Category: Travel & Food (Page 1 of 3)


The Best Places to Travel in Central America in 2018

[This is a Guest post contribution by Triphobo. TripHobo is the world’s largest repository of user-generated itineraries that helps millions of users to create their trips to more than 90K destinations across the world.]

Popular around the globe for Mayan ruins, Central America is one of the few places where you can visit one city and still have different types of travel experiences. You can plan a vacation to these beautiful tropical central American countries in 2018 to hike through the volcanic lands, explore the archeological ruins, camp in the lush forests, laze around on the pristine beaches, or simply enjoy the bustling nightlife in famous cities. Read on to know when and where you can go to have a perfect trip.

  1. Tikal, Guatemala – Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It can be a captivating experience to visit the ruins of an ancient Mayan city. One of the finest examples of art, culture, and architecture from the history, it usually takes a couple of days to explore the ruins and discover what secrets it holds. Wandering through the ruins of magnificent temples and palaces and admiring the thousands of years old carvings on the walls is something you should not miss. If you are a budget traveler, then there are numerous cheap accommodations around where you can stay comfortably.


Best time to visit Tikal –  November to April

  1. Dominical, Costa Rica – This lovely, little town in Puntarenas is a surfer’s paradise. Its spectacular, pristine beaches are being popular tourist getaways. Those who love to catch a wave must head to this quirky town. Do not worry if you are not fond of sand on your toes, there are a plethora of things to do around here. Use an online trip planner to know more about Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge, Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge, Parque Reptilandia and Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary. These are the places that will take you to the heart of nature and will introduce you to exotic wildlife of Costa Rica. Try to visit during the wet season, May to November, to experience nature in all its glory as well as to save some money.

Best time to visit Dominical – Mid-December to April

  1. The Hummingbird Highway, Belize – It is surprising to see how some winding roads become popular tourist attractions. This major highway in Belize is also one of the most serene roads in the world. When you drive cutting through the mountains of Belize and pass lovely, little villages, vast forests, and majestic mountains, you will be awestruck by the sheer beauty of unspoiled nature. If you are a budget traveler, there is no better place than this to experience the countryside. There are numerous small hotels where you can stay overnight, and that too, without burning a hole in your pocket.


Photo credits: Cephas

Best time to visit The Hummingbird Highway – Late November to mid-April

  1. San Blas Islands, Panama – Looking for a place to go island-hopping? This group of more than 360 islands and cays should be your next destination. Some of these islands are so tiny that you may not even find it on maps. This is a paradise for those who want to catch some tan without getting disturbed by the groups of tourists. Shores adorned with palm trees look postcard perfect whereas clear blue waters are great if you want to go snorkeling. Cheap food and cheaper accommodation make it one of the affordable destinations in Central America.


Best time to visit San Blas Islands – February to March, September to early-December

  1. León, Nicaragua – León is a historically significant city in western Nicaragua. With more than 15 churches scattered around the town and colonial buildings with unique architecture, León has a different identity when it comes to attracting tourists. The magnificence of the Cathedral of León, the elegance of art galleries and warmth of people are some of the things that have become the identity of this city. If you have a couple of days, then there are eight volcanoes around. You can explore the rugged lands to get away from all the hustle and bustle. The city is home to exotic resorts as well as budget hotels. You can pick a place according to your budget.

Best time to visit León – December to April

Start packing your bags and get ready to visit the best places in Central America this year!


The Joy Of Cycling

From being my #Cycle2Work partner to roaming around the Bangalore road; from as near as the local kirana store to as far as Mysore, this has remained by my side. It sounds very snobbishly boring to award the stature of this importance to a materialistic possession, but WTH! This one’s earned it.

From the sun shining brightly to rains lashing over, from potholes to footpaths, from muddy roads to the sweet asphalt, you’ve been there.

Few minor repairs and servicing aside, this one’s been perfect. I’ve never felt the need to upgrade and even with this being a 7-gear one, is an adequate ride on the roads over here. Although, I do wish the roads were better.

On days when I don’t cycle to work and left at the mercy of Uber/Ola, the distance of 9 kilometers to office ends up taking close to an hour and sometimes when their pooling Algorithm screws up, more than that as well. On Cycle, I can easily cover it in 30 minutes, irrespective of the Traffic. If the roads were any better the time can come down as well.

