Category: Travel & Food (Page 2 of 3)

Goa Travelogue: Baga Beach

Travelogue: The Goa Chapter

How often has this thought of “heading home and packing bags and get out of the city” hit you ?

If you’re anything like me then a gasp of yes would have already come out of your mouth by now.

Anyways, I wanted to keep this as a solo trip and Goa was the first place which popped in my head and as a result of which you are reading this Goa Travelogue.

For years holidaying has been synonymous with Goa. Of course, most of those trips are planned with friends. Mine, initially, was also no different. But the thing is, most of these planned Goa trips never work. Especially when it comes to Goa.

It was already late in the evening, rushing back home, checked hotels for a 2-day stay and luckily got one at Stayzilla. Bus seats were there too. Booked.

Over to Goa.

Reached late. Took close to 16 hours of a tiring bus journey, a very expensive cab, and almost an hours’ walk to finally arrive at my place of stay.

No, not the one with Stayzilla, as those guys ditched me again. Hotel was booked, payment was made and yet they cancelled it, while I was on my way. Had to make another arrangement through Airbnb. A very unconventional hut greeted me, along with a group of hippies in a jungle!! If that wasn’t scary enough, the not-so-clean bathroom made sure that I looked out for an alternate. Luckily, got an alternate arrangement at a homestay. This whole experience is even more adventurous, but let’s keep that for some other time.

This new place was near Anjuna Beach and luckily they also had an Activa Scooter for rent (Rs 800/Day). It was a decent deal, considering, I just couldn’t get anything else.

Travel Tip: If you’re travelling Goa for the first time, my advise is to rent out a vehicle as soon as you get down at the bus stop in Panaji. Any other mode of transport in the city will cost you a lot.

Calanghute Beach:

I was here around evening on my first day. Having hardly eaten food, and a heavy bag on my shoulders, I looked for a “proper” place to eat. But even after going into one, it was pretty difficult to get your order placed. I headed over to gulp a glass of juice in the outside market.

Goa Travelogue: Sunset at Calanghute Beach

Calangute was one of those beaches where I didn’t spent much time as it was also getting dark and I needed to head to my room. Of course, not before enjoying the beautiful sunset out on display.

Anjuna Beach:

It was almost noon by the time I headed to Anjuna and this sight here lets you in with a sense of your being. The last day had been really hectic, with the extended bus travel, hotel change and hardly any time to properly eat. I finally had breakfast and then lost myself again into enjoying the view.

Goa Travelogue: Anjuna Beach

I took a long walk on the beach, clicking a few pictures in between; while the Arabian-Sea splashed across my folded jeans. Cold water splashing against the semi-tanned legs, indeed felt good.

Goa Travelogue: Anjuna Beach

Baga Beach:

The only name I knew in Goa was Baga. I didn’t looked up any travelogue like I usually do when planning a trip and apart from Baga, i hardly knew anything about Goa. Except my friends telling me, “Tu Goa jaake kya karega? Tu to peeta bhi nahi” .

This beach is crowded, but extremely well managed. You can see “baywatchers” (Sadly, not like the Baywatch Girls) out their repeatedly warning people to not go too deep. (Did that sentence come out right? :P).

They look more like DJ’s to me. What say ?

Goa Travelogue: Baga Beach
Even with the crowd, Baga has a certain charm attached to it, a stroll across the stretch of the beach is a joy undefined. And you’re not alone in doing so, you can see hordes of Solo travelers, giving that a try. And yes, you can tell who is a solo traveler. There’s that unmistakable vibe and a passing glance of smile, which explains it all.

I sat, with drenched lowers on the sands at Baga, along with a water bottle in my hand, stark contrast to the other “bottles” which everyone seemed to have. The view of the ocean, kids playing, groups of friends having fun and even cows having a Sun bath, while I munched on peanuts. Meanwhile, wondering how come beef consumption is fine here, even when it’s a BJP ruled state.

Goa Travelogue: Sunbathing Cows

Baga is the most happening beach, I’m told. Late evening when I visited, it remained crowded with all the “party animals”. I excused myself to enjoy my dinner.

Vagator Beach:

Technically, I didn’t put my foot on this beach at all. I was meters above it, at the Chapora Fort. Or as people like to call it “the-Dil-Chahta-hai-fort” as a few scenes were shot here.

[To the Uninitiated, Dil Chahta is a famous Bollywood movie directed by Farhan Akhtar]

Goa Travelogue: Vagator Fort

The place is full of people humming the title song along with clicking selfies.Yes, I’m not kidding even a bit. I went to the other side to sit atop one of the rocks, gawking down at the shiny waters while the wind blowing down sunlight off my face.

Goa Travelogue: Vagator Beach

Now, let’s talk about the Goa Food:

This was one of those trips when I ate less and roamed more. However, I’m not complaining.

I started my day with a decent English Breakfast. The street leading to Anjuna Beach is lined with numerous options, and randomly I checked into one, after finding space to park my rented Activa. A decent start to the day.

How wrong can you go with an English Breakfast anyway ?

Goa Travelogue: English Breakfast near Anjuna Beach

I was craving for some good sea food, but amidst all the beach hopping and merrily driving around, time was running out. Also, since I wasn’t sure whether Meat would be Halal or not, the number of food options were limited. Plus, almost all the restaurants serve alcohol, which kind of creeps me out anyway.

Goa Travelogue: Pomfret near Bagha BeachI tried Pomfret at one of the popular joints in Goa, called Twenty23 which is almost in the middle of Calanghute and Anjuna. Very Expensive, and perhaps the most expensive food item I might have ever eaten till date. But a good fish is worth the bucks you spent.

The last day, before I headed back to Bangalore, I ended up meeting a few of my batchmates in Goa and ended up with Calamari on my plate. Pretty weird taste and I guess it’s mostly an acquired taste like most sea foods. However, I might not eat it again.

