Dreams Aspirations, Conquests above all
The Mighty Wind, The SnowFall
Your Determination, Your Challenges,
Your Sacrifices, Your Pain, You know it all
Without your existence, Without your great Wall
There’s no resistance to this country at all
Growth to you is not merely a matter of your survival
But a difference to lives of one and all!
While you protect the ones who protect us all,
Without a doubt, you’d never let this Nation Fall!
A great source of inspiration, A great breadth of imagination,
A belief to the many who soar the skies,
A relief to the many who lose hope without knowing why…
Many who climb your peaks, Many who conquer’ your summit
You let them think it’s not difficult at all…
You Were, You Are, You Will be…
“The Great Himalayas
Always Standing Tall, Always Standing Tall!”
Happy Independence Day
One of the most exciting things for a traveler is always the beginning of a journey. The sheer joy you get when you are headed for a new trail is something which you can’t imagine without actually going through that experience, which I’m sure all of us would have. But it’s a notch above the rest, when that journey is to Himalayas.
Especially when the meandering trails happen to be as lovely as this. Tomorrow is the start of an all new journey after quite a while, since I actually went hiking in the Himalayas. While 6 months ago, the trip to Sikkim gave us the boost we needed to rekindle our love with the Himalayas, Feetonthemap and I made it a point that the next trip to Himalayas was going to be an amazing trek, something like this. And here we are today, with excitement galore, just one day to go and all set to drive into a wandering melancholy and figure out our journey as we go.
We’ll be trekking for at least 6 days, beyond wilderness that I just hope will have some enchanting snow caped mountains and lush green sights like the one above, even as we are at the onset of monsoon.
One of the things this journey is going to be about for me personally, is to seek a gateway towards exploration. To be one with nature in it’s true self. To learn some more from stories that it tells me. Obviously, since there isn’t going to be any connectivity, we’d most certainly enjoy a lot of time closer to nature, and that is only the beginning…
And the only thing I can do right now is hum my favorite song…
“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”
Hopefully I’ll share some stories as soon as I’m back. To find out on the go stories follow my Tumbleogue @ srinistuff.tumblr.com
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!
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
With so many long weekends in October, it’s certainly a great opportunity to buckle up, strap your backpack on and go travel! And if you are living in the vicinity of Mumba, Pune or Nagpur, then I certainly have one of the most amazing places to recommend. If nature and quiet escape over a refreshing visit to the woods is your perfect idea of a long weekend, then you’re certainly in for a treat with this post of mine.
I had the opportunity to visit WelcomHeritage‘s Jungle Home in Pench, Nagpur some time back. Considering this is a long weekend and the Pench Tiger Reserve will open up, there’s a great chance for you to visit the beautiful place to not only enjoy the beauty of nature, but also surround yourself with some of the most amazing experiences, views and a few activities that completely define the heritage of the beautiful wilderness across the jungle.
Situated across the border of Madhya Pradhesh and Nagpur on the banks of Pench River, this tiger reserve and national park is gloriously famous for it being the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and its character Mowgli is based on Pench National Park. While many naturalists and wildlife lovers would like to visit this place for it’s natural beauty, our trip at the Welcom Heritage Jungle Home gave us an opportunity to experience a lot more than just the trip across wilderness.
The almost magical feeling of leaving behind the hustle and bustle and driving into the woods of solitude gives you an enchanting experience of what was to come. With a magical sight of the beautifully rustic and amazingly comfortable feeling of being in a Jungle Home as soon as you reach WelcomHeritage made us realize that we were in for a treat.
The quacking ducks in the yard, ambiance of the cottage like room, comfort and luxury of a great accommodation, the balcony view surrounded by plantations, a great swimming pool view and of course the friendly staff and really delicious food set the precedent for a great long weekend stay to come. We reached the place around noon and after a few hours of rest we were all geared up to start sinking in the feeling of being actually away yet, being connected with ourselves.
After settling down and relaxing for a few hours, one of the first things that we did was a visit to a Pottery Farm near Khawasa village. Driving up there in a open Gypsy meandering across the highway into a village was quite surreal.
But what was much more than just surreal, was the artistic experience of the Potter who not only showed that Pottery is one of the most beautiful art forms, but also gave us a chance to try some of it hands on. Considering I had an injured finger from an accident earlier that week, my partner and travel blogger of the Feet On the Map fame, decided to give it a shot.
Besides enjoying the art form itself, the fascinating curiosity of how these folks have been doing this for years and the skills they show gave us an understanding of how difficult this art is to master and what kind of practice these guys must have had to come to this state of artisan expertise.
The next day was going to be an early beginning. The fresh cold air in the morning, the quiet and serene feeling of the woods, muddy trails, since it had rained the night before made for a great environment to sink in the true feeling of the woods and what would be even more exciting would be a sight of the Tiger. The good folks at Welcom Heritage arranged for a Safari into the deep woods of the Tiger reserve and we hoped for a sighting of the great wild cat of the Pench Tiger Reserve. But mind you, the Jungle is not just popular for it’s tigers, but also a host of other animals, which will have you really delighted if you’re one of the nature loving and interested in wildlife photography. A satiation for your soul and your lens for sure. They have two Safaris, one in the morning and another in the afternoon where you will be driven into the park with the Hotel gypsy along with an official guide of the park. You can truly experience the wilderness in its true colors. Some of which as you see here.
There was a kill made a few days ago where one of the Tiger’s had hunted down a Sambar and had been feeding off it along with a couple of it’s tiger cubs. Unfortunately, we weren’t fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the Tiger, while one of the gypsies who went along with us from our Hotel, were lucky enough to spot the Tiger. But we kind of make did with his paw!
But if you head down to the reserve now, since it’s hot, you might be able to spot it, especially near water bodies. If not for once, maybe a second trip should seal the deal. Still, it was a great run as we spotted quite a lot of animals, the rare bird, Indian Hornbill was quite the sight and some of the beauty lies in the fact that we got to experience the wild in it’s truest sense. That made up for everything for sure!
The Indian Hornbill – A very rare bird, endangered species.
If you have some time to kill in this month full of long weekends and holidays, and if you are a nature lover then this place is certainly something that deserves your attention.
A special Note: This trip into the wild was possible, on the invitation of WelcomHeritage, a joint venture between ITC Ltd and Jodhana Heritage that represents some of the best traditions of heritage hospitality and tourism in India. It offer’s over 40 exclusive heritage destinations, ranging from grand palaces to traditional havelis and magnificent forts; quiet nature resorts in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh & Goa. In Pench, we stayed at WelcomHeritage’s Jungle Home.
Have you been to Pench National Park yet? Did you experience anything beyond the wild? If not, do give it a shot and let me know how you found it. What say?