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220 Kms from Madaba
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Named after Tribhuvan Eshwar or the 'lord of the three worlds' is the capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar. It is set on the M...
Nearest Airport: BhubaneswarNearest Railway Head: BalugaonRambha is around 130 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital town of Orissa. Balugaon, the nearest railhead is 35 km from Rambha. You can get local buses as well as hired cars from Bhubaneswar and Balugaon to Rambha. The buses running from Bhubaneswar to Berhampur stops at Rambha.Best Time to visit:The best time to visit Rambha is the winter months when the migratory birds flock at the islands of Chilika Lake. The weather also remains charming during this time.The monsoons too cast a different beauty over Rambha with dark clouds rolling over the blue waters of the Chilika Lake.
Getting There: Located in Jajpur district, Lalitgiri is 90 kms from Bhubaneswar through NH-5A (via Chandikhole). All the other sites are within 20 kms from Lalitgiri. Daily flights fly from all major cities to Bhubaneswar.Best Time to Visit: October to FebruaryTransport: Private cab service is the best option to visit these settlements. Packaged tours can also be arranged by Government of Odisha tourist office. (Paryatan Bhavan, Lewis Road, 751014, Tel: (0674)2431299)Accommodation: • Toshali Ratnagiri Resort, Opposite Archaeological Museum, Govt. of India, Distt.: Jajpur , Toll Free :1800 123 4555For Reservation : email@example.comCall 24*7 - (+91) 7894456444www.toshaliresort.com/toshali-ratnagiri• Toshali Pushpagiri Resort, At Pathrajpur, Post - Bali ChandrapurDistt.: Jajpur , Toll Free :1800 123 4555For Reservation : firstname.lastname@example.orgCall 24*7 - (+91) 7894456444www.toshaliresort.com/toshali-pushpagiri• Panthanivas, At-Po - Paradeep, Ph.(06722) 222275email: email@example.comThe port town of Paradeep is approximately 60 kms from these settlements.
While in Bhubaneswar, you can either go on a religious tour and visit temples such as Lingraj (a temple where Vishnu and Shiv are worshipped together), Parsurameswar and Mukteswar (a temple known as the 'gem of Odiya architecture'). You can also go the other way and visit Nandankanan Zoo (famous for its white tiger safari), botanical gardens and tribal museum.
Bhubneshwar Sightseeing - Nandankanan Zoo (famous for white tigers), Khandagiri & Udayagiri Caves, Shanti Stupa at Dhauligiri (do buy local cashewnuts, its cheap and really good).
It was still the wee hours of morning during January 21st 2016 when we landed at Biju Patnaik Airport , Bhubaneswar ,one hour flight journey from Vishakpatnam. Our destinies were directed towards Puri - a holy city situated on the east coast of India, also a part of Hindu Chardham yatra .It is not just the religious passion alone that forced this tour,but desire to explore new place, traditions and landmarks. We only knew that Odhisha is a culturally rich state with glorious history, temple architecture and enjoyed a secured place among women's wardrobe for its ethnic Ikkat silk sarees. The cab driver whom we hired from "Cars on rental" to drive us to Hotel Urmee, turned to be friendly, offered his service to take us round for the 3 days. He suggested an itinerary to cover Golden triangle circuit consisting of Bhubhaneshwar , Konark and Puri with Chilka lake. His promise to accompany us to Puri Temple was itself an icing on the cake to our enthusiastic venture.
We chose the Duronto Express which is one of the handful of non-stop express trains covering major cities. It covers a fantastic route with the most varied topography and the onboard service is excellent. From 11am until sunset, the train trundles past rivers, deserts, mountains and villages and alongside pyramid-like salt mounds drying in the sunshine. Brand new Durontos – meaning "quick" in Bengali – offer tasty meals included in the ticket price, second to none cleanliness, new interiors and a sleeker design for reading lights, phone sockets, berths and bottle holders. The added benefit is that the trains are also derailment-proof. The total journey time is 21 hours and the train runs only on Sundays.
192 Kms from Madaba
Best time to visit - N/A
Also known as Vizag, this city is often considered as the best and most popular tourist attraction of Andhra Pradesh. St...
290 Kms from Madaba
Best time to visit - N/A
Located in the South Western Part of Maharashtra, this is a small city on the coast of the Arabian Sea and is surrounded...
After arriving in Bhubaneswar, hire a taxi to Ratnagiri. If you make prior bookings, you can have the hotel arrange a pick-up from the airport. Spend this day resting, or head out for light exploratory walk around the area.
