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March 31, 2021
February 23, 2021
We were racing against time and sped on the road that meandered through endless rubber plantations to Inchathotty. Though we couldn’t make it on time for the sunset, the orange hue that lingered over the horizon along with mist wrapped distant hills and lush green surroundings made a picturesque frame. It drizzled incessantly and the serene Periyar flowed without a gurgle below the popular suspension bridge at Inchathotty. We were awed by the pretty picture that nature painted, and gazed at it in oblivion until it got dark.
The walk on the bridge was an exciting experience, as it shook, and I was lost on whether to give into the allure of the landscape or worry about my next step. The bridge is only for pedestrians and is a great spot to enjoy the panoramic views and the charming countryside. At approximately 181 meters, this is apparently the longest suspension bridge in Kerala.
Inchathotty was like any other nondescript village until it garnered a lot of attention after this suspension bridge was built in 2012 to help commute between the villages on either banks of the river. There are activities such as kayaking that is on offer here. Inchathotty is a small village surrounded by forests along the banks of River Periyar near Kothamangalam in Kerala. Popular tourist attractions such as Paniyeli Poru, Bhoothathankettu Dam and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary are nearby.
January 24, 2021
Goa, the smallest state in India, has umpteen surprises in every corner, and is world-renowned for its lovely beaches. Bounded by the Arabian Sea on one side and land on the other, this region is home to numerous picturesque and vibrant beaches. The stellar nightlife and parties in Goa are an intrinsic aspect of Goan vibes and the hippie culture.
Be it the parties, pulsating clubs and pubs, beach shacks, adventurous water sports, gaming casinos or the buzzing flea markets; all come together to invoke an exhilarated ambience. Goa offers a plethora of beaches for youngsters, family and couples, with innumerable shacks, quaint cafes, a slew of budget hotels and luxurious resorts lined up along the coastline.
Goa is the exemplary holiday paradise full of amusement. The charm of the seashore and the beaches allure the tourists' souls to spend a vacation in the land of sun, sand, and surf. Tourists from world over come to Goa to revel in this exciting destination.
The Historical Significance of Goa
The old name of Goa according to ancient literature, are Gomanchala, Gopakapattana, Gopakapattam, Govapuri, Gopakapuri, Govem, Gomantak, Sandabur, Sindapur, and Mahassapatam.
Did you know that Goa didn't always belong to independent India? Yes, after being liberated in 1961, it became an Indian state. The Portuguese ruled Goa for 450 years until it was liberated from the Portuguese to form a part of India on December 19, 1961. It is known that the whole military operation took almost three days to successfully liberate Goa. The Portuguese heavily influenced Goan culture, cuisine, and architecture.
Goa Liberation Day is one of the most important days in the history of Goa. It is celebrated every year on December 19 in Goa with numerous events and festivities in the city. This day of celebration is marked to remember the struggle of Indian armed forces that freed Goa from Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961.
How to Reach Goa by Air
Dabolim Airport is the major airport in Goa, which makes it accessible from major cities within the country and also from abroad. The Dabolim Airport is an international airport that handles international flights and regular domestic flights as well with a large inflow of foreign and domestic travellers. Goa's Dabolim Airport is almost 26km from Panaji.
The Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport, Goa
How to Reach Goa by Road
You can reach Goa by road through two major highways. Follow the National Highway 4 (NH 4) to travel to Goa from Mumbai or Bengaluru by road. The drive to Goa by road is a scenic route that turns lush green during monsoon. There are many bus services from major cities to Goa for travellers.
The Nearest & Main Bus Station in Goa: Kadamba bus stand, Panaji.
How to Reach Goa by Sea
Reaching Goa by sea is a unique way to travel Goa. You can catch a cruise from Mumbai to go to Panaji, which will take you along the coasts of Maharashtra and Goa.
How to Reach Goa by Train
Reaching Goa by train is the most comfortable and convenient mode of travel. There are two major railway stations in Goa- Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama. Goa enjoys extensive rail connectivity with other major cities of the country. Goa's rail route is a relaxing journey that takes you through some of the Western Ghats' most beautiful landscapes.
Goa Railway Station Name & code: Madgaon Junction (MAO), Vasco-Da-Gama Railway station (VSG).
You can also order your favourite food in train online from RailRestro while travelling to Goa by a train.
The rail journey from Mumbai to Goa is one of the most scenic train rides in India. The train routes connecting these cities give you an incredible experience intersecting through the gorges, Sahyadri hills and the Arabian Sea. Riding through 92 tunnels and on 2000 bridges, this route offers beautiful sceneries with jaw-dropping sight of scenic landscapes, dazzling rivers, rugged coastline and lush green meadows. Mandovi Express train, a part of the Konkan Railway network, runs between Mumbai and Goa.
