Beach

Road Journeys – Somnath to Diu – Sea and Sand

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On the way, we deliberately stopped at one point sighting a very unusual Palm-Tree with multiple branches. Later we found jungles of such trees in entire Diu and its adjoining areas. Browsing, it revealed, those were the Hokka-Trees, African specie of Palm brought by the Portuguese which in due course adapted Diu’s atmosphere and grow in plenty throughout. Locals call it Hokka, not found any where else in the country and also bore edible fruits that have medicinal properties.

Unlike Daman it was pleasing to notice a decent surrounding without the chaos of liquor shops and drunken-brawls instead, the hard drinks were available in much civilized and socialised manner. The places worth a visit in Diu are the Ghoghla Beach, Diu Fort, St. Paul’s Church, Nagoa Beach, Gangeshwar Mahadev Temple, Shell Museum, Naida Caves and Fortim-do-mar (Panikota).

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Andaman – An unforgettable vacation

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It is my advice, don’t book any package from any travel agent they never give you such accommodation, & still charge heftily. Transport here is not a problem, Auto at quite affordable & ubiquitously available.
Many things here are waiting to explore like tribal’s areas, uninhabited beauty of sand & sea , history related to our freedom fighters , Japanese cruelty, & last but most important adventurous water sports & beautiful corals under the sea.

In Andman now I am ready for many adventures in store for me. As port blair is only connected to main land so you need to check in port blair minimum for last night of tour otherwise in case of bad weather you might miss your flight or cruise, though port blair deserve minimum 3 night stay .

After check in, we took taxi to wandoor (28 km from port Blair) here we got jetty for Joly Buoy Island, a wonder island. It opens for 6 months in a year, red skin island opens for another 6 months. The Islands full of beautiful corals, ideal for snorkeling. A/c taxi charged 1200/- plus jetty charges 540/- per head including one time snorkeling. But you should pay 300 bucks more to trainer if you want good & fruitful snorkeling. You can go chidiya tapu while coming back, taxi would charge 1000/- more, here you can enjoy beautiful beach & awesome sunset, though a national park of animals is also here but it opens only up to 4 o’clock.

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Monsoon Goa

Monsoon Goa

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Upon reaching the hotel, we realized that it would be a disaster to stay at kenilworth and pay money to ruin our holidays so we demanded the hotel to arrange for a room in similar property in Goa. Unfortunately, the weekend being a long weekend, Goa was completely sold out (or atleast, none of the 5 star deluxe hotels/resorts seem to be willing to offer rooms to us)
To add to the grief, while we were on the lookout in the cab, it didn’t stop raining. I wondered if I loved the rain or not ?

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Let’s go Puerto Rico- 1

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Driving in Puerto Rico is not for the faint-hearted. You get used to it of course. As I started to drive somewhat nervously, I realized that not only were the signs in Spanish, but the driving somewhat resembled the aggressive driving in India. Some of the bylanes were filled with potholes and without lane demarcations. Pedestrians just flagged you down trying to cross busy streets, something you never get used to unless you have driven in India. The roads close to the hostel were tiny compared to mainland US standards, often the car from the opposite would have to stop to let you pass, and I would have to find parallel parking on the street, something I am not very good at. When I parallel parked my car, half my car was hoisted up the pavement, just like every other car before and after mine. I said a silent prayer as I prepped myself for five days of driving around the island and parking. The next day, I was kicking ass, innocuously breaking a few driving rules, cruising through the potholes, and navigating my way with a confidence as if I have always driven here. It is amazing how fast your brain gets used to doing things. Some of the Spanish words I learned while driving were “Pare” (to stop) and “Salida” (an exit).

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Bonderam – The flag festival of Divar Island, Goa

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A little background on this ‘one of its kind’ festival. The “Bonderam” festival is celebrated on the Island of Divar on the fourth Saturday of August every year. The word “Bonderam” originated from the involvement of flags. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for flag. It is stated that during the Portuguese rule in Goa there were frequent disputes between two sections of the Divar village, namely Sao Mathias and Piedade over property issues. These often led to violence and fights in the village. Subsequently, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags.