[Also read about my Mangalore trip, where you can enjoy Seafood and lovely beaches]

What I got from the Goa trip?

The Goa trip was my way of getting back to solo travelling. There couldn’t have been a better time than this. Although with the long weekend, it ended up getting way too crowded and defeated the purpose of going to Goa in off-season, yet finally having ticked Goa off my list feels great.

From Goa, I got back my travel mojo. I got back the joy of simply strolling around beaches. I got back the adventure of adjusting to change and of course the happy vibes from the beaches. However, it still doesn’t beat the best beach I’ve been to.

[Wondering which one is it ? Read Here]

My sole intention was to only cover beaches and enjoy my time without any itinerary. Must say, I was successful in achieving my goal.

Varkala_Travelogue_Beach_Cover

Travelogue: The Varkala Chapter

Our initial plan was to return to Ernakulam and after spending some time there around the city, to head back to Bangalore. But all of a sudden, we thought why not go to Varkala?

And the next moment, we took a bus for Varkala. Don’t you love it when impromptu plans work out? I do.

Changing two different buses, we reached Varkala. Reviews showed that the place will have more foreigners than Indians. And it was actually true.

 

 

We were lucky enough to get a decent room at just 600 INR. We freshened up and headed for the beach-side restaurant for dinner. Sizzlers, prawns and juice, and we were already full. Along the beach, there are a series of restaurants and we randomly entered one of them.

Tired as we were, headed back to hotel along while indulged in a conversation with a french whom we befriended on our way to Varkala. We talked about issues ranging from politics , culture, and religion. Like every foreigner, his questions were based on things they hear back from their own media. It was around the time when the documentary on the Delhi Rape accused was Banned in India and most of the questions centered around the topic.

The next morning started with a great breakfast.

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An interesting thing happened, while we happened to have our Breakfast, we were told that “French Toast” isn’t actually french!! Thanks to our french friend.

Post breakfast, the moment we saw the beach. OMG!!

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It has to be the best, out of all the beaches, I’ve seen till date. We had no second thoughts on NOT getting into the waters. Like kids, we splashed around and just enjoyed the course.

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When sanity prevailed and we headed back to have our lunch as we needed to rush over to Ernakulam to catch our train. But before that, it was time for food.

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Finally, I could taste beef fry from Kerala at this seaside restaurant. The best part was not just the food, which comprised of amazing Tuna laden pizza too, but also the decor of the place.

Filled with books around, it was as if we were eating inside a library overlooking the beach.

The weather was excruciatingly hot and humid. I can’t even recall how many bottles of water I would have gulped down to compensate for the loss by sweating.

Varkala is one of those places where you should not visit during summer unless you are okay with the hot and humidity. However, my bet is, you’ll still end up loving the place.

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The beach is amazing and we could see a lot of trekking options available along the beach like the one Gokarna offers.

Varkala_Travelogue_Beach_scenesWe had a shortage of time and hence could hardly explore anything apart from the beach.

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We ultimately ended up reaching Ernakulam late, very late. We were supposed to reach by 8.30 PM to catch our train, but then we reached only by 10.30 PM.

It all was because we started late, and then took a bus instead of the train, which everyone suggested. We ended up spending the night on the platform, like a couple of nomads and the next morning boarded the train, but not before having a nice breakfast outside the station.

 

It’s a wrap of the Kerala adventure. There are of course many places to visit in the state which is termed as “God’s own country”, and hopefully will visit them soon.

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Read the other two parts of the Kerala Trip as well and share your thoughts in comments.

Kochi Travelogue
Allepey Travelogue

Kodaikanal Travelogue Revering Thoughts

Travelogue: The Kodaikanal Chapter

Over the last year, I’ve been to quite a few hill stations. There are numerous weekend getaways around Karnataka, Kodaikanal is one of them. Located in Tamil Nadu, this hill station is quite famous and here in this Kodaikanal Travelogue, I’ll take you through with me. After Ooty, also located in Tamil Nadu, this definitely is the second best in South of India. Although, Chikmagalur isn’t bad either.

 

A group of 4 from my previous office, planned a weekend trip last month, this was supposed to be my farewell trip with those folks. A bus ride at night landed us in the scenic beauty of Kodaikanal. We were glad that our hotel was just around the corner of the Kodaikanal City bus stand. Having refreshed ourselves, we headed off for our breakfast before embarking on our schedule.

Kodaikanal Travelogue Revering Thoughts

This place right around the bus stop called Astoria, was where we started off. One of the softest Idlis, I’ve had in a long time. And the variety of chutneys and sambhar makes it even better. You’ll go wow, just when you break those soft Idlis and the moment you dip into those chutneys and savour it in your mouth, your mouth will burst with authentic south Indian flavours. Everything else, the Rawa Dosa and Masala Dosa, were good too. If you want a good vegetarian breakfast before you head for the trek, Astoria Veg is the place.

Kodaikanal Travelogue Revering Thoughts

Being a tourist place, you’ll have a sea of drivers and tour guides vying for your attention as soon as you’re out of the bus, or any restaurants. We decided not to use the guided tours and instead walk and trek our way to different suggested spots which Kodaikanal had to offer. Stopping regularly for innumerable photoshoots from time to time.

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While heading out to the Pillar Rocks, we even came across several fruit stalls, and couldn’t help ourselves stop eating these, what looked like litchis.

Kodaikanal Travelogue Revering Thoughts

Stopping at various “suicide points” and discussing why they were called that, and then idling around the roads, we thought we will never reach our destination!! But then, the best part about being in a group, how small it may be, is that you always have something to do. And if you don’t, something crazy can always be done. Like I did.

