Malshej Ghat : Weekend Trip

Malshej Ghat is located 117 km from Navi Mumbai. Its in-between Kalyan-Ahmednagar Road. It is a popular picnic spot during monsoon, frequented by weekend warriors of Mumbai.

Most people visit this place to enjoy waterfalls and scenic mountain ranges. It lies in Western Ghat ranges.
In some places the waterfall makes a landfall on the road, making it a thrilling drive for adventure lovers.
Best time to visit: Monsoon (June to Sep)
We started from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai and took ambernath, badlapur, murbad route which was ok with few bad patches in between. It took us almost 3 hours to reach at the peak point
Best option is to start early and cross ambernath and badlapur before 9 am to avoid hassles of traffic
Route is scenic and roads are good after you cross Murbad
Take eatables along as Malshej ghat does not have any good restaurant, only raodside bhajji pakoda and vada pav stalls are available. It’s just a ghat with stunning views.
There are number of waterfall after the ghat starts. Don’t spend too much time there as the main view is at the peak point where waterfall fall straight in middle of the road. This scene is unique and there is no place on Earth where this kind of setting is there

You can take bath in the middle of the road, wash your car as well. People were standing in middle of road for group bath.

Experience is awesome. It tends to get cold here during monsoon so spare clothes can be a good idea as u will feel like getting drenched with numerous waterfall options.

Word of advice to family travelers: Crowd gets bad to worse in peak season, so be cautious and stop at places wisely. Don’t go to internal roads on foot as it can be risky. Stay near to your cars and enjoy if  you are travelling with family. 

After crossing the malshej peak point there is a police check always, be careful as they check documents and see if you are drunk.

The road is filled with clouds which is again an awesome experience.

There is a MTDC resort after malshej peak poing and its literally in between clouds during monsoons.

Trip to Varandha Ghat

There is a saying ” When there is a will, there is a way”

 We completely follow this wherever we go and we make plans which generally are not standard trips as per people around us are concerned.

Me and my better half love to explore and every year on monsoons we go on and explore western Ghats again. Since we have explored most of the places, this time we zeroed on “ Varandha Ghat”.

We took the only road which connects Mahad and Pune from Mahad side. This road goes parallelly with Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road.

We started from Navi Mumbai early and took Khopoli road to reach Mahad. The roads are all broken and pathetic. It took us more than 4 hours to reach Mahad which is just 144 kms from Navi Mumbai. It’s getting repaired and getting concrete now so people will have better experience in 2019 onwards.

Its better if valley is entered from Pune side. Atleast the roads are good but the best views are in Mahad side which no one should miss.

We reached Mahad around 2 pm, had lunch in Mahad and started our Varandha ghat journey. There is a left turn which is not so visible after crossing Mahad in NH66. Google maps are recommended here.

Initial journey is through small 2 lane road which crosses many villages but when you start ascending in to mountains, adventure starts.

In monsoon season the valley is full of waterfalls. I mean literally there are waterfalls in each and every turn of the road. Feeling is amazing and you are suddenly in green heaven.

We crossed Kal river at the start of the road and it went with us for quite some time. River went to different direction after some distance and we started climbing Ghat section. At one point the ascend is quite steep and I realized I have a 1200 cc small car and is very good for this type of climb.

 Just look at the pictures below and you will understand the beauty this place possess. We started clicking pictures as if we will not see this kind of beauty again.

There is a spot at the top (Centre of Mahad-Pune road) where there are options of refreshments (Chai, Pakode and other eatables). The rates are normal and service is great. Usually crowdy on weekends but the owners here manages it very well.  This place is completely foggy in monsoon season. Headlight and fog light are must at this stretch.

After we crossed this point, we continued getting waterfalls each with unique characteristics and sizes. Moreover Nira-Deoghar dam starts and it went along with road for a long-long time. When we thought the beauty ends at top and we started hurrying for destination but we were in for a huge surprise when we saw the dam alongside road. The dam has both mountain and water views.

 Its Unbelievable sight with amazing landscapes.

 There is endpoint which is called BHOR after which you can take right and go Panchgani or else continue straight for Satara/Pune.

 This place is hidden gem of western Ghats and usually less crowded. Road conditions are just about ok but you cannot drive fast due to single road and sharp turns.

 Take ample time for photography and you will not regret it !!

Jabalpur : Land of Dhuadhar and Marble Rocks

Jabalpur is the 3rd largest city in Madhya Pradesh. It has beautiful dhuadhar waterfall (Believe me the name says it all) and Bhedaghat.

The beautiful Dhuandhar Falls is located at Bhedaghat 30 km away from Jabalpur.
‘Dhuan’ means smoke. Mist emanating by water falling on hard rock has visuals of smoke, hence it is called Dhuandhar or Smoke Cascade.
Dhuandhar falls is located on the Narmada river.
Marble Rocks, located just a km away from the waterfalls is a must visit. Boating is an amazing experience, especially by the moonlight. Boating facilities are available from November to May. Boating in Narmada is not allowed during monsoon season.
There is a fixed rate by MP Tourism for these boats. They will take INR 700-900 based on the distance they cover. never fall in to trap of going more distance and paying extra buck. People always try to extract maximum money.
Jabalpur is a 3rd tier city with restaurants, malls and multiplexes. You can have everything which a modern man requires.
How to Reach Jabalpur by Air

Jabalpur Dumna Airport, located around 20 km away from the main city centre, connects the city with rest of the country by air.

