Pro Kabaddi League 2017 #LePanga

Pro Kabaddi League 2017 is different, and different for many reasons. To begin with, it has more teams, it has a longer season and, my personal favorite, its allowing many players to shine brighter.

But first let me confess, after following first 3 seasons very closely which culminated in I watching the finals live in the stadium in Delhi, I missed season 4 completely. But as Pro Kabaddi League season 5 is back strongly, so is my interest in the game. And not surprisingly, I find more fans around me, in my family, in my office and among my friends.

Duration of PKL 2017:

From the usual month and so long affair, this time the fun and panga is going to last for, hold your breath, 13 long weeks. I don’t know about you but I am pretty excited with that. The excitement is going to be there for 3 months, wow!

Total and New Teams in PKL

From 8 to 12 teams, that’s actually a dozen times spectacle. And the new teams have come up with some fancy names too;

Gujarat Fortunegiants,
Haryana Steelers,
UP Yoddha and
Tamil Thalaivas

Zone system and new format in PKL

Another interesting twist is introduction of 2 zones with 6 teams divided among the zones. The way it is going to pan out is; each team will play 15 intra-zone and 7 inter-zone matches. Post that we’ll have the play-offs.

Taking a cue from the IPL perhaps, the play-offs will have three qualifiers and two eliminators to decide the finalists who will clash in Chennai.

If you already have a favorite team, then that’s great, else take your pick from the zones;

Zone A
Dabang Delhi, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Puneri Paltan, U Mumba (continues to be my favorite), Haryana Steelers and Gujarat Fortunegiants

Zone B
Telugu Titans, Bengaluru Bulls, Patna Pirates, Bengal Warriors, UP Yoddha and Tamil Thalaivas.

Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Schedule

Well Pro Kabaddi League is already underway with first match played on 28th July in Hyderabad. And if you have watched the matches live, you must have seen Sachin Tendulkar, PV Sindhu, P Gopichand and movies stars in the audience.

The sporting extravaganza will end up with finals being played on 28th October. It’s going to be fun-filled and rocking three months.

Mount Abu – an awesome destination nestled in the Aravallis

Mount Abu, the place for temples, ‘points’ and well, ‘mounts’, can be a surprise for many for many reasons . If you have clubbed it with your visit to Udaipur (for places to visit in Udaipur, click here), then it’s perfect. If you are coming here as the only travel destination, you must plan for a short trip only.

A day can be sufficient to see Mount Abu
And that seems to be the popular thought and the business model too. There are a lot of places to see but it all gets planned in a way that you’ll end up seeing everything in a single day quite comfortably.

Site seeing in Mount Abu

If you have your own car, you can move around and see all the places. Else, the standard there is half day and full day trips though bus or private cab. We chose the 2nd option for the former as well as latter. The charge for full day trip is about Rs1600. We also booked the same cab to take us to Abu Road railway station in the evening for Rs600/-.

Nakki Lake is famous for boating

To find beautiful lake like the Nakki Lake on the top of a hill is always a sight to behold. It is a very famous spot and even if you don’t see rest of the placs, you are likely to come here in the evening, enjoy a boat ride maybe and have tea. There are small fountains around the lake and a boat-shaped restaurant. You can expect to spend couple of hours here.

Nothing matches the Dilwara temples

This is one place that will surprise you the most and leave you with fond memories. The very famous Jain temples form a world famous site and once you enter it, you’ll surely agree to that. There are 4 temples in the compound and you’ll be taken through a guided tour in a large group. You’ll surely like the beauty of the place and end up appreciating the marvelous temples.

Ride up the Guru Shikhar hill

You’ll enjoy the ride to the top, well almost. The famous Guru Shikhar at 1722m it’s the highest hill of the Aravallis. It has a temple on the top and for that you’ll need to walk few hundred steps. It’s not as tiring as it may sound and you’re surely going to like the view from the top.

Brahma Kumaris center and peace park

In many ways and for many people, Mount Abu is now synonymous with Brahma Kumaris and the reason being this place is considered to be their spiritual headquarter. Their Peace Hall and Peace Park are 2 most popular tourist spots in Mount Abu. They also share their philosophy with you at both the places.

