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Family travel

Travel and Culture

Kathmandu Places to Visit – My travel memoirs Part II

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Continued from Kathmandu Top Attractions: My trip to the City of Temples (Part I) During our stay in Kathmandu, we were deliberating on going to Nagarkot or Pokhara, but travelling to either of these places meant that we would need to spend a night there to see the sunset and the sunrise. Given our short schedule, we ruled out the visit to these places, as it would be difficult to drive back in the evening after sunset. These are the tourist places in Kathmandu that we visited instead: Doleshwar Mahadeva About 20 km away from Kathmandu city centre, is a temple called Doleshwar Mahadeva, which is believed to be the head of Kedarnath temple, one of the most prominent Hindu pilgrimages in Uttarakhand, India.  Given its religious significance, Birbal suggested that we go there. It was a pleasant uphill drive with views of terraced hills and the valley. On the way up, I requested Birbal to stop at places from where we could get good views. He willingly obliged. On reaching the temple, we found that it is a small, quaint place in the lap of the hills. The Shiva sculpture at the Doleshwar shrine is supposed to be 4000 years…

Travel and Culture

Kathmandu Top attractions – My trip to the City of Temples

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I frankly admit that the impression that I had formed of Kathmandu, until recently, was solely on the basis of the scenes of some of the Hindi movies (such as Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and more recently Baby) and Indiana Jones movies that I had seen. That was before we (husband and me) packed off for a short trip, leaving our cat in the safe custody of my daughter, who has come home on vacation. The destination obviously was Kathmandu – an offbeat place but well suited for a short summer getaway, especially for heritage lovers like me. Arrival at Kathmandu Taking a morning flight from Mumbai, we landed in Kathmandu by noon. It had rained in the morning, due to which the temperature had dropped and the weather had turned pleasant.  A huge poster of Deepika Padukone with an Oppo phone greeted us at the Tribhuvan International airport, where I was expecting to see posters of people in their traditional Nepali costumes. Repair work was being carried on at the airport escalators, which made me a little sceptical while using those. The hotel Annapurna was not very far away and we reached the hotel in half an hour. While…

Travel and Culture

Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 3

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 By Somali K Chakrabarti   Continued from Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 2 Part 1 can be found here : Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 1 Afternoon Safari The second safari was in the afternoon. The zone allotted for our safari was Kanha. The gate, this time was far off from the resort. It would take about an hour to reach the forest. We started at 2.30 p.m.  The hot afternoon Sun was radiating its intense fury in the form of oppressive heat. With a scarf and hat on my head and a wet towel over my face, I endured the gruelling heat and the dry hot wind in the open gypsy. Somehow we managed to reach the forest gate. Inside the forest, it was much more manageable as the shadowy trees absorbed much of the heat. A stray hare or two would suddenly cross the road, and jungle fowl would crow cock – a- doodle –do every now and then.  During the drive, we caught the sight of birds such as the Black drongo, Golden oriole, White-rumped shama, Kingfisher and Indian rollers hovering between the trees.   Barasinga Deer While…

Travel and Culture

Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 2

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 By Somali K Chakrabarti   Continued from Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 1 Morning Safari At 5 AM in the morning, there was a slight nip in the air. We had a cup of tea and were ready to leave for the morning safari. Two jeeps were booked for our group of 8 people, with each jeep accommodating four people, and a driver. As we got into the Gypsy earmarked for us, the attendants handed out blankets to us. The jungle, they said, is cold in the morning. And, so we set out for our jungle sojourn. The National park is divided into 4 zones – Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi. It took us around 15 minutes to reach the Mukki Gate. As early as 5.30 AM, there were already 8-10 vehicles lined in front of us. At the gate, a guide from the Forest Department accompanied us on the Gypsy and we entered the Kisli Zone. As soon as we entered the forest, we could feel the fresh morning breeze. On either of the road were sal and bamboo forests, with an undergrowth of wild grass and thorny bushes. We could hear different bird songs coming…