The journey from Vasco Da Gama to Londa offers you one of the most thrilling and enchanting train journeys in India. It traverses through the Western Ghats laced with lush green forests, thriving villages and sparkling waterfalls that add to the charm of this rail route in Goa. The train pass along many serene beaches and the magnificent Dudhsagar waterfalls, cascading beauty gushing in full vigour.
If you want to enjoy this thrilling train journey from Vasco Da Gama to Londa closely, get down at Londa junction, which is the nearest station to Dudhsagar falls.
If you don't want to miss the most scenic rail journey in India, always check the PNR status to know the current booking status and live train delay information. RailMitra is the best train enquiry app for checking Train PNR status and live train status along with a set of other features for which you don't need to install any other Indian Railway app. The RailMitra app is free and is available for Android devices. Other exclusive features include food delivery in train and booking hotels at affordable rates.
Baga resides a little farther south of Morjim, exhibiting a very different atmosphere to that of its neighbour. It has a stunningly vibrant atmosphere characterized by an unbroken line of exotic and pleasant beach shacks situated beside a long golden sand stretch. It is one of the most popular beaches among the Indian family crowd.
Things to do in Baga beach: Scuba diving, motorboat rides, banana Boat Ride, jet skiing, dolphin rides, diving, and spas.
These are considered one of the most popular beaches among European tourists who spend their holidays in Goa. The long strips of golden sands of Candolim and Calangute lead to one of the most welcoming stretches of coastline in the state. You can also relish the delicious Goan curry at one of the eye-catchy beach shacks. Calangute Beach is renowned as the "Queen of beaches" for its alluring sandy landscapes.
Things to do in Candolim beach: Snorkelling, kite surfing, windsurfing, diving, jet-skiing, parasailing.
Palolem beach is often marked as one of Goa's finest beache due to its breathtaking view. Let your worries take a back seat and lose yourself on Palolem Beach. If you enjoy socializing with crowds, this is just the place for you. Palolem Beach offers one of the best swimming locations in Goa with a long curve of palm-fringed sandy stretch. The beach huts here serve tasty local grub.
Things to do in Palolem beach: Shopping, food, partying and diving.
Benaulim Beach offers holidaymakers not only a splendid retreat for rest and relaxation but also lots of things to do around the city. A breathtakingly beautiful setting for sunbathers, it is a long stretch of soft white sand with verdant palm trees. But, if soaking up the rays on a sun lounger doesn't suit you, do explore water sports or try your luck sighting dolphins here.
Things to do in Benaulim & Varca: Water sports, bar hopping and food.
The calm and peaceful ambience of Morjim Beach will soothe all your travel fatigue. Embrace your Goa holidays by walking on this unsurpassed beauty that only a few beaches in Goa can be compared with. Apart from enticing beach bars and shacks, Morjim also attracts olive ridley sea turtles, the most popular attraction at this beach.
Things to do in Morjim: Bird sightseeing, adventure activities.
Goan cuisine is a perfect blend of Konkani, French, Malaysian, Portuguese and Catholic influence!
Goan cuisine is blisteringly rich and delicious. The traditional Goan food is a favourite with Indians as well as foreign tourists. Rice, seafood, coconut milk, meat, pork and local spices are the main elements of the Goan cuisine. Fish curry and rice are Goa's staple food. Due to its long coastline, the magic of Goan cuisine encompasses seafood dishes that are highly influenced by the Portuguese culture.
Kingfish is the most prominent seafood commonly present in most Goan meals. Other seafood cuisines of Goa include prawns, shark, tuna, mackerel, crabs, lobsters, squids, etc. Some specific Goan specialties are Goan fish curry, Fish Caldine, Xacuti, Pork vindaloo, Sannas, Sorpotel, and Bebinca. Try Feni- the local Goan alcohol prepared from cashew or palm toddy.
P.S.: This is a collaborative post
January 8, 2021
As you stroll through the stunning Chittorgarh fort, it evokes stories of the spirit, valor, pride and romance of the Rajputs, the warrior clan. Sprawling over 700 acres and intimidating over a hillock by the Berach River in Rajasthan, Chittorgarh fort with a 13 km long circumference is the largest fort in Asia. It is believed to have been initially built in the 7th century A.D. by the Maurya Kings and was later taken over by the Mewar kingdom for a long period. The fort was ruled for 800 years by various dynasties such as Mauryas, Pratiharas, Solankis, Guhilas and Mewars. It was also witness to three attacks by Alauddin Khalji in the 14th century, Bahadur Shah and Akbar in the 16th century. Legend says that while the men died in the battlefields, the women and children committed Jauhar (self immolation) to save themselves from the wrath of the victorious army. However, the Mewar kings managed to fight back every time and regained hold over Chittorgarh fort, which is considered as the 'Pride of Mewar’. The prominent Mewar rulers who ruled this fort were Ratnasimha, Rana Kumbha, Rana Sanga, Maharana Udai Singh II (Founder of Udaipur) and Maharana Pratap. The Mewar dynasty later moved to Udaipur and made it their capital. Kumbalgarh fort, with one of the longest fort walls in the world is the other major fort that was under the Mewar kings.
