Trips and Itineraries for Kudal
Hotels and Homestays in Kudal 6 Hotels
Weekend Getaways from Kudal
282 Kms from Kudal
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Called the Oxford of the East, Pune is a bubbling cosmopolitan city. A large student hub, this city loves art, culture and theatre. The Sahyadri hill range of the Western Ghats makes this destination ideal for hiking and wildlife spotting. A shower of rain brings the city alive. The Agha Khan Palace of Pune is a sprawling complex with emerald green gardens and sprawling lawns, perfect for a casual stroll. The Shaniwarwada is an ancient structure built by the Peshwas and the ruins of this marvellous architecture can still be seen in the city. Dedicated to the brave hearts of the Indian Army, the National War Museum is a popular tourist destination and houses militia paraphernalia. Those interested in meditation can get day passes from the Osho International Meditation Resort, which is very popular with tourists. Handcrafted beer, baked goodies at the Kayani Bakery on East Street and eateries such as Touche the Sizzler, Malaka Spice and Dario's will complete your trip here. Read More
The plan was again for Andaman and Nicobar islands , but because it so seemed a far cry , we were obliged to drop the ‘An’ from Andaman.The same group as last time , almost . Just that this time , in the place of the non-kafir , we had Prat amongst us. The packing was done , the bookings were done. Our itinerary was supposed to be of a three-day trip : First travel to Daman , then to Diu (which is a fifteen-hour bus journey from Daman) , back to Daman , a detour to Udvada , the small ghost town of Parsis (Zoroastrians) where a fire has been burning at Atash Behram for more than a thousand years ! without any seventh-year itches , or thousand-and-one-year itches , and then back to home.I had even drawn a customized map , carefully noting the distances and time between the spots we had planned to visit.We were just one day away from the impending journey , and this is where things went awry – violent showers showed up at Daman and Diu.While planning the journey , we had carefully picked up the dates with the brightest , immaculate sun shining on the website portal. Nevertheless, the website defied us – Weather went south !Nonetheless , the following night , a pack of six foolhardy youths sneaked out of their college periphery (owing to lack of permission) and set out to set the Thames on fire ! or the Arabian sea , or… hell! the Gulf of Cambay on fire !!!
We started off at Pune , all set for Aurangabad , sneaked out of the college at 8 pm pretending to be going for random chores , because the college won’t allow us to leave. Once out, we set off for the railway station and boarded a train to Aurangabad.Once in Aurangabad , we right away started our journey after a few samosas on a booked brand new Innova.It was drizzling and the pristine grasslands , hills and forests on the way made the scene even more picturesque. After an hour of travelling, we halted at a petrol pump to pour some fluid into the car and in turn , empty out some of our fluid. But were confronted by a harsh dilemma. There was just a ladies toilet available ( so are men just supposed to pee around wetting random bushes? ) which led us to hold our urges a little longer . However ,N2 and N3 , antiblack and notsowhite , loose cannons that they were , couldn’t keep up and surrendered in the face of their more faithful callings. They peed in the ladies toilet , and that too, in the wash basin , because they didn’t have sound comprehension about how to use the female facility ( how could we possibly have known? Given our decorum of not sneaking into the lady facilities so often).
Thanks for reading and happy travelling :)* Do visit our blog www.alifeinslowmotion.com for other travel stories as well :
It was a long time we went with family for an outing. I and Arriesh's family were planning to visit a place which would be relaxing and close to nature. Being the nearest beach from Pune, we finalized Alibaug. We hired a cab and started from Pune at 7:00 AM in the morning.
Day 55, I reluctantly headed home to Pune. I Caught a midnight train from Arrah station and 30 hours later I was back home. Everything had remained the same, I had changed...
Just same excited as July 2016 Ladakh trip. Last year we did, yeah "us" did the Ladakh Expedition and now we were all set for Spiti. Let me just brief you how we came up with Spiti. Being naive Himalayan tamers we did Ladakh in 2016 and due to Kashmir curfews we needed to skip Srinagar, Kargil and Nubra from our itinerary. Here you can have complete lookup over my "Ladakh 2016 - Cursing The Kashmir Curfew". Eager to go Kargil Memorial, Nubra Valley and Pangong again :) but fate destroyed my wishes. Srinagar got shut down again and transport offices were closed. No other option than to go via Manali was left with us. We re-planned from Manali and skipped Srinagar from the plan. And whoa, now spending around 40k just to see one new place ( Nubra ) was not a good deal. That was the time when I decided for solo Ladakh. But Neha ( One of my colleagues ) keep on suggesting Spiti and she sent me pics of Kalpa Valley [ Suicide Point ] and yeah it triggered me and Anya; Within seconds Spiti plan was on. In 2 days read all blogs and made a custom plan of my own. Yayy, Spiti Baby. Well getting back to us, we 3 are still the same, myself "Azee" riding on my babe Honda Stunner CBF, my school friend "Anya" with his beast Honda Unicorn & "Gaurav" our best buddy with the Street King Yamaha FZS. We added 3 new riders, first timers, my cousin "Sujit" and Anya's 2 college mates "Kavya" and "Purvesh" on Simla rented Classic 350 & Electra respectively. 17th June 2017 00:40AM flight PNQ - IXC to reach at 08:30AM. Now lets hit the roads.Packed Bikes, Ready For Transport >>
Where & When?10th of September 2017 at the Finkick Adventures SCUBA Diving Center, Divisional Sports Complex Swimming Pool, Yerawada, Pune.Who can attend?Age 10+, non swimmers welcomed, no upper limit but if over 45 yrs of age, will need a signed medical certificateHow much does it Cost?There are limited tickets available, only 200 diver and 500 visitor. A visitor pass is priced at INR 100, early bird full cover passes are at INR 1950, increasing to INR 2850 post 28th August. (Get passes)What do you need to carry?Your own towel, swimming costume and loads of enthusiasm!What’s special for a certified diver attending?Certified Divers can participate in a full underwater obstacle course and a free-diving course. Try holding your breath and taking a dive without a tank!More info on the EVENT PAGE!
