Rantings #1

On a Thursday afternoon, I suddenly remember the 60 something uncle me and my husband met in Aru Valley, a small village 19 km from Pahalgam. The uncle had visited to Aru to trek around, he was the CFO of a well known MNC based in Mumbai. We had spent 3 days together, chatting about travel and only travel. We were marveled at his enthusiasm even at 60. How he regretted being a CFO and not a full time traveler.

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Happy to share my Second Photo Feature at OnePlus Official Instagram Page.

About the Picture: A quite afternoon by the Tap Moriri in Ladakh after a long drive. We saw the changing colors of the lake. There were hues of blue all over right after the sunset, when the picture was captured. The water of Tso Moriri was absolutely still and the beauty mesmerized me.

Thank You OnePlus for the Photo Feature. You make amazing phones 🙂

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Oh So Kashid!! (via Pune)

 
I have been hearing stories about Kashid since 2008, when my “best” half traveled here for the first time. And he so wanted me to visit the place with him. And after 6 years of hearing innumerable stories, the sea finally gave a call. It was the Independence Weekend. Our bags were packed and we headed Pune!!
 
We boarded an AC Sleeper Volvo from Anand Rao Circle, Bangalore on August 13. Reached Pune next day around 12 noon. Just a suggestion, go for KSRTC buses to avoid delay.

The warm smile of my favorite cousin welcomed us. We headed home.  And there was my Seja jethu and natunma  ( my father’s elder brother’s family) with the brightest smile, the warmth of home and luchi (what more a Bong could ask for). After some pet puja with Bong Style Mutton curry, Luchi and alur dom and little nap it was time to explore the city.. PUNE!!
 
Being a part of a congested and mechanical Bangalore, for the last 1 year the wide empty streets of Pune was a welcome change. It’s not that the city does not have traffic but it’s not messy like that of Bangalore. Auto is a menace as much in Bangalore. We boarded an auto and headed the famous German Bakery. And one philosophical thought while sipping tea and snacks I had was: “Life does go on, no matter who stays and who doesn’t”
Next Stop: My cousin’s favorite hangout in Pune: “The Hard Rock Cafe”, Koregaon park
Well, well!! I am not much of a worshiper “rock music” or its culture, but nonetheless I liked the place, the ambiance and the of course the music!! (now just don’t ask me what they played and which genre 😉
 


Some reminiscence of happy and sad, difficult and easier times happened over a couple of beers, cocktails and chicken and we headed home.
 
 
 
Day 2:
 
I go back from where I started writing this post. Kashid!! We started for Kashid around 7 am in the morning. Kashid is about 172 km from Pune. I have heard the beauty of Mumbai-Pune Expressway when it rains, but witnessing it live was a different game altogether!! Tried to capture some with my smartphone, but that’s nowhere close to what my eyes witnessed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We reached Kashid around noon. The hotel we stayed was simple and decent and was priced reasonably. We were dying out of hunger since it was past 2pm but by Kashid standard it seemed pretty late. Roaming around the small village like town we bumped into a road side small eatery and trust me we had the bestest of fish meal. Local fishes include Basa, Surmai and of course Pomfret.
 
 
 
 
 
After a sumptuous lunch, we headed for Murud Beach about 20-25 Km from Kashid. There in the middle of the sea is the gigantic Murud Janjira Fort .
This is what Maharashtra Tourism Site [ http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/] tells about Murud Janjira Fort:

[Situated on a rock of oval shape near the port town of Murud, Janjira is one of the strongest marine forts of India.  The forts is approached by sailboats from Rajapuri jetty (Murud Beach).  The main gate of the fort faces Rajapuri on the shore and can be seen only when one is quite close to it.  It has a small gate towards the open sea for escape.  The fort has 19 rounded bastions, still intact. There are many canons of native and European make rusting on the bastions. Originally the fort was small wooden structure built by a Koli chief in the late 15th century. It was captured by Pir Khan, a general of Nizamshah of Ahmednagar.  Later the fort was strengthened by Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian Siddi regent of Ahmednagar kings.  From then onward Siddis became independent, owing allegiance to Adilshah and the Mughals as dictated by the times.  Despite their repeated attempts, the Portuguese, the British and the Marathas failed to subdue the Siddi power.  Shivaji’s all attempts to capture Janjira fort failed due to one reason or the other.  When Sambhaji also failed, he built another island fort, known as Kansa or Padmadurg, just 9kms north of Janjira.  The Janjira state came to an end after 1947.  The palace of the Nawabs of Janjira at Murud is still in good shape.] 
 
