The Magical Kodaikanal – Day 1

Last week I went to Kodaikanal. After I had been Ooty most of the people suggested me to visit Kodaikanal. They said unlike Ooty, Kodaikanal is not that commercialised which makes it even more fascinating. Well, it holds true.

Best time to visit

Like Ooty, Kodaikanal can be visited anytime of the year. During winters the temperature drops to 0 degrees and during summer the temperature was around 18 to 20 degrees during the day. At night it dropped to 14 degrees.

Moier Point, Pine Tree Forest, Pillar Rocks and Kodai Lake

We hired a cab for the local tour in Kodaikanal and we covered quite a number of places. Kodaikanal has a lot of view points. First we went to Moier Point. The place gets covered with passing clouds and it’s a beautiful experience.

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Moier Point

Pine Tree Forest 

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Pine Tree Forest

Pillar Rocks 

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Pillar Rocks

Kodai Lake

One of the best experiences I had at Kodai Lake is the cycle ride. Yes you can hire a cycle and take a ride around the lake. The lake is spread for 7 kms in radius and the best part is there you get double seater cycles as well. I also went for the boat ride the next day and that was wonderful as well.

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Kodai Lake during sunset

 

Quick Tips:

  1. The cab driver will take you to a whole lot of places you can opt for the places you want to visit. I didn’t know much places so I went for all and it was quite not that great. In this blog I have added places which I felt were amazing and worth going for. The other places I went to were the Green Valley Point, Coaker’s walk and Bryant Park. Coaker’s walk is best to visit during early morning when it is still misty out there.
  2. Carry winter clothes.
  3. Be prepared for the light showers to heavy rainfall anytime.
  4. It gets sunny by day so do carry sunscreen.
  5. It is better to have your own vehicle otherwise you can always hire a cab. No bikes on rent are available in Kodaikanal.
  6. Please pre book or pay in advance for the stay because the hotel we booked was not available and they gave the address of some other resort with no facilities yet charged us too much.

Budget for one person:

Bangalore ⇄ Kodaikanal = Rs 2000
Cab for day 1 = Rs 1800 (pick up and drop inclusive)
Food = Rs 600 to 700
Cycle Ride = Rs 100 for double seater cycle
Boat Ride= Rs 100 if ride completed within 30 mins.

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A soulful journey to Ooty, Nilgiris

Last weekend I travelled to Ooty, the Queen of hills. I don’t know why I took this long to travel to Ooty? Well, better late than never. A bunch of friends took a road trip to the paradise. Along with amazing scenic beauty, there is fresh air. No matter how many pictures I clicked what I captured with my soul will never be forgotten.

Best Time to Travel
Anytime. Ooty has so much beauty to offer in every season that it can be visited anytime of the year. I want to travel to Ooty once again in winter. In spring the temperature was 21 degrees imagine how amazing winters would be!

Journey to the Surreal

We booked a shuttle and started from Bangalore. We stopped for breakfast at GTR in Mysore. Well GTR is the most oldest and renowned breakfast place in Mysore and boy! they serve amazing idlis. I am a big fan of idlis, while others had dosas, pongal and filter coffee, everyone had same thing to say about the food. After finishing breakfast, we started towards Ooty. On the way we passed by Bandipur wildlife around 9:00 AM. I spotted deers, peacocks and the black face monkeys. They have strict rules, we cannot eat while passing by the forest and if any animal spotted food should not be offered. No littering on the road and speed limit should be 30 KMPH. After crossing Bandipur we reached Masinagudi, foothills of Ooty. It took us 3 hours from Masinagudi to reach our resort Mountain Trails in T Mynalai.

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View from Mountain Trails Resort

Day 1

The resort has a beautiful view to offer. After lunch we headed to Doddabetta Peak.
This peak has a scenic view to offer. Various state borders can be seen from here. With steaming cup of Ooty tea, some bhajjis and even Maggie it just gets better.

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The Majestic Doddabetta Peak

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After Doddabetta we went for some shopping. Ooty is known for oils, teas, spices and of course the famous Ooty chocolates. Opposite to Breeks School there’s a market complex which has Ooty’s one of the oldest chocolate shop known as Kings Chocolate. It’s established in 1942 and still standing strong. They have amazing ranges varying from dark chocolate fudge to rum and raisins. Ooty is also known for eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and many more.

Day 2

A first hand experience at Tea and Chocolate factory.

