What all things to keep in mind for a solo travel in India

‘I love to travel but have to wait for my friends to get free time which would match mine’

‘I love to travel but want to experience a solo trip but am too scared about it’

‘I love to travel and want to travel solo but don’t know where to start from and how to do it’

Sounds familiar?

Most of us want to travel, rather love travelling. But when those friends and family are not available when you are available to go then you keep postponing the dates as per their availability.

Sometimes, you just want to have the experience of ‘solo’ travelling but somehow never started off.

So what are the things that you need to know before stepping out for travelling solo?

Here are some important pointers based on my own experiences which you would find useful while travelling solo in India –

Know your place

A little bit pre-researched information about the place where you are going is always helpful. Example, the kind of weather conditions, culture, dressing sense, food, transport availability, etc.

Transport

All places in India are mostly connected by trains and bus. So after you have selected the place you want to go, see the rental options of four wheeler and two wheeler if you want to avoid public transport.

For trains it is better to book beforehand. For the bus transport check for the State run transport first as it is much faster and budget friendly.

If you are moving from one destination to another then check the connectivity. For example, when I went to Rajasthan, I rented two wheeler at Jaipur and covered all the nearby places with that.

Food

Best way to enjoy the foods and have the hygiene factor covered is by having the local authentic foods. You get the fresh fruits and vegetables and also the processed items intake would be less when you are tasting the local delicacies. And given India is majorly a vegetarian country, you would get all types of food at almost all states.

Take your own reusable bottle with a filter attached (although it’s a bit expensive). This will help you to have pure drinking water. Buying water every time if you are on a long trip would weigh down on the budget.

Clothes

India is a vast country with tropical climate. Whatever destination you travel to, better to check the weather conditions prior to that. Especially the clothes you will require at the Northern India is different from Southern India.

However, it is good to have interchangeable clothes and light multi-purpose jackets which you can mix and match and wear anytime.

Another important thing is to wear clothes which does not attract unnecessary attention (especially for women travelers). Prefer to wear clothes covering more than 70% of the body. Not all places are same but just to be on the safer side you would like to take this into consideration.

Also keep in mind, while visiting most of the religious places, wear a fully covered dress and better to cover the head.

Be a Responsible Traveler

Traveling is not just about fun. It’s also about experiences and learning. Wherever you go ensure that you respect not just the people and culture but also the place. Do NOT litter around even if you find litter lying here and there. It will not only help you have a satisfied journey but also you might inspire and encourage others to follow the same, you never know!

Hacks & Tips

Ladies, it is a good idea to fake a ring on your finger! It works most of the time. This peculiar trick keeps away unwanted men most of the time.

Keep a whistle, key, spray(any deodorant will also do) and torch handy always for safety purpose.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Local police and hospital details should always be with you wherever you are traveling to.

While India is a diverse country with a diverse culture, it is always advisable to respect and be humble and empathetic while traveling towards the locals and the fellow travelers.

If you have some other tips and experience do share it in the comments below. Would love to hear.

Happy traveling 🙂

EatStreet at Brisbane. Food paradise in Australia

When you are in a new country, the first thing you look for is food, be it your native food or the local food. But when you have the option of pampering your taste buds with not just your native food but also local foods and delicacies from all over the world, what do you do? Yes you are in the Food Heaven!

In brief – EatStreet is a place at North Shore Hamilton, Brisbane where there is a food festival on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the year. From food, beverages to live performances at more than 2 stages, you can enjoy your time and dine by the Brisbane River watching the mesmerizing sunset.

On the occasion of the 5 years anniversary of the EatStreet, here are some of the moments captured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another of my Moon shot 🙂

If you are at Brisbane, definitely visit EatStreet for some mouth watering experience!! Happy travelling 🙂

 

 

10 Best Places in India for Solo Female Travelers – Budget Friendly

With a full time job and only few weekends to spend for myself in a year, it’s a little bit of extra work of planning for a solo trip. Although there are lots of places in India to visit solo(for everyone irrespective of men or women), here are the top most as per budget, food and traveler friendly.