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Finally after walking a lot, we got to see The Gigantic Pillar Rocks!! What a sight it is. My personal view is, places like this should be little less crowded, so that people can savor the beauty a little more. The shops lined across the view point add a little congestion to the whole view. But then, a tourist town and it’s people earn their livelihood through this only and is totally justified. We purchased a few Kodaikanal Chocolates to eat, so as to prolong the lunch pangs after the long walk uphill.

Kodaikanal_Travelogue_Chocolates

Walking back, we decided to take a cab, but it wasn’t easy to get one. So, we had to adjust by taking a lift from one of the mini-buses and then finally halfway across, where we had to stop for a little Kodaikanal shopping. Coffee, Dry Fruits and lots of Chocolates, after having tasted a variety of them, we took a can back to our hotel. Cabs don’t come cheap when you hire them. They have a standard rate of Rs 150 no matter how less the distance may be.

We took solace in getting our food from a hotel nearby on our way to the hotel and dozed off for a while as we all were really tired. All of it was a result of our extended walking spree.

Kodaikanal Travelogue Vegetarian food

We headed out to have dinner at The Tawa, this vegetarian joint was recommended by almost all travel blogs, and gorged on the food. Aaloo paranthas laden with Butter, Pav Bhaji, Matar ki sabzi and Shreekand to finish off our dinner. Paranthas were the pick of the lot. Good vegetarian option is what this place is.

 

Next morning, checked out of the hotel and had breakfast at the same hotel, Astoria , where we had the amazing Idlis the previous day. I tried out their Rawa Dosa and then we after a cup of coffee at the nearby stall, headed towards the lake to hire a bicycle. We took it from the first shop we could lay our eyes on, but I’d recommend you to explore your options before hiring. Our initial plan was to head towards the Water Falls, but we made it to just one of them which was dry. Expecting the same in other places as well, we decided to skip hopping waterfalls and head back to the lake area.

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We did have fun on the road while cycling, and pictures do essay the fun we had cycling around.

Heading back, we roamed around the lake eating Corn and the local wheat laddoos, and also indulging in some balloon shootings as well. And yes, this time, we even took the Double-rider cycles, which was a first-time experience as well. The single riders cost us Rs 50/hr and the Double rider Cycles cost us Rs 100 each.

 

Kodaikanal_Travelogue_Lakeviews

Once we finished off our cycling, headed to a Tibetan place for Lunch. Although the initial plan was to head to a place called Altaf’s Cafe, but for some reason, we headed to this Tibetan joint located inside the market. The ambience is pretty cramped up and but the food is great. On a friends’ recommendation we ordered the Beef Fry, Fried cheese Momos, and Chicken Noodles and along with it Gobi Manchurian for the veggies. Liked the Fried cheese Momos and loved the Beef Fry, but the noodles were a little bland. But, must add, all of it was worth the bucks.

The heavy lunch required us to head back and we finally explored the Coakers Walk, a scenic point to check the vast expanse of the Kodaikanal beauty. There are lots of Telescopes put to view closely, charges Rs 5, and is a perfect waste of your time and money. Stalls are lined around the stretch and if you’re interested, you can buy a few decorations for your home or even mementos around the lakeside area again.

Roaming around to finally land in one of the antique shops. This store had a lot of stuff and each of us bought a lot of stuff for ourselves. Most of it is wooden stuff and is comparatively cheaper from all the tourist places I’ve visited. The store’s name is “Danish Display” and would recommend you to pay a visit. It is near the Kodaikanal bus stand.

 

We packed our Dinner, Subway Sandwiches, and headed back to Bangalore. Must add here, the journey back might make you feel nauseous and precautions for the same should be taken.

To Wrap up this Kodaikanal Travelogue:

Kodaikanal was pleasant. Hill stations are generally quite similar from one another, but this is a great place for a short weekend trip. Head out and relax in the surroundings.

Kodaikanal Travelogue Revering Thoughts

Cheers to the amazing Kodaikanal Trip.

Also, if you are planning a trip to Kochi, Varkala, ChikmagalurAllepey, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Mangalore, Udupi, Chennai, you can read my Travelogues by simply clicking on these.

Chikmagalur_Travelogue

Travelogue: The Chikmagalur Chapter

When 5 of us decided to head up to Chikmagalur, it was definitely fun. This Travelogue on Chikmagalur is a testimony to just that. This one’s for my Chikmagalur Trip, or rather Chikmanglur, as I used to call it before.

Bus rides ain’t fun. Not for me. Hence, I was skeptical. But then, you’ve got to get rid of your fears, however, idiotic and silly they may sound, right ?

We boarded the KSRTC Volvo bus around 11.30 PM from Majestic and were supposed to reach by 4:00AM at Chikmagalur.

We planned to not waste time in the hotel and head out as early as possible. But first, it was time for breakfast. The guy at the reception suggested breakfast at the nearby Hotel Annapurna.

Our Breakfast comprised of IdliVada and one of the best filter coffee we’ve had in a while. We also added up the famous Chikmagalur Buns to our plates.

Chikmagalur_Travelogue_Coffee_Buns

Although what seemed like Hotel Annapurna to us in the early morning, it wasn’t. I’m not sure whether it was the hunger or they actually change their names every morning for tourists like us. Not complaining though, the food was good.

We booked a cab for 5 of us to head over to Mullayangiri, the highest point of Karnataka.

Chikmagalur_Travelogue_Mullayangiri_Peak

And boy!! We were in for a treat. This was the best part of the whole trip. The trail towards the top in those curvy roads, where we got scared more than once, is still fresh. The view from the top after a brief trek on foot was simply amazing.

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After numerous photo sessions and admiring the beauty of what it was, we headed down for a series of stops on different locations. This, right here, was the point of surreal beauty.

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Although I must add, once you’ve seen Mullayangiri, the other “view points” just don’t impress you. And every hill-station has those aplenty.

