Beach

An Ode to Radhanagar Beach

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I had just arrived and a mere look at the beach is what made me fall with it! Let me describe what Radhanagar beach was like. The place was super clean and had a handful of tourists. Radhanagar beach was guarded by police officials who were also responsible for the safety of the tourists. Next to the beach was a famous hotel chain which provided accommodation in beautiful huts made of bamboos and natural products. The place was serene and calm.

The view of the blue sees was amazing and I had never seen such a beautiful shade of water. The sand was perfect and was near to white. Radhanagar beach also had tourist huts made completely of bamboos. Radhanagar beach is not for the ones who are looking for some action. The beach doesn’t have any facilities for snorkelling, scuba diving or boating.

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Hello Havelock!

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The Phoenix Bay Jetty is situated in the city and is home to all merchant vessels which are responsible for trade and commerce. The Jetty is the boarding point for the ones who want to visit Neil or Havelock Islands. We had our tickets in hand which were booked prior by Mr. Ravi (Tour Manager, Contact: 09434261219). The tickets for Havelock Islands are sold out within minutes. It is advisable to ask your agent/tour manger to get the same booked as soon as you land up in the city. There are private as well as government ship operators which provide connections to Neil and Havelock. Being the off season (August) the private operator (called as Makcruzz) was closed down and the only available option a government run ship.

The tag ‘Government’ automatically lowers the standards and gives me a bad impression of what so ever even before I see it. Anyways, the ship that we had to board was called ‘M.V Jollybuoy’. We were booked in the only available option of seating lounge. One needs to spot his vessel and then proceed for boarding. As we stepped inside the ship, we were greeted by the Chief Officer of the ship who also checked our tickets. He later on transferred us to the seating hall. The so called seating hall had three rows and seats faced opposite to each other. It also had a television set which was cleverly hidden in one of the compartments. The hall seemed more like my seamanship class room with lots of safety boards and demonstrative visuals. Good enough! The ship departed right on time at 0630 and that is when I got to know that we can go on the bridge.

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Around London – Weymouth, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove

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It’s been few months in UK (London) and was not sure what all things I can cover nearby outside London and I was constantly thinking about it. Few weeks back one after noon I along with my colleague somehow zeroed in on Weymouth which have few other places called Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove around it… I started exploring what all things we can cover in our three days trip and my colleague started exploring the options how to reach there … till evening we were all set to go on the Friday evening…

We boarded the train on Friday evening and were supposed to reach our Holiday Park in Weymouth by midnight and which we did after few delays….

Saturday Morning 1 st Day – exploring Weymouth — The view was awesome as the beach and the grasslands were visible from our Caravan and we were aware that it would be a long day walk ahead.  We spend couple of hours in our resort and headed towards the beach for which we came to Weymouth.  The sun was bright and penetrating and it took around 20 minutes to reach the sea shore. The moment we put our toes in the cold water all of us got refreshed… As it was a pebble beach there was no sticky feeling of sand and it was convenient going to and fro into the water …if you know what I meanJ. We spend few hours over there and then decided to walk along the shore which looks to be 3-4 miles

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Baratang: A Tribal Treat

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Long back, a group of tourists shot a video of the Jarawas and uploaded the same on the web. According to the United States, this act was not justified and it was classified as hindrance to the tribal life of the Jarawas. The issue was raised out loud and was finally brought up to the Indian Government. After all sought of discussions and panel meetings, the government decided to offer protection to the community. The jungle was then handed over to the police and CCTV cameras were also installed amidst the wild. A convoy system was setup wherein a convoy of vehicles at specific time will be accompanied by the Police officials to cross the jungle from Jirkatang to Baratang and vice versa. The government also banned the use of mobiles and cameras in between the journey. The first convoy had to depart at 0600 hours and we were to go in the same.

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Setting Sail to the Three Islands

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Always remember to carry your ID Card along with you as it is need at almost every tourist spot in the Andamans. The ferries depart every hour and we were to go by the 0930 one. We were not offered any lifejackets and the ferry setup made me worry. Safety was on compromise but yet again one doesn’t have any another option. Recently, a ferry sailing from North Bay to Ross Island sunk and as many as 21 people died. Why can’t we follow safety guidelines rather than waiting for accidents to take place? As soon as the boarding began, I was the first one to step in and occupy the seat ahead of the wheel room.