Source : Mumbai

Trip Duration (each) : 2-4 days (over the weekend)

Budget : Within INR 7000

Accomodation : Through makemytrip.combooking.com (these offer some really good budget-friendly deals) and Couchsurfing(the worldwide common platform for cultural exchange with travel experiences and hospitality- the best out of all the options!).

Budget : Pocket friendly (All prices might vary from season to season and person to person. These are the ones I completed my trips within).

1. Hampi – Paradise for all backpackers

Approx trip cost – INR 2000

The land of monuments and the Tungabhadra River, Hampi is more than just scenic beauty and an ideal place for backpackers, it is an experience with best of ancient touch and the warm and mordern gestures of the locals. The ancient temples, monuments and the giant rocks and boulders of Hampi will leave you amazed. The locals there speak fluent English so language is not a problem for anyone communicating in English.

Definitely take the Coracle ride once to cross the river. It’s really fun! And it is very well within the pocket-friendly budget. Have delicious foods at Mango Tree cafe with unlimited access to wifi and great ambiance.

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Tip : Take enough cash as there is no facility of card swipe at most of the places. The only ATM is at Hospet, 10 km from Hampi.

For detailed info, check here.

2. Goa – Indian travel hotspot year round for all kinds of travelers

Approx trip cost – INR 4000

The most happening place for solo traveling. Parties, serene beauty, water sports, adventure or just chilling out – Goa offers everything and is most frequented by solo travelers. You can visit Goa at any time of the year except the Summer season(it’s too hot!) During Monsoons only the water activities are closed due to high tides, otherwise every place can be explored and it’s a scenic beauty treat to the eyes during monsoon.

Try out the local cuisines and rent a two-wheeler (rent options available almost everywhere) for an ultimate enjoyable experience.

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Tip : Take good amount of sunscreen whichever month it be. Try out all kinds of booze at cheap rates than any other state.

3. Sikkim : The abode of natural beauty

Approx trip cost – INR 7000

Known as the most disciplined state, Sikkim is the abode of natural beauty and peace. You can never get enough of its serenity. The food, shopping and people are simply amazing. Definitely visit the Monastery, Phelling, Tsangu Lake. Gorge on yummiest momos and soups!

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Tip : Take a light jacket for the night in off winter season and definitely the woolens during winter.

4. Varanasi – Essence of Indian culture

Approx trip cost – INR 4500

As the saying goes ‘Varanasi is not just a place, it’s an experience’ is very true and you can experience this once you visit here. The Ganges, the Ghats, the Ganga Aarti , the innumerous diyas at the bank of the River – India’s culture reflects in every corner of Varanasi. At least once in life you must pay a visit. In the evening take a ride in the boat along the Assi Ghats and watch and immerse in the essence of Ganga Aarti.

Tip : Take proper care of not to get trapped by the ‘pandas’ at the temples.

5. Udaipur – The City of Lakes

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Rajasthan has always attracted people from all over the world due to its rich history, culture and architecture. One of the safest destination for women travelers. The people are very friendly and helpful. The City of Lakes – Udaipur . The vintage car museum, the City Palace, the stroll near the banks of the lakes and getting immersed in the golden hue of sunset are just some of the many things you should do in Udaipur.

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Tip : Sit by the lakes (especially Lake Pichola) by the evening to enjoy the picturesque beauty and soothing breeze and try out the German Bakery stuffs over there!

6. Jaipur – The Pink City

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Enjoy the Forts, palaces and vintage museums of the Pink City – Jaipur with delicious traditional foods that the city has to offer. The largest physical sun dial is located here at Jantar Mantar. It’s thrilling how the astronomy and engineering was so perfect at the ancient era in India!

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Tip : If you love walking, then can explore most the city by walking only.

For detailed info check here.

7. Jodhpur – Rajasthan treasures

Approx trip cost – INR 2500

The Blue City – Jodhpur is famous for the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the biggest in India and the Golden City. Along with that the world’s largest Royal residential heritage hotel – Umaid Bhavan Palace is located here.

