Top Places To Visit in Sernabatim 8 Spots
Colva is a village in south goa and the beach stretches about for about 2.4kms of white sand and coconut palms, it is a famous tourist destination with budget hotels, shacks, pubs etc. It was a popular getaway for the Portugese when they were in India, this place has alot of migrants from Portugal, Brazil, Angola etc.
As a result of my interaction with the locals I got to know that in the colonial days Colva beach used to be the resting area for Margao's high society, who would visit Colva for their "Mundanca" or change of air. Colva's nightlife is livelier and vibrant than anywhere else in south Goa. The beachfront is a collection of concrete hotels, souvenir stalls and fly blown snack bars strewn around a central roundabout. You can hire jet skis, indulge in beach sports, swimming and sunbathing in the specified zones.
We hit the Colva beach which was empty, no people, no crows, hardly any shacks by the beach except for one. So the first impression when we landed there was quite obnoxious cos of the attitude and service but we dealt with them anyways. As the sunset, the weather and the heat started calming,and music, all pretty much compensated for our dull two-minded entry.
After reaching Dabolim airport, we got our car-on-hire (a yellow-nameplate WagonR) dropped off at the airport. We had booked our hotel/resort at Colva beach, so we started driving and not surprisingly, it was a pleasant drive. Acacia palms resort right on Colva beach is a good option if you are looking for a nice stay, big comfortable room, a nice pool etc. It is ~100m from the main colva beach. Colva beach is a white-sand beach. Not too many shacks. This place is probably the only beach towards the south where you'll find all sorts of water sports. Of course, it doesn't get crowded like Baga or Calangute not is as happening. There are quite a few good eating options available around the beach.
Colva is again one of many very beautiful beaches of South Goa, offers many water sports options and has a good amount of shops and shacks per commercial need. Nice beach to spend a lot of time at, other than the conventional North Goa ones.Our trip, ended with Colva being the last stop the later part just involved returning the car, catching the blood (super) moon and boarding the bus to Mumbai.Hope this helps, let me know what I missed in the comments below..
I decided to explore the nearby beaches by my own.Google Maps started searching and it found Colva Beach which is where my epic journey and love for Goan beaches started!The first thing I observed once I reached there was that it was CLEAN! This may sound bizarre to some but I had visited a few Mumbai beaches (Juhu, Girgaon, Dadar). Every beach in Mumbai has 2 layers. One layer is of the people, and other layer after that is the Garbage which is thrown by the people and after that you'll see the sand followed by water. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here. There was peace which was broken only by the sound of waves.
After reaching Madgaon, the first important thing I did was renting a 2-wheeler which cost me around INR 300 per day.Since my cousin was to arrive a few hours later, I had ample time before we started our holiday. I decided to explore the nearby beaches by my own.Google Maps started searching and it found Colva Beach which is where my epic journey and love for Goan beaches started!The first thing I observed once I reached there was that it was CLEAN! This may sound bizarre to some but I had visited a few Mumbai beaches (Juhu, Girgaon, Dadar). Every beach in Mumbai has 2 layers. One layer is of the people, and other layer after that is the Garbage which is thrown by the people and after that you'll see the sand followed by water. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here. There was peace which was broken only by the sound of waves.After spending some time there, I went to 2-3 nearby beaches as well before embarking on the most awaited destination - Palolem!
One of the best beaches of Goa, this marvelous seafront boasts of romantic evenings, exquisite seafood, and amazing nightlife. Rightly called as The most happening beach in the region, Colva beach is not far from Our Lady of Mercy Church.
#Party BeachAround 3:30 pm I visited here, full of crowd mostly Indians and local.Perfect beach for water sports, make sure everything included in a package and yes bargain exist. many shacks serving seafood displaying their menus and free wi-fi(best thing, you can't survive without check-in).
Kentuckee Seafood Restaurant
Lovely Goan music, yummy sea food but the waiters can be rude.....Ouch!
