December 30, 2015

Goa: Hotels or Shacks?

Undoubtedly one of the most prominent tourist destinations in India, Goa is known for its gorgeous beaches and unending parties. There are other attractions for both, the tourists and the travellers, beyond the beaches such as Velha Goa, river cruises, waterfalls, Portuguese settlements and trek trails. However, other than the selective traveller who wants to go beyond the usual, not many explore those routes. Goa remains to be confined to the beaches, flea markets and shacks for most visitors.

The Goa coastline, which extends from Polem beach in the south to the Arambol beach in the North, has no dearth of accommodation options. Shacks, resorts and hotels in Goa are available across locations as tourism has meandered its way through every nook and corner of the coastline. Though luxurious resorts in Goa aren’t as ubiquitous as shacks or hotels, there are numerous resorts run by all major hospitality companies present across the state. Most of these resorts which include the Taj, Leela, Oberoi and many others have their properties located in central Goa, closer to the airport and offer a plethora of amenities and activities, but come at a price.

If one intends to travel on a budget or backpack across Goa, the ideal stay options would be hotels or shacks. When it comes to narrowing down, hotels offer more facilities compared to a beach shack but at a higher cost. You can avail cleaner rooms with attached bathrooms and other basic amenities. There are hotels which provide complimentary breakfast and that could be one reason to go for it. Hotels would definitely be a better bet if you are willing to spend a bit more during your budget travel and would like to spend your holiday in privacy and safe surroundings.

Shacks are a totally different experience. Mostly situated by the beach, they are pretty economical with little or no amenities. They might not be a favourite with tourists and families, but shacks or beach huts as they are sometimes called, possess a charm of its own. Loved mostly by backpackers, shacks definitely provide you with a feeling of leading a hippie lifestyle. The other exciting aspect is that you can fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of the waves outside your shack. This is a once in lifetime opportunity that you must not miss!

What is your preferred accommodation option while holidaying in Goa?

P.S.: This is a sponsored post, however opinions are my own.

December 17, 2015

Galibore Nature Camp

Cauvery gurgled its way beside the cottages with green hills in the background. The recent rains had swelled the river and green was the predominant colour. A few macaques monkeyed around as I sat in oblivion gazing at the flowing waters through the canopy in the foreground.

Galibore Nature camp, run by Jungle Lodges and resorts off Kanakapura main road is quite cut away from the main access road. The last stretch of 9 Kms is an enjoyable off- roading experience on an undulated mud road and puddles with Cauvery appearing intermittently along with odd wildlife sightings. This nature camp was earlier quite popular for its angling of Mahseer which were let off the hook once they were caught. Angling is presently banned here, however, the serene wilderness by the Cauvery is definitely a reason to head to this camp.

The activities began with a light trek to the top of a hill behind the property premises. One can either opt for this guided trek uphill or go for a nature walk. The guide waded his way through the tall grasses, and I like a dutiful pupil followed him. Half way up an aerial view of Cauvery through the canopy was visible, and the higher we went, the vistas turned panoramic. A sambar whizzed past us, a few meters away as it heard human intrusion. Hardly had a glimpse as it ran through the tall grasses. We waited patiently for it to return, but it scampered off further. In a while we were on top of the hill with magnificent panoramic vistas all over. It is a beautiful frame as Cauvery meanders peacefully through the thick foliage. The watch tower here offers more aerial vistas. We trudged down shortly after gazing at the views for a while. More tall grasses and slippery trail with stones made it a slightly precarious trek down. Back on the mud road in a while, we crossed over to rest and have lunch at the resort a few feet away from Cauvery.

Though fishing is no more allowed, coracle rides are a nice way to understand the river better. After a sumptuous lunch I got onto one of the coracles to go down the stream. Cauvery flowed beautifully as my boatman kept searching for crocodiles to frame. The bright sun, clear skies and the wedged Cauvery between the verdant green hills made a nice frame as the search for crocodiles continued. We spotted a quite a few by the banks. They were quite vigil despite their laid back sunbath and quietly slipped into the waters, the moment our coracle went closer. Birds in various hues and sizes were also seen fluttering all over and it included kingfishers, cormorants, lapwings and many more. There are more than hundreds of species of birds found near this camp as per my boatman.

