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Meandering across the horizon in search of spirituality

Over 5000 years the quest to spirituality has been a constant rouse for explorers across the world when they happened to arrive to India! That has always been a very important phenomenon of the Indian culture and will always be considering India has been a spiritual land which has phenomenally grown as a country that shares it’s warmth to travelers across the world.

Despite that more recently, there has been a troubling side of it, being the repressive rules, the hypocritical approach of many folks irrespective of gender and the lack of a lot of awareness to global etiquette while interacting with travelers across the world. While India always has brought a spiritual quest to many travelers and explorers there always are political considerations and factors in play that aspire towards a more fundamental leaning towards agendas that are meant to control chaos and simply construed as against ‘our Indian culture’ it is simply a fact that many fail to address or simply choose to ignore!

But as a traveler, a travel blogger and most importantly an Indian, I’d like to say, that no matter what you do there are always two sides to this coin! And the change that is happening, is largely driven by an undercurrent of changing global economy as well as cultural shift in the paradigm of the world. In light of that, there are some interesting aspects of India, that I’ve found amusing as always, as a traveler, and while I’d relate to the thought and reasoning behind these small things, it’s ironic that while you go out there in the world probably imposing endless restrictions upon citizens on matters that are as trivial as what we should eat, what we should watch or whom should we there is a plethora of two faced approach where in the name of religion anything goes.

Spirituality for us is not significant in the blindness that conquers the rationale of our country, but opens our eyes towards progression and a far larger understanding of what we should be as human beings. As always, religion as such is an instrument used by people who in their quest to power try to conveniently cite, state unless they find value in people who are willing to apostatize their beliefs for their convenience.

To me, travel has certainly broadened my horizon to a greater extent. Travel has given me a perspective that is far wider and different if you were to compare it to a reason of meaning and belief that exists if you haven’t as much. Having said that, there has been the element of tolerance and contempt that conflict my thoughts every time I put on my backpack when I traverse across the country. Every different situation in different regions of the country either inspire me or bring me to a new low that I have probably never imagined. On most trips, I’m either enlightened or completely thrown back into stone age. But no matter what I do, where I go, there is one strong belief that I have which enriches everything about my travel experience. It’s the meandering quest towards a sense of calm and invigorating tryst towards experiencing spirituality despite not knowing the inclination towards it’s religious associations. There are no boundaries when it comes to spirituality especially when you are traversing not just across locations but beliefs that hold true to achieving a greater high, which is far more important than trivial matters of existence.

Travel reaches out to your spiritual roots to find art, imagination, a sense of purpose within history, heritage,nature, food, people,  and magical souls that gives you that wider horizon of reality that exists out there in the world. Here are a few pictures that have captured my imagination leaning towards a spiritual belief of a simple admonishing fact that everything aside, Travel is that dose of medicine, that spiritual reality of my existence, that purpose of my life in this world that is constantly exclaiming to crave for more of such experiences across the beautiful country of ours! It is that singular belief, which, when, all said and done reaffirms and assures me that there is still hope…

Freedom of Life through the roamers of nature

A herd of horses taking a stroll at their whim at Rohtang Pass

Himalayas, Ladakh, Mountains, Snow

The Magical Mountains of the Himalayas

 

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The Golden Buddha viewing the Mountains

Statue of the Future Buddha

Statue of the Future Buddha

Queen of the HImalayas - Blue Poppy

Queen of the HImalayas – Blue Poppy

View of Hampi from Anjaneya

View of Hampi from Anjaneya

A 61 year old Tibetian refugee manufacturing & selling handicraft since 1972.

A 61 year old Tibetian refugee manufacturing & selling handicraft since 1972.

