How to declutter your mind?

Sometimes due to deadlines or lot on our plate or perfectionism or any reason be, can make us overwhelming. I have felt so worked up at times that I wasn’t sure what to do until a while back I started following few things that helped me overcome my blocks. Overthinking, insecurities, distractions etc, can clutter our mind which in turn can weigh us down. Seven things I do when I feel overwhelmed.

 

Meditation

I can’t emphasize on this more. Meditation helps to centralise your energy and calms the anxious mind. It also reduces stress and improves sleep. There are many benefits of meditation I personally experience in my day to day life. There are various ways of meditation like Om chanting, visualising the energy within our body, inhaling in positivity and letting go of negativity while exhaling etc.

Journaling

Journaling is one of the best ways to vent out. Writing can be so liberating. Journaling is the best pep talk you can give to yourself. I have a post on 10 ways journaling has transformed my life. Check it out.

Affirmations

Affirmations works the best when self doubt creeps in. Do you know how it works? Affirmations has power that no body possess and it works like a charm. It is a way of telling your subconscious mind what you believe in and what you want. Our subconscious mind is connected to the universe, and as we know universe grants our wishes. In the time when I feel powerless I write down few affirmations that help me get through the tough time.

Word Vomit

This is something I have learnt recently in my creative coaching. When I am confused, angry, or frustrated I write down words that first comes to my mind. This way I let all the negativity out of my mind and my mind is clear. Not necessarily all words have to be negative after couple of negative words my mind starts to give me positive words. That’s when I know my mind is decluttered.

Gratitude

I practice gratitude every single day. In my Instagram story I post few things I am grateful about today almost everyday. Sometimes I write down things I am grateful about and sometimes I don’t even have to write it. I just feel grateful. When one thing is going bad I write down 10 things going great in my life. I instantly feel positive. Before going to bed I think about all the good things happened to me that day. When I wake I am grateful to have woken up to a new day, new life.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is exactly what it sounds and it’s fun too. Write down one thing and encircle it, around it write everything related to it. Sometimes when we don’t know what’s troubling us but we’re worried and blocked, mind mapping helps in figuring out the problem and in removing the mental block. It works best for confusions related to career, life or write down things you love about yourself and many more.

Draw/ colour or paint

Whenever clutter weighs me down I sometimes hold my pen and start drawing lines, curves whatever I can. Sometimes I colour mandalas and paint as well. It instantly brings back my focus. They say mandalas are spiritual and are different interpretations of universe.

Here are few things I do to declutter my mind. I would love to hear back from you.

 

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Rishikesh – My first solo travel

Rishikesh, a city in the foothills of the Himalayas, abode to the holy river Ganga, is a place where spirituality and faith meets. And yes I travelled solo to Rishikesh in the state of Uttarakhand. The city is the host to yoga, meditation, river rafting, bungee jumping, trekking etc. In this blog post I will cover the places I travelled  within Rishikesh and soon there will be a post on the Rishikesh food blog.

As I have mentioned in my few posts that I have always wanted to travel solo so here I am jotting down my experience as a solo female traveller to Rishikesh.

Best time to visit:

I learnt from the locals that summer is the best time  to visit Rishikesh, March to June. The water of the river is blue and transparent, and one can do a lot of adventure activities like river rafting, bungee jumping , trekking etc.
However, I went during monsoon in the month of August when all the adventure activities were closed due to the obvious reasons and the water of the river was grey and black. But I tell you, I didn’t miss out on any fun. I had checked the weather before booking my tickets and there was no heavy rainfall predicted. During my stay I didn’t get much rain. There used to be light showers for 10 mins and then clear blue sky with white cotton clouds complimenting the emerald  green mountains. The most alluring view for the eye of a gypsy.

Ways of Transport I took:

I travelled by UTC bus, Uttarakhand Transport Corporation from Gurgaon which starts in the morning. There are private buses from Delhi and Gurgaon as well. I preferred UTC for 2 reasons:
a) The bus starts from Gurgaon in the morning and reaches Rishikesh by evening. As I was travelling solo I preferred to be on the road till the day light is there. Where as the private buses timings were odd. It starts after midnight and arrives in the morning.

b) The tickets are quite reasonable compared to the private buses.