Hotels and Homestays in Sernabatim 195 Hotels
Weekend Getaways from Sernabatim
284 Kms from Sernabatim
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Known as the gateway to Karnataka, the picturesque city of Mangalore is famous for its golden beaches, revered temples and delicious coffee. This port city lies nestled between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the towering hills of the Western Ghats. The pristine beach of Panambur is a popular tourist destination and also plays host to the colourful kite festival of Mangalore. Adorned with ancient murals, the Kudroli Gorakhnath Temple is frequented by many devotees. The Ullal Beach of Mangalore is a great place to enjoy water sports. Easily comparable to the Marine Drive of Mumbai, the New Mangalore Port is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Mangalore is famous for its Udupi style dishes and staple seafood preparations. The Neer Dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, Cashew Upkari and Rasam are great introductions to this cuisine. Pallkhi, Gajalee, Cochin Bakery and Naivedyam are popular eateries here. There are multiple hotel options for tourists, extending from high-end resorts to budget hotels and even beach resorts. With its easygoing air and calm countenance, Mangalore is the perfect destination to relax and unwind. Read More
Spend the Day 3 in Mangaluru leisurely savouring the coastal Konkan delicacies at Giri Manja's on Car Street, or try some Chicken Ghee Roast at Shetty Lunch Home at Hampankatta. Mangaluru has a lot to showcase to its tourists, like Sultan Battery, Tannir bavi Beach, Kadri Manjunath Temple, Panambur Beach etc."Bring out the Vasco Da Gama in You, Set Foot on St Mary's Island"Picture Credits:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mary%27s_Islands#/media/File:St_Mary%27s_island.JPGhttps://www.google.co.in/search?q=madagascar+on+map+from+india&rlz=1C1CHBD_enIN708IN708&tbm=isch&imgil=4sMXSpYkrB7OsM%253A%253BuF-5SDSz0AjkrM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fontheworldmap.com%25252Fmadagascar%25252Fmadagascar-location-on-the-indian-ocean-map.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=4sMXSpYkrB7OsM%253A%252CuF-5SDSz0AjkrM%252C_&usg=__4OwaBhBL3ptY5PogEBsln2flgVo%3D&biw=1366&bih=662&ved=0ahUKEwjtyOKOjLjWAhXMLo8KHXV5AMcQyjcIMg&ei=KKTEWe2UFczdvAT18oG4DA#imgrc=n1uSHqbDzQtnjM:
MANGALORE is one of the most important cities of Karnataka. It is the nearest airport to Manipal. If you are missing the city vibes and feel like shopping or want to be stuck in traffic for a while, Mangalore is the place to go. Mangalore offers a number of options for shopping ranging from Levi's to Calvin Klein. It also offers a good range of food joints and restaurants.
Flight journey from Mangalore to DehradunHoping for safer, smoother and shorter yatra , we left for Dehradun from Mangalore on June 18th 2016 early morning. To travel to the Chardham circuit, we hired a mini-bus from Haridwar since it was the only mode of transport that could carry 13 people across the terrains. Helicopter service has become popularity , if pilgrimage is the only objective, one can choose this mode of transport.Day 2 and 3
We decided to travel by train up to Mangalore and then hire a bus for the road journey. “Matsyagandha express” dropped us at Mangalore central station at 9.30 a.m. sharp. We hired a bus for our road journey up till Kodagu, but we decided to refuel ourselves with some breakfast. Our driver (Mr. Shivaji) took us to a nearby restaurant which served simple, yet elegant South Indian breakfast.
Bekal is a small village situated in the northernmost district of Kerala, Kasargod. This place happens to be my native too. We visit here to attend the functions at our family temple every year. Bekal is famous for the Bekal fort, which is the largest fort in Kerala. There is also a famous Shiva temple on the way to the fort.Getting here: One can visit Bekal by train or by road. The train Mangalore–Coimbatore passenger departs from Mangalore Central at 7:35 AM. The journey is of 45-50 minutes. But we usually travel by our car. It is around 75 KM ride from Mangalore city.We started at around 7 AM from Mangalore by our car. The NH66 road is in excellent condition now.Our first stop was the Anantapur Lake Temple. This temple is built in the middle of the lake in Ananthapura Village. Legend has it that the cave near the temple is connected to the Ananta Padmanabha temple of Thiruvananthapuram. Unforunately, I had not clicked any pictures of the temple during my visit there ( as our phones were switched off)
This trip with the family was long due. Since all of us were in Mangalore(my hometown) to attend a family function, we decided to go to Coorg/Kodagu for two days. We were 7 of us (my family and my cousin’s family) and we booked an SUV for the trip. The distance from Mangalore to Coorg is around 150 KM ie approximately 3 and a half hour drive. The roads were great and the weather was very pleasant.As we had gone with our parents, we did not include any adventure stuff on this tour.
Sometime back, I was travelling to Goa from Karnataka. We were going back from a friend's wedding and since we had a few days to spare, we decided to go by road. It was a crisp 8 hour drive, the best part being most of it being along the coast.