Chittorgarh fort is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Magnificent structures laced with stunning sculptures and intricate carvings are strewn across the fort, which showcases a blend of Rajput and Islamic style architecture. The formidable fort wall runs all across the hillock with seven entrance gates that you need to pass through to reach the insides of the fort. The fort is also sometimes referred as water fort, as it had about 84 water bodies during its prime, of which very few remain today. Rana Kumbha’s palace which is mostly is ruins, once housed many structures such as underground cellars, elephant and horse stables, royal treasury and shrines a well. It is believed that Rani Padmini committed Jauhar inside this palace. Rani Padmini’s palace with a well laid out garden is the other major palace here, and has a small palace (Jal Mahal) inside a large pond. Fateh Prakash palace is presently a museum which houses various artefacts, weaponry, photographs and other displays of the royal family.
The fort also houses numerous Hindu and Jain temples such as Kumbhashyam temple, Kalikamata Temple, Meerabai temple, Tulja Bhavani temple and Satbis Deori Jain temple. There are numerous ponds or reservoirs as well with Gaumukh Kund being the most significant one, as it served as the source of water during the fort’s glorious times. There are also cenotaphs, gates, smaller palaces and more dilapidated structures scattered across.
Despite the magnificent palaces and stunning temples, what garners most of the attention inside Chittorgarh fort is undoubtedly the Vijay Stambh or the Tower of Victory built by Rana Kumbh in the 15th century to commemorate his victory over the Sultan of Malwa. Emblazoned with spectacular carvings of gods and motifs, this is an absolute stunning piece of artwork and unsurprisingly the most celebrated structure here. Narrow steps lead you to the top of this 37 meter high nine-storeyed structure with magnificent views of the fort through the numerous peep holes. Kirti Stambha, another victory post with elaborate carvings was built in the 12th century, and is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Thirthankara.
The fort also has a sound and light show every day from 7:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M.
- Chittorgarh fort is open every day from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M.
- The entry charges are INR 50 for adults and INR 25 for children.
How to reach Chittorgarh Fort:
The closest major city is Udaipur, which has an airport and railway station connecting to other cities in India. It is recommended to take a private taxi from Udaipur to reach Chittorgarh fort, which is about 116 kms away. Public transportation is not frequent between Udaipur and Chittorgarh.
December 31, 2020
Like the sun that rises every morning giving us hope to look forward to brighter moments in life, I wish 2021 turns out be much better than what we all went through in 2020. Let's hold each other closer and rise together in the coming year. Hopefully, we will all soon be able to get back to our travelling days again.
The above picture was captured from the sand dunes of Thar desert in October 2018.
December 16, 2020
It wasn’t until I read up about Kumbalgarh fort that I learnt it houses the longest wall in India and the third longest in the world. The fort wall of Kumbalgarh which can be described as Great Wall of India stretches over 36 km across the Aravalli range in Rajasthan. Kumbalgarh fort might not be as extravagant as Chittorgarh fort with impressive structures, but built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it is one of the prominent forts in Mewar region. Rising to a height of more than 3600 feet, the fort holds great significance in the history of Mewar rulers as it was considered impregnable for a very long period with many attempts by various rulers turning futile. The fort is also the birth place of Maharana Pratap, one of the most celebrated rulers of Mewar.
Kumbalgarh fort is presently a UNESCO World Heritage site under Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Perched on a craggy hillock, Kumbalgarh fort can be spotted from a distance as you head towards it. The long fort wall with intermittent bastions snaking its way till it bends over makes an interesting and intimidating frame. With thick walls, some stretches of which are fifteen feet wide and seven fortified gateways, Kumbalgarh fort is quite an outstanding work of architecture. There are numerous beautiful Jain and Hindu temples spread across the fort and a couple of stepped tanks as well. The aerial views from Kumbha Palace on top are absolutely spectacular with endless views of hills, the meandering fort wall and various structures inside the fort premises.
1. The fort is open every day from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
2. The entry charges for the fort are INR 10 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
How to reach Kumbalgarh Fort:
The closest major city is Udaipur, which has an airport and railway station as well. It is recommended to take a private taxi from Udaipur to reach Kumbalgarh fort, which is 84 km away. Public transportation is not frequent between Udaipur and Kumbalgarh fort.