An hour later, we were back on the bank waiting for the vehicle to transport me back to the resort. As we waited, I realised that every frame of the gleaming Cauvery looked beautiful. The jutting rocks, the thick deciduous forests on the other bank and the blue sky further accentuated it. On the way back sighted a herd of spotted deer who were startled by the noise of the vehicle and strolled away. More relaxing moments and a cup of coffee later, I was back manoeuvring the undulated mud road that led out of the camp and away from Cauvery.

A night stay is recommended at the camp as this makes the experience more relaxing and enjoyable. The neat tented cottages has all the basic amenities required. The hammocks outside each tent is an ideal place for a siesta under the shade. 

Signing Note- Relax amidst wilderness by the Cauvery...!!

Route- Bangalore- Kanakapura- Mekedatu- Galibore
Distance- 110 Kms is a comprehensive website which helps travellers visit this wonderful nature camp and makes their stay a memorable one. For more travel information, booking and reservation, please contact Mr.Ramnath at 09449244567. You can mail them at

P.S.- I was invited by to visit Galibore Nature Camp. 

November 4, 2015

5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss When You Visit Goa

A lauded vacation spot located on the western coast of India, Goa is undeniably one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Sandwiched between Maharashtra in the north and Karnataka in the south and east, this tiny state is world famous!

As befits the tourist capital of the nation, Goa is very well-connected to all the major cities across India. The nearest airport is situated just 26 km away from the capital, Panaji. Goa also boasts of two well-connected railway stations, which are situated in Thivim and Madgaon.

Although Goa is synonymous with beaches and parties, that’s not all you can experience there. In addition to its scenic beaches, Goa also boasts of a rich past, with remnants of Portuguese culture and architecture. Though it’s difficult to see all of Goa in one visit, here are 5 things that you definitely need to experience while you’re there.

Get Your Adrenaline Fix

Apart from offering several relaxing options like mouth-watering seafood, live music, and amazing cocktails, the coconut-fringed beaches of Goa also boast of plenty of options for you to get your blood pumping. Yes, we are talking water sports! The number of water adventures you can partake in are numerous. The list of activities includes jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, surfing, and snorkelling, and are available on the lively beaches of North Goa, such as Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna. Now, whether you want to enjoy a bird's-eye view of Goa while parasailing, or swim with colourful fish underwater whilst scuba diving, the choice is completely yours!

Catch Dolphins In Action

Taking a cruise in the afternoon from Sinquerim beach to see a school of dolphins will certainly be a memory you will cherish for life. Your kids will be more than happy to catch a glimpse of these friendly mammals frolicking in the water. Combine with a visit to the seventeenth-century Portuguese fort of Aguada in the backdrop, this is an experience you won’t forget anytime soon. 

Experience Some Portuguese Charm

Get a deep insight into the region’s rich history and culture by visiting the beautiful towns of Old Goa. Goa still shows signs of its rich Portuguese roots with well-preserved churches, government buildings, and old houses. These old buildings dominate the urban landscape of the capital town of Panaji, giving  rise to the name ‘Rome of the East’. Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se De Santa Catarina are two of the most visited tourist spots in Goa.

Play Your Cards Right

Goa is one of those very few places in India where you will find casinos. So, it’s not surprising that a floating one is such a big attraction. Whether you want to try your hand at gambling or just want to spend an entertaining evening with some delicious wine, the floating 5-star casino is an ideal place to spend an evening. Engaging live musicals and delicious seafood are some of the other reasons that you should take one of these cruises.

Spend Some Time With Nature

Visit the spice plantations in the Ponda, also known as the Sahakari spice plantation. Savour some traditional Goan delicacies cooked with freshly ground spices. Visiting Dudhsagar Falls should also be on your to-do list if you are a nature lover. This 1017-foot waterfall offers breathtaking views and is a scenic feast for the eyes.

Where Should You Stay?

Opting for a suitable accommodation is as important as planning the itinerary. Hence, you should consider choosing one of the best resorts in Goa, which fits your budget and meets all your requirements. If you’re looking for luxury and serenity, then opting for Goa-Club Estadia, a Sterling Holidays Resort is an excellent option. This Spanish-style villa is located in Alto Porvorim, near Calangute beach, and features several relaxing aspects such as lush green gardens and a swimming pool. The in-house multi-cuisine restaurant will satisfy the pickiest eaters with delicious Indian and Goan delicacies.