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We had plans to visit Hebbe waterfall as well, but due to the hired jeep, which was clearly over-charging, and time constraints had to skip it. Here are a few snaps of flowers around Mullayangiri.

Our next stop was the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. However, we stopped then and now in the forests to check out the Flower-blooming Coffee plantations, black pepper, cardamom among others. Even plucking out a few of them. This clearly is the place to be.

Travel Tip: Get a homestay in one of these Coffee Estates to enjoy your visit to Chikmagalur. Or any hill-station for that matter.

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Chikmagalur_Travelogue_Cardommon_Plants

Only if we knew that our wish to explore the wild side would only end in disappointment. The close to 90 minute Safari ride which charged us 400 Rs each, only ended up making us sleep. We did see a peacock and a herd of deer though as compensation to our anticipated sous, who longed to see tigers there.

Travel Tip: If you aren’t a wildlife enthusiast, then you can simply skip the Safari or a visit to the Bhadra Tiger Reserve can be skipped without a second thought.

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Chikmagalur_Travelogue_Bhadra_Tiger_Reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chikmagalur had a lot of hills to trek, waterfalls to be seen and a variety of estates to explore, however we had to skip a lot of them. Considering most of the waterfalls were dry anyways, we decided to head over to Belur.

Belur is an old temple town and falls under Hassan District and is just an hours ride away from Chikmagalur in a local bus.

Belur_Temple

Renovation work was underway when we visited the temple. While it was still dark, before sunrise, and the temple doors were yet to be open, we roamed around town and came across this chariot.

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We returned back to the city to complete what we left for the last day: The Coffee Museum. Most of the Travelogues we read, rated this as a Must-visit place.

However, it was funny that not many in Chikmaglur knew about the place. And the ones who seem to know, It was always “somewhere straight”. This trail, made us walk. A lot. But good thing was, we loved the experience.

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We also feasted on few raw mangoes on our way and quite a few local sights.

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Coming across giant trees which we hanged onto, stopping in between to talk to locals, mostly in Kannada, which only one of us knew.

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After strolling around the area and finally getting to see that sign of “Coffee Museum”, we were elated. Like finding water in a desert!! Sadly, It was an oasis-situation in the end as well!

When we reached the Coffee Museum, it was closed. This place is only open on Weekdays which these travel blogs failed to mention.

The watchman allowed us inside and stroll, take pics and even recommended where we can get the best coffee in town to take back. Panduranga it was! The coffee we bought, along with Honey and lots of spices, were indeed good. (Late edit: Coffee was good, but the honey wasn’t)

We had to catch the bus, but before that there was lunch! Favorite part of any trip is the Food. Atleast for me. After having stuck to vegetarian choices on this tour, we finally had something else, something better.

Ohh yes!! Searched for this place called “Eats of Arab” which had some good ratings on Zomato, and it was worth it. More than anything, the menu itself was enough to create an appetite. Not that we were lacking any of it. Not only because of the variety of food but the menu card/booklet design as well.

 

It was a good end to the trip. Most of our time went into travel and perhaps that is what you end up doing when you visit a hill station. You either book a fancy hotel to relax and enjoy the view or drive around those trails and enjoy the same.

Leaving you with this picture of the road down the hill from Mullayangiri.

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Chikmagalur is indeed a great place for a weekend getaway and the ideal way to enjoy is to stay at a lovely Chikmagalur homestay, head to Mullayangiri, visit coffee plantations and have good south Indian food. And of Course, Coffee!

Also, if you are planning a trip to Kochi, Varkala, Allepey, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Mangalore, Udupi, Chennai, Kodaikanal you can read my Travelogues by simply clicking on these.

Allepey_Travelogue_Backwaters_Cover

Travelogue: The Allepey Chapter

A good nights’ sleep, and a bus to catch for the most anticipated part of our trip, Allepey, or as it is now referred to as Alappuzha Our morning at Fort Kochi started off on an adventurous note. We ended up missing our bus stop and the wait to catch another bus literally took ages!!

We had planned to reach Alleppey before 11 AM, in order to catch the government-run-ferry. Time was of the essence.

From figuring out, where to stand in order to catch a bus for Alleppey by confirming multiple times with different people, we finally made it.

[Related: Travelogue: The Kochi Chapter]

 

Ferry boats, Shikaras, and colorful houseboats greeted us, along with hordes of boatwaalas asking us to take their boats instead.

On time for the Government boat, with a ticket costing 400 INR, we started off our ride. Alleppey to Kollam in nearly 8 Hours, with two stops for meals. Awesomeness was expected, and it was indeed what we got to see.

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The backwaters. If you’re wondering, what is a Backwater?

A backwater is a part of a river in which there is little or no current. It refers either to a branch of a main river, which lies alongside it and then rejoins it, or to a body of water in a main river, backed up by an obstruction such as the tide or a dam.

The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast.

 

From what I had imagined the backwaters in my head, the view definitely did justice to it. And yet, the feeling of being in the midst of the green serenity was just pure bliss.

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Our eyes turned into cameras, capturing the green and colorful.  Of course, cameras gave them company too. Waving to the street children along the banks and rushing around the deck to get the best view kept everyone in the boat busy.

The locals could be seen rowing their boats around like it was just another day. While the fishermen were busy in readying their ships as these fishing net gateways welcomed us.

 

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Along with this, one could see the birds scattered around our boats, as we moved along to our destination, Kollam.

This bird watching experience as they fly behind the boat was pure bliss. The video isn’t clear but the view is still fresh in my head.

In between, we stopped for lunch. Eating an all-vegetarian Kerala meal with its boiled rice, curries and vegetables,  was a unique experience. Definitely not my first Kerala meal experience, but eating it there was quite nice. A stamp of authority, maybe?

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By the time we reached Kolam, we were tired but the experience was inspiring enough to keep us upbeat.

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The trip didn’t end here but got extended to another day. How ?

