This was a few months back when we were trekking in the North Eastern Himalayas… The Sandakphu trek to be precise. Every once in a while you meet spirits that give you such great vision of your own life that you can’t even imagine what heights you can reach.
Buddhist Philosopher, educator & peace builder Daisaku Ikeda once said
“The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbound hope – all reside within you.”
This story is a true depiction of how this really applies. A lot of times we are so overwhelmed by the many tasks which we give utmost importance to, we tend to forget the real reason we are here on this planet. Many times we focus on the tasks which have no underlying purpose or very little importance, that we forget what we can do if we stop thinking in boundaries or shed the limits. This story tells us how we as adults have stopped imagining behind certain boundaries and stopped pushing the envelope when it comes to achieving something.
While trekking the Himalayas, we came across a small monastery in the Nepal side on the Indo-Nepal border. Jaobari village to be precise. We decided to visit the monastery and spend some time while catching our breath. We met the monk who lived there, Shange Norbu. Shange is another word for Buddha, he proudly told us. He gave us information about the monastery. He also told us that he teaches the kids there. We could see some kids playing outside eating some porridge in a small bowl. When we went inside, what was most striking was the utter peace and serenity which made the monastery quite blissful. Besides the striking calm, we realized that it was much warmer inside than it was outside. So that was quite a relief as we knew we had to trek a lot more and climb about 10 kms with a steep ascent.
While the others were resting, I decided to take a stroll around and click some pictures around. After getting a few shots of the breath-taking view I headed a little further, I met this kid. The kid was very playful and he was enjoying himself and doing just nothing. Generally this is probably the last point where civilization ends and the terrains start. A few houses here and there, otherwise the whole plateau after this is just mountain ranges. So most tourists who have come, would stop going further at this point while the trekkers move on to climb the magnificent Himalayas.
With a really nice winter cap covering his ears and a denim jacket to keep him warm, he looked very comfortable and was in his own world. His smile was innocent and his brown eyes were like deep ocean. He had a stick with him, which he held on to very closely. I took a few pictures of his and tried to initate conversation. But communication in a common language was a mystery to the both of us. We resorted to our body language and yes, eye contact… He smiled at me, I smiled back… Then he put his hands to his head.. A gesture to tell me something. Probably, to show me that he had great imagination. Imagination that made his mind greater than the regular one. To me it looked pretty much like the thing Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory does when he stares at you and tries to get your brain to explode… But obviously this gesture had a different meaning altogether.
Nonetheless, after a few exchange of glances and communication through our eyes, he said something… something which I didn’t understand but I asked Shange to translate, who was standing nearby. He laughed when he heard what the kid said. That made me even more curious as to what was this kid saying. I asked him to translate it to me and this is what he said.
“If you go on top, the tiger will come and kill you… But don’t worry, I’ll help you and fight him off with this stick.”
I’m not kidding, that’s exactly what he said, according to the monk. Hence the laugh. But I was blown away, blown away by the astronomical level of thinking and ultimate confidence within himself. Now, I’m pretty sure, he was told stories of great white tigers in the Singalila National Park stretch of Sandakphu. One that ‘we’ know do not exist, stories of great ‘dragon warriors’, which we think are myths and kings who have slayed tigers with their bare hands. Considering that, using a stick to kill a tiger is definitely something which is easy for him, now isn’t it?? Something he believes in and in his world, that’s how the ending of this story is. Him emerging victorious and a saviour to my life. The great hero of Jaobari as I’d like to call him. Come to think of it, it could be achieved scientifically if you hit the right spots, but that’s a different point altogether.
Do you remember as kids we had so many dreams and for us boundaries meant nothing. Do you remember as kids we wanted to go to space as astronauts, we wanted to become actors, we wanted to become cricketers and a lot more… What happened to those dreams? All that was possible and for some it became a reality. For a those who couldn’t get there, well, it’s never too late…
We have to stop putting boundaries to our thoughts, limitations, and stop compromising by just saying, life is a compromise. Actually when I recollect this story, I truly feel it isn’t… As Daisaku Ikeda says, The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbound hope – all reside within you. How many of you have realized this?