BUT you have to SEE it to BELIEVE IT
 
The magnificence of this fort will keep you awe struck!! The sail boats carry about 50 people. I have always been in love with the boat rides, the wind blowing on your face rubbing off all your worries. It was about half an hour journey. Once we reached there, the scary part was the way the boat men transferred each individual from the boat to the fort. They literally catch you by your hand and throw you on the fort stairs. Scary!! But my inspiration was few late 50 years ladies going for it in ease. I went for it and finally landed on the fort.
I wont blabber much about the awesomeness of the place, here are few captures that come perhaps close to what we experienced!!
 









 
 


 
Once back we headed to the beach of Kashid. One word that explains it is “SERENE”. Perhaps it had all the answers to your troubles, all your worries. Just walk by the beach and stare at the calmness of the sea and do nothing. Drown into blankness. Beautiful to say at least.
 







 
As evening approached we came back to the hotel but how I wished I could experience the sea at night. Localites say the beach isn’t safe post evening and succumbing to usual stupid situations we came back to our hotel.  The evening and half the night went on with random ramblings and chit chats. A passing realization:
“A cousin is that little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”
 
Day 3:
 
We were back to the beaches early morning. Seaside, early morning walks, hot tea and poses!! Life isn’t that bad at times!!
 
 


 
Around 11 we started back for Pune, had Chinese lunch in one of the roadside restaurant which turned out to be brilliant. We had plans of hopping a bit around Lonavala but long weekend, maddening crowd restrained us from even entering Lonavala. This was one disappointing part of our trip.
 
Back to Pune for a day before heading to the city of brick and mortar Namma Bengaluru, with memories of Kashid that will be there for a long long time.

To travelers interested to visit Kashid: Go there if you wish to free your mind from  all cluttered thoughts, walk by the beach on a moonlight night and Come Back REFRESHED & REJUVINITED. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When we talk about Kerala, we talk about the lush green tea estates of Munnar, the serenity of Backwaters of Alleppy or beauty of the coffee fields of Wayanad or maybe the Forests of Periyar. But there is much more to “God’s Own Country”, one such beauty that has probably been least explored in Kerala is the Bekal Fort and its Surroundings.
Bekal is situated in Kasargod District of Kerala about 370 Km from Bangalore.
How to Reach: KSRTC Buses operate between Bangalore and Kasargod. Though you wont get AC ones, but non AC ones are quite comfortable too. We boarded the bus from Bangalore’s Shantinagar Double Road Bus Station. Reached Kasargod Bus Station early morning around 6 am. Auto services are readily available and charges you about Rs 15/km without much hassles. Bekal Fort is about 12 km from the Kasargod Bus Station.

Since our check in time was around noon, we went for a quick visit to the Kasargod Beach. Kasargod Beach at 7 am in the morning is pristine. You just sit and gaze at the relentless waves hitting the shores. After spending about an hour in Kasargod Beach we headed for Bekal. 
 
Where to Stay: There are about 4-5 hotels in Bekal. Two of them are in 5 star category and hence overtly expensive. The best bargain for hotel is Nirvana@Bekal, right opposite the Bekal fort. This is the best located hotel in Bekal, serene environment, clean cottages and very hospitable staff. Room rates are quite reasonable. They charge around INR 2300 for a Deluxe room and INR 800 for an extra cot.
 
 
Inside the resort
Cottages at Nirvana 
We had a quick breakfast and headed to explore the Bekal Fort. Bekal fort is the largest fort in Kerala, overlooking the mighty Arabian Sea. It was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore in 1650AD. Bekal served as one of the military station of Tipu Sultan when he led the great military mission to capture Malabar.  But as most of us are unaware Bekal was rediscovered by Mr Mani Ratnam where he shot the lovely song “Tu hi re” from the movie Bombay. At present the fort is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
The fort is magnificent and you need a minimum of 2 hrs to explore all its nooks and corner. The entry fee to the Fort is as cheap as INR 5 only and INR 25 for carrying cameras. 
 