Resorts in Bangalore

Bangaloreans are well known for their love for vacations. Weekends are mostly spent outside Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. Hectic work schedules clubbed with exciting long weekends make most city dwellers leave for quick getaways from the city. Bangalore being ideally located, there is no dearth of places for one to find an escape. Located anywhere between 150 km and 250 km, there are numerous exciting destinations such as Mysore, Coorg, Wayanad, Ooty, Bandipur, and Chikmagalur.

However, most of these require a good amount of time to plan, book and chalk out the itinerary. Also, many of these places would need a minimum of 3– 4 days to explore to do justice to it. When it is just a weekend, the options dwindle, but the itchy feet as always crave for city breaks. Weekend vacations have become quite frequent outings, and are like power naps. They give the much-required break and energise you, however short they are. 

At distances as short as 50 Kms, there are numerous resorts in Bangalore that have sprung up on Mysore road, Kanakapura road, off international airport road, Sarjapur road, etc. Angsana resort, Eagleton golf resort, Elim resort, Goldfinch retreat, Our Native Village, Wonderla resort, etc. are some of the most well known and sought after ones in the outskirts of the city. Set amidst a serene locality, away from the maddening crowd, traffic and pollution, these resorts have become the most sought-after weekend getaways. Facilities and activities include sprawling gardens, large swimming pools, various indoor games, spas, and much more. Many resorts also have numerous activities for children; some even promote yoga. Some like ‘Our Native Village’ try to bring in the rustic village charm with pottery classes and bullock cart rides within the premises. Add to this cosy rooms, quality service, and delicious food, and it sums up a wonderful weekend break away from Bangalore. However, these getaways are slowly catching up with the Bangalore crowd, and it is advised to book the rooms much in advance.

With many options to choose from, weekends in Bangalore are no more confined to mall crawling and street walking. Instead, it is all about breathing some fresh air away from civilization, amidst greenery and serenity.

This is a sponsored post, however opinions are my own.

Indian Rail Journeys

If you wish to make travel experience across India truly memorable, one of the most exciting means to experience travel is by taking a train journey with Indian railway. The Indian railway, with its wide network, takes you to various corners of this diverse land. The landscapes it passes through, the bridges it runs over, the tunnels it speeds through, the numerous lakes and rivers it cuts across and the long list of big, small and unknown stations it stops/passes by are a real treat for any traveller to soak in. The journey throws up a totally new aspect about the country and its diversity. One would witness the setting sun over the arid landscapes of northern Karnataka and wake up to the rising sun over the green landscapes of central Maharashtra the next the day. How beautiful is that?

Not to miss out are the delicious local short eat outs, which vary from station to station. Another interesting part of a train journey is the numerous people you meet on-board. The interactions and the numerous vivid conversations make the journey a very lively one. Similar are the calls of the tea vendor, the groundnut seller or the book seller, which would remain with you long after you have disembarked.

The longer the journey, the more experiences you collect along the way. A journey on Vivek Express (between Kanyakumari and Dibrugarh) or the Himsagar Express (between Kanykumari and Jammu Tawi) would be a breath-taking experience. However, the smaller ones are no short of excitement. Even a ride as short on a passenger train between Shoranur and Nilambur Road in Kerala, which is considered to be one of the oldest rail tracks in the country is a delightful one with gorgeous landscapes splashed all over. The mountain rails which include Kalka–Shimla railway, Matheran Hill railway, Kangra Valley railway, Nilgiri Mountain railway and Darjeeling Himalayan railway are an integral part of Indian railways. Here one would say, ‘slower the ride the better’, as the landscapes are absolutely delightful. One can gaze at them in oblivion throughout the journey and would still remain hungry for more.

Every train journey evokes a sense of nostalgia and déjà vu. Personally, the most etched frames from my many train journeys are those of the deserted tiny stations where the train does not stop. Those few seconds, during which the guard appears so close that the next moment when he goes far away, myriad emotions come forth. He stands there all alone and waves the green flag until the last bogie goes past the curve. Train journeys across India have always and will always be memorable and exciting. Ideally, one of the best ways to experience India is to take a train journey.

This is a sponsored post, but opinions are my own.