You can spend your rest of the day by visiting few others temples and churches like Kadri Temple, Gokarnanatheshwara temple, St. Aloysius Chapel etc. or you can end the day by visiting Tannirbhavi beach and Panambur beach. You can also enjoy boating and jet-skiing at Panambur. Don’t forget to taste the best ice cream of Mangaluru at Pabbas Ice Creams, Lalbagh. If you are a foodie you cannot miss on this. Also, try Kori Rotti for lunch or dinner, Korri Rotti is the authentic Mangalorean dish. Crispy Roti with chicken curry!
284 Kms from Sernabatim
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.Read More
And Hampi is not too far away from Badami, so why give it a miss, if you have the time. Hopping from the Chalukyan dynasty to the Vijayanagara Empire completes you journey into this time machine. Here every rock has a story to narrate. History comes alive at every nook and corner of Karnataka.Badami can be reached from Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mangalore and Mumbai by flight to Belagavi (IXG) and from there you can hire a cab. There are trains to Badami from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. And buses you will find plenty.The landscape on the way to Badami is all spruced up and beautiful, if you vroom on your bikes/car from both Hyderabad or Bangalore. Give the wind an opportunity to play with your hair.Go, click some selfies on some filmy locations and make some memories to flaunt!"If You don't know History, then you don't know anything. You are a Leaf that doesn't know it is part of a Tree" - Micheal CrichtonCover Picture Credits: Wikipedia
Hampi town and the group of monuments at hampi as recognised by the UNESCO is spread over a very large area. We rented an auto for a day to visit these attractions covering monuments like Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stable, underground shiva temple, sasive kalu ganesha temple and many others. The auto drivers here could communicate comfortably in english and hindi (helps when you don't know the local language) and gave a brief history of each of the monuments.
The next day, we planned on checking out early, and crossing back to the mainland. As we waited for our boat to cross over, I bough some colourful and cute anklets for myself from the stalls that lined the road. One of my friends decided to buy himself some flowery and flowing shirts to appear more "hippy".When we crossed over to the other side, we got ourselves an auto who said he would show us around Hampi and take us to all the famous places. Our train back to Bangalore was only in the night, so we realized that this was the best plan for us.We went past famous land marks, some of which were being renovated.
The next day, we woke up, and headed to Gopi's cafe for breakfast. After a salad-y breakfast, we found someone who let us rent some mopeds to get around. We instantly mapped out a few places we could get around to. We found the route connecting us to the mainland from the island without having to go across the river.The first destination I had in mind was this place called the White Elephant. It was supposed to be a good cafe and a good 15-20 km away. The route leading to this cafe was beautiful to say the least. We stopped at several locations along the way to take some fun photos!
We stayed in a cottage right next to a paddy field. The setting sun always cast its last rays on the paddy fields giving it a warm glow. We had booked two rooms for 5 of us and the hosts warned us about wild animals roaming around at nights, especially sloth bears. The moment we reached, we were extremely hungry and we had spotted a nice cafe to eat, Gopi Island, on our way to our stay. We unpacked, freshened up quickly and walked back to Gopi Island to eat.The menu items in all the cafes in Hampi are almost the same. Organic salads, pastas, burgers, and sometimes pizza. The key word is organic. They are meant to be healthy and non-fatty.
Standing throughout the night, exhausted I was and so booked a cheap place at 03:00 AM adding a note that I'll be checking in by 08:00 AM. I didn't quite expect the keeper to be there waiting for me because I had booked at the Witching Hour! I took a quick nap to juice myself up after the tiresome journey and then headed to explore Hampi.I know there'll tons of people who'll say I could've taken a bus to Hospet and with a reserved seat that would have been much much better. Well, I know, and I didn't.I walked around the town, explored all the places, learnt a lot about the fascinating history of the place full of ruins and monuments that is spread across around 25 sqkm. Wait! Whaaaat! Amazing, right?
