was purely coincidental as that was the only time we had, however visiting it in the evening can be a better experience. The whole architecture appears to get even more spectacular in the evening. However, you plan your visit at it suits you and make sure to go there if you are visiting Agra or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – half a day is all that it will take.












Me too syndrome – this time it’s photography

There are so many things we all do and do as self proclaimed experts. We do things, compare with what others do, believe we do it better and feel so happy about it. And that’s so true about photography.

Like everyone I know, I also knew I always wanted to do it. Like everyone I know, I also believe I am very good at it. Like everyone I know, I will share it with everyone. Like everyone I know, from being a cricket expert, a political commentator, a corruption crusader, a Facebook aficionado, now I am also a photographer.




Gravity – A must watch movie

From the moment I read the Saturday review in Indian Express (by SL) to the moment I finished its review by one of the my-kind-of-movies experts (Harsh, a fellow movie aficionado and a friend), I had been making up my mind to watch this movie. And what made the experience even more exciting was that my wife not only readily agreed to watch it, she in fact went ahead and booked the tickets online too.

And those 90 mins inside the hall proved to be thoroughly enjoyable for too many reasons; it was my first 3D movie in a hall with special glasses – the scene where George Clooney reaches out towards the screen to catch that piece of equipment was breathtaking and when the debris comes flying at you, well, I did instinctively close my eyes more than once.

Direction gets the things going

Coming to the direction, Alfonso Cuarón has made his mark with this movie. Though his resume is pretty strong, but this movie will definitely be counted as one of his masterpieces. I loved this movie but the best compliment to him would be the fact that there were some very young viewers in the hall – 6, 8, 10 year old kids, and they all seemed to enjoy it. I think that speaks volumes about his abilities to bind his viewers to his cinema.

Acting is as good as it gets

About the actors, George Clooney does his thing once again. He is in control of the space walk, the scenes he is part of, and everything else out there. And the way he delivers the authority he is entitled to and is responsible for is just awesome. He lightens up the screen every time he comes in frame, even with his voice.

Voice, yes that is something Ed Harris has been most remarkable with in the Gravity. His intonation is fantastic considering he only had his voice to showcase his expressions and what a job he has done. Just enjoyed hearing him, talking and giving orders, bantering with Clooney, everything is done so amazing well that you kind of feel him walking, actually space walking right next to Clooney.

But like many of the people who have seen and been talking about the Gravity, it’s Sandra Bullock who walks away with the maximum credit. She is not a typical astronaut, she is a doctor on her first mission, she has performed terribly in her astronaut training, she has a difficult past, she gets to show most emotions (well her role is like that, unlike Clooney’s), and she has maximum screen time too (won’t disclose the reason). Who knows may be with this role she sees another Blind Side success in the world of Awards too.

I loved it, my wife loved it

Anyhow, Gravity has turned out to a really great movie experience for me. Those 90 mins just flew away with different kinds of gravitational forces (the phrase is actually wrong as far as Physics goes but I’ll take this liberty here) holding me and the entire audience in the hall down. My wife was pretty impressed and that’s a big compliment to the movie considering she doesn’t like English movies one bit.

And in the end I’d have to agree with the people who have been praising the movie, Gravity is a not to be missed movie. The experience of 3D and that too of space and that too when it involves space walking, is breathtakingly awesome and add to that some perfect direction, and outstanding acting – this one is a must watch and must be watched in a cinema hall only.

What ails Savdhaan India? – A Single Episode Case Study

Savdhaan India on Life OK is not only a fairly popular show on TV, it is also one of the few shows I end up watching (even if in bits and parts) on a decently regular basis. And the overly analytical viewer that I am when it comes to movies, advertisements and shows which come on TV, it is but normal that I have been troubled by this particular show Savdhaan India on so many occasions.

Can’t control myself, or can I!