October 20, 2015

Getaways between Bangalore and Mysore

Less than 150 Kms separates the capital city and cultural capital of Karnataka. While Bangalore has grown to gargantuan levels as a world city, Mysore still holds its charm as a city known for its culture, heritage and festivals. Mysore is just 3- 4 hours away from any part of Bangalore and there are loads to explore in between the two cities too. 

An ideal vacation shouldn’t cover just Mysore. The first pit stop has to be Ramanagara, where one can explore the rocks and boulders (Ramanagara is still well known as the place where the movie Sholay was shot). It is also referred to as the silk city due to extensive sericulture in the region. The popular Mysore silk saris get its silk from here. Further down is Channapatna, which is popular for its wooden toys. Visit any of these shops and they might as well show you the making of those lovely toys. 

Maddur and Mandya are known as sugar towns with vast sugar fields and a plethora of coffee shops. The coffee shops are quite popular due to their location and proximity from both the cities. Take a break and refresh yourself at any of these. Down the road, get soaked in the history of Srirangapatna, the capital town of Tipu Sultan. This tiny river island offers loads to see which includes palaces, dungeons, gates, mosques, mausoleums and much more. The place is also popular for the Ranganathaswamy temple and Sangam, where two major tributaries of river Cauvery join. Bird sanctuaries at Kokrebellur and Ranganthittu are also worth visiting if you are an avian lover. 

Finally head to your destination- Mysore, exploring Mysore palace, Krishnarajasagar dam, Brindavan gardens, Chamundi hills, the Zoo, the gothic Philomena’s church and the colourful streets and markets. Dassera is when Mysore wakes up to its astounding processions, celebrations and festivities. 

For a change, avoid your rides and drives, and explore Bangalore to Mysore by bus. Book a Bangalore to Mysore bus through Travelyaari and explore all the interesting destinations while travelling from Bangalore to Mysore.

Watch India In All Its Festive Glory!
India transforms during the festive season of Dusshera...While in the east it's celebrated as Durga Puja, in Gujarat it comes alive during Navratri when Garba and Dandiya light up the evening. The Mysore Palace illuminates the South, while the good wins over evil as effigies of devil god Ravana are burned in the North. Wherever you are, India is a glorious spectacle during the festive season. Don't miss the chance to see it. Book your tickets and #travel now.P.S: Watch the video with volume on :)

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions are my own.

September 28, 2015

Kunti Betta- A Night Trek...!!

I woke up when the bus swerved off the highway onto an asphalted narrow village road. All that could be seen were silhouettes of trees and scattered houses as the cold breeze rushed in when I opened the window pane.  A short drive on the bumpy road and the bus stopped at a school ground. The little town of Pandavapura was wrapped in darkness and it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere at 2.30 AM. Blurry eyed and half asleep, we disembarked from the bus to pitch darkness to scale Kunti Betta. We were yet to get a grip of the the surroundings when the silence was broken by more vehicles and noisy visitors. Assembled quickly and patiently waited for the crowd to move ahead. The torch lights came out shortly as we made our way to Kunti Betta in the silence of the starry night. Not sure if it was a moonless night or a cloudy one.

Situated in Pandavapura, a detour off the Bangalore- Mysore highway, Kunti Betta is frequented by both night and day trekkers. With boulders all over, Kunti Betta is mentioned in Mahabaratha as the place where Kunti, the mother of Pandavas spent time during the exile. There is a large water body nearby known as Kunti kund, which also gets its name from Kunti. The trek is quite popular with trekkers from Bangalore and is frequented by hordes of adventure enthusiasts during the weekend.

The group followed the trek lead and a while later he stopped and shone the torch light to a huge monolithic rock to our right. The climb was to begin. Slowly, we pulled ourselves to the top of it, despite a few sliding steps. The decibel levels from the other group turned high and we let them pass as we soaked in the eerie silence of the cold night. The constant short breaks helped. It was not long before we had the first real challenge. The almost ninety degree rock stood before us with just a small crevice for a foothold. While a few managed to climb over, the others took a winding narrow route wedged between two rocks to come out on top. A short climb later, we were right below popular the croc- face rock, which we didn't notice in the dark until the trek lead shone the light. This rock which looks like the face of a crocodile is visible from a distance during a day trek.