Back in the day, when I was on a Strava spree (Strava is a cycling/running measurement app), I’ve recorded a high of 22-minutes. Of course, I stopped using Strava because it was eating away the joy of cycling and making me trying to best-my-time.

People who don’t cycle assume it is for exercise or to stay fit. Frankly, these are just by-products (if any) of cycling. Sure, you can turn this hobby into an exercise, but I haven’t. And don’t plan it to be. This is more to do with convenience, leisure, and what I’ve come to realize is, to derive joy out of it.

Striving for a better Cycling year than the one that went by. And to those who plan to start cycling, there’s no better time to start than this new year.


Travelogue: The Dandeli Chapter

It had been a while since I opted for a train for one of my trips. I was excited at the prospect of it and lucky enough to get tickets booked on time.

Destination: Dandeli.

Dandeli is a town in North Karnataka. It has the Second largest Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka which was designated as a tiger reserve in 2007. It is one of the few places for White River rafting in India.

Of course, there aren’t any direct trains running/crossing from Bangalore to Dandeli. Hence, I booked tickets till Londa Junction. (Yes, that’s how it is spelled). My friends, travelingDandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Bike-on-the-roads on their Motorcycles, were to join me there at the station, the very next morning. The prospect of a bike-trip was again exciting. I wasn’t driving and hence it was still exciting (and not scary) for my other friends.

After a breakfast of Puri-Sabji, with fluffy puris and mashed potato fried lightly, at one of the few roadside joints, dimly lit, we started off towards the town of Dandeli, on tarmac roads with greenery all around us. The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

We were also given a map of the town and various sight-seeing places, which included:

  • Syntheri Rock
  • Ulavi Temple
  • Nagoda Backwater
  • Supa Dam

We headed towards Syntheri Rock and instead of off-roading the last 2 km stretch, walked along the route amidst trees and chirping of the birds.





The giant rock with a stream of water from the Kalindi River flowing past it is a sight. The pleasant evening weather proved just the right fit for us to lose our shoes and let our feet dangle in the flowing water. One can sit by the stream and do nothing. I’m assuming there will always be a crowd here but pretty sure without them one can enjoy the view and sound of water, undisturbed.

Syntheri Rocks is a giant monolithic Rock located in the dense Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.

As you head down towards the water, the view of this one rock fills up your eyesight.




As we headed back, the weather decided to literally spread water over our plans for further sight-seeing.

Instead, we headed to the town for a much-needed food break. A small restaurant called, Al- Kohinoor’s non-veg laden menu piqued our interests. Apart from having our lunch on the first day, we even followed it up for the second day. The food was good. Our orders included Beef Biriyanis (Plural, yes), Kebabs, Chaps, Liver and Fish Fry.

We had to drive down in the rain as it decided not to stop on our way to the Resort. The resort was pretty close by, but the route was blocked and hence we were forced to take a longer route.

It was already night by the time we reached and apart from dinner, dancing around the bon-fire and a late-night conversation under one of the many shacks, there wasn’t much to do. And I guess, that was the purpose of it all?



The night was about getting some much-needed rest by tucking ourselves in the tent. The tent part was my first experience and although this was in a resort, still it was fun to be in one.


Ideally, Dandeli is a place known for River Rafting. The reason for coming over to Dandeli was that! However, since it was raining and due to government restrictions, it was closed.

There was a trek through the woods for the large part of the crowd who were up at that time. The trek culminated into a scenic area with a stream of water at the end of it.


Post this, we took a boat ride along the stream along with a very animated guide for company, who shared a few spooky Crocodile tales from around the area while we were in the middle of the water. Timing.




While my friends zorbed in the river out there. I decided to carry on reading the book.

Post the activities, we decided to head off to Dushsagar Falls. There was a lot of discussions and after much deliberation, we headed towards the next destination. First stop was, ‘Castle Rock’ from where we either had to trek up to Dudhsagar or hop onto a goods train. Alas! A surprise awaited us.


Apparently, they’ve closed the trek option due to multiple accidents in the area and the last train which crosses Dudhsagar which we hoped to get onto, left a few minutes back. The quaint little station even had messages warning about the same.