60 Kms from Kudal
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of the North Goa District and is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River Estuary is the Tiswada Region. The more popular name is Panaji but Panjim is also a commonly used term. This was the name by which the Portuguese used to address this city. When the whole of India got independence, Goa was still under the colonial rule of the Portuguese who freed it a number of years later. The Portuguese effect is what you will get in each and every thing of Goa and Panjim too. The attractions here are the lovely white church, the food that you will get here and of course the different types of building lined on the sides of the narrow streets. These houses are the remains of the various clans who have ruled here including the Latins and the Portuguese. The houses look beautiful and brightly coloured and many of them have simple yet pretty wrought iron balconies too. Many of these are now either resorts for budget concious travellers or restaurants for the ones who love to taste Portuguese and Goan cuisine.Read More
The third day was reserved for Panjim, as there were many architectural building designed by Charles Correa to visit in Panjim. So we started with the Kala Academy. This is a cultural centre which is run by the government of Goa. The centre has a very beautiful green space at the back side which faces the backwaters.
As soon as we woke up on our bus ride, rain greeted us and the weather suddenly became humid, but the views we encountered on our way and the excitement of the journey ahead made us ignore the uncomfortable weather.
Finally the day came. Valentine's day, we woke up early in the morning and left to Panjim for the carnival. After 30-45 minutes we reached Panjim and joined the carnival. Many groups were performing at that carnival, it was something that I can't forget in my life. Well planned, well coordinated. Awesome performance was given by the groups and members who participated in that Carnival . We spent our whole day in that carnival and we enjoyed to the maximum.
We then headed towards panjim, the quaint capital city of this cute state of goa. I had made my list of places to go much before the trip started and hence was searching for a boutique shop called Barefoot. It is difficult to locate but worth your time. The shop has great collection of eclectic home decor products and also pretty everyday wear jewels. The shop is located at 31st Janeiro Road or as the locals say 31st January Road, just near the subway,in a bylane.
A day I was looking forward to, today I took the ride from North Goa to South Goa. I had one beach in mind, very less known, secluded and amazingly scenic. Hollant Beach is a secluded beach close to the airport and very less people know about it. The ride is also awesome, this is one good place to pack a lunch, chill and spend a day. The major attraction is that this beach offers one km of shore line with pool like water and nominal waves. This is the place to come and play a game of water polo with your friends.I had booked a flight next day early morning, this gave me 4 full days in Goa.
53 Kms from Kudal
The third day started of late, and as it was our last day, we spent the some time in lazing around in the pool. At around 3 we visited Calangute beach where we enjoyed a few water sports (snorkling, parasailing etc). They offer great packages but it is very important to negotiate the prices. I personally would recommend water sports at this beach.Read More
The third day started of late, and as it was our last day, we spent the some time in lazing around in the pool. At around 3 we visited Calangute beach where we enjoyed a few water sports (snorkling, parasailing etc). They offer great packages but it is very important to negotiate the prices. I personally would recommend water sports at this beach.
We checked into Fab Hotel La Flamingo, Calangute, a very good 3 star hotel for its rate, took some rest had lunch and started off our trip by visiting Fort Aguada. Fort Aguada is the best-preserved Portuguese fort in India and then took a break and had a bite at Cafe Sussegado Souza to try one of Goan delicacy "Bebinica", then followed by an evening well spent at Calangute beach. Then went for some street shopping at Calangute Market and ended the day with a hefty dinner at Infantaria. Once Calangute's best bakery, Infantaria is now a popular Italian-cum-Indian fondue-meets-curry restaurant.
It took me couple of minutes to register where I was when I waked up that morning. It was our third day at Goa but it was feeling like I was there for years. I had to actually recall, from where I had come and where I work, it felt like a lifetime ago. I went to the balcony, needed some fresh air, after the four hours' sleep I could not even think properly. We didn't have any plan. I thought to spent the day just seating in the balcony. After couple of minutes I realized, it was our last day in Goa, we might never get the chance to come back here again. I went back to the room; my friends were having the same feeling too. We got ready in no time and left for Anjuna beach.
We had to wake up early in the morning. It was not an easy task, waking up early in Goa is never an easy task. We had our Dudhsagar trip planned today. The tour operator provided transportation. The traveler picked us up from our home-stay. There were around 15 people including us. They stopped for breakfast in their designated place. The café was a bit expensive but their south Indian food tasted good.