Karnataka and it’s beauty… always is amazing. I love every bit of it. This was another huge sculpture / statue that I had in mind and wanted to visit this for a long time… From Bangalore, I took a bus to Hassan. There are direct buses to Charannayapatna from Majestic bus stop in Bangalore, but very few and the one at 8:00 AM had already left. From Charannayapatna, there are local buses which take 15 bucks to Shravanbelagola. Nonetheless, I decided to go to Hassan. It takes about 4 hours to reach Hassan and from there you get a lot of buses to Charannayapatna, Haleibedu, & Belur as well.
Once I reached Shravanbelagola, I decided to check in to a local restaurant at the foothills of the Gomateshwara statue… Really dirt cheap room for Rs. 200 bucks a night. Awesome!!! I had enough time to climb the top of the hill and hang out till sunset to experience the beauty of Shravanbelagola & Gomateshwara!
Then began my exploration of Sravanabelegola & the beautiful statues and here’s what it had to say:
Shravanbelagola is a well known place of pilgrimage which gets tourists from all the world. People from allover the country visit this place. The world famous image of Gommateshwara is here. ZVery ancient and beautiful Jaina temples are here. This is a sacred place especially for Jains. Also very famoys is the occasion of ”Mahamastakabhisheka” (great head ablution ceremony), it’s every twelve years.
The first thing which meets our eyes as we enter Shravanbelagola is a big lake. Beautiful steps have been constructed around it. A fort and also “Kala Mantapas” surround it. This lake is called ‘Sveta Sarovara’ or white lake. It’s Kannada equivalent is ‘Biliya Kola’ or Belagola’. the place connected with Shravana or Jain ascetics. Hence the name Shravana – Belagola.
We see the beautiful and artistic statue of Sri Gommateshwara Swamy on the summit of Indragiri. Gommateshwara is also called Bahubali.
According to Jainism theology, there was a period in the world when happiness and peace reign supreme. Truth and dharma flourished during that period. It was called Utsarpini. There was another time when justice, truth and goodness decline everywhere. This period is termed Avasarpini. During this time of deterioration, twenty four Thirthankaras (realized souls) incarnate this world and guide people in the right path, by teaching them canons of truth and dharma.
Among the twenty four Thirthankaras, the first one is Purudeva. He is also known as Vrishabhadeva or Adinatha. Vrishabhadeva had two wives. The elder queen was Yashaswathi who gave birth to Bharatha and other hundered suns and a daughter by name Bramha. The younger queen
Sunanda gave birth to a son by name Bahubali and a daughter by name Saundari.
Vrishabha ruled over his Kingdom with pomp and pleasures for many years. After a while he renounced the world. While he did so, he made his elder son Bharata the King. Bahubali was crowned as the Yuvaraja (Heir apparent). Bharata conquered the whole world and in his conquest of the world he also waged war against his brother as he was told by the priests that there were enemies within the city and they were not submissive to Bharata. They were none other than his brothers. All of his brothers were disgusted by Bharatha, and renounced their kingdom to join their father, except Bahubali. He came to fight Bharatha.
Battke was about to take place between the armies of Bharatha and Bahubali. At that moment the ministers fearing that both armies would suffer heavy losses in the battle suggested that only the two Bharatha and Bahubali – might fight other. The winner would be the emperor.
The last battle was to be fought by hitting heads with fists. Bharat had the first shot, because he was older than Bahubali, which knocked Bahubali nearly to the ground. Then, it was Bahubali’s turn. Bahubali’s name means ‘Bahu’ – Arm, and ‘Bali’ – Strength, he was known for the immense strength of his arm. Everybody knew and worried, that if Bahubali’s blows struck Bharat, Bharat would probably die. This contest could have been easily won by Bahubali striking Bharat. But as Bahubali raised his arm to land a blow, he paused, realizing that fighting his elder brother for land, wealth, and power was neither sane nor righteous. Indeed, it would have been a grievous moral failure for a son of a Tirthankara.
