Thursday, April 20, 2017

Madikeri trip with in-laws

My first trip with in-laws to Coorg. We had to attend a wedding at Bantwal. So it was decided to visit Coorg post wedding. We reached Mangalore by Matsyagandha express. From there we went to Bantwal by tempo traveller. The wedding was a traditional Karnataki style with authentic food served. Post wedding we hit the road to get to Coorg. All the way we could see coffee and pepper plantations. 
Native home, Bantwal
Flora Homes, Madikeri
We reached Flora Homes, Madikeri late evening. We could relish yummy parboiled ghee rice for dinner. Flora Homes was the best place one can find for a family outing. We are free to use the kitchen and cook whatever we like. We bought small packets of masalas to cook from a nearby general store. We were served with breakfast and for lunch and dinner they ordered from nearby restaurants. It was surrounded by lush, green foliage and vibrant blooms and flowering plants. Weather was pleasant. We used to wake with a startle by the morning azaan from nearby Mosque. There was a treadmill, books to read, and television for entertainment. 
We visited Talacauvery, Raja seat( not worth visiting ). We missed Namdroling Monastery which is actually a must visit place. Coorgi ladies drape saree in a different style. I got paan chocolates for my office staff and friends. 

A relaxed trip is always the most enjoyable trip as we get time to spend with our family and friends

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Break up a road trip and chill at Pondicherry


Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry

White Colony, Pondicherry

Café des arts
From Chennai to Pondicherry and back we had booked a car for self drive.
We had our stay at Sunway Manor Hotel
There is nothing much indulging in Pondicherry. We visited Paradise beach, Promenade beach, Aurobindo Ashram in Auroville, White colony, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For meditation in Matrimandir, you need to book your seats prior. You can just visit the mandir incase you do not want to meditate.
Shopping: Auroshikha in Auroville
Munching places: Crepes and waffles, Disdis & Co, Café des arts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Padharo Gujasthan

Heya! I am back with vibrant states of India.
One month of wedlock and I got a reason to visit Ahmedabad and Udaipur. My better half's friend's wedding. The nuptial ceremonies were scheduled on 28th & 29th of January in Ahmedabad. We thought of a place we can explore nearby before her wedding days. We booked tickets for Abu. But later we came to know that there is nothing indulging in Abu. It was then decided that Udaipur could be a better place and nearby to Ahmedabad. I had been to Udaipur, Jaisalmer in schooling days which I barely remember (Had I known about blogger :p). 

It was not as chilly as expected in the month.
On 24th night we boarded Gujarat mail at 10pm till Maninagar from Dadar. The train was on time and reached on time. We reached Maninagar around 6.30 am from where we had booked a car for our entire Udaipur exploration. So..... its time for ROAD-TRIP :D. 
A road trip is incomplete without music and landscapes. We are lucky enough to have both. 
For me snacks is indispensable part of any trip :p

We had our first stop at Honest restaurant in Gujarat. On the way we had a glimpse of Akshardham temple. Udaipur is full of narrow lanes entering which you wonder where they going to lead or get hit by car approaching. For first time visitors, self drive is NOT recommended.

We had two nights stay in Hotel Justa. It had a typical Rajasthani architecture with Jharokhas. They could not provide us rooms before check-in time. So we decided to pass our time with trip plan chart. 
Rooms were fantastic. After a relaxing shower, at 3pm  we came across Hotel Krishna Dal-Bati Restro. I personally cannot relish rajasthani cuisine. The thali comprises of bati (Overloaded with Ghee), dal, gatte ka saag, lasoon chutney, mint-corriander chutney, a capsicum besan sabzi, salad, butter milk and churma(everything unlimited :p).
Krishna Dal-Bati Restro

Then with cable car we went to KarniMata Temple uphill. We found some white rats in captivity inside temple ( I just <3 animals ).
KarniMata Temple, Udaipur

We had a glimpse of kumbhalgarh fort.
Then we went to Saheliyon-ki-Bari. Hire a personal guide for every monuments you visit as they are well-versed in the history of the site or monument. They offer visitors an interesting description of the location, including its history and what effect it has had on modern society. In addition, they answer visitor questions. The garden is divided into seasonal sections. These fountains are fed by the water of the lake gushing through ducts made for the purpose.


Evening munch: DO eat pyaaz ki kachori and moong dal halwa/Phini.
Night Life: For Hookah visit Aqua lounge and for cockails and dining visit UpreAmbrai or Raas Leela Hotel.
Raas Leela Hotel, Lake Pichola
For shopping do visit: Hathi pole/Bara Bazar to get traditional marwadi sarees/Dupattas/Dress materials/Chappals. Bapu Bazar is NOT recommended.