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Tea Leaves at Tea Factory

 

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Chocolate making at Chocolate Factory

Well chocolate factory was my favourite out of the two. I am a huge fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Since childhood I always wanted to visit a chocolate factory. Although it was not so fancy, obviously but I had my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment.

From the chocolate factory I could see Zip Lining. Doing it from a valley has it’s own charm. I didn’t want to let that opportunity go, so I did it. I am still screaming.

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Zip Lining was one of the coolest experiences I had in Ooty. Passing through the valley was something I would do over again.

After lunch we went to Wellington in Coonoor.

Wellington is a town in Coonoor which is close to Ooty. Wellington is home to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC). Wellington is so heavenly that I really didn’t want to come back home.

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The Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington

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Nilgiris Hills, Wellington

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A place I would always go back to

While coming back to Bangalore we took a route from Coimbatore instead of Bandipur because the check post at Bandipur closes at 6:00 PM. Out of all my travel till date Ooty has been the most mesmerising one. The beauty Ooty has to offer is so captivating that it felt like I was under a spell. I had tears of happiness when I was in Ooty. I couldn’t believe my eyes for what I experienced. It was magical, spiritual and soulful.

 

Quick Tips

  1. While passing by Bandipur please keep cleanliness in mind. Don’t play music in your vehicle, it could disturb the wildlife. Don’t eat until you’ve crossed the forest range  for it could attract unnecessary attention from the animals. Drive responsibly within the speed range mentioned in the roadway as it is an animal crossing area.
  2. Bandipur check post opens at 6:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM, so plan your trip accordingly.
  3.  Ooty has mesmerising ghats and people tend to get sick because of the ghats. Please carry lemon and other things that could help with the sickness.
  4. Please check the temperatures and carry your winter essentials.
  5. Keep yourself hydrated and carry sunscreen as well.
  6. Halting and clicking pictures inside the Defence campus in Wellington is prohibited.

Budget

Stay – Rs 3000 per night for 2 people. I shared my room with a friend hence Rs 1500.
Food – Rs 700 to 1000 / per person
Bus – Rs 1800 two way/ per person

Emerald green, Coorg or Kodagu in Kannada

Emerald green landscape laden with coffee plantation, lush teakwood and sandalwood forests. Coorg is in western ghats of India with moderate climate. Madikere is the centre of the district and a transport hub. Also there are really good restaurants around Madikere. Coorg also has some amazing homemade wines and chocolates to serve. Needless to say Coorgi pork curry is a delicacy of Coorg. It goes best with Otti and not Roti. Otti is bread made with rice.

 

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Otti and Coorgi Pork Curry

Best time to visit Coorg

Coorg has a very moderate climate throughout the year. Although I went in Feb. Winters has it’s own charm in Coorg. Early in the morning the place is cladded with fog. Hence I preferred to visit Coorg during early Feb.

Places I visited in Coorg:

If you’re going to Coorg please keep 3 days in hand, don’t make the mistake of travelling for a day and half. So in one and half days I could visit 4 places and those were really amazing places to see.

  1. Abbey FallsIt is 10 kms from Madikere. The falls is open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The entry fees is Rs 15 per person. Abbey Falls is one of the main tourists attraction of Coorg. The road is always beautiful than the destination. The road from Madikere to Abbey Falls is one of the best views I had in Coorg. The road was clothed by the lush green hills of coffee plantation and some amazing spices like cinnamon etc.
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Abbey Falls

   2. Golden Temple – Tibetan Monastery

It is 4.5 kms from Kushalnagar. Kushalnagar is where I stayed in. The temple is open from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The temple is calm and majestic surrounded by it’s own landscaped garden. Also near the parking lot there’s a small shopping complex and has an amazing cafe, Buddha Cafe. The shops have Tibetan souvenirs  starting from singing bowl, idols of Buddha, wind chimes etc.

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Golden Temple – Tibetan Monastery

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Golden Temple – Tibetan Monastery

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Golden Temple – Tibetan Monastery

3. Raja Seat

The kings of Coorg used to watch sunsets from this spot which is now a beautiful garden. The spot offers an amazing view of towering hills and breathtaking scenery.

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View from Raja Seat

 

4. Talakaveri

It is known to be the first source of the river Kaveri. It is located at the Brahmagiri Hills. The best time to visit this place is in the morning. I made a mistake of going there in the afternoon in the scorching sun which made the climb to the hill very difficult. Also the view from top of the hill is mesmerising.

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View from the hill top at Talakaveri

There are two more places Dubare and Nisargadhama I wanted to visit in Coorg. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time in hand. Sigh! If you are going to Coorg please make sure to cover the above places and share some pictures with me on my instagram account.