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Tip : Try walking up the road to the Fort through the narrow backstreet from where the view is breathtaking, especially early in the morning and late evening.

For detailed info, check here.

8. Pondicherry – Touch of French culture

Approx trip cost – INR 5000

The French Colony of India is a place which has something that most of the place has in scarcity – peace and serenity. The delectable French cuisines, the old buildings, the small clean beautiful lanes, the Aurobindo Ashram, the simple people leading their simple lives, the shops for some great shopping experience – you can enjoy all these at Pondicherry. Do spend the evening at the Ocean rocks, it’s a beautiful experience.

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Tip : Take the direct bus from Chennai if you are opting for public transport or better book a cab for more convenience.

9. Khajuraho – Ancient architecture of India

Approx trip cost – 5000

A bit surprised? Yes Khajuraho is one of the best places for female solo travelers to visit and explore. Ofcourse a little cautiousness is needed just like any other place, but once you get the idea you are good to go ahead. The temple is the biggest attraction here and two lakes are also present nearby.

Khajuraho railway station is located in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Along with that the Khajuraho airport is another option. By roadways, you can take buses which are available from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi, Delhi and few other.

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Tip : While buying souvenirs at the shops outside the temple, negotiate as much as you can as they don’t give up easily.

10. Jhansi and Orchha – History of bravery and valour

Approx trip cost – 4000

In Jhansi, the Fort is the only attraction but the Orchha Palace is something not to be missed. An official guide at this place would be helpful to understand the details.

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Tip : Take a shared tempo from Jhansi to Orchha and vice versa for a distance of around 10 kms. It is cheap and convenient too.

So step out and explore and enjoy the beauties of every part of India! This list of course is going to increase as days pass by. If you know any other places which should add up to this list, please do share in the comment section. Happy traveling 🙂

Weekend trip – Alwar and Bhangarh – Listed as most haunted place in India

When we search in Google for the most haunted places in India, Bhangarh in Rajasthan tops the list. It’s been a place I badly wanted to go for a long long time! So then I finally made it. Tickets from Mumbai to Jaipur to and fro for a weekend. Started off in the evening, reached during the noon the next day. Stay was at Moustache Hostel. Whenever I go to Jaipur, prefer staying here, the ambiance is really nice!

Trip duration – 2.5 days

Trip cost – INR 2500

Day 1 (Evening):

On first day after reaching there, only the half day was left so went to Bawri, Jaipur. Had the traditional local dal bati churma for lunch near the Ganesh Chowk. Rented a bike for Rs. 600 a day and headed for Bawri. The deep well was used as a water reservoir that helped during the non-rainy season. This concept of traditional well was quite common in every parts of ancient India. You can see bawri at many other places of Rajasthan too.

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Dal bati churma in lunch @ Ganesh Chowk

 

Day 2 :

Bhangarh is approx 2 hours from Jaipur by road. But if Bhangarh can be explored then why not Alwar? So headed for Alwar first, approx 3 hours from Jaipur. Jaipur-Alwar-Bhangarh-Jaipur. The roads are superb.

Map

Alwar Fort :

A place whose history dates back to 1000 CE. It was a part of Matsya Kingdom as per history. It has evolved under various Rajput rulers since then. Alwar has several forts, lakes which attracts tourists. So also the Bhangarh Fort and the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The scenic beauty, the calmness of the pathway to the Alwar Fort is a beauty. Karni Mata Temple can be visited on the way.

There were hardly any tourists except 5 or 6 and the Security Guards. The Bala Quila or Alwar Fort is not completely accessible as it is restricted by Military. What I loved about the Fort is the originality with its original charm and the absolute silence. Only the chirping of the birds and the swaying of the leaves in the breeze could be heard. The view of Alwar is seen for the viewpoint of the Fort – it’s absolutely mesmerizing!

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A view of Alwar Fort from the viewpoint

There’s direct way to Bhangarh from Alwar via the Sariska National Park. That road is not so smooth hence you might want to start a bit early.