Achalgarh fort is decent place

Though its famous as Achalgarh fort, when you go there, everyone goes to a temple and not the fort like structure that you see at a short distance. I enjoyed clicking pictures of that fort more than the small market and temple which is under doing renovation.

Honeymoon Point and Sunset Point are good too

Both Honeymoon Point and Sunset Point are visited by all. Honeymoon Point is just a small area frequented by all even though going by its names it should not. Sunset Point though as many designated areas which people use to stand on and watch the sun set. And obviously, it is the most crowed place considering all the tourists converge there in the evening to enjoy the moment.
To be honest, I was not too thrilled to go there initially but to watch sun set was actually a spectacular moment. And since it’s about 1km walk from the taxi stand, a lot of people ride the hand-driven carts, famous as Maruti of Mount Abu. We did the same and experience is thrilling and scary at the same. This is the 2nd place after Kolkata where I came across hand driven carts to ferry people.

Overall you can have a memorable day-long sightseeing trip of Mount Abu and also enjoy some decent food.

Udaipur, the city of lakes and more

If Udaipur is the place for lakes, ‘poles’ and well, palaces then Mount Abu is the place for temples, ‘points’ and well, ‘mounts’. And for most tourists, Udaipur and Mount Abu are part of the itinerary, as it was for me. First let me take you to Udaipur and then we’ll go to Mount Abu too (click here for Mount Abu)
Udaipur is more than city of lakes
Udaipur is famous for being the city of lakes and rightly so too. It has two magnificent lakes in Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake but it has a lot more to offer and enjoy as well.
If you visit Udaipur, there is a good chance that you’ll get a hotel to stay near a lake with a view of the same. I stayed at Hanuman Ghat which is on the Lake Pichola, but I’ll say it’s actually on the backwaters of this lake. I could see the City Palace from my room’s window and the roof top restaurant but could not see the entire lake. And that would be true for most to the hotels there.
The City Palace is awesome
City Palace is one of the top tourist attractions of Udaipur. You need time and stamina to see it completely and enjoy it and the effort is worth it also. Unfortunately for us, when we visited the belongings of Maharana Pratap were being restored and hence were not on the display. But I’d say, spending Rs 250/- on the ticket was still reasonable.
Jagdish Temple is nearby
Jagdish Temple is very near to the City Palace and is also one place you should visit. It is not a very big temple but very impressive. And yes, it has some really nice places to eat nearby.
Bhagore ki Haveli is must see
Of all places you’ll see and enjoy in Udaipur, the one you have to see at any cost (Rs 90 I think) is the evening show at the Bhagore ki Haveli. It’s just breathless. The one hour show has traditional dances, puppet show and songs. And they have kept the best item for the last; go ahead and see this for sure. Rest in Udaipur is great but this is above all.
Fateh Sagar Lake is also good
And I am saying ‘also good’ just because I was staying near Lake Pichola and went to Fateh Sagar Lake for boating only. The boating costs Rs 100/- (per person) in general boats and higher in special boats, of course. The view all around the lake is quite impressive. You can also enjoy some snacks near the lake, we just loved them.
Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace could have been better
Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace is on the top of a hill and offers great view of Udaipur. In fact you can see the old city and the new construction, both from the Monsoon Palace. The ride to the top cost 100 odd rupees per person in the shared cab and there is a ticket price for the palace too. Except for the location, this is not a well maintained property and I didn’t find that very encouraging.
Sajjangarh Biological Park is better
On the foothills of the palace, there is the Sajjangarh Biological Park, which to me was better place to spend time than the palace. It has reasonable ticket, Rs 40 I think, but it is also wiser to hire (Rs 50 per person) the shared golf cart to take you through the park. Not a big park but has many animals including white tiger and leopard. And to our amusement, one of the leopards continued to walk close to the fence, just 2 feet away from us.
Hathipole for shopping
Contrary to what others might suggest, the best place to do shopping is Hathipole. It has all kinds of shops but the most common items sold are footwear, purses and clothes. And these are the things which have a distinct flavor of Udaipur and Rajasthan. The price is competitive though bargaining can be hard.
Moving within Udaipur is easy and cheap
My advice for moving within Udaipur is to use auto-rickshaws. These are easily available and fairly priced. We paid between Rs 40 to 80 for most of the destinations. And the auto-rickshaw drivers are very helpful also. But yes, like in every city of India I guess, when it came to dropping us to the bus station in the morning, they started off with Rs 150 and we had to settle for Rs 100. On any other time, it would have cost Rs 60 but these are the ways of the tourist places.
Udaipole for buses to Mount Abu
Most of the tourists visiting Udaipur also make plans for Mount Abu (and other nearby places like Haldi Ghati, Kumbalgarh, Chittorgarh – but I didn’t go there) and if you plan to use public transport to reach there, Udaipole is the place you need to visit. Unfortunately, you won’t get to use Govt.’s public transport options since their buses drop you at Abu Road only, which is on the foothills of Mount Abu. But good thing is – for less than Rs 300 you can get a seat in a good condition 2X2 bus. If you visit Udaipole, you’ll find many options but book tickets in time. And almost all buses either leave at 8:30am or 3:30pm, so plan accordingly.
To know more about places to visit in Mount Abu, click here