But we had our tent with us, and decided to park ourselves for the night. And this part, right here at Castle Rock, was a good decision. This area was like a mystery and I’d probably need a separate post to talk about that.


The town is out of a B-grade horror movie for the gloomy and foggy weather. Deserted as we walked in and made us wonder, do people even live here?

Answer : They do.



Anyways, long story short, we put up our tent in the verandah of one of the guest houses and even ate a decent meal. The joy of doing this is irreplaceable. One of us was of the opinion to put a tent right here on the grass itself. Picturesque? Yes. But thanks to our skepticism, the rain at night would have troubled us if we had done the same.



As we headed out early morning enjoying the amazing view, once again, and wondering how come everywhere you go in Karnataka, the roads are amazing. But as soon as you’re back in Bangalore, the scene just changes!

I had a few hours to kill before my train arrived and ended up penning down my musings at Londa Junction, here!

Musings at Londa Junction

To Summarise my Dandeli Travelogue, it was more of a road trip where we made multiple and elongated pit stops. There were many things to explore in Dandeli and of course, the River rafting, but the roads are amazing and I’d suggest to take a car or a bike when you plan to head over to the place.

Musings at Londa Junction

Musings at Londa Junction

Waiting for a train in a non-crowded station has a calming effect on you. Or maybe coz, you don’t have much to do.

Londa junction is that station today. I know, for the hinterland folks, this might sound colloquially ‘funny’ (for the lack of a better word). A 3-platform station almost at the border of Karnataka-Maharashtra-Goa. 

A group of army men, with their military hair cuts, donning their trademark polo t-shirts with a slew of luggages, await close-by. 

A mother teaches reading to her daughter by asking ‘what’s written over there’. I so remember playing this with my sister and then trying the same with my brother. Yes, trying is the word. 

Across the other side of the platform, few dogs are lazying around for an extended sleeping session. It’s a national holiday, after all. Few dogs on this side are trying to become the alpha. By fighting it out, of course. Contrastingly, there are less folks fighting over recharge points than there are slots available. 

Aah! The life in a place like this. 

Heading outside, a slew of small shops and eateries serve food and tea. Both equally bad. The tea, a tad bit more. I’ve not had coffee since Friday. One more reason to head home at the earliest, only if the Indian Railways were on time. A few minutes back checked, to my amusement, the average speed of the Pudducherry ‘Express’ I’ll be traveling in, is 48km/hr! Looks like we’ll need a bullet train here as well. 

Coming back to the platform, the rush of the humans increases, as the dogs head over to another corner. The alpha-male debate seems to have been resolved, much to the discomfort of the passengers. 

I’ve strolled around the platform enough for now and probably head over to platform no. 3 where the train is supposed to arrive. But, probably a last Sprint to catch the train would be more habitual. 

I hope you, the reader, wasn’t looking for a connection to the myriad sets of descriptions above. Because, there isn’t any. 

Just my musings.  


Travelogue: The Hampi Chapter

There are places which emanate a characteristic vibe as their name pops up. Hampi, for me, is one of them. Hampi has been that unchecked item on my ever-expanding ‘places to visit in this part of the country’ list. But finally, it is ticked off that list.

Hampi- traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, where Pampa was the old name of Tungabhadra river, around which Hampi is located.

A 2-day weekend road-trip, the ‘city of ruins; was visited. And even though, the rain did play spoilsport in keeping us inside our car or chilling around our cottage, the trip will be remembered.

We started off early in the morning, 7 of us, from Bangalore. The view on the road is supremely amazing! Like, one can sit by the window (which I make sure of) and take it all in. This, right here, is the best part of a road trip. Not to sound too cliched, but the best part of any trip is the journey towards that place.


You see, what I’m talking about. The untouched beauty. The blues and the greens. And the road in-between breezing past it. And this isn’t all. You have the sunflower fields to do your own photoshoots. Full Filmy!


Looks like those cheap photoshops where they add you in between flowers, eh? Well…!

When you’re on the road and the weather appears to be in a good mood, the scenery just keeps extending itself from one page to the other, forming a scrapbook on its own. Everything looks just not-ordinary. The purpose of traveling gets answers in return.

