Chandrabhaga – Almost desolate :)

ย 25.06.2017:

We left Puri at about 02.00 hrs to Konark, one of Indiaโ€™s best known. Konark, which is a part of the Golden triangle is around 35 kms from Puri and can be easily reached by road. Odisha is a land of great history and heritage, art and architecture, fairs and festivals. The traffic on the road was comparatively less as everyoneโ€™s journey today is towards Puri. We parked our car on the roadside to stretch for a while and continued with our journey towards Puri.

The roads are good and covered by trees on either side of the roads. Half way through, the way became more scenic with the sea on one side and lagoons on the other. Bordering the Bay of Bengal in the east, Odisha is famous for its beaches such as Gopalpur, Puri, Chandipur and Chandrabhaga to mention a few. Chandrabhaga, yet another famous beach of Odisha after the Gopalpur on Sea is located at a distance of 4 kms from the famous Sun Temple Konark. Just few hundred meters away from the Chandrabhaga, there is a jet-ski hub where we can go on a water-bike ride.

Continuous travels, bad weather, soaking in the rain for hours together started to take a toll on me. I had a bad cold, sore throat and was running of fever; so I had to stay back on the shores while the guys went on with their jet-ski rides ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Nevertheless, watching them ride those beasts was also fun ๐Ÿ™‚ . A small tip here is that if one wants to ride a jet-ski, bargain hard ๐Ÿ˜‰ We went on a walk along the shores of the Chandrabhaga beach, where they say that in the past river Chandrabhaga joined the sea here, but now only the confluence remains to be seen. Tourists do visit this place also to take holy dips on some auspicious days!

Chandrabhaga with its cool blue waters has its own charm and serenity! Long stretch of fine sand beach, neat and clean, camels and horses waiting for their passengers, a functioning lighthouse are the main attractions here. Chandrabhaga is mainly a sun-set point. Though I didn’t experience this, I heard my dad sharing his experience about the stunning views of this beach during the sun-set! A seven day festival fair called the Chandrabhaga Mela takes place here every year in the honor of the Sun God. It is also in this beach, the International Sand Art Festival is organized alongside the internationally famous Konark Dance Festival. Owing to the Rath Yatra in Puri, the beach is comparatively less crowded. After enjoying the cool sea breeze, we returned back to our car to continue our journey to Konark.

Konark is just 10 minutes away from Chandrabhaga and finding our way to the temple wasnโ€™t that difficult as all the roads here leads to the architectural masterpiece! Konark is a small town situated on the east coast of Odisha and as soon as we entered on to the road that leads to the famous Sun Temple, we could see a small Rath Yatra (Chariot Parade) taking place here too! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Though the chariots are so huge, they are like the exact replicas of those which we saw in Puri. Praying the lord Jagannath for his blessings, we moved towards the Sun Temple!

Once upon a time….. in Gopalpur on sea

24.06.2017:

Berhampur – the silk city of Odisha, is just about 30 kms from Icchapuram – the border area of Andhra Pradesh and we looked out for a right turn after crossing Icchapuram as showed by the Google Maps. Gopalpur on Sea is located at a mere distance of 15 kms from Berhampur and is easily accessible.ย  The road which leads us to Gopalpur on Sea from the NH 16 is a bit narrow, but enough number of sign-boards were placed along this road to show us the way to Gopalpur.

Gopalpur was once buzzing with maritime activities which Odisha is known for ages. It was one of the outlets through which early settlers of South East Asia sailed off. During the days of Kalingas, Gopalpur on Sea was known as the port of Paloura from which traders sailed as far as Java, Bali and Sumatra mainly dealing in silk and pearls. Later it became a prominent trading port mainly a transit point toย  export sugar and cheap laborers for the tea gardens of Assam in North Eastern India during the days of the British East India Company.ย Like Middleton-on-sea, the โ€˜on-seaโ€™ tag has been conferred on Gopalpur by the Britishers.