Travel and Culture

Kanha : A jungle safari in the forest of Mowgli- Part 1

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 By Somali K Chakrabarti   Summer, they say, is the best season for wildlife sightings. The scorching summer heat dries up the water sources in the forests, affecting the animals and birds. So, these denizens of the forest frequently gather around the waterholes to quench their thirst, after those are refilled by the Forest Department.  “A good tiger sighting would more than make up for the sweltering heat.” This piece of advice from a trusted friend made us agree to plan for a Jungle Safari to Kanha National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, in the month of April last year. We knew that the trip would require us to brave the soaring mercury levels. A thrilling sensation of adventure took over as we as we set out for our trip to Raipur from Mumbai. We would soon be heading for the jungle, which provided the inspiration for the tales of Mowgli and Bagheera in Kipling’s Jungle Book.

Travel and Culture

Hampi – City with a Iconic Heritage

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By Somali K Chakrabarti It was 1 PM in the afternoon. After lapping up all there was to seen in Pattadakal and Aihole, we proceeded towards Hampi, which is at distance of around 150 km from Aihole. The stretch of road between Aihole and Hampi being smooth, we had an easy drive. On the way, as we passed through Kamalapur, we saw a lake in which the water had a pinkish tinge, appearing as if it had borrowed its shade from the nearby reddish hills.

Travel and Culture

Pattadakal and Aihole – Cradle of Indian temple architecture

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By Somali K Chakrabarti Pattadakal, a small village in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, is a name that I had not heard of till recently, but after seeing the place enroute to Hampi from Badami caves, I was so enthralled by its beauty and richness of art that if I have to describe the place in one word it would be ‘mesmerizing’. This small village, situated on the bank of Malaprabha river, is a UNESCO World heritage site with a cultural legacy dating back to the 6th century BC. Starting out from Badami, in the morning at around 8 AM, we reached Pattadakal in less than an hour. On entering the heritage complex, I found a picturesque site of ancient stone temples in sprawling green lawns with palm trees lined on the sides, and with light red sandstone hills in the backdrop.  

Hotel and Food Chains

Double Tree by Hilton, Goa: Hotel Review

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Some places have their own set of energy, it is so unique to those places only, and Goa is one of them. The moment you land you are charged up. Says my blogger friend Nihar Pradhan.  Back from a short vacation in Goa, I was smitten by the beauty of the place in the monsoon, which shows up in my posts Goa in the Monsoon and Going around Goa, I couldn’t have agreed more with him. In these two posts, I have written about churches, temples, plantations, aquarium, beaches and forts, and even about a haunted place. What I also wanted to jot down was a review of the hotel where we had put up during our stay. So here it is.

Travel and Culture

Going around Goa

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By Somali K Chakrabarti After it rained throughout night, the sun showed up the next morning. As we had ventured to the South of Goa on the earlier day, we decide to head straight to the forts and beaches of North Goa. The remnants of the forts that once guarded the coastline still attract many visitors. Though the Portuguese forts were mostly functional forts, without the architectural finesse or ornate carvings found in the Mughal forts, yet one can’t help marveling at their construction. The sturdy bastions have withstood the lashing of the sea waves for over 4 centuries and still continue to do so.

Travel and Culture

Goa in the Monsoon

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By Somali K Chakrabarti Winter is generally the preferred season for tourists to visit Goa. Monsoon, on the other hand is the “off season” for tourists in Goa. Nonetheless, it is also the season when you can enjoy moving around the places of interest at leisure, without finding yourself in a sea of people all around you. So here I am in Goa on a short trip, enjoying the monsoon. The rain this year in Goa has been sparse though. It wasn’t raining on Sunday morning. We decided to go to old Goa. Goa has an interesting amalgamation of east and west, ancient and modern, beaches and hills. There is a bit of everything for everyone it appears. On one hand you find casinos and clubs, on the other you find a number of churches and temples. It is a small quaint state and yet there is something very lively about Goa.

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