How to Reach Jabalpur by Road

Jabalpur is connected to major Indian cities like Nagpur, Indore, Bhopal, Pune, Aurangabad, Kanha and Bandhavgarh by regular interstate bus service.

How to Reach Jabalpur by Rail

Jabalpur Railway Station lies on Mumbai-Howrah-via Allahabad main line. Served by the Western Central Railways, Jabalpur Railway Station is an important rail junction of the state as it connects Jabalpur to major Indian cities like Delhi, Nagpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Patna, Bhopal and Lucknow.

Kerala : God’s Own Country

Recently we planned for Kerala vacations and believe me it was just superb!!

Kerala is often referred as God’s Own Country and it’s an apt title. Once you visit Kerala you will feel the tranquility, beauty and natural wonders in length and breadth of the state in the form of mountain ranges, wildlife, backwaters, monument, museums, beautifully carved temples, art galleries and lush green forests.
Located Southwest of India, Kerala is a perfect destination for tourists.

Our starting point was Munnar

A small town and a hill station, Munnar is located in the Southwest of Kerala. Tea plantations, waterfalls, and number of resorts make it a comfortable and beautiful place. National parks and wildlife are other major places you should not miss when you are here.

We started our journey to Munnar from our landed place and it took about 3 hours to reach. We were exhausted but the climate and the enchanting beauty of tea gardens just took us to some other level.

Suddenly we were energized by the god’s best creation!

By the time we got ready, we forgot how much we have traveled to get to this place and how tired we are!!
Some resorts were made just for couples as they were secluded and tranquil. You can not even hear a pin drop sound.

Just you and your partner!!!

It’s the best place to explore each other under the umbrella of nature. There will be nobody except you and you. Not even the waiters will come and disturb you (Lots of Sarcasm on this one). If you are hungry you will have to go and eat. Charges are high as compared to the quality of food. People don’t bother. In-fact nobody will bother you at all.

Good for people like us who are looking for solitude and want to explore wonders of nature.

Two days we had to explore Munnar and believe me we had very little time to explore the place.

Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar
Munnar
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden
Munnar Tea Garden

Next stop was Alleppy (Allapuza) also famous for the backwaters.

The Backwaters of Kerala is another important tourist destination in the state. Its made up of the interconnected rivers, lakes and canals which merge into Arabian Sea.

You can hire a houseboat and be in water with beautiful surroundings for days. Whole houseboat is yours, you decide menu and enjoy royalty.

Most of the people who come here are honeymooners and couples and they love it here.

Marari Beach
Marari Beach
Marari-Beach
Marari-Beach

Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters

Next It was Kovalam (light house beach) and this was the best place among all the places visited. Its setting is unique and I never saw it earlier. There is a dead end after which the walk lane starts. One side its sea and other side resorts. In fact I never saw this kind of setting ever in my life.

A beach town on the Arabian Sea in southern India, Kovalam features two most gorgeous beaches. The most popular and largest beach is Lighthouse Beach (crowded) and Samudra Beach (fewer people).

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach
Kovalam-Beach
Kovalam-Beach
Light House Beach
Light House Beach

People here know how to entertain couples but they have failed to understand average Indian traveler with family requirement. I found the resorts as very good with great option for non vegetarians.

Vegetarian guys you need to adjust a lot in Kerala as it seems people here eat only meat and nothing else.

I wish people here start loving animals as they love nature and start working on preserving animals.

One more thing. I guess the most important thing in Kerala. There is a ban in Liquor after some time in 2015 which makes me feel,

Thank god I visited earlier!!!

I think the place has its positives and negatives. Our moto should be to take positives and work towards happiness!!

I feel I had a perfect couple time with my better half!!

Sun Sand and Sea!!!

It was a perfect ending to our 10 day holiday!!

Some Funny Moments

Life gives you an opportunity to live life king size. We come across lots of funny things in life where we enjoy the moment. I travel a lot for my job and make sure that I enjoy small moments which comes during my travel.

Came across these pics which I couldn’t resist and sharing with you all.

Do make some comments and share similar pics,so that we can enjoy the moment and create much needed humor in our lives.

Weekend Gateway Puri

It was a long time since we had a family trip. I was busy in my job, trying to satisfy my bosses. I had no time to think about anything. My day goes with Just official work (Day n Night) which is normally followed by family time which I spent with my little angel. By night we used to get so tired that we don’t even talk to each other properly and try to sleep as early as possible to face the next day

So this routine was going on and on and there was no escape but

Suddenly an offer came from my colleagues to visit a place in the eastern part of India which is known as Puri. It’s a small tourist place in Odisha, India but its certainly not advisable to people to visit in summers. It’s very humid and its high temperature makes it more difficult to discover the place. Although a very beautiful shorelines which can be awesome when you visit from Oct to March.

We started at evening on Thursday night somehow. Courtesy our Indian Railways our train got late and we reached our destination five hours late. Missed chance to see Konark temple as my colleagues started long before we reached Puri. We reached took brunch and rested after which we just visited Jagannath temple.

Jagannath Temple

JagannathTemple is one of the most renowned as well as the biggest temples of Orissa. Established in the 12th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), Lord of the Universe. The credit for laying the foundation of the Jagannath temple of Puri goes to Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev.