Gopalpur-on-sea is a small quiet town which is popular for its beautiful pristineย  sandy beach and a perfect beach destination for a tranquil holiday. We reached here around 16.30 hrs when it was drizzling a little. The beach is fairly isolated and there are not many tourists – the continuous rain may be one of the reasons! We parked our car aside and started walking towards the beach.ย The beach with its golden sand of the blue sea has its own sleepy charm and looked pretty during the drizzle! ๐Ÿ™‚ย There are no palm trees along the coastline and one get an uninterrupted view of the mammoth Bay of Bengal!

There is a light house which stand witness to the past port and also acts as the landmark of the place. This would be open only for a while in the afternoon and if you are lucky enough to visit this place during that time, you can get a sweeping view of the country side as well as the Bay of Bengal. But we were late that day ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We walked along the quite seashore which is undisturbed by the regular tourists or day-trippers. It was so serene that all we could hear is the symphony of the waves and our own heart-beats. And all that we could see is a vast stretch of blue waters with the fishing boats anchored on the sands of the beach by the fisher-folk with the crumbling walls and pillars of an ancient jetty together with some crumbling bungalows in the background!

The sea here is a bit rough and completely idea for sailing and surfing. And importantly, it’s comparatively a clean place to swim, but one has to take precautions as this beach is not that shallow! Once onto the road after a long walk along the beach, we went around the place to explore a bit. Once a favourite of British travellers during the Raj and home to retired British and Anglo-Indian railway employees, Gopalpur-on-sea still has several bungalows and mansions belonging to the Europeans and this gives the place still a colonial look.

Some of these buildings and bungalows were modified into small hotels and offers accommodation to the budget travelers. The promenade along the beach is filled up with small shacks selling a wide range of food products like prawns, fish, crabs, delicacies of mutton and chicken etc. Though we didn’t try any of these delicacies here, we ate few ice-creams and made our way further deep into the town. There is also a local market here which looked deserted at that hour of time and just about 3 kms from the beach, the local creeks in the vicinity of the sea have created a network of backwaters, which is an ideal place for a picnic.

Men were fishing; children were playing and boat-men were patiently waiting for the tourists who would like to go on leisure boat rides and others waiting for passengers who would travel across these backwaters to reach their villages on the other side. This is one of the most picturesque place in the vicinity, but one should be more cautious as these backwaters are quite deeper and the undercurrents more stronger! We returned to our car after clicking enough of photos without knowing what our next destination would be :-p ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you are looking for a perfect weekend gateway away from the busy city life, Gopalpur-on-sea would be a perfect choice, as this beach with her backwaters continue to spread its aquatic magic since times immemorial! ๐Ÿ™‚ There is also this 99 year old Mayfair Beach Resorts which offers luxurious accommodation for the tourists!

Let’s find our destination for the day….

24.06.2017:

I got a flight from Trivandrum to Vizag on the previous day, while Eshwar was already into Vizag. Bhojnadh too started from Nellore on 23rd to Vizag. By 22.00 hrs, each of us were into our respective places and decided to start our journey around 07.00 hrs the next day. Trust me, never ever would we make out on the exact time! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I woke up around 06.00 in the morning and got ready by 07.00 and was waiting for these guys to pick me up from my uncle’s home. I tried to call them since 05.00 hrs in the morning, but none of them attended my calls and Eshwar called me only at 08.00 hrs!

He started with a sorry and told me that they would be there at my place by 09.30 hrs, but they turned up only at 11.00 hrs. Pappu (Krishna), a friend of Eshwar’s younger brother too tagged along them and I bid a bye to dad, mom and uncle, aunt. Once onto the road, Eshwar told me that as we are just 4, we would go till Srikakulam and return back. But, I told him that we will go atleast till Gopalpur on Sea – a good beach destination. All the four of us agreed upon this and the destination was decided thus – It’s Gopalpur on Sea! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Gopalpur on Sea can be reached easily from Berhampur in Odisha and is around 250 kms from Visakhapatnam. Vizag is connected to Berhampur by the National Highway 16 (NH16), previously NH5 and is a part of the Golden Quadrilateral Project. The weather was cloudy and cool. We took a 10 minutes break near Bhogapuram to sip the tender coconuts that were being sold on the roadside and got our bottles filled with sweet coconut water before we started our journey again. We reached Srikakulam within an hour and planned to have our lunch here. But then, none of us were hungry and so we continued with our journey.