Chitradurga falls in route to Hampi and we took a very small diversion to the fort. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and since it was really early morning (around 8 AM), not much of a crowd was present. We weren’t looking to spend time at the fort to ensure we reach Hampi at the earliest. Hence, instead of scaling up the top of the fort, we were content with stopping at one of the many peaks.


The majestic fort is a sight!


‘Chitra Durga’ means ‘Picture Fort’. The fort is pretty well maintained and even though we selectively strolled around the fort without a guide, it was quite amazing. It is a series of several small hills, each overlooking the place. The view is a bliss. It was cloudy and that made it all an extra bit of drama for the eyes to behold.



The fort was built over several years by the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. There are 18 temples in the vicinity of the fort.

We continued on our journey towards Hampi with more photo-worthy moments for the hungry camera.




The route, as you enter Hampi, welcomes you with big boulders spread like arches like those ancient Greek kingdoms you see in period movies. In a way, this introduces you to Hampi.

We stayed on the other side at a cottage which overlooked paddy fields, a small stream, pebbles spread around. I so wish, we had more time to just chill here at the cottage itself. What more does one crave for? A book with a view? You have it here!



This is the dining area for the restaurant. Lots of board games to play while you enjoy the view along with decent food.

We did venture out on the first day in-between the start-stop rain and came across a small stream, trekked a little to just watch the sunset. This is what Hampi is mostly about, finding spots like these and absorbing the view.








The night was more about getting some good sleep to make sure we explore the ruins, for which Hampi is famous for, the next day. However, we started off pretty late and with the rain pouring down, we had to hurry and squeeze in as much as we could.

However, in the morning we took a little stroll around the backyard of Mowgli Cottage. You can see the Virupakshi temple from across the stream. This area is great for a late-night campfire. But, of course, we missed that.

Mowgli-cotage-hampi Mowgli-cotage-hampi-stream

Here’s a list of places we covered on our second day. First up was, the Queen’s Bath which is outside the royal enclosure (which we visited next). The Queen’s Bath was created for the royal women but in most probability served as the private royal meeting place.



Next to the Queen’s Batch, is the Royal Enclosure housing the Lotus Mahal, stepped tanks, Royal Elephant chamber and a number of other relics from the Vijayanagara empire.



The architectural style resembles a mixture of Vijayanagara and Mughal influence. The enclosure serves as a historical open museum depicting the era gone by with the ruins it houses. The adjoining gardens along the buildings, with trees around, serves as a viewing pod for tourists to sit and enjoy. It was raining and we were on the clock and hence roamed around to cover most of it.




This Royal Elephant chamber is one structure that seemed better preserved to this date among the ruins in Hampi. The dome-like structure for elephants displays an Indo-Islamic architecture style and was built during the Vijayanagara Empire.



Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-museum Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-view

Next up were the Virupaksha Temple and the nearby ruins housing other temples, with boulders spread around the hills. The Virupaksha Temple and the adjoining areas are one of the main tourist attractions of Hampi. There was some renovation work underway at the temple and it started to rain when we reached there.



The only restaurant, other than our Mowgli Cottage, we went to was the most-talked-about Mango Tree restaurant. The ambiance is quite hippie and the food has variety, although pretty hyped. But with very few restaurants around this area, this was the default choice.


We saw ‘Lemon mint nana’ on the menu and ordered it, after having had a really good one during the Gokarna Trip. However, it wasn’t the same. Apart from this, their special Pizza, Pasta, and a few other things were ordered. Food was good but nothing unique to write about. Although, I would suggest to still visit this place.

It was time to head back to Bangalore. It had already started raining and after a few GPS-hassles, we were finally back on track.

Hampi was a great experience. There are so many things to do around and if you have even the slightest interest in architecture and history, you’ll get to see so many stories unfold in front of you. It gave me the feeling of ‘wish-there-was-more-time’ while returning. And that is what every place should make you feel. Don’t you think? Inviting and welcoming!


Have you visited Hampi? Share your experiences or travelogues in the comments, below!

What goes in my head when a trip ends-

What goes in my head when a trip ends?

“….it ain’t me..” with its strummings and beats fill my ears as the bus whooshes towards Bangalore. Selena Gomez is good. I never realized before that she sings this well. For me, she reminds me of  ‘The Wizards of Waverly Prince’. Aah! Disney Channel back in the day.