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

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Hatu Peak

Hatu Peak, at the height of 3400m or more than 11152feet, is a beautiful hilltop to visit. And the road that takes you to the top is arguably one of the steepest and scariest roads that you’ll drive through in your lifetime. On the top, there is a wonderful temple of Hatu goddess, a Govt. rest house, few rocks where people click pictures and a spectacular view.
The road to the top of the Hatu Peak is a climb of more than 5km which you’ll have to drive at first gear of your car for 95% of the route. The road is so narrow that only one car can move and that too slowly. Then worse part is if a car comes from the other side, there are only few places that have been specifically created to be wide enough to let two cars pass each other. Which means you have to reverse your car many times, and you’ll need someone to guide you and help you with that.
A kind of relief is, at the middle of the climb to the top of the Hatu Peak, there is a point where there is open space, a small pond a shop where you can take a breath, relax and then restart the journey. And when you climb down Hatu Peak, you again have to drive at first gear else speed becomes too much and you don’t have sufficient road width to navigate the turns.
The constant honking of car horns is common and necessary on way to Hatu Peak. Everyone has to be vigilant and cooperative to wait on side of the road where you find space to let other cars pass through – that’s the only way to reach the top and then drive down too.
Thankfully the road is metalled and in good condition. I went to Hatu Peak in July and so there was no snow and no rains to on that particular day. Else in fog and in snow, the drive would be a nightmare and best avoided.
Most of the cars that go to the top are taxis with few daring to drive up themselves. You’ll need a strong heart, great driving skills and a good and powerful car to make it happen. Safe Drive!

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Basai Wetland in Gurgaon

Basai Wetland is a decent place for bird watchers. Not too many birds, atleast not in November. And yes, the foul smell is a low point. But if you live in Gurugram and want to spend an hour or so, Basai Wetland is a decent place. And to reach there follow the Google Map strictly, the path goes through inner roads and you cross railway line too.
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Patna Pirates Are ProKabaddi League Season 3 Champions

The final match of the ‘bestest’ of ProKabaddi League Season was as engaging and spectacular as the entire season has been. And by winning it Patna Pirates has capped it perfectly. U_Mumba by reaching its third straight final have showed that they are the team beat.

ProKabaddi League Season 3 was bound to be different one was a given when players moved across teams. Every team had different players – some not most. The way the final four were stacked is a proof and each match of season turned out to be outstanding.

With the TV commentators also giving a lot of emphasis on explaining the rules of ProKabaddi League, there was an increased understanding of the game among viewers and fans alike.

Watching the Final Live in Stadium

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Personally for me the best part of ProKabaddi League season 3 was watching the final panga live in the stadium in Delhi. And same was true for thousands of fans who had a rocking time. The 3-4 position watch between Pune and Bengal was impressive but the final between Patna and Mumbai was a really high octane encounter.

U_Mumba was beaten in strategy, execution and luck. Patna Pirates get everything right from the word go and in no time raced to a lead of almost 10 points. U_Mumba made a great comeback in second half and was all seemed to be lost for them, they put everything to tie the score with just a minute and half left on the clock.

While U_Mumba had to fire all cylinders, Patna only needed to stay calm and don’t do anything stupid and they did just that. They knew the pressure was on U_Mumba and waited for them to attack, get desperate and make mistakes which they couldn’t help.