The word ‘Ratnagiri’ literally means ‘a hill adorned with jewels’. Perhaps it was the crowning glory of the Pushphagiri Mahavihara and, the largest of the Buddhist monastic settlement found in this area. ASI excavation under the supervision of D.Mitra unveiled the magnificent monasteries, stupas, temples, and votive stupas from under the earth. The Ratnagiri Mahavihara flourished most from the 5th to the 11th century AD in art, architecture and learning. The votive stupas are eloquent proofs of the fact that more than ten thousand students were under the tutelage of Ratnagiri during this time. A sharp decline occurred 13th century onwards perhaps due to lack of royal patronage and because of Muslim invasions in India. Still, it is believed to have survived till 16th century AD. A small trek uphill from the entrance gate took us to the votive stupas. The amazing stone votives with inscriptions and figures stood in neat rows, the distance between them being exactly the same! It’s a wonder with how much precision and accuracy these were made. It is said, students were supposed to build a votive to symbolize the successful completion of learning.We, the modern erudite people couldn’t even dream of paying such wonderful adulation to our alma-mater.A narrow pathway led us to the main monastery. The green field on one side was resplendent with wildflowers. The existing relics here speak of the magnificence of the monastery. A large stone courtyard lies in the middle with monastic cells all around the porch. The intricate designs of the entablature attest the glory of the Vihara in its heydays. Directly opposite to the entrance towards the rear end of the courtyard, there is a cell housing a huge statue of Lord Buddha in the Bhumisparsha Mudra. Two male figurines are there on either side of the statue with lotuses and chamars (fans) in their hands. Perhaps this served as an altar. Huge heads of Buddha, statues of Tara, Jambhala, and several other sacred Tantric deities are strewn all over the place. You can feel the awe, the excellence, and the wonder of Ratnagiri here.Standing in the middle of the huge courtyard, with the vast blue sky above, it seemed history came alive to us. It gave me a shiver down the spine to think of those days when India was one of the most revered countries of the world. The giant Buddha head besides the entrance looked like as if it was healing us from the core. Those lotus eyes still shine with mercy and love spreading ahimsa. You are bound to feel the magic when you’re in Ratnagiri, the divine essence dominating all devilish spirits around. The lush green freshness will rejuvenate your eyes and mind, the somber serenity will provide you a somnolence. The Tantric Buddhist monks wisely chose these places to attain enlightenment through learning while Mother Nature carefully curved her beauty here to match the soulful illumination. I’ve witnessed the past in glimpses of the present. The opulent architecture, the mesmerizing scenic beauty will be in my mind forever.P.S. There is an air-conditioned museum in Ratnagiri housing over 3000 artifacts that have been excavated from the site is also a must visit.This trip was originally published on Scattered Thoughts.
The 70 km road journey from Cuttack to Ratnagiri made us (me and my sister) a bit tired and, after reaching the resort, we decided to take some rest. But, we just passed into a deep slumber post lunch only to wake up in the evening. The next day, early in the morning, we started our journey for the excavated sites. Taking a cue from the map, we decided to start with the farthest one first, the Lalitgiri.Lalitgiri:“Look within. Be still.Free from fear and attachment,Know the sweet joy of living in the way”
196 Kms from Madaba
The district headquarters of the Puri District, the City of Puri lies on the western side of the state capital of Bhuban...
But that is not all there is to Puri, it has one of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches in all of India. Nights were usually at 6 pm and no one could be seen on the beaches after that. Bay of bengal is certainly the more treacherous of the two seas of India. It was not a long time ago before our visit that a cyclone had hit Orrisa(now Odisha) which got us in the dilemma whether to cancel our trip or not.
PuriThe very first char dham located in East on the bank of Bay of Bengal is famous for its ‘Rath yatra’. Also serving as one of the four ‘mathas’ established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, this is the only temple where brothers Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balbhadra are worshipped along with their sister ‘Subhadra’. This 1000 years old temple has been constructed by Raja Choda Ganga Deva and Raja Tritiya Ananga Bhima Deva.
Puri is one of the four holy pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Lord Jaganatha Temple here is visited by millions of pilgrims every year. But there's more to Puri than just the temple. The long sandy beaches are perfect for a romantic stroll and the marijuana, which is legally sold here, has been attracting tourists since ages! Head out to this pilgrimage site to discover a beach town that isn't crowded by your usual tourists.
The Journey to the "Land of Jagannath". Puri is one of the most holiest places in India & is considered as one of the biggest pilgrimage hub of Eastern India. In Puri there are a lot of places where one can visit and satisfy there inner soul for a proper spiritual and devotional voyage. The main attractions in Puri are the "Jagannath Mandir", which is more than 1000 years old.
Perhaps that’s why tickets were booked minutes after I saw her text. We decided to take the weekend off, and scrapped out the Monday from the weekdays. It was one of those passionate emotions where affection overpowered work, and we were going to Puri. The destination is very common for a Bengali (like us) but the companion was different! This was our first (somehow) big trip, and we were excited; a little apprehensive because this trip had to be anonymous, but we had to take the leap. A booking app gave us amazing discount at a beach side guest house, and we were sorted. Then began the wait.I was never fascinated in planning (as my trips always are just a backpack) but I realized there is a special charm to post-trip plans! Especially when your girlfriend does them, and you get to listen to all her elaborate plans, and questions about what would we wear, and (most importantly) what would we eat! Blessed am I because she is a stoner as well, and she successfully maintained the hype with all her plans and apprehensions! We discussed the places we were to visit, where to try good seafood, as well as minor details like what I should pack. It had been two complete years we have known each other, and there was no room for any mishap! The journey hadn’t yet commenced, but memories already started coming in!Come the day, and I was boarding the evening train to her place from where we would proceed to our destination. I arrived next morning, picked her up and had a tea at a roadside stall before taking the bus to Puri. Getting to Puri is pretty easy, it is well connected by train to the entire country, and it is a pleasant two hours of drive from the nearest airport at Bhubaneswar. One generally gets a plethora of hotels and resorts to pick from once they arrive, but I prefer doing my reservations prior to arrival (specially when I am travelling with someone); it’s neater for me that way.