Bhangarh Fort :

It felt fantastic to step on this place which has been rumored as haunted across the globe. To me, it felt simply beautiful! Just when you enter the gate, there’s Lord Hanuman temple (to shoo away the ghosts may be 😛 ). Walk straight through the ruins, it will lead to the garden and the Fort. You can listen to the local guides especially kids explaining about the history of the place and the haunted activities take place every night which is quite interesting and entertaining too.

Reach the Fort and climb to the top most part through the broken stairs. On the right side there are valleys and greenery where numerous peacocks and peahens could be seen enjoying their time and relaxing. Some dancing with their gorgeous and most vibrant feathers open and enjoy the breeze in the setting sun. That’s a beauty to the eyes!

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The ruins of the Bhangarh Fort

On the left side there’s a hill having a temple at the peak of it (photo above).

Something was really irritating – the unnecessary hooting and shouting of the so-called-tourists which disturbed the natural silence over there.

Colorful treats (photos below of our National Bird) amidst the cool breeze and the ruins of the historical Fort.

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The sun goes down and people start to leave from the Bhangarh fort. Some say when you enter the Fort and its areas, you get a different negative feeling. But to me, it was one of the most calm and serene place to have visited. In other words, beautiful!

On the way near Bhangarh, these 2-horned deers were spotted on the road.

Next day breakfast at the Curious Life Coffee Roasters was not just yummy but a huge spread of healthy foods 🙂 You must try the coffee here.

Finally, time to return. But to me Bhangarh offered some beautiful scenic beauties and a soothing ambiance although the history has something else to say! Do visit this place and check yourself. Happy traveling 🙂

Weekend trip – Alwar and Bhangarh – Listed as most haunted place in India

When we search in Google for the most haunted places in India, Bhangarh in Rajasthan tops the list. It’s been a place I badly wanted to go for a long long time! So then I finally made it. Tickets from Mumbai to Jaipur to and fro for a weekend. Started off in the evening, reached during the noon the next day. Stay was at Moustache Hostel. Whenever I go to Jaipur, prefer staying here, the ambiance is really nice!

Trip duration – 2.5 days

Trip cost – INR 2500

Day 1 (Evening):

On first day after reaching there, only the half day was left so went to Bawri, Jaipur. Had the traditional local dal bati churma for lunch near the Ganesh Chowk. Rented a bike for Rs. 600 a day and headed for Bawri. The deep well was used as a water reservoir that helped during the non-rainy season. This concept of traditional well was quite common in every parts of ancient India. You can see bawri at many other places of Rajasthan too.

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Dal bati churma in lunch @ Ganesh Chowk

Day 2 :

Bhangarh is approx 2 hours from Jaipur by road. But if Bhangarh can be explored then why not Alwar? So headed for Alwar first, approx 3 hours from Jaipur. Jaipur-Alwar-Bhangarh-Jaipur. The roads are superb.

Map

Alwar Fort :

A place whose history dates back to 1000 CE. It was a part of Matsya Kingdom as per history. It has evolved under various Rajput rulers since then. Alwar has several forts, lakes which attracts tourists. So also the Bhangarh Fort and the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The scenic beauty, the calmness of the pathway to the Alwar Fort is a beauty. Karni Mata Temple can be visited on the way.

 

There were hardly any tourists except 5 or 6 and the Security Guards. The Bala Quila or Alwar Fort is not completely accessible as it is restricted by Military. What I loved about the Fort is the originality with its original charm and the absolute silence. Only the chirping of the birds and the swaying of the leaves in the breeze could be heard. The view of Alwar is seen for the viewpoint of the Fort – it’s absolutely mesmerizing!

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A view of Alwar Fort from the viewpoint

 

There’s direct way to Bhangarh from Alwar via the Sariska National Park. That road is not so smooth hence you might want to start a bit early.

Bhangarh Fort :

It felt fantastic to step on this place which has been rumored as haunted across the globe. To me, it felt simply beautiful! Just when you enter the gate, there’s Lord Hanuman temple (to shoo away the ghosts may be 😛 ). Walk straight through the ruins, it will lead to the garden and the Fort. You can listen to the local guides especially kids explaining about the history of the place and the haunted activities take place every night which is quite interesting and entertaining too.