Further, the road leads to the green highway and then the city besides the sea. The city roads with all food around, the smell of fish and the views of coconut craft. We reach our pre-booked homestay just a walk away from the Calangute Beach. As it was a big group with three small babies, so on reaching there, all we wanted was just to rest. A nap and then we go out for lunch. Nearby is all full of many food joints and one can easily fetch food from different cuisines- but as we say "When in Rome, do as Romans do", so I would suggest go for the Goan food, as it tastes better than anything else.Later in the day, after dinner, a walk to the beach was our very first encounter with the Goan beach waters- but a bad experience. It's true people forget life in Goa, but people don't forget to exploit it. The beach was not clean and the water stinky. Sad to say, but depressing. To the good of Goa, is also a bad side. Also, the ice-cream vendors around could only sell us ice-creams at a price much higher than MRP with hug bargains. Depressing was the end of the day, but it was the first day and awaits the fun.Day 2, we start our journey towards the beautiful Goa. Down towards Panjim and then further towards the Goan hills which led us to the silence and calmness of South Goa. Post lunch we reach the Palolem Beach and check in our accommodation, a few kilometers away from the beach as we didn't pre-book. Otherwise, its quite a nice place and a walk away from the beach, we find many different accommodations.
We reached our stay late afternoon, a cosy homestay managed by an extremely warm and helpful elderly couple. Dumped our bags and headed to the streets for a nice Goan lunch to soak in the vibe.Walked to the beach post lunch and this is where I realised there was a side to Goa that nobody talks about, the infamous dark side.The approach road all the way to the beach, swarming with tonnes of people. But, this was not the problem; their mentality was.I was absolutely disgusted and dismayed by the absolute lack of character amongst such a large number of men. Men commenting and either trying not to keep their hands to themselves or walk straight into the girls around.The beach was equally crowded but we decided to ignore the scenario and spend the rest of the evening swimming and playing football.After sunset we decided to change and head to Baga for new years eve.No surprises here- the crowd had only gotten worse. Tonnes of drunk, unruly men; no room to enter any party places; bouncers loosing their mind. Walking down Baga hearing men pass lewd comments all along thinking to myself whatever happened to respect? Goa on new year's was supposed to be an electrifying atmosphere with a bit of romance of course but it was everything but that. •note to self and all of you guys reading this: plan the new year's night properly and well in advance•
Today was only about getting the feel of Goa. It was different and not disappointing definitely. An evening walk near the resort on Calangute beach was the perfect end of the day. Few shacks were open with lesser customers but same excitement. The tranquility of seashore with grey clouds all over the sky was soothing to the eyes and mind.
On reaching our guest house, we freshen up and went to beach . It was around 4 a.m in the morning but the aura of the place made us forget all our tiredness. In the morning , Ankit received a call and we got to know that one of our friend is already in Goa with his family.After a peaceful snooze , we took shower and went outside , hired a car and started our local sightseeing while heading towards Panjim . We decided to join the carnival that was supposed to be held on Valentine's day there. After a long fun-filled day, we went back to guest house and took some rest. Spending night on Calangute beach with friends while enjoying the music of water waves ,beer in hands, and cold breeze, gave an awesome feeling!!
17) Spent time in The Shack
7) You will never see as calm as this Sunset at Calangute Beach
90 Kms from Kudal
Day 3-We got up early today to catch the sunrise of the day at Colva. Early morning was breezy, cozy and fresh. The sand covers itself into hues of golden rays and view is spectacular.Advise- Go barefoot to enjoy sunrise. Walk into the slow gentle waves as they wash the shore, feel the cool breeze and love the breathtaking sight in front of you. If you are accompanied with your love interest, its icing on the cake.Varca beach - This exotic beach has white sand and a lot of peace and serenity, making it an ideal spot for sea bathing. Magnificent Palm trees around seashore line made it more beautiful. Lots of little white crab were around the beach.Colva-Benaulim-Varca – this is one endless stretch of white sand beach.We move towards Benaulim. You could find some best spa here to pamper yourself.You can get tattoos and hair braiding done at a very cheap price. You just need to bargain.We saw the lovely sunset at beach.Advise – Try different cocktails in Goa like Prawn Cocktail with Jack Daniels Sauce, yummier and tastier. Try their local drink ‘Fenny’ but not all love this drink.We returned to our stay and end our day with street shopping at Colva beach. We brought few souvenir at very cheap rate (all thanks to our bargaining skills), some cool shorts and T-shirts at unbelievable price. For girls, you get really cool clothes at very less price. We shop cashew nuts with brown cover. Its tastier than the regular cashew nuts. You can also buy authentic cashew chocolates. Beware of the frauds as they cheat the tourists.We returned our bikes and moved towards airports to catch flight for Bangalore. Tip before you move to Goa, Goans are really very friendly and helpful but there is exception everywhere.Read More
Day 3-We got up early today to catch the sunrise of the day at Colva. Early morning was breezy, cozy and fresh. The sand covers itself into hues of golden rays and view is spectacular.Advise- Go barefoot to enjoy sunrise. Walk into the slow gentle waves as they wash the shore, feel the cool breeze and love the breathtaking sight in front of you. If you are accompanied with your love interest, its icing on the cake.Varca beach - This exotic beach has white sand and a lot of peace and serenity, making it an ideal spot for sea bathing. Magnificent Palm trees around seashore line made it more beautiful. Lots of little white crab were around the beach.Colva-Benaulim-Varca – this is one endless stretch of white sand beach.We move towards Benaulim. You could find some best spa here to pamper yourself.You can get tattoos and hair braiding done at a very cheap price. You just need to bargain.We saw the lovely sunset at beach.Advise – Try different cocktails in Goa like Prawn Cocktail with Jack Daniels Sauce, yummier and tastier. Try their local drink ‘Fenny’ but not all love this drink.We returned to our stay and end our day with street shopping at Colva beach. We brought few souvenir at very cheap rate (all thanks to our bargaining skills), some cool shorts and T-shirts at unbelievable price. For girls, you get really cool clothes at very less price. We shop cashew nuts with brown cover. Its tastier than the regular cashew nuts. You can also buy authentic cashew chocolates. Beware of the frauds as they cheat the tourists.We returned our bikes and moved towards airports to catch flight for Bangalore. Tip before you move to Goa, Goans are really very friendly and helpful but there is exception everywhere.