Puri is one of the favorite holiday destinations for pilgrims, beach lovers and Bengalis of-course! I have visited the place with my parents thrice! Now, to be honest, if you're looking for a peaceful and relaxing beach escapade, then this is not the place for you! The beaches are crowded 12 months a year and aren't very clean. But if you want to have a fun time with the family, cram down some samosas and mishtis on the beach, feast on prawn malai curry, crab masala and vegetable pulao, then you're gonna have a gala time here! October to February is the ideal time to visit Puri because rest of the year the place is as hot as a furnace!So the place I'm gonna share my experience about is the famous Jagnnath temple. My last visit to Puri was in the month of June, 2014 at the time of the popular rath yatra! My grandfather was getting all dramatic that its his last is wish to witness the rath yatra(the actual last one was eating jalebi :P), so we took a four day trip to Puri.
I came down to Odisha for a friend’s wedding. I had already thought of keeping a day to travel and explore Puri. I booked a taxi early morning at 6 am from Bhubaneshwar. Puri is about 60 kms away from Bubaneshwar. It was wonderful to go on a long drive to Puri with fog all around and experiencing the sun rise.
239 Kms from Madaba
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Cuttack is one of the oldest cities in Odisha. It is also called the 'Millennium City', owing to its history of about a ...
Booked a Zoomcar a night before and four of us started for Cuttack the next morning. Highway driving is soothing yet risky. Good music and enough snacks are must-haves for long drives. Also I would recommend another person who can drive to accompany you so as to divide the fatigue equally. After reaching Cuttack by evening, we checked in a hotel and took rest for a day.
219 Kms from Madaba
Best time to visit - November- March
A small town in the state of Odisha, this place is mainly known for the 13th Century Sun Temple. This place was built by...
One of the most renowned temples in India is the Konark Temple, this Unesco World Heritage Sight baths in the rays of the rising sun.The Konark Temple depicts a monumental representation of the sun god's Surya's chariot; it's six wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is lead by a team of six horses.
An architectural masterpiece, built centuries ago, the Sun Temple in Konark stands proudly as one of the most iconic structures in Odisha. Designed in the shape of a chariot, with seven stone horses and 12 massive wheels, this temple is where you get to experience how our ancestors combined religion and science effortlessly. The temple is built to carry the Sun God to heaven and therefore the first light in the morning falls on the front of the temple and the last ray of sunlight in the evening passes through the entire temple before vanishing!
5) Konark: The temple gets its name from two Sanskrit words, ‘KONA’ and ‘ARKA’ which translate to corner and sun respectively. The Konark temple is an architectural slpendour of the Medieval time in Orissa. Built in the 13th Century, the architecture of the temple is very complex and the walls are covered with intricate carvings that reflect the magnificence of the artisans that sculpted the temple. The Konark temple is said to have been built on the sea in those days. Over the years, the sea has moved farther and the temple is now approximately 5kms from the shore.
Konark Sightseeing - Konark Temple aka "THE SUN TEMPLE" (a true Masterpiece of Architecture) and Chandrabhaga Beach (to witness best Sunset).
We are at the east coast of India near Konark,Odisha where the ocean is crashing at it's ends and the red sun is coming up on the horizon.At early dawn,it is the world of sleepless mad souls and soulful creatures in search of solitude,people seeking things that they neither know of nor understand when they see it.The darkness of the night tiptoes away to reveal distant fishing boats returning from the revelries of the overnight fishing at sea.They look like black ghost ships mingled with the mist of the upcoming spring on the horizon. Earth is turning over once again to light and hope of another day.Two other fishing folk arrive on their rickety bicycle and throw around the net over the shallow waves on the beach and get lucky with crabs caught unaware .One of them shows me a big one,dangling from it's fingers.
Konark is situated in the Puri district of the Indian state Orissa. Apart from Taj Mahal, if there is another monument that symbolizes India it is the majestic Sun Temple at Konark. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage. This temple made Konark one of the most visited towns in Orissa. The temple is dedicated to Sun God. The Temple is in the form of a Chariot with wheels on the sides of the platform on which the temple stands. The walls of Sun temple have carvings both inside and outside. Do travel to Konark to see it in all its splendor.
181 Kms from Madaba
This was the most thrilling and nerve breaking solo trip I have ever had which almost took my breath away. It looks like...
