Incredible India

One of the advantages of participating in a blogathon is that you can you can take up tags/ posts that you read in other people’s blogs and always wanted to do it but never got around doing it 🙂 One such tag is this which I had read long back going through Swaram’s archives 🙂

I love travelling. I guess I have inherited this from my dad. If he were to do this tag, he would get a very good score as he has visited every state in India except probably a few of the North Eastern ones and Lakshwadeep. I don’t claim to be well traveled,  but yes, I have had the good fortune of seeing a few places in India. It would be a good idea to review it on the blog 🙂

The rules of the tag are:

1. The list contains all the states of India and their capitals are in brackets.

2. Make bold the states you have visited, and mention your favourite memories of that state.

3. Include only states that you have really experienced, and have felt the culture of the place.

1. Jammu & Kashmir (Srinagar)

This state tops my wishlist. Ladakh is my dream destination and I so want to experience the magic of the mountains in Kashmir. Visiting Vaishno devi temple in Jammu is also a long time wish of mine. Hopefully, someday I will get a chance to visit all these places.

2. Punjab (Chandigarh)

Chandigarh holds a special place in my heart as I got married there 🙂 My dad was posted in Chandigarh for a couple of years, though sadly it was after I moved to Mumbai. But I made several visits to Chandigarh during their stay there. I love the city. It is neat, clean and probably the most organised city in India. It has some of the best gardens that I have seen. I remember the several visits to Sukhna lake … boating there or for morning walks, the beautiful gardens all so well maintained and the beautiful temples of Saketari and Mansa devi. Also the visits to sector 17. I remember it as one place with the most well dressed people 🙂 Overall a lovely city. I look forward to taking Cheebu there someday to show her the Rock garden and all the beautiful places there.

3. Haryana (Chandigarh)

My husband is from Haryana, so I have visited the state several times. As a tourist, I have been to Kurukshetra with my parents. You can still see the places associated with Mahabharat here. The Geeta Sthali, the place where Bhishma Pitamah lay on a bed of arrows and the lake where Duryodhan hid to save himself from Bhima can be seen here.

I have also lived in Gurgaon briefly and seen around the place. I remember it as a place full of malls 🙂

4. Rajasthan (Jaipur)

I have been to Jodhpur, the blue city. Besides, sight seeing and staying at a heritage hotel, I loved the experience of shopping and eating here. I have never shopped so much at any other place 🙂 The handicrafts, the lovely Bandhani prints, the colours and add to it the reasonable prices truly made it a shopping heaven for me 🙂 And don’t even get me started on the food, the Rajasthani thali, the daal baati, the mava kachori, the sweets… everything was just yummy.

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After having seen a teeny weeny bit of Rajasthan, I am now greedy for more. I would love to see more of this state.

5. Himachal Pradesh (Shimla)

I have visited Shimla and Chail (World’s highest cricket ground is located here), but would love to explore more of the state. One of the places that I really wish to visit here is Dharamshala. Popular tourist places like Kullu and Manali are also on my wishlist.

6. Uttaranchal (Dehradun)

Again a place close to my heart, specially as Dehradun is my birth place and my brother’s too. I spent the first 6 years of my life there. I wouldn’t have much memories from that time, so my dad took us back there when we were grown up to see the place that we were born in. I love Rishikesh and Haridwar, the Ganga Arti at Haridwar is one of the most spiritual experience I have had. Besides, I have been fortunate to visit Nainitaal, Mukteshwar, Uttarkashi, Harsil and Gangotri in this state. Harsil is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. It is a small village in the valley on the way to Gangotri from Uttarkashi. I remember it as a place with a lovely stream flowing surrounded by lovely green grass, apple orchards and the snow capped Himalayas. It was paradise. Here is an old picture of me and my brother at Harsil.