The only turn off was the extreme heat but the beauty of the Fort had compensated for it all. The few pictures we clicked will probably talk of the magnificence and beauty of this fort.
 
 
The fort would probably look its best during sunset but sadly it closes by 5 pm.

The second best thing to do at Bekal is to have a walk along the Bekal Beach. Nirvana@Bekal has a short cut to Bekal Beach and it remains empty most of the time. 
 
Oh how I love beaches that are yet to be tainted by commercial gibberish !!
 
 
 
Evenings are pin drop silence in and around the Fort. Sit back, relax and talk to you own self and probably doing nothing, sometimes is the best way to spend time. 
 
The day ended with an early cozy dinner, chit chats and gossips.
 
Day 2: We went for an early morning stroll to the beach. The fort was extremely crowded on the second day for that was Sunday. Mostly localites come here for a day trip. We checked out around 2 pm and headed to Valiyaparamba Backwaters, about 60 kms from Bekal. It takes about 1 and half hour to reach from the fort in an auto.
It’s a calm and serene stretch of Backwaters. The drive to this place was even more beautiful. Interior roads of Kerala are too good to be true. We spent a couple of hrs before starting our journey back, staring at the long stretch of water, the green vegetation and blue sky.
 
Travel Tips:
 
  • Arm yourself with bottles of water, umbrellas and sunglasses, its too hot almost round the year.
  • The best time to visit is the rainy season. Though off season, locals say Bekal is at its best during the rains.
  • Don’t stay anywhere but at Nirvana@Bekal. Right opposite to the Fort, reasonable on pockets, standard services and great hospitality.
  • If you are not habituated to Keralian cooking styles like me, please issue a disclaimer with every meal you order: 1: Not to put Curry Leaves in every other dish they prepare, 2: Avoid cooking in Coconut oil. (P.S: I have no intentions to hurt their cooking styles, just that this is something my taste buds strictly deny!!)
  • If you wish to visit the nearby Backwater by an auto make sure you are connected to GPS, the auto drivers have a tendency to detour and charge for extra kilometers. 
 
All in all Bekal should be a must on your Bucket List when you are visiting God’s Own Country!! Beautiful is an understatement to what the Fort has to offer 🙂 
 
Visit it to Believe it!!

 

 
 
 
50 Shades of Grey might have made for all the erotica and stuff that titillates. Just in case you would have thought of giving nature a chance, to titillate, not with erotica but ‘exotic’a (wish there was a word such),  and with a slightly different hue, say blue, the Andamans would have jumped at the opportunity to author a book by the title, ‘50 Shades of Blue’. And, quite justly so.
 
I am one of those who is kind of biased towards the idea of choosing a foreign location for a honeymoon spot. The motive behind is plain and simple, honeymoon comes once in a lifetime (hopefully and statistically) and hence, it should be given the best choice of place to be enjoyed, albeit not burning a hole as big in your pocket that the entire wallet slips out. I mean, people like me have almost synonymized the idea of honeymoon to having a foreign trip. Unfortunately.
 
Andamans is just the right, tight slap on our faces.
 
To start with, this is one for the answer to why.
 
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Ours was a short trip, short, as it was not enough to capture Andamans to its fullest. We had to leave out a lot many places such as the Mud volcano, Diglipur, the forest of the Jarwas(which was then prohibited) and so on. But even then what we were left with was nothing less than splendid.
 
Day 1: First footprints on the island
 
We landed in Port Blair after a 2 hours Jet Airways flight from Kolkata. The journey doesn’t have much to offer apart from the last ten minutes before the touchdown. Boy! The island looks amazing from up there. Wish I had ignored the “Please turn off all your electronic devices” warning! I could have had a handful of snaps to show how the first view of the Andamans made it look like a piece of stone dipped in a puddle of blue paint left carelessly on a palette.
 
The Port Blair airport must be one of the cutest airports around. The runway finds itself placed carefully in a valley and seems to be just enough for a plane to come to a halt. No point looking out for a bus or an aerobridge to take you to the main building as it is, well, just a couple of steps from where the plane halts. Well, we landed, and right there at the gate was our guy, Mr. Sanjay, with all the smile in this world, waiting to receive his guests.
 