This was the most thrilling and nerve breaking solo trip I have ever had which almost took my breath away. It looks like everything is going awesome but wait for it.I had one extra day after a trip to vizag with my cousins. All left a day before and I had my train at 4 pm the next day. I had two options. Either travel vizag by bus and explore like a local or try once in a lifetime experience of train ride to Araku as we went to araku by car before. Here is our trip to Visakhapatnam which can be used as a guide if you are planning to travel there.https://www.tripoto.com/trip/visit-versatile-vizag-5a33e639d9f0fI booked the hotel for night in Vizag and while going to hotel by auto I talked with the driver uncle about my chances of making it possible to go by train to Araku and come back to vizag by 4 pm. He said it's possible if you come back by bus as early as you reach araku. My only doubt was that how frequently the buses would travel from araku to Vizag. He said there are buses every hour and I can make it back and encouraged me to go for it. I reached the hotel and thanked him for the advice and went to hotel. I asked the guy at the reception about my plan and he said go by early train which starts at 7 am and reaches Araku at 11:30 am and come back by bus to vizag. Two positive responses made me believe in the thought of making it back on time and decided to try it. Slept at around 11:00 pm and woke up at 5:30 am. Returned the room keys and thanked him and left to railway station. Reached railway station around 6:45 am and took ticket and hurriedly went to the platform where train was already waiting to start it's journey through thick forests crossing tunnels and making its way over borra caves and reaching araku valley. As the seats were already occupied I had only option of standing and sitting near the entrance which was not the bad news for me as I was expecting over crowded train which would make it difficult to even board the train. I looked through some boogies and hopped into one of them where only seats were filled and entrance was empty. After 10-15 minutes a family of around 15-20 members came where I was standing and made their way into the train but I didn't give up and stood there holding onto my place. The journey started after 10-15 minutes and train started picking up the speed and cruzed passing through green fields and empty stations. After a quick breakfast of samosa and tea while the train was taking its time stopping at each of its intermediate stations giving way to other trains finally it seemed like the time has come for the fast and furious ride. After an hour or so when the first tunnel came the darkness creeped in which excited people and they started screaming and making sounds. And when the other tunnel arrived, the sounds got louder and louder. It was unique. The atmosphere, smiles on the faces of the people, the positivity and everything about it was just great. What followed was train gushing into tunnel after tunnel making people go crazy and bringing joy out of the darkness.The network was out. Phones were used for videos and photographs instead of calls and WhatsApp. Everyone enjoying their time away from hustle bustle life and just having fun ride passing between big rocks, Crusing into tunnels, looking at the view out of their Windows and feeling the cool and fresh breeze. Train crossed around 40-45 tunnels passing station after station. After another hour or so we reached tyada which was the government heritage spot where one could go to resort and chill out hanging around the place enjoying the greenery and the wilderness. One could spot waterfalls along the way. Some filled with water and some dried away but the structure was visible and some were wet with little water flowing. It was a refreshing ride one can enjoy just looking at views and waiting for tunnels and looking out for waterfalls. After tyada you cross over 100 mts above borra caves and halt at the borra station. About 70% of the train gets vacated here as people take a tour around borra caves and explore other places through taxis and autos. And also don't worry if you don't have any idea as to how to travel in araku. Once you board the train there will be some agents coming and enquiring about the package. So talk to them, negotiate and compromise on the price and enjoy your trip. Or get down at borra and take a taxi from there on. Or just go straight to Araku and start from there. I thought getting a deal in train is a good idea as you can't negotiate that much if you go to borra or araku valley directly. After reaching borra, I got the seat near the window and enjoyed the trip there after enjoying the valley and the greenery it welcomed with. The mountains which were covered with greenery and the clouds which were hanging below the mountains were a beautiful sight to the eyes. Train passed through hills and took lengthy curves where one can see the engine from the windows. We cannot put the feeling we get while traveling in this ride in writings. One has to experience this moment to feel its joy and peace by hopping into the train and living in the moment. Finally reached araku at around 11:30 am and straight away walked to bus stop. The things which were pretty much in control till this moment were about to turn their back onto me and push me into thorns of troubles. The bus stand was filled with youngsters and I knew they all are waiting for one thing and that was a bus to Vizag. When I enquired when the next bus will arrive to get to Vizag the station master said it would be after 12:30 and it felt as if I stood on burning coal. I knew there was a coffee museum nearby and thought to take the trip and get back in half an hour. Not the greatest of places but has its own aroma and the smell of coffee makes it a worth it trip. You will get to know the history of coffee. You can try different flavours of coffee here and also hand made chocolates. There are few other attractions like trampoline, mechanical bull. A short walk around getting knowledge of origin of coffee and sipping different flavours of coffee buying chocolates is all you get in here. None the less if you have time you can visit this place for some time. I came back in half an hour and the crowd was even more now. It was around 12:15 a bus came and all rushed towards it but it was going to some other place. No bus came for another 15-20 minutes and it was getting