“….who’s gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning…”

I’m left to think of what I’m taking back from this trip. When you’re traveling alone, a lot of these thoughts come dropping by. Of course, the extra kilos and pictures, are a given. But, what else do we take back from a trip?

What do I take back from a trip?

The feeling of this place?

A sense of exploring something new?

Another place ticked off from the checklist?

Content for my blog?

Meeting people? And friends?

What is it that I’m taking back with me?

The bus stops to pick a few more passengers. As I notice other vehicles go past ours, I try my best to form an answer.

I’ve hated the feeling of getting stuck. Of not moving. This miniature depiction of my emotion is apt. Is this the answer?

Travel helps in knowing, if I intend to, I won’t get stuck. From decisions. From questions that life throws. I might end up choosing the wrong direction. Catching the wrong bus. Missing my bus. Getting delayed. Been there, done that. Fashionably.

I can try to not confine my boundaries. And even break the ones that I’ve set. Others haven’t.

What else do I take back?

The randomness of conversations. Ones you would remember as long as you’re part of it. You’ll remember the laughter. The faces. The sadness behind those eyes that they hide. The excitement of capturing something new. The people. Yes, them. I take parts of them with me. Imagine how they’d deal with situations. Making them part of my stories. The ones I write, the ones my reveries write on their own.

What does travel teach me?

A lot. And nothing.
I’m not being vague. This is how it is.

I’ve realized people, wherever you go, end up being a lot alike than we picture them in our stereotype. Travel helps break those very stereotypes. Language never seems to be the ultimate barrier. Communication isn’t limited by the language when you want to talk, get help or help others.

Travel teaches adjustment. Type of food with varying spice levels, adjusting to ways of answering the nature’s call, sleeping in different places, talking, listening or just learning more about cultures.

Sometimes traveling sucks too. Just like life does. The edited pictures might not tell the stories of those places. And they should not. It is a different experience for each of us and is so subjective. No one can live our lives. And no one can travel for us, but we.


Travelogue: The Gokarna Chapter

An uphill walk of close to 2 km in the hot-humid climate after a tiring bus journey with cramped-up leg space, we reached Zostel. And this view, right here, made it all worth it.


As I write this Gokarna Travelogue, I’m taken back to the town that I’m definitely going to visit again. Apart from the beaches, what excited me was- Zostel. When places live up to their hype, which happens rarely, there’s nothing that beats that in making you feel good.

Where is Gokarna?

Gokarna is a temple town on the borders of Karnataka and Goa. Located at about 500kms away from Bangalore.

How to reach Gokarna?

A bus journey of about 12 hours which costs you 600-700 INR or a longer 16-hour journey via train which can be cheaper can be taken to reach Gokarna.

Here’s an illustrative map of Gokarna comprising of beaches and temples.


The beaches in Gokarna include the main Gokarna beach, Kudle, Om, Half-moon and Paradise beach. There’s another rocky beach between half-moon and Paradise – aptly referred to as the Hell’s beach. We covered this as part of our 5-beach trek on the second day of our trip.



Hungry and tired, we decided to find solace in the food served at the Zostel restaurant along with the amazing view for company. Decent pizza and a little extra-fried chicken with a side salad along with orange juice, while we settled down adjusting to the heat.




After a somewhat heavy-lunch, we curled up in our dormitory, instead of sweating it out in the humid sun.

Headed out in the early evening for a walk around the market leading to the Gokarna beach. The temple town was active and yet even in the hustle-bustle was calm.

The beach is quite clean and less crowded. I decided to let Nehru’s pre-independence words flow into my mind through the ‘discovery of India’.




Watching people observe puja and Surya namaskar, as the sun went down for the day is quite something.

Here’s when I saw an old man performing a ritual which intrigued me. 

We treated ourselves to a simple vegetarian lunch of Paneer+Rotis, along with a minty drink called, ‘Lemon Mint Nana’ which was quite good. We repeated the same the next day as well.


We had decided to head out early for the 5-beach trek and pack up our stuff and keep it safely in Zostel’s Common room.

The 5-beach trek included Kudle-Om-Halfmoon-Hell’s beach before reaching the Paradise beach. We had our breakfast at Om beach in one of the joints which


We had our breakfast at Om beach in one of the joints which was open in the early hours of the morning, overlooking the sea. Bread omelet and black coffee to start the day. What more can one ask for?