Shing Theng - A saleswomans kid outside the monastery

Shing Theng – A saleswomans kid outside the monastery

Lamani Woman with her kid near the Lakshmi Temple

Lamani Woman with her kid near the Lakshmi Temple

Idranna a local kid at the Lakshmi Temple

Idranna a local kid at the Lakshmi Temple

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A Tiger Paw on our trip to Pench

A Tiger Paw on our trip to Pench

Thai Monastery in Bodh Gaya

Thai Monastery in Bodh Gaya

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi Tree

Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters

Fort Kochi - Chinese Fishing Nets

Fort Kochi – Chinese Fishing Nets

Sunset by the Bridge

Sunset by the Bridge

Sunrise Enroute Trichy

Sunrise Enroute Trichy

Sunrise at Kanyakumari

Sunrise at Kanyakumari

Kanchenjunga Peak

Kanchenjunga Peak

India Gate

India Gate

Hut @ Pondicherry Beach

Hut @ Pondicherry Beach

Himalayas

Walk across the silent trails towards Vasudhara Waterfalls in Himalayas

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Rajasthan: Land of the Kings

A view of the Mahuli Fort in the rains

A view of the Mahuli Fort in the rains

This one's playing around inside... :)

This little squirrel found playing around inside the Red Fort…

Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple

Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple

View of Hampi

View of Hampi

 

 

Potter in Action

Of Pottery and delightful people…

“Art is the craving of the hungry travelling soul!”

While on my travails, I’m always on the look out for something interesting, something off beat, something that doesn’t come to you often when you walk around in familiar environments! If you are the one with a penchant for newer experiences, you always have that sheer urge of falling in love with a lot more than the surroundings or a gleaming opportunity to see newer places and log them in your diary of an encompassing journey that you’ll leave behind as your own legacy.

Sometimes, I even dare to imagine to look beyond just the ordinary, beyond what is seen or talked about, and many a times, I feel inspired by small joys of travel and the simple things that it teaches you and how it broadens your horizon. I have spoken about this often, maybe not enough, but certainly enough number of times where I have talked about the interesting people I meet on my travels. And being a Wandering Thinker, Pondering Writer that I am, I always wonder, how is it that I get to meet these interesting people or why I bump into them so very often. The answer to that is very simple I believe.

It is  because of a connection that we all humans share. No matter what levels or degrees of separation are among us, all of us have a desire to know and connect in some little way or the other. For me, one such thing is Art! Being an aspiring writer, I always try to look for experiences that drive the philosophy of ‘Art imitating life.’ I seek out to look beyond the ordinary, only for that very simplistic, yet resonating belief and feel it is always inherent within most explorers.

One such experience was connecting with the artisans of Khawasa village at Pench, Madhya Pradhesh! While the wildlife was one amazing experience in it’s own, I couldn’t help but forget the beautiful and brief interaction with one of the potters at that village. Tukaram Gonde, who is an ancestral potter and makes his living through crafting one of the best artworks, it is sad, to see very little appreciation as a whole for people in this village. To me, that experience was more than just enriching, it was something that told me a lot about how this trade has become what it has. It is something that we always tend to overlook, while we buy these products for our festivals and daily use maybe, there’s a lot more than just the mold, the earthen flair and the technique that these amazing folks use.

To me, this travel experience gave an insight on a story that is beyond just pottery, art and craft of the trade. It is more than just a story about his life, his words, his family. It is something that he understands as a philosophy as an ingrained belief, as an experience that has transcended upon him in a form of that art. The same art that, maybe his father, his grandfather or forefathers cherished and groomed him for. This story is more about that deep rooted belief in what he did. He had an uncanny smile, a belief that told us how he was the master of his fate and captain of his destiny, in the great words of none other than Madiba.

While the experience wasn’t for many hours or even for that matter, it was something we cherished because of the quality of the craft and the beauty of the handiwork we saw within those minutes and closely observed a level of concentration, ease and amazing tendency to be a professional who doesn’t just work because he has to, but loves what he does. An experience that gave us an insight on how the rugged and unkempt life brought out the true artist within these folks. How, their life, despite it’s simplicity had a complex aura to a brilliant mind of sorts. One that you don’t often get to see in the life that we choose to live in.

Watch the Video of him indulging us with his artwork

Tukaram at his masterful best

Tukaram Potter at work Art at it's best

 

Pots

Tashi Tagey, Tadong, Gangktok, HomeStay, Sikkim

Dorjee Nyima of Tashi Tagey

Why do I travel you ask? To tell stories that very few have heard I reply! The best part about travel for me is not just the beautiful views I get to see, not the amazing experiences of climbing mountains in the Himalayas or for that matter the most delicious food I eat no matter what corner of the world I am in. To me it’s the singular experience of meeting some of the most beautiful people, who make me challenge the way we live our lives. It is in the question that they ask me subtly, without even hinting at how their life is different than ours. It is in the humility that begs to ask myself a simple yet profound question! What have you done with your life?

