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285 Kms from Chipi
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 a...
Day 14: September 30, 2015:I left Pune at 9 AM and began riding towards bangalore. The first leg of the return went peacefully as I reached the outskirts of Kolhapur. A small break for lime soda and I immediately continued riding towards Belgaum. As i crossed Belgaum it was about 2:30 PM.I knew that reaching bangalore by 10 or 11 PM was easy if I continued without a break. Just as I crossed Hubli an near Havery, traffic cops had blocked the highway and diverted traffic towards Ranebennur and from there I had to deviate towards Davanagere. When I reached Davanagere, it was almost 630PM, due to the road condition through the villages.I had a tea and continued towards Tumkur, It was almost 10 PM when I was a few kilometers before Tumkur town. What I hadn't seen in more than a week came back to haunt me. The rain gods came down heavily and the remaining 80 kms to reach home was spent well in getting drenched.When I finally entered bangalore, it was 1145 PM. I had travelled a total of 940 kms in a little less 15 hours. I was trembling and couldn't stand on my feet as the last day journey had taken a toll on me.Finally, I had completed a full 6200 odd kms in about 15 days, going through a lot of "hardship", meeting a few friends, visiting a few places and experiencing unknown roads of the country.It is time to end the blog with a note that everyone should travel to some unknown destination by their own at some point of time in their lives.
Source and Destination city for flight: Pune(PNQ) --> New Delhi(DEL) --> Siliguri(IXB)The price of prepaid taxi was fixed, I was charged 2200 INR for private taxi in December 2016.
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.
66 Kms from Chipi
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of t...
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.
58 Kms from Chipi
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 aroun...
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
111 Kms from Chipi
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, whic...
Grand Southindian Ride A ride that lasted for 30 Days 7500 wonderful kilometres 7 Indian States 1 Union territory. The best way to explore a new place is by a combination of bike and foot. That’s what i had done to create the memory which took just 30 days. This blog won’t have any poetic words or paragraph, it’s just an expression of my memory which i managed to collect it during the ride. First of all would like to tell you how this ride was planned. A year before i went on a solo ride mumbai to ladakh and back. After completion of this ride i planned at least one ride every year. So already been to north of india for the ladakh ride and finalized south for the current ride. Initially it requires a lot of planning regarding to route to take, places to visit, things to carry,etc. The plan was to create a V shape in the map covering the costal route from Mumbai-Goa-Karnataka-Kerala-Tamilnadu-Andrapradesh-Telangana-Mumbai. Then thought there are so many places in the south to be explored which till date i have heard from people or seen in television. And then the detailed exploration of the south was planned. The best time to visit south is immediately after monsoon. Also during monsoon it’s good, but it needs more precaution and attention while riding a bike. For the first time one of my friend Mr.Mateen wanted to join me for the ride which i still wonder how did that happen. Because most of my rides became solo not because it was planned such a way, it’s because most of my friends would turn down their decision for the ride at the end moment. So it was fixed 2 riders on a mission to explore the south on their machines South india needs no introduction for it’s beauty ,though my whole country is beautiful. So we were on a mission to explore this beauty for the coming 30 Days. After changes in dates twice,we fixed it as 1st of November. Servicing the bike and making it ready for the ride got it the schedule delayed by a day, also i had brought a 11inch laptop few months back so that i can copy all the sports cam video’s malfunctioned 2 weeks before ride and they informed that it will take a months time to service it. But luckily i got it on 1st November evening. So it was all set now. Day 1:- Mumbai to Kolhapur Initially it was NH17 which was decided. But the condition of the road was bad so we chose the kolhapur route. Time was scheduled as 7 am. But when i got the laptop from the service center yesterday forgot to take the charger from them. So had to wait till 10am for them to open the store. Everything was packed and neatly arranged. By the time my best friend Navin came to see me off. So we both picked the luggage and proceeded towards my machine also my mom and sis came down. Loaded all the luggage on my White tiger ( name of my himalayan). All the safety riding gears were on. Finally sat on my machine clicked few pics and said bye to all and left for the most epic and scenic ride. First task was to collect the charger from the service center and then proceed towards mateens house. Finally around 11am reached mateens house. His dad wanted to meet me as this was the first ride for mateen, so he was little concerned. I assured them everything will be fine and left around 11.30am. Both were super excited about the ride and coming days. Though it was a delayed start i knew the roads ahead were good. Mateen said that some of our friends were waiting at nerul to meet us. We met them at nerul clicked few pics and explained them about our ride. And you won’t believe the meeting went on till 1.30pm. We realized that we are super delayed and proceeded and took a lunch halt at lonavala. Once done with lunch we took the old pune route and then proceeded towards kolhapur. Within hours we hit the kolhapur road. It was too good for start smooth 6 lane highways with no potholes anywhere. Though we could have hit high speeds but restricted ourselves to 80kmph as we were on a ride not race. Now everything was coming into place after a delayed start. It was 5pm and we decided to halt for some snacks and tea. So we stopped at vittal kamath. Kolhapur was still too far from there and it already started becoming dark. We resumed our ride and took break occasionally. Around 8.30 we halted at a place and had some tea and snacks. People there started asking about the ride some took photos with my bike and Mateen was like someone click pic with my bike as well. We knew it would take another 2 to 2.30 hrs to reach kolhapur. During a ride there was a dark patch on the road and at the same time there was little fog, we were at our normal pace, suddenly a few feet ahead there was a truck without tail lamps and it was mud stained. Due to which it was not visible when it came close to us, we somehow managed as taking a sudden right for changing the lane at high speed can be fatal if there a vehicle approaching from behind. So i instructed mateen under such situations never suddenly change the lanes. After few hours of ride it was 11pm and we reached kolhapur so we sat for dinner at a hotel and used online apps to book a hotel. We found one at our budget and booked it and then we found that the hotel which we booked was right opposite to the hotel where we sat for dinner. Finally we had some dal khichidi and aloo mutter. Went to the hotel did the entry formalities, went to the room , freshened up and crashed on the bed.