In the meanwhile, Eshwar checked with couple of his friends about restaurants/dhabas where we can get some good food and few told him to have it in Srikakulam while few suggested to drive to Palasa. When checked online we found a restaurant in Palasa with some decent reviews on google. We decided to have our lunch there. Just after crossing Srikakulam, the weather changed drastically and it started raining heavily making the climate more cool and our drive a bit slow. The clock ticked 14.00 hrs! While Eshwar was driving, pappu was sleeping, Bhoje was busy answering his office calls and I busy in finding a gas station online.

Though we reached Palasa, we were not able to find the restaurant and after inquiring with few people, they asked us to take the Palasa – Kasibugga road to reach this restaurant. From this, we were able to conclude that the restaurant is famous in and around its surroundings perhaps! Wondering how could a restaurant could be so famous in such a remote place, we started driving on the narrow Palasa-Kasibugga road and reached there. To our surprise, the restaurant was jam-packed and we had to wait for almost 15 minutes to get a table ๐Ÿ˜ฆ While Eshwar, Pappu and I started going through the Menu Card, Bhoje went near to the ATM to do some business transactions!

A perfectly dressed gentlemen came to us and asked for our order and Eshwar inquired about the specialties of their restaurant. The answer came instantly – it’s Biryani! Ofcourse Biryani, especially the Hyderabadi Biryani is quite famous in the states of Andhra Pradesh and neighboring Telanaga, but this restaurant is famous of two unique variants of Biryani i.e Gongura Biryani and Aavakai Biryani! Gongura is a sour leafy vegetable that is available in Andhra Pradesh while Aavakai is a hot and spicy pickle Andhra Pradesh is famous for. Don’t think these two are as simple as they sound – they are the base of a small-scale industry in the state ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Without further discussion, Eshwar and I ended up ordering Gongura Vegetable Biryani for us while Pappu chose Aavakai Chicken Biryani for himself and Bhojnadh. We ordered Hot and Sour soup too along with Mushroom Tikka – a spicy stater of barbecued Button Mushrooms marinated with yogurt and spices. The food was served hot and truly it’s delicious. I never ever imagined that we could get such good food in this pocket of the state and Eshwar ended up ordering for Paneer Tikka too – a variant of Cottage Cheese, to munch on during our drive!

Once onto the Highway, we changed our driving turns! Clouds…Rain…Soothing Music…Childhood friends…A long drive.. What else could be an ideal therapy for a tired soul? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ We made our way to Berhampur with a brief halt on the road-side just to stretch our legs and relish the cool weather. Ofcourse, munching some Paneer Tikka along with a hot cup of tea on the roadside while it’s drizzling is not such a bad idea. What would you say? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

In the Airport Island – Agatti ;-)

18.01.2017:

Relieved of the stress and strain of the journey after a good sleep, I woke up to walk around the island to join my people who are out there to explore more of Agatti. Walking through Agatti Island, I get through the narrow, paver-blocked streets, small schools, large mosques and of course the beautiful beaches. Almost all the produce consumed on these islands is flown in from Kerala. Coconuts are plentiful, but almost all other veggies are flown in, just like the tourists for whom they are brought. The beach is full of activity with women bringing their children for a play and youngsters playing beach football. Time flowed gently, as if the rest of the world didn’t exist.

