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124 Kms from Tiracol
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.
61 Kms from Tiracol
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:
147 Kms from Tiracol
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.
245 Kms from Tiracol
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
Of panoramic views, perennial waterfalls and picturesque landscapes, Mahabaleshwar stands out as the largest and most po...
Mahabaleshwar - The very name evokes the beauty of the region - lush green forests and the mountain range of the western ghats. Quite a number of scenes of Baahubali were shot here.A small piece of advice:Now that you have seen all the places where Baahubali was shot, now go see the movie again. The thrill of having seen the sets and the places where it was shot, makes watching the movie again even more magical.Relive the magical moments of Baahubali!Cover picture credits:https://www.google.co.in/search?q=ramoji+film+city+bahubali+sets&rlz=1C1CHBF_enIN747IN748&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjny73k8rvWAhUEOY8KHaiwBzEQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=662#imgrc=XTqs_Zzv2V61dM:
it was around 10 o'clock in the morning and we reached Mahabaleshwar. we stayed at Hira Baug resort panchgani, okay so it is a little far from town but trust me the view you get from here is worth it! charges are variable so if you wish to go there then please google its price or contact them directly. had lunch over there and then i went to sleep as i traveled for 16 hours, and ya lunch was good! after 3 hours of sleep i woke up at 4:00 pm and then left resort to explore Mahabaleshwar! i don't know how but sunset was early so as soon i reached Venna lake there was about to sunset, so what i did was just set down near to the lake and enjoyed that beautiful sunset! it was wonderful, the silent water that kids playing around and that cold weather makes it perfect! then i left for Mahabaleshwar market. it was usual market surrounded with some stuff and all. yes do not forget to try strawberry with cream! if you like strawberry then you will love it as Mahabalehswar is capital of strawberry! then i left for my resort as i was hungry, i had my dinner and went to sleep.
The clouds were at the level of our eye line at our entry(made at night time) to Mahabaleshwar which proved to be an amazing sight.Next day we were off to discover the beauty of this marvel that we made our visit to. Mahabaleshwar certainly has one of the best hills in all of Maharashtra if not the best. The multi-colored impression the hills give are something to look out to.
Located in Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar is a gorgeous hill station, with hanging clouds and covered in mist, wrapped in a lush green wild. With a rich princely legacy reflected in colonial era architecture that earmarks the town, Mahabaleshwar has a charming appeal. The town’s scenic beauty is enthralling, being the base of five rivers, nestled in magnificent Western Ghats. With spectacular view of the sunrise and sunset, trekking trails, horse riding paths and boating in the rivers, Mahabaleshwar offers a meditative ambience, the perfect weekend getaway and thereby one of the best places to visit in India in May.How to get there: Well-connected by road from Pune, which also has the nearest airport. The nearest railway station is Wathar.
We expected to take a ferry, but there was none. So we had to take this long along-the-river road. The road above the river is full of red sand. It required high levels of patience to ride this. More than 50 minutes, the road was all red with up and down slopes of red sand. I was sure, the bike would skid at some place, but it didnt. I must be a good rider. What was worse was the incoming trucks loaded with more red sand and blowing the dust in the air. Siddi was all red when we reached the bridge crossing.
7. Mahabaleshwar:Once the summer capital of the Bombay province, Mahabaleshwar is a plateau that is surrounded by valleys on all sides, and offers stunning vistas of the lush greenery it is surrounded by. It is also known for being the birthplace of the river Krishna, along with 6 other rivers. One can also make day trips to Raigad, Pratapgad, Wai, Lingmala waterfalls and the Venna lake. Located at 160 and 260 kms from Bombay and Pune respectively, Mahabaleshwar is one of the ideal places to visit in Spring season in India.
91 Kms from Tiracol
It was during this time of the month that there was a festival in Canacona town that had a 2 km long procession of peopl...