My deepest analytical urges have been invoked every time I have switched on or surfed or glanced through this show. And that had always got a lot to do with the average to below average acting, throwing all kinds of statistics with questionable sources (like leading news paper, popular NGO, etc.), bad sets, at times horrible editing and above all shabby direction.

(PS: I understand and accept I am no authority on any of the areas involved and responsible for making a scene, serial or movie. I am just an overly analytical viewer, and that’s the way I like it, period.)

The Single Episode Case Study 

And the episode that I watched today Savdhaan India –Mumbai Fights Back, well, that’s become a Case Study for me (most of the reasons for that are not the ones listed above though most of all that was part of the show today as well) and I thought let me put some time, energy and thinking into it, and write about it too. So here’s the outcome (not to bother you with too much information, I’ll focus on parts relevant for the Case Study):

About the story covered in episode: It takes place in 2005 (year is critical to the Case Study), it talks about a dance bar, a cricket (critical to Case Study) betting racket and police using technology, i.e, mobile.

What’s wrong or out of place in the episode: Now, coming straight to the point(s), following is what I think is weird, out of place, incorrect and generates kinds of emotions like – are you kidding me?

  • Ailment 1: The dancers in the dance bar in the year 2005 are dancing to the tunes of Bollywood’s recent 2013 hit song “Pinky” from the movie Zanjeer.

Dear Producer/Director/Writer and Editor too, what is this guys? Come on, do this much of research or at least, don’t get this much carried away, play a less popular/unknown song.

  • Ailment 2: To hide the scores shown on the TV screen in the cricket match the guys are watching and betting on in the show, they have superimposed a message where the actual score was coming (left hand top of screen). The message says “HDMI”.

HDMI in TVs in India in 2005, don’t you think that’s a little ahead of time?

  • Ailment 3: The very enthusiastic Police inspector and wanna-be-trying-real-hard-to-copy-Suniel-Shetty-Nana-Patekar-Ajay-Devgan-in-a-single-scene actor, uses technology, i.e., “Nokia E63” mobile hand set to click pictures of suspects in year 2005.

Guys, Nokia lunched E63 in India in 2008, not before that I guess. But I have mixed emotions here as I also feel like giving you credit as going by my experience of watching Savdhaan India, it could very well have been a touch screen Android phone.  

  • Could be ailments: There were a few other confusing things, but I am not sure about the facts and don’t want to list the same has ailments. However, would be still mentioning these for information sake and for hoping for you (dear reader) to help throw more light on these if you can:
  1. The Umpire in the cricket match (ODI) is wearing red shirt and black trousers. Not sure when that was introduced, was it in or before 2005?
  2. Mumbai police are using Chevrolet Tavera, were they actually using these in 2005?


Today’s episode of Savdhaan India –Mumbai Fights Back and the focus of my Case Study was another subtle and a very strong reminder at the same time that all is not well with this show. It’s still quite popular, but come on Dear Producer/Director/Writer/Editor of Savdhaan India, adding a little bit of what is needed for a good show would be nice, right? And Dear Life OK guys, what’s going on, you guys not really worried about sustaining these TRPs if not improving or Devon Ke Dev alone doing enough for you?

Reach out to me, in confidence..

QR Code for

Got the QR Code, tried the QR Code, loved the QR Code.

If you know what this QR Code is all about, why don’t you try the one below for my site.

QRCode for Site

Wondering what’s this QR Code, do little R&D (read Google it), and then try QR Code for my site above.

If you are thinking Wednesday Thursday Friday, forget it. Just go ahead and read some other cool stuff you may chance upon here.

Why should The Lunchbox go to Oscars as India’s official entry?

One of the more popular pastime activities for so many of us these days is the debate; why should The Lunchbox go to Oscars as India’s official entry? And then the next angle is, which is this movie that’s going as our official entry to Oscars. And the name of that movie is “The Good Road” (if you are a KBC enthusiast, this can be important information).