Well, read about it, in this Travelogue here.

Kochi_Travelogue_Fisherman

Travelogue: The Kochi Chapter

The much-hyped tourist places usually fall short of what they have been crowned with. I expected the same with Kerala, and I’m glad to be proven wrong.

Kerala was part of my Travel-bucket-list for like, forever. I was spoilt for choice as to where this trip should actually begin from. With a travel time of around 10+ hours, finally, after much deliberations, we planned for Kochi and Alleppey. And included another location to the trip.

First Halt: Ernakulam junction.

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We reached in the early hours of a Friday morning only to notice everything outside the station was literally Green! We had booked a place at Fort Kochi via Airbnb. Those oblivious to this cool service, I’ll request you to check it out, instead of booking hotels. You stay with locals at reasonably good prices and with tips from the locals are something that goes a long way in helping explore the place.

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From Ernakulam, we boarded a ferry towards Fort Kochi for just Rs. 8 for the two of us!! We were surprised to get something this cheap. After a slow and yet comforting ride, we reached the lovely Airbnb.

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After our host offered us coffee, a quick bath, and a 30-minute nap, we headed out for breakfast.

Kashi art café was our breakfast point, we had to walk around a little around the neighborhood to reach the cafe.

The décor was artsy, and even though both of us weren’t the type, it still gave a good vibe. We treated ourselves to some good breakfast after a 10-hour journey in the general compartment, the previous night. YES, that was part of our adventure to travel as well as save on cost.

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We explored a little more of the neighborhood before we reached the Chinese fishing nets and subsequently the Fort Kochi beach.

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Meanwhile, it was time for the Friday prayers. It wasn’t difficult to find a mosque, although it was a new experience to listen the Takrir and Khutba in Malayalam. Something we weren’t used to. In our non-south-Indian heads, the perception of Urdu being a ‘Muslim’ language is falsely fed in, anyway.

The streets in Fort Kochi has a vintage feel to it. The buildings, street arts & Graffiti (there’s a lot of it) gives it a strikingly cool image.

The Travel guide picked up at the home-stay, suggested us to try out another café, for its amazing pizzas. Housed in a Veranda with trees for company, the locale felt perfect for us to drop by. The vegetarian pizza was ordered, as it just didn’t felt like the meat would be halal as they appeared quite hesitant to our question.

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Pizza, with spinach and basil, tasted real good. Bit different for our taste, yet we loved it. Although the drinks felt a little overpriced.

Post the Pizzas, we also treated ourselves to some Gelato in a vintage house turned ice-cream parlor.

Post lunch, we spent a little more time around the Fort Kochi Beach and fishing-net area. Wish it was a little cleaner, but most beaches in India are like this.

Our plan was to head to Allepey, the next day. But Ernakulam was yet to be explored.

We boarded the Jetty, again, for the city. Roamed around, offered prayers and with Easter eve, found most of the places closed. With a little help from Zomato, ended up at the food court of a mall. Who wants to end up in the Food court? Although our plan was to go to a proper restaurant for our Dinner. Luckily, the food wasn’t bad. A very differently cooked dry chicken meal along with rice was what we had.

Kochi_Travelogue_Dried_Chicken

 

We had to rush to catch the Ferry as we were about to miss the last one. A friend suggested viewing Fort Kochi beach at night. So, before heading back to the homestay, we did spend a few minutes there.

Kochi_Travelogue_Fort_Kochi_Beach_Sunset

This Kochi Travelogue might be ending here, but there’s more in Kerala, in these travelogues.

[Related: About the amazing Backwaters of Allepey] 

[Related: The Best Beach, I’ve visited in India]

Spreading a little Happiness

From all the trips that I’ve done till now, the one last year to Pondicherry has been the best yet. Reasons ? Well I have a lot of em.

This happened to be my first solo trip. I was excited to finally get something off my bucket list. I loved the whole experience of what it brought along with it. Travelling around to explore something new. Meeting people, trying out new cuisines and spending time without having to worry about time itself. Interestingly, the Pondicherry tourism tagline goes by, “Give time a break”. And I did.

During my stay, I was roaming around the town on a bicycle as well as a Vespa on the two days. On the second day, when I had pretty much roamed around the place, was left with time and petrol to spare.

One person, a middle-aged man, was asking for lift to passerby. I stopped my bike close to him. Happily, he boarded the bike and said something in Tamil. After having established that I knew none of it. Except of course Tamil Terriyadu (which means I don’t know Tamil). We conversed in a little broken hindi which he knew, surprisingly. He thanked me for that and I moved on.

Although it was just a start. When you’re driving you can see a lot many asking for lift. In strange and peculiar ways sometimes. Some do the standard waving, while others excitedly wave around to catch attention.

I again met this young lad, clad in a lungi who asked me for lift. We talked a little where he was surprised as to why I was travelling alone. Yes, I get that a lot too. And due to some reasons, I’ve not been able to travel alone much. He enquired about my stay and whether I liked his town or not.

I was almost on my way back, where I met this teenager. Torn jeans and sadly not for his fashion sense, but actually torn, without any shoes or slippers walking along. Occasionally turning back to see if someone stops their vehicle to reduce his effort to walk back home. Or to wherever he meant to be taken to.

I stopped and he was almost expressionless at that time. I signaled him to hop on, which he did and finally put on a little smile. He knew a little English, so we talked. I asked him about what he does to which he replied that he was a daily wage labor and usually heads back home at this time. From what we could talk, it was not very clear because of the language issue. I took out my camera and told him to pose for it, which he was very reluctant to. He then offered to take a picture of me in my camera. Even though I had to teach him on handling the camera, he did take one.

This picture was clicked by the him..

This picture was clicked by him..

 

Having clicked me, he was happy. As if he has learnt something new. He returned me the camera and shaking hands he went away. I was waiting for the signal to turn Red,  while I saw him dancing happily and running into the lane.

