Direct from the wonderful Pandal’s in one of the best Bengali Community..Chittranjan Park (Delhi) ,Loved the grandness !
Here comes a complete “Grantha” on rest of North Goan Beaches explored the next day –
After a complete warm up session last day, this morning cool breeze welcomed us …Just gazing at the beautiful sky hovered over with long trees ,sitting besides the pool ,actually made me think of some poetic lines –
“O Mother ..mother earth ,
This nature seems to be so romantic..
This morning breeze seems to be so bliss..
Beneath the clouds playing peek-a-boo with golden sunrays
& The tiny droplets touching my face ..
The world seems so lost to me ,My life feels so worth to me ,
The tranquillity I feel is so amaze ,far away from the city gaze ..
The calmness within me astounds ..
& provokes to forget my past …Stand up & shout in your hands ,O mother earth”
Well !! Broken up by hearing my kids shout 😉 I ran to my room to again enjoy a” together time” & head for the yummy aloo –parantha’s waiting for us J
Full of vigour, we planned to go through our routes & explore some of the gentle beaches – Morjim ,Manderim ,Ashwem ,Arambol & Vagator for the day!
Here we started our bikes ,enjoying the route ,praying to God to somehow get a glimpse of the “Olive ridley sea turtles” as soon as we landed at the “Little Russia” of GOA (due to numerous immigrants ). Surprised to see many Russian sign boards but could relate when I came to knew of this “Little Russia”. Not only is it famous for Russian Trance parties ,but it is an important site for Olive ridley sea turtles,with the nesting sites as well for this endangered species.
Morjim beach is quite unique, the sand specifically is quite different (shiny blackish) ,fully absorbed with sea water… Numerous beautiful ,orange purple colored shells ,very clean beach ,& few locals there made me aware of the breeding seasons of sea turtles & their presence on the beach during Oct –Dec . (Even heard story of how this specie was not declared endangered some 20-25 years back & how locals used to see & even destroy the eggs laid by them)
Although facilities are limited ,less restaurant’s to provide good food ,this beach can be a stopover for close to an hour to just chill ,relax & keep the search button on for sea turtles (Oct –Dec) or have a party there ,but it is a must visit.
Moving ahead to Manderim , Clear blue sea water ,le’ss of crowd ,crystal clear white sand ,very large & clean beach..to have a beach walk!! Even the waves are not that high , so enjoy in water ,relax at the sea beds ,have some amazing food & drinks at few shacks available there. I did hear that many Health therapies are conducted here (of course during seasons) . This beach is just to sit , relax ,drink under the nature ,in front of beautiful clean sea & chill !!
The next stopover had to be Ashvem, which is actually connected to Manderim, but has an altogether different aura. For budget friendly people like us ,Ashvem has turned out to be a “Party Beach” (for people not preferring Baga/Calangute) .With plenty beach side huts & club houses ,it seems to be a perfect party place. South side of this beach is also a nesting site for sea turtles & security has been stepped up in the past to save this specie.
“La Plage” is a lovely place to have some French food amidst unwinding leisurely!!
From Ashvem ,we finally moved to cover up the last beach on that route –Arambol ,the route well trailing from mid of Arambol village with narrow lanes which led to the shores of this pretty beach. Being less commercialized compared to Baga & Calangute ,this beach is divided in 2 parts ,the southern stretch with ample sea beds to relax often termed as Harmal or Aramnbol & the Northern stretch generally known as “Kalacha Beach” , which can be accessed by 15-20 minutes of amazing & scintillating beach walk .As soon as we reached Arambol taking the path to kalacha ,we could spot many fisherman releasing entangled crabs ,fishes (lucky enough to catch glimpse of Hammer head also)to sell off to many eateries around serving Fresh sea food.(Also ,Fishing is the major occupation of this village)
As we kept on walking in the search of so called “Sweet water lake / lagoon”( A local at Morjim informed us to not to miss) ,this walk made us fall in love with GOA once again.. Lovely rocky formations along with sand ,covered by cliffs on both the side, & as we came near the rather secluded part ,spotting few stalls selling handicrafts & jewellery ,we were simply stunned to see the nature at its best there..It was such a lovely tiny beach & a fresh water lagoon perfect for swimming, which extends along the valley into the jungle. So unlike & uncommon was this tiny beach, far away from the crowdy places ,a juncture perfect for everyone. Even the cliffs surrounding are considered one of the best for paragliding & dolpinn watching as well. This beach is certainly not to be missed & to experience divinity of nature .