We trod past boulders and rocks to hit the infinity point shortly. A popular place of rest, the infinity point is above one of the hills en-route to Kunti Betta, which offers nice views all around. Despite the darkness, we could make out the Kunti Kund, which lay way below. Kunti Betta, our final destination too made its presence felt. A few torch lights flashed from Kunti Betta as we made ourselves comfortable at Infinity point. It was past three in the morning and we had some time to while away before we got onto the trek trail to witness sunrise atop Kunti betta. It was cold, windy and a bit eerie with large silhouettes of boulders everywhere. What better way to make it eerier than some paranormal stories?

A hillock and Kunti kund
Many interesting stories later, we trudged forward, went down hill, waded through a narrow path covered with vegetation and peeled a few skins on the way. This was the longest stretch of the trek which ended when we hit a tall boulder which happily stood between us and the summit. This time there wasn't any alternate winding route like earlier and all had to climb over with the help of a few crevices on the rock. Though a much larger boulder than the previous hurdle, the climb was much easier. Until then, it was darkness with restricted views that prevailed all through the trail. However, after the climb, there was a lot of openness, fresh air, brilliant vistas and a tinge of light over the horizon. A hint that we were closer to our mission.

The final climb to the summit was an easy trail over more boulders. The trek culminated at the stone pillar which stands tall atop Kunti Betta. Cold wind blew hard and more light spread as the group scattered and went in search of their preferred vistas. Farm lands, paddy fields, coconut trees, tiny winding roads, distant shrines and houses, boulders, jutting rocks, water bodies- there was no dearth of vistas. The landscape looked breathtakingly beautiful. The only disappointments were the presence of a large crowd and the sun not showing up. It remained cloudy for long, but the vistas more than made up for it. While a few souls stared in oblivion at the landscapes way below, some attempted climbing the stone pillar and many headed to the vertical point for a photo shoot. Vertical point is a long jutting rock which seems like would break off and take you a few hundred feet down. Looks scary, but is definitely an adrenaline raiser and is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Kunti Betta trek.

Stone Pillar

Vertical Limit

All the action came to a halt suddenly as the clouds opened up. The lost souls and adventure junkies ran for cover. Though not for long, the short burst of rain curtailed our stay on top.The cold and wet morning greeted us with a hint of sunshine once the rain subsided, but it remained cloudy for long. The trek down was through another route, a bit slippery because of the rains but much easier than the climb. Waded, jumped and slid over boulders, and in a short-while we were in the plains. The stone pillar atop was visible at a distance and the huge boulders in various shapes looked unique and beautiful with patches of  green in between. The walk led us away from the boulders and we trespassed a few coconut groves before hitting the waters of Kunti Kund. A splash in the waters was followed by a sumptuous breakfast at a tiny hotel in Pandavapura and then the long languorous walk back to the bus. Content, happy and refreshed, we returned to the concrete jungle.


Kunti Betta- hillock on the right

Kunti kund

 Kunti Betta night trek is one of the easier, comfortable and enjoyable night treks from Bangalore. Check out Get Beyond Limits, who offers this trek quite frequently.

Route- Bangalore- Ramnagara- Maddur- Mandya- Pandavapura
Distance- 126 Kms

July 29, 2015

Allahabad- Places to Visit and Things to Do

Allahabad evokes a sense of sanctity and conjures up images of rivers, temples and Mughals. Also referred to as Parayag and Illahabad, it is well known for Sangam (the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswathi), which plays a significant role in Hinduism. Prayag is one the four spots where Kumbh mela, which is considered to be the largest religious gathering in the world is held. The city is well known for its numerous temples which are strewn across its various streets and corners. While it was under the rule of Akbar, the city was rechristened as Illahabad from Prayag and got its present name, Allahabad, when British took over. Allahabad is equally soaked in history as much as it is in mythical stories, and is well known for its cultural tourism, historical buildings and monuments. Mughals and the pre- independence era has brought the city a lot of limelight that it holds a very special place in the historical books. Long rule of the Mughals has made the city popular for its delectable mughalai cuisines as well.

Soak in the ambiance of Kumbh Mela 

The largest religious gathering in the world is held at four locations across the country and Allahabad happens to be the most prominent one. This is one huge festival spread over a few weeks and is held at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi. The mela area has hundreds of tea stalls, numerous pontoons to cross over to the other bank, confusing intersections, shops selling everything from blankets to temple paraphernalia, hundreds of camps, thousands of tents and lakhs of visitors. This magnanimous religious gathering is an electric synthesis of pilgrims from world over and is a must visit. Kumbh mela happens once in 12 years and Ardh kumbh mela takes place once in every 6 years. The last Kumbh mela at Allahabad was held in 2013. An annual Magh Mela is also held in Allahabad around the Sangam areas in the month of January.  