Only thing we did different today was 40km ride to Benaulim Beach. Road was in very good condition and we took around 40 mins to reach there from Agonda. The beaches in the south Goa are clean, beautiful and less crowded. You can make out the difference if you visit Panaji or Calangute at this time of the year.
To sum it all South Goa is the more serene half of the state where you’ll find some fabulous historic sights, Goa’s finest Portuguese mansions, winding country lanes and a series of resorts that range from the 5star hotel strips of Cavelossim and village feel of Benaulim, to the backpacker – friendly beach hut bliss of Palolem, Patnem and Agonda.If you want to drift into tranquility the south is a redolent, rewarding and re-energizing place to base yourself.
We arrived at around 10.30 am via a bus from Mumbai, the place is well connected from Mumbai. You get a lot of options, personally we chose to stick to travelling in a sleeper bus, which can cost somewhere from Rs.1400 - Rs1500.Benaulim, is close to Madgao so our halt was at Madgao, from where we booked an Innova for the duration of our stay there. It is advisable to book a car or a bike, as per convenience since the transportation otherwise via auto or cab can cost you a lot.A decent car can be availed within the budget of Rs.1000-1500 and a bigger one can dig a hole in your pocket upto Rs.3000.
A tiny beach town located within 10 kms of the bustling Madgaon is a must visit. It has a white sand beach which is relatively empty and has only a couple of shacks to eat. It is a place where you can sit under the beautifully clear night sky and spot the uncountable stars and galaxies in awe and admiration. It is so beautiful that you sometimes fear this is too good to be true and you are either hallucinating and It is just a huge painted ceiling you are stating at. One can also make an occasional wish on a falling star in the quiet and clear night. The village itself is located among green rain kissed coconut trees and small, beautiful and clean houses with a garden on the porch adorn the countryside. The feeling is that you have been transported to a time gone by as you sit and reminiscence about where you are, what you have achieved and most importantly what could have been.Varca Beach:
98 Kms from Kudal
Best time to visit - February,March,April,May,June,July
Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, is a land of temples and regal palaces. The most revered of them is the Mahalaxmi Temple, which has a simple yet fascinating structure. Other temples here are the Temlabai temple, Jyotiba temple and the Bimkhambi Ganesh temple. The Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Museum, which was once the residence of the first Maharaja of the Maratha Empire, is a vivid display of artefacts representing the ancient history of the city. Take a walk through history at the Panhala Fort, which is an imposing fortification believed to have housed Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. Kolhapur is known for its spicy array of Maharashtrian food. Try some of the local delicacies at Padma Guest House, Waman Guest House and Parakh. Being a bustling tourist destination, Kolhapur has a lot to offer when it comes to lodging for all types of budget travellers. Don't forget to take back the local Kolhapuri Chappals, that make for lovely traditional footwear. Read More
Now the D Day arrived it was 1st of Dec and I was sitting in my office preparing powerpoint presentation for the client instead of our roadtrip and celebrating our anniversary with my wife . My wife availed the leave as she had informed all her colleagues that we are going for the roadtrip and if she will go offc everyone will ask what happened. She was angry too and we didn’t talked in the morningMe : Hello, Happy AnniversaryWife : So ??? Do your offc work ( I can feel the Angriness on the other side of phone )Me : Lets continue our tripWife : How ????Me : Will travel in Night , pack the bags and be ready . We will start the journey once I reach home from OffcWife : Is it possible ?Me: Yes we will start today and cut short the journeyWife: YipppieMe: Ok, I will reach home by 4 will start soonSomehow pleaded to my manager that I will leave a bit early and he agreed. Now the wait was killing. Once the clock strike 3 30 PM I left office and was at home. When reached home found that the luggage is full ( Thanks to my wife who travels very heavy ) .Now there is no time to repack bags so we started from Pune by 5 PM with a good pace in chilling winter reached Kolhapur by 11 PM. Time to take rest in a pre-booked hotelNow another jolt of hammer, we informed the hotel earlier that we will be doing card payment, thanks to demonetisation we had only INR 6000 of hard cash. He agreed upon that but once we reached Kolhapur found that his swiping machine was not working as the internet is down ( Thanks to NHAI fellow who cut the broadband line while digging) and also he didn’t had any Paytm account. We tried for Online Transfer also but we failed. Now with no option left, we paid 2k to him in hard cash.Now the biggest question “Shall we return to Pune as we have only INR 4000 left”. Wife said will decide tomorrow morning as it’s already too late
It is a historical place and has great temples too
The closest central place, to cover the spots, in Kolhapur one can visit Mahalakshmi Mandir, Binkhambi Ganesh Mandir, Shahu Place, Rankala Lake. Also you can visit famous Jyotiba temple which is hardly 26 Km from the place all places can be covered in 2 days span
From Kolhapur to Malvan it takes 5 hours. There are two routes to reach Malvan- via Gaganbawada ghat or via Radhanagri. We took the route via Radhanagri village. The road condition is good. But the route has lots of turns and swirls. We left from Kolhapur at 7.30am and reached Malvan at 1.30pm. On the way we stopped at Radhanagri for breakfast and at backwaters, a little ahead from Radhanagri near Anuradha village.