In the end, Patna Pirates had a deserving win to grab the ProKabaddi League crown with crowd on its feet for most of the second half. It was a day to remember for Patna Pirates, its fans, spectators at the stadium and every fan of kabaddi across the globe.

What Needs to be Improved Next Time

For someone who has been fan of Pro ProKabaddi League from season 1, I have seen things getting better every season. There are few things that need to be taken care of in next season from a spectator’s perspective.

  • Booking tickets at BookMyShow is easy but collecting the tickets a day in advance from stadium is practically impossible, definitely a nuisance. If this could be done away with, nothing like it.
  • If not then the ticket counters should be more and widely spread and if game is in Delhi at least one counter should be in Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad each and 4-6 counters in Delhi.
  • I was almost sure that I’ll miss the game since I had not been able to collect the tickets and roamed around Delhi to finally get the tickets in time – not something any one would have wanted to do.
  • The initial SMS mentioned to collect tickets from Stadium but when I got struck in traffic I was told that the tickets were also available at another place in Old Delhi. If that is the case, spectators must be informed

A Revolution

I know it’s a strong and rather misused word but ProKabaddi League has in many ways revolutionized kabaddi in India. During the final match they mentioned it was being telecast to 100 countries across the globe. Let’s hope ProKabaddi League gets better and stronger with each passing season.

How to Get Driver License in Gurgaon

After figuring out the way to get HSRP in Gurgaon or Gurugram, I decided to figure out how to get Driving License in Gurgaon or Gurugram. The process is simple, time needed is not much and yes there are few challenges you’ll face.

There are two parts to it – first you’ll have to get a Learner’s License and then you’ll get the Permanent Driving License.

Learner’s License: To get the Learner’s License in Gurugram, you’ll need to do as follows;

  1. Be prepared with the following documents
  • Two passport size photographs
  • ID proof – PAN Card is fine
  • Date of Birth proof – Matric/10th Class certificate
  • Address proof – you need minimum of 2 but my advice is carry more viz. copy of cooking gas booklet, copy of rent agreement (if living on rent), electricity bill (if own the house), copy of passbook of a PSU/nationalized bank, copy of address proof document from office (if working), copy of your company ID proof and any other valid document you have and you think can be helpful
  1. Go to Ekal Seva Kendra at the Mini Secretariat in Gurgaon. It’s on the ground floor and there is option of paid parking inside the complex
  2. Buy the Learner’s License form/file for Rs 50/-. This particular counter keeps moving so will not confuse by mentioning its exact space. When I visited last, it was the first counter on your right
  3. The file has Learner’s License application form, medical form and space to paste/staple your ID, address proof and date of birth proofs
  4. Fill all the forms and go to the medical room which is behind this room. Pay the fees there which is about 150/-. A doctor present there will sign and stamp your medical form
  5. Come back to the first room where you got the form and go to Counter No 3 – this usually has long queue but if everyone waits for his and her turn then the queue moves very fast
  6. At the Counter No 3, there is separate line for ladies and senior citizens
  7. The clerk at this counter will check your documents/proofs and if satisfied will sign it too
  8. After the clerk signs it, go back to medical room area, there would be a queue for computer based test to check your knowledge about rules related to driving
  9. This test is little tricky – you have to get 6 answers right out of a total of 10. You get 30 seconds to answer each question. Some questions are easy but some are as weird as they can get, e.g., one question I faced was about permissible speed of auto rickshaw, another on the permissible limit on protruding things/carriages from a trolley. Thankfully I got 6 right out of 9 – my score card didn’t show that I had solved 10 questions
  10. Don’t take this test lightly since a lot of people fail it and if that happens you have to get a new time to retake the test
  11. If you are smart, do Google search and you’ll get a PDF that has all the questions and correct answers too, apparently
  12. If you are successful at the test, they will click your picture there and ask you to pay the fees
  13. They’ll give you a receipt/counterfoil – this is your Learner’s License till you get your actual license delivered at your address through post. I got my Learner’s License after 6 week

Permanent Driving License: One month after the day you got your Learner’s License, you are eligible to apply for Permanent Driving License in Gurugram. You’ll need to have the original Learner’s License and counterfoil won’t do

