While a journey can never be forgotten if there is no adventure, what makes a best memory is the company you keep and the way you enjoy your trails. Of course, I’ve ridden the paths across the wild and awesome route of Goa to Gokarna the trip I took a few months ago in December, a week before I got hitched was one crazy ride altogether. Especially when I also had with me the power of a Thunderous Avenger!
This was a journey I took along with my cousin who had come all the way from NY. We had been to Goa the last time he was here, so this time I decided to bring in some more adventure and take a bike ride all the way to Gokarna from Goa. The journey was something to look forward to and most certainly everything seemed like an amazing adventure trip about to begin. We wasted no time and booked our tickets as soon as we thought of the destination through Wego. Since our trip was only a 3 day long trip with at least ten hours spent on the road, we had to make up for the remaining time by booking our Jet Airways flight which would give us enough time to spend on the pristine and very famous Om beach of Gokarna!
Usually December is a peak season in Goa and Gokarna both. So I didn’t have the liberty of going there and then looking for a place to stay at. Thankfully cheap accommodation is not a problem in Goa and Gokarna, however it’s always a safe bet to book online and or call them up and tell them to hold a place for you. Especially at Om Beach and Namaste Cafe. With all the things sorted before we reached, we had little to worry than the beautiful weather, the highway and the most amazing stretch of beautiful road alongside the coastal reigon that cross into Karwar across the Karnataka border and into Gokarna. One of the most fascinating things about this journey is that on most occasions you’ll end up seeing nothing but the wide horizon with clear blue skies and by the time you step your feet onto the wider horizon of the Om Beach in Gokarna, you’ll be so mesmerized by it’s beauty that you’ll stop looking around you and just stare into that blue sky which turns orange at Sunset and disappears in a shade of dark with a tinge of golden smiles across your face.
The most amazing thing to do in Gokarna, is to go take a ferry and visit the Dolphins. You’d be lucky if you’re in a huge group and that’d give you good room to negotiate with the guys. But it’s certainly a thing you could do. If you’re a fan of Seafood, then this place is paradise for you. We decided to spend most of our time drinking beer, chilling out at the beach and I even did a bit of running on the beach early in the morning and soaking in the sun with a few dips in the sea. But the most beautiful experience at Om beach is the view of the sky from the top and that is something I couldn’t miss out on at any cost. And of course the beauty of the boats by the bay especially after the boat riders or the fishermen are done for the day. With a serene silence the boats sway to the shore across the waves of the elegant sea and you can just be tranquil, especially with your eyes on it.
Gokarna certainly had an aura about it when I visited it the first time, but the second time was even better and if I get another chance, I’d just jump at it and follow my footsteps back into the beach without second thoughts… For sure!
Off late, I’ve been travelling a lot in South India, I’ve been fascinated by some of the really amazing things I’ve come up on my trips. Especially to do with Ancient technology of the humans. Soon, I’ll be speaking at the BarCampMumbai on ‘Ancient Indian Technology’ and that’s when I found some fascinating facts about India that connected Indians to the Romans. While I’m going to solely focus on Ancient Indian technology there, Rome is something that has also fascinated me in terms of Ancient Technology.
1. Roman trade with India through the overland caravan routes via Anatolia and Persia, though at a relative trickle compared to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common Era (CE) following the reign of Augustus and his conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE.
2. Roman trade diaspora frequented the ancient Tamil country (present day Southern India) and Sri Lanka, securing trade with the seafaring Tamil states of the Chola, Pandyan and Chera dynasties and establishing trading settlements which remained long after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
3. Prior to Roman expansion, India had established strong maritime trade with other countries. The dramatic increase in Indian ports, however, did not occur until the opening of the Red Sea by the Romans and the attainment of geographical knowledge concerning India’s seasonal monsoons.
4. The Romans learnt the number 0 from Ancient India, through Aryabhatta, however detested it, only to accept it later and of course the entire world did.
So, I haven’t traveled abroad as much… and which is when I thought, one of the first places to get out of this country, As fascinating as it is, the beauty and the ancient culture of Rome would be certainly amazing for me to study and understand. Coming to think of it, what are the top places I’d like to visit in Rome
So here’s what my Bucket List looks like. And without a doubt, it has to do with Ancient Roman Technology, just as fascinating as Ancient Indian Technology.
1. Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue in the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 3.5 m tall. Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus. The original is on display in the Palazzo Nuovo, with the one now standing in the open air of the Piazza del Campidoglio being a replica made in 1981 when the original was taken down for restoration in the Palazzo.
Although there were many equestrian imperial statues, they rarely survived because it was practice to melt down bronze statues for reuse as coin or new sculptures in the late empire. Statues were also destroyed because medieval Christians thought that they were pagan idols. The statue of Marcus Aurelius was not melted down because in the Middle Ages it was incorrectly thought to portray the first Christian Emperor Constantine. Indeed, it is the only fully surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor.
