Breaking the Fourth Wall- A Walk Among The Clouds

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Tourism

The Trek

Ever watched Star Trek? It’s supposed to be a space classic series that the generation before me (I’m twenty years old, so figure that part out) used to watch a lot. I’ve watched a bit of the newer films, and it’s quite cool too. We’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch playing one of the baddies in it, and I really enjoyed it. But I never understood why someone would call it a ‘trek’. It’s not like someone just gets out of home, hitches a ride to a nice spot and treks for hours among the stars. That sounds like something my buddies and I did a short while back. Well except for the ‘among the stars’ part. We got clouds instead.

When guys plan trips, as in an all-guy trip, we need to start planning very much in advance. The risk is that one idiot backs out, and the rest follow like a pack of dominos. This usually happens when you plan weekend trips to Goa, Lonavala, or small one-day treks to nearby Vasai. Yep. Vasai. Always treated it like some little satellite town that depends on Mumbai for everything. This time though, the Mumbai squad depended on it for a lot of things- change, rest, refreshment and a mild dose of enlightenment.

Two weeks of planning, twelve young fellas fully determined to wake up at 5 and conquer the challenges that lay ahead in the trekking paradise known as Tungareshwar. Five went. After 8 A.M.

To hell with the numbers. This was probably the best trek of our lives! Scaling the rocky forest terrain – left damp by the constant showers that graced the earth the preceding day – for more than six hours, we traversed through the clouds quite literally; with near-zero visibility as the cool breeze embraced our naked bellies (there were no women there, so we weren’t charged with obscenity). The destination- peak of the hill, on top of which there happened to be a certain ashram where we could relax for a bit and hog on the food made in the community kitchen.

But first, there was another stop that we had to give our attention to.

The best part about trekking in Maharashtra during this weather is the number of waterfalls you can actually see in such places. Tungareshwar is no exception. We followed the trail of a short stream that led to a pool of ice-cold water, fed generously by the waterfalls branching into it from two-three directions. The tricky part though, was climbing down from the rocks into the pool. Very risky. We probably made Bear Grylls proud with our enthusiasm-fuelled antics (my bones still hurt).

 

The upward trek was probably another ten kilometres from the waterfall. After what seemed like an eon of climbing and asking passers-by how far the ashram was (we met about ten people who said it was only ten minutes ahead. And all those ten liars came at least twenty minutes after each other)

we finally reached the place.

What we saw was up there didn’t look like an ashram.

What we saw was heaven.

What we saw was the clouds moving, parting away and revealing the spire of a temple; made of the best stone one could acquire, sculpted with the most adept hands. Slowly, the rest of the structure became visible in the same manner, summing up the amount of passion it must have taken to create such a marvel.

What we saw took our breath away. Our eyes just soaked it in. We stood as still as we never had before, as though made of the same stone as the structure before us. Our jaws dropped. We went numb with awe.

After what felt like an eternity of silence (in reality a few seconds), we finally found a few words to say. Just two to be precise.

Jai Mahishmati!”

Yep. That stuff looked like something straight out of the Baahubali series.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were lucky to spot a board that said ‘Parshuram kund’ just as we started on our downwards journey. Now, as a former avid reader of Indian mythology, this caught my eye. Before I could say a word, however, the ever enthusiastic founder of this lovely website – who was the core member of this trip – began moving towards what turned out to be a creek with the most spectacular view I’ve seen till date.

The whole of Vasai from up above the clouds. Lush green fields, about half-a-dozen small water bodies and concrete structures that did not distort the beauty of nature. All together in one panoramic view. I simply did not want to go home.

$@!#%*, urban life. I’m just gonna sit here for ever and ever. You can take your money and Wi-Fi and get lost.

Just kidding. Wi-Fi is life.

Let me also mention the quick Maharashtrian lunch we had at the bhandara- spicy aloo bhaji, daal and rice. Greedy pigs that we were, we went for a third helping before being turned down. Saglyanna zevaaycha aahe baala (everyone needs to eat son), I was told.

Fortunately Mr. Founder and I had some snacks in our bags that we hogged on later. God bless Indian mothers.

Since I was the only one in our troupe who spoke Marathi, all communication with the ashram members had to be done by me. There wasn’t much talk, but one brief conversation went like this-

Lady: Did you like the place?

Me: Oh yes! It’s the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen in our lives?

Lady: Great! So when are you coming next?

Me: I don’t know.

