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Showing posts from 2018

Lakshadweep Samudram experience - 2

Overview: Kavaratti is around 18 hours sail from Kochi. We were greeted by bright sunshine, and a welcome tender coconut drink. The glass bottom boat ride was offered complimentary along with Samudram package. The clear waters of Kalpeni made it easy to peep at the corals from the boat. We registered for scuba diving programme as well, which didn't require swimming skills. I was briefed about scuba diving, and did a mock drill in shallow waters and did some breathing practice. We were taken in a group to the middle of the lagoon, from where we were supposed to jump. It was a magical dive, with colourful marine life and beautiful corals, and I had never experienced like this before. We came back from our dive and played by the shore for sometime. Buffett lunch was served in the afternoon and we were taken on an island tour in the evening.
The same schedule was followed for the next 2 days in Kalpeni and Minicoy. Kalpeni has a massive stretch of land with turquoise waters and has a…

Lakshadweep Samudram experience

Overview: I finally booked the Samudram package to Lakshadweep islands after a few months of planning. The bookings were open from the 1st week of Oct after monsoons. The booking process is pretty easy through the Govt website, but the tickets get filled up pretty fast. They also keep slots for waiting list in case of cancellations.
The cruise starts from Willingdon Island in Kochi, so we took an overnight train from Bangalore to Ernakulam. Kochi welcomed us with grey skies and slight drizzle. It takes around 20 mins to reach Lakshadweep Wharf from Ernakulam railway station. We need to queue up for the boarding passes at Lakshadweep Wharf. There was some chaos and confusion at the boarding pass counter, as there was only one person managing the show, and the queue was building up. The officer had to search for the boarding passes and get the papers signed. Also he had to put the T-shirts and caps into a bag and give it along with the boarding pass. After a wait of around 45 mins, we …

Visit to the Kaas Plateau and the Sahyadri Range

Overview: Having planned a trip to Kaas Plateau for the last 4 years, finally we decided to do it in 2018 while on our annual trip to Shirdi. From Shirdi, we took an overnight train to Satara, where we camped. Kaas Plateau falls under the Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats which is a UNESCO World heritage site.
Prior booking is needed to visit the Kaas Plateau due to heavy crowd during the season. It is around 25kms from Satara. Our vehicle took us to Kaas early morning. At first, we could see a carpet of yellow flowers all around. It is said that different colours of flowers bloom at different time. Yellow was more prominent during our visit. We could see shades of blue and purple as well. A walk of about 2kms would take us to a pond which is filled with water lilies. One with great interest in nature can easily spend around 2 hours at Kaas. By this time we were hungry and quickly bought a plate of the local Pitla-Bhakri from a lady near the flowers.
From Kaas we proceeded towards …

Goa: Experiencing the charm of Goa in the monsoons -2

Overview: Today was the day of forts, starting off with Reis Magos fort, which was unfortunately closed. However we explored the fort from the exterior. This was built in 1551 by the Portuguese, later occupied by the Marathas. The other two forts in the vicinity are Fort Aguada and Sinqeurim. Sinquerim Fort acts as the wall for Hotel Taj Aguada. From here we went to Aguada Fort, one of the most scenic forts in Goa. The entrance to the fort has a massive doorway, and the walls can be scaled by climbing a series of stairs. One can have a spectacular view of North Goa from this fort.


 From Aguada, we proceeded towards Vagator beach in search of 'Shiva's Face', which we had seen on Google Maps. We parked our vehicle and climbed down towards the beach. Being monsoon, the beach wore a deserted look and the shacks were empty. We immediately spotted the image of Shiva carved on a rock. It was beautiful, with the serpent which could be seen on Shiva's right. Further excavation …

Goa: Experiencing the charm of Goa in the monsoons - 1

Overview: Goa during monsoons is different then its normally imagined. Less touristy, green all around, deserted beaches.
For experiencing a part of Konkan railway, we took the Bangalore City-Karwar express, covering the best of nature between Mangalore to Karwar on the Konkan line. Green fields, misty mountains and massive backwaters and rivers greeted us on the way.

After reaching Madgaon late in the afternoon, we checked into our hotel near Colva beach. We spent the evening by the beach watching the beautiful sunset, and planning for the rest of the trip.
We started early next morning, starting with Safa Masjid, built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adil Shah in Ponda. This is a small single chambered mosque with tiled roof having a flight of steps in the front entrance. To the south of the mosque, there is a 600 sqm water tank with Mihrab designs. The tank has a natural spring which keeps it filled with water throughout the year. This place is not to be missed while in Ponda.


We next proceeded…