There is an interesting legend associated with the Jagannatha temple of Puri. It is said that King Indradyumna, the ruler of the territory, saw Lord Jagannath in his dreams and following the Lord’s wishes, as told to him in his dreams, he got the JagannathPuriTemple constructed. The pillars that provide support to the temple are adorned with pictures depicting the life of Lord Krishna.

It was chaos in temple and it seemed everybody just wants money in the name of god which I despise most.

Anyway it was a beautiful feeling to meet the almighty in his one unique and beautiful form. It was peaceful and at the end of all the chaos it was worth visiting.

We left for beach and we were in for surprise. There we so many things to do. There were eateries, children games, camel ride, shopping for almost everything ranging from diamonds and pearls to balloons and pins at much cheaper cost than original.

We enjoyed sea in one of the most ferocious form and loved it. My two year old son experiencing sea for the first time and he was terrified by the sound and sight of it. He was awestruck and clung to me the whole time.

There was high tide next morning and we played for around two hours with the waves resulted in extreme exhaustion. At the end we were outplayed by the mighty sea and slept like anything after bath and breakfast.

We stayed at night in Puri and left early morning to Chilka Lake for boating and to watch dolphins.

100_3049
Chilka Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon with water spread ranging from 1165 sq km m the rainy season to 906 sq km in the dry season is nestled in the heart of the coastal Odisha (Orissa). Chilika is recognized as one of the most important wetlands in the world because it is home to a phenomenal variety of birds with over 160 species.

100_3105

100_3118

We saw lots of dolphins around our boat. The lake looked like sea and the waves were equally threatening. It seemed the lake is several meters deep until I saw a fisherman standing in the sea. We were amazed. The lake was just 5-6 feet deep in the pics which I took. Can you believe it? I couldn’t until I saw with my eyes.

At the end of trip we thought the timing was wrong as in May its very hot and humid the day and much more cool at night.

One thing which surprisingly came out from this trip was that we had a great time being together and talk about things which we generally don’t talk when in home and around. Hold each other’s hand and walk along without thinking about our daily routine jobs. I feel after a long time we looked in to each other’s eyes and expressed our love for each other. Our little 2 year old was surprisingly in a very good mood and left us in to each other’s company without creating havoc which he generally does. We spent lot of time together and that was the most important thing on this trip.

My advice to people “Please take a break from your routine and go to any place you like. It does not matter where. The most important thing is that you should be together and spend quality time”   100_3131

Weekend Gateway : Mahabalipuram

Sometimes when a travel plan just pops up in your mind and suddenly you find yourself on the road to this destination. Exactly this happened with me recently when I was on a business trip to Chennai (South India) for an exhibition. The exhibition was for five days and got finished on Saturday. We were all tired with my colleagues left early on Saturday to be with their family on Sunday.

I was unlucky as I was directly responsible for the exhibition and found myself working till 11 pm on Saturday with 2 other guys who had similar fate like me.

We reached hotel at around midnight from the trade centre, tired and hungry, but had lot of planning going on our mind as we kept Sunday for some small trip to a nearby beach. We started watching “Don’t Mess with Zohan” with beers in our hand and decided for Mahabalipuram in between. It was a sudden decision to visit Mahabalipuram which is also known as Mamallapuram, a small town in Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu state. It is around 60 km south from Chennai. It is an ancient historic town with lots of beautiful spots.

We started our travel in a rented taxi from Chennai early morning and it took only 45 minutes to reach the historic town of Mahabalipuram as the roads are pretty good. There was a bike racing going on which we realized when a fancy bikes zoop passed us in a flash. The 7th century port city is famous for its rock-cut shore temples. A lighthouse built on a hill from which you can see complete city over a group of temples below.

There are nine monolithic temples found in Mahabalipuram, the most important are Five Rathas known after the famous five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata. These monuments are carved out a single rock and are huge. You can watch them with unbelievable look in to your eyes. Just see yourself in the below pics.

If you are looking for a place for a weekend fun and adventure along with some historical sights-seeing than this place is ideal for you. We were more than happy to be in this place as it was a great relief after a week of hard-work. With beer in our hands at the beachside we were feeling relaxed and peaceful. This prepared us for the tough week that was coming ahead and we were ready to fight again.

Mahabalipuram also has some great cafes that serve good sea food. A backpacker’s delight you can find economical accommodations with plenty of activities to do specially surfing in this part of India.

Goa : Hot and Happening

We had heard a lot about Goa and its beaches all my life. I always wanted to visit the place with my girlfriend but she never showed interest. Never had a chance to go there with my college friends even after staying so close to the place. One day myself and my better half were chatting casually about a destination for the holidays coming up and finalized Goa in an instant. It was a quick decision and in no time we were on a flight to Mumbai from Kolkata. It’s like far-east to far-west of India. We took a bus from Mumbai in the evening after spending whole day with my brother in law.

So finally we were on the journey to Goa.

Its located in the west coast of India with an area of 3702 square kilometers. It is divided in to two parts i.e. North Goa and South Goa. The sea line is of Arabian sea and considered to be one of the most beautiful sea line in the world. It has 105 kms of Konkan coast stretching across the state of Goa providing a wide range of choice in beaches to suit everybody’s needs. When it comes to beaches, the visitor is spoilt for choice. North Goa has Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol beaches. South Goa has Velsao, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor and Betul beaches. The other place you can see in Goa are Arvalem Caves, Rock Cut Caves of Khandepar, Arvalem Waterfalls, Kesarval Spring, Mayem Lake, Rock Art Museum, Aguada Fort, Cabo De Rama Fort, Chapora Fort, Rachol Fort, Reis Magos, Terekhol Fort, Cabo Raj Niwas (Raj Bhavan), Corjuem Fort and the ruins of the Fortress of Colvale.