 

 

 

Reach the Fort and climb to the top most part through the broken stairs. On the right side there are valleys and greenery where numerous peacocks and peahens could be seen enjoying their time and relaxing. Some dancing with their gorgeous and most vibrant feathers open and enjoy the breeze in the setting sun. That’s a beauty to the eyes!

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The ruins of the Bhangarh Fort

 

On the left side there’s a hill having a temple at the peak of it (photo above).

Something was really irritating – the unnecessary hooting and shouting of the so-called-tourists which disturbed the natural silence over there.

Colorful treats (photos below of our National Bird) amidst the cool breeze and the ruins of the historical Fort.

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The sun goes down and people start to leave from the Bhangarh fort. Some say when you enter the Fort and its areas, you get a different negative feeling. But to me, it was one of the most calm and serene place to have visited. In other words, beautiful!

 

On the way near Bhangarh, these 2-horned deers were spotted on the road.

 

Next day breakfast at the Curious Life Coffee Roasters was not just yummy but a huge spread of healthy foods 🙂 You must try the coffee here.

Finally, time to return. But to me Bhangarh offered some beautiful scenic beauties and a soothing ambiance although the history has something else to say! Do visit this place and check yourself. Happy traveling 🙂

Andamans – the coral treasures of India – Part 2 – #Neil Island #TravelIndia

As mentioned in my previous journey experience, we spent the first day at Port Blair exploring Corbyn’s Cove Beach and Cellular Jail. Next day we went to Neil Island.

In one line – this is the abode for Nature Lovers. Eccentric beauty, calmness, marine eco system are a treat to the eyes and soul. Although couldn’t capture all these in the camera but managed to frame some of it (photos below). The experience Neil will provide is soothing at the same time adventurous!

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Reached Neil in the morning and the stay was at Pearl Park Beach Resort. It’s an excellent resort with individual cottage style rooms with a private beach!

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Beach at the Resort during Low Tide

Day 2 :

Scuba Diving! Yes! Got to know that it starts from 7 am to 12 pm. So we booked the slot and went for it. Although I wanted to go for the training and try it out alone, but that involves spending atleast 7 days there and then go alone for the dive.

They took us in a boat to quite a bit interior where the water was 11 meters deep. Individual instructors were there for assistance. The experience under water is something which I cannot describe in words. But just like it’s said in the film ZNMD, it’s like a meditation – it truly is. Sheer bliss! The most quietest and beautiful place on Earth. Colorful fishes and corals of different shape and sizes gives us the feeling of a new unknown world.

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By the time we returned from the sea, we were extremely hungry. Had these amazing local cuisines – Crab curry, fish curry with regular rice and vegetables. Needless to say the foods at all places in Andamans is yumm!

Later that day headed for Laxmanpur-II bridge which is popularly known as the Natural Bridge or Howrah Bridge. This is the place where a nature lover can spend the entire day! The entire area is having small and big water ponds – rather ecosystems and the marine life is simply amazing! And at every place there are different types of corals, fishes, start-fishes, sea-cucumbers, frogs, original raw shells, and the most colorful crabs I have ever seen anywhere!

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Natural Bridge or Howrah Bridge @ Neil Island

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When these Velvet Corals are touched, it closes down
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Raw shells under water
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Raw colorful shell at Neil
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Startfish!
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‘You wanna mess with me?’ – Colorful giant crab!

Most tour operators don’t take the people to Neil and instead takes them to other places. Personally along with other places, would suggest to spend atleast a day at Neil Island.

It’s beautiful and mesmerizing!

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Another Moon shot with my Nikon 🙂

Next coming up is Havelock Island. Stay tuned 🙂

Andamans-the coral treasures of India – Part 1 #PortBlair #TravelIndia

The name itself gives an image of clear blue sky, deep blue water, coral reefs, lush greenery. Yes! it is all these and much more beyond these! When speaking about Andamans, it cannot be covered in one article, hence this is the 1st part – Port Blair. Next would be Neil Island and Havelock in the consecutive articles.