Lady: What? Why not? You certainly must come!

Me: I don’t know when, but one thing is for sure.

We’re definitely coming back, and we’ll be back with at least a dozen more people.

And we will make Bear Grylls proud.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"Shaarang Iyer is a second-year law student from NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai, because law is cool. Also he's single"
Shaarang Iyer
Connect With Him On Instagram

About The Photographer

Pavan is a second year law student from NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai.

Pavan Siddhardh
Connect With Him On Facebook

Matheran: The Weekend Gateaway

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Tourism

One of the cleanest hills stations in India

The post globalization period has seen the evolution of forests into concrete forests and advancement in the automobile technology has increased the density of vehicles on the roads which inexorably has increased the global warming leading to increase in temperature of our environment. 

The constant hustle bustle in the metropolitan cities is a real headache and many a time we just want to escape to a quite, clean, green and beautiful place for a weekend. 

 

In this post we are going to talk about one of the most proximate weekend gateways for people residing in Mumbai and Pune i.e. Matheran. 

 

 

 

 

 

Matheran's proximity to many metropolitan cities makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. Matheran, which means "forest on the forehead" (of the mountains) is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. It is Asia's only automobile-free hill station and is one of the cleanest hill stations in India. 

Nitty-Gritty

Matheran is located in Raigad district in Maharashtra . It falls under the Karjat Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. It is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level.

 

Matheran was identified by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in May 1850. Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station. The British developed Matheran as a popular resort to beat the summer heat in the region.

Attractions

There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the 'Panorama Point' that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is dramatic. 

 

 

The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the Echo Point, Lord Point, lion's head point, charlotte lake etc . To stay there, there are plenty of hotels, resorts and even some corporate guest houses like Rugby (RIL). There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth which makes it very ideal for trekking. There are many viewpoints in Matheran which give a panoramic view of the plains below.

 

Below are some pictures taken by us when we visited the hill station in 2013. (Swipe right, use fingers to zoom) 

The scenic beauty of the place is breath taking and Matheran is ideal if you are a fan of going for moderate trekking but if you are reluctant to walk to all the points, don't worry as the horses come for your rescue. 

The climate of Matheran is pleasant mostly throughout the year but the real experience is during the night as nights are mostly cold. 

 

Go with your friend and family as the place is really amazing for taking pictures and spending a weekend away from the noisy city life.

How To Reach there?

From Mumbai 

 

Getting to Matheran is half the fun; It is well connected by rail both, from Mumbai and Pune up to Neral Junction Station, a station at the bottom of the hill. From Neral you can continue on the toy train(Narrow gauge). 

While going to Matheran by road, take Mumbai-Pune Highway(NH-4) upto Chowk Village and turn to Karjat road. From Karjat, the same road goes to Dasturi Naka, i.e. entrance of Matheran via Neral. 

 

From Neral to Dasturi Car park the road is quite steep and curvy and are similar to the hairpin bends.

 

 

Once your reach Dasturi, you have to park your car there only at the Matheran Dasturi Car park Vehicles of any kind are not permitted in the town, which makes it a very quiet, serene place.

From this point onwards i.e. Dasturi till Matheran the journey is spledid. A small Toy Train (Narrow gauge) takes you through a zigzag route of about 21 kms. to Matheran in two hours time. It's a very scenic two hours ascent as the train winds its way around the steep slopes. Some marvelous valley scenes can be observed during this journey. Three small stations called Jumma Patti, Water Pipe and Aman Lodge are on the way to Matheran.

 

 

 

 

Tell us your views in the comment section.

Please do share your views in the comment section about this beautiful place.

Feel free to ask us for more information regarding the hill station.

We advice you all to visit the place in the winters other than the rainy season of course. It feels like you are in a Himalayan Hill station rather than that of a western ghats one of course if you don't mind the non availability of snow fall in Matheran.

 

 

 

[yasr_visitor_votes size="medium"]

Radhanagar Beach

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Tourism

Discover The Best Beach In Asia: The Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Islands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can still recall the day i went to this epic beach. I was just 14 years old and was very passionate about beaches and oceans as I was born and brought up north to the line of Cancer in India. 

In this post i'm going to share what i feel i could recall after 5 years about the beach. 