I couldn’t find Imran or aunty anywhere in my quest along the beach and so I sat at one of the shacks munching a samosa. I couldn’t see much of tourists here and as I read somewhere before coming to these islands, Lakshadweep follows a low-impact model of tourism which wasย calibrated not just to the local ecology but also to human life upon the islands. 99% of the population follows Islam and their social relations are still conservative. ย People either work for the government or go for fishing and this suffice their needs. I felt so like an outsider crashing a family reunion as I could see that I am the only tourist among them standing like an odd man out ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

No main lander can buy land here and the shipments of food and fuel that wend their way to these islands are heavily subsidized. To my surprise, I came to know from Jaleel that the entire power supply to the islanders is based on diesel generators! Powder white sand cocooned by calm, azure waters, postcard scenery, no hordes of tourists, sleepy fishing villages nestled among the coconut trees – Lakshadweep is one of India’s best kept secrets!! My eyes ain’t getting enough even after spending so much time along the coasts, beaches and in the lagoons. It’s such a pure bliss! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Not able to find any one of my gang, I returned back to our room and started watching TV when our people came and took me for dinner. The dinner was simple; we ordered a couple of dosas while Imran had Malabar Parota which is a local delicacy. We cycled back to our room to grab some more sleep as I have to fly back to Cochin the next day!

19.01.2017:

We were up at 04.30 hrs to witness the sunrise in this beautiful island. We started walking towards the eastern jetty from where we can get a good glimpse of the rising sun. By the time we reached the jetty, a cargo vessel is offloading it’s cargo and few islanders getting their fishing equipment ready for an early morning catch! Slowly the sun was above the horizon and it was such a mesmerizing sight with the orange colored sun in the background and the dancing dolphins in the blue waters in the foreground! The experience is beyond description!

Just near the shore, we could see wide varieties of brightly colored fishes hovering around the shallow waters. Turtles were swimming lazily along looking for food or sunbathing at the surface while the islanders were trying their luck at catching the other edible fishes for their meal! I asked Jaleel how would a standard meal at home like and the answer came instantly as “Tuna fish curry” ๐Ÿ™‚ย The secluded beaches with swaying palm trees, the unending rhythmic dance of waves playfully teasing the silken sands, the sun and clouds creating magical light shows in the skies, transports us to a transcendent state where there is only bliss and ecstasy.

Though I wanted to try my hand at fishing, I was not able to do so as no one was ready to lend their fishing rod to me ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  If not this time, might be the next time ๐Ÿ˜‰ We returned back around 07.00 hrs as I have to leave to the airport early!ย For people like me who are looking for an amazing exotic travel experience in a budget and a destination brimming with natural beauty, untouched by human activities and far away from crow, Lakshadweep is the right spot! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you all would also be visiting these beautiful islands so soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Towards the Eastern Jetty..

17.01.2017:

06.00 hrs – After a tight sleep, I woke up only to find that uncle and Aunt were already up and ready. While aunty was packing her bag, uncle has gone out for a walk and don’t know what Imran was up to. With my sleepy eyes, I found out my tooth-brush, but was unwilling to brush – not because I don’t want to, but because of the salt-water in the pipes. Luckily, I found a bottle of desalinated water and brushed my teeth :B . I don’t want to take a shower as am going to jump into the water in few hours! Lol!!

I packed my bag the other night itself, so no packing for me and I went to look out for Imran. After ringing his door bell for couple of times, Imran was out sweating. He was exercising! He told us that he will be down-stairs in couple of minutes and we decided to walk along the beach instead of waiting for him! The sea-shore is just 100 meters walk from our room and there are some wooden benches separating our room from the sea. I will explain what these wooden benches are for in my upcoming posts.

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The beach is calm and serene, above all beautiful! If you are in hunt of an exotic beach, definitely add this to your list. The blue lagoon, silver sands or the natural beauty – all Indians there, if you are heading to some foreign locations for such experiences, then please do consider the option of Lakshadweep ๐Ÿ™‚ Not far from our homes, here is the very own queen of islands, which is known as the ‘Jewel of South India’. Remote and isolated, Lakshadweep has perhaps the oldest recorded history among the islands here. Ibn Batuta, the African globetrotter, referred to it as Muluk.