As a rule for a Kshatriya, once he has taken action, it is not possible for him to withdraw or retreat. So, instead of landing a blow on his older brother with his raised arm, he simply changed direction, pulling out his own hair with the same hand, thus avoiding striking Bharat. With this, he put aside all of his possessions, and became a solitary renunciant. Learning from this example, Bharat came to understand the folly of his greed for land, money, and power forgiving his younger brother. Bharat continued to ruled for some time, until eventually joining Lord Rishabdev as a solitary renunciant.
The fight with his brother troubled Bahubali, so after much contemplation, he decided to give up his kingdom and take up the ascetic life. He took to meditation with a thirst for truth, but – it was for ego that he took to meditation on his own.
So before you entere the place there is an amazing architectural fascination called Tyagada Khamba…
Tyaga Kamba at the entrance of Gomateshwara. Erected by the minister Chavundarya in the 10th century. Its believed that this is the place he distributed gifts to the needy. Some theories also believe he choose this place to renounce all material things including his life. It’s a pillar that seemingly is hanging from the center. A handkerchief can easily be passed from one side to the other under this hanging pillar. This spot was being used by the people for giving away things as gifts. Hence it’s called by the name Pillar of Sacrifice or Tyagadha Khamba. (Tyaga – Sacrifice)
Overall this is a place where you will feel totally amazed, amazed by the serenity and peace that it has to offer. The magnificence and silence at which the Bahubali statue stands… You’ll feel really amazed by the amazing carved black stone statues of 24th Thirthankaras inside. After visiting the temple I decided to explore the cliff at the back of the temple… The sun was about to set and what better place than to sit at the edge of the cliff and ponder into the horizon, reflect upon life thoughts and beauty of everything around me… Just don’t need anything else in the world… than this beautiful memory.
So I leave you guys with this amazing snap of the entire town that could be seen. A view from the edge of the cliff… The view of the city and the sound of the town in the backdrop. Cattle making noise, birds chirping, kids playing, autos. Still very Peaceful… Serenity at it’s best…
Not so recently, I flew to Goa and back for a short weekend trip. A short one albeit, was quite a lot of fun. One of the many times when I’ve been to Goa, I’ve usually taken the train or the driven down… This time as time was short, we had to fly in and out… my cousin and I. More often than none, trips to Goa are down south. South Goa is the most beautiful place of all the places in Goa according to me and that is where I usually chill out at.
One of my favorite beaches have to be Palolem of course. The deep serenity, the beautiful clean waters, the misty nights and of course the most amazing part of this beach is the sunset point. Besides enjoying the chill atmosphere that Goa has to offer, south Goa and especially Palolem, has to be one of the most cleanest, and quite serene of all the beaches. While it does take time for you to adjust to the utmost calm and the peaceful nature this beach has to offer, it sinks in quite fast after you have acclimatized yourself. One of the most interesting places in Palolem has to be it’s beach lounge bar, Cocktails and Dreams… Besides being open late until night and almost every day of the year, it has one of the best music that they play at the beach. Much different from most music that you hear at other places across Goa.
However, since time was short, we decided to chill out at Anjuna, see a few places in North Goa and hang out at a resort in Panajim. Which was not so bad after all. We did completely relax and rejuvenate ourselves and also got to see a few places in Goa. But this story is not just about that… Something interesting happened on our way back and that’s something I’d like to share with you guys. But before that, a brief travelogue of the amazing places we explored with a tit-bit of something interesting I realized at the end of the trip…
So our day began after checking out of Dabolim Airport, after which we headed straight to Madgaon. That’s where my regular contact for renting a bike is, yeah, quite a regular at Uncle Periera’s rental near Madgaon bus stand. Best thing to do, especially if you keep going to Goa often. No worries of haggling over a price for rentals and probably expect a discount depending on whether it’s an off season or not. Nonetheless for a Rs. 250 per day, I got a good deal and we set off to explore Goa.
Our first stop was Anjuna beach… It was some 30-40 kms away from Madgaon… On our way, there’s a very interesting place that you might wanna stop and chill out especially for it’s view and most importantly, the relaxing feeling you get, before you get to any beach of course. A resort / restaurant by the river called Danny’s Riverside Resort. Spectacular place, where we had a couple of chilled beers with some breakfast… Of course, it’s Goa, what do you expect
Anjuna Beach a.k.a Funjuna
Soon after, we headed quickly to Anjuna, where we stayed at Sea Horse… And considering the torrid heat in May, we had the option for an AC, beach shack. Quite something that was needed, when you aren’t out there getting tanned under the sun or swimming in the sea. But more than that, the place had a perfect Beach View!