Quick Bites:

1. To have an amazing experience of the lush green landscape, please travel in the morning.

2. You can hire a bike to commute within the district.

3. It gets really hot during the day, please keep yourself hydrated and carry sunscreen.

4. Make a list of places you want to visit on Coorg and stay in the vicinity of 10-15 kms. I stayed at Kushalnagar and Dubare and Nisargadhama were 30-32 kms away from my hotel. Hence I couldn’t cover those.

5. There are night camping in Coorg, please do your homework and do the booking in advance. I was an enthucutlet and started for Coorg immediately when without any homework.

Budget:
1. Hotel = Rs 2400 per night
2. Food = Rs 700-1000 per person (per day)
3. Bike on rent = Rs 600 per day (Bargain good)

 

12 kick-ass things to do in Hampi

My first trip of the year 2019, Hampi. It’s a magical, mystical land. The aura of the town is captivating and savage. The vibe is bewitching and made me linger longer enough . It is a Unesco World Heritage Site located across the Tungabhadra river. There are two sides of Hampi. One is in the village side, which is in the shadow of the Virupaksha temple. This side has lots of boulders and ruins. The other side is the lush green paddy field. Also known as the Hippie island. The two very different and vibrant sides of the town is divided by the Tungabhadra river. There is no bridge to cross the river rather you need to hire a boat to cross it, which makes it even more interesting.

How to reach Hampi

I travelled to Hampi with one of my coolest friends by bus from Bangalore. We got down at Hospet and took a rickshaw to Hampi. By bus it took us 5 hours.

Things to do in Hampi 

1. Breakfast at the German Bakery

German Bakery is one of the best places to have breakfast in the hippie island. They have an amazing menu of not only just the breakfast but the danish and almond cakes are equally delicious. And when it comes to breakfast they have different cuisines of breakfast. My favourite is hands down the Spanish breakfast.

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2. Coracle ride and cliff jumping at the Sanapur Lake

Hampi is known for it’s Coracle rides and I don’t second doubt it. It’s very different from the usual boat rides and it’s a must in Hampi. Sanapur Lake also attracts lots of tourists for cliff jumping.

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3. Sunset Hill
There are couple of sunset points in Hampi. But the one near the paddy fields in the hippie island is my favourite. It’s very peaceful to just sit down and do nothing except to watch the sunset. The lush green paddy fields turns golden with the sun rays.

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4. Achyutaraya Temple

Hampi is so untouched by modernity in the 21st century and it’s a wonder in itself. All the ruins in this temple are surrounded by the giant boulders.

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5. Pushkarini

It is a stepped well. The geometry of the well is an architectural wonder. This well was used for ritual bathing.

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6. Chariot Temple

Have you seen the new Rs 50 note? It’s the same chariot. The place gets very crowded during the day and also it’s really hot. The best time to visit this temple is early in the morning. Unfortunately I didn’t get to click a single picture with the famous Chariot of Hampi because it was never left alone.

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7. Hanuman Temple Sunset Point

Hanuman temple is a well known sunset point in Hampi unlike the one mentioned above.We climbed 600 odd steps to reach the hill top and the view was worth it. The hill dwells on a different spiritual energy. Watching the sun goes down from the hill top is an amazing thing to experience. Although it’s little crowded compared to the hill near the paddy fields.

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8. Sunset at the bank of Tungabhadra river

On the day of our return we just sat down on the bank of the Tungabhadra river and watched the sunset. It was equally amazing as watching it from the hill top. The rays of sun touching the river and making it shimmer in it’s glory. The view was captivating.

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9. Dinner at the Mango Tree

Mango Tree is known for it’s ambience and thalis. It is at the temple side of the town. Although it was really early for us to have dinner so we ended up eating appetisers and lemon, ginger and honey with hot water.

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10. Musical Meditation

This was my most favourite in the entire trip. It’s also known as sound healing. There’s only one place in the hippie island where this is done, Gali’s music shop. The musician, Gali, played all the instruments while we were lying down on the floor of an open ground surrounded by the paddy fields. It was really soothing and relaxing.

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11. Morning Walk by the Paddy fields

The boat service to cross the river starts at 8:00 AM hence we decided to take a walk around the paddy fields early in the morning and we didn’t regret it. The air was so fresh and the greenery all around was mesmerising.

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12. Hampi Market

This market is in the village side near the Virupaksha temple. Mostly you will find handmade stuff like bags, belts, anklets, harem pants, bangles etc. And the shops are usually run by the ladies.