18092009(006) 18092009(007) 20092009 100_1114 100_1106 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 100_1111 100_1091 100_1179 100_1178 100_1093 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was a 12 hour journey from Mumbai. The bus was a piece of Luxury. We were comfortable after sometime and extremely excited, made some videos of us together in the bus going on a second honeymoon, discussing each other’s experiences as well as expectations. We were provided black polythene in case we like to throw out due to the mountainous road ahead.

We reached around 8 am in the morning at Panjim, Goa. Panjim is the capital city of the Goa State. This part comes under north Goa. It has all facilities there for tourists like us. We choose a place in the center of the city. The reason is ridiculous but simple. We wanted to be among good food joints of the city as we are vegetarians and in Goa it’s difficult to find good vegetarian food near beaches. The non-veg is awesome according to people there.

I mean who does not prefer a hotel near or in the beautiful beaches of Goa and live in the concrete jungle, it was us… we the foodies. Myself and my wife both love Indian food. In fact you can say we live for food not we eat to live. We can sacrifice anything except food. See food came in this and I got emotional and wrote so many lines.

Anyway we had couple bath and we started our day with 2 beaches for the day. One was Donna Paula and the other a beach in South Goa called Kolva. We rented a scooter which is easily available and searched for a good vegetarian joint and found a nice place.

The place was filled with people at 11 am (opening time) and had a great ambiance with exceptional food. We loved it and it was in our itinerary every late morning for the next 4 days. We went to Donna Paula beach and fell in love with the sea. It was a long time for us to be so close to the sea, first time together. The beaches are rocky here and filled with small, colorful shops. Did some shopping and went ahead for clicks. The place had a bad history according to locals. People say that an English Lady committed suicide in the rocks after she failed in love.

We had our lunch there in the sea view hotel but I started my day with beer at 1:30 pm. Took on the streets and went for Kolva Beach. This was a 50 km trip one way and had great landscapes in between. In fact this trip from North Goa to South Goa gave us a lot about Goa and its culture. You will find lots of tourists from all over the world in Goa and due to this the place is more of a cosmopolitan state. My better half was sitting close to me tightly on the back seat and we thought we were in love again. Went on and on and never looked back. Goa is considered to be one of the safest places in India. The roads were good and people were cooperative and helpful for directions. We reached Kolva Beach and were awestruck with the beautiful pristine beach, white sands and peaceful ambiance  We were not in a mood to take a splash as it was four in the evening but did go in to sea for some fun. While returning back I noticed Goa is clean, green and has very low population. There were beautiful colorful homes but no people in the streets. We were lost at some point of time but were unable to find a single person for directions at few places. Somehow we reached our hotel by seven and crashed after some physical exercises.

Second day again we started our day late with good brunch and headed for Kalanghute and Baga beach while covering a Goan fort, old Goa churches and some small beaches. Kalanghute was ok. Spotted a quiet place in at the outskirts of the beach, kept our clothes aside and had lots of masti in the sea. Baga beach was our pick of the beaches as it had great food, beautiful beach with one side a mountain and the other side a sea. In between there is a small river flowing in to the sea. We had sun bath, beer and massage for hours as a result, didn’t wanted to get back to our hotel. Left the place after sunset, completely wet. In the mean time the rain gods went crazy and showered their blessings on us which was an added advantage when you are with your partner. Somehow the mood becomes romantic.

The next day we were clear, we wanted to go to Baga only while covering Vagator and after lunch we reached Baga beach, had a great day there for the rest of the day. We were lost in each others arms and pretty much in love. It was rainy evening and we were few meters inside the sea, remembered our love timelines, ups n downs, and special events. Later got emotional, had a nice evening at a local pub and cafe with rains setting the mood and at last took the best decision of our lives.

We wanted to be parents !!

That night was one of the best night of our lives and most importantly be remembered for various reasons which cannot be written here.

More importantly, we had a great second honeymoon and an awesome trip to be remembered for the rest of our lives. In the bus while returning back we got emotional to each other and talked about how we have made it this far, from childhood friendship to this married life. Things have definitely changed which she always complains after marriage but one thing is sure we are still mad about each other.

Now we want to take our son there as soon as he is ready to explore the nature’s one of the best gift to mankind… the sea and its beautiful beaches…

Khajuraho : Visual Wonder

We had planned for the trip way back which is usually not my style but definitely a place of interest for me since not so long ago. I use to hear stories from people that Khajuraho is famous for sculptures that depict various sexual positions. There are lots of them. The whole temple is full of them and what not. It’s more or less related to Kamasutra (Ancient Hindu text which is considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior).

I had heard about Kamasutra and its various techniques and positions, mostly unusual and impossible to attempt but are still famous. I wonder how many people do it exactly the way it is mentioned in the books.

Anyway I am not talking about sexual positions here as I am not an expert on this but certainly the visit to Khajuraho has made me clear that it’s not only about the above mentioned things. It’s about something different, which I realized when I was there few days ago. It’s about love, life, passion and religion.