Next day we visited Bagore-Ki-Haveli. Bagore-ki-Haveli is right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, built it in the eighteenth century. Bagore Ki Haveli is an ancient structure that has been converted into a museum. Witness Folk dance in the evening. Check with the timings before visiting the place.

Next day we visited exclusively City Palace and it's sound and light show. Sound and Light show could have been better with human like figures and more effective narration of it's history.
City Palace
Next day we had to reach Ahmedabad. We had light snacks at Havmor restaurant.
We had our rooms booked in Sports Club of Sardar Patel Stadium. The rooms were pretty well with reasonable rates.

Snacks to try in Ahmedabad: Induben khakra, Khichu at Kakaria Lake, ghatia-jalebi-fafda
Shopping: Law Garden 
Kakaria Lake has hot air ballooning and a best place to relax and enjoy with your kids.
On 28th, there were mehendi, sangeet and pre weddin reception ceremonies.
On 29th, to pass time we watched Raees movie in the morning ( :( Not SRK fan emoji ). We attended the wedding and reception in the evening.
For breakfast, both days we had south indian snacks only as there is no supply of eggs due to flu.

 P.S. On return journey our luggage weight exceeded 15kg because of our shopping.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mega Tree Plantation event July 1, 2016

We need trees to survive on this planet earth. We all know it. However, with the number of trees reducing rapidly, survival will soon be a major issue. To save our future from a being a barren land, we all need to plant more trees. What can be a better occasion than the monsoon? Initiating a drive for this cause is the Government of Maharashtra, who had decided to plant TWO CRORE saplings on FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2016Yes, that's correct, TWO CRORE TREES!

To make things convenient for you and me, Miss Aniketa Sawant had formed a WhatsApp group with more than 180 people from Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. Committed to this noble cause, we all intended to work with the government authorities in this Mega Tree Plantation happening on Friday, July 1, 2016As a group, we planted as many saplings as possible.
LocationAs per the Government plan, the nearest locations to Mumbai are Mohili and Koshimbe villages in Bhiwandi.
TimeThe timings for sapling plantations were between 8:00 AM-1:00 PM.
I first registered for the event then I was added to a whatsap group and later we were contacted by coordinators of respective areas.
There were pick up spots for the bus at areas like Teen Haath Naka, Mulund, Kanjurmarg etc. The bus was almost full with around 60 enthusiasts. Everyone was jovial and zealous about the event. We were served sufficient breakfast and lunch throughout the event. We had started our journey at 8.15am and had reached by 10am at the plantation area(Koshimbi village in Bhiwandi). We started collecting saplings and planting them at the spots where pits were already made by the forest officials. It was raining heavily. We were initially draining out excess water from the pits before planting saplings. There were 13000 saplings to be planted. Schools and colleges from all over Mumbai participated in this event. Forest officials provided certificates of participation to all of them. Overall more than 2 crore saplings were planted on this day all over Maharashtra.
We reached home contented around 5pm.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Offbeat historical himachal Dasrath Ka Danda Trek 21st May to 29th May 2016

TK photography
TK photography
Dasrath Ka Danda Trek is a best option for weekend trek for family, Corporate workers and School Group with rafting & camping option. Dasrath ka Danda Situated at an altitude of 4750 ft. above sea level, it can accessed from Deoprayag & Shivpuri, Rishikesh. Trekkers can see confluence view of the holy Rivers Bhagirathi & Alaknanda & ancient temple of Lord Rama in Deoprayag, trek pass through villages, thick forest of rhododendron, alpines, pine and oak & on the way wild animals. Dashrath ka Danda trek offers a majestic view of Himalayan range snow covered peaks like Banderpunchh ,Chaukhamba, Trisul, Nanda Devi & night stay in camp which will be a unforgettable experience in life. Myth relates here to the great king Dasrath & Ultimate servant of his blind parents Sarvan Kumar & by mistake King Dasrath hit Sarvanan kumar by arrow & he died here so that day onwards this place known as Dasrath ka Danda.