And then, I feel great that I have a lifetime ahead of me to go ahead and pursue that goal of whatever it is that I want to without the fear of forgetting the soul purpose of my life. Travel, tell stories, make magic and help more people believe in the mere existence of a world larger than the sort of bubble we live in. All of that isn’t possible without having experiences that broaden our horizon. One such experience was when we recently visited Sikkim.

We were in Sikkim for about 10 days and most of our trip was North Sikkim and a little bit of Gangtok. And interestingly we met a couple of folks who were fellow travelers who recommended an quaint little place a few miles away from the main area of Gangtok, a little far from the local taxi stand of Deorali called Tadong. On the road, right next to the Baker’s Cafe stood a small but submissively enchanting home stay called Tashi Tagey. Not unexpectedly it’s a name taken from Tibetan Buddhism meaning eight lucky signs. Something you’ll find a description of in the Museum next to Do Drul Stupa in Gangktok.

You wouldn’t ordinarily find such warmth in a place that is unusual and unfamiliar considering you’re miles away from your subtle comforts of the place you call home, but this isn’t the first time that I have experienced something like this before. Earlier, when I talked about meeting real people on your journeys, I shared anecdotal references of people who have a certain aura within themselves that the minute you meet them or come across them, you tend to realize that your connection with them is more than a faint memory and something that’ll be etched into your travelogues that you leave behind. Such was our experience at this beautiful little traveler’s abode!

From the time you enter the lobby of this quiet and well furnished home-stay, you realize you’re in good company! A company meant for world travelers! A nice couch, a lounge like feeling with an archive of TIME magazines, a photograph of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and an adorned wall full of beautiful pictures, paintings and a decor that’ll quickly make you fall in love and fondly so, with this enchanting place. But, wait, that’s just the beginning.

The beautiful couple and our very good friends Dorjee and Nyima are quite the couple and have spent over 30 years serving travelers and being part of helping the community as well as pursuing their own goals and aspirations, that they’re someone who would be truly an inspiration for many souls who wander off and bump into them. We have seen and heard of heaps of compliments because of their wonderful home stay and their impeccable service to all. Nyima aunty, as we call her, is more than just a home stay owner. She has an extensive passion for knitting, painting, gardening and their home stay has a diverse collection of her art. In fact, one travelling couple from Italy have even named their daughter after her. Now, that is nothing short of what we call ‘mighty respect.’

With that I leave you a few memories from our journey of the Kingdom of Paradise, Sikkim and the warm, homely stay at Tashi Tagey, Tadong!

Tibetan Thukpa and Momos

Home Made Tibetan Thukpa and Momos, courtesy Nyima Aunty

Sculptures

Beautiful Sculptures in the corridor outside our room

Painting by Nyima Aunty

One of the beautiful Paintings made by Nyima Aunty

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View of Gangtok from the Terrace at Night!

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A Heritage, Tibetan Monk’s Statue in the Lobby

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Walls of Tashi Tagey, adorned by artistic expose

Gangtok View from Tadong

Gangtok View from Tadong in the Day!

Early Morning Bird

A bird we spotted early in the morning on the terrace garden

Bonsai Tree on Terrace

Bonsai Tree maintained by Nyima Aunty

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#DiscoveringMurud the @GSBeachResort way…

“Great travel experiences are the ones which you remember because of the people you met, the things you saw and the food you ate!”

In this case, I had each and every bit of it, considering the amazing time and place that I chose to visit. About a month ago, when the weather was certainly at its pleasant best in Mumbai, Feet On the Map and I decided to take up the Golden Swan Beach Resort, Murud on their offer to host a few travel bloggers at their amazing Beach Resort with a fantastic view over a weekend.