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Welcome to Andamans!

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The pilot announced “Crew, Ready for takeoff!” The flight from Chennai took off sharp at 0500 hours. It is advisable to opt for a windows seat as on the approach towards the beautiful Islands, one gets a visual treat offered by Andamans.

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Go Goa Gone !

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Places to eat:
Viva Panjim: The best Goan food ever. Period
Brittos: Amazing desserts.
Nick’s Place: Baga
Curlies: Anjuna: Sea food wood fired pizza, Hookah’s and Grilled Fish.
Suaza Loboz: Calangute: Good sea and Goan food.
Infantaria: Baga: For breakfast. Sandwitches and Pan cakes are worth the money spent.
A small desi joint just before Baga beach: For breakfast of stuffed paratha’s, masala omellete and tea/coffee.
Food court near calangute: For 24*7 Multicuisine food. Not bad, not good.

Places to Visit/Things to do:
Beaches:
Baga for a touristy feel, and watersports. Watersports are quite affordable here, and you can get a package deal of Parasailing, Jet ski, bumper, banana rides for rougly Rs 12-1500 per person.
Mandrem: For calm, quite and relaxation.
Curlies: Tip, go post lunch as by evening theres a lot of rush which everyone might not like.
Arambol/Ashwem: For a firang goan feel.

Places:
Old Goa: Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old portuguese colonies.
Chapora/Dil Chahta hai Fort.
Any of the casinos in Panjim.
LPK @Candolim or Club Cubana @Arpora for discs.
Manchester United Cafe @Baga if you are into sports and follow the team.

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Try Chivla Beach this summer – a weekend getaway from Goa

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There are plenty of fish & sea-food options with prices same as what I mentioned earlier. To give you an idea of prices, we had a Surmayee [King-Fish] Thali for 250/- (medium size rawa fried piece of Kingfish, Kingfish Curry with Chapati and Rice], a ‘Kalwa Thali’ at 280/- (One portion of Kalwa Masala, one small rawa fried Crab, Kalwa Curry with Chapati and Rice].

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A Goan Monsoon

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We were driving down to Goa one more time, our fifth holiday in Goa since December 2001. I had booked in Club Mahindra’s Varca Beach resort almost two months ahead. We got the booking easily because it is the end of blue season (slack season) at this time in Goa. Only die-hard Goa lovers go at this time because of the monsoon rains.

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Goa Carnival Chronicles!

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In the height of the Hippie culture of Goa in the 60’s, 70’s and the early 80’s, the exhibitionist Hippies would sprawl around the beaches and then get up and join the Carnival parade in their barely there costumes. Some would even dress up as the much sought after Samba dancers. Goa has certainly toned it down in recent years to a more wholesome, family kind of entertainment and celebration.
In fact, the Department of tourism has made great efforts this year to advertise and popularise this festival with many novel ideas. There is a Samba Square in the heart of Panjim which has attracted the local families and youth with the foot tapping Samba music and a variety of food stalls.

The Food and Cultural festival, inaugurated on the 28th of Feb to kick start the Carnival celebrations highlights the cuisine and rich cultural legacy of Goa. There is an all Goa cooking competition with sponsored prizes that are being judged by a celebrity chef. The cooking competition promotes local cuisine and showcases the same to visiting tourists. The winning recipe will be displayed on Goa Tourism’s website and other social media.

Agnee, an Indian rock band, and other artists like Kailash Kher, Rabbi Shergill, Raghu Dixit Project and Sona Mahapatra are performing at the festival. A grand fashion show and a fire display is also included. This year’s edition also features street performances by musicians at various vantage points across Panjim city, a King Momo contest, and an increase in prize money from Rs 3.7 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for the best float.

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The Sunderban Tiger Reserve -Nature at one of its best

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where one can only see the azure sky merge with equally breathtaking river at a distance, small village boys running around on the “kuchhe pakdandi” of the adjoining villages, million hues created by a lone cloud that tries to mask the majestic sun and the alluring riot of colors created by ripples on the bluish silver water. One is bound to get lost in the soothing effect nature weaves here.
The first stop is at Pakhirala from where the permits are obtained by the streamers and boats to pass through the river. The second stop is Sajnekhali where tourists halt for the night to start the journey early next morning.

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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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