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7. Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow)

I spent 8 years of my life in Lucknow. So it is a special place. I have also visited and seen a lot of cities in the state… Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Jhansi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur…. Each city has a rich history and culture to be seen and experienced. I keep getting to see more places or revisiting the already seen places in Uttar Pradesh thanks to my parents who now stay there.

8. Bihar (Patna)

I don’t think, I would have got to visit this state if not for my father who was posted here for a couple of years. I got to see some very nice places during my  visits to my parents place. Patna has one of the best zoos that I have seen in the country. It has almost every animal that you can think of and Cheebu enjoyed every visit that we made to the zoo.

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We also made trips to Nalanda, Rajgir, Gaya and Bodh Gaya. Amazing places all of them, which I am glad I could see and unbelievably maintained. This was a very special trip with the full family (Hubby, me, Cheebu, my parents, brother and SIL)  where we had lots of fun. We have some great memories from this trip.  I have also visited Vaishali. I would highle recommend these place to everyone.

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9. Jharkhand (Ranchi)

Okay, I have been to my uncle’s place at Dhanbad as a baby 😛 but that doesn’t count as seeing the place. So, I still have to visit this state. I have heard Ranchi is a beautiful place. Need to research about other places in the state.

10. West Bengal (Kolkata)

I have been to Kolkata a few times and visited a few places, shopped for ‘taant sarees’ and also enjoyed eating the Sandesh 🙂 I have also been to Darjeeling. Read about it here.

11. Orissa  (Bhubaneswar)

Sadly, haven’t seen anything in this beautiful state. Visiting this state is high on my wishlist.

12. Sikkim (Gangtok)

I have visited Gangtok. Read about it here, here and here. Loved this state and would love to visit again to explore more of this state.

13. Arunachal Pradesh (Itanagar)

14. Assam (Dispur)

15. Tripura (Agartala)

16. Nagaland (Kohima)

17. Mizoram (Aizawl)

18. Manipur (Imphal)

19. Meghalaya (Shillong)

Sadly, not seen these states at all. Arunachal Pradesh is very high on my wishlist, ever since I had seen about it on a travel show more than a decade ago.

20. Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal)

MP is a special state again as I met my husband here for the first time. I have lived in Indore for a year. My dad was posted in Bhopal for some time and thanks to him, I have seen Bhopal and its surrounds that include Bhojpur, Bhimbetaka (amazing place) and Sanchi. from Indore, I have also visited Mandu and Ujjain. Long ago (in 1999, I think) we had also made a trip to Orchha in MP. I think MP is a very beautiful state with lots of diverse things to see. High on my wishlist here are Jabalpur, national parks of Kanha and Bandhavgarh and Khajuraho.

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21. Chattisgarh (Raipur)

22. Gujarat (Gandhinagar)

I have only been to Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. I would love to visit Rann of Kutch, Somnath, Dwarka and Gir forests.

23. Maharashtra (Mumbai)

Hmm…  Mumbai!! What should I say? It is the city I love, the city where I always wanted to be and the city where I live. I have lived more than half my life in Mumbai and I could do an entire post on the city.

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Living in Mumbai, I have seen a lot of places around Mumbai. For regular readers of this blog, my love for the Konkan coast is no secret 🙂 We have also explored several places around here like Lonavala, Khandala, Matheran, Malshej and Bhandardara. I have also visited Nasik, Pune and Mahabaleshwar earlier. Next on my wishlist in Maharashtra are beaches of Tarkarli, Kaas Plateau, Shirdi and Aurangabad.

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24. Goa (Panjim)

I have been to Goa with parents. I would love to go back there with Hubby and Cheebu sometime.

25. Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad)

I have been to Hyderabad and seen around the city. Would love to explore more of this state.

26. Tamil Nadu (Chennai)

Been to Chennai, Mahabalipuram and Ooty only. Again, would love to explore more and specially see the beautiful temples that the state has to offer.