It was during this time of the month that there was a festival in Canacona town that had a 2 km long procession of people on the road blocking the only highway to Bangalore. Our bus left at 6 PM, and at 1 AM the next day, we were still in Goa, stuck on the highway.My friend and I got out, saw that 12 other buses and other vehicles were stranded on the road with no access to a washroom or restaurant. Someone had allowed the people to let their procession onto the road illegally. Since I had worked previously at RedFM and NDTV, I managed to get the ACP of Goa on the phone. He blabbered something about his superior giving the go-ahead and I gave him a mouthful and a peace of my mind. It was my friend and I who drove the police to move the people out of the way so that the buses could continue.Finally, at around 2:15 AM, we managed to get the buses moving with every driver thanking me along the way. I had verbally yelled at the ACP enough for him to turn off his phone for the entire night. We got onto the bus, told the driver that he needed to drive his best. Because of how tired we were, we dozed off instantly. The next morning at 7 AM, we were miraculously in Bangalore! This is one of those few moments in a lifetime that I am immensely proud of. As a journalist, I felt I'd done my duty. I had even sat in one of the police cars and told them I wouldn't leave until they cleared the road for us. Believe it or not, that's what finally worked!As much as we didn't touch the usual in Goa, it felt complete. I'd spent years looking at beaches in Goa, but never had a chance to explore the underrated. And this time, I did it. It felt absolutely complete. But, a few days after reaching back, I realized that there's a whole lot more I hadn't discovered. And that's something I did on my next trip to Goa, but more on that next time!Here's a short compilation of one of my trips to Goa! Please like, share, and subscribe!
Day 1 - Saturday morning 6 am - The most beautiful sunrise was infront of me . Lush greens, washed forests, beautiful sea and a clear sun brimming through the dew and mists of rain .
For every teetotaller and loner, Vagator is completely the wrong option. Instead, disappear from the madness and crowd to the southern side for serenity at Canacona Beach. A perfect place to spend some time in solitude!
221 Kms from Tiracol
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
The seven hills surrounding Satara give this picturesque district its name. Home to the popular Panchgani and Mahableshw...
As I reached Satara it became even worse - the mad traffic and the road, and finally reached Pune at 8 pm. It was so nice to see my favorite Mama and Mami. Went for local Pune ride the next day and found myself like AK in PK. No one was following traffic rules, no helmets, no rules nothing. Saw people staring at me for following regulations. While coming back from MG road a guy in Merc was shouting at me for waiting for traffic light to turn green. Educated illiterate eh!? Spent the next two days in Pune and got much needed rest and most needed sleep. Running short of time, energy and most importantly money I decided to skip Mumbai and head to Goa. On 29th Dec left for Panchagani and Mahabaleswar. Visited Ganapati Temple in Wai and started climbing the hill. Reached the next destination by 11 am. Spent some time in city and at various places and left for Ratnagari. Joined Mumbai–Goa highway and reached the city of mangoes by 6 pm and stayed there for the night.
In the evening we started for Mahabaleshwar... Next day was fully dedicated to Mahabaleshswar. Visit to Mahabaleshwar Temple was quite ok. The highlight was after that. We reached one of the view point in old Mahabaleshwar. There was nothing to see the whole area was covered with fog. On reaching there in the jungle we saw the whole heard on Indian Bison. They were so big ab majestic and looking great......
Our initial target for the day was Pune (845 kms from Bangalore), but since we got delayed and we didn’t want to ride through the night, we decided to stay at a place called Satara. Pune was still a good 100 kms away. After a bit of hunting, we found a decent hotel right on the highway and we were settled in. I slept like a baby that night!Day 1 Stay: Hotel Mahindra Executive, SataraPros: Decent Staff. Good Food. Right on the highway.Cons: Small rooms. Slightly pricy.Few Pointers: Start as early as you can. Make note that you need time to pack the luggage onto the bikes. Always keep spare bungee cords. Also thoroughly wrap your luggage with tarpaulin. NH4 has relatively fewer fuel stations, so keep this in mind when you’re running low. The hotels in Satara have something called permit rooms, which people rent to host alcohol parties. This can get pretty ugly with an unruly crowd. So please check thoroughly before you zero in.DAY 2:Satara – Mumbai (270 kms):We were all pretty beat from riding all day long, so we slept in even though we had planned to leave early. After having some yum MisalPav andPoha for breakfast, we were ready to leave by 9AM. Now we had the horrendous task of loading the luggage and wrapping it with tarpaulin. It was only Day 2 and I was already fed up with the wrapping and unwrapping of tarpaulin. It is such a tedious task.Anyway, we finally managed to leave by 10AM. The road from here is great, and the view is out of this world. The route is surrounded by the Western Ghats. This beauty is mesmerizing all year round, but during the monsoons she has an outer worldly charm. Serene, calm and soothing. What a refreshing start to the day.