Attain salvation with a dip at Sangam 

The confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mystical Saraswathi is known as Sangam, where millions of pilgrims take a dip every year. The holy bath of pilgrims signifies their faith, belief and the quest for salvation. Though many take a dip near the bank, the actual confluence is away from the bank and  can be approached only by a boat. It is well recommended to take a dip at the exact confluence, rather than near the banks. 

Enjoy a boat ride on Yamuna

An early morning boat ride on Yamuna is an ideal way to begin the day in Allahabad. Wrapped in the early morning mist, Yamuna looks serene and the frames are delightful. Catch the morning rays as the boat wades past the fluttering gulls, the numerous ghats and the intimidating Allahabad fort. At the confluence one can easily discern the green Yamuna from the brown Ganga. Yamuna joins the Ganga and then they flow together eastward.

Soak in the essence of the city with a cycle rickshaw ride

Allahabd is best explored on a cycle rickshaw, as slow as you can. As you ride, take in a whiff of the city, capture frames from the streets and enjoy the local delicacies from food stalls. The best places for a ride are chowk area and old city. During Kumbh mela, it becomes quite vibrant with colours, people, stalls and much more. 

Get charmed by the Gothic Cathedral

This Gothic structure, popularly known as Pathar Girja in local circles is one of the oldest churches in India. All Saints` Cathedral was designed by William Emerson and construction of the same began in the year 1877. Intimidating as well as beautiful, it has exquisite stonework in both white stone and red sandstone stands. This magnificent structure which also has marble lavishly used, stands amidst a grass compound at a major cross road which makes it visible from all directions.

Gaze at the wonderful architectures of Khusro bagh

Named after Khusro, the elder son of the Mughal emperor, Jehangir, Khusro Bagh is well known for its gorgeous tombs in mughal architecture. There are four tombs here which are Khusro's, his mother's, his sister's and Bibi Tamolan's. Built in early 17th century, the walkways and tombs are wrapped in mughal inscriptions, artworks and paintings. With a well laid out garden and tombs adorning exquisite mughal architecture and frescoes, Khusro bagh is one of the most recommended places of visit in Allahabad for history and architecture lovers. 

Immerse in the historical Azad park

Chandrashekar Azad park  also known as company bagh is a huge serene park which houses the public library and Allahabad museum. The huge museum has numerous galleries with a plethora of displays which includes terracotta paintings, wood work, handicrafts, metal and armoury from pre-independence and medieval period. This is the park where freedom fighter Chandrashekar Azad shot himself before the British could capture him. The park is steeped in history and is an ideal place to soak in the stories from British era.

Visit the temples

Being a spiritual town, Allahabad is well known for its numerous temples. Mankmeshwar temple is situated by the ghats which lead to River Yamuna. Shankar vimana mandapam with 3 floors has a South Indian style architecture and a nice panoramic view of the mela area. This colourful temple has Kanchi Kamakshi, Tirupati Balaji ad Shivalingam on each of its floors. Bade Hanuman Mandir next to Shriram Janki mandir is another popular temple in the town. The  lete Hanuman (Lying down position) attracts quite a crowd during the day.

Explore Allahabad Fort

Built in the year 1583, by Akbar, Allahabad fort is situated near the confluence. It is one of the largest forts built by Akbar and has undergone numerous restorations over the years. At the entrance of the fort is a 35 feet high Ashoka Pillar made of stone. Akshay Vat or the undying Banyan tree is another point of interest inside the fort. Only a portion of the fort is open to public due to security reasons.

Visit Anand Bhawan and Swaraj Bhawan

This is where the inquisitive history lovers would want to head to while in Allahabad. An ideal place to learn and the struggles of independence. It also houses many galleries and personal belongings of the Nehru family. 

Relish the Mughalai cuisine

Allahabad is well known for its mouth watering Mughalai delicacies. Before you leave this historic town, explore the best of the cuisines in the crowded Loknath area.