I took a bus from Bangalore to Hospet on the night of 4th August, around 11 p.m., and reached Hospet at 7 in the morning. I was swarmed by Auto drivers who offered to take me to Hampi for anything between 200-400 rupees (which is a short 8 km drive). I decided to walk down to the local bus stop and get a bus to Hampi from there. Buses deploy from Hospet to Hampi every half an hour, so I had to wait for 15 minutes to catch the 7:30 bus. It was just 13 rupees for the ticket.I got down at the Hampi bus stop, and could immediately see the overdose of culture and heritage this UNESCO World Heritage site had, and decided not to stay on here. Instead, I walked towards the Virupaksha temple, towards the Tungabhadra river site, and got on a ferry (which is 30 rupees per ride per person) and made it to the other side of the river to an island called the Virupapura Gadde (though it is famously known as Hippie Island).When you get on this island, people swarm you with offers to stay at their guest house or to rent a bike, but I walked through them to a small quiet guest house called 'Nargila' (a friend of mine who shares common travel goals with me suggested this place) and it was beautiful. I got a nice clean room for one night for 600 rupees, attached bath, and a hammock outside the room.I hadn't slept a lot from the bus ride in the night, so I decided to get some coffee and some food in me. Ganga (the caretaker at Nargila) got me some coffee and breakfast in the Nargila cafe which was right next to my room. They don't have the concept of chairs and tables in the cafe. Instead, you remove your shoes outside the cafe and there are mattresses on the floor on which you can sit.
Hampi can be visited any time of the year, but if you want to be bedazzled with colours of the culture, visit Hampi during January, because you can be a part of the celebrations at Hampi Utsav, a festival of bonhomie – a congregation of various events to highlight the glorious past of this empire. The cultural extravaganza is a spectacle to behold. It’s a three-day long carnival. Festivities include classical & traditional dance performances, skits and dramas, fireworks, puppet shows, and spectacular parades. Book your tickets accordingly.How to Reach Hampi:Hampi is 353 KMs from Bangalore and 74 KMs from Ballari in Karnataka. The nearest commercial Airport is Hubli/Bangalore. The nearest Railway Station is at Hospet which is 13 KMs away. Hampi has a number of resorts and home stays. There are direct trains and buses to Hospet from Goa, Hubli, Ballari, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Once you land in Hospet, you can check in at any Hotel there. Hospet is dotted with numerous Hotels, Star, Economy and budget.Hampi is at a distance of 13 KMs from Hospet and you have hourly buses which ply from Hospet Bus Station. Or you can hire three wheeler Autos. Equip yourself with a good quality camera, because what you see remains etched in your mind, but what you see should also be immortalized in pictures so that others, who cannot make it to Hampi, can at least enjoy it through your pictures.When in Hampi, don’t miss to see the following:Achyutaraya Temple,BadaviLingaElephant StableHazara rama Temple ComplexJain TempleLotus MahalVittala TempleVirupaksha TempleZanana EnclosureArchaeological Museum at KamalapuraTungabhadra Dam and Nandanavana GardenJapanese Garden at MunirabadHaving soaked yourself in the magic of the Hampi rocks, its time to meet the flowers and say hello to them. Tungabhadra Dam welcomes you with flowers at its Nandanavana Garden built on the lines of Brindavan Garden and on the other side of Tungabhadra Dam you have Munirabad with a Japanese Garden. Don’t miss it.
To explore only Hampi 2 days are enough.The hotel staff arranged auto for us we reached Hampi in 10min . After getting there we saw tourists riding mopeds and bicycles,we enquired about the rental they said only one shop is renting and unfortunately by the time we reached all bicycles and mopeds are hired out(be early for vehicles by 7a.m) shop is near virupakshi temple.It's about to be off season there and the weather was too sunny. Mostly 80 percent of the tourists were foreigners and the other side we find many restaurants and shops in narrow lanes and its called Hampi Bazaar. The food points are themed differently and the food is outstanding, the other side of tungabhadra river also we got plenty of eating out options.
163 Kms from Sernabatim
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.
204 Kms from Sernabatim
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.