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Quick Tips:

1.  Plan to see the ruins early in the morning or at least before noon. Even though we went during winter by the time sun is over the head it gets really hot.

2. To commute within the city you can hire bikes but if you’re not a rider like us rickshaws are good too. But remember to bargain. Bargain at the Hampi market as well.

3. Be careful of the monkeys. We got mugged by a monkey in the Hanuman temple.

4. Carry toiletries, sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated.

5. Network and connectivity is really poor in Hampi. Thankfully our hotel had wifi so we could make calls on WhatsApp. We stayed at the hotel Nargilla which was a really chilled out place.

6. There’s a shortage of ATMs in Hampi, so please carry enough cash in hand.

7. Don’t plan to see every ruins possible in Hampi. Figure out the ones you really want to see and then go for it. We hired a rickshaw to go for Achyutaraya temple, Puskarini and the Chariot temple.

Budget for one person:
Bangalore ⇄ Hampi = Rs 2000
Stay at hotel Nargilla – Rs 2000 for two nights and 3 days inclusive of tax.
Rickshaw from Hospet to Hampi = Rs 300
Rickshaw from Hampi to Kamlapura = Rs 300 (Our bus to Bangalore was from Kamlapura, near the police station)
Boat ride to cross the river ⇄ Rs 50
Rickshaw from hippie island ⇄ Sanapur Lake = Rs 350
Coracle ride = Rs 400
Rickshaw for the temple and ruins = Rs 500 (to and fro)
Musical Meditation = Rs 200
Food per day = Rs 700

2018: My year of travel, adventure and fun

2018 has been full of travel, adventure and fun. I promised myself a lot of travel this year and I kept it.

First trip was to Chikmagalur. What a place to start the trip of the year with. I went to Chikmagalur in Feb.

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Above picture is the coffee plantation in Chikmagalur.

 

Second trip was in March to Udupi and Mangalore. I did paragliding in Udupi.

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St. Mary’s Island, Udupi

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Paragliding at Malpe Beach

 

And then I travelled to Kashi Nagar Varanasi in the month of April. It was a beautiful experience. I got to view the Ganga Aarti from the other side of the bank.

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Ganga Aarti at Varanasi

After Varanasi in May I travelled to Chikmagalur, again.

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Mulayangiri Hill at Chikmagalur

 

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Waterfall at Chikmagalur

 

In the month of June I travelled to Mysore and Nagarhole Forest. Did I say that I spotted a leopard at the jungle? It was an amazing experience to view the majestic animal out in the open jungle and not in a zoo. I’ll post the video of the leopard in my insta.

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Leopard at Nagarhole Forest

 

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The magnificent Mysore Palace

In the mid of September I went to Odisha. I am from Odisha but never travelled to any tourist spots until this time. I went to the UNESCO world heritage site, The Konark Sun Temple. I saw Chilika and Mahanadi like never before.

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The Konark Sun Temple

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Mesmerising Mahanadi

In the month of October I went to Pondicherry.

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Paradise Beach, Pondicherry

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Auroville, Pondicherry

 

In the month of November I went to Goa. This was my fourth visit to Goa yet it felt like my first one. I went to the Dudhsagar Falls after the second attempt in the same trip, tried the local cuisine, travelled in local buses and interacted with the locals. This was one of the best trips of this year apart from the Odisha and Udupi-Mangalore trip.

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Sunrise at the Mandovi River, Old Goa

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Just before sunset at the Calangute Beach

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Candolim Beach

 

This year I had a fabulous haircut.

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New hair don’t care

I got fitter both physically and mentally.

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Chakrasana

I started journaling and made some cool DIY journals. Journaling is such a stress buster and I have made a promise to myself that I will always keep journaling as long as I can.

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Handmade by me

I cried a lot and I laughed even more. Most importantly I learnt in abundance. I took care of myself and was always by my side through all the thick and thin. I got a fab hair cut #bob. I wrote more than ever. I became a better version of me. Seeing what I have become, I know I have come a long way and there’s still a long way to go. I am enjoying this journey and out of all I found myself. I am the dope thing I created this year and I am really stoked about it. I learnt gratitude and admired positive vibes in others. I learnt happiness is not found anywhere, it comes from within. Having goals is amazing and working towards achieving it is even sexier. Stay Inspired and stay positive. Have a lit new year.