My tryst with the beautiful location, Murud has been continuing over 10 years. Even before I started travel blogging, I’ve had a penchant for this amazing beach location and have taken bike rides over many weekends to this place. Most of the times, with friends, a couple of times alone and on other occasions with family. I’ve written about this place from my last trip about a year or so ago when we visited Murud in the scorching heat of May. But this time around, it was quite a different experience considering that we were going there in January and the weather was going to be really beautiful and the experience more luxurious, thanks to Golden Swan Beach Resort’s Beach facing Villa! That’s where we were hosted. And this time around, the trip was a little more than just the beach, or the Murud Janjira fort. It was also an opportunity where we were literally #DiscoveringMurud from a different lens!

While, the place, the people, the location in itself wasn’t something new, the interesting activities we did, thanks to the amazing staff at the resort, I found out some really enchanting travel tales to talk about on this visit of ours. Here are some of the things, that I’d recommend for you to try out, especially if you are here at their resort.

Tantalize your Malvani Tastebuds

While Murud may not be the closest destination for people from Mumbai, Pune when it comes to the Maharashtrian, coastal or Malvani cuisine, it certainly has a penchant for being one of the tastiest around this trail. We had an opportunity to try out a live kitchen on the beach and do some really interesting food tasting session where the head chef, who made a variety of dishes to soak in the Malvani taste on to our tongues and get a real-time understanding of the various spices, the preparations and the pre-preparations that the cuisine requires. With the breezy evening wind blowing from the coast and the amazing view at our behest, we literally felt like we were at an exotic destination beach resort with the best food in our plates!

Golden Swan Resort, Murud, KAshid, Beach, Alibag, Murud Janjira

A dash of Malvani Spices

Golden Swan Resort, Murud, KAshid, Beach, Alibag, Murud Janjira

Malvani Fish Fry, Golden Swan Style!

Golden Swan Resort, Murud, KAshid, Beach, Alibag, Murud Janjira

The Chef dishing out a Potato Fry, Malvani way!

Malvani Bhindi Fry and Potatoe Vegetable

A Vegetarian’s Delight

Villa View by the Beach

Another interesting thing I recommend if you’re planning to come here, is to ask for the Villas, especially number 3, and number 4 as they’re beach facing and secluded so if you come as a group of 4 to 6 or a family, you can always camp there with a yard to yourself and recliners with a view that is mesmerizing to your eyes. And if you do decide to head to the beach, it’s just a 5 minute walk and in the night, you can hear the waves clashing as the sea hums it’s way into your mind and your thoughts.

Golden Swan Resort Villa

The Villas by the Beach!

 

Beach View from the Villa of Golden Swan Resort

Beach View from the Villa!

Recliners beside the resort for the best view to the beach

Recliners beside the resort for the best view to the beach

 A view of Murud from the Hill top

One of the things I mostly do during my travels is find a hill view spot to get  a perspective of the city or the destinations that I visit. Mostly a huge encompassing view of the destination gives you a bird eye’s view of the heritage, the enchanting serenity that the place brings to your travel experience. If you can do that at Sunset, even better! One such opportunity for you is to go to the hill top near the Maruti temple in Murud. You can ask the locals, the route to that place or you can also take one of the staff from the resort. They’d be happy to oblige I’m sure. One of the best views, of Murud, can be seen from here, including a breathtaking view of the lesser known, abandoned, Padmadurg fort, also known as Kasa fort, built by the great Maratha ruler King Shivaji to the northwest of the fort Janjira.

Sunset from the Murud Hill top

Sunset from the Murud Hill top

Murud Janjira, Golden Swan, Hill Top, Murud

Beautiful View of Murud at Sunset

Maruti Temple atop the Hill

Maruti Temple atop the Hill

Friday Prayer Place

A 40 year old structure constructed as a spot for Friday Namaz offerings

 

Mingling with the folks on the way to Janjira

While the relaxation around the beach and the Malvani cuisine added the flair to our visit, nothing could be an icing on the cake than a visit to the Historic Murud Janjira Fort. Thanks to the team at Golden Swan Beach resort, for the first time, I got a little more perspective from our visit, as they arranged for a local guide to share the chronicles of the ancient and the unconquered fort of Murud Janjira. And of course, your visit to this place is enchanting in itself, when you go on to a small sailboat along with a bunch of other locals, talk to them, get sights of interesting things, people and a lot more especially when you are glaring upon the magnificent ruins of the fort while you slowly arrive at the fort in your sail boat.