Where I stayed?

As a solo traveller I preferred staying at a hostel. I met new people, so many stories were shared and good vibes exchanged. I stayed at Live Free Hostel near Lakhshman Jhula. The hostel is close to the Ganga ghat, Kevat, and one can hear the burbles of the river from the terrace of the hostel with an amazing view of the mountains.

Things I did in Rishikesh

  1. Sunrise at Kunjapuri TempleThe temple is situated at a height of 1600 meters on the Kunjapuri hills. There are two ways to reach the temple by 16 kms trek or by a vehicle. During monsoon the trek was closed hence I went with my hostel friends by a car. Due to an amazing weather the entire hill was covered with clouds and it was a beautiful view to experience.

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  2. Neergarh Waterfall IIThe achromatic natural waterfall is around 7 kms away from Lakhshman Jhula. This fall emerges out of the rocky cliffs with the most enchanting scenery. While I was there it rained for sometime bringing the green forest and waterfall into life.

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  3. Ganga Aarti at the Triveni GhatOne of the most spiritual event of Rishikesh for me was this Aarti. I was spellbound by the vibrations over there. The river Ganga was so mesmerised by the devotion that she was dancing to the tunes of every mantra chanted. It felt like she was alive. She is in her most natural living form on earth. Please maintain cleanliness.

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  4.  Early morning meditation at the Kevat Ghat, Lakhman JhulaDuring my 3 days stay everyday early morning around 5:00 AM I used to be at the Kevat Ghat. It was the most peaceful time of the day no rush and crowd. Just me surrounded by the nature. I would sit on the Ganga Ghat with my eyes closed listening to the rumbling stream,  watching the sun kissing the mountains covered with mist and among all that my existence was hard to believe. It was the best way to start my day. I was connected to myself and I was myself.  Amidst all that captivating beauty I was there.

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  5. Yoga in the yoga capital of the worldThere are a lot of yoga centers that teaches yoga. As I do yoga everyday I didn’t want to miss out on it in the yoga capital. Encompassed by the picturesque view I definitely did some asanas and it was refreshing.

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  6. Sunset at Ram JhulaThat is how my day usually used to be in Rishikesh, sunrise at Lakhshman Jhula and sunset at Ram Jhula. Once I crossed Ram Jhula I discovered a lot of places. There is Beatles Ashram, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Ram Jhula Bazaar and the Ganga Ghat. By the time I reached the entry to Beatles Ashram was closed so I came across Parmarth Niketan Ashram. I was so enthralled by the sunset at the Ganga Ghat that I chose to walk along side the ghat and soak in the last rays of sun for the day in Rishikesh.

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  7.  Shopping at Ram Jhula BazaarOnce I crossed Ram Jhula there was a Bazaar put up. There were handcrafted bags, Madhubani paintings, Bohemian pants, Rudraksha beads and many more.

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Quick Tips:

  1. Rishikesh is the safest for solo travellers.
  2. Within the city I commuted by shared rickshaws to have the local experience.
  3. Carry trekking shoes for trekking, comfortable flip flops to walk around the city, umbrella, sunscreen and clothes that would be below knees.
  4.  If you’re taking the private rickshaws, bargain good.
  5. Bargain good while shopping as well.
  6. Two wheelers on rent are available.
  7. Be careful of the monkeys though.
  8. To see the sunrise one needs to start at 4:30 AM.
  9. The hostel can arrange for trekking and other activities.
  10. Please respect the sanctity of the place by keeping it clean.
  11. Entry to Beatles Ashram closes at 4:00 PM.
  12. Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat is from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Budget for one person:

Gurgaon ⇄ Rishikesh by bus = Rs 1000
Rishikesh bus stand ⇄ Live Free Hostel by private rickshaw = Rs 200 to 400 (depends on how good you can bargain)
Lakhshman Jhula ⇄ Ram Jhula  by shared rickshaw = Rs 20
Stay at Live Free Hostel = Rs 1300 for 3 nights
Food = Rs 700 to Rs 1000 (per day) (In my next post I will blog about Rishikesh’s food and its cafes)

My Instagram handle : @universe_and_stardust

How to manage time and get things done like a boss

If 24 hours is falling short for you, you need to read this. Even Beyonce has 24 hours and when she can do it, we can definitely do it. Managing time was the biggest challenge I have faced in most of my adult life. It has been almost a year that I have been managing time and getting things done like never before.