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Be your own Santa

Christmas just went by and yet the vibes are still so jubilant around. Christmas is all about gifts, singing, dancing, loving, laughing and merry making. I started buying gifts 2 weeks before Christmas and I absolutely love the process. I always give a personal touch to the gifts. I make sure to know the person better to get something for them. For instance, one of my friends is a huge Arsenal fan and he loves to write and read. I got him an Arsenal fridge magnet and Gitanjali by Tagore. One of the other friends is a TT player so I got him a set of TT bat. My best friend’s favourite colour is pink. I got her a salmon pink nail paint and a pink glass vase. I got a golden candle as a return gift for my Santa and a handmade (by me) pocket journal for another friend. I know I am so thoughtful (wink).

While shopping it occurred to me why can’t I be so thoughtful about myself. No one knows me better than I do. No one can give a personal touch to the gifts for me the way I can. Then why not gift something to me from me? Why to wait for a Santa to get me something? Rather I can be my own Santa this festive and give me a gift or two that I really liked or always wanted. I got myself a vibrant laptop sleeve from Chumbak during their end of season sale of course!

I loved the feeling when Chumbak delivered the laptop sleeve right before Christmas and my joy knew no bounds. Merry Christmas to me!

In a nutshell all I am trying to say is love yourself so much that it’s all worth it.

 

 

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https://www.chumbak.com/aztec-laptop-sleeve-14inch/EV55/

Click on the above link to buy this laptop sleeve from Chumbak.

Goa Food Blog

Whenever I travel I make sure to go for local food. The travel is incomplete if the local cuisine is not tasted. Me and my friend both wanted to try the Goan cuisine hence we looked around for restaurants that served Goan cuisine throughout our stay in Goa.

The below thali is from a restaurant by a Goan family in Candolim. It’s a small set up but enough to accompany 20-25 people. The thali has Bangda fish curry, boiled rice and Bangda fry. The food was scrumptious. Price: Rs 300.

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Recheado Masala Bangda Fry – It is one of the authentic Goan masalas used for fish, prawns and chicken. We had this dish in Calangute Beach. Price: Rs 100.

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Below fish thali is from Velha (Old Goa). Every place in Goa have their own special way of making fish thali. This thali has a bangda rava fry, bangda curry , onion masala curry, pithla curry made up of besan and kokum water. Price: Rs 320.

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The below fish thali is from Molem. The thali has boiled rice, fish curry, fish masala fry, Kismur (dried prawns), cabbage and kokum. It costs Rs 280.

 

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The below fish thali is from Candolim – The Curry House. It is one of the best Pomfret I had. The thali has boiled rice, pomfret curry, pomfret rava fry and salad. The thali costs Rs 230.

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Below dish is from Candolim again. The thali has boiled rice, kingfish curry and bangda masala fry. The thali costs Rs 300.

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Goa in so many words (The Dudhsagar Falls) -Part 2

In this blog I am going to cover my third day in Goa. Third day was my favourite of entire stay because we covered The Dudhsagar Falls. It is a four tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi river. The waterfall forms the border between Karnataka and Goa. 

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

This was true in our case. In my last blog I had mentioned we couldn’t make it to the Falls because of shortage of Jeeps, we being late and the crowd of course. I did a lot of research on the internet about the Falls the night before and literally slept at 3:00 AM.

How to reach Dudhsagar Falls?

If you’re travelling by bus make sure to catch the first bus of the day to Panjim. The falls is 60 km from Panjim. We wanted to reach there before the booking counter opens which is at 8:00 AM but it wasn’t possible as we were travelling by the local bus and we had to change 3 buses to reach Kolem. First bus from Candolim to Panjim, second from Panjim to Molem and third from Molem to Kolem. We reached Molem by 9:00 AM and took a bike cab to Kolem instead of the bus. If you are travelling by your rental vehicles even better but for the ones who can’t ride or drive there is always an option to hire a cab. As it was just two of us, so we got a bike cab and it really was safe. There are shops at Molem that provides the cab services. Hence we were at Kolem by 9:20 AM. After standing in the queue for 3 hours we got our vehicle. So the entire jeep costs Rs 3500 and it can accommodate 6-7 people at a time. If you’re a solo traveller or a small group you have to wait until the authorities form a group of 6-7 people. We had to wait until there were others who could come along with us in the Jeep. It is a 45 minutes Jeep safari inside the wild life sanctuary and I tell you the ride was adventurous. The wait was worth while.