Cons : Not so equipped with professional hotels or restaurant ,so restrict your visit for 1-2 hours to simply relax & adore the place.
The first half of the day had been almost stunning exploring & we did deserve some break for Lunch & a tight sleep..
Pretty fresh, we planned to have spend few hours just on Vagator Beach ,very close to our accommodation but yet not touchedJ
So a very broad beach with many red cliffs & rocks ,Vagator is bifurcated into two two main beaches by a mid seaside headland wherein there are lots of stalls for drinks & snacks ,footwears & clothes . The top of this land gives a magnificent view of the rocky sea, surrounded by long palm trees & gazing at the waves splashing across the rocks. Sitting on the rocks ,keep your camera ready for few lovely sights being offered & then move down to the North Vagator .
With handful of people at 6pm, we could easily see fisherman packing their nets calling it a day…But with a broad base to walk & relax along, we were lucky enough to have a glimpse of a beautiful sunset . It was indeed a lazy evening with an hour of beach walk & pictures clicking ,we ensured that next &the last day we had to be there enjoying & playing amongst the waves .
Vagator houses few amazing dinning places ,the most famous one being ,Thalassa ,with authentic greek food (but it remains shut from June –Sep) ,but not just greek food ,this open air restaurant is famous for the sunset views along the beach. So ,we could just plan for another place – “Waters“ ,an amazing restaurant /club again with lovely sea side view conducting many parties. Enjoying the place, we had some Pizza’s & drinks .
Imp Point : The way to Waters from the main road is too dark with very few lights that too in a staggered manner ,one even has to cross grassland (it felt so) to reach the place ,so be cautious while driving .(Although sign boards make it simple).
Walking down the lanes back to the hotel ,this was a brilliant day ,heading towards the last day….
The Play of last day!!!
Saddened enough to think of this day being the last one ..Terrified to return back to that noisy crowded place…We vowed to enjoy it to the fullest …
Morning sunrays welcomed us to the pool ,with an hour of chatting & swimming with our besties to freshen up every move ,which was followed by quick breakfast as we had to head for Vagator !
Those 2-2:30 hours were full of fun ,thrill ..Well, what best could we have done with 2 little kids?? Guess…We got a bed-sheet ,disc ,ball ,all food items for kids along…spreaden the bed sheet ,made our kids sleep on the beach & looking at full safety on the beach ,we had a great play in the sea.. little inside.. more…more ..well 3/4th within the sea ,hand in hand ,playing ,running ,splashing waters on each other ,freaking ,shouting with joy ….It was absolutely stunning !! With no people around ,kids deep in sleep ,lovely weather (with no sun above) ,we enjoyed to the fullest .
Refreshing we returned back to our nest;) to play some beach volley ball ,disc ,till then few people had started approaching vagator . Little later with kids waking up ,it was a family affair ,to walk in the sea with kids ,make them touch water ,get them close to the nature..
Indeed it was such a thrilling end on so close & very less crowded beach.
Facts of Vagator:
- Located in the North with apprx. 1hr travel from the Dabolim airport ,this beach is more occupied by Western Backpackers ,as it has ample places organizing trance parties .
- In 2013, one of the most famous “Sunburn festival” shifted from Candolim to Vagator which made it more famous.
- Many restaurant’s offering sumptuous food along with sea side view.
Returning from the Vagator at around 12pm ,saw us packing our bags & then leaving for a walk close to Anjuna Market to have”Coconut Water ,Bhutta’s” followed by Lunch .
Yes ,I was lucky enough to spot Cashew & Almond tress & just disclosing here..I did pluck few of them hanging from the tress out of curiosityJ
Returning back to Hotel ,it was time to bid adieu ,catch flight back to Delhi & face the “Honky Morning” ,far away from the pleasant ,calm & cozy mornings of past 5 days!!
Check out exclusive pics at –
Air Asia..Launching Services …Pre-Booking opens…Limited seats left…July –Aug –Quick decision ..Tickets Booked..GOAJ -The FINAL Destination!!
