Saturday, July 29, 2017

La Wah! Sa

Monsoon trip is a must every year!!!
Since years I had longed to visit Lavasa. It is nearby(2 hours) Pune but takes around 6 hours from Mumbai. For mumbaikars it might get hectic to visit Lavasa in a day without a stay in Pune or Lavasa. We had our friend in Pune, Karve Rd where we decided to spend a day before.
We had booked our hotel, Mercure Lavasa in the month of June for a stay in July(We found that the rates of the hotels decreased in July) through MakeMyTrip. We had hired a car for our three day trip Mumbai-Pune-Lavasa-Pune-Mumbai for 10k.(Contact me to enquire).
We left for Pune around 8.00AM on Friday. I was picked up from Thane and my friend from Powai. The route is via Bangalore-Mumbai Highway. The toll to enter Pune was 230 one way near Khopoli.
Pohe sambar
Misal Pav
Places to visit in Pune:
(Rs. 20 parking charges)@ Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwala(Buy Bhakarwadi. This shop at Deccan Gymkhana is open in the afternoon too), Kaka Halwai(Buy Mango mava katli, lasun chatni(garlic chutney), shengdana chatni(peanut chutney), papad), Tulshibaug(flea market where you will get a variety of bindis, hair clips, home appliances, etc.), Saras baug(garden). Saras baug is just an ordinary baug(garden) with a Lord Ganesh temple. All shops close between 1.00pm to 4.00pm. Dagadusheth, Chitale Bandhu, Kaka Halwai and Tulshibaug are all 1KM away from each other. There are many restaurants nearby temple. So after darshan we had our lunch. In the evening we stayed at friend's place.

Trekking places: Amby Valley, Malshej Ghat, Devkund Waterfall and Pawna lake

Snacks/Breakfast: Misal Pav, Sambar Pohe
Puneri Patya
Next morning we left for Lavasa at 8.00AM. On the way you could see waterfalls, dams, lush greenery and cultivated fields. It is a single road/ghat leading to Lavasa which is very clean. The sharp turns in the Ghats were fun. Lot of bikers come here for road trips. We could see Mulshi dam and Temghar Dam. Road takes you towards Temghar Dam after descending the Mutha Ghat. It was windy and raining heavily. At some places we could see nothing but fog.
Entry fee for Lavasa is 500 with parking and other discounts for 4 wheeler and ₹300 for two wheeler. Lavasa is a private, planned city being built near Pune. It is stylistically based on the Italian town Portofino, with a street and several buildings bearing the name of that town. Varasgaon Dam is a part of the other two dams in the vicinity. The other two are Khadalwasala and Panshet. Lavasa is still under construction. It is controversial for many reasons such as Environmental damage, hill cutting, Use of water resources which belongs to Pune city, Land acquisition issue etc.

Mumbai - Pune - Chadani Chowk – Paud Road – Pirangut – Take left at Ghotawade Phata – Temghar Lavasa Road – Temghar Dam – Lavasa Ghat road – Lavasa entrance Gate – Lavasa city.
Car Petrol: INR 1500/- 

We reached Mercure Lavasa by 11.00AM. We were lucky to get early check-in as rooms were available. Our hotel was 1KM away from promenade. We could hear the Temghar dam water flow from our room. 
Mercure Lavasa: Extra bed for 1750 including breakfast for the third person. No accomodation for driver. 

Suggestions & Facts:
  • Carry Windcheaters instead of umbrellas as the place is very windy
  • Foods are less spicy as they are prepared in European style.
  • Visit Lavasa in June or early monsoons to enjoy the place. During heavy rains you cannot fully enjoy the place as it becomes very windy and chill. 
  • We found that the rates of the hotels decreased in July. Check with MMT for prices.
 Things to do in Lavasa:
  • Karvi Spa, Dasvino Town
  • Segway(closed in monsoons)
  • Scenic place for photography
  • Minibus/Toy train (wheel vehicle converted in toy train)  to take city ride
  • Walk around promenade and enjoy the scenic view of Dasave Lake
  • Visit Convention Center
  • Rent a Tandem Bicycle and ride around promenade
  • There are some watersports activities in Dasave dam from morning till 5 pm(closed in monsoons)
  • There are lots of restaurants available such as The All American Diner(Liked Penne Pesto), Zodiac restaurant (4-star), 24 hrs. Coffee shop, Granma's Homemade Patisserie(Ice creams. It is fun to have ice creams in rains), Tabakh (Lebanese), Oriental Octopus (South East Asian), Past Times English pub, Chor Bizarre (North Indian cuisine) , Sub-way, Pizzawala(It is OKAY!), Brewberry's - Coffee bar and fast food outlet, Natural Ice cream etc.

Tandem bicycle for ₹200 for half an hour


It was a refreshing weekend. Thank you for reading! DO visit the place.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wine not?

Soma Vineyard resort is one of the amazing resort of Nashik. It is not as commercial as Sula and due to this it is better than Sula. This was a birthday gift to my hubby. We had booked one night one room through makemytrip and we found the rates cheapest there. Deluxe room is better as it has a balcony with lake and resort view. We hit the road at 10.00am from Thane and reached the destination by 2.00pm which was actual check-in time of the resort. On the way we had lunch at Banjaara family restaurant near Nashik. After reaching the resort we had a nap to rejuvenate ourselves. At 4.00 pm we had a vineyard tour and wine tasting. This was in the white building of the resort. First we saw the vineyard then one of the staff briefed us with the wine making process. 

Wines tasted in the tour
Cheese & Wine
Pool & Wine
In the tour she explicated six different wines(we liked Rosé wine) and which cheese goes well with which wine. Wine tasting is recommended in Soma than any other place.
The resort also has amphitheater, sheeshah, pool, adventure sports, spa and sauna, gymnasium and complimentary breakfast. People book the entire resort for wedding as well. We bought a Rosé wine and chilled out at the pool till late evening. Nights in Nashik are cooler than Mumbai. We had dinner at Seeyona Yacht Resort nearby.

Next day we went for spa after checkout at 12pm. We had balinese massage. It is a combination of acupressure, massage and aromatherapy. I would recommend balinese massage to relax your soul. Young ladies from North East with a different dialect gave us the spa and the least we could comprehend what they were saying during spa. 

Rightly said, wine improves with age....I improve with wine :p

Swirling wine does more than make you look cool. It opens the wine up and gets it ready for us to smell and taste it

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.