We had spent a good couple of months to figure out which property would be best suited to our taste and pocket. Thanks to the extent the reach of the internet has spread to, we got a decent number of options to choose from. The one that was to become our “nest” for a day was the Megapode Resort. We had booked a Bamboo cottage that overlooked the sea and it was wonderful in one word. Priced at around INR 2500, it had very spacious rooms, clean and a view from the adjacent balcony so relaxing that you might not even want to leave your seat and the cup of coffee at hand. I wish I had a good visual to prove my words, but as I just said, probably I was too lazy to leave my seat and get the camera!!! 😛
There is no wrong turns.. only paths we had not known, we were meant to walk.

 

Our “Nest” from a distance.
 
Well, Port Blair is, without a doubt, a nice little town to unwind peacefully. There is this light n sound show at the famous Cellular jail for which you need to book tickets beforehand. Although I didn’t enjoy it much personally, having already seen better such shows around the country earlier, someone else might find it a lot more interesting. So, midway through the show, we left and went to another place we had heard about in passing, Corbyn’s Cove, and felt we had made a good choice!
 
Corbyn’s Cove is a must visit place to take an evening stroll. There’s this lovely evening beach, dotted with coconut trees and a lot of benches to sit and relax. Not a lot many people to snatch the peace of the dawning evening from you, so you are ensured of a quiet time here. Just when the evening has set in and you feel like there’s not much left to stare in the dark, why not go for a cup of coffee at the Peerless Sarovar Portico just behind?
 
The night in Port Blair is quiet and would taste just better with a beer in hand and legs stretched out on the balcony, looking out to the dark sea in front.
 
Day 2 : Oh Boy!! Jolly Buoy!!
 
Blue sky, green mountains, white sand and blue waters. Seems God has painted with His own hands. Famous for its crystal clear water and underwater corals and this is by far the best place for scuba and snorkeling for all adventure junkies.
The journey to Jolly Buoy Island takes a little more than an Hour from Wandoor Beach (about 30 kms from Port  Blair). All boats leave the beach b y 9 am and you can come back by the same boat by 2 pm. The tickets, Permit etc cost around INR 600. The 1 hr journey is definitely something to look forward to. All possible shades of blue and green play hide and seek. Pictures speak louder than words, so here’s few clicks that might convince you what I experienced.
 
The Ship that carried us to Neil

 

 

 

That’s how clear Andaman Sea Water is

 

Star Fish on our Boat
There is glass bottom boat ride in Jolly Buoy, not that great but of course worth a shot. You get to view some amazing corals and marine creatures.
Marine Creatures Spotted from our Glass Bottomed Boat
And some more
Take a stroll around the forests of the island once the boat ride is over. Though it is extremely hot but the pristine white beach. The emerald green water and azure blue horizon will keep you awestruck to the awesomeness of nature. I have never seen experienced this colour play before in my life.
 
 
Once back from Jolly Buoy, we strolled in and around Port Blair, watched the light and sound of the famous Cellular Jail of Port Blair and spend lazy cozy time at our resort in Megapode.
 
Day 3: Neil Islands: Painted with Infinite Shades of Blue
Neil Island is Andaman’s least known island compared to Havelock and all such. But this is by far the best Island of Andaman that we visited. A little island covering an area of about 18 sq kms , Neil is a way peaceful option compared to the pulsating typical tourists of HavelockThere are a couple of small beaches dotting the island of Neil, namely Sitapur, Bharathpur, etc. Sitapur has a strange landscape, filled with dead corals all over. Got to learn from our guide that this was caused during the tsunami that rocked Andamans, a lot of corals were destroyed and that’s what formed this landscape.
 
Bharathpur is Neil’s challenge to the beaches of the Carribeans (as much as I could make out from the pictures of the latter). You can choose to laze around, sunbathe yourself or take a snorkelling trip at a good distance within the sea. And once you are done with all your activities, don’t forget to have a sip of the coconut water available. Finishing off a single coconut can be a good challenge to anybody!! Pictures speak louder than words. Let Neil surprise you:

 

 
 
 

 

The Natural Bridge that worn out during Tsunami, at Sitapur Beach

 

The Stony Structures Fills the Sitapur Beach

 

 

The Jetty at Neil Island

 

 

Bharatpur Beach

 

 

 

Happy Feet 🙂

 

Bharatpur Beach

 

I look back only to smile

 

Spotted a Star Fish!

 

Rocky

 

Rocks that stood test of time.