If I reckon any beach in North Goa, then it has to be this… Quite chilled out, unlike Calangute or Bagha and your evenings are also quite good especially with some of the shacks playing really good music and the food of course rocks out here. While we spent just one day here, it was quite worth it… The next day, we headed out after breakfast and some amazing fresh lime soda at this beach cafe called Om… Serves quite good food, continental, Italian… But if that’s not your taste, I’d reckon you skip it… A little pretentious this one
Next stop was one of the beautiful places in North Goa, Ft. Aguada. Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort standing in Goa, India, on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Final tourist destination on this trip of course was Old Goa and it’s beautifully magnificent Church.
And after some real good biking across Goa… it was time for us to just chill out at the Crown resort in Panaji, one with a terrace view… Perfect for the remainder of the trip, especially to unwind… All we did was drink some good Corona beer, eat some really good food, some Blackjack, tried our luck, won some, lost some…
Some swimming and last but not least a really rejuvenating spa therapy. Besides that of course, checking out the amazing Panajim church, which was right across the street for us.
While it was time for us to leave and catch our flight, we realized that our flight was early in the morning… Thanks to Crown Resort, they provided us with a drop to the airport and we were sorted. That’s when this interesting incident happened, one that made me realize something really important… How important, travel insurance was, especially for international travel.
We were waiting in the queue for our boarding passes. Unfortunately Goa doesn’t have kiosk check ins and we didn’t check in online either… Nonetheless, we decided to wait behind this guy, he had a lot of luggage and had his passport in his hand… He was Indian, but was wearing a blazer, suggesting that he had a long flight, maybe connecting from Mumbai probably out to U.S.A or U.K… My guess was right, he had a U.K Passport and was having a long conversation with the representative at the counter. He seemed a little pertrubed to begin with, he was constantly trying to explain something to the rep at the desk, however something seemed to bother him. He realized that he was holding the line and decided to make way for others while he made a few calls. We got our boarding passes and headed out to security check.
We grabbed a couple of coffees and sat at the chairs in the waiting lounge. I was busy on my iPad and while I was reading something on my app, I quickly glanced and saw the same man coming near me. He sat next to my seat and was busy sorting some stuff and figuring out some of his documents. He seemed much relaxed, than earlier… I was a bit curious and asked him as to what happened?
“Ahh nothing, actually I have a connecting flight to London from Mumbai… But this flight from Goa to Mumbai has been delayed…”
“Hmmm, strange..” I thought to myself as he didn’t look disturbed as he was earlier.
“So how come you are so relaxed now?”
“Well, I don’t have to worry about it, I called up the customer care for Moneysupermarket, where I booked my travel insurance, and they said they will take care of it and give me a flight ticket for another connecting flight, which is right around the time that I reach Mumbai… So I’m cool now.
“Ahh, that’s great.” I said, acknowledging politely, not realizing how big a deal Travel Insurance was up until now… Most of the times, I do click on travel insurance when I book flights, but really don’t fancy it much… Hence I make sure that in most cases, if I take connecting flights, I take them from the same flights, thus, the airlines can’t play the blame game… But yeah, considering that it could be such a big deal, I thought I’d go back and do some more research on travel insurance especially if I’m taking an international trip next time…
Soon, our flight started boarding and I bid the gentleman goodbye and wished him a great flight! He smiled at me and wished me the same…
First day of the week and Monday blues had already kicked in early in the morning. One of the worst things to add to a manic Monday is the fact that there weren’t any autos plying on the road. Auto strike seems to be a once in a Month occurrence, pretty much like a regular feature of the buzz of this City that never sleeps… Having said that, one of the best part about such days is the chilled beer at the end of it all, especially when it’s with one of your best friends talking about the long lost journeys and travel tales from our past… most importantly planning out some future trips.