Let me brief about the place first,

Khajuraho is a small village situated along a lake in Madhya Pradesh (heart of central India). Its spread over an area of 21 sq kms and is the most frequently visited monument after “Taj Mahal” in India. Its well known for Indo-Aryan architecture. The temples were built between the 9th and 11th centuries by the warrior kings of Chandela Dynasty. It is believed that only 25 temples still remains and can be seen out of 85 ones in this place.

By the 16th century, Khajuraho was almost lost in the history and have lost importance, turning out to be a place which is not visible in the map. Not until 1838 when Captain T.S. Burt rediscovered the temples. He was traveling on an official duty and made a slight change in his itinerary to visit the place based on the inputs from a local who was with him. He later recorded that he has spotted the finest number of temples situated in one place and all are within a small distance to each other.

The sculptures and carvings of the temples depict humans, human bodies, and the changes that occur in bodies, as well as facts of life. Approx 10% of the sculptures contain sexual themes. These are sexual activities between people.

Though the erotic sculptures are of Khajuraho are the main attraction to a visitor at the same time these sculptures has given Khajuraho too much publicity and popularity and hence the place has gained a big place in the world map.

I enquired about the erotic sculptures and got few answers which are really interesting.

1)       Gods are responsible for natural calamities and if at all gods come to this place they will go back immediately after looking at these erotic sculptures. They wont be able to tolerate these nuisance.

2)      These erotic sculptures are put in for those people who are not sincere guys. If you are a sincere guy these erotic sculptures won’t affect you. If you are not sincere than you will be lost in these sculptures and will have to come back again with much sincerity which will not affect you to these sculptures.

According to some books, these erotic sculptures came in to existence when Buddhist devotees were required to pass this interesting test to reach the stage of spiritualism. They were put in front of these kind of erotic sculptures to test their ability to resist themselves and come out without any kind of physical emotion.

There are 3 groups of temples — Western, Eastern, and Southern. The main temples are in the Western group, which features the magnificent Mahadeo Temple. The Eastern Group contains a number of exquisitely sculptured Jain temples. There are only two temples in the Southern group.

We started our journey from my base location “Bilaspur” for a place called Maihar. It’s a religious place for Hindu’s. We reached there in the morning and left the place by afternoon for Khajuraho which was 164 kms from our location. There was a beautiful forest range in between which we crossed at night, the place was scary as the forest was dense and the valley was full of sharp and steep turns. Spotted few deer and some more animals in between, which made our journey more interesting and our enthusiasm went straight upwards. Thankfully the roads were good and we reached around 7 pm. After crossing lots of small villages I thought Khajuraho is also a small village (a village with a population of 8000 people) and has only few temples to offer and I really mean it as I was not expecting much. I had seen lots and lots of temples recently and was not really looking forward for another bunch of temples.

We reached and attended the light and sound show which is held at the temple premises at night. It was a cold, dark and windy night but enjoyed the lights focusing on the temples based on the ruler’s timelines which I didn’t keen to learn but the ambience was nice and worth watching.

Went straight to bed but before that stalked by the agents of different hotels and guides.  It’s always advisable to use audio guides which are available at the ticket counter in Khajuraho.

Next Morning we woke up to a cold December morning and straight away went to the temples arena after getting ready. When I entered the place I was awestruck and looked all around and found myself as if I am in heavenly place. There were beautiful, huge and architectural brilliant piece of monuments.

We went on from one temple to another and were lost for few hours in the sculptures and carvings as well the architecture of temples. Everything was so very perfect and we loved the place as it’s well maintained and has everything tourists require.

Khajuraho Festivals

 

A week long classical dance festival is held in Khajuraho temple complex each year in February and March. There are performers and dance groups from all over India putting up a show on various classical styles of Indian dance, such as Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali. A large arts and crafts fair is also held during the festival. There is a light and sound show every day in English and Hindi which is worth watching.

How to Reach Khajuraho

 

By Bus

Khajuraho from Jhansi are connected by buses but do confirm timings and also verify bus conditions. The local buses are crowded and take about 5-6 hrs to reach Khajuraho. One can also rent a car from Jhansi or Satna, which will roughly cost you up to Rs. 2000/- one way. A bus ticket costs approximately Rs. 100/- one way.

By Train

Jhansi (175 km) is well connected to Delhi by Bhopal Shatabdi . Khajuraho has recently got a new railway station and one can take a direct train to Khajuraho from Delhi’s Nizamuddin Railway Station that runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday known as Sampark Kranti Express.

By Air

Khajuraho has its own airport and Air India and Jet Airways operates flight from Delhi directly or via Varanasi.

12-12-12 : Bhoramdev Adventure

The day was special and I was lying on my bed reading newspapers at 9 am. There were so many things in the paper about the special day and how people gonna celebrate the day. It was indeed last digits visible on the calendar in all our living souls’ lifetime. I was wondering what I should do today to make our day special. My mind ran in to various things like watching a movie, going out for a lunch or dinner, shopping e.t.c. Finally made up my mind at going out on a short trip. The place was finalized “Bhoram Dev”.  The place is located 135 kms from my location Bilaspur.

I thought it was a piece of cake, good place, going out with family and a good picnic on a very special day but I was not aware of the surprises which were waiting for us. Yup lots of them and the day turned out quite an adventurous one for all of us.

Let me start with a brief about the place first.