Lucknow- 204 Kms
Varanasi- 122 Kms
Closest Airport- Allahabad airport (12 Kms from city)
Closest Railhead- Allahabad junction

Best time to visit- All through the year (Summers might be harsh).

June 10, 2015

Villas in Goa

 Goa is one of those places where going off beat or away from the maddening crowd is quite a tough decision. The lure of the beaches and shacks is very high. But after innumerable trips to Goa, the shacks might seem monotonous. Villas are a good way to break away from that.

There are numerous villas in Goa and the ideal place to hunt for them is at Goa Villa, a villa rental company which has numerous villas catering from budget to luxury villas across popular destinations in Goa. This does not by any means make the properties secluded and away from action. They are very much in proximity to the beaches, shacks and other activities. Many of the villas, like the ones in Anjuna (Astra Apartments), Palolem (Rose Cottage), Candolim (Maroon Age) and Cavelossim (Grand Boutique) are very close to the beaches and a short walk away.

Baga is one of the most frequented places in Goa with the ever popular Baga beach, nightclubs and flea markets. Goa Villa offers Johanna Garden, a wonderful villa in Baga with 4 bedrooms, a sitting area, dining area, kitchen, swimming pool, a lawn and a terrace. Away from the crowd but not short of action makes this an ideal place to make your stay in Baga a memorable one. 

Johanna Garden, Baga
Villa Hill Crest in Bambolim is an ultra luxury villa with five bedroom and modern facilities. An added feature is that the villa offers breathtaking vistas of the Arabian Sea. Grand Boutique in Cavelossim has a different attraction, and that is the uninterrupted views of the serene Sal River which flows beside the villa. If your concept of holidaying includes lying on huge verandas and reading your favourite travelogue on a lazy afternoon, Villa Oliva in Calangute is the place to head to. If travelling in groups or with large families, the luxurious Villa Lyon Age in Colva is a wonderful option to choose from. Beach Villa in Candolim is a unique villa amidst Old Portuguese villas. This secluded villa is built in Portuguese style with all modern facilities. The icing on the cake is that it has a direct access to the beach. Now, who would want to miss that? Villa Arabella in Morjim with just two bedrooms and all the basic amenities is an apt one for the budget travellers.

Villa Hill Crest, Bambolim
Goa Villa provides a host of services to their clients, which includes a shuttle from airport to the villa, local mobile SIM cards for foreign nationals, personal assistant for tours across Goa, all necessary facilities within the villa and much more. For families who are travelling with toddlers, a baby cot and baby stroller is also provided. In case the guests require more services such as a chef, a driver and internet, Goa Villa is more than willing to facilitate them.

With a wide range of options to choose across locations, budgets and facilities, rental agency Goa Villa is a wonderful service provider to check out your place of stay while holidaying in Goa.

 Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

May 13, 2015

Kabini- Serene Wilderness...!!

A few kilometers before the Kerala border, a sign board showed up with the direction to Kabini River Lodge. From the well paved asphalted road that made its way through villages and farmlands bordering the Nagarhole forest, the sudden detour led to an undulated mud road. Slowly, green vistas made its presence and in a while Kabini showed up. Blue, expansive and serene, Kabini reservoir looked like a humungous blue amoeba floating amidst brown hills and patches of greenery, albeit only a portion visible.

The first glimpse

Kabini reservoir has been carved out of the river by the same name, which originates in Wayanad. Being a part of the Nagarhole national park, which teems with wildlife, the shores of these backwaters offer numerous exciting sightings. Earlier well known as the hunting ground of Mysore King and British Viceroys, Kabini now has quite a few resorts offering breathtaking vistas of the gorgeous backwaters. Mesmerised at the first glimpse of Kabini, the car trudged forward to one of the best properties of Jungle lodges and resorts. This hunting lodge of the erstwhile Mysore maharajas has been creatively converted into a beautiful resort overlooking the serene Kabini reservoir. Kabini river lodge charms its visitors with its explicit woodwork and beautifully maintained interiors amidst the serene surrounding. The tall ceilings in the rooms and the plush wood furnishings in bar area which takes one back to the maharaja's era gives it the royal charm.