I saw The Lunchbox last Thursday. If you ask me, I think this movie is an experience, not just a movie. You go to the theatre, sit there, look at the screen, share its moments, join in the jokes, sit back and appreciate the smaller things in life and in the end realize that this is an experience that you can only experience.

The Lunchbox deserves to be sent?

But the question more pressing for us most, those who have watched and those who haven’t watched the Lunchbox is, why should The Lunchbox go to Oscars as India’s official entry? Well, the most common argument I have seen so far is, to put it simply- it deserves to be sent.

This can be a valid reason for some but can be flawed too for many more reasons for so many of us.

To me lots of things come to my mind like;

  • How did we arrive at The Lunchbox being the best movie or the most deserving movie for Oscars?
  • There are more than thousand movies made in a year in India, what about the rest?
  • Dear Milkha ji ran like a winner and won so many of those races, but didn’t even seem to start this one. Or decided to sit this one out?
  • I haven’t seen The Good Road, have you? Can’t call a dish bad without having tasted it.
  • I have seen so many of Big Names from industry talking and standing up for The Lunchbox, is this becoming ‘a’ if not ‘the’ reason?
  • When was the last time we had sent the right kind of movie? Or what is the right kind of movie after all?
  • How do we decide which movie should be sent? Should we send the best Indian movie as we see it to be, or the one we think the Academy members will like?

Who have been winning in the past?

I have seen quite a few Hollywood movies, a few Oscar winners and a bunch of winners in Foreign Film category. If I put some pressure on my memory I can think of some winners and nominees in the Foreign Film category like The Counterfeiters, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Lives of Others, Life Is Beautiful and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

These movies are all different and all very close to the world and culture these represent. And maybe that’s what made them stand out and emerge as winners too.

The Lunchbox could be or could not be the right one

The central theme of the Lunchbox is something that’s part of Mumbai’s culture and life – the dabbawalas. And I loved the way the dabbawala mentions Harvard in the end, almost casually to make his point.

The movie scores there.

The Lunchbox has few actors like the amazing Irrfan Khan, new comer Nimrat Kaur and they have all done justice to their roles. My personal favourite is Nawazuddin Siddiqui – his role has more dimensions then others. He laughs, he becomes irritated, he tries to be friendly, he tries to be smart, he gets little angry, he is happy, he is disappointed, he is elated. And in whatever small part he has got to play, he has done extreme justice to it.

The movie scores there.

Unlike most of Indian movies, this one ends on a very different note. The movie starts like a normal day in life which just gets interesting and it ends with a lot more interesting twist. I am not divulging more here since many are yet to see it, but that kind of end does extreme justice to the movie, since that’s how the life would be for many in that kind of a situation.

The movie scores there.

This can give many a brownie point to the Lunchbox but the nomination and eventual win is a function of comparison and it’s not justified to start worshiping one movie, start ridiculing others and then not even care of most.

To me, the Lunchbox is not just a movie but an experience but I am also cognizant of the fact that I may not be right in saying that this one deserves to be sent as India’s official entry to the Oscars. I am not sure what’s your take on it, but I would surely love to know.

Reach out to me, in confidence..

How to Get High Security Registration Plate for Your Car in Gurgaon

How to get High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) for your car (especially if you didn’t buy it recently) in Gurgaon? (How to get Driving License in Gurgaon, click here)It can be a pain – a pain I had been suffering for a long time now. But after doing a lot of research, bashing my head everywhere, trying all modes – surfing internet (forums, websites, etc.), making phone calls (RTA and SDM office – hats off to the gentlemen and lady who picked 3 calls I made to them and gave me all the information I desired and didn’t mind repeating one thing even thrice, and that too with complete politeness), trying car dealers (from whom I bought), probing friends and foes alike (can’t name them here), visiting all possible places (Mini Secretariat, areas around it), I finally figured out how one can get High Security Registration Plate for his/her car in Gurgaon. And I thought I should share it with everyone.

