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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
At 12.30 pm we crossed over into Karnataka, and paid another toll. Immediately we could sense that we were in a different state. The traffic was much less in Karnataka as compared to the heavy traffic right upto Kolhapur in Maharashtra. The scenery was better, with undulating hills in the distance. There were flowering bushes in the road divider which made the drive more pleasant, and lay-byes with public utilities at regular intervals along the highway.Read More
After a full 3 hours in the sea and breakfast, we went to visit Henry’s island (2 km) – a must visit place. During 1980s, the West Bengal Fisheries Department took the initiative of turning Henry’s Island into a tourist spot. More than 50 ponds were dug under pisciculture project, occupying over 25 bigha on 100-hectare of land. Fresh fish and shrimps straight out the ponds are a must try for the visitors. Trees such as gora, kankru, palm, naturally growing sundari and hetal have been planted.Read More
We had plans of visiting heritage sites and local night market, but lassitude takes over as soon as we arrive. After strolling around the neighbourhood, spying on local shops and outlets, we are back to the guest house.
There are number of cosy sit-outs within the house. In the evening, guests have gathered here to relax and chat-up. Soon I connect up with Bill, an Austrian from Vienna and Shoo, a Thai traveller. Yes, they tell, they are also travelling across Thailand. While exchanging notes I discover that both of them (though travelling separately) are very special Ghumakkars. Bill (actually Bills, a couple) has arrived here Cycling all the way from AUSTRIA! Well, the story goes like this. They are avid cyclists. They have covered large parts of the globe cycling. Bill roughly cycles for an year in one go! By end of the year long loop, he is back in Vienna to earn his livelihood. After earning for about 6-8 months, he is again out for the next trip. He tells us that he does not own a car and has a very small house in Vienna. He works just to make enough money for the next trip. Same is the story of his partner. She is from the same place and they share the same passion. They are 6 months into the current trip and plan to cycle north to China and then through Kazakhstan and Eastern Europe to Vienna. Their belongings, typical for cyclists, comprise of two rucksacks (strapped to either side of the carrier) and a sleeping bag cum tenting equipment.