Mumbai to Andamans is quite a task to be planned for, especially if you alone are planning for others for the entire trip. The direct and cheapest flights are available from Kolkata and Chennai. Since this was not a backpacking trip for me this time, opted for a good package option. Did a lot of RnD with MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Thomas Cook, etc. but it was crossing the budget more than expected.

Then I came across another website of ExperienceAndamans. It was a new option for me and was hearing the name for first time. Was a bit skeptical but all vanished away once we experienced Andamans through their service. Since it was family trip and senior citizens were present, hence the cab and resorts were chosen really well by them.

We reached Port Blair airport in the morning and the accommodation was only 5 mins away – Sea Lounge. Very neat and clean with all amenities and great service. You can also get a beautiful view of the hills and Ocean from the balcony.

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The seating area at Sea Lounge

Day 1

Went to the Corbyn’s Cove Beach at Port Blair. It’s an average but clean beach with casual eateries, souvenir shops, lounge chairs and palm trees. Jet skiing available there or simply you can spend a good time chilling out or walking on the beach.

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Corbyn’s Cove Beach

After that we headed for the Cellular Jail. Whoever knows the story of our Freedom Fighters for the struggle of India’s freedom, would be astounded once stepped inside. Do take a guide if you want to know in detail the relevance of all places there and the history.

 

A historical silent spectator of the tortures inflicted upon the Freedom Fighters of our country has been named ‘cellular’ jail due to the individual small cells for individual prisoners. The entrance block has housed all the old photographs of Freedom movement. The galleries bring back the struggles that these Leaders have gone through.

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Cellular Jail before the Light and Sound Show

The match-box sized cells with utmost provision of not letting in the Sun rays, long eerie corridors emanating the silence of the pain, hanging room witnessing the screams and sudden silence of the Fighters – would leave you with goosebumps.

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The Light and Sound show in the evening tells the story of Freedom movement beautifully and takes you back the memory lane.

 

 

 

 

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The hanging cell where 3 people together were hanged
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Ross Island, the British Headquarters pre-Independence – View from the terrace of the Cellular Jail
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Silent long corridors of the cells – the number of shadows=the number of cells

Getting to know and see for self the maddening and torturous history inflicted upon our Freedom Fighters would leave you shocked.

Apart from the beach and Cellular Jail covered in a day, another day is needed to see the ‘Jarwar’ village – the tribal village of Andamans. From Port Blair there is this option. But that needs a complete day since they take you at early morning in a bus and you could see them from the bus itself. Getting down or talking to the villagers is strictly not allowed.

We had only one day in Port Blair, hence could not go for that visit.

Next day we headed for Neil Island – Coming up in the next article. Stay tuned 🙂

Australia -Simply Awe inspiring! (Part 1)

Surrounded by the massive oceans like Pacific and Indian, home to an abundance species of flora and fauna, habitat to diverse marine life, Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet. One needs to see its vastness, feel the culture, play with the Kangaroos and Koala, dive into the deep Great Pacific Ocean and indulge in the utterly delectable foods that Australia has to offer! There’s lots to write about Australia trip but have tried to brief down as much as possible. Here we go!

We started of the journey from Mumbai and reached Brisbane after 15 hour flight. The first thing that strikes after getting there is the crystal clear blue sky and zero pollution. Queensland is the state which we covered this time.

We started by roaming around the nearby places. Roma Street Parkland – One of the biggest in-town park with beautiful scenic gardens. From there to St. George Square or the popularly known as Queenstreet mall area.

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Roma Street Parkland
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Queenstreet Mall
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St. George Square

You can spend all your time over here if you wish to. There are people singing with their instruments, fabulous painters putting great imaginations through colours in paintings, the street food that you cannot resist.

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Yummy Chicken Ham Pie!

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Next we went for the Great Wheel Of Brisbane! It’s really huge trust me! When you take a ride in that wheel ,you will get to hear about the history of Brisbane.