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.
97 Kms from Chipi
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...
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:
113 Kms from Chipi
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. ...
There are several ways to reach Ratnagiri.Train: Ratnagiri is well connected with all the major cities of Maharashtra. It is one of the main railway stations of the Konkan Railway and all trains including Rajdhani stop here.Bus: There are plenty of overnight buses from Mumbai & Pune.Car: Ratnagiri is just few hours drive from Mumbai (348 km), Pune (305 km) & Nasik (486 km).Air: The nearest major airport is in Mumbai. From there, you can take a bus, train or car to reach Ratnagiri.
Atithi Parinay is in a small village named Kotawade. It is just 15 km away from Ratnagiri & Ganapatipule. Both Ratnagiri & Ganapatipule are famous for its scenic beaches and Kotawade village is in the middle of them. Ratnagiri has all, beaches, temples, forts, lighthouses, monuments & museums which has made it a perfect weekend gateway from Mumbai & Pune for all age groups. Ratnagiri is famous for Alphonso Mango too which is considered among the richest category of the fruits.
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.
56 Kms from Chipi
Best time to visit - N/A
This is a place which was first discovered by the hippies and is situated in the Northern part of Goa. This is a beach k...
It was close to midnight and I wasn't going to let a bunch of hooligans ruin it for me so I decided to drown them out and we just got our group together and danced our way into the new year accompanied by firework displays along the entire beach. With the new year set in we could see the crowd get more unfiltered and decided to head elsewhere and ended up in a Russian party. It was a private party but since we were a mixed bunch they let us in. Some good music, food and a better crowd kept us going till about 4am after which we decided to get some sleep.
Have lunch at Britto's beach shack (Recommended dish - Anything really!)Explored Baga beach which is one of the most famous beaches to chill, explore various shacks and for water sports.Dinner at A Reverie, Calangute - One of the best fine dine restaurants I've visited in Goa. They serve the most decadent dishes possible ranging from Indian to Continental! They also have an extremely romantic open ambience with a live band playing lovely music in the background. (Recommended dish - Thai Thali)
https://youtu.be/62_n5dvTxgQAt night we started with welcome drink and as you know"I wouldn't want to disclose what happened in Goa"On next day, after Baga beach, we headed towards Panaji. It is a well-planned city just about 20 kilometres from Goa. The road connecting the Panaji is 3 lanes expressway and riding a bike on this road is quite a fun. Panjim is the home of one of the popular Basilica of Portuguese times; Basilica of Bom Jesus.
At night we went to Baga Beach which is not very far from Calangute. That night was the most incredible night ever! The beach shacks were lit in sparkling lights and I could hear country side music playing in the backround. It was my birthday the next day and my friends surprised me with a cake and sky lanterns at midnight. We stayed there till 3 walking along the soft sand, looking at the waves clashing on the shore, sparkling in the moonlight!
Woke up and hired a bike from the owners of the huts we were staying at to enjoy a nice ride to Baga beach for breakfast. But as it always happens with me, the quantity as well as the quality of the crowd got to me and I could not get back to peaceful old Mandrem fast enough. Had an idle evening at Mandrem with lots of dips and food.