So hurriedly had we decided to make Goa an “On beat” heart throb in this Off Beat Monsoon season by booking the tickets this April in a span of just few hours..But as the saying goes, never regret the decision once made, indeed alarmed by the “Offseason Tag” in these months, we decided to have a prolific stay & make this trip a chronicle in the chapter of our lives with our 11month kid.
So tagged as “Last minute Managers” ,all the readiness ranging from booking of the hotel to planning the itinerary ,was made in last 3 days ,yet being very un-certain about the roam around plan ,but since it was a trip with our best couple (also having same aged Kid) ,it had to be something electrifying &indeed it turned out to be.
Bags Packed –Catching the flight –”On the Time” – Here we started in night, traversed 2hrs & landed in GOA(Dabolim Airport)at approx.10:30 PM .
Cold shrill breeze welcomed us, as fresh rains had just poured over making the land soggy, full of fresh aroma, the first look even at the night was so unsullied, far away from that of Delhi.
Taking a cab to our hotel “La Spazio” in North Goa took some 1.30 hr from the airport & with all clamouring over of both the kids (rather their excitement ;)), reaching the destination to have a luxurious dinner at 12 midnight along with sipping some fresh aromatic coffee under the dark starry sky was completely un-thought off ..As said ,it was a brilliant start!
Slept over a comfortable night (even by the kids, post being tired of past day’s continuous events), again rainy morning welcomed us..But it was for hardly 30 minutes post which decent sunshine broke out..Relaxing beside the pool, making kids aware of “an altered but cool life” by getting them dipped in the pool water, seeing them enjoy really made all the eyes sparkle & smiles gleamed all over ..Post having a sun cum Pool bath, it was time to have a breakfast & ponder upon our Day1 to make it a good start.
Having thought off ,to let kids experience so called “Thrill” ,we planned to roam around the city ,catch some amazing beaches at our time by 2-wheeler –Activa.
Hiring two of them, here the sojourn began ,with “WE” the drives as well as riders ,making the passersby our GPS (& yes boards all over were actually a great help ,especially during late evenings/night) –
So the first halt had to be beach closest to us ,which was Anjuna Beach
,highly Rocky & a very small one but the very first look at the waves gushing over those rocks & splashing water all over made it so pleasant ,to add on look at those “Red Rocky Crabs” added an amazing flavour & excitement to begin with ..Holding Boiled Yummy “Bhutta’s” & struggling to capture those crabs took first 15-20 minutes ,post which I was ordered to click some good pics of the family in line;)
Facts of Anjuna :
- Part of 30km stretch of Arabian Coastline ,it encompasses “Anjuna Village”
- A small & lovely but red-black rocky beach with swaying palm trees, also famous for Trance parties during tourist season.
- It also has Saturday night market to enjoy & re-fill the bags;)
Having lunch on ample eateries close to Anjuna beach, the menu being, (All Veg.) Biryani, Chilli Manchurian & fried rice & Breezer, first experience of Goan food was perfect .Since evening was setting in ,we planned to drive quickly to the most heard off –”Baga Beach” & enjoy on the shacks there .
With a ride of approx. An hour (tracing the roads, with the help of passersby & sign boards),it was actually a smooth drive all over ,seeing the vehicles at parking ,we knew it would be a mad rush & yes upon entering the beach ,it actually had a mad..Very entertaining crowd..All sorts of crowd ,& not just human’s ,I could rather complete “Animal Kingdom” having a water bath there;) ,Without any discrimination ,Dogs ,cows ,crows & Humans ,all were playing hand in hand;) . Agree the first such look was not loved by us, but both the kids rolled over with their laughter on seeing them play ,catching ,running in the water & coming all over …
Well, that’s an advice to the regulatory bodies of Goa, but we did relax at the shacks, getting our head massages done ,sipping drinks & lavishing on some Hot pakora’s till night fell on! Later post sunset the beach became a lovely place (no more signs of Animal kingdom), few beach lovers playing beach volley ball & some families playing in the water & yes we rolling in the sand after our lil kids ,for whom digging up the beach sand had become fun;)
Post lovely sunset, night was falling in when we decided to start back & drop on “The Mango Tree” restraunt, a very famous one with sumptuous food & drinks..A super yummy veg.sizzler ,followed by Cappuccino ,Pasta , Spring Rolls & Pizza..Ah!! Our tongue was protruding from tummies at the amazing taste of all.. So filled were we that even standing up from the chairs was becoming difficult..But it was close to 11:30Pm & with kids along, we had to return back to Hotel !