Local Fisherwomen selling dried fish

Local Fisherwomen selling dried fish

Sail Boat to Janjira Fort

Sail Boat to Janjira Fort

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A grand view of the fort as you approach it in your boat

 

 

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A view of the sail boats from inside the fort!

The Cannons of Janjira Fort

The Cannons of Janjira Fort

Bonfire by the beach over dinner

This I must say was one of the most memorable moments of our trip. A breezy evening, overhearing the waves of the sea, and a few travel enthusiasts sharing our travel experiences and engaging in really meaningful conversations about travel. Most certainly it was a great time for us to know a little more about ourselves and sharing interesting anecdotes from our travel travails. If you really want to unwind over food and conversations, then this is certainly a meaningful way to do this and one of the best experiences from this trip.

Bonfire by the beach over dinner
All in all, this place certainly has to be on your list especially if you want to spend that weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Mumbai. And in fact, rather than driving down here, an interesting option for you would be to take a ferry from Gateway of India, early in the morning and soak in the sea alongside the flying birds to accompany you on the hour long journey! Do let me know if you’ve visited this place and what your experience was like!

Gateway of India

View at Gateway

Birds accompanying you on the ferry1

P.S: This was a complementary trip, thanks to the Hospitality of the Golden Swan Beach Resort, Murud and was certainly a great experience for both me and my travel partner Feet on the Map, who took most of the lovely photos you see on this blog. Also a mention to the two amazing travel bloggers we met on this trip. Was lovely meeting and interacting with you Renuka and Harsh! You can read their blogs at here: Voyager for Life  | Travel Byts

Strolling across the magical mountains

 

Rohtang Pass, Manali, Horses

Horses seen strolling across at Rohtang Pass in Manali

The carelessness of real beauty lies in the imagination of perfection. Such is the breathtaking brilliance of the views you get sometimes in the magical mountains. A minute you’re walking into a fog and the next minute you see a magical snow dwelling peak shining in front of your eyes with the sun giving you a glimpse of his glory. But sometimes, real beauty in the mountains are it’s carefree animals who absolutely have no inkling of what travelers see unto them or the beauty that surrounds them.

It’s the vision of these kinds that makes you walk up to these mountains more often. Sometimes. it’s not just the beautiful peaks, the nature, the landscape or for that matter the weather that you experience. It’s about a beautiful and breathtaking divinity that you visualize within a split second before your shutter could capture that moment. That moment of what you may later on in life realize as an unbound feeling of flawlessness. Something that cannot tether your freedom to express your wilderness, no matter what age you are at. Whenever I travel into the mountains, I always keep an open mind, for I never know what I will literally ‘bump’ into. The bliss of such a feeling is, that it is devoid of any expectations and makes any experience the best experience and sometimes even keeps you wanting more.

And that’s how I felt when I was able to capture this magical moment and delve into my memory of lenses while I had stopped by to have nothing but a bowl full of noodles at the Rohtang Pass! The added element of a surprise capture such as this, just doubled my bowl of happiness!

AFRICACAPEVERDE

The Cape of Castaway Islands

 

Some destinations are just meant to be the ones that define Holidays to a completely different level. Most of the holidays that I plan are for the uniqueness of the destination and what the place has to offer me in perspective to the experience that I usually get. Many a times a vacation is usually to take your time off, unwind and relax to cool your heels off. And then there are others that are clubbed with getting the feel of the local sights and unpack little mysteries and treasures hidden in such a place.

Recently, while I was browsing some such interesting discovered, I came across something on FirstChoice and found it certainly one of the most fascinating locations. The Cape of Castaway Islands, as I’d like to call it,  it’s the Island country Cape Verde!

Interesting find and most certainly a promising destination for it gives you the feel of a vacation destination and also makes for the best cultural and local experiences off the coasts of Western Africa. Interestingly, it is one of the most diverse Island countries you would see considering there are so many things to do out here…

Officially known as The Republic of Cabo Verde it spans across an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean.  Interestingly and not surprisingly, in the 15th Century, Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the uninhabited islands thus being, the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous and often attracted privateers and pirates, among them Sir Francis Drake in the 1580s.

