Beach

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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A DAY AT MUNNAR – CONFLUENCE OF THREE RIVER

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After an hour or so we reached at our Friend Parent’s house at Kothamangalam (Town in the foothills of Western Ghat mountain range) where we were warmly welcomed by her family. We were offered the wonderful , delicious mouth-watering Kerala Breakfast Appam (Pancake made of Rice and Coconut) and Stew ( a dish made with potatoes, onions, vegetables & coconut milk).After finishing our breakfast we had again started our onwards journey towards the Tea plantation estate Munnar.

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St. Martin’s – A Hidden Coral Island

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The Naf river rises in the Arakan mountain ranges of Myanmar, thence it flows through Myanmar and Bangladesh. Akyab in Myanmar is on its left Bank, Teknaf in Bangladesh is on its right bank. Outside the famed Sundarbans, the river is home to Sundari trees . Flowing between mountain ranges, dotted with little fishing boats, Silver Hued and wide as the heart of a Saint, the river was in true sense the “Daughter of the Mountains”. As the boat cruised through the Naf, Myanmar came into view, the 36X zoom of my Nikon P-500 revealed a beautiful land nestled at the foot of sky kissing Mountains and dotted with beautiful pagodas, but fenced with tall barbed wire fences all through. It was a reminder that this was a country which is warning the entire world , “Keep OFF”. Cut off from the world for the last 24 years , Myanmar is an enigma in itself. We are all awaiting the day when Myanmar will be opened up to the world at large and tourists would flock back to this lovely place.

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Hilltop monasteries on the seaside

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What Jawaharlal Nehru had said about India is equally applicable to my hometown, Visakhapatnam, better known as Vizag. It is a young city with a history that goes back to the prehistoric period. In this series, I shall revisit the footprints left on the sands of time in and around Vizag by the early Buddhists.

I shall start at Thotlakonda, a 130 metre high hillock overlooking the famed beaches of Vizag. The Buddhist settlement was accidentally discovered in 1988 by Naval personnel were carrying out an aerial survey for setting up some facility.

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Coconuts, Cotton and Crabs

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As one drives along the narrow but smooth roads with lush green fields bordered by tall coconut palm trees and water canals, one could be forgiven for thinking that they are in Kerala. Welcome to Konaseema, the Kerala of Andhra Pradesh. It is the triangular patch of land where the river Godavari, the second holiest river in India, breaks up into many distributaries and merges itself in the Bay of Bengal.

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Travel to Konark Sun Temple and Puri

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We decided to relax for couple of hours before we pay our visit to Puri temple. Finally we went for Darshan at 7 pm and it took us hardly 10 minutes get inside the Garbha Grih. Now here is the word of caution, the religious place is a house notorious panda’s and one has to be careful dealing with them. One of them took us to small room within the temple premise and forced us to pay him huge in order to get the blessings. Since we were well aware, we avoided that well within time and moved ahead. Such panda’s were there every meter, and they kept asking for donation in the name of god. Note: I am not calling them as priest as they don’t behave like.

The temple complex is beautiful from inside, having many small temples, very similar to any other temple in India. The structure is inspired by Kalinga art, and it is the highest temple in Orissa from the sea level. Details of origin and legend can be obtained from shrine’s official website.

In the evening we had an early dinner and went to sleep as the day ahead was packed with action.

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My trip to Odisha – Dhauli, Pipli and Konark

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We passed through an old toll booth. Papa held a competition that who will spot the Konark Temple first? We all eagerly started to look outside. Papa was looking straight with confidence that only he will win. I thought that probably he knew where the Sun Temple would come. I was proved right as after sometime papa was the first person to spot the Sun Temple’s mastaka. It was brightly shining, rising above the tree canopy.

By then it was evening so we decided to go to the Konark beach first and get a glance of the temple in the night. It was a nice warm day and towards the evening it turned a little cool. I wore my swimming costume and had fun on the beach. Nikki Mama and I played with a disk. When Mama went to play with his friends who had also come from Delhi, I strolled on the beach going near to the ocean so that I could get my feet wet. The water was chillingly cold. I wanted to go further deep but papa had cautioned me not to do so as Konark Beaches are unsafe and dangerous. It was a beautiful evening with finally the sun diving and disappearing in the ocean.

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Wanderings in South Goa.

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You are really spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in Goa. Besides the beach shacks, where you can sit on the sands and gaze out at the sea, sipping on a drink, while waiting an hour or two for your meal to arrive, there are many restaurants inland which also serve excellent food at very reasonable rates. There is a fusion of East and West, Portugese and Indian, meat and vegetables, which makes Goan cuisine unique. Coconut is used liberally, along with other Indian spices in the cooking. ‘Fish curry rice’ is the most common food and available virtually in every restaurant. The different types of seafood on offer in Goa includes pomfret, kingfish, ladyfish, mackerel, tuna, shark, crab, prawn, lobster, squid and mussels. Chicken, pork, mutton and beef dishes are also on offer at all the restaurants, cooked in the popular Goan flavours such as vindaloo, balchao, recheado, xhacuti and caldin.
We had already planned that we would include at least one meal out at a shack or restaurant in our daily sight-seeing itinerary. One precaution we always took was to carry our own drinking water if we did not want to order a drink, or pay for a bottle of branded mineral water.

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Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms) : Part 6 – Chiang Mai

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We also spend some time in a fantastic session called ‘Chat with Monks’. This particular wat, which is also a training facility for the young monks, offers tourists an opportunity to interact informally with the monks. There is a common area where the tourist group is met by one of the waiting monks. You can sit with him and discuss anything related to Monks/ Buddhism/ Thailand or any other topic of interest. Well, to answer the ‘why’ of it – such interactions enable the monks to practise spoken English as also widening their knowledge base and the tourists, of course gather valuable insight.

A good & handy source of drinking water is the vending machines placed at common areas. Though bottled water is available across Thailand costing B15 – B30 or more depending on when and where you buy them; these vending machines (working on coin system) offer you potable water @ B1 (one bhat) for a litre.

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