The post-Om beach trek towards HalfMoon was the best of all. Walking over the hill in the tiny pathways in-between trees was an entirely different experience. At one point, we had this majestic view of the entire sea and standing atop that section of the hill, making us feel so small.




Since we were walking along the sea, over the hills, we came across boards which read like, ‘No way! Many people DIED here’ and we might have felt a little scared had it not been for the funny font and dripping paint.



As we crossed the half-moon beach and came across these amazing smallish gorges, we hid from the sun as the heat increased.

[Tip: Start your trek before 6 AM so as to avoid the harsh sun]

As we reached Paradise beach, which is a small section in the beach stretch, I just took out my book to read, while my friend took a dip in the sea. Of course, I couldn’t resist the water much longer and stripped down to dive-in.



Instead of the trek, there is the option to take the boat which makes stops at all the beaches for you to do a quick photo-session if that’s what you want. While returning we actually took a boat to Om Beach instead of heading back on foot.

The view is great from the boat and you can also spot a few Dolphins. But this still doesn’t beat the trek and I’d highly recommend you to to do the trek.



We were hungry and a cheesy La Polo Chicken Pizza along with King Fish became our lunch. Fish wasn’t great but the cheese made up for it.

In the last few hours in Gokarna, we went back to Zostel and took rest in their common room. I loved this part about Zostel, even after you’ve checked out, you can still keep your stuff, chill in their common room (which is amazing) and freshen up in the common bathroom as well.

We had to board our bus for Bangalore by 7 PM and a quick stroll around the beach, shopping and some home-made ice-cream and peanut-butter to bring back home, and a goodbye to Gokarna.



There are few places that you visit and then decide there itself that you’re gonna head back here soon. Gokarna is that place. I liked it better than Goa and this sits right at the top of beaches in India that I’ve visited, along with Varkala and Malpe.



Goa Travelogue

The Goa Plan

We’ve all been part of those comversations which have “Chal Goa chalte hain” innumerable times. School, college or any group of friends always have this plan for Goa.

We all know what happens to those plans.

My first visit to Goa, two years ago, happened to be a solo trip. Apart from my crazy impromptu planning, this ‘Goa plan’ was the reason behind it. Ki ab chal hi jaata hoon, akele hi sahi. 

There’s something about the place that people from every corner of the country plans to go there. Maybe even Goa wale folks also end up saying, Chal Goa chalte hain.

The latest planning session is with my school friends. This ‘Goa plan’ seems to have finally found some direction after weeks of being postponed. But hey, unless we reach Goa, there’s no surety of it either.

The frequency with which people get excited when planning for the trip comes to a standstill as soon as one of them goes, ‘Yaar.. nai hopaega’.

Its not like I’ve not done this ever. I’ve also done the same with my version of the classic Indian head nod.

But then what are plans for, when they cannot be changed ?

Or was it promises ? Ummm.. Aah, this works too!

After-effects of Travel

As soon as the bus entered the hustle of Bengaluru. I was like, Finally! It was close to 2 hour late and the journey was not very comfortable, to put it sensibly. 

That feeling of taking a proper shower in your own bathroom is unmatched. Familiarity is a sucker!

As the day went by, and I ended up in office before my scheduled ‘arrival’to a few, ‘Woah! You’re before time, today’ greets and with an evident tan,work and meetings piled up. 

Excitedly describing the trip to my colleague. Singular. Because, number of people I hang out at office. Duh!

As I motioned back home, peddaling back home, I missed the beach. The noise. The Water and even the damn sun. Okay, not that sun. A little, perhaps. 

I’m certain, I’ll head back to Gokarna on a whim. Like I’d do with Varkala or Fort Kochi. The vibe. 

The beach. The rocks. The trek. And even Zostel. 

I wanted to write the Travelogue right away, before I add another one to the “drafts”, but I Gokarna tells me, be a little Laidback. Chill kar, thoda. 

reading on the beach

The Old man in the beach

As I sat down, after an hour-long stroll at the beach, with a book to read and the sound of waves and the fading heat of the sun gave me company. Solitude is best at the farewell hours of the sun. At a beach. Sunsets are beautiful!