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Great Wheel of Brisbane
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A view of the river and the Great Wheel

Next day went to the Sea World. Yes! As the name suggests you will be in touch with the sea world literally! The entry pass once bought is valid for 4 different spots(Sea World, Movie World, Wet n Wild and Paradise Country). That means you can visit all these places with a single entry pass! Yay! There are Seal, Seabird Rehab, Dolphins (King, Emperor, Rockhopper) , the Shark bay, Polar Bear and many more.

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Shark!
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Ray Fish!
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Giant Tortoise!

The underwater aquarium or the Shark Bay houses sharks of enormous sizes , Sting Ray, a huge tortoise, lots and lots of colourful and different shaped fishes.

One of the show stopper is the Dolphin show. You got to visit this place for all the wonderful creatures we have on our planet and see them merrily enjoying their time 🙂

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5 Dolphins flying in the air!
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Cute Giant Polar Bear!

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Next we headed for the Movie World! You can see your favorite characters waving and dancing infront of you 😀 Batman, Cat woman, Scooby Doo , Tweetoo and many more!

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Batman

Had the lunch buffet in the Movie World and you could see the platters below 😉

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Heavenly goods!! ❤
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Delicious Greek Food!

Next day we went to the famous Gold Coast! It’s more popular for the surfing at the beaches. Aptly known as the Surfer’s Paradise 🙂 A real paradise for all surfers.

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At Gold Coast!

Sunrise at Gold Coast is a must watch. So many seagulls roam and fly on the beach 24×7.

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Sunrise at Gold Coast
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Tallest tower at Gold Coast

There we went for Whale watching at Mariner’s Cove. This in itself is one huge achievement to see Humpback Whales just at few feet distance in the midst of the Great Pacific Ocean. The best part is they locate the positions of the whales through a telescope (or telescopic camera lens) and take us there in the boat and they are in no hurry to complete the trip. It takes around 2 hours approx to enjoy and admire that beauty 🙂

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Mariner’s Cove for Whale watching, scuba diving and many more!
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The most popular and rare shot – Breaching of Humpback Whale!
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Spotted a Jellyfish near the surface in the Pacific Ocean!

Next day went to Koala Sanctuary. The most innocent cute and sleepy fellows on this planet! You just cannot stop hugging and cuddling with them 😀

In the Koala Sanctuary you can meet all other friends like python, platypus, Lizards, Kangaroos, Sheep dogs, variety of colourful birds and many more. Everyday at 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM the ‘lorikeets’ are being fed. Best part it you can actually hold the food tray in your hands and these gorgeous birds will sit over your head, hands and feed from the plates!

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Hello!! I am cute li’l Koala 🙂

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Lorikeets – Feeding time. Having a scrumptious meal 😉
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Aw! It’s a lazy afternoon!

Travelling anywhere in Australia is best done through Google maps. You will get all public transport information there. In Queensland you will get a single card as pass for all public transport. It makes life so much easier! 🙂

Finally came one of the most awaited thing in my bucket list – Sky Diving 🙂 The weather needs to be apt for that. Too much windy or cloudy or sunny will get the event cancelled.

We reached Redcliffe sky diving academy in the morning. My slot was at 9:00 AM. It depends on you if you want to get your video recorded or just have the experience. I got that recorded ofcourse! First time in life -Sky Diving!! Yippeee 😛 🙂

The batches start from 7:00 AM in the morning. The instructions were given before we left for the take off. Can’t describe in words the beauty you behold when you fly above the Coastal regions of Redcliffe region to directly above the Pacific Ocean few miles interior!

The coastline with white beaches, the crystal clear water, the sand dunes under the water, the streamlines made by the jetskies – everything all at once, the amazing view!

The time came for the dive!

Heart skipped a beat on the first second of the jump. At 14000 ft above the Pacific Ocean , flying like a bird! Wow! Simply an experience of a lifetime 🙂

Within a span of few seconds the parachute was flung open. And glided downwards smoothly. After few more seconds finally landed on the desired beach.