27. Karnataka (Bengaluru)

Been to Bangalore and Mysore only. Would love to see many more places in the state… the ruins of Hampi, the beaches of Udupi, Jog falls, Coorg and many more places.

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28. Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram)

Haven’t been here at all 😦 Living on a house boat on the backwaters is an old dream. Hopefully, we will make a trip to the state soon.

29. Delhi

Have visited the capital city several times for work, interviews and also sightseeing and have seen most of the touristy places here. We also lived in Gurgaon briefly and luckily for us, the Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan were open to the public then and we got an opportunity to visit. I was awed by the magnificence of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Everytime, I visit Delhi, I love the greenery, the wide roads, the metro… wish I could say the same about the people there 😦 (No offence meant to anyone) That said, the greenery, the magnificient buildings, the architecture and the food is truly a treat to the senses.

Let me add a few places that were not on the list, but I wish to visit. The Islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakswadeep are on my wishlist. I would also love to visit the Union territories of Daman and Diu and Pondicherry.

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Visiting Sitamarhi

During my trip to Allahabad last year, we visited the Sita Samahit Sthal or Sitamarhi, the place where Goddess Sita went underground on meeting Rama again after her stay with sage Valmiki. The place is situated almost midway between Allahabad and Varanasi. According to mythology, abondoned by Rama, Sita went to stay with Rishi Valmiki in his ashram on the banks of river Ganga where she gave birth to her two sons Luv and Kush. Later when Rama planned for the Ashwamedha yagya, Luv and Kush got hold of Rama’s horses and challenged him, not knowing that He was their father. Valmiki intervened and  told Rama about his sons and that Sita was in his Ashram and asked Him to take his wife and sons back home. Rama told Valmiki that he was willing to take Sita back if  she could prove her purity. Angered by this Sita, known as the daughter of Mother Earth, asked her mother to take her into her lap. Hearing Sita’s pleas, the earth opened up and Sita descended into it. Today, at the same place stands a beautiful temple.

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It is a beautiful temple, located in calm and pristine surroundings. Unlike many temples in north India, it is clean and well maintained. The main door has beautiful intricate carvings depicting various episodes from Ramayana.

DSC05884The temple has two levels. On the upper level is a beautiful statue of Goddess Sita, while the background has various scenes from Ramayana, made in glass work.

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There is lovely artwork in glass on the ceiling as well.

DSC05887The walls of the temple are beautifully adorned with tales from the Ramayana.

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On the lower level of the temple, there is a marble statue of Mother Sita, ready to descend into the earth.

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There is something very divine about this statue that touches you deep within.  I found myself wondering, what were Her feelings at this moment. Was She sad that Her Husband didn’t trust her, was She sad at the thought of leaving behind Her sons or was She happy going back to Her mother, Earth. A mortal like me could not say.

DSC05901The temple is built over a large complex that has a beautiful garden, a small lake and even a restaurant.

DSC05870DSC05905DSC05850There is a very tall statue of Hanuman ji standing in prayer pose with His hands joined, in the temple complex. There is a very sad look on His face, probably appealing to Mother Sita to stop.

DSC05910It was a very beautiful and spiritually enriching experience, visiting this temple and if you are in this area, I would strongly suggest you to visit this temple.

This day, last year: Road trip to Velneshwar & Ganpatipule – Part 4

I realized that I had not written part 4 of our road trip to Ganpatipule last year. So let me document it here just for the sake of posterity.

If you haven’t read Part 1 , Part 2 and Part3, do read them first.

Day 4

Today was the day to return back home. It was going to be a long journey …. longest distance that hubby had driven in a single day. He chose a way where we could avoid at least one of the ferries to save time. At the same time, we wanted to avoid the crowded and boring national highway as much as possible. We started early after a quick breakfast. We drove through lone roads with not a soul or vehicle in sight ocassionally crossing some secluded village.

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We stopped at some of these villages to ask the way, where cheerful villagers were very helpful and would even wish us “Happy journey” after telling us the way. Being the day after Makar Sankranti, we noticed that the roads near most villages were beautifully decorated.