The place is known as Bhoramdev. It’s a very old temple of Lord Shiva. It situated 135 kms from Raipur (Capital of Chattisgarh). Situated in the Maikal mountain range amidst the dense forest in Chattisgarh. The temple was built in the 11th century A.D. by King Devrai. The Bhoramdeo temple has a resemblance with the Sun temple of Konark and The Khajuraho temple and that is why it is also called the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh.

The erogenous idols of this temple are also extremely beautiful. On the outer walls there are as many as 54 erotic sculptures in different poses. These asanas from the “Kam sutra”, are truly an epitome of eternal love and beauty. They are artistically significant too. The Nagwanshi  Kings were believed to be  the practitioners of ‘Trantra’ as their contemporaries in Khajuraho.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

I finished up an official telecon of an hour and got ready immediately. It was already 11 am. We all had quick bite and quickly left for the location of our choice “Bhoram Dev”. It was a nice start with a fabulous weather and lush green countryside surroundings on either side of the road.  We crossed lots of villages on our way discussing about my parent’s childhood memories, our son and lot many other things. It was after about 120 kms, I asked somebody for the route. He explained me 2 routes, one shortcut and one long one. I went forward and saw the sign boards put up by the government of Chattisgarh after which I never turned back and also ignored the short and long routes explained to me by the person few minutes back. We started enjoying the route as it was a hilly terrain with lush green dense forest on either side of the road.

After about 15 km the sign boards were still there but the target location was unknown and no sign of people in the area. There was nobody who could tell us where to go. Suddenly we came across 2 guys in bike who told us that we are in the wrong route. The route where you are heading is still not ready and is closed. It was around 3:30 pm and was beginning to get dark in the forest, although its always dark in these forests. We thought why go back 30 km, lets try out that closed route. May be its ready and we can go as there was a chance. We headed for the route and came across 2 guys again on bike coming towards us from that route. They confirmed the route is okay enough for the car to pass. We entered in to that road, a hilly road, had sharp turns and one of the most narrow one I have ever come across in my life, which can carry one 4 wheeler at a time.

It was a 12 km stretch. We went on. It was really a dense forest with no one on the road for around 5 kms. After 5 kms we located some people working on the road and my breathing went a bit slow after beating so fast for the last 5 kms.

We asked again and got a positive reply that road is ok for us to pass but it has sharp turns and has lots of steep ups and downs. Went on but had a peace of mind on the road and also the distance. After crossing beautiful scenes consisting of hills, forests and ponds we reached our destination. It was cold outside but beautiful setting. One side had a large pond with a hilly background, middle a temple and one side, a beautiful park.

It was around 4:30 pm and we quickly went on to see the temple and garden. It was a beautiful temple with lots of beautiful sculptures. The ambience was so peaceful that we forgot our long and adventurous journey.

It was already 6 pm by the time we left the place after our temple visit and late lunch. It was dark already. We took a different route now and were confident of hassle free travel but due to some villagers advice we took a short cut and we were in a pathetic village road with lots of bumps and potholes. There was no road visible, I looked at the speedometer and it was at 30 km/hr sometimes 20 km/hr. This was a 15 km road with nobody was visible on the way. There were paddy fields around. In-between we came across some villagers for confirmation on route. Some people won’t believe we crossed the 15 km stretch in 45 minutes. It was almost 7 pm and it was dark with empty streets but only thing which was comforting was that we were on highway and it will take us to our base location. My 2 year kid was bored like hell and was getting irritated, my wife was angry at me for making a plan like this but thankfully my parents were with me and backing me up.

We were cruising at a speed of 90 to 100 km/hr and accidentally I took a wrong turn and went on to “Lormi” instead of “Mungeli” and went on to travel 27 kms.Mungeli route is under highway and lorni is like a village road.

The map will clear this as below,

Image

After these 27 km distance I realized the road is not familiar and asked for directions in a shop which was getting closed. There were five guys and I guess all were pretty heavily drunk and were giving me ridiculous directions and distances. One guy came and told me bluntly “ Sir don’t fall in to bullshit of these people and go straight you will reach your base location and gave me the names of towns which will come in between but told me that the route is bad to worse for around 20 kms and is getting repaired. With a heavy heart I came back and discussed with all the shareholders of my family. We decided we will not go back and went on trying our luck, hoping for an adventure. It was 8:30 pm and in villages here in India you will not find a single person on the streets. It was all dark and empty with few loaded trucks in between on a single 10 feet road. I went on trying to cover the distance as quickly as possible but due to road conditions and our ignorance of route made us to travel catiously. Finally we reached a place and my dad quickly recognized the same as he had worked on that area in the beginning of his career. We were pleased to hear that and traveled now with much more confidence. Reached Kota, a place I also recognize and felt like we are home finally. It was 9 pm at night and now it was all lightened up and filled with people all over the places. After traveling few more kms the problem with traffic came and once in my life I felt good to stuck in traffic and thanked to god. Finally we reached our destination at 10 pm. It was indeed a special day as we wanted it to be but turned out to be more than special for all of us.

By Air :– Raipur(134 kms) is the nearest airport connected with Delhi, Mumbai , Magpur, Bhuneshwar, Kolkata , Ranchi , Viskhapatnam and Chennai.

By Rail :- Raipur is the nearest Railway station on the Bombay-Howarah main line.

By Road:- Taxis are available from Kawardha(18 Kms). Regular Buses ply from Raipur(116 Kms.), Rajnandgaon(133 Kms.) and Jabalpur(220 Kms.) to Kawardha.