The Gokarna beach isn’t the most crowded. Or perhaps our timing couldn’t have been better to plan a trip to the coastal slash temple town at the borders of Karnataka and a little before Goa.

The beach had families offering puja at one of the corners and just around the time of sunset, something very interesting happened.

This old man, aged around 80, stripped down to his langot to offer the Surya Namaskar. The devotion he had in offering it was amazing. After a few dips and when the sun was almost about to exit from the frame, he went back to put on his briefs and brought with him two empty bottles. At first it looked as if he was draining out something from the bottles but he was actually filling them out to carry it back. I was more intrigued by the process that this old man as. At one point in time when a priest standing nearby tried to help him, his reaction of ‘let me do it my way’ was enough for him to stop. Old people don’t like interference. They know their ‘process’.

When he was finally done, he cleaned himself up, dressed up and walked back towards the road with two bags on his shoulder.

I don’t know whether that was part of a religious custom or not, but the dedication of the feeble old man was amazing. The look on his face was speaking something. As if he’s finishing a duty. For a second, I thought I’ll ask him or even help him pick his bag, but it didn’t felt right. He wanted to do it himself.

As I sit with my laptop after a tiring day of trekking (sort of) and travelling in the humidity, I’m reminded of the old man. Maybe, it gives me a window of ‘what-ifs’ of my own old age or just remembering the old ones who really mattered. And still, do.

This Picture from Pondicherry

This picture is from my first solo-trip back in 2014.

Food was average and the coffee was not good. So much for the long list of reviews talking great things about this place’s food.

And more than anything, it is the food that excites me about an new place. However, in the humid-hot Pondicherry, the location of this place is agreeably satisfying. Gazing at the water with the afternoon breeze for company, it was that time of realization that I liked this. The whole circus around traveling. The good and sometimes not-so-good parts as well.

More than anything it is the headspace that a trip puts you in.

Over time, after multiple trips around the southern part of India, the realization that traveling isn’t about a Checklist. Sure, it feels amazing to boast, “I’ve covered this this and this” and I’m not saying that I don’t want to use it. However, in the rush to achieve this, it’s essential to reflect, imbibe what each place and culture offers and make it part of ourselves. Our ignorance about the “others” is more due to us not opening up to them. Travelling is one sure-shot way to make an effort in that direction. At least, for me. At this point.

I’m sure each one of us have their own reasons. And each one is legit. Even I like shuffling between the reasons I travel. Sometimes it’s just for the group of people you go with, sometimes it’s just for a vacation and sometimes a mix of it all.

Scanning through the pictures on my blog, my own pictures from the travels never really excite me as much as random snaps that just convey my headspace does. Like this picture. Just chilling.

wazoo khana mosque

Delhi Travelogue: The Wazoo Khana

wazoo khana mosque

The Wazoo-Khaana.

While walking towards Humayun’s fort, I walked into this mosque to offer Zohar prayers. Old, not-taken care of, withered over time and hardly anyone at the mosque. The Wazoo-khana at the mosque reminded me of innumerable other mosques of the yesteryears. Now, they all have swanky tile-fitted-running-water wazoo khanas. Don’t mistake me for speaking of this modernization in a dismissive tone. I’m more of a purist and cherish the sacrilege-like feeling associated with a Wazoo khana. 

A good number of mosques still have this, but perhaps I rarely visit the ones which don’t have a tap running with a board mentioning, “Wazoo ka paani zyaya na karen.. Paani Allah ki rehmat hai”. Only to see people read it while water while the water flows out at speed faster than their reading.

Anyways, at this mosque, one needed to take out water from the adjacent well, fill it out in the badna and then perform wazoo.

Every-time the mosque near my office runs out of water and the water-tanker doesn’t arrive, we have to take two small mugs, out of a bucket of water, for use. Inconvenient. But we all end up saving almost half the water we’d normally use.

And more importantly, we read the signage: “Wazoo ka paani zyaya na karen.. Paani Allah ki rehmat hai” without letting the water flow away down the drain.

Post offering the prayers at this mosque, everyone gave me sort-of welcome smile. As if they recognized that I’m not from the place. Probably, I clicked a lot of pictures to make sure of that.

The mosque I was talking Masjid Khairul Manzil. You can read about the mosque in this post about Delhi’s architectural marvels, here.

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