118 Kms from Kudal
Best time to visit - January,February,June,July,August,September,November,December
A lovely city in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri is a port city surrounded by the beautiful Sahyadri Hills. If this is your first time here, you'll be spoilt for choice. Ganapatipule Beach makes for a great visit and is perfect for a leisurely afternoon. There is a Ganesh temple right next to the beach that is also worth a visit. The Ratnadurg or Bhagwati Fort, which is a beautiful structure constructed in a horseshoe shape, surrounded by the Arabian Sea, is also a beautiful place to check out. Thebaw Palace is another lovely touristy spot where the Burma King Thebaw was imprisoned. The palace is built in Pagoda style and is a must see. Bhatyachi Khadi is where the river meets the sea; the village near this place is Bhatye known as Bhatyachi Khadi. If you're here from March to June, do pick up some juicy Alphonso mangoes that the city is famous for. There are a lot of other scenic cities around Ratnagiri and depending on your mood, you can choose any of the cities to spend your vacations. Read More
According to the inscriptions on clay tablets that were found during initial excavations at Ratnagiri in 1960s,this was a great center of learning for Tantric Buddhism and especially Vajrayana school.The clay tablets also mention it's name as 'Shri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Arya Bhikshu Samaghya'.It was active between 5 th and 13 th century AD.Amid the scattered ruins at the hilltop are various votive stupas but it's the main monastery complex at the center which is miraculously preserved till date.The entrance gate to the main compound is made up of green chlorite stone with some intricate carvings which makes it distinct from other stones in the compound .As we stepped inside once again,stories ran in my head about monks and their activities that would have kept the place busy many centuries ago. The various sized Buddha heads were aglow with the direct moonlight falling over them.What could the various head sizes signify? May be they were designed as various steps towards attaining the greatest wisdom,of becoming the perfect Buddha head. Ratnagiri has two large monasteries and right in the middle of it stands a large statue of Buddha which is flanked by the statues of Vajrapani and Padmapani,two Boddhisatvas. As you walk the periphery of the main compound,the highly advanced and intricate drainage system of the facility stuns you. The large monastic complex houses around twenty four cells for residence made up of bricks.At a given time,more than five hundred monks could have lived and studied at this center.The center also housed three copies each of major scriptural works of Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. The Lama never talked,as if he had come only to quench my curiosity.But talking was not necessary,and I learned to appreciate the soothing beauty of quietness and silence.As I saw the diverse stone artefacts strewn all over the place I was reminded of what Tagore had told of the Konark Temple,that "here the language of stones had surpassed the language of man".Here too the stone works made the human need of language redundant. Me: But when one speaks of Buddhist history or heritage,no one speaks in same breath about Odisha as they do about other sites like Bodh Gaya or Nalanda. Lama: As per texts and Buddhist chronicles found in Tibet,China and Ceylon,a place called 'Odiyyana' is mentioned where the roots of Vajrayana Buddhism took shape.This place in all probability could be the present day Odisha and the great learning centers of Tantric Buddhism they refer to could almost certainly be the Puspagiri University that we are currently standing at.The entire sect of Vajrayana Buddhism seems to have originated from these scholastic centers at Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri complex if we take the available archeological and literary evidence into consideration. The old Buddhist Pali canons and Pas-Sam-Jon-Zang a Tibetan Buddhist text mention the land of Odiyyana where many great Tantric Buddhist preachers lived. The canons mention many secret places called 'Beyuls' where a seeker could go and find enlightenment and knowledge.Such Beyuls were hidden valleys and retreats often found in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet and India.The locations of these secret valleys were kept in scrolls which were placed in important monasteries and stupas.Sambhala is a well known beyul. Me: Just like James Hilton described the valley of Shangri-la in his book 'The Lost Horizon'? Lama: Hilton's story of Shangri-la was actually inspired from the myth of Sambhala itself.If you look closely the name Shangri-la is a modified form of Sambhala only. Me: Ah! Yes .....I never thought about it before,strange! And what role does Sambhala play in Tantric Buddhism? Lama: According to legends,the Tantric rituals of Kalachakratantra was taught to the Kings of Sambhala by Buddha himself.The kings of Sambhala wanted to follow the path of enlightenment without renouncing the world so they requested the Sakyamuni to teach them a less austere method of reaching Dharma and Truth,Buddha gave the first initiation of the Kalachakra rituals.Further a Tibetan text called 'The Blue Annals' credits Acharya Cheluka of bringing the teachings of Kalachakratantra to India from the mythical land of Sambhala. The philosophy that guides the school of Vajrayana Buddhism states that though the goal of all living beings is same i.e attaining knowledge and Nirvana,there are other methods of reaching there apart from the old methods of austere meditations. The tantric rituals can provide that path to salvation. Me: So Vajrayana created a short-cut path to salvation,because the older methods of meditations were hard and time taking? Lama: Let's not be quick to judge the ways and methods people adopt in their lives.As each person is unique so is their path to salvation. As I mentioned before,our current lack of knowledge on Tantric Buddhist