 

I pick the prettiest part of the sky and I melt into the wing and then into the air, till I’m just soul on a sunbeam 
 How to Reach Neil Island: Boats ply between Port Blair and Neil Islands at 6.30 am and 11.30 am. Tickets are priced at INR 285.
 
Where to Stay: We had a nice stay at the Tango Beach Resort in Neil Island that we had found out after quite some research. The rooms are nice and clean and are decently priced. We booked one for Rs. 1800/night and it was a comfortable stay. Fortunately they have got a decent site up now, that allows online reservation as well. The guys there are extremely helpful and always greet and treat you with a smile.
 
Cottages at The Tango
 
The Way to the Dining Area at Tango
 Day 4 and 5: Havelock Islands
Havelock is Andaman’s most popular island. It boasts of two beaches, Radhanagar and Kalapatthar. Radhanagar is more popular being the 2nd best beach of Asia and is truly spectacular. We had a dark cloud coming in which formed an out of the world backdrop against the blue waters and the white sand. Suggestion would be, get yourself a place on the sands, if possible, at some distance from the commercial crowd that’s there, and let yourself get lost in the beauty of the surroundings. You won’t regret spending some time of your life here.
The awesomeness of Radhanagar Beach

 

Radhanagar Beach: Captured minutes before it rained

 

I shall go back to the seas 🙂

 

 

 

 
Unless, of course, if you have not seen Kalapatthar till now.
Kalapatthar takes your breath away with it’s unique landscape. As the name suggests, it’s mostly a rocky beach, and looks blackish due to the colour of the rocks. Add to that, a couple of partially uprooted trees forming the perfect setting for a dramatically fashionable photo shoot. Don’t hesitate even if onlookers pass a comment or two while you are busy deciding on that perfect pose, as the jealousy in their eyes would be worth it with flooding ‘Like’s on your pictures later!! So, in short, Kalapatthar steals the show from Radhanagar, at least it did for me. I cursed myself for not having come here earlier thereby managing to spend some more time on this beach.


P.S: The following captures are in Kalapatthar Beach. Let the Pictures speak and not the captions 🙂

 

 

 

The shadows of Joy or the joy of Shadows?? 
On our way back from Kalapatthar to the hotel on Havelock, we treated ourselves to some absolute delicacy. We kind of had made ourselves a pledge that we would let some chickens live longer but show no mercy towards fishes while we are at Andamans, and we stuck to the same. The restaurant served us a whole cooked fish, priced reasonably at INR 2/gm making it around 600 bucks for the entire thing. I better not tell you anything about the taste as there was no trace of the fish left but just a couple of bones that could not be had; it was this yummy.
Sea Fish Clear Soup

 

Whole Cooked Pomfret
 
The evening, leading to the night, is best spent with a candlelit dinner by the private beach of the hotel.
 
Where to Stay: We booked ourselves a room at the Sea Shells Resort which seemed to be the most romantic property around (honeymoon mood, you see). It was good, no second thoughts about it, but a tad high in price (approx. INR 6500/night) compared to what it had in offering. So unless you are willing to shell out a lot behind Sea Shells, my suggestion would be go for other options like Cross Bill or best of all, Dolphin Resort which is a govt. property and hence boasts of the best location and hence is a pain to get a booking for.
 
Our Cottages in the evening

 

Our Cottage at The Sea Shell
Day 6: Return to Port Blair
The journey to Port Blair on a govt. ship that moves at a sloth pace, takes almost 2.5 hrs. So we decided to board the Makkruzz which we learnt, covers the same distance in about 45 mins! Thrilled to the core, spending 1500 bucks a ticket, we boarded the vessel. It was nothing short of what you find inside an airplane, air-conditioned, seats with spacious legroom, a glass wall so that you could enjoy the view outside and so on. So with everyone seated and with all the safety precautions announced loud, the boat announced its start. 
 
Boy!! what a ride it turned out to be at the end. The sea was expected to be a bit rough as it was drizzling, but when you, along with the boat, start oscillating in such extreme as to find on one moment the sea and the next moment the sky by your side, trust me, any roller coaster ride in any amusement park of the world, fails to match up with this one. All that you are left to do is vomit, vomit and vomit, outpouring possibly every single thing you had had in the breakfast that morning (may even be from mornings before) and pray that this hell of a ride comes to an end as soon as possible.So, read this very carefully, if you are someone with a weak heart, or a weak gastrointestinal system, this is not a ride recommended for you!! Save yourself the extreme thrill if you can!! 🙂 Or at least, have a light breakfast if you are indeed hell bent on having the ride!!
 