Sigh. Need I tell you anything more about this place? You plan for it every year, and the plan ultimately fails. This time, make it happen.Must do while here: Go paragliding on the beach. Spend the entire night in a frenzy on the Baga lane.Average cost per day per head (excluding flights): Rs. 2,000Best Hotels.Read more about Baga.Well-well, just create a WhatsApp group with all your buddies today and materialise a big plan as soon as possible. It's been long overdue. If you have interesting stories to tell us about travelling with your gang, do share them with us here. We're all ears!
Long live Goa.. "once more" is the word when it comes to Goa.. This is strictly with regard to north Goa; since I didn't get a chance to leave it and explore the south. So, my trip was with 5 of my school friends and it was planned for 5 days stay in Goa. It was a first for all of us in Goa. Since we were jobless at that moment, our budget was roughly 10k for each but it ended up in just 8k per head! Yes! you read that right. As it was march, we killed our "no ways" and booked out train tickets in sleeper class. It cost us 700/- per head for one way. Surprisingly, despite of the 33 hours long journey, the konkan scenaries and vada pao venders made it go in a poof! We had booked it till Thivim; since we were sticking to Baga-Calangute only. We booked a cab for 6 of us from Thivim to Titos lane, Baga, for 500/- and stayed there at Casa Madgaonkar Villa by paying 2800/- per night for the whole villa with kitchen. The villa is really nice and best for its location. Its on Titos lane 2, which is just opposite Titos lane and you can see the beach and tiding sea waves from just standing outside these villas. We rented 2 scooty and 1 avenger for 250/- each per day and 600/- per day respectively.
What I do primarily when I reach my room? I take out my locket out and wear it instantly before any 'Kala Jadu' happens to me at the newest-most-exciting-happening place of India. Oh, yes, I again changed so that I could use all the 6 Tees and wardrobe I purchased especially for this heavenly trip.
61 Kms from Chipi
Best time to visit - October- March
This is a village in the northern part of Goa and is on the southern side of the very popular Calangute Beach here. This...
Finally we ended our trip by visiting Candolim Beach where we relaxed by the beach and enjoyed a foot massage. We also had coconut water here which was really great. From here, we went to out hotel, collected out bags and left for Mumbai.Overall, Goa is one of the best places to party and relax. The people are very warm and chilled out. It is a perfect place to forget your everyday schedule, sit back and enjoy.
It was around 4:30 AM when we saw a ray of hope. At least we thought so until we reconfirmed from the policemen at the Toll that it was indeed Goa. Huh finally!!We reached this cozy Tourist Villa which one of my friend's father had booked for us few days before. So if you plan to visit Goa during Christmas then do all your bookings beforehand to avoid disappointments.
Candolim beach:For fun, I call it as Condom-lim- Candolim, not the popular but worth to explore. If you want to find clean beaches near to city center then live here only. North Goa to south Goa, everything is nearby. You will find less crowded shacks, clean beaches, private parties and a guy who collects sea cockroaches.
Visited Fort Aguada on way.Explore Candolim beachDinner at Koi, Calangute - The best ever pan-asian restaurant in Goa. (Recommended dish - Khao Suey)Club hopping (Part 2) -Club Love Passion Karma a.k.a LPK - Located in Nerul, it is a long ride away from the busy, touristy parts of North Goa, but a ride worth enjoying especially on a two-wheeler with the evening wind caressing your face. A very offbeat concept on the location and environment of the Club, but a good place to hang and party overlooking the lake. Free entry for ladies.SinQ club - Located in Candolim, north Goa, it is a part of SinQ Hotel and is a good place to drink, party and laze around the pool. Free entry for ladies.
Candolim, north of Mandovi river, is quite nearby and very famous for its party scene and quirky fashion shops. As is Panjim. Coco Beach near Candolim offers Dolphin rides with a charge of 500 Rs per person. What to eat : Pork Vindaloo, Veg/Non-veg Sorpotel, Rissoles, Chicken Xacuti, Feni (Goan traditional wine)19th century Portugese watch tower with terrific sea-viewsFlea market - a hotspot for travellers looking to soak up Goan flavours in terms of cheap merchandise.Classic hippie paradise. Quirky shops with eye-catching fare, alongside food, music and boozeGood informative tour, scenic locales, and delicious food, spices and oils - right from the plantation. Much better than Sahakari Spice Farms.
On our way back from Candolim, we had our lunch at a local eatery and tried the local cuisine. The food was spicy and tasted awesome specially the fish curry. We returned to Palolem by evening, decided to have some beer and laze around the beach. Local boys were playing football and we decided to join in for a game. These small things giving us the unknown joy and happiness that we seek, to me are the best part of travelling.
Three kilometres strech beach flanked by Siquerium and Calangute Beaches on both side. For all those who wish to spend some private time with their beloved ones in a peaceful place will definitely appreciate it. During sunset , the sky is painted with bright colors and thus makes it the most adorable memory.