  • If you are not a new car owner (if you bought it last year or earlier)… Click here
  • If you are a new car owner… Click here
  • If you own a bike… Click here
  • If you own a truck, heavy vehicle, etc… Click here
  • To apply online (shared by Arihant in the comments below)

If you are not a new car owner (if you bought it last year or earlier)… 

To go to the top Click here…

I had bought my car last year and been trying to get the High Security Registration Plate for it for couple of months now. Sometime back I found out where exactly they install it and the process around it (found it to be useful for new cars only) but biggest of the issues was figuring out the very first step for a car which was bought in the past. Thankfully, I managed to crack the code and here’s the step-by-step process that you need to follow;

Step 1: You need to get the authorization letter for High Security Registration Plate for your car. For this, you need to visit the Ekal Seva Kendra which is located at the Ground Floor, Mini Secretariat, Gurgaon. (Click here to Get Directions to reach Mini Secretariat).  The Ekal Seva Kendra is open only from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm. And there are no charges for the authorization letter.

If you are going in your car, don’t park outside, there’s plenty of space within the Mini Secretariat complex and you should explore that first.

PS: Please see the comment by Tej below (click here), he mentions that the authorization letter is now available at the HSRP counter itself. This will save you a lot of time and running to the Mini Secretariat.

Step 2: The documents you should keep handy when you visit the Ekal Seva Kendra are;

  • RC of your car (keep the original and a photocopy)
  • ID proof (keep the original and a photocopy)

Step 3: Once you enter the Ground Floor building gate, the Ekal Seva Kendra is to your left. Inside the hall, go straight to the left hand extreme corner at the far end. The person sitting on the left hand corner (he will be the 3rd or 4th person if you start counting from the right) is the person you are looking for. You hand over your RC to him and in no time he’ll give you the authorization letter for your car’s High Security Registration Plate.

Step 4: Now next step involves visiting the place where the High Security Registration Plate fees is paid and the plate is installed. The things you should keep handy here are;

  • Authorization letter you got at the Ekal Seva Kendra
  • RC of your car (keep the original and a photocopy, the guy at HSRP counter charges INR 5 per/photocopy )
  • ID proof (keep the original and a photocopy)
  • Cash (INR 365 for car; keep the exact change, it helps save money)

Reaching this place is a little tricky, however, I would suggest you check with traffic police man on duty in the Mini Secretariat or the parking attendant outside. This place is not too far off from Mini Secretariat (around 1km) but involves driving on the wrong side of the road, and it’s alright too.

To find the location on Google, click here. Once you are near this place, you’ll see long queues outside a building with Apollo red color board – this is the exact place you are looking for.

Step 5: Once you reach here, you’ll need to pay the fees (INR 365 for car) for which you need to stand in the queue (HSRP fees counter) to your right (when you face this building). You’ll need to produce the authorization letter here and a valid ID card. The important point here is, they accept fees only from the person who owns the vehicle (you need to be present there) or maximum from family member (at their own discretion and they will ask for this person’s ID card). Given the amount of rush there, if you are not the owner, they may not accept the fees, so calculate your risks here.

The HSRP fees counter is open only from Monday to Friday and from 9:30am to 1pm.

Once you have paid the fees, they give you a receipt and your day’s job is done. Make sure you keep this receipt safe and sound with you as you’ll need to come back with this receipt after a minimum of four days and produce it at the 2nd counter (to your left when you face this building) and that’s when they’ll give you your car’s High Security Registration Plate and install it too.

Step 6: After a gap of minimum four days (from day of step 5), you’ll have to come back to this same place again (Click here to find location). Here you go to the 2nd counter (HSRP installation counter – to your left when you face this building), show your receipt and then wait till they call out your car’s number or flash your HSRP. The minimum time you can expect is somewhere around 1 hour, rest is your luck.

Needless to mention you’ll also need to keep the RC with you and the most important thing, you’ll need to bring your car with you for sure. About parking the car, there is not much but ample space on the other side of the road and you can park your car there for free.