Approx. Travelling cost (Train Journey) from pune to pune should be 4500-/- and Mumbai to Mumbai will be 4000 more.
____________________________________________Note: if porter is required during trek, arrangements can be done at 250/- Per day per bag.
The cost for the tour was 17000/- including everything
Region : Deoprayag & Tihari District, Uttarakhand
Days required : 4Night/5 Days
Trek Grade : Easy
Altitude : 2200 m/ 7250 ft
Best Time of Trek : Accessible all months of year
Temperature : 5 to 20 degrees Celsius
Trekking distance : 24 Kms.
Nearest Village : Deoprayag
Motorable road : Deoprayag
Nearest Rail head : Rishikesh /Haridwar/Dehradun
Things to carry:
Sunscreen lotion(Lotus SPF 50)
Full sleeves T-shirts
Hat / Cap, Woolen cap / Balaclava
Pair of Woolen Gloves not mandatory
Fleece Sweatshirt
Windproof Jacket 01 nos.
Leggings from a Track-suit, shorts,
Pair of sturdy sports shoes with rubber sole
Cotton Socks, Woolen Socks, Extra shoe laces
Raincoat / Poncho 01 nos.
Full Body Towel 01 nos.
Torch with spare batteries
Medicines as specified by doctor
Water bottle and water purifier
Floaters ( you can use after reaching camp)
Camera, Cam charger, Mobile Charger.


Train Schedules throughout trip:
Sr No
Garib Rath
Mussoorie Express
Mussoorie Express
DLI Rohila

From Borivli(E) railway station, we had our train booked, Garib Rath Express( On-time always, hygienic, full ac but no pantry ) till Hazrat Nizamuddin(New Delhi). To kill time in journey we kept playing mendicot. If you love train journey but thinking about food quality and availability raises your eyebrows then carry long lasting delicacies like Theplas, lime sauce, chewdas and dry fruits. I always love to travel in train as we get to interact with fellow passengers, share each others travel plans and sometimes share our meals too.
After reaching New Delhi station at 9am next day, we kept our luggages in luggage room with compulsory lock put on our luggages. We had our next train at 10pm so we just decided to hang around in New Delhi. We hired an auto and went to Chandni Chowk. At Chandni Chowk we implelled ourselves to Gali Paranthe Wali as we were hungry at our peak. We relished variety of paranthas with sweet and namkeen lassis. From Chandni Chowk we went to Rajiv Chowk by Metro rail. There we have world’s 7th most costliest office destination, Connaught Place, known as CP.
We watched movie at Rivoli PVR(where even carrying of handbags inside are strictly not permitted), shopped at Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan with 35% off.   Belly dance and other musical live performances grabbed us in Oxford Bookstore. One of our trip mate explored Chawri Bazar(another yellow line metro station), specialized wholesale market of brass, copper and paper products.
In the evening we all met at New Delhi station again where we took back our luggages kept. From New Delhi we went to Old Delhi by cab. We had train at 10 pm, Mussoorie Express (Worst train, always delayed) from Old Delhi Station. There was a McDonald's at the other end of the station where we had our quick light dinner.

1st Day of actual trip:
We reached Haridwar station around 9am. One more trek mate joined us at Hardiwar. It was drizzling there.
A car took us to Hrishikesh. We kept our luggages at Paradise huts which are tent(Capacity of three in one tent with proper bedding and table fans & a pretty place to stay with a river nearby ) stay in Hrishikesh. It was our base camp.

Paradise Huts, Hrishikesh

Bungee Jumping, Jumpin Heights
My Bungee Video.
After a quick lunch it was time for the thrill. Drived to Jumpin Heights where we did Bungee jumping for 3500/- + video(optional) 500/- with prior booking. We were grouped as per our body weight. We even signed acknowledgement of risk forms. If you fail to jump you get no refund. We go to the edge of a bridge on the mountain where only our ankles are tied to their rope. We don't get a jerk as it is a spring by which we swing after free fall. We are not supposed to wear any hair clips or accessories & not permitted to carry our cameras. It is completely safe with properly organized by New Zealand experts. After reaching down we are untied to the rope and we have to trek all the way back. We got "Got Guts" certificate and a badge after attempting bungee successfully.
Later we reached nearby hotel to Deoprayag.

2nd Day :
Deoprayag to Chaund Village - 6 km – 4-5 hours.
Early morning we walked towards Deoprayag visiting Confluence of the Ganga’s Tributary rivers Alaknanda & Bhagirathi river. We were warmly welcomed with dhol by Shri Dr. Prabhakar Joshi.
"Devaprayaga" means "Godly Confluence" in Sanskrit.
Devprayag is the home of the late Acharya, Pt. Chakradhar Joshi (a scholar in Astronomy and Astrology) who established Nakshatra Vedh Shala (an observatory) in the year 1946. This is located on a mountain called Dashrathanchal at Devprayag. The observatory is well equipped with two telescopes and many books to support research in astronomy. It also contains about 3000 manuscripts from 1677 AD onwards collected from various parts of country. Apart from the latest equipment, it also has the ancient equipment like Surya Ghati,Dhruv Ghati which showcase the pride of Bharatiya progress in the field of astronomy. Shri Dr. Prabhakar Joshi and Acharya Shri Bhaskar Joshi (Popularly known as Guruji) are currently in charge and caretakers of the observatory.