intense. I decided to look out for other options and walked out of the bus stand. Tried looking for taxi but it went in vain as every car was filled with passengers and families. I went to the highway and asked an auto guy and he said the regular buses take around 4-5 hours as they stop at each small stops. I was in shock after hearing that. But then he said there is a deluxe bus which comes in another half an hour which can reach Vizag within 3-4 hours. I was relaxed. I waited on the road looking out for the bus but it didn't arrive. Then came an ordinary bus and I decided to pass it. 10 minutes and still I couldn't spot the bus I was waiting for. I was laughing at my decision to pass the other bus but I was still hoping that it would be a good decision if other bus arrives shortly. I waited looking at the rush at the place. Bikes, cars, mini travellers all coming in and going out. People walking all over the roads, autos filling like crazy and shops buzzing with crowd. I waited and waited and waited. As I started to look out for other options I spotted the deluxe bus and I got excited. Bus arrived but it was filled and there were no seats available but I did not think twice and got into the bus and stood hoping I would arrive by the time train leaves from Vizag station. To my surprise there was no ticket conductor on the bus and I knew what will happen next. Driver passed the bus out of araku and parked the bus aside and became conductor and started collecting tickets. Not this shit at this time. 15 minutes gone wasted. Then he started the bus and man he was fast, accurate and had grip on his driving. He drove like a roller coaster from the height of above 3000 ft passing through hills in a single lane road overtaking cars and making sharp turns at curves. There was this gang of around 5-7 boys and girls and they were standing near the driver and some sitting near the gear box. After around an hours drive they wanted to stop the bus as one started throwing up and it continued as one after other started occupying windows to throw up. There was no other option but to stop. Around 5-10 throwed up and others went to have their smoking time. Another 10-15 minutes were taken up. The drive started again. The views were amazing, the cool air, the clouds, the mountains, the feel was so refreshing that I gave up thinking whether or not I would reach in time or not. I just enjoyed looking out and feeling refreshed. Passed village after village but the journey was still going on and the destination was still far from where we had reached. It was around 2:30 pm when I got my network and first thing I did was checked how far to reach and what time it would take. It showed 1:30 hours more and around 70 Kms to be travelled. As we got closer and closer the time ran faster and faster and my heart beating like a beat boxer. Around 3:40 pm we reached the city and the signals interrupted the flow of the journey. He had to stop at multiple stops as people wanted to get down. After trying his best he dropped me near railway station around 3:55 pm and I had to walk half a kilometre to reach the station. The train would leave at 3:50 pm as per schedule but I was hoping it would be late but this was a special train and it was starting from Vizag Itself. I ran as fast as I could and reached station in 2-3 minutes and they were announcing about my train. I looked at the board and as soon as I saw platform 3 I ran straight into the tracks and jumped two platforms and made my way to platform 3 and there it was waiting eagerly for me. As it was a special train the boards were different, there were no sheets attached and the boogies were numbered twice. After enquiring with a ticket conductor I got in to train and took a deep breath. I was sweating in that humidity and I was soaked in few minutes. I relaxed for some time. Went out and got biscuits and water bottle and sat there with a smile on my face, peace in my mind and an experience in my life.
Where: Visakhapatnam, Andhra PradeshNestled between the mountains of Galikonda and Chitamogondi, the Araku Valley is a hidden hill station in Visakhapatnam. The area is home to tribal farmers who were the first harvesters of coffee in India, you find out more about the tribal history of Araku at the Araku Tribal Museum. Araku Valley is also surrounded by the stunning waterfalls of the Eastern Ghats. Just 30km away from the main town, you can visit the Chaaparai Waterfalls in Paderu, and if you have more time then also head to the Talimada or Anantagiri Waterfalls that are near the Anantagiri village.How to reach: The nearest airport to Araku is Visakhapatnam International Airport (109km away) and the nearest railway station is in Araku (3km away). If you are driving from Visakhapatnam then it will take you around 3 hours via the Visakhapatnam-Araku Road.Where to stay: Navara Natural Farm
9. Araku Valley:One of the lesser known hill stations, Araku Valley is a valley inhabited by indigenous tribes in the Eastern Ghats. One of the most visited tourist places in Andhra Pradesh, Araku is also famous for its coffee plantations. One must also visit the tribal museum, Borra caves and Ananthagiri Hills while at Araku. Araku can be reached from Visakhapatnam, from where there are regular buses.
The train to Araku valley from Vizag passes through one of the most scenic routes in India. The train passes through 50+ tunnels, several bridges offering amazing valley views, and multiple curves exposing the entire train. There is only one train which passes through this route once per day. The train starts from Vizag to 7.05 in the morning. Although it was too early for me (being a night owl), I managed to reach the station on time to catch this train.
About place:Zindaghad is a hill station in Araku, Andrapradesh. I think, many people may not aware of this place and not heard about name of the place. but I am sure, its an awesome place I ever seen near by. This place has got something that I have no words to explain, that unique landscapes and views make you feel rejuvenate and relax.How to reach:Our journey starts from Hyderabad to Vizag, Vizag to Araku, Araku to that trek point (Base camp), we were the third group to reach the summit and it was pretty fascinating. We took train from Hyderabad around 5 AM, reached Vizag at 6.30 AM, local trains at 7.30 AM from Vizag to Araku, from Araku station we hired an auto to reach the base camp.