Facts of Baga :
- Baga is a part of 30Km stretch of Beach coastline which starts at Aguada & ends at Chapora .
- This beach is quite famous for Parasailing ,Banana Rides & even Dolphin cruises (although we couldn’t experience as all water sports are closed during these May –Aug/Sep)
Compared to Calangute ,this beach is quieter & with ample of shacks
Deeply engrossed… Well read on part II
So now let’s take a round of these amazing creatures ..Well hidden in the sea & beaches of Goa:)
Guys Let’s have a look at the scintillating beauty of GOA in Monsoon ,before my detailed post comes across:)
Let’s refresh our thoughts ,minds & have a relaxing look !!
So just Wait for next post.. For some fauna’s ,hidden jewels of GOAn sea:)
An Excursion to Pangong:
PANGONG TSO lake , a synonym of pristine ,exquisite ,magnificent nature! & yes ,this is the last scene where 3 Idiots was shot. Getting curious?? Read on..
This day started as early as 6am to start off for Pangong & have a magnificent time there.
A bit of history:
Situated at approx. 4250mts ,far away in the barren terrain of Ladhak ,this gorgeous lake spread across 134 kms ,60% of which lies in China(Basically Tibet ,but the region is controlled by Chinese) & rest 40% in India. It falls under the Army & require special approvals to access the same (An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control)
Travel from Leh to Pangong :
Approx. 155-160 Kms from Leh , it took us some 5 hours to reach Pangong lake via Changla Pass.
The scintillating route is something which keeps you binding & fall in love with this place even before reaching.
So the route took as –
Leh –Karu (45 Kms) ,this is the easiest Leh Manali stretch which makes your car run with great road maintenance
Karu –Chang La(35Kms) – Initially the roads are good but once Changla peak is touched which again gives you a cold chill in itself , slowly the roads begin to deteriorate. Hault at CHangla is a must to enjoy the chill waves & have some play in the snow spreaded across. At 17800 ft ,it is the 2nd highest pass & you can have a very warn handshake & pic with the saviours of our Nation…Our very own Army:) .On the top ,there is a Changla Baba temple with a little story & a cabin to protect oneself from the shrill of weather & enjoy some hot black tea & momo’s!!
Chang La -Tanskey (58Kms) – Next few Kms are a real adventure with dreaded roads in a very difficult terrain ,but the serene natural beauty is damn sure make you forget the tough time.. Although a rough patch ,but the amazing changing views & all shades of nature in a single stretch makes you feel stunned. Grasslands with little wild flowers in the mid ,rivulet flowing near to it ,huge rocky mountains on left & snowy caped in right? Isn’t it a miraculous place to be at? Horses running down the grasses just adds to the beauty of the passage. We did stop & took break for 15-20 minutes to capture these enticing scenes & imprison them in our eyes & minds for ever:)
Tangste (Tanskey) has few hotels & is a good place for a lunch stoppage!
Tanskey –Pangong Tso (32 Kms) – The similar views continue in this passage ,with sometimes water streams in the mid of the roads making a good splash & awakening you for a gala time . A mini crystal blue lake appears some 5-7 kms before the actual origin of Pangong ,which made a picnic spot for us.. Locating numerous fishes ,portraying the beauty & having Sandwiches made our 30-40 minutes fantastic one.
And yes in this stretch ,you will find numerous “Marmot” running here & there..Do keep an open eye to locate these beautiful creatures:) . You could also locate Ibex & beautiful horses post Chang La.
The air soars with freshness ,smiles crops ups widening slowly as some pristine ,huge ,very huge lake starts to appear .Simply breathtaking panorama ,every sight wants to be clasped ,embraced ..Such is the power of this location! The banks house Military camp & few Eco –huts as well. Drive on the rocky terrain until you reach close enough to the lake & appraise the tranquillity.