Over a couple of hours of regular small talks and nostalgia that we shared of our travels, he casually mentioned that his brother in law is planning to visit the Northern Lights, (Aurora Borealis) and with the same casual tone he mentioned that we should join him too…
Now imagine me, the traveler that I am, this, for me is certainly an enthralling proposition… And yes, that is where we stop running our imaginations wild and mentally start preparing for the trip… As a travel writer, the first thing that comes to my mind is, what are all the things that I’d require to take along with me to make this trip, one of it’s kind. Very few people are lucky enough to visit the land of the Northern Lights, and luckier are those who get to view the enchanting sighting after long hard days sometimes weeks of waiting… Whether the plan materializes now or later, this place is one on my bucket list for sure. A holiday worth taking, an opportunity that’s certainly not to be missed! Not in my book, sir, no… never.
Now a lot has been written and a lot has been captured about the amazing sights of the beauty that lies at the far end of the world… One of the most amazing and enchanting things about what I’ve heard and the stories that are told out here is the fact that one has to wait there, pitching a tent for days and sometimes more than a week to be able to sight the phenomenon. While there is a lot of patience that is required and it certainly tests you, ultimately the sight of the Northern Lights at the end of your long haul wait is something you’ll never forget.
For those who haven’t heard of it yet, here’s a little bit on what ‘Northern Lights’ and Aurora Borealis is all about. An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude Arctic and Antarctic. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from farther away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction. Interestingly ancient ancestors believed the Northern Lights were variously the reflections of dead maidens, the spirits of the dead, swans caught in ice, a terrifying force which killed those who mocked it and an omen of war or disaster. While it actually is caused when solar particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere emitting burning gases which create the light. The colours are created by the different gases.
Where can you see it?
Generally, the oval rotates with the sun, and it may grow and shrink in size considerably in only a matter of hours. The most spectacular displays occur in the northern parts of the following areas: the Nordic countries (including all of Greenland and Svalbard), Alaska, Canada and Russia.
Northern Norway is a particularly good spot for sightings.
When to get here?
Displays of the lights are notoriously unpredictable and cannot be forecast in advance. In the northern hemisphere, the aurora season runs from late September/early October to late March. The lights may be seen at any time during this period, but late autumn and early spring tend to be the best bets.
In my book, this place is a must visit and certainly deserves one of the top spots on my list of all inclusive holiday deals!
Freezing cold at Sandakphu base camp was something we managed to get acclimatized to. After climbing 14000 feet from the other side of Nepal and feeling on top of the world we had embraced the joy of the cold weather and at the same time the soreness of climbing such heights was quite a battle. Having said that, we had also embraced one downhill descent from Sandakphu to Gurdum. That was a bit of an ordeal, especially for those weak in their knees… No pun intended
During our entire duration of the trek, Gurdum base camp was one of the best ones as most of us managed to climb down quite easily, though nurturing some levels of knees and joints pain, time taken and the stress plus energy burnt was much lesser than earlier ones. The flipside of it was since there was no ascent, most places we had to be careful of our stepping and ensure that we didn’t lose our balance at certain stages.
We stayed in Gurdum overnight, enjoyed delicious soup and fantastic veg momos for snacks! Even the dinner was one of the best and it really felt like we had a sumptuous meal after our arduous journey had been completed. Now we just had to alight Gurdum and reach our final destination (Rimbick) This was again a descent and there was hardly anything that we thought would bother us during this trek. Having said that, sometimes it’s just not your body but also your mind that takes a toll during this trek. It’s something that we think we can manage, but a lot of times struggle doing the same… I guess that’s why trekking is not just a physical but a mental challenge too.