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We crossed one of the creeks by a bridge instead of ferry. It was a cold morning and vapour was coming out from the warm water of the creek giving it a nice misty look.

DSC05123 DSC05135We stopped on the way at Guhagar beach, a beautiful beach again, and had some snacks and Nariyal pani.

DSC05158We packed our lunch from a restaurant and had a nice picnic in the woods… just like I used to read about in the Enid Blyton books during my childhood

DSC05176We finally reached home after 12 hours of being on the road, with lots of breaks of course. It was a very memorable trip, a trip that we have very fond memories of…. lot of time spent on the road but enjoyed every moment of it. One more thing I must mention from this trip, the songs that we heard in a loop during the journey. There were many songs but if I had to pick one as the song of the trip, it would be this one

Cheebu loved this song so much that she made us play this in loops. Even today when I hear this song, it reminds me of the trip and the lovely time we had there 🙂

Road trip to Velneshwar & Ganpatipule – Part 3

If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, do read them first.

Day 3

We woke up early. It was cold, so we decided to head to the restaurant to have some tea. Since breakfast was also ready, we had some breakfast of idlis and poha along with hot tea. While it was cold sitting there, the rays of the sun were already on the sea and beach and it looked inviting

DSC05001DSC05002After the breakfast, we went to the beach. The water was surprisingly quite warm… so we had a nice time just walking across the beach through the waves.

DSC05015As it became warmer, we discarded the woolens and spent the next couple of hours just playing and relaxing in the sand.

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We made sand castles, dug out wells till the water came from it

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It was total bliss… the blue skies, the sea and having the entire beach to ourselves (It was monday… remember we had extended our trip by a day 🙂 so there were very few people left in the resort).

DSC05046Sitting here, the mad rush of the everyday life and work seemed so unreal.

I love watching the sea… the way the waves lash against the beach

DSC05011Sometimes quietly… sometimes with a roar… I love the sound of the sea and can sit for hours just watching and listening to the sounds of the waves breaking on the seashore… and this is what I did 🙂

When it became too hot to sit on the beach, we headed towards the sea and spent a good hour playing in the water. When we had played to our hearts content, we went back to our room for a proper bath 🙂 After that we decided to visit the temple that Ganpatipule is famous for. It was Makar Sankranti day and it was slightly crowded, but we had a nice and peaceful darshan and came out

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Darshan in any Ganesh temple is incomplete without visiting Ganeshji’s Mooshak 🙂 People often whisper their wishes into the ears of Ganseshji’s faithful Mooshak who in turn conveys their wishes to Ganesha… and trust me this is a much more effective way of getting your wishes granted 🙂 So we waited our turn to whisper our wishes into Mooshak’s ears before coming out of the temple. And when we had moved away, Cheebu said she wanted to go back… she had something more to say to the Mooshak 🙄 Anyway, we went back and she again whispered into the Mooshak’s ears 🙂 and would not tell us what she had told him, inspite of us asking her several times 🙂 But Mumma-Papa knew 😉 (She had been asking us for a Hoopla ring for sometime 🙂 and we got it for her in a few days)

We have a tradition of eating khichdi on Makar Sankranti day and I was feeling sad that we would not be able to do it this year as we were on a holiday… but we got lucky as the temple serves a prasad of Khichdi to the devotees 🙂 I couldn’t have been happier 🙂  and between the 3 of us, we relished a plateful of yummy khichdi 🙂 After the darshan, we explored the market near the temple and had lunch. After lunch we went to the main part of the beach… you know the crowded one 🙂 and had some refreshing nariyal pani. There were some water sports here but we didn’t want to go one by one as  Cheebu  could not go, so we didn’t try anything.DSC05055

We then decided to explore more of the area and visited the Prachin Konkan Museum. This open air museum displays lifesize models depicting life in olden times in Konkan.  There was a guided tour around and we found it quite interesting.

