Tag Archives: Beach

#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

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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

Pondicherry – Give Time a break…

…..There stands Francois Dupleix. Not too far away is Joan of Arc. It’s a trip down France as one crosses symmetrically aligned streets in puducherry. The Portuguese have been here. So have the Dutch.. The Danes. The English And the French. And here I am now…

 

Truly a place that is a must visit on any given day… As soon as I left from Chennai, I realized… this is it man, Pondicherry is certainly going to be one of the most remarkable places to visit in this #SriniOnTour… I remember Pondicherry, Auroville from our History and English textbooks way back in school. Always used to wonder after reading about the place, how the whole experience of living in a colonized place would be… How the place is diverse and yet united across the Bay of Bengal… How there are people of various nationalities that throng the place, yet are comfortable for it’s as if their own country…

 

As soon as I reached Pondicherry bus stand, I headed off to Rangapillai Street, not so far away from the Pondicherry beach (Beach Street) Thankfully @ttvijay said he’d help me out with the accomodations, otherwise it would have been a task to get one easily, especially since it’s season time and talking in tamil isn’t an art I’ve mastered, nor do I know fluent French yet… not that they would know french, but you know… So here I was finally… touchdown Pondicherry at last. After I settled down, I decided to take a look around and see what’s in store for me? Surprisingly, most of the places in Pondicherry, important ones… are really close to each other. So it’s kind of a good thing for you…especially if you rent a bike there… Yes, you can do that, just opposite to the Rangapillai street, you’ll get a lot of bikes for 200 bucks, which is farely cheap, considering in Goa, they just charge you whatever they feel like…

 

So one of the things I had made sure I’d do… is go and eat at the Appachi restaurant! Yes, that’s the legendary restaurant that dishes out Chettinad food… Man, and I should say, SPICY Chettinad Food… And I can tell you, having tasted it, there’s certainly a reason for me to go gaga about the place. The decor is also very homely, starting from the roof to interiors, it feels as if you are in someone’s house in a village of Chettinad. [Chettinad food, now is one of the many reasons why people get to know Chettinad. Chettinad food is essentially spicy, with a standard full meal consisting of cooked dhal, eggplant (brinjal) curry, drumstick sambarghee for flavouring rice, and sweet meats likepayasam and paal paniyaram. “Kara kolambu” is a highly regarded south Indian sambar. Chettinad delicacy:Aadi kummayam, its a mouth watering delicacy for the sweet toothed ones, made from pulses.] (Wikipedia)

 

The next day was tour de Pondicherry and Auroville. But before that I made sure that I get up really early in the morning and get some really, and I mean really great shots of the Sunrise to actually make a Sunrise collage… This time, the beach was really near the hotel I was staying at…So, no getting lost or confused about any stations… Parks or Park towns 😛

 

But as they say… In the world where Mr. Murphy exists, you have got to follow one thumb rule… ‘Expect the unexpected’ and viola… the clouds thronged the sky till the sun came up and spoiled my plans of getting myself a sunrise collage… Nonetheless, got some really brilliant shots and hope that my collage dream is fulfilled somewhere down the road…on #SriniOnTour.

 

Another thing about Pondicherry is the beauty of it’s French section of the town. In French Town the roads are flanked by colonial style buildings with long compound walls and statelygates, behind which life unfolds. The facades have often vertical columns and tall windows and are coloured cream, yellow and pink. (tourism.pondicherry.gov) The beauty still remains and strikes you charmingly in the face 🙂

 

Truly, staying in Pondicherry and especially riding around on the bike exploring the town, I really felt like giving time a break… And that is one of the reason why I’m one day behind my schedule on the trip… Anyways, I hope to catch up soon, but for now I’ll relax, unwind and just chill… What do you think?

 

P.S I will be writing another post completely on my experience in Auroville… Do wait for that one 🙂

 

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Murud – May 2010

Yea it was hot as hell… But we decided to take this trip anyways… And heck it was worth it especially the evenings. Been here many times before. But nothing could beat the serenity ever… This place is one of the most underrated yet a really nice place to unwind especially for Mumbai folks!!