292 Kms from Tiracol
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Located along the coast of Karnataka, Udupi is a beautiful town famous for its delicately carved temples and calm beache...
Day 4The Airbnb where I stayed was slightly off Udupi in a village called Aroor. The owner's dad (a 70 odd year old man) took me around the village for a 5km, 1 hour walk. It was a beautiful morning and I had a nice time walking through farms, bridges on backwaters and spotting a few birds.
Night we halted in udupi, a well known place for lord Krishna temple, in fact very beautiful place with historic story behind the temple and place.
The crazy adventure had just ended. 400 kms of mountain roads, 2 crazy bikes, a lot of flora and fauna, dense jungles, some really aromatic coffee, and endless scenic beauty. While handing over the bikes, we promised the shop owner to come back for them, and we did, a day later, for another adventure!
St. Mary’s Beach, KarnatakaUdupi Karnataka is home to the beautiful St. Mary’s island. This beach is embraced by the Arabian Sea and this beach is unique because of the basalt rock formations that look unique and stunning. This yet to be explored beach is glorious in all its ways! Be sure to check this out when you go to Udupi.Flight costRound-trip fares start from Rs 10,000 onwards. Booking in advance can get you best prices!Best time to visitDecember is the best time to visit, as the weather is just ideal!Where to stay Ocean Pearl Udupi (Rs 4000) , Paradise Isle Beach resort ( Rs 3000) , For more options, check here.
UdupiUdupi is known as the 'Temple town of Karnataka.' This small town consists of three ancient temples namely, Udupi Shri Anantheshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Udupi Shri Krishna Matha dedicated to Lord Krishna (the temple is also has a Gaushala inside, a haven for cows), Shri Anantheshwaram and Indrani Panchadurga Parameshwari Temple. I went to Udupi on a Sunday and my goodness, it was exceptionally populated on that day. Devout people of Karnataka gather together at all the temples to pay their respects to holy deities. What an amazing sight it was! It is easy to visit all the temples on the same day since all of them are closely knitted location wise.
Have you all explored Goa? Yes! Udupi?? No!This monsoon or winter head to Udupi, people generally know that it is a temple town. The revered Shri Krishna Temple which most pilgrims visit to seek blessings and the much holy ' prasadam' served there in the temple premises. We headed to Udupi with some hasty weekend travel roadtrip planning. With not much expectations and more a break to the mundane routine. It took us ten hours to reach by car and we entered the clean Udipi town around 2pm. Clean roads, less crowd, helpful people, soaring heat and sumptuous cuisines. That's it! No?? 5.30 pm we head to Kapu beach famous for its sunset view, lighthouse and clean beach. And it was indeed! Wow a beach that's maintained so well. White sands, clean blue waves, spectacular sunset hues, less crowd, miles to walk, breezy and serene. If not here than where else could we find such colours of the setting sun. Most of the Udipi beaches do not boast of fancy beach resorts. But that is a blessing in disguise to keep such pristine beaches for us. So to reach the beaches you might have to take your own transport or hire one. I can see only a few beach resorts around one of Udipi's more popular Malpe beach. This beach is more popular with sea sports like banana boat, paragliding, speed boat and the shade provided under thatched umbrellas. But the 'go-to' place is St Mary's island! So when you're in MALPE, take this ferry boat ride to the island that starts around 9 am till 4 pm with 300 bucks per adult. It's a thirty minutes boat ride , quite noisy though ! But once you reach, you are spellbound. Probably in monsoons they do not allow this. Its a secluded island, you have to see it to believe it. With kids , small babies and toddlers it might get difficult to get up and down of the boat or take that long boat ride. Do carry sufficient juice, water, snacks and umbrellas to enjoy the one hour you are left to be there. The volcanic rock formations make you feel you're indeed in some far off country beaches. But here it is....in our own country. Wish they could have provided better, happier and safer boat rides to this one of a kind island. This much for now......Happy tripping!