Some very interesting places in this country are one of the most romanticized, yet unknown. Thanks to the 10 tiny islands in the Atlantic being below the radar. And since it’s just off the west coast of Africa, which means sunshine’s a given pretty much year-round. I’d recommend these few destinations to ease off, unwind and soak in the sunshine while you’re here.

Boa Vista

Aptly called Boa Vista, which means ‘Beautiful View,’ this destination is the most easterly island and it’s a strong contender for the best of the bunch. The reason? This 55-kilometre coastline that has everything from small, rocky bays to huge sandy stretches  and you certainly  could have been airlifted from the Caribbean. Out on the water, conditions are perfect for kite and windsurfing. And below the glassy surface, there’s a rainbow of marine life to get to know.

boavista

Beach Life at Boa Vista

If you’re tired of Boa Vista, then there’s also the Santa Monica Beach that is popular with everyone. It’s in Curralinho, to the south of the island, which means the water here is really sheltered. And the name? The locals reckon Santa Monica’s 18-kilometre stretch looks a lot like the Californian version. While you’re here, pay a visit to the island’s capital, Sal Rei. Pastel-painted houses, cobbled streets and rickety old shops are the staple ingredients here. Other than that you also have the option to Sail over to the deserted island of Sal Rei,Hop on a boat and go whale-watching, Sip the local wine in Sao Filipe on Fogo Island.

Sal

This place is still early doors for this necklace of rocks in the Atlantic. To give you an idea, they’re 2 hours south of the Canaries, just off the west coast of Africa. Thanks to their history and location, you’ll find an exotic mix of African and Portuguese cultures on each island. And wherever you head, you’re guaranteed untouched beaches – there aren’t many people around here to share them with.

sal

The island of Sal – Cape Verde’s most cosmopolitan – is dotted with little towns like Santa Maria, where the cobbled streets are dotted with surf shops, market stalls and rainbow-painted restaurants. There’s also a square packed with al fresco cafés. The white-sand beach is the big star, though. It stretches for 8 kilometres and ticks off beach bars and sand dunes along the way. There are plenty of things that you could do other than these when you’re here in Sal, especially if you want to enjoy something off beat – Learning to fish, Going on a trip to watch sea turtles in a catamaran, enjoying a great lobster dinner or better yet, go Big Game Fishing.

Underwater Worlds

Underwater worlds

If you’re a beach person and love water then Life below the surface is always exciting to see. Here you can do that with a glass-bottomed boat without needing to pull on a snorkel and flippers. Cape Verde has rich, fertile waters off its shores, so as you glide over the waves you’ll get to see schools of fishes, turtles and stingrays, and even a creaking shipwreck.

Viana Desert

Viana Desert

If you’re tired of the beach, then exploring through Viana Desert should be a must do on your list. Deserto de Viana, as it’s popularly called covers about 30 per cent of Boa Vista and is almost entirely uninhabited. Made up of wind-sculptured dunes and red rocks, it’s a playground for quad biking and 4×4 safaris. For the best bounce going, head south – the dunes here reach heights of 50 metres.

Santiago Islands

santiago

Cape Verde’s biggest island can count Captain Cook and Sir Francis Drake among its visitors. Nowadays, though, it’s mainly day-trippers heading for the old capital, Cidade Velha. Along with its volcanic beach, you can head for its atmospheric market, National Maritime Museum and church that dates back to 1495.

Islands of Fogo

Fogo

If you love the beaches, but mountains even better, then this is the destination to head to! The name of this sun-shaped island means ‘fire’ in Portuguese, which gives you a good indication of its volcanic status. Its crowning glory is the 160-metre cone of Pico de Fogo, which last burst into life in 1995. Head to the coast to get the best view of it. And while you’re on the island, stop off at the colonial town of Sao Filipe for a taste of Fogo’s wine.

All in all this place is a must visit if your perfect idea for a vacation is much more than regular lazying across the beaches, shopping, or just tasting the local cuisine. Wonderfully diverse, with a bunch of amazing places, this place is a retreat for all travelers who enjoy fascinating places, experiences and destinations across the world!