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Bakkhali-Henry Island-Frazergunj (Weekend hideout from Kolkata)

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But there is no connecting bridge. What we experienced here was something amazing and unique. A huge barge operates between the banks to transport vehicles. We drove our car to the barge, sat inside it and the barge took us to the opposite bank. Huge size lorries and buses are also transported in the same manner. It was a memorable experience sitting inside the car and floating on the river.

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The retreat of the tide

The Emerald Islands of Andaman and Nicobar-II

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Our plan was to take a government ferry to Havelock and halt there for two days. For our return journey we planned to take the Makruzz back to Port Blair. We had to wake up at 5 in the morning to catch the ferry which leaves at  6:30 am. The harbour at Port Blair is lively even at these early hours as it caters to to the goods coming in from the mainland, as well as from nearby countries like Thailand. The ferry which we were to travel on, was operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. Our reserved seats in the first class compartment akin to the Indian Railways chair car coaches made our travel comfortable. During the journey to Havelock, you are free to go on deck. Travelers can hear the soothing sound of the waves hitting the craft and enjoy the vast expanse of the ocean. The blue sea, and the green emeralds dotting them, complement each other, and add to the experience. After standing on deck for 15 minutes, we decided to get a quick nap. When we woke up, the ferry was docking at the Havelock Jetty. After getting off the ship, we were picked up by a taxi our friends had arranged.  We were dropped at our hotel, a government enterprise called the “Dolphin Hotel”. There are various grades of rooms available and it is important to reserve the rooms early.You may reserve the rooms through online payment on the website. Make sure to get a sea facing cottage. The drawback about Dolphin Hotel was  that though it was set in a nice sea-facing location, it did not have a beach.There are a multitude of options to stay at in at Havelock, which suit all budgets.

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Mahabalipuram – Chennai Weekend Gateway

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This temple is considered in a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built in 7th century. It is one of the oldest South Indian temples built in Dravidian style. The complex spreads out over a square platform, and comprises three temples, of which two are east and west facing Shiva temples, and the third a Vishnu shrine in the center. The temple has vast open are at the western side. Rows of Nandi form the perimeter wall for this temple. The Shore temple is the lone survivor out of seven such temples , the rest having fallen to the ravages of sea.

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Chennai Temples Part 2

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This temple is a very old temple of 8th century. It is famous for its Pallavan Architecture. According to legend, the temple is located on the spot where Brahma, one of the Hindu trinities, installed a Shiva lingam. It is said that the creator or the Hindu Trinity Brahma , originally had five heads, one of which Lord Shiva cut off to arrest his pride. Following which Lord Brahma installed a Shiva lingam to do penance and that is where the temple stands today. This Shiva lingam is known as Kapaleeshwar and is the main nucleus of the temple.

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Cochin – Sightseeing by cruise and Cherai Beach

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As weather was hot, this ride was giving us good relief from heat. For first 15-20 minutes it was just like a normal cruise experience similar to Mumbai Gateway of India cruise ride or cruise ride at Rameswaram. But we were happy as kids were enjoying this ride with lots of space to sit as well as to run inside the boat and to see sparkling water.On our way we got to see many boats like country type, Russian yacht etc.

Although, it was a pleasant journey but I didn’t find it worth or it’s not value for money. Boat sailor but surely took us at the midst of sea and we saw numbers of Dolphin fish. Watching Kochi Harbour, Bolgatty island resort and Dolphin were good experience. Chinese Fishing net is an icon for Kochi but I didn’t find anything interesting watching that. The total time we spent here was 02 hours and we found it tiring. We came back to Marine Drive. Marine drive is a nice hangout place with many eatery joints.We had some light lunch and icecreams and came back to our friends place at 1730 hrs.

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Puri – Lord Jagannath’s land

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In the evening we came out of the Hotel to explore Puri Market and Swargdwar. As regards to Puri Beach I have always seen in television that sand art is generally performed at Puri Beach so I was looking at the beach if I can found any sand art. Unfortunately we did not get to see any sand art on Puri beach. We were walking on the beach and there I saw a board “National Sand Art Festival”. We were so excited and quickly took tickets (Rs 20/- for each person and Rs 15/- for camera).We entered inside and got to see some beautiful art works.

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