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Time for some photography! After clicking some pics of the beach, the boats and the western jetty, I found a hole from where two eyes like mustard seeds were peeping at me. After playing hide and seek with me for a while and scrutinizing me, a colorful crabย ventured out. I held my breath and was careful not to move so that I could get a good photograph of this scruffy creature ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know whether he/she was confident enough that I am not going to harm him/her or he/she is enjoying my attention towards him/her, it stopped moving and became a bit like lifeless. Just as soon as I finished clicking a few pics of it, it vanished into its hole-home!

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Imran and Jaleel joined us and we made our way to the eastern jetty where our motor boat was waiting for us. The jetty is filled with people who came for a morning walk, fishing and few for casual exchange of pleasantries etc. Our boat was anchored next to a small size ship and it’s almost like jumping into our small motor boat from the medium-size ship. One wrong step, I will be into the sea! After carefully getting down into our small boat, we wished our boat driver/sailor and his two sons who neatly placed some towels on the wooden benches for us to sit. After settling down, engine coughed to life and started moving away into the deep waters.

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As I was moving away from the Agatti Island, dawn is breaking over Agatti and the island is putting on a well-rehearsed show. The sky is a mirage of pink, mauve, and orange. The ocean has cerulean glaze that would make a potter weak in the knees. Even the coconut trees are in on the act. The shimmy faintly to the gentle breeze that tickles the tendrils of hair at my nape. For what seems like the nth time, I shake my head in belief. It’s ridiculously beautiful, fake even. Some gall the Lakshadweep has, being this drop-dead gorgeous.

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I have fallen for this beauty!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

A refreshing evening in Agatti

16.01.2017:

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We started moving towards the northern end of the island. Imran told us that life is very smooth in the island and there is no crime! We came across few mosques on our way where people were offering their prayers. There are a few antique Buddhist sculptures found in this island that show that the islanders once practiced Buddhism. But now, Islam is practiced exclusively. Women wears burqas while the girls wears scarves. Men are in either shirts and trousers or lungis! It took us around 10 minutes to reach the beach on the northern end of the island.

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The beach is full of activity. We parked our bicycles and walked through the powdery sand. There is a shack selling some refreshments and ladies were sitting together in small groups and discussing things while men were loitering here and there with the children. The cool breeze, calm beach and turquoise blue lagoon with a setting sun opposite to the scene is so enticing! Although there is lot of activity going around the beach and the crowd is not too less, the beach is quite clean ๐Ÿ™‚ . I started going around the beach while Imran started a conversation with an islander and uncle and aunt walked towards the sea.

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A few children were playing football after erecting a goal-post into the sand while some were running around hunting the hermit crabs, while some others were trying their hands at fishing! The common thing among all the islanders is the habit of fishing. No matter what the age of a person is, he will be always interested in fishing and sometimes I feel that it’s their favorite past time too ๐Ÿ™‚ . After clicking some photographs I too settled down along with uncle and aunt while Imran was still conversing with the islander.

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From the corner of my eye, I could see some creatures crawling on the wet sand, but when I turn to have a look at them, all I could see are some shells here and there. I asked uncle and aunt to remain silent and then these creatures started going around us with more vigor. These are the lower scale hermit crabs which try to deceive us by pulling back their bodies into their shells at the slightest hint of some activity around them. Aunty and uncle struggled a bit around them to make a video of their movements and finally satisfied, we let them go on their business while we returned to our business of clicking some photographs when Imran joined us finally!

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Finally at around 18.45 hrs, it became dark and we moved towards the shack named ‘Lagoon Beach Restaurant’ and occupied a table. We ordered some tea for uncle and aunt, I took some samosas and Imran some fish rolls. They tasted good ๐Ÿ™‚ . Spending some time here, we left for having our dinner at the same Al Mubarak restaurant. I ordered a Masala Dosa, while aunty and uncle ordered for some plain dosas and Imran excused himself as his non-vegetarian dinner was ready back at his room. Again, the dosa is too good. It’s fresh, crisp and less oily. Don’t miss a chance of tasting this tasty dosa, if you are here in Agatti!