297 Kms from Sernabatim
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
Of panoramic views, perennial waterfalls and picturesque landscapes, Mahabaleshwar stands out as the largest and most popular hill station in the Western Ghats. Owing to comfortable temperatures, Mahabaleshwar is thronged by tourists throughout the year, except during the four months of heavy monsoons from June to September. Being the erstwhile summer capital of the Bombay presidency during the British Raj, this place has a lot to offer — spectacular sunrise and sunset viewpoints, popular one-day treks to go on, and boating at the Venna Lake. Additionally, tourists can retrospect history at the centuries-old Pratapgad Fort and savour some toothsome jams and marmalades at the Mapro Garden. One must not miss out on the famous corn patties and strawberry cream when in Mahabaleshwar. Should you visit in March, you will be lucky to witness the gastronomically delightful Strawberry Festival that takes place every year. Plan a weekend getaway to this hill station and you will be impressed. Read More
Mahabaleshwar - The very name evokes the beauty of the region - lush green forests and the mountain range of the western ghats. Quite a number of scenes of Baahubali were shot here.A small piece of advice:Now that you have seen all the places where Baahubali was shot, now go see the movie again. The thrill of having seen the sets and the places where it was shot, makes watching the movie again even more magical.Relive the magical moments of Baahubali!Cover picture credits:https://www.google.co.in/search?q=ramoji+film+city+bahubali+sets&rlz=1C1CHBF_enIN747IN748&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjny73k8rvWAhUEOY8KHaiwBzEQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=662#imgrc=XTqs_Zzv2V61dM:
it was around 10 o'clock in the morning and we reached Mahabaleshwar. we stayed at Hira Baug resort panchgani, okay so it is a little far from town but trust me the view you get from here is worth it! charges are variable so if you wish to go there then please google its price or contact them directly. had lunch over there and then i went to sleep as i traveled for 16 hours, and ya lunch was good! after 3 hours of sleep i woke up at 4:00 pm and then left resort to explore Mahabaleshwar! i don't know how but sunset was early so as soon i reached Venna lake there was about to sunset, so what i did was just set down near to the lake and enjoyed that beautiful sunset! it was wonderful, the silent water that kids playing around and that cold weather makes it perfect! then i left for Mahabaleshwar market. it was usual market surrounded with some stuff and all. yes do not forget to try strawberry with cream! if you like strawberry then you will love it as Mahabalehswar is capital of strawberry! then i left for my resort as i was hungry, i had my dinner and went to sleep.
The clouds were at the level of our eye line at our entry(made at night time) to Mahabaleshwar which proved to be an amazing sight.Next day we were off to discover the beauty of this marvel that we made our visit to. Mahabaleshwar certainly has one of the best hills in all of Maharashtra if not the best. The multi-colored impression the hills give are something to look out to.
Located in Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar is a gorgeous hill station, with hanging clouds and covered in mist, wrapped in a lush green wild. With a rich princely legacy reflected in colonial era architecture that earmarks the town, Mahabaleshwar has a charming appeal. The town’s scenic beauty is enthralling, being the base of five rivers, nestled in magnificent Western Ghats. With spectacular view of the sunrise and sunset, trekking trails, horse riding paths and boating in the rivers, Mahabaleshwar offers a meditative ambience, the perfect weekend getaway and thereby one of the best places to visit in India in May.How to get there: Well-connected by road from Pune, which also has the nearest airport. The nearest railway station is Wathar.
One of the best places for a weekend getaway would have to be Mahabaleshwar. The large plateau is surrounded by valleys on all four sides. It is among the best picnic spots situated near Pune. What adds to its charm? The lush evergreen forests and beautiful imagery. Legend has it that Mahadev temple is located where the River Krishna originates. A boat ride down Vienna Lake is definitely worth your time. Pratapgarh Fort is another historical place of significance one can visit. Strawberries and resorts is a luxury resort at Mahabaleshwar that is located amidst valleys that grow strawberries. The place is modern with all the amenities that one can ask for. It is a great place to rush off to for the weekend with your family. So be wise and try this out.Distance from Pune: 121 Km
We expected to take a ferry, but there was none. So we had to take this long along-the-river road. The road above the river is full of red sand. It required high levels of patience to ride this. More than 50 minutes, the road was all red with up and down slopes of red sand. I was sure, the bike would skid at some place, but it didnt. I must be a good rider. What was worse was the incoming trucks loaded with more red sand and blowing the dust in the air. Siddi was all red when we reached the bridge crossing.
7. Mahabaleshwar:Once the summer capital of the Bombay province, Mahabaleshwar is a plateau that is surrounded by valleys on all sides, and offers stunning vistas of the lush greenery it is surrounded by. It is also known for being the birthplace of the river Krishna, along with 6 other rivers. One can also make day trips to Raigad, Pratapgad, Wai, Lingmala waterfalls and the Venna lake. Located at 160 and 260 kms from Bombay and Pune respectively, Mahabaleshwar is one of the ideal places to visit in Spring season in India.