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The museum was at a nice location with lots of greenery around. We went up a machan that gave a nice view of the place

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And finally had some fun at the souvenir shop there 🙂

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Apart from this 🙂 the souvenir shop had some interesting articles on display. There were lots of wooden handicraft items which to me looked similar to the wooden handicrafts from Varanasi. However, we learnt that Sawantwadi, a place closeby is also famous for wooden handicrafts. There was also an interesting shell museum here.

After visiting the museum, we just drove along the coast line. A few km of drive along the coast brought us to the Bhandarpule beach. A beautiful beach again, but we contented ourselves from admiring it from a distance and didn’t venture into the waters.

DSC05108We reached Ganpatipule back in time to enjoy the sunset, strolled along the local market and bought a few things, had dinner and went to bed early for we had a long journey to cover the next day.

Road trip to Velneshwar & Ganpatipule – Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of the trip, read it  here

Day 2

I had heard that, early mornings there is very good chance of spotting dolphins along this coast line. We were up early and took turns watching the sea from the verandah as we got ready… we did spot some black floating things in the sea but it was too far to be sure. Anyway, we assumed that they were indeed dolphins and Cheebu was very excited about the whole thing 🙂 Today, we had to head towards Ganpatipule which is about 80 km from Velneshwar. After a nice breakfast oh Kanda Poha and tea, we headed towards the Velneshwar temple. This is a beautiful temple more than 1000 years old situated near Velneshwar beach.

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DSC04892There is something about visiting a quite and beautiful temple situated by the sea in the morning. It fills your entire self with a peaceful feeling. After our leisurely darshan where we took full time to admire the colourful beauty of the temple and soak in the peace there, we set out again. The entire Konkan coast has lovely temples… some big, some small… some little known village shrines, some well known ones… but all very pretty and colourful. There was another famous temple on our route towards Ganpatipule, the Ganesh temple at Hedvi

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After a quick darshan and some prasad here, we were on our way again driving through the beautful coastline. With views as stunning as these, we simply had to take breaks just to absorb all that beauty inside.

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The route that we chose, required us to cross another creek, the Jaigad creek by ferry boat again.  This creek was much bigger than the previous one and this time instead of staying inside the car, we went on the upper deck of the ferry boat to enjoy the lovely ride.

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It was a perfect day… Blue skies, cool breeze and beautiful sights around and just the three of us together driving along such picturesque places and stumbling upon unexplored beaches like this with not a soul in sight 🙂 Bliss!

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Nature’s beauties were many, but resisting our urge to stop and admire at every such location, we finally managed to reach Ganpatipule before noon. Since we had booked at the last moment, we didn’t have much choice in the type of room at the resort. We had booked the Konkani cottages which was the only accomodation that was left. When we rached there, much to our delight we discovered that it was probably the best place to stay in the resort. The Konkani cottages are located about half a km from the main resort in a little forest of coconut and cazurina trees. The part of the beach that it faced was further away from the main beach and hence totally secluded. It even had a little restaurant of its own with a view like this 🙂DSC04958

We had our lunch here enjoying the cool breeze and the sounds of the waves breaking on the beach. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve the local cuisine. Nevertheless even normal food in such surroundings tasted awesome.

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That is an excited Cheebu dancing in joy 🙂

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After a heavy lunch we decided to rest a bit before heading out to the sea, inviting though it looked.  We found a place near the kids play area where there were 3 hammocks tied close to each other. It was perfect lying down there swinging slowly under a natural umbrella of coconut trees with the sound of the sea in the background.DSC04961

Cheebu alternated between playing in the swings and the slides and resting 🙂 … and collecting coconuts of all sizes 🙂DSC04965

As per the original plan, we had booked the resort for one day and were supposed to return back  the next day… but do things go as planned always? 🙂 We had fallen so much in love with this place that we decided to extend our stay by another day 🙂 We would have loved to stay there for a week, but well, you have to think practically sometimes. Sigh!