We descended down to valley back to Vizag once again in rain, and headed directly to the airport. My wife was flying back to Blr to rejoin us in the later part of the trip. The airport security was beefed up as a lot of politicians had turned up, so we parked away from all terminal, and Sridhar removed his baklava before we would be mistaken for.... When we were transferring all the wet luggage into the back-pack, the cops had a field day laughing @ us, and enquiring about our adventure.We left back to the hotel, and in the night went looking for good Andra meals, and the due to visiting politico's all the good places had run out of food catering to them and the cops. So we settled for veg biryani, and later found chicken pieces. Guess in AP, veg == chicken.Vizag to Bhuwaneshwar (Day 4):The next push was to Odissa, and there were jitters as to what lay ahead. We knew the roads were good up until now, what lay ahead we could only guess. We were also aware of the hazards of riding in the night in these isolated places.We were surprised to find people talking bits of Kannada at places beyond Srikakulam. The IT effect has indeed grown far and wide, as few of them used to work in security firms as guards. The entry to Odissa was on the wrong way, literally. The trucks had blocked the left lane for miles near the border check-post. We took clue from a bus, and took to the wrong side and got passed the blocked border.Stopped at the BP ghar dhaba right after the border, and found some really good andra meals to our surprise. Guess we were destined to eat andra meals after all. Met few truckers who gave us good advice, and warned us of riding in the dark to puri. After a heary meal, and dumping all the water in the boots (yes the rain was still chasing us).Sridhar had heard of a ferry which could take small cars and bikes across the chilka lake directly to puri. So we left the highway and hit the interior roads. After getting lost for sometime (no one around to help), and riding through the greenest paddy fields we finally hit the right place. The locals as helpful as ever, informed us the ferry was cancelled due to bad weather. Then came along a wooden boat ferrying 4 motorcycles, and few people. They offered to take our bikes along, and as they were heavy, they agreed to take on only 2 of our bikes. After much delibration we decided the risk was not worth it, and ride to puri. To the much disappointment of the locals, we rode back to the highway, and lost lot of time.It was dark by the time we went back to the highway, and rode on till we thought we missed the diversion to Puri. The roads were isolated and darkness like I've never experienced before. We pulled into a fuel bunk where trucks had pulled over, and found the petrol bunk to be patrolled by guards with Double barrel rifles. They convinced us not to ride out to puri through the diversion, as it would be too risky. They adviced us to ride to Bhuwaneshwar, and stay put for the night. Couldn't argue with the man with the double barrel rifle, could we?Sridhar got in touch with a rider from Bhuwaneshwar (Siddhanth), who agreed to meet us in the outskirts of the city. He guided us to the Ginger hotel, where the food was excellent. Siddhanth told us the parking in Puri might be a problem, so we decided to take local transport to Puri.Puri (Day 5):The rick guy asked 5 5 for 2 passengers, and later changed it to 7 7 to take to a bus stop where express buses come. I later realized that 7 7, was not 7 per person, but his was of explaining it was Rs 77. The roads were being expanded, so bus really helped, and we got some deserved sleep (atleast I did). Puri temple was tall, and crowded, and we took turns to visit it. Later we headed out to Konark, a place I've always wanted to visit. The sun temple was a marvel in stone work, and we thoroughly enjoyed the place. We caught one of the last buses to Bhuwaneshwar, which used to stop @ places where there were no houses. Couldn't pick out a speck of light anywhere in the line of sight. Wonder where people actually live.Siddhanth joined us for Dinner, and we had some good punjabi food @ Punjabi Tadka, and bid fair well to siddhanth. Tomorrow lay Kolkata, and the chance to meet the riders from Kolkata.Bhuwaneshwar - Kolkata (Day 6):Empty roads made us much miles, though we did take off (Sridhar the longest) due to undulation on the road. We were supposed to meet the riders @ Sher -e Punjab (Kolagate) around 70km away from Kolkata. The waiter wanted to know where the other riders are, so we were sure we ended up @ the right place. We had some really good tandoori kababs (yes, veg), and waited for the riders to show up. After the introduction with the riders, we all caught up on some food and a beer each.I had been running on a rear flat tyre for the last 100 kms, and filled in air once more to reach kolkata. The riders guided us past traffic jams, and put us @ the pearl hotel opposite Salt lake stadium. We decided to take a stroll, and found Mantri mall, and grabbed some chats, and chola batora.The next day, Saket from the HD showroom, turned up to pick us up from the hotel. After pumping air into the flat tyre, we rode to the showroom, and left our bikes for service. Saket took us around the city of Kolkata on a whirlwind tour. He took us to some isolated places, which had some amazing views of the Howrah bridge. Later he took us to a place which served us some amazing kati rolls, and we just couldn't stop at one.We returned to the showroom, and bikes were all fixed and washed clean. Everyone @ the showroom took awesome care of us, and I rate these guys as some of the best in India (Rivalled only by Ahemadabad). We were accompanied by a employee, whose RE was more louder than any HD we've come across. It was literally shooting flames. We were picked up by the riders from the hotel, and met up at Oval lounge with more riders. This was one wicked party, and we saw what Kolkata hospatality truly meant.Kolkata - Allahabad (Day 7):We were joined by few Kolkata riders for around 100km towards Varanasi. After breakfast at BP ghar dhaba, we left the Kolkata riders, and proceeded to Varanasi. chhattisgarh to our surprise had the best roads, with cemented and banked curves. We passed through long convoys of sumo's/jeep's/buses on the way to some political rally. The traffic was stopped to distribute food among the vehicles. Once the roads opened up, we were having so much fun, that we hesitated to stop, but the hunger finally caught up.We stopped @ haryana dhaba, and