Devprayag has much natural beauty. Other than Sangam and Raghunath Ji Temple in Devprayag, one can visit sacred places like Mata Bhuvneshwari temple at nearby village Pundal followed by Dhaneshwar Mahadev temple, Danda Naggaraja (Lord of Snakes) temple and Chandrabadni temple.

Devprayag is the place where river Alaknanda & Bhagirathi confluence, but according to mythology, there is another river belong to this confluence named Saraswati which originates from Mana Village in Badrinath and in Devprayag, the river comes from the feet of Shri Raghunath Ji in Raghunath Temple. There are also the footprints of Lord Rama exist at "Ram Kunda".Lord Shiva is worshiped here in the form of Linga, named Tondeshwar Mahadev and Dhaneshwar Mahadev. Tondeshwar Mahadev is Just in front of Sangam.

Devprayag is surrounded by 3 Godly peaks, named Giddhanchal Parvat, Dashrathanchal Parvat, and Narsinghancal Parvat. Giddhanchal Parvat is on top of Raghunnath Ji temple. Narsinghanchal Parvat is in front of Giddhanchal Parvat and Dashrathanchal Parvat is on top right side of "Sangam". Lord Shiva is worshiped here in the form of Linga, named Tondeshwar Mahadev and Dhaneshwar Mahadev. Tondeshwar Mahadev is Just in front of Sangam. It is very crowded on the day of Mahashivratri. Many devotees arrives here to donate Gangajal on Linga. Dhaneshwar Mahadev is in route on old Badrinath Way, starts from Bah Bajar (A market in Devprayag). With this way devotees can reach at Just another temple of Maa Durga in Pundal Village. In this temple, Maa Durga is worshiped in Maa Bhuvneshwari form. The temple of Maa Bhuvneshwari is situated at Pundal village which is at footstep of approx 500-700mtrs from Dhaneshwar Temple."Mishras" live here in Pundal village.
Confluence of the Ganga’s Tributary rivers Alaknanda & Bhagirathi river
Offered puja at confluence
Shri Dr. Prabhakar Joshi at Nakshatra Vedh Shala
One village local joined us.  We had a home stay in Chaund Village.
We had rock climbing and rappelling the same evening.
Fun time was while playing dumb charades with self made movie names in the evening.
Rock climbing
Chaund Village
3rd Day :
Chaund Village to Dasrath ka Danda - 8 km – 5 hours
Breakfast in Chaund Village & started trek to Dashrath ka Danda. We visited the places  Khetu Tappad, where Sharavanan Kumara’s parents stay, his death place Noli Dhara where water sound still can be heard & dashrath ka danda from where King Dashrath heard the sound of water and shot an arrow. We built our tents near Khetu Tappad with only sleeping bags and thin mattresses to sleep inside.  Noli Dhara, is often visited by leopards and deers to quench their thirst.
At the end of the day we were completely exhausted. Our all time energy drink was patanjali khas juice. Evening we had Bonfire.
Khetu Tappad
Dashrath Ka Danda

Early Morning Yoga
4th Day :
Dasrath ka Danda to Shivpuri- via Pawati devi temple – 10 km by trek – 6 Hours
We had porters(if needed) to carry heavy luggages while trek down all the way to Chaund village.

We were the very first trek group to trek all the way to Dashrath ka Danda and back.
It was very tiring but fun skidding here and there sometimes falling flat on butt. We hired car from Chaund to Hrishikesh back to Paradise huts. We dropped by nearby hospital as one of our trek mate was unwell.
After reaching Hrishikesh, we spent that night in Paradise huts.

5th Day :
Day of departure. After lunch we reached rafting area.
We kept luggages in one shop whose guides took us for rafting with their boat and rafts.
We saw RamJhula and LaxmanJhula on the way during rafting. The flow of Ganga was bit dangerous with chilling cold stream.
We had refreshing bel ka juice and maggi in the evening. At 6.30pm we witnessed Ganga Aarti.
We came back to Haridwar station. We had booked Mussourie express till Rohila.
Next day we boarded Garib Rath express from Rohila station. On the way you can enjoy rabri at Abu road station during journey. Thanks to SPR Hikers and Mr. Bist(for even cooking meals throughout trip) for the guidance throughout.

TK photography

TK photography

Ganga Aarti