To-Do List

I always make a To-Do list the night before. I end up forgetting things I have to do on a particular day so To-Do list always helps. Earlier I used to wait for things to come to me and then I would finish it. I stopped my calendar taking the control over me. End of the day when I check off each tasks from my To-Do list it feels way more satisfying than a good plate of biriyani (PS: I love biriyani).

Avoid Procrastination

I know it’s easy said than done. But trust me once you know the reason behind procrastinating your tasks you will overcome it. For a very long time I kept thinking it’s laziness that stopping me from doing my work. I thought that’s the only block I have and there’s no way to get rid of it.

Ask what is/are my blocks and what are they protecting me from?

For example:

One of my blocks is Over Thinking and it’s protecting me from getting hurt as I am sensitive. I was constantly worried about what would people think of me? What if no body likes what I do? What if and then everything negative possible follows.

What can I do to support me?

Once I knew what my block, I had to take up the courage to do my work. I took up a creativity coaching last month where I learnt I create for no one, not even for myself. I create to simply create. This became my daily affirmation and this helped me a lot to overcome my insecurities.

No Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking always slows you down and delays the process. Take up each task from the To-Do list and finish it. Multi-tasking can be very frustrating as well which leads to multiple unfinished  tasks.

Prioritise

Make sure to prioritise the tasks from the To-Do list.  We tend to finish the small tasks first and by the time we move to the big task we are usually exhausted and push it to the next day. The one that is an important task and needs immediate attention always do it first. It works like a motivation to finish other tasks as well. Finishing a big task first thing is also like pat on the back.

Keep Your Mind Fresh

For me being a morning person helps a lot. I understand most of the people don’t have the privilege because of their shifts. So it’s totally up to you whenever you have a clear mind. I enjoy reading but lately it had become a big task. I give majority of my time to reading in the weekends but I also want to read everyday before going to bed. But keeping something I love till the end of the day didn’t work for me. Most of the times I would be sleepy before I could start reading. Hence I have started to read in the morning for an hour after few of my morning tasks and it feels so satisfying.

Limit Social Media Usage

As soon as I wake up I go stand in my balcony to soak up the morning sun. I had a bad habit of going through my Instagram feed every morning and that would delay the start of my day by an hour or so. An hour before going to bed I stopped using anything digital.

Avoid Distractions

No phones, TV and turn off WiFi if you have to. Turn off the notifications on your phone and computer and put your phone on silent. Distractions play a major role in delaying the process of completion.

Take What You Can Finish

Never ever over commit and understand your limits. Only take up things that you can deliver. It works best for your morale. Over committing and unable to deliver can lead to self doubt.

Tidy Your Workspace

Always have a clean space to work in,  it will make a huge difference. It will help one to have a clear mind and more focus.

Take Breaks

When you’re exhausted always take a break. Our brain tends to slow down after 45 minutes of concentration on just one thing. My favourite thing is to stand in my balcony and get some air. Sometimes I journal to get things out of my head and it helps a lot as well, I stretch and walk around or watch something that will clear my head.

 

A day in Mysore

Disclaimer: This blog does not include the magnificent Mysore Palace.

If you want a getaway from your hectic life, if all you want is some peace of mind and if you want to soothe your soul, Mysore is the place for you. I am so grateful that I went to this beautiful abode of greenery in the rains. No wonder it is the most cleanest city of the country.