I was smiling. It felt good. A different kind of good.

This Entry is part of the #LookUp Stories series by Housing.com in association with Indiblogger.

5 Things to do if living was Befikar Umar Bhar

5 Things to do, if life was Befikar Umar Bhar: Live The Life You Have Always Dreamed Of!

Everyone has their own share of hopes, dreams and aspirations that drive them to pursue their goals. Imagine a life without any constraints, nothing to hold you back.

I saw this very sweet advertisement from IDBI about #BefikarUmarBhar. I do agree that these sales people trying hard to push the numerous policies are a huge pain, but you got to see this ad!!

It just made me think how one can life a carefree (befikar) life, if at the right time, you make all the right decisions.

But well, the definition of the Befikr life might differ from one person to another. If, I had to jot down 5 things from my Bucket List that I would do if I was #BefikarUmarBhar , then they would be:
1. Travel :

To travel is to Live. Living Befikar.

Yes, that’s the first thing which comes to my mind when i think of my bucketlist. This can in itself start off a whole list of places I want to explore. And I don’t even mind even doing it alone. I’d love to even do that all by myself. FRom trains to boats, to motorcycles to cycles, I’d love to travel in anything. Just for the love of it. To raom around, to meet new people. Absorb the new experiences. Taste the different cuisines. Capture the beauty through camera. There are so many places to travel and so many things to be done.
If there wouldn’t be an office to attend, this would be that ONE thing I would definitely do without any fikar.
2. Get Caffienated:

 

 

Well, I love coffee. Truth is, I’m addicted to it. I want to try out all the different varieties of coffee from across the globe.My goal is to create an encyclopedia of just coffee, its different varieties and also learn to make the perfect coffee too.
I get a high from just thinking about it.

 

3. Cook it up: Well, I have found Cooking to be such a therapeutic experience. And this comes from a guy who hardly went inside kitchen back home. I had never even heated milk, forget about cooking!!

But after moving to this new place, I have found a certain liking to it. I won’t say I’m really good at it, but I love cooking. And yes, I’m getting good at it.

I want to experiment. Experiment a lot, without any fikar.

 

4. Build a small house near a hill/close to a calm serene beach:

A small house without the disturbance of the world...

A small house without the disturbance of the world…

This is something I wold do to live befikar. It would be just amazing to be in living in a place without the disturbance of the world. Simply sit in the open verandah/Balcony and be lost in my reveries. Yep, that’s what I want. No fikar.

5. Write, and Write a lot:

Write, write and write a lot!

Writing now is influenced by so many things. More than anything it is finding time to write something, just like this post. I don’t want all this. There shouldn’t be any worry to find time. I just want to write a lot. It doesn’t matter if they turn out to be something good or not. But what I would love to do is, write and express whatever my mind thinks without the fear of anyone. To put forth any of my views and be happy about it all, without worrying about what anyone else would think about it.

 

This post was written in association with Indiblogger for Indi-Happy hours for IDBI Federal

Mangalore_Travelogue_malpe_beach_Boat

Travelogue: The Mangalore Chapter

Mangalore Travelogue 1: October, 2015

There’s no better way to experience an Indian state than a Road Trip.  This travelogue is about places explored in Mangalore as well as the nearby towns.

Usually I prefer travelling via train. First because, its cheaper and second, I hate travelling in buses. This time we opted for a convenient option of hiring a Car for us. Expensive, yes, but convenient.

Our anchor point for this trip was Mangalore and that’s where we had booked our stay. A late-night start which allowed us to enjoy the view of the Ghats during dusk.

Breakfast comprised of sandwiches, omelette, Scrambled eggs and Coffee at Diesel Cafe.

 

We visited to the church of St. Aloysius, which is around 130 years old. Carved with intricate pictures explaining the life of Jesus Christ and other saints.

Mangalore_Travelogue_St. Aloysius

It was indeed a wonderful experience. The church complex comprised of  a college and nursing home.The chapel is an architectural marvel in itself, built by Italian Antonio Moscheni. We weren’t allowed to click photos inside the church and hence…

It was almost time for lunch, but the place we had bookmarked for our lunch was closed. Reason being “Dry day” (2nd Oct) and since the restaurant comes along with a Bar. Instead we ended up having our “lunch” in an ice-cream parlour, called Pabbba’s Ice cream, with only Ice-creams.

If you ever visit Mangalore, this is a not-to-miss place.

Evening was reserved for a trip down to the beach and enjoy ourselves.

The Day-2 of the trip involved a lot of travelling as we moved from Mangalore to Udupi, after finishing our breakfast. We opted for the nearby Diesel Cafe (again) but instead of the English breakfast, we delved for a little taste of Mangalorean food (Sort of). It was Neer dosa and rice rotis.

We also made a stop at the 1000 pillar temple.

Mangalore_Travelogue_Thousand_Pillar_Temple

as well as the nearby Neminath Basadi Temple in Karkala, overlooking the Gomateshwara statue. Post  and finally climbing the stairs to see the Huge statue.

 

The best part of the trip was yet to come, and like every trip you take, there remains that one place which stands out. Malpe beach was that place for me. I’ve never been on a beach with rain for company, but with this visit even that has been accomplished.

There were cocnuts lying around the beach, and one of my friend even broke it up for us to eat.

Dead fishes were thrown across with the incoming waves and so was garbage.

But we enjoyed the fishes. No, not those of course, but these. I always prefer the river ones over the Salt water fishes, but these were damn yummy.

While the fish was being fried, we indulged in some Gola and bhutta eating.

Although we went to Malpe beach with the hope of going over to St. Mary’s island, but thanks to timing, we just missed the ferry that takes people to the island. Sad part is, we had to watch the ferry leave in front of our eyes.

 

Consoled ourselves with the view of the dockyard and the crazy smell of fishes all over the place.