 

If you are fond of going for a long quiet unshod stroll in the sand or around the lining forest, Bird-watching, love seeing perpetual coconut trees, unlimited skylines, sound of ocean waves, the smell of the sea, sandy bathing suits and need to unwind and appreciate the occasions, Beach Reading, Photography, a shoreline Picnic, Enjoying the Sun, Sand, Sea, Seafood then set out toward Asia's (on record) the best- Radhanagar beach.

It is the best decision for the individuals who lean toward a greener way of life. It is a perfect place for the individuals who love to be in the total hush of nature. It is an amazing wonderful shoreline. The encompassing zones of the Beach are divine-rich in marine life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radhanagar Beach lies on the western coast also known as Number 7 Beach, is one of the most popular beaches on Havelock and was named "Best Beach in Asia" by Times Magazine in 2004. Silver-White sand of the beach and aquamarine greenish - blue Sea with rain forest as the background looks really inviting for a tourist and the place is unique. A place you can go to be alone, to get away from all. A spot under a shady tree might be your favorite retreat from maddening city or your bedroom.

This is a beach not yet so mainstream to be dirtied with discharge jars of lager, plastic water bottles, or even swarmed shacks because it is not easy to reach there. There is town on its doorstep. The beach is likewise extremely good to swim. It is the place to have a gulp of fresh air free from all the adulteration of a city life. All set up together it for all intents and purposes requests us to sit-back or lay around. Voyagers from all sides of the world run the place for meeting new individuals, clicking awesome pictures and adding lovely minutes to their vacation collection. It is a nature's blessing to our cherished nation and our holy islands.

Picture-idealize view, astoundingly bright reefs; and the best looks of orange dusk; what a wonder! Yet untrodden.

 

 

How To Reach There?

As Havelock Island is located  41 km (25 mi) northeast of the capital city, Port Blair.

The island can be reached from Port Blair by government-operated ferries and private cruises. There are also helicopter services Port Blair.

The island has a lot of resorts and the closest one to the RadhaKrishna Beach are The Dolphin Resorts, Barefoot at Havelock and Dreamland Resort.

 

 

PS: I would advice you all to go there by government-operated ferries. Believe me it would be a splendid experience.

Tell us your views in the comment section.

 

In the end i would like to say that what is the need to visit places like Bali, Thailand or Malaysia when we are having such beaches in our own country.

These facts are testimonial to the fact that why our country is Incredible.

Please do tell us in the comment section your views about this beautiful beach and island.

 

 

[yasr_visitor_votes size="medium"]

The Maharaja’s Express

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Tourism

Maharaja's Express: EL Dorado On Wheels

 

 

The year was 2012 and I still remember the first time I saw this amazing looking train in New Delhi running parallel to that of mine. I experienced a sudden jolt of enthusiasm and curiosity and i wanted to know everything about this lavish looking train. I went up to the window of the train on which i was boarded and started starring at the train with passion and I discovered that this magnificent looking palace on the wheels was called 'The Maharaja Express'.  

The Maharajas' Express is a luxury tourist train owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. It runs on 5 circuits covering more than 12 destinations across North-West and Central India, mainly centered on Rajasthan between the months of October and April.
The Maharajas' Express was voted "The World's Leading Luxury Train" five times in a row at The World Travel Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014,2015 and 2016. It is the most expensive luxury train in the World. Maharajas' Express also received the first runner up award in the Specialist Train Operators Category at Conde Nast Travelers Reader Choice Travel Award in 2011.

The Train is lavish so is the price that one has to pay in order to board the train. The price of the ticket is between Rs. 2,50,000 and Rs. 15,00000 based on the Itinerary that one opts for. 

 

Here is a list of Itineraries 

 

 

1.Heritage of India
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Destinations Covered: Mumbai – Ajanta – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Agra - Delhi

2.Treasures of India
Duration: 3 nights / 4 days
Destinations Covered: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi.

3.Gems of India
Duration: 3 Nights / 4 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi

4.Indian Panorama
Duration: 9 Nights / 10 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Gwalior – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Lucknow – Delhi

5.The Indian Splendour
Duration: 7 Nights OR 8 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Balasinor – Mumbai

 

 

 

 

Below are some of the videos which will give all of you a clear insight what I'm talking about.

 

 Video Courtesy: Maharaja's Express                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 Video Courtesy: History TV 18                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

Video Courtesy: Maharaja's Express                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

Please tell us in the comment section what do you think about this fabulous train. 

These kind of things are after-all testimonial to the fact that our India is Incredible. 

 

 

 

[yasr_visitor_votes size="medium"]