The Australia trip (Part 1 ) finally got over. Next time will cover the other remaining places 🙂

For a beautiful, vibrant, colourful culture, people, adventurous activities, food, environment visit Australia 🙂

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Another Moon shot with my camera(non edited)

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Kasol – Food paradise and peace retreat in the lap of Himalayas! #TravelIndia

No wonder Kasol is one of the places in the Parvati valley of Himalayas where backpacking as a traveller is very famous rather than visit as a tourist. Not to forget the name it acquired as the dope capital of the country. As per the locals, this place in the Himachal on the way to Manikaran was very much frequented by Europeans previously. It became famous and much talked-about-destinations among Indian travellers much later when more Israelis started coming and living there hence also the name- Mini Israel.

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Lush greenery

We had two days for Kasol. Journey started at night from Delhi ISBT in Himachal State Transport bus which reached Bhuntar the next morning. From Bhuntar took a local bus that was going to Manikaran. Unexpectedly there was huge traffic on the way to Kasol from Bhuntar.

Finally we managed to reach just around noon to our stay at Rainbow Cafe hotel. It is situated just in the heart of the small town with pool boards and its own restaurant. We got a top floor room with a fantastic view of the Parvati river and the snow capped Himalayan peaks. We had lunch at the hotel itself and headed straight to explore the place 🙂 (I took my new camera and experimented with it 🙂 )

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View of the snow capped mountains from the Hanging bridge over the Parvati River
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Parvati River
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Spotted this beautiful and colourful creation of Mother Nature while hiking
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Orange tail Bird with its prey

One can explore the whole area by walking and hiking. A hanging bridge over the Parvati river connects both sides of the mountains. Just to give a brief, the Parvati river along with the snow capped mountain peaks and the extreme lush greenery , serenity and calmness, the food is something that can sway foodies off their feet. I being one of them definitely got wooed by it 😛

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Hanging bridge over Parvati River

To name a few must-go-to-eat-places – Rainbow Cafe, Cafe Evergreen, Cafe Moon dance, Stone Garden Cafe, Little Italy, Sasi river view, Cafe Valentine, Mama Cafe. The foods here are too good and uniquely delicious to describe in words 🙂 One of the oldest and most famous Jim Morrison Cafe is situated a bit uphill and the path that leads there is quite interesting through the hilly area.

Few of my favourites because of the food and ambience-> Evergreen Cafe– the music, the dim lights, the scent was just too good. Cafe Moon dance – the presentation of the dishes and the ambience. The Israeli dishes are a must try! And the Himalayan Trout was the winner!

Added to this, the famous German bakery serves some yummy items from different types of pie to pastries and cakes! Those are fresh and at reasonable rate. There are few shops that sell these bakery items but the wholesale one is situated just inside the main market lane.

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German Bakery

Would like to specify few food menu items out of all that were delectable – Quisadilla, the English, Israeli and Special breakfast, Sehnitzel , pasta with special herbs and an utterly sumptuous Himalayan Trout! Am still having the taste in my mouth!

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Chicken dish with fresh salad and fries @ Evergreen Cafe
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Utterly delicious Lasagne @ The Valentine Cafe
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Extremely tasty Quesadilla @ The Valentine Cafe
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English Breakfast @ The Moon Dance Cafe
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One of the best dishes – Himalayan Trout!
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Special Breakfast
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Chicken Sehnitzel @ Rainbow Cafe

Eating fresh apples directly from the Apple orchards while hiking too added to the fun.

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A mixed culture of Indians and foreigners, backpackers and tourists, people-for-dope and people-not-for-dope can be seen and experienced at Kasol. Even being the dope capital of India, it has beautiful views , foods and natural ambience to offer. Mother Nature at one of her best you can say! Also its the trekking base for most of the high-altitude-trek like Tosh, Kheer Ganga, Manikaran Sahib, Malana and others. One can get the chillums, pipes, etc from all the shops there which are beautifully displayed outside the shops.

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A view of the Market shops @ Kasol

Overall, its a place to completely unwind yourself in a way that suits you most. You can eat, sleep, roam, trek, explore, dance, dope or just sit back and relax to calm your nerves and enjoy and admire the silence 🙂 A place of utmost beauty in its own way!

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At night @ Kasol