Where we Stayed: We chose to stay at Diviyum Manor, which is, literally a walk down the airport. So you can safely check from your room window if your plane has arrived and then start from your hotel for the airport. This is extremely budget option but a decent hotel to just spend the night before heading back home. Priced around INR 1100
 
(Disclaimer: Don’t blame me if you find boarding gates have been closed for you for being so super cool about checking in).
Day 7: Return to Kolkata
We return with all the memories of Andaman, and a promise to come back, again and again. 

I shall never be able to get enough of the Andaman Island and its inexplicable. Meanwhile, I remember one of my favourite poets quote as I draw the line:


“I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over” 
And I shall come back!! So should you!!

 

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Thank you Tripoto for making this beautiful compilation of travel postcards from travelers around the world. I am even more glad that you made one for me 🙂 
 
You spark Wanderlust in me every moment! I am so much in love with you 🙂 Thank you 🙂
 
Readers see their entire compilation at Tripoto Wanderers !!
 
Way to go Tripoto 🙂
Anniversaries are that time of the year when we hate to stay at home or work and go for a cliched dinner!!
 
And given the travel freaks we are, any occasion is an added excuse to head places!!
 
We just had two days in hand.. And Beach in mind..
 
I had heard a lot about the beaches of Coastal Karnataka specially Mangalore and its nearby beaches. Since two days were too less a time to explore Mangalore. We decided Beaches that were a little near. After much research, we went for Beaches in and around Udupi (the temple town of Karnakata about 400 km from Bangalore.
 
How we Reached: We boarded KSRTC Bus from Majestic around 9 pm on a Friday Night. (There are other bus services as well, but none is as punctual as this one ). The tickets costs around INR 950 – INR 1100.
 
Day 1: We reached Udupi around 6 in the morning. Hired a cab and headed Maravanthe Beach. This is a Beach near Kundapura, Karnataka, 55 kms from Udupi. The River Suparnika flows on one side of the road with the beach on the other, creating an amazing view. The river Souparnika, merges with Arabian Sea here, making a U turn and joining the Sea after a journey of more than 10 kms.
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
I was so engrossed in the beauty of the place that I hardly could capture few photos. The beach was pristine and empty. We walked along the lonely beach. Sounds of  light ripples of water and a mild wind made the walk a beautiful one. After spending around an hour here, we headed for Malpe which was a 70 km drive from Maravanthe.  Amazing would be an understatement to my first reaction when I first saw the beaches of Malpe. Here are some of my captures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The accommodation is a bit of a problem here since there is only two or three hotels. We booked @Paradise Isle Beach Resort. An above average property with an average food and not so good service and a HORRIBLE SPA!! The best part about the hotel is their hospitality.
 
Since this was just a day’s stay, we did not bother much about the accommodation. We freshened up and went hunting for some sea side fish stalls. Spicy Fried Fish is a must have in sea side stalls of Malpe.
 

 

 

 

 

 
There are a few water sports which you may go for mornings or late afternoon. Para sailing, Jet Sking and some such. But safety of these sports is not guaranteed and it is totally dependent on weather conditions.
 
Post our lunch we headed for St. Mary’s Island. There are boats operating every 45 min from Malpe Beach to St Mary’s costs about INR 250 per person. The same boat will bring you back.
 
The Beauty of St. Mary’s Island is truly a treat to the eyes. Here’s a glimpse of what we experienced:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
By the time we were back to Malpe it was approaching dusk. We decided to take a stroll by the beach and see sunset. Thank God we did this. Sunset in Malpe is BEAUTIFUL. And you have to see it to believe it!!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
I have always been in love with evenings in the beach. Calm, Serene, sounds of waves splashing on the beach, endless stretch of darkness and all I prefer in such ambiance is silent walk along the beach, a wave or two washing my feet in intervals and perhaps I get to gather all my thoughts and have a clutter free mind.
 
We come back composed, sipped a beer or two in a small restaurant adjacent to the hotel, had a “Fishy” dinner and ended our day.
 