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Road to kolem

After we reached…

The jeep dropped us at the parking and we had 1 and half hours to return back to the parking area. The walk from the parking to the falls is 20 mins. It was the best 40 mins of my life (to and fro). There are man made small bridges and then there are natural bridges of stones. We climbed up the stones to reach the Falls.  The sea of milk, Dudhsagar Falls, is magnificent. It is surrounded by the western ghats and the view is breathtaking. The amazing thing is to experience when a train passes by the Falls.

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I had been wanting go to the falls every time I have been to Goa but it couldn’t happen. This time I made sure no matter what, I will make it happen along with Sushma and the universe heard us. The view was spectacular as the area is surrounded by the deciduous forests. The water was cold and pleasant. If you’re getting inside the water life jacket is compulsory to wear whether you could swim or not. If you don’t wish to go inside the water you can just chill on the rocks and catch the glance of universe.

 

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Me at Dudhsagar Falls

 

Tips:

  1. If you are carrying plastic bottles you have to come back with the same number of bottles. The forest authorities will mark the number of bottles on the pass and while coming back they will check.
  2. There will be a huge crowd and the queue will be very slow moving. Make sure to eat something and carry a bottle of water. There are breakfast shops around the ticket counter. Be prepared to stand in the queue for a long time.
  3. Carry an extra pair of clothes to change near the falls.
  4. The link for the online booking  https://www.ticketpapa.com/ . When we tried booking the previous night the payment failed. It asks for you to pay for the entire jeep even though you’re a solo traveller or a small group.
  5. The time limit is 1 and half hours for the jeeps to stay back. So if you’re late, you need pay extra. We reached at 1:00 PM and we had to be back by 2:30 PM.
  6. It’s going to be very hot standing in the queue for 3 long hours. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and carry a hat or stole.
  7. The ticket counter opens at 8:00 AM, it would be really convenient if you could make it on or before 8:00 AM.

 

Quick Budget:

Jeep Safari – Rs 3500 per jeep
Life jacket – Rs 40 per person
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary entry fee – Rs 50
Additional charges for cameras (no charges for the cell phone)

Goa in so many words – Part 1

I know what most of you are thinking, what’s there to write about Goa? Who doesn’t know Goa? Well, meh! this is Goa from my eyes in my words.  This was my fourth visit to Goa, yet it was nothing like before. I have mentioned in one of my posts how I always wanted to explore Goa and know the real Goa, the locals, the markets and the food. And this time I did explore all of that and many more with an amazing travel buddy. I can’t thank Sushma enough for putting up with me and making this trip one of the best trips so far. When you’re with an awesome company the ride to any road ought to be awesome.

Best time to travel

My last three trips to Goa were during off season. My first trip was during first week of September, second one was last week of May, third one was again first week of September. But this time I went during mid October, they call it “Goa season”. People usually avoid the season for the expenses and the crowd hence the same reason for us. By us I mean the group of people  I have been with. However I always wanted to know why Goa is hyped about the season, so I went during this time of the year with an amazing company. I would always recommend Goa during the season which is Oct-Mar, there is a reason why they call it “Season”. Goa has humid climate but during this time of the year it’s not that hot.

Means to travel

  1. By train If you’re travelling from Karnataka to Goa by train you will have the best view of the Dudhsagar Falls.
  2. By bus I travelled by bus from Bangalore. It’s a 12 hours long journey and the price is quite reasonable.
  3. By flight Earlier  I have travelled by flight. It saves a lot of time for obvious reasons but it turned out to be expensive for me this time hence I took the bus.

I stayed in Goa for 4 days and I covered places that I had never been to. In this post I will cover day 1 and 2 of my stay in Goa.

Places I visited in Goa:

Day1

Candolim Beach, Calangute Beach, Tibetian Market and Baga Beach

We got off from the bus at Panjim, had a good omelette pav for breakfast and then took a local bus to Candolim where our hostel was. We stayed at the Backpacker Panda hostel. The check in to the hostel  was at 2:00 PM so we freshened up and headed for an early lunch. We got an early check in at 1:00 PM, we freshened up and headed to the Candolim beach which was right behind the hostel. It was around 4:00 PM and the sun was kind on us. We thought of taking a walk from Candolim to Calangute. The walk by the beach was amazing. As this is the season there were a lot of foreigners in the Candolim beach sun bathing and the beach was very peaceful.

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By the time we reached Calangute the sun was setting and it had left the sky purple and pink. In Calangute you will find Indian tourists  with families and is quite crowded. It gives a good vacation vibe.

 

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Calangute Beach

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After the sunset we headed to the Tibetian market on the other side of the Calangute beach by foot. It’s a medium set up with quite a good number of stalls reflecting the Tibetian culture. I got a singing bowl from a Ladakhi guy.

