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?
Auroville: a dream: there should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of good will who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme truth; a place of peace concord & harmony… The Mother
So there are actually two reasons why I decided to do this separate post on Auroville…
1. There is certainly a lot more to tell about Auroville as a part of itself and wanted it to be read for what it’s real beauty is…rather than mixing it up with Pondicherry.
2. Trying a different style of Travel Blogging, much popular amongst most travel bloggers. i.e A running photo commentary (New touch to this blogumentary)
So before I begin my running photo blogumentary, just a few insights on Auroville courtsey – tourism.pondicherry.gov.in
Auroville was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Auroville came into existence in 1968. Its Charter says, “To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness”, and describes it as “belonging to nobody in particular, but to humanity as a whole”; as a place “of constant progress”; and as “a bridge between the past and the future.”
Located around 8 kms north-west of Puducherry, Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Around 2,000 people live there in settlements with names like Grace, Fraternity, Fertile, Certitude and Transformation. Nearly two-thirds of the residents are non-Indians.
That is Auroville beach… The beauty and the serenity of this beach is what attracted me while riding on the bike, I took a slight detour and headed off to see what it’s all about. Hardly anyone on the beach this place was true bliss!!
As I head into Auroville, when I approach the villages while enroute Matri Mandir (Golden Globe Temple) as most of you would know, I stumble across this Lotus Lake, too bad none of them have bloomed, but it’s quite a sight by itself… Next stop is the visiting center / Matri Mandir of Auroville (Matri means Mother… for those who don’t know)
Inside the visiting center, you can shop for some spirituality and peace… Something most people throng here for, besides the souvenirs of course… The fragrance of the auro candles, the beautiful blissful serenity is amazing… Once you are done with shopping here you can head on the first floor where you get free passes to the Matri Mandir, before watching a short introductory video on Auroville. A short 10 minutes film which leaves you mesmerized and truly feels great while watching it, sitting down on the carpet in an empty hall.. Spiritually rejuvenating…
This enroute a 1KM walk to the viewing point of Matri Mandir… You go there walking amongst beauty of the nature… Truly amazing the whole 1KM hike… You feel rejuvenated already.
You will find many such walking shelters to protect you from sun, rain, heat… not that it is something that you really think about especially inside the beauty of this place… The whole walk is in itself a brilliant experience…
This beautiful centipede was strolling around in peace… that is when I decided to capture it in my box… Photo Box
You will find these and many more on your way to the Matri mandir… True nature’s beauty making Auroville what it is from wasteland to a green revolution..
Finally after reaching the Matri Mandir, you can’t help but awe the whole structure. The central Matrimandir, which is not a temple but a place for individual silent concentration, is set in an area of 62 acres at the centre of the emerging township, and is seen as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity.”
During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28th February 1968 , soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness. This urn is today sited at the centre of an Amphitheatre in the Matrimandir Gardens . The Matrimandir’s 12-sided white marble Inner Chamber has a 70 cms diameter optical-quality glass globe at its centre, onto which a shaft of sunlight is focused by way of a roof-mounted heliostat. The light falling on the globe acts as a focal aid to concentration.
The Auroville Visitors Centre (Ph: 0413 – 2622239) is located near Bharat Nivas, the Indian national pavilion in Auroville’s International Zone, and is open from 0930 to 1730 hrs every day. This Centre has a permanent exhibition on the history and philosophy of the project, an Information Service offering books, brochures and leaflets on various aspects of Auroville, three boutiques, a bookshop, and a cafeteria providing refreshments and international cuisine.
And this is what I had in the cafeteria there, which by the way is run by volunteers of Auroville and the proceeds of all of it goes to the maintainence of Auroville…
All said and done, this was a trip I thoroughly enjoyed, the bike ride in a slight drizzle on a road covered on both sides with the tree, the spiritually refreshing video of auroville or the profound quotes inside the museum of the visiting center… All made me re-evaluate the way we human beings are living our lives… Truly, ‘we are the citizens of the world’ and that is the only thing that should matter… Peace…
So this is what my #SriniOnTour looks like as of now… It’s certainly a different kind of vacation that I have ever taken. Yes, I have certainly blogged about most of my long weekend, on the spur of the moment type of trips. Certainly have always wanted opportunities like these to glorify my travelogue and make sure that I let loose the wild traveller within me. This journey however has much more significance than just one of those blogs or travelogues.
What I truly want to do with this blogumentary is to achieve some true respite and get my travel writing skills up one notch. We all have such vacations and in fact one of the reasons why I chose this vacation was to make sure that I expand my travel portfolio… I know of a lot of enthu, photographers, travel buffs reaching out to people with their creative art form and expressing a truly meaningful self…
What I wish to attain through this blogumentary is to document not just geographic locations, but also the true emotions behind every single photo I take, every single temple I visit. Document the theme that India down south represents. Something that we all know and have already discovered. But to me it’s more than just that. I need to really rediscover some of the elements that a lot of us forget many times. Every minute details of the trip will help me understand a lot of things that are really help make me who I am…
With every blog that I post, I hope to tell a story that will build and develop itself. A story that will mean a lot more than what it seems. A story that we all hope for and expect to really make some sort of a difference to our lives.
My presentation on Slideshare got featured in the travel section by the editorial team of Slideshare. Now, it also has over 1000 views. I will be live blogging, tweeting, and updating my experience here. So do stay tuned. Also would love to hear feedback and tips from all of you guys about the trip. Tips, places of interest, expert comments are more than welcome
You may want to stay tuned to these links below as well Hope you find this interesting too.
http://facebook.com/srinistuff (Photo Journal)
http://bit.ly/sriniontoursouthindia (My Tour map for this trip)
http://everlater.com/srinistuff (My travel planner)
http://bit.ly/SriniOnTour (My Travel Map so far)
http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff (Travel Photos On the Go)