Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

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.

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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…

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Bastar, Chattisgarh, India

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Travel
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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

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Travel
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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.

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