practices in these parts of Odisha comes to a road block due to the secretive doctrines of the people who followed the school of Vajrayana. The stroll in the lonely night had got us very far from Ratnagiri now.Perhaps the Lama was aware of it but I was far from realizing that we had stumbled upon the foothills of the grand ruins of Udaygiri.I was astonished because the journey in the daytime had taken a much longer .So far so good.Like Ratnagiri, the excavations at Udaygiri stand on a hill top which is spread over a much larger area and even during the day the hillside looks beautiful.As if someone has sprinkled those stone artifacts over the lush green rolling hills. I could see the moon's reflection in the deep well that stands at the foot of the hills.Stone staircases lead down to the well which was sparkling in the moon light. In the same time as the monasteries at Ratnagiri,the facilities at Udaygiri had their peak time from 7 th century to 12 th century AD.The inscriptions found at the site refer to the name of the place being Madhavapura Mahavihara.Udaygiri has a large monastic complex amid it's ruins and among it's many relics the most interesting are the unearthed images of 'Dhyani Buddhas'. Not to miss out on details,the Lama showed me a stone carving on the entrance wall of the compound.Even in the moonlight,I could make out the figure.It was a human figure swinging on a rope with his eyes closed,in a prefect state of happiness.Nobody perhaps knows who or what the figure means,but may be it means exactly what the viewer feels by watching it,a sense of calm and bliss.A single piece of stone can speak to you across the length of ages. On the hills of Udaygiri there exists a huge Mahastupa where four cardinal Buddhas sit facing each direction.Akshobya facing East,Amitabha facing West,Amoghasiddhi facing North and Ratnasambhava facing South. I returned to the conversation at hand. Me: We were speaking of the Kalachakra tantra. And Kalachakra Tantra is one of the ritualistic practices of Vajrayana Buddhism? I saw the initiation ceremony last summer at Leh by the Dalai Lama. Lama: The Kalachakra Tantra is the most evolved and complicated form of Vajrayana school.Even today it is considered as one of the highest form of Tantric philosophy.Apart from the sect of Vajrayana itself,the Kalachakra Tantra may have it's roots in Odisha. 'Kala' means time,'chakra' means wheel and 'tantra' means a system.This tantric practice in Buddhism is based on the concept of Time and how we perceive it.Almost all religions and schools of philosophy consider time to be cyclic in nature,so does Tantric Buddhism but it differentiates the time cycles into three parts.The internal cycle,the external cycle and the alternative cycle. Internal and external cycles are passage of time as we perceive it.Just like modern science,Buddhism considers time to be a measurement of rate of change of things around us. Me: This is very interesting indeed.What are these internal,external and alternative time cycles according to Kalachakratantra? Lama: As I said before the external and internal cycles are time as we human beings perceive it. For example the change of moon's shape and location in sky denote the monthly lunar cycle which can be considered as external time perception.Similarly the menstrual cycle of a woman's body is an example of internal time perception.The alternative time cycle is a way taught by the teachers of Kalachakra to gain harmony over the internal and external time cycles. So this summer in Leh,when you saw the Dalai Lama initiate the Kalachakra rituals,he was paving the way for gaining harmony over the influence of time. Me: The Buddha himself never came to the land of Kalinga to teach or give sermons? Lama: Though there is no direct evidence of Buddha coming to Kalinga or preaching here,but places and their names have been a shifting entity on the pages of history. The 1st Khandaka of Mahavagga text in Buddhism confirms that two honey traders from Odisha named Tapassu and Bhallika were the first lay disciples of Buddha after he achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.They offered honey cakes to Buddha after receiving teachings from him. Me: Not only the tantric sects but the entire Hindu pantheon seems to have assimilated Buddhism in current times.I have seen Buddhist images like Avalokotisvara,Tara,Yaksas etc in many Hindu temples especially in Odisha. Lama: Later during awakenings of Vaishnavite and Bhakti sects in medieval India,the all encompassing arm of Hinduism took Buddhism into it's fold and many considered Buddha as 9th incarnation of Bishnu.This happened in complete paradox of the fact that Buddhism became famous in ancient India when people revolted to some degree to the Brahmanical-Vedic orthodoxy in society.In current age,images of Dhyani Buddha has been found in the de-plastered walls of Puri's Jagannath Temple. The Asokan rock edicts and the stone carved elephant at Dhauli are the earliest evidence of Buddhism's presence in Odisha.A very similar rock cut elephant has been found in the excavations of relics near Kaima in Jajpur district.As per records ,even a stupa existed near the rock edicts at Dhauli until 19 th century which was lost to time later on. A Prakrit inscription in Nagarjunakonda confirms that 'Puspagiri' in Odisha along with Nalanda ,Tosali and Palur were great centers of Buddhist learning and scholastic traditions.There are even speculations that the Buddhist preacher Padmasambhava else known as Guru Rinpoche spent some time studying and contemplating in these hills of Odisha.Guru Rinpoche is credited with taking Buddhism to many Himalayan kingdoms as Tibet,Sikkim and Bhutan. The figures of Buddhist iconography such as Boddhisatvas,mandalas,images of Tara,fourteen forms of the Avalokotiswara,many Yakshas and Yakshinis that are spread through coastal Odisha and some western parts just goes to confirm that Buddhism had a stronghold in the land and helped in the propagation of the sect to far off lands beyond India. Me: I had never pondered on the idea that