Taj Mahal, Agra

We started our journey from Delhi in a local train which was overflowing with all kinds of people live in India. Luckily my wife got a seat and sometime later I had the opportunity to share the seat with 4 other people in a seating capacity of three. It was already 11 am when we left Delhi. I never knew that a local train would take 4 hours to cover a distance of 200 kms . It stopped at all small towns and villages with a signification change in our compartment at every station with different kind of people with varied cultures. We were getting nervous as it was a special day for me and my wife and we wanted to be in Taj Mahal before the end of the day. The time of gate closing for Taj was 5 pm. We reached Agra around 3 pm. By the time we checked in at the hotel it was already quarter to four. Got ready as soon as possible and left for Taj Mahal in an Auto Rickshaw which was scaringly fast. We reached at the gate at quarter to five and saw there was a long line of foreign and local tourist. We were unsure of getting the entry but we got it at 5 pm. It was a indeed a miracle and we were in, we were brimming with abundant energy and happiness.

It was finally time to see Taj Mahal with my beloved wife on a special day, our 1st wedding anniversary. It was a dream for both of us since we started dating each other to be at Taj Mahal on our 1st anniversary.

It was a day of celebration and 90 % of our time we did was travel. Finally we entered from the main gate and we were just awwed with the grandness of the monument.

Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal on the bank of river Yamuna on the other side of Great Red Fort of Agra.

She died after giving birth to their 14th child while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush rebels. The Emperor was so shocked by the death of his beloved wife that all his hair and beard were said to have grown white in few months that followed.

Mumtaj wanted Shah Jahan to fulfill her four wishes

  • To build a monument that stands out of the world.
  • To marry again.
  • To be kind to their children
  • To visit the tomb on her death anniversary.

Shah Jahan completed the first and second promises. Taj Mahal Construction began in 1631 and completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were put for work on Taj mahal. The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the agra site. It was designed by the Iranian architect Ustad Isa and there is a myth that his right hand was chopped off after the construction. Shah Jahan was later kept captive by his son in Red fort from where Taj Mahal was visible.

Well history had its positives and negatives but we definitely had a great time sitting at the premises of Taj Mahal and watching the beauty and grandness of Taj. It’s a great place to feel love as love is in the air. Spent nearly 2 hours there and fell in love all over again. We ended the day with a quiet dinner at one of the city diners. It was an awesome experience which we have not forgotten till today and longing for a visit again soon.

There are 2 more major attractions in Agra i.e. Minitaj and Red Fort which should be a must in the literary for everybody who visits Agra.

Red Fort Agra
Mini Taj


Bastar, Chattisgarh, India

If you are looking for a place where you can find lush green dense forests, beautiful mountains and valleys, lively rivers, waterfalls, natural caves, diverse wildlife along with the blend of colorful cultures, Bastar is a perfect place for you.

There is more in Bastar other than picturesque scenes i.e. fascinating culture, ancient architectural monuments (including beautiful temples) and lots of solitude.

Tribe

Bastar is mainly a mix of Gonds, Murias and Marias tribes. Each tribe has its own distinct dress, culture and way of life and they can easily be differentiated by their specific costumes, jewellery, headdresses, baskets and tools. The main tribes in Bastar are Gond, Abhujmaria, Bison-horn Maria, Muria, Halbaa, Bhatra, Parja and Dhurvaa.

Gonds are world famous for their ‘Ghotul’ system of marriages. In this system, the unmarried young boys and girls live together in separately made huts and allowed to mingle and practice everything they desire. During this period they interact and enjoy themselves by participating in dancing, music, local story telling and much more in a drunken mood. If everything goes well and they are happy after this, they can get out of the Ghotul (Hut) and marry.

Divorces, remarriages, widow marriages, marriages with the wives of the brothers and between brothers and sisters are common. One of the unique characteristics of the Gonds marriages is that the groom has to pay bridal price to the father of the girl which is opposite to the Hindu culture practiced all over India.

Our Journey

We started our Journey from Raipur in a tempo traveler which is a luxury small 12 seater bus (operated by CG tourism). The 300 kms road from Raipur to Bastar is mostly good. You will get lots of small town in between where you will find everything which you need in the midst of a travel. Lots of good small restaurants are there in Dhamtari, Charama and Kanker.  There is dense forest and mountainous roads in this ride. Just make sure that you have black polythene with you for emergencies.

Once you reach the place called Chitrakote Waterfalls you will forget your 300 kms long journey. It’s an awesome waterfall and if you are staying in the Chattisgarh tourism guest houses located in the nose of the waterfall, than you are in for a great time. It can be called as the little Niagra falls. It’s a beautiful fall. In summers when the water is little less than you can hire a small boat for 8 to 10 people with 500 to 800 INR and go near the fall. Its an amazing experience and one must try as this was the best experience for us in Bastar.

Located 50 Km from Jagdalpur is the crescent moon shaped Chitrakoot waterfalls. River Indravati plummets down from the Vindhya mountain ranges and forms these waterfalls.

Chitrakot in Summer !!
Chitrakot in Rains !!

 

The Chattisgarh tourism guest house is good with all amenities like AC, Nice Bed, and clean bathrooms. The only problem is service. If you are in honeymoon it’s a wonderful thing as you will be alone and nobody will disturb you. If you are hungry, you have to go to the restaurant, which is 500 meters away from the rooms. People can bring all sort of things as well on call but it takes minimum 15-20 minutes. The simple food is nice and you can ask the cook to prepare vegetables according to your choices.