while waiting for our food to arrive, a lorry full of army personel stopped to have a look @ the bikes. We later found out that they were local police on patrol, and not army. The food again was hot and decent, and we started riding again towards varanasi. Entered Bihar, and the smog was already setting in. We stopped @ a toll close to Varanasi, and met the engineer in charge who seconded our doubt of Varanasi being crowded. He adviced us not to stop @ any road side hotels, and to stop only inside the city. Few locals told us we had just crossed the problem area, and they would be able to catch up on these bikes.We decided to ride to Allahabad, and found later the roads to be blockaded some km's after Varanasi. This apparently was due to some country fair being held in a village. We being on bikes were let through to the wrong side, as no vehicles were plying on both sides. The country fair was the thing of movies. Loud speakers blarring out live music, people walking in the night to attend the fair.. We finally reached Allahabad around 10pm, which again proved to be a problem. Trucks were only allowed to enter Allahabad after 10, and the roads were jammed. Followed cops on the wrong side (may be up there it is the right side), and got to the hotel (Ravisha international).They were kind enough to let us place the order as it was closing time, and had some really authentic UP food and went to sleep.Allahabad - Delhi (Day - 8):We rode till kanpur which has a flyover across the city. We stopped for fuel and asked around for some good dhaba, and were recommended one just up the road. I tell you, this place had some of the best parata's and curries you could get. We stuffed ourselves so bad, we had to laze around for sometime before we could even move. After reaching agra, we decided to take the Delhi-Agra yamuna express way. We fuelled up before the entrance, as we were told no fuel bunks around. This was flat cemented 3-4 lane express way, but with a speed limit of 100Km. You can just lock the throttle and snooze, and you will cruise to Delhi.Was glad to get off the express way, and finally reached my friends place in Delhi.Delhi (Day - 9):We went to the HD India office, and were given a tour of the facilities, and we hit a local brewery for lunch. Sridhar had his bike inspected by John for some wiring issues. Vijay then took us around old Delhi on our bikes, and later dropped us @ HD showroom. That's when we realized the service shop was located on the other side of the city, and I had to get the rear tyre replaced. A rider helped us find the way, and we reached the service center past closing time. But they went out of their way and got the replacement done. Was looking forward to the next day as it had something special in store.Delhi - Pushkar (Day 10):My wife flew into Delhi in the morning, and joined us @ our friends place. After break fast we started for Pushkar, and decided to hit the HD factory @ Bawal. We split up @ the first toll, due to bad bottle necks. But after re-grouping made it to the factory. Though it was closed, and after the security guys called their seniors, and allowed us into the compund. While we were busy clicking away snaps, we were served coffee. We left Jaipur behind, and rode to Puskar. It was dark when we left the highway, and the road was twisted to say the least.Pushkar - Chittorgarh (Day 11):The resort was really outstanding, with a resturant serving authentic Rajastani cuisine. After a good nights sleep, we packed up and left for Pushkar town. We were allowed to park on the street next to a vendors shop, and I kept watch while the rest went on a visit to the temple and the lake. I was thoroughly entertained, when some local kid try to sell off our bikes to some foreigners.We headed out to Chittorgarh, which happens to be the largest fort in India. We met some goat herder's, and they offered us wild berries, and we graciously accepted. They were happy to pose for snaps, and shook hands with us. We rode in to the fort around 3pm, and stopped for some snaps. A local guys offered us to take us around for nominal fees, and we accepted. We followed his bike, and he put in a word with all the parking attendants, and our bikes were definitely looked after.The fort is quiet simply breath taking, and only after reaching here did I realize that this is the fort shown in most travel shows. Boy, was I glad I turned up here without even being aware of what was in store. The sculptures and the towers are really work of art and science. Coupled to that the various water reservoiurs around the fort, which keep the town supplied for was surreal. We watched the sun set from the main entrance, and did some shopping. Ended up picking Maharani saree's, to be shipped home. Supposedly the queen wore if for her wedding, and it was made up of fibres from custard apple tree.While shopping, we over-heard someone owning a HD too in the town below, and we got curious. We found out that he happened to be owner of a hotel too. We got the contacts, and rode down to the town to find Pratap Palace. We were not disappointed. A old Haveli converted to a hotel, with enough antiques and collectable cars and even a original RE from england. We had to wait as the rooms were booked out. The beers were really helping, when we were shown to the rooms, with a view of the fort. Do not miss the Baigan ka bharta there.Chittorgarh - Udaipur (Day - 12):Ride to Udaipur was again stupendous. Curved pristine roads, and Sridhar was definitely having a blast riding solo. Reached Udaipur for breakfast, and based on recommendation by my friend (Delhi), we hit Ras leela. Unfortunately the few tests over-looking the lake were booked, so we settled for a breakfast in the garden. We then found a hotel near by called Lake Pichola, and booked in. Again, a old Haveli turned into a hotel, loaded with antiques. The view from the balcony overlooked the lake and the city palace. The owner was friendly, and we rested easy when we heard RE and other groups stay there quite often.After a rest, we decided to walk the inner roads to the palace, and ended up consuming innumerable masala goli soda. The Palace is huge, and it took a toll on me. I felt a sudden dip in energy levels, and almost collapsed. So a good long break in the shades, followed by lots of energy drinks got me through .We went to the garden hotel, which had a collection of antique cars, and served some mean thali. We were late for both, so we settled for a-la-carte and had some good cognac. Later me and my