Day 2: Given the late riser I am, I yet again miss sunrise and all we do in the morning is take a walk down the beach, have a hot cup of tea and come back to the hotel for breakfast. 
 
Around 1 pm after checking out of the hotel. We hired a cab to hop to our next Destination: Kaup Beach. It is a hamlet of Padu village about 12 kms south of Udupi on the coastal belt. Though it was very sunny but the beach still impressed us with its magnanimous light house, clean stretch of sand and a panoramic view of the sea. Its said that the beach is very risky, so one have to be very careful while going near the sea. We sat in a small shade and enjoyed the beauty of the empty beach.
 
Since we did not have much time in hand we couldn’t stay till sunset. But I have heard, this beach experiences one of the best sunset in the west coast. Better Luck Next time to us.
 
Back at Udupi, we spent the next couple of hours in strolling through the streets of Udupi, the temple town of Karnataka before we got into the bus and headed back to Bangalore.
 
Malpe and nearby beaches is a must on your bucket list if you love Beaches!! Go and Book N ow before the beaches loose their serenity and gets tainted by modernism!
I start writing on this, quoting the great Artist Leonardo Da Vinci “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Nothing puts my experience on air better than this. Its joyous, Its serene, its blissful, its probably inexplicable.
 
Nepal is one of the best places in the world to go for paragliding. It was on our mind ever since we planned our trip to Nepal. 4 (which included me of course) among the 6 of us dared to take the final plunge and fly up above along the Himalayas. We booked our tandem flight through Open Sky Paragliding (one of the reliable group with the best set of pilots to guide you and fly with you). We boarded a Jeep and took ride up the mountain to Sarangkot. This is where we took off from, an amazing spot 2000ft above, overlooking the Pokhara valley, with 3 of the highest mountains in the world – Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manasulu dominating the skyline. After about 5 min, our pilots arrived and 4 of us were assigned one pilot each who will fly with us. We opted for the 30 minutes Tandem Flight.

 

We were tied up along with our pilots with the necessary equipments and instructed that we have to run down the slope and take the final jump and then automatically our parachute will open up and we shall fly. Well the final jump from a height of 2,000 ft was the toughest job. But the moment you just forget the world and jump leaving everything in your life behind, you know you have learnt one of the best lessons in life “to let go”. Yes after minutes of apprehensions I finally took “The Leap of Faith”.
 
I WAS FLYING!! WoooooHOOOOOO!! That was a moment I can never explain in words. My pilot was a gem of person with over 25 years of flying experience, he just whispered on my ears: “You got it, now sit back, breathe and relax.”
 
In the exhilaration of flying I realized that I was not breathing. I slowly began to relax and then it hit me: I am actually flying with nothing but the wind and a few birds around me along the majestic snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. I felt weightless as I flew in the air, the cold air caressing my arms. Whatever anxiety and nervousness I had, immediately disappeared as a feeling of calmness and tranquility took over me. I fell in love with my life again, realized nothing would hold me back from that moment on to take risks, I have finally learnt the beauty of letting go… wrong things, wrong  people and all that burdened me time and again. Life is indeed Beautiful and too short to live with Regrets!!
The beautiful Fewa Lake was beneath us and the Himalayas along us.. probably the few pictures we managed to click mid air will tell 0.1% of what we experienced.
 
 
 
After half an hour of the best journey of my life, it was time to land. While landing all you have to do is keep your feet stretched and stand, the rest will be handled by the pilot. We landed safely and all I did after landing was hug my Pilot tight. The man who taught me to fly, the man who took all my fears and convinced me I can fly if only I believed in myself. Thank you Mr Pilot (I regret a lot of not having kept his contact details) for helping me learn few of the best lessons of my life.
 
Fast Facts: 
 
Cost of Tandem Flights: INR 8500 including photographs.
 
Other Flight Option Available are:
 
Cross Country Tandem Flight. (Cost around INR 12,000)
Acrobatic Tandem Flight. (Cost around INR 9,000)
 
How to Book:  
Plan a trip to Nepal and keep 2 days for Pokhara. We did our Booking through Open Sky Paragliding, Pokhara. I personally recommend them for my experience though there are many others as well. All the offices are along the Pokhara Lake. Prior booking is not manadatory, since the flight depends of weather conditions.