Picture Courtesy: www.firstchoice.co.uk

Golven – White Sands of Vengurla

One of the best things about traveling to a beach, even though I’m not so much a beach person is to absolve myself of all worldly existence and let the waves reach out to my ears and see the horizon across the ocean to drive a beautiful point home.

Sunset at Vengurla

Other than that of course is the Sand, Solitude and most importantly the Serenity! That is something I must say was a plentiful when we had an opportunity last weekend, a long one I must say to head out to the pristine, clean and virgin beach of Vengurla! Usually, beaches for people in Mumbai mixed with a long weekend always amounts to a trip to Goa and back. Having been there umpteen number of times, this time around we decided to take a short detour, though not that far away from Goa, yet seculded enough to give us our very own version of a ‘Private Beach’ destination at Golven Beach Resort.

Golven Resort

Beautiful AC Cottages, with great design at Golven Resort

Golven – Solituded De Strand  is aptly named, with all the solitude you can get especially if you are the kind who likes the view of the beach more than actually passing out on the beach, the sound of the waves more than the whiplash of the stirring ocean. Golven in French means ‘White Sand’, White Sand indeed and How! The sand is truly grained, white and a blessing for your feet when you lay your feet down and sink in the surreal view and the magnificence of the simplicity this place offers you.

White Sand Footsteps

White Sands of Vengurla

One of the best things about this place, besides the quiet and serene nature of the surrounding has to be it’s comfortable and cozy cottages laid meticulously across the landscape so as to provide each and every one of them a really good view to the beach. Other than that of course is what one needs the most. The comfort of a nice bed, clean and minimal interiors and a great balcony to sit, ponder, think and get back to your soul, especially when time is aplenty.

Beach View

A great blend of good architecture, by an architect from Pondicherry, as I’m told by Mrs. Pandit, the caretaker and owner’s mother shows a contemporary belief in minimal, modern and blend of both good rustic cottage like ambience, coupled with great glass and steel decor with lamp shades, AC and a remote controlled Fan. I must say we were quite impressed especially when we went in first. Not to mention the local ‘Kokam Sharbat’ for a welcome drink. Yep, Konkan has it’s specialties and Golven Resort too. First impressions, were most suitably the best impressions.

Mrs. Pandit, Golven Resort Owner's Mother

Mrs. Pandit, Golven Resort Owner’s Mother

Interior

Kokam

Besides the beautiful ambience, the nicely cleared pathways, a garden with beautiful flowers and of course hammocks and bean bags staring into the ocean, you realize that you’ve come home to your vacation. Post freshening up, we decided to head to lunch. And might I add, no Konkan lunch is complete, unless you have the most infamous Kokam Kadi.

Malvani Food

Kokam Kadi is to die for…

If you are the romantic type and want to have a dinner date in the evening, the ambiance picks up really well and gets you in the mood for the perfect dinner!

Ambient Lighting after Sunset at the Restaurant

Ambient Lighting after Sunset at the Restaurant

Other than lazying around and vacationing in style, there are a few things you can do to feel relaxed especially when the sun is down. Taking scooty ride across to a nearby village and find some still water to Kayak towards the ocean was a beautiful experience. The ride to this place was full of greenery and it also rained a bit, something that added to the magic of the weekend trip.

Greenery

Beautiful Lush greenery surrounded with tall trees!

Boat

View en route the Lake to go Kayaking!

And of course another interesting thing to do, especially if you want to take a hike is to go to the Lighthouse nearby. Walking about 300 steps amidst a few Mimosa Pudica (Touch Me Not) leaves and some really beautiful plantations to come across to a magical view of the expansive ocean, the Vengurla beach and the breezy feel of nothing but some really encapsulating touch to the whole experience.

Trek to Lighthouse

View from Lighthouse

Special Note: Our trip to Vengurla was possible thanks to the invitation and hospitality extended byGolven Beach Resort.  Situated bang in the center of Bagayati or Vengurla beach, Golven Beach Resorts offer 10 self-contained AC cottages with an open-deck restaurant open air conference hall and provision for beach camping since December 2013. Owing its roots to the French, the resort is named as  a tribute to the white sand beaches in the area. Our accommodation and  food was sponsored by them on this trip. A special mention of their lovely staff for extending their warm hospitality to us. 

The Golven Team

The Golven Team