After some rest, we decided to explore the resort. We discovered that the resort was bounded by a quite backwater on one side.
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DSC04971We spent some time there feeding the little fishes biscuit crumbs and spotting tiny little crabs.

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And finally after a nice cup of tea, it was time to hit the beach 🙂 The beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen with its vast stretches of golden sand. See for yourself…

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The rest of the evening was spent playing and walking down the beach, drinking lots of refreshing nariyal pani , watching the lovely sunset…

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And then the tiny moon, that was visible as the sun went down.DSC04993

DSC04990What a perfect day it was! 🙂

Road trip to Velneshwar & Ganpatipule – Part 1

As I mentioned in an earlier post that this was a suddenly planned trip. We started planning about it on Thursday, plans were finalized by evening and bookings were done on Friday :). Back from work on Friday, we got busy with the packing. As usual most of the packing for the road trip is food. We take so much food as if the places we are going to will have no places to eat at all 😛 So we packed lots of fruits, dry fruits, popcorn, biscuits, namkeens, Khakra,  slice cakes, bread, buns, jam, ketchup… for eating and lots of chhaas (buttermilk) and water (we like to carry as much drinking water as possible during road trips) for drinking.

Day 1

Hubby and me got up really early. I made 2 batches of idli and packed it with the chutney made by hubby the previous night. We loaded the car and were finally ready to leave by 6:30 am. Our first destination was Velneshwar and we had to cover about 275 kms on the first day. Hubby had chalked out a route for the journey. We usually prefer driving through the quieter and less crowded  state highways that pass through the local villages rather than the crowded national highway even though the journey by the latter maybe faster. There is so much more to see and appreciate that way as you pass through secluded villages, lush green fields, hills, forests…

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and sometimes ours is the lone car on the road with not a soul for miles around.

We took lots of breaks in between and finally reached Dabhol at around 1:00 pm. What followed was the most interesting part of the journey… we had to cross the Dabhol-Dopave Jetty via the ferry boat … yes the car too 🙂

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Apparently, these guys even cross huge buses to the other side

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And I must mention here about the most awesome icecream we had here while enjoying the ferry ride sitting inside our car 🙂

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After this adventure we continued our journey towards Velneshwar. We passed the beach town of Guhagar, that has a lovely beach on the way but decided to come back to it later as we were eager to reach the resort first and freshen up. We finally reached the MTDC resort by 3:00 pm. We prefer to stay at MTDC beacuse it is always at the best possible location in the region. This one was no different… it was built on a hill overlooking the sea

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We freshened up, rested briefly, explored the resort, did some photo sessions and finally drove to the beach. The rest of the evening was spent at the beach… I’ll let the pictures do the talking 🙂

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It was a nice clean beach with fishermen’s village at one end of it

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Cheebu had  a great time collecting sea shells… some of them even had live creatures inside….

DSC04792We also saw some starfish

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Splashing in the waves… and just walking down the beach…

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DSC04778Playing in the sand…

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🙂

DSC04837Watching the sunset…

DSC04818As the sun set, there was a sudden chill in the air and we saw a lone fisherman trying his luck with the last catch of the day

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We had some awesome chai at a beachside stall and then went back to the resort. As soon as we reached the resort, Cheebu went to the washroom… and then I heard her squealing as soon as she flushed… “Froggie, froggie…Mumma, there is a froggie here” 🙂 Apparently, there was one and though hubby tried his best to get it out, it went into hiding somewhere there and stayed there for the rest of our stay 🙂 That was another adventure for the day 🙂

We had a lovely dinner of authentic Maharashtrian thali at the resort that had 4 pieces of little gulab jamuns  on each thali 🙂 The food was awesome and after the dinner we went to bed early happy with the day and looking forward to more adventures the next day 🙂