Finally it was time to head back to Mangalore and finish of the trip.

For me, the trip ended here at the beach with the taste of the fish still amalgamated in my mouth.

Must say, although I love travelling alone, this one with friends was very relaxing. Agreed that I missed out on lots of places to visit, authentic food to be tried, getting to know the locals or travelling in public transport while interacting with them. But this had a certain charm in itself.

 

Here is the youtube video of the Mangalore trip:

 

Also, if you are planning a trip to ChikmagalurKochi, Varkala, Allepey, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Chennai, Kodaikanal you can read my Travelogues by simply clicking on these.

Travelogue: The Mumbai Chapter

A 3-day trip to Mumbai, a city which is magical and perfectly fits as the commercial capital of India. There is so much to do in mumbai and I had so little time. Even Rain didn’t spared me. (Although, surprisingly I enjoyed that too there 😛 )!! From Travelling in locals, to being stuck in platforms, really helpful Taxi drivers, great choices for food, sight-seeing, hangouts and simply strolling around, it has it all.

Couldn’t take many pictures due to rain, but whatever have taken, posting them here in collages. I enjoyed my stay there, hope you enjoy them through these pics too.

Khandala

Khandala: Lucky enough to catch a few glimpses of the place before entering Mumbai. Pics taken while during running train, and hence doesn’t capture the full beauty that the place offers.

Gateway of india

Gateway of India. Visited this marvel during early evening, the crowd, the liveliness and just the structure is gigantic. Of course, you get to see The taj hotel just on the opposite side, horse-carts around for rent, a statue of Chatrapati Shivaji and photographers 😛

Bandstand!!

band stand, Mumbai

Things to see (apart from the creepy couples 😛 ), the Bandra-worli sea-link, amazing view, lots of bungalows of filmstars. I got one-clicked near SRK’s Mannat, although the security wasn’t allowing even that!!

Mohammad ali Road, Mumbai

Muhammad Ali Road!! The place to be! Street food: Awesome. This includes, kebabs, rolls, and all sorts of non-veg, also are places for sweets (Suleman Usman is a must), and all of this is dirt-cheap. Old bombay and the muslim food, makes this place amazing.

Racecourse, Mumbai

Racecourse: This was my first visit to a racecourse, and even though there were no race in progress, one in Pune was in progress and Live in the big screens over there. The best part was to see how people, bet ,get excited when they win and disheartened when they lose.

Haji ali, Mumbai

Haji Ali: Dargah of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a place which is always crowded. Even though it was raining, and the pathway over the sea was continuopusly gushing waves, the numbers were still high. Just went there to take pictures, but the rains made it really difficult.

On the outside, there is the famous Haji Ali juice centre. Must say, this is one of the MOST hyped joint, I’ve ever visited. terrible service, juices are decent but really over priced!! Had two, for the sake of it.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus: One of the busiest stations in India

CST!! Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, this Italian gothic-cum-mughal architecture inspired station, which runs long-distance as well as suburban station is a Sight!! The area in and around is even more amazing.

Dhobi Ghaat, Mumbai

Dhobi Ghaat: Very close to Racecourse road, a trip down to these lanes is sure to make you experience something different. This sure is bound to make you understand a lot of things, including being a little more humble.

Bade Miyan, Mumbai

Bade Miyan.. This place is famous for its non-veg food. Although general recommendations were to come here after midnight, I ended up going a lil early. Gives you the feel of old-muslim hotels, with a going-big approach!!

Art gallery, Near Jahangir art gallery, Mumbai

Art, Creativity and simply off-beat stuff. Along the Jahangir Art gallery, a place place the Kala ghoda festival takes place, these gems can be seen.

Near Colaba  causeway, Mumbai

Near Colaba causeway, away from the market, you get to see this sight. I’ve never seen ships, so close. Even noticed the helipad in between the huts, when one landed just in between them.

Fort Area, Mumbai

Fort area!! This area simply vows you with British era buildings sprawled around. Its classy, pleasing and Mumbai!!

Food in Mumbai

Food!! YES, that’s one of the most important part of my trips anywhere.

Sadly, due to the rains, it was tough to explore the street food for which Mumbai is famous for, and the ones I did, couldn’t take pics of. Some of the lucky ones, which got clicked are here!! Must add, the options for food of all kind, are unlimited!!

Me, Rains and Nariman Point

Rains all around, wind cheater and a cap on, I strolled around!! This one is from Nariman point. Rains, Bhutta, sea-side and Me. Best moment of the trip.

Mumbai Police busy in their phones :P

Jokes apart, they seemed to be really helpful. I asked about a particular location and where I can get a cab, he told me in marathi (which i understood somehow :P), its near only beta, go take a walk!!

Security seemed pretty tight in most places, and just like you’ll see CCD’s at every nukkad here in Bangalore, you get Police station there!!

Magic of Mumbai

The magic of Mumbai, cannot be captured in just 3 days. It needs a lot of time to sink in, immerse and enjoy the whole of it. I’m pretty sure that this place will be visited again, very soon.

So, until my next trip, the travelogue will get a little rest now.

Pondicherry_Travelogue_Paradise_beach_Hut

Travelogue: The Pondicherry Chapter

‘Give Time a break’, says the Pondicherry Tourism tagline.

Pondicehhry_Travelogue_Rock_beach_bridge

Indeed a fitting tag to define the place far south, that once used to be a french colony and yet maintains some of that flavor from its past. A two-day vacation, all alone on my first-of-many travels, began on 15th August. Pondicherry happened to be my first solo trip and marked a start to my travels across the country. Being the first makes it even special. This travelogue on Pondicherry tries to capture the details of my 2-day stay in this beach town.