269 Kms from Sernabatim
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
The seven hills surrounding Satara give this picturesque district its name. Home to the popular Panchgani and Mahableshwar, Satara in Maharashtra is perfect for a rejuvenation holiday. If you are here for a holiday, do visit the scenic Kaas Plateau overlooking the Kaas Lake. Though it is a popular spot, you may be disappointed with the lack of good eating places. It's best to head here after breakfast. Another wonderful tourist spot is the Thoseghar Waterfalls. Located about 25 km from Satara, these lovely waterfalls offer the most stunning views during monsoon. Also the highest waterfall in Maharashtra, Thoseghar should definitely be on your itinerary. If you have more time, then head to the village of Bamnoli, located 50 km away, where you can enjoy boating in the Shivsagar Lake. There are tons of places to visit in Satara district so do choose your destinations in accordance to the kind of holiday you'd like to take. Read More
This beautiful weekend destination is located right where the River Krishna joins its tributary called Venna. This place was the erstwhile capital of the powerful Maratha Empire. This little city should interest history buffs as there are a number of places of historical relevance to visit. Most of the heritage sites and other cultural hubs are the reason why tourists come here for a relaxing weekend. The weather is good throughout the year for a lovely picnic with family and friends. To experience one of the best weekend getaways from Pune within 200 Km, make a visit to Satara. Once known to be the capital of the powerful Maratha Empire, Satara stands at the meeting point of the Krishna River and Venna, its tributary. It is the monuments here that draw in the tourists in droves and one is sure to have a great time here. The Vajrai waterfalls, and the forts Sajjangarh and Ajinkyatara are places one cannot miss here and the Kass Plateau is one of nature’s wonders to behold here in Satara. July to February is when one should visit this wonderful place. Around 112 kilometres away from Pune, Satara is full of surprise packages that one should visit in order to unravel. Take your pick from the list above of some of the best places to visit near Pune within 100 km.Distance from Pune: 113 Km
As I reached Satara it became even worse - the mad traffic and the road, and finally reached Pune at 8 pm. It was so nice to see my favorite Mama and Mami. Went for local Pune ride the next day and found myself like AK in PK. No one was following traffic rules, no helmets, no rules nothing. Saw people staring at me for following regulations. While coming back from MG road a guy in Merc was shouting at me for waiting for traffic light to turn green. Educated illiterate eh!? Spent the next two days in Pune and got much needed rest and most needed sleep. Running short of time, energy and most importantly money I decided to skip Mumbai and head to Goa. On 29th Dec left for Panchagani and Mahabaleswar. Visited Ganapati Temple in Wai and started climbing the hill. Reached the next destination by 11 am. Spent some time in city and at various places and left for Ratnagari. Joined Mumbai–Goa highway and reached the city of mangoes by 6 pm and stayed there for the night.
In the evening we started for Mahabaleshwar... Next day was fully dedicated to Mahabaleshswar. Visit to Mahabaleshwar Temple was quite ok. The highlight was after that. We reached one of the view point in old Mahabaleshwar. There was nothing to see the whole area was covered with fog. On reaching there in the jungle we saw the whole heard on Indian Bison. They were so big ab majestic and looking great......
Our initial target for the day was Pune (845 kms from Bangalore), but since we got delayed and we didn’t want to ride through the night, we decided to stay at a place called Satara. Pune was still a good 100 kms away. After a bit of hunting, we found a decent hotel right on the highway and we were settled in. I slept like a baby that night!Day 1 Stay: Hotel Mahindra Executive, SataraPros: Decent Staff. Good Food. Right on the highway.Cons: Small rooms. Slightly pricy.Few Pointers: Start as early as you can. Make note that you need time to pack the luggage onto the bikes. Always keep spare bungee cords. Also thoroughly wrap your luggage with tarpaulin. NH4 has relatively fewer fuel stations, so keep this in mind when you’re running low. The hotels in Satara have something called permit rooms, which people rent to host alcohol parties. This can get pretty ugly with an unruly crowd. So please check thoroughly before you zero in.DAY 2:Satara – Mumbai (270 kms):We were all pretty beat from riding all day long, so we slept in even though we had planned to leave early. After having some yum MisalPav andPoha for breakfast, we were ready to leave by 9AM. Now we had the horrendous task of loading the luggage and wrapping it with tarpaulin. It was only Day 2 and I was already fed up with the wrapping and unwrapping of tarpaulin. It is such a tedious task.Anyway, we finally managed to leave by 10AM. The road from here is great, and the view is out of this world. The route is surrounded by the Western Ghats. This beauty is mesmerizing all year round, but during the monsoons she has an outer worldly charm. Serene, calm and soothing. What a refreshing start to the day.
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