Odisha had such a substantial contribution to the rise and propagation of Buddhism in India and elsewhere.When I used to visit those monasteries and lamaseries in remote Himalayan valleys of Ladakh and Himachal,I never thought my home state would have played such a grand role in the epic narrative of Buddhism. Lama: I will once again go back to Tagore to illustrate my point....he once said that "though I traveled great many countries and visited far off lands from my home,I forgot to see the beautiful dew drop outside my window". I suppose you understand what he meant by that. Me: Yes dear Teacher,I most surely do.I always have it in mind that though I am out to explore the world I shall know my home land up close and thoroughly.Only when resident Odias have knowledge of their rich cultural heritage and past,rest of the world will slowly know too.I suppose I realize that. Lama: A Teacher is only as good as the pupil he is teaching....the more thirsty a student is,the better a teacher becomes.Now that you have accepted me as a teacher,will you do a small favor to these old bones? Me: What may I ask? Lama: Nothing,just a ride along the road till we get to the oldest of the three sites in the Diamond Triangle. So with the chilly winter wind against us.A young man and an old lama were riding on through deserted roads to Lalitgiri which is 8-9 kms down the road from the sites of Ratnagiri and Udaygiri.While on the road, we found an old couple whose vehicle had broken down and we stopped to help them out.The desperate old faces heaved a sigh of relief when the lama and me got down to give a hand to the broken down car.While the lama took the wheel,I was at the engine part.A small battery problem which was sorted out quickly and we bid farewell to the old man and woman who were repeating 'thank you's' till we got embarrassed. It must have been the last quarter of the long moonlit night,when we arrived at Lalitgiri. It was at this site,that tooth relics and bone relics were found in a stone casket.The bones and tooth were in a charred or half burnt condition and many consider them to belong to Buddha himself,but nobody can be sure.The Buddhist iconography and sculptures found scattered in these parts are highly esoteric in nature.More than fourteen forms of Avalokotisvaras have been found in Odisha and many have been unearthed here.No other place in India displays such variety in artifacts. Lalitgiri was the place where Tantric Buddhism was prevalent from around 300 BC to 13 th century AD.And hence it is considered as the oldest of the sites at Langudi hills. The terracotta inscriptions found here mention this place as 'Sri Chandraditya Vihara Samagra Arya Bhiksu Sanghasa'. Images of Buddha in various poses,images of Tara and other beings, sculptures of Avalokotisvara and many forms of Boddhisatvas,all strewn over the places and excavation is still going on. The old lama once again takes my hand to show something particular, an image of a woman breastfeeding a child. Me: Who is she? Lama: Her name is Hariti and she used to be a child lifter before Buddha persuaded her to become the protector of children.To be a mother to all those who do not have that privilege. Apart from four large monasteries at Lalitgiri,the major attraction is an apsidal ChaityaGruha or stupa completely made of bricks. After circulating the large stupa and prayer hall I walked over the slope to watch a glorious sight that people in today's age take for granted.I watched the sun climb slowly over the horizon and change the color of the sky.The sun has been doing this for ages,but still we find the sight ethereal.May be because our lives depend on it.May be because we know our time on this earth is limited and it would be a sin to miss out on such splendid and yet so simple views. I expected the lama to say something about that divine view,but as I turned around, he was not to be found.Morning always brings a change but this was something I had not expected.I searched all over the place and called him out but to no avail.My teacher had disappeared just as easily as he had appeared back in Ratnagiri hill top.I climbed down the slopes near the ruins to see if the old man would be waiting near the bike.But nothing.The last I saw him was when he sat down on the big rock under the huge tree. Perhaps more than surprised,I was disappointed,may be even a tad angry. There were no proper goodbyes and no parting words. This was the end of the line.The long night where we both contemplated on the ruins of the Diamond Triangle had come to a passé.As fog clutched the countryside I rode my bike alone back on the road to Ratnagiri in faint hope of finding the old lama somewhere waiting for me.Has he landed in some trouble?I was agitated and raced back. While on the road,the night flashed before me and all those images of the past swarmed past me.The ruins on these hills nearby had taken a shape in my mind.A heritage of the rich past of this land and a promise for the future times.My mind swam at the disappearance of the old lama.I was in distress because I knew I was too realistic a person to believe in phantom lamas who came and went as they pleased. Atleast someone I knew appeared on the foot of Ratnagiri hilltop.The old couple sipping tea at the road side tea stall smiled at me when I stopped my bike.They quickly offered me a hot cup of tea and only then I realized how bitterly cold the morning air was. Trying very hard to hide my anxiety, I just asked-"Have you seen the old man who was with me last night? I am afraid I lost him somewhere". The old lady looked at me and then at her husband. "The poor old man.He must be having trouble trying to find me....he was all alone", I added. Between the old woman changing her face from being aghast to a funny smile on her lips,the old man said,"Which old man?You were all alone last night when you stopped to help us". Taking the cup in my hands, I looked away.I tried very hard to recall the last words of the old lama. Soumya D Jena 10th March 2017This post was originally published on The Lost Hermit.