wife went back to the city palace for the light and sound show. Sridhar decided to skip the show, and head back. Did some shopping again inside the Palace where my wife kept asking me for time. Me being myself kept telling her "Why do you need to know the time, relax".Just before the show, I realized my cell phone was missing. Then began a frantic search @ the gift shop, the palace yard. We sat through the light and sound show, and as good as it was, we were thinking about the cell. After giving a complaint in the palace security office, we returned to the hotel, and informed the reception of the same. From the room, we kept calling the cell, and almost gave up. My wife took the cell and gave one last attempt, and someone did pick up. It was the auto rickshaw driver. He promised to deliver it to the hotel in due time.We were waiting for him downstairs, and he turned up with the cell. Apparently it was stuck between the seats, and he hadn't heard it ring earlier as he was ferrying customers. He heard the ring when he had stopped @ the stand. All he asked was the auto fare to the hotel, as he couldnt get any fare. We tipped him some cash, and he was not ready to accept it. After some persuation from us saying it was a diwali gift, he relented and accepted it.I tell you, the number of missed calls on the cell, from the hotel, from the palace security.. it just was over-whelming. We gave each one of them a call informing them of the rick guy returning us, and thanked them. Finally relieved we headed to hotel roof top, which was draped in white curtains, and with a open view to the lake and palace. We had some real good food, me wild beans curry, and wife lal-mas (red goat meat). Relieved we went to bed, and reflected on an amazing Rajastan. We would be leaving it behind in the morning.Udaipur - Ahemdabad - Little rann of kutch (Day 13):The roads near the border of Rajastan/Gujarat were not the smoothest. We had breakfast @ Punjabi Dhaba few miles past the border. Reached a sultry hot Ahemdabad close to noon, and went straight to the showroom. It was closed as it was Diwali. They let us rest inside the showroom, as it was searing hot outside. Indrajeet later joined us, and the staff started trickling in for the Diwali puja.We met a fellow rider, who along with Indrajeet offered their help in planning our next leg of journey. We had some spare days, and Rann of kutch was too tempting. They called ahead to the resorts, and booked us in for Little rann (Rann riders), and Kutch safari @ Bhuj. We then called a cab, and put my wife back on the flight to bangalore, and we started to Little Rann.We realized Gujarat has better roads, than the GQ stretch. We reached late night at the resort, and grabbed quick dinner.Little Rann safari - Bhuj (Day 14):We followed the Thar to the little Rann of kutch, and saw lot of peacocks, and birds on the way. @ the Little Rann, we ran our bike across the desert, while we were surprise as to how stable the bikes were, and how dry and hard the sand was. We encountered few wild asses, and headed back truly impressed. This was appetizers for the white sands of kutch. We were now re-energized for the push to Bhuj.Back @ the hotel, we grabbed breakfast, and played with all the dogs (Lambs, st burnards)..and left for Bhuj. I highly recommend this place, for anyone visiting Gujarat.Tomorrow was a 80km ride to White sands of Dorodoro and Kaladunga montain.Bhuj - Doro Doro - Kaladunga - Bhuj (Day 15):After riding in a bit more for better snaps, we started for kaladunga. Heard foxes come around 12:30 to eat the prasad, so we hurried. The road to Kaladunda is unmarked, and we blindly followed some tourist vehicles in the hope they were headed there. The cops had stopped cars from going up, as there were no space, but after some persuasion, waved us through. We parked the bikes in front of the temple and ran to the observation deck.Bhuj - Mumbai (Day 16):This was one long tiring stretch, and the only bright spot, we spotted a lot of flamingos on drying lakes, and saw in-numerable salt fields. We avoided the route we took to Bhuj, and opted for the longer route. The roads turned out to be good, and we stopped at a hotel Mahakali for lunch. I was running a leak from the gear shifter, so it was time to top it up. After that we rode past so many industrial areas, that the progress was slow. And I was getting tired.Mumbai - Kolhapur (Day 17):
29. The untouched beauty of Araku ValleyA picturesque train-ride away from Vishakhapatnam, Araku is where the colours of nature paint the landscape in all the shades of green. Located on the Eastern Ghats, Araku Valley is the perfect hill-station getaway from Hyderabad and Vijayawada.
Araku Valley, the first time I heard the name of the place, I fell in love. Sounds insane, I agree, but doesn’t the name sound even the slightest bit poetic?Located in Andhra Pradesh, to reach Araku Valley, you HAVE to first reach Visakhapatnam. From Vishakhapatnam, the best way to reach is through train (mostly because it’s so beautiful!) the other way is through road – you can take a cab if you manage to bargain through their exorbitant prices!The valleyThe first glimpse of Araku Valley reminds one of a postcard. It takes you back to all the picture perfect locations one sees only in movies and for the first 5 minutes, your tummy doesn’t stop rumbling! It’s true that beautiful places make one happy because on the first day I was ecstatic.Even though it took me one whole hour to locate my tiny guest house (it takes 2 hours to cover the whole town) I knew Araku Valley would change me.Now everything you read online about lots of places to see in Araku, yea not really true. Besides mesmerizing coffee plantations, everything else is a little far. Which was perfect for me, because all I wanted to do was take umpteen walk along the rolling hills.
The first city to encounter is Madaba, "the City of Mosaics".The city, best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.Lost for more than a millennium, the red rose city of Petra, also a new seven wonder of the world was built 2,000 years ago by nomadic Bedouins.Located approximately three hours south of Amman, this desert city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads among Arabia, Egypt and Syria–Phoenicia. Petra is famous for its magnificent architecture – a half man-made and half carved into the rock city with a highly advanced water conduit system.Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that enchants visitors from all corners of the globe.