Here comes Pangong:
One of the brackish lakes in Asia ,the very first glimpse of this pristine Bluish –greenish lake made me fall in Love with itJ Winters leave this lake completely frozen ,despite it being completely saline lake(have even heard of few camps which allow walking on it& can be a superb adventure ,do browse if you wanna try something like this) . Sunrays coming amidst the mountains make the water change its shades so often that you feel magical here. Just don’t do anything ,sit & play on the beach ,walk in the lake near to shores , gaze at the beautiful birds as Brahmani Ducks ,Brown –headed gulls ,Black –necked cranes (if you are lucky enough to spot the specie) ,capture every scene ,as these few hours will make the best & an unforgettable moment for a lifetime. Due to salinity ,there is not much aquatic life or Fishes here except crustaceans.
You’ll never feel to go back to camp site or hotel or even the town you came from ..Such is the binding property of this paradise, serenity which allows you to feel bliss, forgetting all behind! It was this location which prompted me to visit at least once a year & it has been twice that I have been here in past 2 years!
- There is no eatery close to it ,so better carry your eatables /food along
- Best time to visit is May -September
- Better get your car/Bike tanks full as there are no pumps after Karu
By evening we had to bid adieu to this lake & happily returned back to the hotel.
Last day was a complete relaxation & a self-drive/walk mode for us .Never wishing to return back ,but this trip had come to an end ,but yes we vowed to love this place for life time & pledged to begin a living at some point of life to have the complete harmony amidst tranquillity of Ladhak!
To check out my “Nubra Diary” click on – https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/tranquil-zenith-leh-part-i/
Let’s also have brief on Leh City ,read on – https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/city-roamer-leh-part-iii/
Curious about Diskit ,Samstanling Monasteries ?Read on at –https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/meeting-with-serenity-nubra-leh-part-ii/
Travel Brief :
- Location –Lansdowne (Pauri district of Uttarakhand ,45 Kms of Kotdwar)
- Best Duration – Feb end –May ,September –November ,rains set in during July
- How to go about – About 250 Kms from Delhi ,one can opt for private car/Train (Delhi –Kotdwar)
- Major Attractions : Tip n Top ,Bhulla Tal ,Garhwal museum ,St. Mary’s Church ,Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple
It had been approx. 6 months of going through the preeminent & simultaneously the most rigorous phase in life of any woman…Yes, I’m talking about Motherhood..A fascinating beginning, a significant optimism, a sparkling smile, is what this word ushers our lives with!
First time experience had to be adventurous, with bounty of new surprises day by day ,some snatching the leisure time ,compelling us to work more hard ,& some bringing a sense of joy & contentment within! But ,amongst all this ,I had waited that as soon as my kid turns 6m ,Me ,a “traveloholic” person would begin my travel diary again(after a break of approx.a year) & yes I had been frantically googling for a leisure trip nearby to Delhi.
Many places in Uttarakhand shortlisted, few rejected keeping in mind sudden changes of temperature for the 6m old, some rejected for long distances..A frenzied me…24 hours of hunt zeroed out the little pristine hill station of “Lansdowne”, a weekend Garhwali destination to rejuvenate & chill out!
Gusto set in me!!Well it was a well deserved break!! Bags packed & we (along with our travel friends) boarded our train direct to the Kotdwar, a perfect ride with kids enjoying their first train journey with ample eagerness! Gush of winds blowing past our faces , Little drizzling ,fragrance of wet trees @Kotdwar while climbing own the train itself enthralled me & I dreamt of a perfect 3 day weekend!
So easy to reach Lansdowne from Kotdwar, frequent 8-10 seaters available which drop to the destined hotel..Well, we had intentionally got a resort booked which was some 20 Kms before Lansdowne main city..S.B. Mount Resort —A perfect resort –
- Giving a sense of Freshness & tranquillity
- A sense of adventure by trekking on the hills opposite to it
- A sense of closeness to nature ,with the rivulet flowing across it
- An opportunity for Bird watching & might be lucky if some deer’s say Hi in the mornings due to its vicinity to Jim Corbett!!