Things I did in Mysore in a day:

A temple visit

Mysore is a traditional place. It’s like each family has their ancestral temples. Most of the temples represent a family and has a story to tell. I went to a temple close by I was staying in. It is a famous Krishna temple of that area.

A walk in the nature

Even though Mysore is 3 hours away from Bangalore there is a huge difference in the temperature and weather. It is way more cooler, the air is fresh,  the rain is calming, the breeze is gentle and absolutely no traffic.  I took a walk around the place I was staying in and I must tell you it was relieving. The rain is beautiful in Mysore because of the trees everywhere.

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An evening in the Chamundi Hills

Chamundi hills is the domicile of the famous Chamundi temple of Mysore. The temple closes by 6:00 PM and in the day it is really hot. The best time to go to the hills is early in the morning or after the sun set. I went after sunset and the view from the hill of the city is gorgeous. In the evening the city is lit up and you can spot the palace from the top. The sky looks aesthetic in the evening in Mysore.

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Star gazing

I believe I am made up of universe and stardust. Because of no pollution the sky is clear at night and one can see the sky studded with stars. It was my favourite part of the entire trip. I was hoping to spot a shooting star but I was very happy to see so many stars in the sky. I wish my camera could capture the charming sky.

Food and beverages

Pathaka is the place for you if you are a chaat lover like me. It’s  a small eatery opposite to the Zostel. They serve scrumptious chaats to jalebis, pav bhaajis to jamun and rabdi, chhole bhature, parathas, milkshakes, sandwiches etc.

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Have you heard of mango beer? Yes, mango beer. You get it in Double Barrel. It is a blonde beer with a hint of mango which makes the beer even better. Even if you’re not a mango fan I assure you,  you will still enjoy it. The place has a good ambience to it as well.

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I know there are a lot of places to go around the city but I had not gone with the intention of travelling. I wanted to clear my head and have a peaceful time.

Kodaikanal – Day2

I stayed in Kodaikanal for 2 days. Second day was the most adventurous one because of trekking.

Mountain Beauty

First we went to Mountain View Point also known as Mountain Beauty. To reach here we had to trek down for 15-20 mins and then pass through a small cafe. The view was mesmerising. The best time to go there is early in the morning. By the time we reached it was 8:30 AM, the sun had come out. So our driver told us to start early to avoid the crowd.

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The Mountain View Point or The Mountain Beauty

Eco Point

Eco Point is further down from the Mountain View. We crossed a small pine tree forest and reached Eco Point.

Dolphin Nose

Dolphin Nose is in between Mountain View Point and Eco Point. So we decided while coming back from the Eco Point we would go to Dolphin Nose. It’s little scary to stand at the edge of the nose, but the view was breathtaking.

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Dolphin Nose

Altaf Cafe

The toughest part was trekking back up. It took us more than 20 mins to come up and while coming up we halted at the Altaf Cafe for breakfast. This small cafe is known to offer the best breakfast with an amazing view.

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Breakfast at Altaf Cafe

Vatakanal Falls, Pambar Falls and Lion’s Cave

After our scrumptious breakfast we headed to the waterfalls. As it was spring there was not much water hence it made trekking possible. We crossed the fall and trekked on the other side that is the forest side. It was small but tricky trekking. The best part was because of less water we could climb up the rock and sit next to the fall.

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Vatakanal Falls

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Cloud Street

By the end of our trek we were hungry hence we went to the Cloud Street for lunch. It is in the Sunday Market Road. The food is good over there. They serve more of continental cuisine. We had the Cloud Street special pasta and it was delicious.

Quick Tips:

1. Carry an umbrella because of the unannounced rain. Although it is beautiful amidst the hills and mist.
2. Google pay is accepted by the cab driver for long distance travel like the tours and treks. Still carry cash for shopping and the resorts (if advance payment is not done). Our resort did not accept card, Paytm or Google Pay.
3. The Sunday Market Road is really nice to take a walk around and look for shops to buy souvenirs.

Budget:

Cab for day 2 = Rs 1800 (The cab charges vary from season to season)
Food on day 2 = Rs 600 to 800 per person

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.

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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