2. The Colosseum
The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium, Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus,with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign (81–96). The name “Amphitheatrum Flavium” derives from both Vespasian’s and Titus’s family name.
3. The Tempietto
The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio), which is an excellent example of Italian Renaissance architecture. The church is decorated with artworks by prominent 16th- and 17th-century masters. The first chapel on the right contains Sebastiano del Piombo’s Flagellation and Transfiguration (1516–1524). Michelangelo, who had befriended Sebastiano in Rome, supplied figure drawings that were incorporated into the Flagellation. The second chapel has a fresco by Niccolò Circignani (1654), some Renaissance frescoes from the school of Pinturicchio, and an allegorical sibyl and virtue attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi.
4. Piazza del Campidoglio
Elliptical courtyard with central figure sculpture. At the top of the “Cordonata” steps, also by Michelangelo. A short walk to the south (starting out south-west) from the Piazza Venezia. The bird’s-eye view of the engraving by Étienne Dupérac shows Michelangelo’s solution to the problems of the space in the Piazza del Campidoglio. Even with their new facades centering them on the new palazzo at the rear, the space was a trapezoid, and the facades did not face each other squarely. Worse still, the whole site sloped (to the left in the engraving). Michelangelo’s solution was radical. The three remodelled palazzi enclose a harmonious trapezoidal space, approached by the ramped staircase called the “Cordonata”. Since no “perfect” forms would work, his apparent oval in the paving is actually egg-shaped, narrower at one end than at the other. The travertine design set into the paving is perfectly level: Around its perimeter, low steps arise and die away into the paving as the slope requires.
Well, these are some of the most interesting and fascinating things that I would be interested to visit in Rome.
Well, what can I say about this amazing journey that began with an amazing start… Something like the Amazing Race! I was slated to go on a Friday to Haridwar, via Dehradun express on a train with all my friends. Little did I know that my destiny had something else in mind… As much as I could avoid the whole slurry of a detour, it was something I just couldn’t.
I was all packed for my journey as you read in my previous post. The backpack was ready and I had already taken a rickshaw to go to the railway station and that is when this twist happened…
It all started with a phone call…
“Srinivas, we have been trying to reach you through out the day….”
“Yes? Who’s this?”
“I’m calling from Reliance BIG entertainment… You had auditioned for Fox Travelller’s show right?”
“Oh yeah… I did… ‘This Journey is fun’ I know…
“Well you have been shortlisted in the finals, you need to come tomorrow for an audition…”
Now what do I do? Here I was at the crossroads for between ‘My First Himalayan Expedition’ & ‘A life changing opportunity.’ My train was in an hour from LTT to go to Haridwar. I had already booked my tickets, they were confirmed… for crying out loud…
“Can this happen some other time? Any chance I can come back and give this audtion?”
“Dude, this is a national audition… There’s no way it can happen any other time…” said Afreen, who was handling the production for this show.
That was about it… I had to make a split second decision and tell her what I was going to do. I bought some time and told her to message me the address in any case… I needed some time to make the decision.
What were my options??
1. Go, board the train and set off for my First Himalayan Adventure (Valley of Flowers Trek)
2. Go for the auditions and once it’s done, take a flight to Delhi and catch the same train on Sunday morning to regroup with my friends…
Interestingly option no. 2 gave me enough time to actually catch the same train in Delhi, on the morning… Quite an adrenaline pumping situation and what do you think I decided to do??
Option 2 it was…. I called Afreen back and told her that I’ll make it for the auditions….
But, that was just the beginning of my detour… A story that I’ll remember for life…
Once I finished the auditions, I decided to call up my agent and get me a flight booked to Delhi that night or early in the morning so that I reach Nizamuddin Railway Station by 5.30 AM and catch the same train…. Or so it seemed
That was just not going to happen… I guess… Most of you know Mr. Murphy from the infamous ‘Murphy’s Law’. He was stalking me like crazy… I had just missed one flight by the time I finished my auditions and the one that was available now reached in the morning by 6 am… So there was no way I was going to make it to catch the same train…
Well, that was it then… I finally did board the flight, and thought I’d take a bus from Delhi-Haridwar (Uttarakhand Parivahan)
But wait… there was something I had forgotten…. My other friends @irohan & @vishal_g were still in Delhi and they were going to go to Haridwar via a bus!!! I quickly called em up and rushed in an auto towards Kashmiri Gate and caught up with them at the last minute as their bus was leaving… Finally I managed to get some company at least, before I could reach Haridwar and catch up with all the friends… Rest is history of course.
Quite an exciting start to a journey that was going to be filled with a lot more adventure! What do you think?