Exploring Konkan

I have lived many years of my childhood in Mumbai and have very fond memories of the umpteen times my parents took brother and me to Juhu beach then. We loved the place and always had so much fun there… we chased the waves, walked on the beach, made sand castles… They form a big part of my childhood memories. Today, it saddens me to see the state of Juhu beach… it is dirty, overcrowded… no longer the the same beach from my childhood 😦 In fact we have never felt like taking Cheebu there at all 😦 The only time she has been there was when we went there with some relatives who were visiting to show them around Mumbai. That said, staying in a coastal area we dont want her to miss all the fun of playing on the beach either 🙂 … and when we started exploring around, we discovered some awesome beaches around Mumbai.

Our love affair with the Konkan coast in Maharashtra began around 3 years back when we went on our first road trip to Alibaug. A few hours drive from Mumbai, Alibaug is dotted with some lovely beaches. Due to its close proximity to Mumbai, the place has become a bit touristy over the years, but is still clean and relatively less crowded. At walkable distance from the Alibaug beach is the Kolaba fort. The fort is approachable by foot or horse cart only during low tides. The fort is not very maintained but nevertheless worth a visit. The other beaches in Alibaug … Kihim, Varsoli, Akshi, Naigaon, Kashid, Nandgaon are pretty clean and nice and good for spending some time there, the best among them being Kashid Beach. Clean silver sands and clear water undoubtedly make it one of the best beaches in this stretch.

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We fell in love with this beach the moment we set our eyes on it.  The hammocks tied on the coconut and cazurina trees along the beach make it a perfect place to relax. Add to this the small stalls selling hot maggi and poha. Yummy! It is our favorite beach that is within driving distance from our home and since then we have been going there every year at least once during the winter months (when the weather is good).

DSC04681 Around 20 km from Kashid is Murud that has a fort, Murud-Janjira built in the sea. You have to take a local boat to reach the fort.

DSC03137The fort again, though not very well maintained, is worth a visit for the adventure of being on a fort in the middle of the sea. The Janjira fort, unlike the Colaba fort at Alibaug that can be reached by foot during low tides, can be reached only by boat. The fort offers some great views and there are some interesting stories about a tunnel way from the fort to the coast under the sea (reminded me of Kirrin island from Famous Five 🙂 )

Going further south on the Konkan coast brings you to the beaches of Diveagar, Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. Visiting these places was our second road trip on the Konkan coast.

KonkanWhile the beaches were nice and clean, what we loved best from this trip was driving along the coast from Diveagar to Harihareshwar. The road was not very good, but we never regretted taking that road. The views were amazing… we drove on roads that had  hills on one side and sea on the other side…. sometimes it was a rocky shore, at times the sea was deep below the cliffs … the waves lashing out on the rocks below and sometimes all of a sudden, it would break into a beautiful beach with not a soul in sight. It always amazes me to see the sea meeting the shore in so many different forms … a rocky shore somewhere, a natural harbor at another place, a black sand beach somewhere, a silvery white beach somewhere or a swamp full of green mangroves  somewhere.

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After this trip, I thought we were done doing road trips along the Konkan coast as the beaches further south were too far to be covered driving from Mumbai. But I was wrong 🙂 , as the recent road trip saw us exploring more of the region… the beaches of Guhagar, Velneshwar, Ganpatipule and more.

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I will do a detailed travelogue on the trip. Meanwhile sharing a few pictures from the trip

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So far, we have loved everything we saw… the sea, the sand, the trees, the mountains…. the villages on the way with little children walking miles to the nearest school, the friendly locals who guided us with big smiles on their faces and even wishing us “happy journey”, the beautiful temples everywhere, the local cuisine of Kanda poha, kokam sarbet, sol kadhi … and more. We cant wait to explore more of the beautiful Konkan stretch… next on the wishlist is beaches of Vengurla and Tarkarli. And so our love affair with Konkan continues…..