Jungle Lodges and Resorts
I strolled around the campus, captured the exquisite hunting lodge, the colourful tress and the encapsulating vistas of the Kabini reservoir from the pier. A hot cup of sweet coffee later, wrapped in orange life jackets, boarded the boat and it motored its way sending ripples in all directions. Kabini lay ahead like a femme fatale, spreading itself out along the boundaries of the forest reserve. Beyond the buoyant waters lay expansive stretches of greenery with withered trees and small open grasslands. Summers had just set in and the lush greenery had slowly given way to the brownness in patches.  Protruding wooden stumps emerged from the waters at many places, and quite a few black cormorants perched themselves on them to gaze at the expansiveness of Kabini in oblivion.

Kabini reservoir

Kabini is home to more than 200 species of birds. A wide range of avian fauna such as herons, storks, cormorants, ibis, lapwings, kingfisher and many more languorously strolled by the shores. Some waded along the shallow edges of the reservoir, while a few flew in different directions in search of another location to perch. Many lenses came out and the shutters clicked many a time to capture the avian fauna and the gorgeous landscape. There were numerous deer, both spotted and sambar which nonchalantly grazed along the fringes of the reservoir, not buoyed by the noise of the motorboat.

Kabini is well known for its elephants and leopard sightings, and though many wished to see a feline quenching its thirst, the frame remained elusive. A while later, the motorboat went silent and all spoke in hushed silence as a lone tusker rattled some bamboo by the bank to satiate its hunger. Never once did it turn around to stare at the boats, nor were the deer nearby perturbed by the presence of the pachyderm. A couple of mongooses made a quick dash amidst the many wooden stumps on the bank while a peacock languidly strolled past the deer to make up for an ideal wild setting. The boat stood still for long as the picturesque wild frame amidst absolute serenity was captured both by the lenses and the souls who stared in oblivion.

The tusker
Wild boar
The boat motored its way once again into the expansiveness of the enchanting reservoir which seemed more like a placid lake with its verdant green background. There were more deer, peacocks, cormorants, wild boars and a few langurs that loitered along its bank as the boat stopped again at the sight of another lone elephant which was semi hidden amidst bamboos. The sun had mellowed and the gleaming reservoir looked all the more gorgeous as the boat made its way back to the pier. As the boat moored, the setting red sun going down the horizon was indeed one of the best frames captured during the day. The day wound with a wildlife video which was an insight into the lives of the wild beings and their survival in a world encroached by humans.

Jeeps packed with visitors left the resort premises early next morning on a safari ride into the Nagarhole national park (presently known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park). Enthusiastic wildlife lovers with tucked in cameras and bleary eyes peered in search of anything wild as the jeeps lunged forward into the wilderness of Nagarhole. The forest was still wrapped in the morning mist, and the brown muddy road meandered its way through the tall withered trees. It looked more brown than green due to the onset on summer. A sambar was the first sighting which gave a glance before it sauntered away. Wild boars, spotted deer and langurs sprung up many a time as the jeep surged on the mud trail. Avian fauna was a delight to watch as numerous colourful birds fluttered all over. Indian roller was the frequently sighted one while others included hoopoes, kingfishers, parakeets, indian robins, emerald doves, jungle fowls and many more. A lone serpent eagle stay put on a tall branch lost in the amazing vistas from the top. Further high on a different branch was perched a brown owl which was only partially visible.

Indian Roller
Serpent eagle

Though there were a couple of alarm calls, all were false ones and despite the wait at a few junctures like waterholes, the felines remained elusive. I have always believed that sighting the wild is sheer luck and the only tiny factor other than that is having good guides who know the jungle well. Despite the guide's good effort and the constant information that passed on while the jeeps crossed paths,  I will have to come back to sight a wild cat in Nagarhole national park and Kabini. After a long wait at a waterhole, the jeep stopped at another, where a lone tusker quenched his thirst. The jeeps and human presence did not deter him from his act and he nonchalantly strolled along the edges of the waterhole to drink more water. This sighting did satiate the eagerness to spot a wild being to an extent and the jeep drove us out of the park, past more deer and peacocks en-route. 


A sumptuous breakfast awaited the wildlife enthusiasts at the resort, post which it was a drive back to Bangalore along the fringes of Nagarhole national park. Kabini is undoubtedly a wildlife lover's delight with the serene reservoir and the national park, which teems with wildlife. 

Signing Note- Lose yourself to the wilderness of Kabini...!!

Route- Bangalore- Mysore- Hampapura- HD Kote- Antarasanthe- Karapura
Distance-235 Kms
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