 

 

After shopping we headed to the Baga beach by walk. In the evening the beaches come to life with the shacks all lit up. But we decided to sit by the beach and slept under the stars at the beach. I always wanted to sleep under the stars and I tell you it was a really good experience. Later we went to Tito’s as it was my friend’s birthday and we wanted to have a good dance. Later we decided to take a cab to the hostel as we had walked for more than 10 kms that day already and were quite tired.

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Under the stars

 

Day2

Kolem, Velha (Old Goa), Dona Paula Beach and Miramar Beach

So day 2 was planned for the Dudhsagar Falls. For me travelling is about connecting with the locals and the best way to do that is travelling by the local buses. So we took a bus to Panjim from Candolim and then to Molem. From Molem we took another bus to Kolem. Kolem is where the ticket booking for the Dudhsagar Falls happens. As we reached what we saw was not expected. There was a huge queue and the Falls authorities have total 300 Jeeps and by then 250 were already gone. Only 50 were left and seeing the people in queue we realised 50 will fall short for all of us. In each Jeep 6-7 people can accompany and we were at least 500 people in the queue. We reached by 11:00 AM and stood in the queue for an hour but the queue didn’t even move an inch. When we went ahead to speak with the management the preference were given to the online advance booking. So then we decided we would come back the next day with the online ticket. It was way too crowded, hot and very frustrating.

So then we decided to go to Velha from Kolem. We boarded a bus to Ponda and got down at the St Francis Xavier’s church in Velha. First we had a scrumptious lunch and then started walking around to see the churches. There are two churches opposite to each other. One is St Francis Xavier’s church and the other is Basilica of Bom Jesus where the holy body of the St Francis Xavier is resting.

We went to the St Francis Xavier’s church first which is on the bank of river Mandovi. The church has an amazing Portuguese architecture. Within 200 meters vicinity of the  church there’s an Archaeological museum of Goa and The Viceroy’s Arch.

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St Francis Xavier Church

 

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Inside Architecture of St Francis Xavier Church

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St Francis Xavier Church

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Mandovi RIver

 

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Archaeological Museum of Goa

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The Viceroy’s Arch built in 1599 AD to mark the Portuguese conquest of the city.

Basilica of Bom Jesus has equally beautiful architecture. As the churches are quite old, parts of the churches were under renovation.

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Basilica of Bom Jesus Church

 

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Inside Architecture of Basilica Of Bom Jesus Church

 

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St Francis Xavier rests here

From Velha we took a bus to Panjim and the architecture of the buildings are amazing. If you have time, stop by the houses and buildings for good clicks. Roads were very clean and you can see the antique architectures.

From Panjim we headed to Dona Paula in South Goa. It’s not like the usual beaches. You get to submerge with the beauty of the sea from a bridge. The way to a hill was closed as it was high tide. Being a part of south Goa you see a lot of locals in this beach.

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Dona Paula Beach

 

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Dona Paula Beach hill side view

We reached Miramar Beach when the sun was at the horizon. The beach again has the local vibe to it.

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Miramar Beach during sunset

We headed to our hostel and then went for dinner at the Candolim Beach.
We ended our day sleeping under the stars again. The moon was red and close to the earth, sky full of stars and the waves dancing to the charms of the moon was one of the best experiences I had in Goa.

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The glance of universe

 

Quick Tips:

1. St Francis Xavier’s church have strict dress code. No above knee and sleeveless clothings are allowed. So you can carry two stoles. One to tie around your waist and another to cover your arms. Same for guys no shorts above knees.

2. In Tibetian Market bargain good.

3. If travelling by bus is too much you can rent out bikes to commute within the city. For the one’s who can’t ride a bike travelling by bus is equally fun and safe.

4. The weather is humid so keep yourself hydrated.

5. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

6. The hostel was clean and had good vibes to it. There were no toiletries, so carry your essentials. The common area was everybody’s favourite to chill and meet new people.

Budget:

Bangalore ⇄  Goa by bus = Rs 1200 per person
Panjim ⇄ Candolim by local bus = Rs 20 per person
Baga ⇄  Candolim by cab = Rs 300
Panjim ⇄  Molem by bus = Rs 45 per person
Molem ⇄  Kolem by bus = Rs 10 per person
Kolem ⇄  Velha by bus = Rs 25 per person
Velha ⇄ Panjim by bus = Rs 10 per person
Panjim ⇄  Dona Paula Beach by bus = Rs 20 per person
Dona Paula ⇄  Miramar Beach by bus = Rs 10 per person
Miramar ⇄  Panjim = Rs 10 per person
Stay at the hostel for 3 nights and 4 days = 1500 per person

I will make a food budget in my other blog on Goan Food.