After breakfast, we went straight to Sri Krishna Udupi Matt but there was a long queue (as it was a Sunday). Luckily, the daily rath yatra was just starting. So got to see that. And had Masala Dosa with filter coffee at the legendary Mitra Samaj. Totally awesome place. Explored the other temples in the campus.Took an auto to Malpe Beach (not in the beach) to board a boat to St. Mary's Island. After 20 minutes, we reached and it is a surreal beauty. Just like the pictures I had seen. Enjoyed clicking pictures for a good one hour, ate fried fish and then returned to mainland. Walked to Malpe Beach to enjoy Parasailing. Had the awesomest lunch at Chandresh Fish Fry (a must try for non-veg foodies). Took an auto to TAPMI to meet a friend, thus in thw process exploring a bit of Manipal. Came back in the evening and went again to Mitra Samaj to enjoy their famous Goli Baji (available only after 4pm). Weekend is up. So time to board the bus back to city and life.Adventure: ParasailingAll photos belong to me. Follow me @nookandcorners if you love a good story with pics.
59 Kms from Tiracol
My first challenge the moment I got out of the train station was to find this tree house. It's called Saraya and since i...
My first challenge the moment I got out of the train station was to find this tree house. It's called Saraya and since it's way out of the popular zones of Goa, no one knew where it was. We got into a taxi who offered to help us find the place. When we got to Sangolda and onto Chogm Road, we circled around the location provided by Google for Saraya at least half a dozen times. It was 8 in the morning and the phones at Saraya were ringing continuously with no one in sight. It was at this point that my friend - who was lazily looking out of the window - said, "heeey, what's that weird calligraphy writing?"After a hard long look, we read it out loud: SARAYA. Annoyed by the fact that we had passed the place the entire time and somewhat relieved that we had finally found it, we got our bags out, paid the cab, and walked to the front gate. Saraya has a cafe out at the entrance followed by a bridge that leads to an art gallery of sorts, and then a kitchen, and that's it. One has to walk outside the main building and past the garden area hidden away from view to get to the huts, and this was a beautiful walk!
Back at the campsite we were in an enthusiastic mood. There was some light music and beautiful ambience at the dinner table. We were soon exchanging our email addresses and asking each other to share their clicks. It was a long night. We were chatting about this and that. The dawn got us all with packed bags to the Madgaon railhead. This was the most amazing place I had been to after Binsar, Uttarakhand.
Ok , so to begin with We didn't have money .... hmmm , why do I bother mentioning it ... So an overnight train journey from Pune took me to Goa. Reached Madgao/ Margao in the morning b Goa Express. Since the people who had to join me were running late (which is an understatement) . I decided there was no point waiting for a day ... now to tell you I have started hating these auto wallas, they will rob you in taking you from a just one end of the road to other. I looked around but could not see any main road or buses ... I asked the auto for the fare to main bus stop . Rs 80. I went back into the station. Decided to ask the book Vendor. Good Move. Did what he suggested and you should do the same. Walk straight out . Yes, just keep walking and do not listen to any auto or people offering to be 'pilot'. There is a small bus stop opposite to the station. Cross the road and go stand there .
Getting There: I had taken a train from Thane (CST- Mangalore Express) at 10.30 pm which reached Madgaon(if ever you need to search on IRCTC, please type Madgaon and NOT Goa) the next morning. The journey through Konkan is visually pleasing as the barren lands are replaced by wonderful Coconut trees. I'd especially mention the bridge which links North Goa to Panjim and a river flowing beneath that; forms a picturesque view.
Arriving at Madagaon Railway Station after uch a long journey was a relief but at the same time a new anxiety popped as soon as i realised i need to make way to my hostel that I booked online through Hostel World ( a great site to get amzing deals )http://www.hostelworld.com/ . After much research and reviews I booked Jungle Hostel for next 3 days visit in Vagator . The ride from the station to the hostel was accompanied by the young group i met on train , as I hitchicked with them and used my smiling puppy face to persuade them in dropping me till my hostel !!!
When you want to get to South Goa, you can get buses from Mapusa to Panjim and from Panjim bus stand you can get Shuttle services directly stopping at Margaon bus terminal. Margaon market is the best option to do some shopping for local sweets, goan sausages, vinegar, goan spice mix and of course wine shops.
Margao or popularly know as Madgaon is 36km away from Palolem beach and has many sights and destinations. These include the 'Closed' Market called, in the Portuguese language, Mercado de Afonso de Albuquerque, the municipal building, the municipal garden, Anna Fonte, Old Market or Mercado Velho, Holy Spirit Church and the grand colonial mansions.