A person will come carrying your HSRP (both front and back) and will install/fix it on to your car. He’ll not take much time in installing the plates however he’ll ask for some tip for sure. Once you get the new HSRP installed, you’ll be a pretty relieved self.

The HSRP installation counter is open only from Monday to Saturday and from 9:30am to 1pm.

The whole process will take a minimum of 4-5 days (Steps 1 to 5 on day 1 and Step 6 on day 4/5)

If you are a new car owner… 

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If you are a new car owner, then there are two scenarios:

One: You would have crossed the first hurdle automatically, though rest of the journey is equally stressful for all owners. Your car dealer will give you the authorization letter for High Security Registration Plate, this is something as the owner of a car that I had bought last year I suffered the most in figuring out how to get my hands on.

The step-by-step process that you need to follow is mentioned above and best part is you skip the first 3 steps and start off from the Step 4 right away.

Two: Many new buyers are now able to get HSRP installed at the showroom itself. One of my friends bought Hyundai Verna and the dealer installed it at the showroom itself.  Also, Gaurav has posted a comment below about similar experience with his scooter. So this in fact is a really a good news and relief for the new buyer.

There is one more thing that will matter to you here and that’s the road you’ll take to reach HSRP fees and installation counter if you are coming from the Rajiv Chowk (you can go to the Mini Secretariat and follow the path mentioned above in Step 4). For that you can follow the following map, it again looks like going in the wrong way, and that’s right also, the only thing is that everyone uses it. The moment you take a turn from Rajiv Chowk towards the Mini Secretariat/Old Gurgaon side, immediately take a left turn. You’ll see lots of cars using this route, and there’s a proper barrier there to keep the traffic segregated and in line. Just follow the black line shown in picture below, or the car in front of you till you hit the first T-point (there’s a Wine Shop there) and take a right turn and the place you are looking for is right there.


And yes, for you too the whole process will take a minimum of 4/5 days (Steps 5 on day 1 and Step 6 on day 4/5).


If you own a bike… 

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If you own a bike, then the procedure and process is the same as for the car. The only difference is that you pay less than INR 150 for HSRP and the amount is different for a bike and different for a scooter.

If you own a truck, heavy vehicle, etc… 

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I am not sure of the entire process that you’ll need to follow, but what I found out was that for an old truck/heavy commercial vehicle, instead of Ekal Seva Kendra you will need to visit the RTO office. I don’t have any more information for you and I don’t want to misguide you here.

Spread the word…

I hope the above information is useful to you. I had a tough time getting this all together, getting the right procedure and process, finding the places and ways to reach them. I hope sharing it will make someone’s life easy.

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The Dark Knight Rises – Legend dies, rejuvenates or?

One of the most awaited movies of the year, Christopher Nolan claiming the legends ends with this and audience waiting for another Joker – The Dark Knight Rises had its plate full of expectations, promises and expectations. And did it live up to the hype? I won’t want to spoil it for you, well, not entirely.

So, who will enjoy the movie the most? If you have seen Batman Begins and The Dark Knight then you are the one who’ll be amused the most, mind you, not entertained the most. If you have seen The Dark Knight only, then don’t go with the expectations of seeing someone topping the Joker act, The Dark Knight Rises is still a good movie nonetheless. If this is your first take on the Trilogy, hmm… then I’ll leave to you to decide for yourself.

Does the legend end? You must be kidding yourself if you think the legend ends. I mean does the legend ever end when it comes to super heroes? The most interesting part here in fact is, does the legend rejuvenate? I think you would enjoy spending time inside the theater watching this movie to find the answer then reading it out.

And if you want to see another Joker (really?), well that doesn’t happen in movies and you should know that. What Heath Ledger did with Joker can’t be redone and we all know that. So prudence demands that such expectations are well unrealistic, just to say the least.

Anyhow, if you want to ask me whether one should watch this movie, well I liked it, I just might not mind watching it again!

Reach out to me, in confidence..