 

 

 

10 ways journaling transformed my life

Start of every year as a kid my dad would always give me and my brother diaries. He would ask us to maintain our diary which I never understood. Once I went ahead and asked him “what do you mean by maintain your diary?”. To which he replied “write about your everyday in that diary”. I found it really silly and I didn’t quite understand the importance of it. For my 25th birthday one of my friends gave me a diary. It was a really cute and fancy one. So I started writing in it until the pages were over. It was about my day to day life. Not everyday but yeah days something different would have happened, sure to go in that diary. By different I mean both good and bad. I was discussing the same with one of my friends and he asked me “why you want to keep a track of your past, shouldn’t you move on?”. Hence after that I stopped writing completely until lately.

I have started journaling again since last 4 months. Reason I started journaling was, I was going through a tough time and I kind of lost the connection with myself. So I steamed off everything into the journal and I tell you it was liberating. Since then I have not stopped journaling. Like Anne Frank said paper is more patient than man.

Here are 10 ways journaling transformed my life:

1. Insight Journaling gives me an insight of my life. I started writing every single day about everything that has been going on. Not only good or bad, also the usual. Now when I go back and read the first time I wrote and when I read the one’s I have written now there is a huge difference. It’s like there are two different individuals who wrote in the same diary who are so similar yet different in their own ways.

2. Ranting Yes gossip is bad I agree but only when it is with another human. Of course you can gossip with your journal. Journaling is the best way to steam off. Things I would not have been able to say to others because (a) I am straight forward (b) not everybody appreciate upfront people. So to maintain my sanity I don’t get into arguments as arguments can be frustrating and draining. Discussions are always healthy but never arguments. Hence whatever I would have felt about that situation I would write down. In a way it also shows me that where I am wrong because clashes don’t happen due to one person.

3.  Goals Journaling has helped me in setting up my goals and achieve them as well. Be it personal goals, professional goals or travel goals, it is all there in my Goals or Goals for Tomorrow section. After end of my daily journaling I set up my goals for the next day. Next day when I open my journal to write, first thing I check the number of goals I have achieved. Sometimes due to some reason or the other I would not have been able to achieve a particular goal. I write the reason next to that goal and give it a shot by changing my approach the next day.

4. Gratitude Gratitude is the best attitude. I write down about the things I am grateful for about the day. Gratitude has helped me in being humble and kind. I have always cribbed and cried over things that has not worked out for me. Yes, I know it’s frustrating to hold ourselves together when we put so much effort. But what about the things that are amazing in our lives? Like for once being able to breathe. Today didn’t go as planned but if I am alive tomorrow I will make it count. Hence gratitude. When I started to write gratitude for my breath one by one I started to remember a lot of things going good in my life.

5. Visualisation The best way to achieve anything in life is by visualising. I started with something very small. Like visualising a good at work. I started to write down how I wanted the next day to be. For example, communicate with transparency so that everyone in the meeting is on the same page. Once I started writing something basic like this the ideas kept flowing to me. And it has definitely worked for me.

6. Organised For beautifulmess. Journaling has definitely helped me in being a more organised and sorted person. I know for sure about my tasks for the day. If I don’t do it I have to cross it against my goal and write a reason as to why I couldn’t do it. Initially it wasn’t a big deal not achieving but then I started to take it seriously and it feels good.

7.  Self Love I have always been a fan of self love and no doubt journaling is one of the ways to express self love. Every time I write down something in my journal it is emotional. Everything that has been deep buried in me comes out in my journal and it is liberating.

8. Secret Keeper All my secrets are safe in it. Journals are non judgemental unlike humans. So it let me write down anything and everything I go through in my life without a trace of judgement.

9. Ideas  I write down some of my ideas here.  I am a DIY person and when it comes to gifts I always give a personal touch to it. Hence I note down my ideas in the journal. If I find some good/inspirational quotes I definitely make a note of it in my journal. I also jot down my blog ideas in it.

10. Self Discovery Journaling has definitely helped me in knowing myself better as a person. When I go back and read the first pages of my journal it is like I am reading about a different person. Sometimes I read my journal as if I am reading a book and it says a lot about me. There is nothing amazing than knowing yourself.

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DIY Journals