We reached our resort by 4pm, with hunger pangs reckoning our body systems…Within 5 minutes, we requested resort manager to arrange lunch tables for us..Wow, that seemed absolutely pleasant, table in lawn, stream flowing across, & we pouncing on nearly home-made food..Paneer lababdaar ,mix veg.,daal makhani ,raita ,kheer ,salad…& hot fulka’s..In just 5 minutes I felt myself so vivid, so overwhelmed being in vicinity to the nature. A stomach full lunch demands some rest …but don’t forget our 6 months old kids were with us..So had to make them take a nap for at least & hour which gave us also the chance to relax..
Weather was pleasant, drizzling had stopped, stomach was tight, all this called for a trek right ahead on the hillock opposite to the resort..But the question…KIDS?? C’mmon, for adventure loving parents, kids might have got those genes right at the birth.So, we decided to take them along with us..Harsh , narrow ,insignificant path throughout the trek..Didn’t knew where it would lead to…few steps & then anxiety of kids gripping us…but yes we did it…we reached the top ,which was a big plane ,with a spectacular scene of the surroundings !!Wow, it gave us a great sense of accomplishment! With sun-setting in the scene cannot be described..We just stayed & captured the beauty in our lenses for next 30-35 minutes..As the night was beginning to fall, we decided to climb down & reach back for a tempting Dinner .Day 1 passed chatting across the tables, mostly around these naughty boys, their tantrums & plan for next 2 days 🙂
It had to be special, very special, with clouds engulfing all night & experiencing good rains .Morning was stunning…Little sunshine peeking from the huge trees & drizzling simultaneously made a merry morning! Soon drizzling stopped & we decided to welcome dawn by having coffee besides the river stream, puling our chairs across it..So serene, so calm, it had been ages I had experienced this serenity (before this my last trip was to China, which didn’t got me into calm mode ;))
A rejuvenating hour …shook…wake up…my kid was wailing in search of me 😉 Yes, it was his breakfast time too & my coffee time was over !So an hour of cajoling & pampering, we all got ready to head towards Lansdowne..Well the manager had suggested..Book a cab for an easy ride…but we don’t understand easiness ;)Well, we planned to opt for local bus & have its ride..God, such an entertaining ride was it…Kids almost slept & we enjoying local music, with those sharp & steep twists & turns reached main town of Lansdowne..Well, it’s a pretty small town & requires just a day to enjoy the tourist places & rest dedicate all time to admire the beauty it entails within itself.
We covered 5 places in a span of 8-9 hours, although a bit hectic yet delightful…
With a day full of bliss, calmness, we returned back to our hotel by 8 in the night only to find an amazing night hosted with DJ & dance floor ready for us to rock with the nature!
A break of 30 minutes to stretch out & then we rocked the dance floor with other groups as well..That was absolutely astonishing & a memorable experience to make our lil kido dance in our arms .With no mood to stop ,rather bon fire in the midst of windy night elevated our moods & for next 2 hours there was no looking back from the dance floor (yes ,we took breaks to pacify ,feed kids ) ,but that was the perfect ending of the day ..Seeing hot gulab jamuns at the other end of the table, mouth watered us & finally we planned to break from the dance floor & grab the sumptuous hot dinner & yummy delicacies of halwa & Jamun’s
What a sparkling day it was!
Well Lansdowne has nothing more than this, but we had our train in after noon, so had a great chance to experience another captivating morning!
This morning gave me a chance to watch beautiful birds, although drizzling post 8 narrowed down my search, but still I was pleasantly surprised & glad to follow those colourful birds to capture them .
A relaxed breakfast made our start ecstatic & we decided to climb down into the stream to have some delightfully brilliant pic before returning back to the hustle bustle city of Delhi!
Very short but a blissful trip, a must visit place to experience serenity!!!
Do’s & don’t with kids as small as 6 months –
1. Plan a short trip of 2-3 days only as it does not hamper your kid’s routine
2. Try to make journey as comfortable as it can be ;Train is one of the most comfortable mode & kids too enjoy it
3. Check out the weather on Hill stations & do take along an extra inner wear for kids
4. Don’t plan travel/sightseeing at a stretch, take tours of some 4-5 hours & then break for relaxation with kids.
5. Prefer not to take kids on twisty routes as we took from Lansdowne to Tarkeshwar as kids are prone to motion sickness on those routes & vomit out frequently, also they become cranky on those routes.
6. Do take Gripe Water/Bonisan to avoid constipation to kids