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Time for shopping! Tomorrow we are leaving for the Bangaram Island. As there won’t be any food stuff available there, we have to get something to eat along with us. While Aunt and Uncle has gone for buying some snacks and all and Imran left to find an ATM, I went around some of the cloth shops to buy some beach-wear! After a lot of struggle with the extra large sizes available here, I managed to get a T-shirt for a price of Rs. 150 ๐Ÿ™‚ . Not bad ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Done with our shopping we left for our rooms.

21.00 hrs – We called it a day as we have to start early in the morning! Good Night ๐Ÿ™‚

Goa – The Ultimate Beach Destination

26.12.2015:

@ 5.30 hrs – All three of us woke up and freshened up to start our day by watching a sunrise in Goa that day. We didn’t return our bikes the last night as we took them only in the evening. But where to go? To unveil the true essence of Goa ๐Ÿ™‚ .

The true essence of Goa unfolds in the shore gems along its northern coasts. An all-girls gateway, beaches are alluring, tugging at our heart to come just a little closer. To get a little closer, we chose our drive to the famous Anjuna Beach. Be at Goa and I bet that the beaches which will be heard about the most will be Baga and Anjuna, as the famous Sunburn festival of Goa takes place here. Come Wednesday and Anjuna comes alive with a flea market!20151226_073446

As it was early in the morning, the roads were nearly empty, probably ‘coz of the celebrations the last night and the drive was refreshing. Anjuna beach is some 10 kms from Calungate and we have to go through Anjuna village to reach this beach. Anjuna is full of resorts, cafes and restaurants. As we neared the beach, drama unfolded with rocky cliffs and a sheer drop. We parked our bikes on the cliff and started descending to get near to the beach.ย Though Anjuna is one of the busiest beaches in entire Goa, that morning, it was calm and serene as there were only 3 or 4 other persons who might also be mad like us ๐Ÿ˜‰20151226_074721

Anjuna is a red-stone beach and gives the sea a rustylook with those stones. The red stones in the background of blue greeted our eyes and the coconut groves along the shore added to its charm. ย Anjuna extremely bustles during Christmas and New Year season. We went around the rocks and walked along the stone path that was laid. As we sat down on the rocks waiting for the sun to rise and were watching as if we were into meditation, my meditative reverie used to be broken by the occasional lapping of the Anjuna waters.

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Another 4 kms from here, situated is the Vagator Beach, which is yet another beautiful beaches of North Goa. Offering exotic locales to sandy landscapes subdued by the incessant assault of waves, I couldn’t resist the fascinating charm of this beach. Beaches can make anyone fall hopelessly in love with them and I too fell in love with this Vagator beach. Shades of blue, from azure to cerulean, sapphire to a deep green, turquoise; rocky cliffs and huge stones laid into the sands of the beach; the list is endless and the view, simply breathtaking.

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The shore that stretched for miles, a warm, placid sea breeze and joyful mirth of the waves – this beach has everything to offer to everyone. But as it was around 8.00 hrs in the morning, the beach started filling up with people and their surf boards. We resumed our journey towards siolim and drove for quite sometime only to realize that we missed the right way and ended up somewhere. And it’s almost our time to return our bikes and pack our bags, we drove back to Calungate ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

 

Goan Night Life..

25.12.2015:

@16.30 hrs – We reached Goa. But we don’t want to go to our rooms directly as we thought that we paid the cab driver a little more than usual and we have to justify that :). We are too wicked ๐Ÿ˜‰ We asked our cab driver to drive us to the Miramar beach. Miramar beach is that buzzing city beach, families flocking to the waterline.