Rock Beach

On the one side of the town is the Rock beach. Also referred to as ‘Promenade’ or ‘Gandhi beach’. It’s clean, scenic and is rocky, as the name clearly suggests. Evenings are a place to relax by just sitting along the shores on one of these rocks. The sound of the waves bringing in a sense of calm along with their sound. I spent my first day cycling around this beach and exploring the food options available.

Auroville:

After waking up the next morning, it was time to start off towards Auroville and luckily I got my hands on a rented Vespa. Being a long-weekend it was difficult to get a bike. Hence, I was cycling around town in a bicycle on my first day.

Roughly around 10-km towards Auroville, with good roads and less traffic, it was an amazing ride. I was literally in love with the roads.

Pondicherry_Travelogue_Auroville

Auroville is quite the favorite of foreigners and tourists alike. Once you reach the place, there’s a long walk inside, amid trees and is sort of a respite from the hot-humid weather that is prevalent across the Pondicherry town. I tried one of the soda-based drinks and quite liked it.

Auro Beach

Located on the road leading to Auroville, this public beach is one which had quite a crowd. I drove further to get across to another section separated from the main beach which was like the secluded version of the main beach.

Boat ride, beautiful and Paradise Beach

This one takes the cake in terms of beaches in Pondicherry. Properly maintained and a boat ride takes you to the beach and is definitely worth going to.

Pondicherry_Travelogue_Boat

Best enjoyed with a group and comparatively cheaper water sports options are quite good. This was that time in my trip where I missed people. Only time, actually.

Ensure that you visit it during the early part of the day to avoid long queue at the ferry boat which will bring you to the island.

The road to this paradise is a long sweaty hell, and I was the unlucky one, to have arrived late in the day.

Food in Pondicherry

Understanding a place is incomplete without letting your taste buds take a dive into the flavour of the place. Pondicherry is quite tourist-friendly and is packed with eating options.

The first place I ate was the famous, La Cafe. The Sandwich and Burger were decent, but the coffee was terrible. So much for the range of  ‘reviews’ that this place boasted of.

My search for a good coffee took me to quite a few coffee shops and these two cappuccinos proved to be just right. I am not able to recall the name of the place as of now, unfortunately. But it goes to show that good coffee isn’t hard to find in Pondicherry.

On a friend’s recommendation, I tried this restaurant called Xtasy and their chicken Pizza proved to be my dish of the trip. Do not miss the pizza from this outlet.

Streets, Roads and the Pondy rides

The town’s architecture has a distinct French taste to it. Churches, Mosques, Temples can be seen everywhere. Some of the captured ones are here. But, the whole aura of the place is in experiencing it yourself. I even ended up visiting a mosque which claims to be one of the oldest in the country.

Pondicherry, apart from beaches, made me realize what effect travel can have on you. Apart from the tan, as a result of no-sunscreen, the town gave me quite a few lessons. Pondicherry, it was lovely being with you for two days.

I went there to get immerse in the town and I did.  The experience of exploring a place for the first time on your own is very distinctive. Sometimes, you’re scared too. But this place has such an influence that I didn’t find my fear getting the better of me. Instead it proved to be a wonderful experience.

Pondicherry is truly a place where you can give time, a break.

Travelogue: The Chennai Chapter

Technically, this was my third time @ Chennai.  in case you’re not familiar with my accidental trip to chennai, you can read it here 😛 . But then a city hasn’t been “visited” if you don’t immerse in it. So, on a Monday afternoon while returning back to Bangalore, a 5-hour wait for the next train turned out to be the perfect getaway to explore.

But then a city, whose language I didn’t knew, it was tricky to decide where to head. It was all thanks to the PMIT group (for the uninitiated this is the Put me in Touch Facebook group) which came to my rescue.

And hence the trail began.

Not the one that I boarded, just an illustration :P

Not the one that I boarded, just an illustration 😛

From Chennai Central Railway station to the electric train platform across the road and a ride towards Indiranagar  followed next. Met this young fellow, who didn’t understood English, yet tried making me understand in his Tamil about where to get down. Kept on saying, he’ll “solraa” (that he’ll tell perhaps).

A 15-minute walk, an auto towards Besant Nagar beach and a long walk along the beach. There’s something with the beaches that a walk along the horizons, on the sandy shores just makes you lost in it.

besant nagar beach

besant nagar beach

Took some time out to take the gun and shoot some colorful balloons. The lady probably forgot to count and ended up shooting more than 20 rounds. Got a lot of them busted too. 😛

Shot a few rounds and couln't resist a selfie in the coulorful background :)

Shot a few rounds and couln’t resist a selfie in the coulorful background 🙂

What followed was a hasty trip to Murugan Idli, where I had one of the softest idlis ever. But the best part were the chutneys over there. I’m not a big fan of chutneys as such, but surely these were amazing to say the least. Even before the idlis arrived, I had licked half of the chutney. Although the coffee at this place wasn’t that great to my liking, compared to other times, when I’ve tried the filter kaafi.

Murugun Idlis: The chutney's were the best, while the Idli was on the expected lines.

The other end of the beach had many more outlets for food. But as time was short, could only go to one. One of them was Amma’s Athho noodles. The name sounded interesting, so tried the noodles, but it wasn’t that great. More so, cos the weather and food, both were really hot.

Attho's noodles: The guy said, it's a burma dish. Was hot for sure, didn't suited my taste buds though.

Attho’s noodles: The guy said, it’s a burma dish. Was hot for sure, didn’t suited my taste buds though.

A direct bus back to the Central station wasn’t available as I would had hoped. Had to shell out a lot for the auto, but the road towards the station was filled with many of the notable spots that I had heard of. The MGR memorial being one of them and well, it looked great from outside too.

Apart from the heat, there was hardly anything that I didn’t enjoy even in such a short time. Even the auto-guys were really polite and when verified, didn’t charge me that high too.

Hope to visit Chennai again soon, and this time with more planning and for a little more time.

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