Nonetheless, once we woke up in Gurdum, early in the morning, we decided to go down soon and camp at the final destination. Since it was the last destination of the trek, we wanted to make the best out of it. At least that was the plan. So we quickly started descending the mountain and the terrains called for some really amazing and breathtaking views. Although we did stop at places to ensure we got to enjoy the view, we didn’t wait for a long while…
After trekking for about a couple of hours we could hear a few sounds. We were surprised as mostly very few people came on top from this route… But nonetheless, we thought there might be some locals who wander off here or come to cut trees… We imagined it could be a wood cutter. Someone who has come on top and probably climbs day in and day out to cut wood. So we didn’t think about it as much. We told ourselves in a joking manner, imagine how much weight the person would be losing everyday and how many calories he would be burning. As it is most of the times we go on a trek, we end up losing a few pounds, and once we resume our sedimentary lifestyle, we end up getting all that back. I wonder how fit that person would be who would come to cut wood here climbing at least 11 kms everyday, I said…
As I said that, I just saw someone climb on the hairpin bend across the mountain below… I was looking elsewhere and slowly my glance went towards him… What I saw was something that made me think, ‘What did I say?’ I felt so bad that I even thought about something like this… Although not my fault, I really felt guilty at making assumptions about something or someone whom I didn’t even know. And what I saw wasn’t something that pleased my eyes as much.
Rather this is who I saw.
Meet, Mhane Chandra! To him, this sickle is going to be a life, a life full of what his parents told him about. A life full of dreams and a life that will provide him and his family what they need. But who will guarantee that these forests and the trees will last long? A question that I wonder for his future…
I felt so bad, that I promptly removed a packet of biscuits that the camp leader had given earlier and handed it over to him. At that time, that was the best I could do for him. I tried talking to him for a bit, but he wasn’t the kind who would speak a lot. Must be that his dad was behind or maybe not. Couldn’t really talk to him for he didn’t know our language. He just said, that he’s going up to get some wood to take home. Then he smiled and walked away…
6 days and 7 cities!!! Yes, that was the plan way back in 2009. It was the end of the year and my resolution was already formed. After leaving my mainstream job, I was about to get into a career switch into writing and something more creative. So my resolution was ‘Go With The Flow’ And that’s when we had planned this trip. My best friend and I, on an impromptu on the spur of the moment, hitchhiking or going by any means of transport available across Rajasthan. Initially we had some destinations chalked out and that’s about the planning that we did…
What happened later is another story and the way the entire trip turned out to be was again something very fascinating. Something that made sure that these kind of trips would be my goal for the next few years…
Anyways, so once we reached Udaipur from Mumbai, our plan was to reach Jaisalmer by getting on to a bus. We boarded a local bus that would take us there in a matter of 8 hours or so… But in a bit, we realized that Ajmer and Pushkar were nearby destinations… Well, that was all we needed, we quickly got down and decided to hitchhike to Ajmer… It was quite a task to do so, but we were traveling light so it didn’t quite matter as much. What was really important that if we got to Ajmer on time, we had enough time to visit the Dargah and then head to my friend’s in-law’s place. So that was one reason why we wanted to go to Ajmer first…
All this impromptu madness meant that we didn’t bother thinking about distances calculating time or anything… But thankfully before we went far, we realized since Ajmer was near and my friend had a place there, we could stop there for dinner and then head off to Jaisalmer. So we waited on the highway, where we had got off for someone to pick us up… Dusty, hot & scorching sun overbearing on our head, we still had no choice but to wait! Within a brief while we saw an Armada Trax.. Immediately we asked him to stop. Turned out, he was a local who ran trips between Udaipur and Ajmer on a regular basis. We quickly hopped on. Besides it the trip didn’t cost more than 90 bucks. The downside of it… The vehicle was awfully crammed… But that’s the fun of it ain’t it?? The bumpy roads at times, the curvy ones too… everything was fun as we were all out on the road. Completely off the hook. Something that we wanted to experience than ‘Luxury Travel’ After all we wanted to get the sense of enjoyment and the local culture.