Goa enjoys a unique image that “There is always something different to experience”. This image is truly justified as a lot of activity hubs like the Night Bazars, Cruise Casinos etc are coming into the picture, particularly along the coastal belt which provides entertainment and experiences to the tourists. Something for everyone, Goa is all of languid stupor, waiting to engulf the traveler’s core. One simply can’t get enough of this indulgence.

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How can we forget the fact that it’s Friday and we shouldn’t miss the Mapusa Market? We asked our cab driver to drop us at the Mapusa market. The small town of Mapusa lies in North Goa and is one of the main markets of the State. The market is much bigger than the one which I have imagined, though it’s not so different from any other regional markets, it has got a typical aura of Goa. There were different vendors like the inland farmers as well as the coastal fishermen.

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As it was the closing time, people were busy in grabbing the stuff. While the natives shop for all they want through out the week, the tourists can buy a variety of things like spices, clothes, antiques, souvenirs etc. We had a walk around the market and headed back to our room. We asked Sushmita and Phani to join us over the dinner and they readily agreed. We went back to our resort and relaxed for sometime. It was Christmas and though there was a high demand for the bikes, we managed to get the 3 required and headed to the Baga beach.

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Goa is always best when the holidays we choose to spend are in one of the popular Goan beaches. The beaches of Goa are the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation. @ 19.30 hrs – We were at Baga, one of the most crowded beaches and as it was Christmas, it was literally filled with people in every nook and corner. We were into an open DJ and started dancing along with the others for few minutes and headed to another shack which is relatively less crowded and ordered our food. The food wasn’t that great as usual, somehow I didn’t like the vegan food in shacks of Goa ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Once done with our dinner, we had a long walk along the beach and left a few sky lanterns wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and made our way to the Tito’s Mambo Cafe, a discothequeย which is a few mins walk from the beach. We danced to the hilt till 22.30 hrs and were too exhausted. We drove back to our room while Sushmita and Phani left for their hotel. It’s 23.00 hrs, yet Goa is full of life as if it was 19.00 hrs in the evening and that’s what I love about Goa. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good night!!

Calungate – The mini world of Parasailing..

24.12.2015:

@ 14.00 hrs – Guneet and I walked towards a stretch of the Calungate beach which is like a few feet away from our resort. The beach is full of sand and shacks where few foreigners were chilling out with few drinks and some good sea-food, while a few others were sun-bathing and young children playing on the shore. What I found here were boards.. Yeah, boards asking us “Want to go parasailing”, “Jet Ski, 15 mins, Rs. 200” etc..etc..

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The beach is serene, not much crowded and not like most happening sort. We returned back to our resort and got settled in the open restaurant for our food. While I opted Noodles, Mythri opted a plain meal and Guneet settled for a Goan meal, as she is the only Non-veganย among us ๐Ÿ™‚ . The food was served quite quick and tasted good. After a good meal, we rested for sometime. It was during this time I came to know that my friend (a senior in my college) was also there in Goa with her husband.

@17.00 hrs – We went to the beach again. But this time it was different. It was too crowded, full of people and activity. People playing in the waters, adventurers trying the most famous Goan water sport ‘Para Sailing’, hawkers selling flowery crowns, some LEDs, shorts etc. are all on the sands of the Calungate beach. The beach which we stood on right now is the mid-point of the Calungate and Baga stretch. Baga is yet another famous beach in Goa.