Major other Destinations

Kanger Valley National Park: Kanger Valley was declared a National Park in 1982 by GOI. It has breathtaking wild and abundant flora and fauna. 27 Km from Jagdalpur its one of the most beautiful and picturesque national parks of India. Spread over an area of approximately 200 km2 consisting mainly of hilly terrain, the Park derives its name from the Kanger River.
Wildlife here includes panther, tiger, bear, snakes and many species of deer’s.

Kanger National Park
Kanger National Park

Indravati National Park: This park derives its name from Indravati river which flows through it. Located in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. With a total area of approximately 2799.08 km2, Indravati attained the status of a National Park in 1981 and a Tiger Reserve in 1983 under the famous Project Tiger of India, to become one of the most famous tiger reserves of India.

Indravati National Park

Tirathgarh Waterfalls: Tirathgarh, 32 Km from Jagdalpur is famous for this waterfall that drops into Mugabahar river.  You need to decent down by a lot of steps. Keep sufficient water.  On getting down the steps you will have glimpse of 50 meter fall where water looks white as the fall has lots of steps from which water flows down,

Teerathgarh Falls

Kutumsar Cave: This underground cave is 330 metres in length and is known to be the second longest natural cave in the world. It is about 32 Km from Jagdalpur and was discovered in the year 1900. There are stairs at the entrance which is very narrow and it’s not advisable for old age people and kids as there is less oxygen inside the cave. Once inside, you can see stalactite formations. The cave has many connecting compartments most of them still unexplored.

Kutumsar Caves

 

Kailash Cave: 40 metres above the ground level and 200 metres in length, this cave derives its name from the natural carving of the idol of Lord Shiva. It is located on a small hill in the Kanger Valley National Park. It was discovered in 1993 and the salt deposits here, called the music point, sound musical when tapped with a stone. Presently solar energy is used to light this cave. The Stalagmite and Stalactite formations inside the cave are beautiful.

Dandak Cave: This underground cave was discovered in 1995. It is 200 metres in length and divided into two compartments. To go from the first compartment to the second, you need to go on your knees. White stalactite formations here look resplendent. Solar lamps are used to light the cave.

The whole area of Bastar has many smaller caves such as Kanger, Karpan and Devgiri among others. All the caves are a geologist delight as their rocks are said to be millions of years old.

Other than this Bastar has a lot of destinations which includes Danteshwari Temple, Bastar Palace, Anthropological Museum, Barsoor (famous for its temples dating from the 10th and 11th centuries), Keshkal, Garhganora, Narayanpal, Bhongpal, Samlur, Chingitarai, Bade Dongar, Dantewada,   and Narayanpur.

There are no problems faced by tourists from Naxalites. You will not feel there presence at all and can easily travel the place without any concern. Just an advice, try to return your staying place before sunset. At Night the place can be a little scary. There is no night life as the place is a small place but you can have a great time with your near and dear ones without any outside disturbances,

Location

Chattisgarh Map

Located in the southern parts of the state of Chhattisgarh, Bastar is surrounded by the district of Dantewra in the south and Kanker in the North. It shares its borders with the states of Maharashtra in the west and Orissa in the east. Placed around 300 kms from the state capital of Raipur.

How to Get There ??

Jagdalpur is in Chattisgarh state and is 300 Km from Raipur and 313 Km north-west of Vishakhapatnam. The nearest airports and railheads are Raipur and Vishakhapatnam. Hyderabad is 565 Km from Jagdalpur. The best time to visit is between the months of November to June. During the monsoons the caves are closed for visitors as water fills in them.

It’s always advisable to take a cab from Raipur or Vishakhapatnam directly or book in to Chattisgarh tourism package. They will take care of everything.  So just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful yet mysterious place called Bastar in Chattisgarh.

Malhar,Chattisgarh

Malhar is a small town situated in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh, India. It is famous for its archeological importance. It is situated at 40 km by road from Bilaspur.

In Malhar, many ancient temples have been found, such as Pataleshwar temple, Devri temple & Dindeshwari temple. The ancient deposits and Jain religion memorials are also found here. The four handed idol of Vishnu is also very famous. At this place, remains were found of the period from appx. 1000 BC to Kalchuri regime. The temples of 10th and 11th centuries are seen here. Among those Pataleswar Kedar temple is one of them where Gomukhi Shiv ling is the main point of attraction. The Didneswari temple of Kalchuri regime is also found. Artisitc idols are found in Deor temple. At this place, there is a museum having good collection of old sculpture being managed by the Government of India.

The original name is Mallalpattan. According to the remains and the pramaans, the Malhar was established around 3rd century BC. In that time the place was under somvanshi rulers. 7th to 10th century was dominated by Buddist. In between 10th to 13 th century Lord Shiv temples were built mainly in Malhar.

How to Reach – Malhar is about 27 km from Bilaspur on the Bilaspur-Raipur road. 11 km from Bilaspur is the village Masturi, from where you need to take a right turn for Malhar which is about 16 km far. The road from Masturi to Malhar was very bad, when I visited this place in Oct 2012. Public transport is available from Bilaspur however frequency is not very good.  Bilaspur is the nearest railway station and Raipur is the nearest airport.

Pics