To apply for Permanent Driving License in Gurugram, do as follows;

  • Be prepared with following documents (don’t ask me why they need these again)
  • One passport type photograph
  • ID proof – PAN Card is fine
  • Date of Birth proof – Matric/10th Class certificate
  • Address proof – you need minimum of 2 but my advice is carry more viz. copy of cooking gas booklet, copy of rent agreement (if living on rent), electricity bill (if own the house), copy of passbook of a PSU/nationalized bank, copy of address proof document from office (if working), copy of your company ID proof and any other valid document you have and you think can be helpful
  1. Go to Ekal Sewa Kendra and buy the Permanent Driving License form – it is fairly cheap and is available at the same counter from you got the Learner’s License file/form
  2. Fill the form and attach your Learner’s License in original in the file
  3. On the other side of road, right opposite the entrance to Mini Secretariat, is the Driving Test area. If you go in the morning you’ll see long queues of cars (many with L sign) parked there.
  4. The Permanent Driving License test happens only in morning, before lunch and it happens from Monday to Friday
  5. When your turn comes, your file will be checked (Form and Learner’s License only) at the gate and you’ll be allowed to enter the test area. Only drivers who have come for the test and their cars are allowed inside.
  6. Before the test starts, they will explain you the rules – listen carefully and most importantly – while driving for the test be patient, don’t hurry at all. Take your time, irrespective of how good a driver you think you are. When I took the test, out of about 20 folks almost 15 failed.
  7. In case you don’t qualify the test, you are free to come again after a week and retake the test. If you fail 2nd time too, you can come a 3rd time and so on
  8. Make sure you don’t wait till the 6th month of your Learner’s License ‘cause if you are not able to qualify and valid time period of your Learner’s License is over, you’ll have get the Learner’s License issued again – which means going through the whole grind again
  9. After you have passed the test, go to Counter Number 3. The clerk there will check all the documents and sign it
  10. After that you will go to the counter next to no 3, submit your file there and pay the fees which is about 560 – if don’t carry change don’t expect to get balance back
  11. At this counter they will also give you the counterfoil/receipt which becomes your valid ‘Permanent Driving License’ till the actual one is sent to your address by post. They say it will reach you in a week but don’t count on that.

If you found this information useful, please share through your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all other modes. This can save everyone’s time and money.

Pro Kabaddi League Season 3 from 30 January, 2016

Pro Kabaddi League Season 3 will start from 30th January, 2016. The league starts from Hyderabad with Season 2 winner UMumba taking on local team Telugu Titans. The Season 3 will come to end on the first weekend of March but the location and exact date has not been announced yet.

Finals at Delhi

For kabaddi lovers like me who live in Delhi NCR this season of Pro Kabaddi League could be great since the semifinals are scheduled at our very own Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Delhi on 4th March.  And not to forget the usual round of league games scheduled from February 24 to 27 at the same stadium in Delhi.

In season 2 we had a great time watching it live at Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Delhi and this time the excitement  is more. And yes, this time I’ll book tickets near the playing area and I’ll take my DSLR camera too.

Pro Kabaddi League Season 2

My fond memories from Season 2 of Pro Kabaddi League include Anand Mahindra’s tweet replying to my tweet, Arvind Kejriwal attending the match, Daler Mehandi singing national anthem and watching Chillar, Ajay Thakur and many other favorite players.

Looking forward to the Pro Kabaddi League Season 3. Find the schedule @ http://www.prokabaddi.com/schedules-fixtures

 

 

 

Watching Pro Kabaddi League Live

This was the day I have waited for long, getting to see live action of a high energy Pro Kabaddi League match. And we had Delhi CM, Deputy CM, Daler Mehandi and the biggest star of them all Sushil Kumar for company.

The evening started with Daler Mehandi singing the National Anthem in the company of Mr Kejriwal and the rest.

The first match was an OK encounter, it was the 2nd one that stole the thunder. I do have to confess though that I was tad disappointed that Ajay Thakur, the player who has learnt and honed hi skills at the SAI Hostel in Bilaspur (HP) – my home town, didn’t play to his potential.

Overall, it was a great evening. And yes, next year I am taking my DSLR with me.

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