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The best part of Goa is the mode of transport. It’s a simple process, what all you need to own a vehicle for any number of days in Goa is an identity card and few bucks in your pockets. Usually in the off-season, one can hire a two wheeler for 150 or 200 rupees per day and a four wheeler for 500 or 600 rupees a day. And it will be too difficult to take a bike on rent during the season time like Christmas and New Year. We tried very hard to rent two Honda DIOs for a rent a 300 rupees per each, that too just till the night ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . But we decided that we should make the most of it ๐Ÿ˜€

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Calungate is a town in North Goa, which is quite famous for its beach and shopping options. One more important thing is that it is quite simple to move from one place to another in Goa, even if one doesn’t have a clue about the place. Calungate beach has got some coconut groves and brightly lit restaurants and tattoo shops in middle of them. There isn’t any provision of paying a parking fee here, it’s totally free, but few champs try to outsmart us and be careful with them ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Once there, Mythri and Guneet wanted to have some temporary tattoos on their hands. While Guneet chose some starts on her wrist, Mythri thought for quite sometime and I helped her by saying to have “Joie De Vivre”ย inked onto her hand ๐Ÿ™‚ . Isn’t it just apt for the moment? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Once done, we moved towards the beach, by this time it was dark. While the shacks are filled with people boozing, eating and dancing on the floors, the sands were filled with chairs and tables dimly lit by the candles placed on them.

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The candle-lit tables resembled a patch of land filled with lots of fire-flies at a time ๐Ÿ˜€ . We chose a table at one of the shacks and ordered some food. The waves soothing our feet, a loud music turned out to be soft after travelling quite some distance towards us from the shacks, chirps among the people around us, the cool breeze comforting us.. It’s a moment which everyone should live through.. ๐Ÿ™‚

On board..

23.12.2015:

Near Magestic Bus Station, Bangalore @ 20.00 hrs – 3 friends (Mythri, Guneet and I ๐Ÿ™‚ ) were standing outside a travel agency waiting for our bus to Goa. The roads were buzzing with people who are waiting for their turns to get into their respective buses to their respective holiday destinations. I checked with the travel agent about the arrival of our bus and came to know that they ain’t able to get a parking slot as there were too many buses on the road at that point of time and asked us to wait for some more time.

21.00 it was! Still no glimpses of our bus ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . It was only at 21.30 hrs we were able to board our bus. I think that was one of those extra options with the travel agency to meet the high passenger traffic on such days. It was an AC coach without any video screens or cell phone charging sockets. Lol! And to our surprise the entire lot in the bus were youngsters heading to their (our) party destination – GOA!! And our bus made a move only at 22.00 hrs which means we were late by 2 hrs :-0

We chatted for quite sometime, like the places which we need to visit, the mode of transport etc.. etc.. And I don’t remember anything further. By the time I opened my eyes and the curtains of my window @ 07.00 hrs on 24.12.2015, the day was bright with the sun beaming high in the sky and the road smooth and curvy with hills on both sides of it. ย A pleasant sight indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ . Guneet and Mythri were still sleeping under their sheets.

Around 08.00 hrs, the bus came to a halt and if you think that we reached Goa, you are mistaken! The bus stopped so that people can attend their nature calls. Lol!! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s is almost like an isolated place from the rest of the world as I couldn’t find any other settlements near to this restaurant. All of a sudden there was a lot of activity around me. While some were brushing, some were waiting infront of the washrooms for their turn while some others attended their nature calls among the nature ๐Ÿ˜€ :-p .

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We resumed our journey and the driver kept his words. We reached Panjim around 10.30 hrs. Generally it would be the Auto-walas who will be surrounding us like the ants surrounding the jaggery, but in Goa, it’s different. One will be surrounded by Cab-walas and we were no exception. A middle-aged person called Rajesh offered us the best price to our resort and we were in. Goa is clean and neat with smooth roads and more cars. While we start moving closer to our resort which is on the Calungate beach side, the roads narrowed and were full of people walking, riding their bikes, some shopping while some were boozing ๐Ÿ™‚

We reached our resort. To be frank, it’s not a resort as such, it’s more like serviced apartment with an open Bar-cum-restaurant in the Ground floor and our rooms in the first floor. The best part is that it is away from the traffic and near to the beach. We refreshed ourselves and Guneet and I decided to have a view of the beach-side while Mythri made herself busy washing her clothes. Interesting, isn’t it? Who else except Mythri, will be washing clothes while on a vacation to Goa?? ๐Ÿ˜€