In my quest to travel and experience new destinations and places I decided to travel towards the Konkan highway this time. Being a Delhite the lure of the mountains is so much that you seldom make plans doing random trips towards Maharashtra. So here I was on my journey again with a few tips on the internet – stay, weather and travel distances was all that I was armored with. My SLR slung on my shoulders to take on yet another journey of its own.My destination – Romancing the Konkan highway with no real agenda – Just to experience it the way it is! The cities that draped the highway. The beautiful coastline. Lush green paddy fields and much more. I got on to a hired car from Mumbai and set off towards Ratnagiri – a commercial town by the seaside. 7 -8 drive from Mumbai and you land up in at a beautiful destination – The journey had its own experience –Driving through Ghats and quaint little villages. The coastline villages and the homes are so very different from the ones you see in the north – Lush green and brightly colored. The cuisine on the way was interesting from Poha breakfast to fish Thalis at the local eating joints.
The most scenic leg of the journey. Sea on one side Green mountains on the other. Located on the same MH SH 4, Ganpatipule stretch is something i will remember my whole life. It was like the movie perfect scene. All along the route I could see the virgin beaches where one could spend countless hours relaxing. Unfortunately we were running short of sunlight so we have to rush through this stretch and hence didn't get chance to click many pics.
Ratnagiri is just another town situated along the beautiful Goa-Bombay road. Goa-Bombay road is one of the best roads I've been to. All the green on both side and the awesome monsoon weather is just superb. Riding on MH SH 4 from Ratnagiri to Jaigad is a different experience alltogether. The scenic beauty is simply mesmerizing. Be careful while riding on this route though there wold not be any traffic but there will be numerous green snakes crossing the road.
Day 1: I reached Kudal, its 40 Km (approx) from tarkarli (1.5 hour by an auto). You will readily get autos outside the station. Our auto driver was quite friendly, providing us tips on places to visit and where to have meals. He showed us the backwater on the way to our resort, trying to familiarize us with the surrounding area. We reached our resort “blue sea resort” and were welcomed with their local snack “poha and Kokam sharbat”. The sharbat is to die for, tangy and refreshing (much needed post a long train journey). As our room was getting ready, we decided to take a walk around the area and found a home stay “Madekar”. I would recommend everyone to visit this place for its hospitality and warmth. We had our lunch there, I was served with “pomphert fry” in malvani style. Later in the day we headed to the Tarkarli beach, the water was perfect to calm oneself and get some tan. This is not the best season as it gets a little hot in the noons (best time is from October to March) while the morning and evenings are pleasant. The beach is not commercial and is devoid of shacks and other sources of entertainment. However the locals offers camel rides for the tourist, though they don’t press you hard with their selling.In tarkarli there is largely a concept of home stay where the owner will prepare the food of your choice, for which you need to let them know in advance. Everywhere you will get similar food and hospitality (with a lot of warmth among people).The most peculiar thing about the locals is they are not in a race of competing with each other, everyone praising their neighborhood, a rare thing for me coming from a city always busy in their own survival.Later in the evening we had dinner at the “Medekar” (to be honest, I had all my meals there). The family of mother and son and both are lovely cooks. I had some mouth watering “prawn curry” androti. They also helped us to make our day 2 plan. Read More
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Day 1: I reached Kudal, its 40 Km (approx) from tarkarli (1.5 hour by an auto). You will readily get autos outside the station. Our auto driver was quite friendly, providing us tips on places to visit and where to have meals. He showed us the backwater on the way to our resort, trying to familiarize us with the surrounding area. We reached our resort “blue sea resort” and were welcomed with their local snack “poha and Kokam sharbat”. The sharbat is to die for, tangy and refreshing (much needed post a long train journey). As our room was getting ready, we decided to take a walk around the area and found a home stay “Madekar”. I would recommend everyone to visit this place for its hospitality and warmth. We had our lunch there, I was served with “pomphert fry” in malvani style. Later in the day we headed to the Tarkarli beach, the water was perfect to calm oneself and get some tan. This is not the best season as it gets a little hot in the noons (best time is from October to March) while the morning and evenings are pleasant. The beach is not commercial and is devoid of shacks and other sources of entertainment. However the locals offers camel rides for the tourist, though they don’t press you hard with their selling.In tarkarli there is largely a concept of home stay where the owner will prepare the food of your choice, for which you need to let them know in advance. Everywhere you will get similar food and hospitality (with a lot of warmth among people).The most peculiar thing about the locals is they are not in a race of competing with each other, everyone praising their neighborhood, a rare thing for me coming from a city always busy in their own survival.Later in the evening we had dinner at the “Medekar” (to be honest, I had all my meals there). The family of mother and son and both are lovely cooks. I had some mouth watering “prawn curry” androti. They also helped us to make our day 2 plan.
Never want to say last , Day started with sunrise around 6am, fresh day fresh energy that is automatically generated by this place after enjoying at devbaug we are heading for kudal. We hired a cab which is for whole day and started from scuba school, well maintained and equiped for divers. After that sindhudurg fort which is 2-3 kms from seashore And 50 people in a boat enjoying journey but this fort is not maintained. Rock garden is there which is very beautiful place and very few people is there is garden.
We then headed towards Ratnagiri station to board our train to Kudal. This being the central location we decided to stay here and continue with the rest of the trip. We stayed in Hotel Coconut which approx.2 kms from kudal station. They also have their own Restaurant and terrace lounge. Rooms are quite clean and reasonable. Food served at the Restaurant is also good. After a long day we directly headed to our rooms and dozed off early.