Konkan Diaries 2: Parule and its pristine beaches

25 Feb

Continuing my experiences from Konkani Diaries 1.

After an adventurous overnight journey we finally reached Kudaal (the nearest bus station for Parule) early morning and got off at the bus stop on the highway. Here we met with Bapat Bhaiya – our host, guide and driver for the entire Konkan trip. Bapat Bhaiya loaded all our stuff in the car and gave us a quick introduction to the area during the car journey. We drove through the town of Kudaal that looked like any tier-two town in India with random concrete buildings everywhere and a big market. But once we were out of Kudaal the scenery changed dramatically. Sitting in the back of the car I had my ears tuned to Bapat Bhaiya’s stories but my eyes were trying to soak in all the elements of the world outside my window. This entire area was extremely scenic with a very Kerala and Goa like look and feel. It was green everywhere with small red brick houses and sloping roofs, long winding roads, mango, palm, coconut and cashew tress all around creating nice canopies, lush green fields (majorly paddy) and red soil, characteristic of this region, making a nice contrast with all the green. In many places the road was at a height and the village cozily nestled amongst palm and coconut trees below.

Pat Lake, Parule - Kudaal, Konkan

Pat Lake, Parule – Kudaal, Konkan

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Photo Essay: The Chinese Countryside

23 Feb

I have driven a fair bit in India and seen quite a bit of the Indian countryside, the life of farmers, their ways of life etc. And when we drove through the Chinese countryside I was amazed at how many of these images resembled those back home. There were a few differences too and I had a happy time comparing the two. Sharing my own impressions on the rural Chinese landscape via a short photo essay below :).

Picturesque Chinese village, Yunnan, China

Picturesque Chinese village, Yunnan, China

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Konkan Diaries 1: Planning the trip and the journey

22 Feb

Konkan… A strip of land along the coastal stretch of Maharashtra and strategically located between the hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. This unique geographical position has endowed this entire coastal belt with hills, beautiful golden sandy beaches, pristine backwaters, lush green fields, swaying coconut trees, coves and lagoons and so much more. I have lived in Mumbai all my life and heard many amazing reviews and stories from fellow bloggers and friends returning from a road / bike trip in this region. But somehow my trips never materialized.

My favorite beach, Bhogwe Beach, Konkan Maharashtra

My favorite beach, Bhogwe Beach, Konkan Maharashtra

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Photo Essay: Lijiang and its Old Town

21 Feb

Traveling within Yunnan, for different reasons, was full of surprises as well as misadventures and our arrival in Lijiang was no different. We stayed in the old town of Lijiang where cars are not allowed on its narrow lanes. Per the email from our B&B, we had to reach the entrance to the old town and then they were going to come and pick us up. We reached the entrance and promptly informed our hosts to come for us. But for some reason, maybe a language hassle or they were busy with something, they just wouldn’t come. We waited on the main road for almost an hour and called them multiple times and moved from one spot to the other, because we were occupying the spots of the local fruit-sellers or hindering their sale. After an hour of waiting, a local police woman came to our rescue and spoke with our B&B people. Though I didn’t understand a word but whatever she did was pretty effective. Immediately after the call our hosts came for us and we took a small local bus that drove us inside a part of the old town and left us at another gate. From there we dragged our luggage on cobbled streets to finally reach our quaint wooden B&B. Despite the rocky start we had a good trip in Lijiang.

Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan, China

Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan, China

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The Deepest Gorge in the world – The Tiger Leaping Gorge

24 Jan

While researching for things to do around Lijiang; the most recommended item that I came across was a 2 day hiking trip around the Tiger Leaping Gorge. I had heard of gorges and tigers but was quite intrigued by this name as it kind of brought back images of the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the gorgeous landscapes around which the movie had been shot. Further research yielded that the Tiger Leaping Gorge is actually a canyon and considered to be deepest gorge in the world on the Yangtze River. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site and is divided into three sections – Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. It is called the Tiger Leaping Gorge as at one particular point of the river a tiger had leaped from one corner to the other to escape a hunter.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan

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55 Random Facts about China

13 Jan

Before my recent trip to China, for some reason, I had a bunch of wrong notions and misconceptions about this country. In hindsight I feel that some were so random that I can’t even begin to fathom where did they originate from. But whatever my expectations or beliefs China proved me wrong on nearly all of them. Hence it’s not surprising that this holiday also doubled into a learning experience – that I term as China 101. I discovered many new facts, explored some different facets and met some of its amazing people. Some of these experiences / discoveries were amazing, some shocking and some downright disgusting.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

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5 reasons why Sindhudurg must be on your Travel Wish List for 2015

5 Jan

Sindhudurg, the southernmost district in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra and just above Goa, is a traveler’s paradise with stunning panoramas, beautiful golden sandy beaches, pristine backwaters, quaint villages, rare temples, awesome food, amazing people and so much more. Surprisingly (though I am not complaining and I hope it stays that way) it has also managed to remain a secret and avoid hordes of tourists who end up visiting Goa instead.

Sunset at the Kille Nevati Beach, Konkan, Maharashtra

Sunset at the Kille Nevati Beach, Konkan, Maharashtra

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