That is when we met Baaji… The ever smiling, every happy and the most amazing personality on this trip, absolutely made our journey. One look at him and his smile and you can feel the positive vibe and the aura that he carries. I just couldn’t resist taking his picture, I asked him what his name was in Hindi… He couldn’t speak Hindi that well, probably spoke Marwari (Folk language of Rajasthan) and the others told us he’s called ‘Baaji’. He gave us permission to take his snap. He also told the others to tell us that he liked our bags. We had simple backpacks but for whatever reason, he liked our bags…
After a while, there were many people and the entire vehicle was packed. Baaji was sitting at the window seat right next to the door. We covered some distance and at a certain point, there was a middle aged woman standing with two small kids and one baby in her arms. The driver stopped by as it was a remote place. He wanted to ensure that there wasn’t any problem. After a short conversation, we realized that they had to be dropped to a nearby location and that someone had to go on top of the trax…
Before any of us could offer the position, Baaji, quickly got out, made the woman sit inside… Caught hold of the baby and let other kids get in while she made herself comfortable. Since he was the first person near the door, before anyone could react, he had made up his mind to sacrifice his comfort and offer it to the much needed woman. We tried to persuade Baaji to sit inside and that someone else will easily go up there and sit. To which he smiled and nodded his head and jumped on top of the Armada mumbling something with a smile. I asked them what he said, and here’s the translation of what he said: “If you live for others, you really live life. If you live for yourself, then you are really dead…” Truly this was a Bindaas Baaji! One word… “Respect”
So the other day, I was watching, Life is a Beach on NDTV Good times, that’s when I thought to myself, How many beaches have I traveled to? Come to think of it, I’m more a mountain person than a beach person. But nonetheless, there are some beaches that I’d love to die for. The early morning sunrise, the long walks on the beach, the non-stop swim for hours, the amazing sound of the ocean and the waves hitting at you, the cool breeze blowing across your face and of course, the best food and some alcohol to give you some company. How can I not like the beaches?? That’s when I decided to list down some of the beach holidays I have been to. Here’s the list:
1. Palolem, Goa
This has to be the prize catch. Of all the beaches that I’ve been to, this is the one that I have visited at least thrice. South Goa has it’s own charm and Palolem rocks when it comes to a clean beach, nice blue water and one of the most amazing beach shacks and restaurants across Goa. This has to be one of the best considering the beautiful Sunset point, the Kayaking and the dolphins it has. Not only that, it also is near the Agonda fort, and another similarly serene and calm beach, called Agonda. Both these destinations are a few kms away and one can bike it up. If you are in Goa, taking a bike ride is not new to you, but of course.
2. Gokarna, Karnataka
Gokarna has it’s own charm. Besides being renowned for it’s historic and symbolical reference when it comes to Lord Shiva, this destination has an isolated beach called Om, beach. Everyone has a relaxed laidback attitude and this beach is perfect if you want to just put your feet up and have a really chilled out long weekend. I’ve been here once or twice, taking a bike ride from Goa to Gokarna is quite adventurous. Fun if I may say so, especially if you are into riding. The beach has about seven eight shacks and they are pretty reasonably priced and they most certainly serve one of the most amazing dishes. If you are a food buff, this one place called Namaste Cafe’s to die for…
3. Anjuna, Goa
Mostly in Goa, I prefer south Goa, but if you are in North Goa and cannot go further, then I’d recommend either Anjuna or Vagator. Anjuna wit the first preference. Most people like to hang out at Calangute or Bagha if they are party mongers. I prefer Anjuna for it’s serentiy and its beauty. But besides that, Anjuna is world famous for its trance parties held on the beach during the tourist season. Anjuna also hosts the famous flea market wherein you can purchase many things, ranging from fruits to jewelry, clothes and electronic devices.
4. Vagator, Goa
This is my place of solitude. I’d like to call this beach as one of the hippie beaches that still hasn’t lost it’s charm. This is totally isolated and if you have to get here, having your own bike or car is the best option. The whole amazing look and feel of the beach is what adds to the whole charm. Vagator Beach is the northernmost beach of Bardez Taluka, Goa. It is located on the opposite bank of the Chapora River from Morjim in Pernem. To the south of Vagator is Anjuna, one of the first hippy haunts of Goa. Vagator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down on the shore and two fresh water springs within a stone’s throw of the sea.
5. Pondicherry Beach, Pondicherry
I went here a couple of years ago, this beach was certainly one where you’d love to relax and enjoy if you are into good food. This destination has a variety of cuisines. From French to Portuggese to Chettinad, you’ve got it all. While Pondicherry beach is near the town and quite a bustle it does not give you the serene and calm nature. For that, I’d recommend Auroville beach. The famous Auroville Ashram a few kilometers away from Pondicherry, the beach is enchantingly beautiful and one of the most calmest and cleanest in South India.
These are some of the amazing beaches that I’ve been to and the top most on my list. What are yours?