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Oct 04, 2019 03:33 PM 691 Views

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We chose Traveldost for the Mansarovar trip, on recommendation of a family friend. However, except for the recommendation, none of the other factors were in favor of booking with this travel agency. Here is how the series of event led to this bitter experience-


1. May 2nd Week- We were told that we need either election card or Passport to travel via Kathmandu and usually election card is not asked for. Mr. Sanjay Gupta asked us to pay the advance and book airline tickets, in spite of knowing that I do not have an election card.


2. 23rd June- Mr. Sanjay Gupta asks us for the balance amount and then hits the panic button, that I need an election card to travel to Kathmandu as we will not receive the passport before the travel date. Since I had the election card on my maiden name, we asked him to cancel our booking and refund the amount, to which he clearly refused. On the contrary, he asked us to cancel the airline reservation for Mumbai- Kathmandu and rebook in the maiden name. We refused to do the same. After 10 days, he calls saying that we will receive the passport and we need not change the booking.


3. We had paid Rs. 50,000 advance and there was again confusion with the balance payment. Total amount quoted for Kathmandu Entry and Lucknow exit was- Rs.1,75,150 per person. Total amount for 2 people is Rs.3,50,300. After deducting Rs.50,000 balance payment was Rs. 3,00,300. The travel agent asked for Rs. 2,90,000 as the package was supposedly including flights. The flight tickets costed us Rs. 22,400 for both pax. We still paid the remaining amount without any discussion on this.


4. For travel on 31st July, we received the list of things to be carried on 15th July, that too after following up with the agent. Proactively, there was no communication from the travel agent except for asking for money.


5. We had absolutely no clue on the Visa- on arrival in Kathmandu. We figured out after reaching the airport that there is no visa fee for Indians and just an immigration form to be filled.


6. We joined the group on 2nd August(Friday) at Royal Singi, Kathmandu where the entire group was present at 3.30 p.m.


First contact, when contacted with Nimesh, he said, please come to my room and meet me. He was not in the room but the restaurant, where we went looking for him.


This is when actually had, the one and only briefing from him, he clearly mentioned that his guru, says that one should not do Parikrama of Kailash, he clearly laid the foundation of not taking us for the Parikrama.


At 9.00 p.m. a briefing session was done and was given some random jackets but no down jackets and caps way too small to cover the ears.


We could have visited Pashupatinath temple the same day. However, due to poor planning, we were taken for Pashupatinath temple the next day when it was totally crowded and absolutely no place to move, as it was a local holiday.


7. 3rd August- After the visit to Pashupatinath, we all headed out for Nepalgunj.


The group members decided to visit a temple in the vicinity, one of the group members arranged for auto, who agreed to take passengers for INR 30 per pax. However, Nimesh(our guide for the trip from Traveldost) decided to take everyone by bus charging INR 150 for the return journey from the temple.


After dinner, briefing was taken by Nirmar and Anil. This was the last day when the proper briefing was done about the trip. The next morning we were up at 4 and ready to leave for Simikot, however, due to weather conditions, we finally left at 9.30 from the hotel.


8. 4th August- After reaching Simikot, we were transferred to Hilsa and then Taklakot Hotel. Before reaching the hotel, one of the group members puked and fell ill as she had not taken Diamox. Basically, Diamox(for acclimatization) was mentioned in the list but no one informed when it had to be taken and how much it had to be taken. On reaching the Hotel, we saw dirty bedsheets. When we asked Nimesh to get them changed, he refused saying that it's not possible. I went to the reception myself and made a request to change the bedsheets and it was done.


9. 5th August- There was no schedule for this day as it was meant for acclimatization. On this day, we were told that there was a 1500 years old Sita mandir that can be visited. First of all, it was not a Sita Mandir but a monastery, which was barely 15-20 minutes' drive from the hotel. For this journey, we were charged another 100 Yuans for transport and 30 Yuans per person ticket, which comes to INR 1,306. On this day in the evening, a few members requested for an early departure the next day to spend more time at Mansarovar. I personally went to Nimesh and told him to stick to the itinerary and announce it to everyone as everyone's request can't be fulfilled. To this, his response was-''Main kisi ko mana nahi karunga, inko upar jaake ek ghante ke liye khada rakhunga''. Finally, the time decided to leave was 9.30 China Time.


10. 6th August- The actual time that we left was at 11.00 a.m. On our way, we stopped at Rakshastal for pictures. Here a guy named Maulik from the group, while standing next to Nimesh, very conveniently threw the plastic water bottle on the ground, whereas there were 2 dustbins kept right there. None of these 2 people cared about cleanliness.


After reaching Mansarovar everyone headed out to do puja before lunch. No one had any information about what time to leave for Mansarovar Parikrama. After Parikrama and dinner, we had to hunt for Nimesh, to know the plan for the next day. When we found him, he mentioned that''whistle'' was to be carried which was mentioned in the list. However, it was not mentioned in the list. Nirmar and Anil came to everyone's room to collect 3500 Yuan for 3 days of Parikrama, for horse and porter. Actual cost for the same is 2320 Yuan.


There was no clarity on the time for Divya Jyoti, people were awake almost the entire night as they kept confusing people with India time and China time.


11. 7th August- This was the day when Parikrama was to start. On our way to Yam Dwar from where the Parikrama starts, we stopped at a store and bought small oxygen bottles. I said that we should buy 2 each and Nimesh said, go ahead and buy 2 each. Umesh, a group member said that 1 each was enough as the tour organisers are also carrying oxygen. To which Nimesh said, OK, Buy One. We had no idea about the distance to reach Dirapuk, which was our first stop during Parikrama. Among the tour organizers, we were only accompanied by a Chinese guide and Nirmar. After reaching tired and drained at Dirapuk, in the evening we were told individually by the Chinese guide, that the weather ahead was bad and we will have to return to Darchen and cannot continue with the journey. There were 2 other groups putting up in the same guest house and they had no such information, but successfully completed the Parikrama in the next two days. This night another lady from our group fell ill and her oxygen level dropped. First of all there was no doctor in our group and a doctor from the other group was called to attend to her. The oxygen that our guide was carrying was not enough and they had to ask for more oxygen from other people, which they had bought on the way.


12. 8th August- In the morning, when everyone was livid about not continuing the Parikrama when the other two groups were doing it. The Chinese guide was called, who made excuses like there was no oxygen, bad weather, etc and mentioned everything to discourage people to travel forward. He said that we need to give in written that we are traveling at our own risk and he would not take anyone's responsibility. When we all the yatri's accepted that we will go-ahead for the Day 2 trek and we will fill the form the Chinese guide was insisting. When asked for the form from the Chinese guide to give us to fill, there was no form, he said mention your names on a piece of paper and give it to me.


Also, Chinese guide claimed to have.


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