Beaches

Dharmasthala – Malpe Chronicle

I decided to document our road trip to Dharmasthala and Malpe instead of continuing with our trip to Coorg from the first part here because it was an adventurous road trip and just right to write for the BlogAdda travel blogging activity. I am chronicling this road trip adventure for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda.

Back in September 2014, when my research paper got accepted for presentation in a conference at an engineering college in Dharmasthala, I and D decided to make a trip out of it and included the nearby Malpe beach into our itinerary. We love beaches and a visit to any of the Karnataka beaches was pending in our list. So we started out after breakfast hoping to reach Dharmasthala by late afternoon. We decided to go by this route.

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It was to be our second trip through Western Ghats area, the first one being the trip to Ooty. The drive on NH75 was so smooth and awesome. It was a clear blue sky day and a bit hot. It was hard trying to stay within 100 kmph on the great quality of road with less traffic.

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NH75

Soon the highway changed from four lane to two lane which was also good. As we neared Sakleshpur, the road condition began to deteriorate and it was hard to believe that it was a national highway!! We stopped for lunch at Kamath Upachar on

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Two lane national highway

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Road condition getting bad

After sometime from Hassan, we could make out from the vegetation that the Shiradi Ghat area had started.

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The Ghat road was quite wide and the traffic consisted of trucks and cars. But soon the smooth drive ended and the stretch of the National Highway passing through the Shiradi Ghat got very bad. We were going slow anyway due to Ghat region but now we had to drive slower to avoid getting back ache and to prevent damage to car suspension!! Concrete and asphalt were missing altogether!! It was one of the worst roads we have driven on till date. Thank god for CEAT Tyres that we made it through without any mishap.

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We had to stop to take a picture of the road!!

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Horrible road!!

Nevertheless the drive through the Ghat region was mesmerizing with the different varieties of trees surrounding the road, the blue hills in the horizon and a bubbling stream hidden somewhere in the forest cover, sometimes getting louder, sometimes farther. I was not looking forward to meeting any elephants in the area. We had hoped to reach by late afternoon but due to slow speed, evening had started to set in. I was praying that we make it out of the forest before dark. There was no mobile signal also for a major portion of the road. Apart from that, it was one of its kind of drive. The late afternoon sun looked so beautiful through the canopy of trees.

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Sun playing hide and seek

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Heading into the unknown!

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Hills in the horizon

At last we could catch sight of the elusive stream..rather a river!! Google informed me later that it was the Kempuhole river which originates from the Sahyadris.

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Kempuhole River

The road condition became better and soon we turned right onto SH37 which leads straight to Dharmasthala.

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Out of Ghat area at last!

Sun had already set by the time we reached the guesthouse where the college authorities had made accommodation arrangements for our stay. We were exhausted by the unplanned long drive. We checked in, had dinner at the canteen of the guesthouse and went to bed.

The next day D went exploring the town while I was away attending the conference. The town, located in the Dakshina Kannada district, is famous for its Dharmasthala Temple which houses the shrine of Shiva, Manjunatha, Ammanavaru, Chandranath and the Dharma Daivas (guardian spirits of Dharma) namely Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari. (Source:Wikipedia) Apparently, on an average the flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people a day!! But since neither D nor I were interested in visiting the temple, I won’t be able to provide any information on that in this blog. D loved the natural surroundings of the place though.

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The Gateway to Dharmasthala

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Sri Manjunatha Temple

I spent the next day also in conference while D watched movies on laptop in the guesthouse as there is nothing much to do in the small secluded town..infact not even a good place to eat. The guesthouse canteen was pathetic in variety of dishes. Then on the 3rd day, after breakfast we moved on to our next destination – Malpe. The road condition was good. We decided to go to Malpe through Mangalore though it is the longest route.

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We stopped at the NIT Surathkal beach on our way. The weather was bit hot but it was so refreshing to see the Arabian Sea. The beach was clean and deserted at that time of day except for a couple or two of lovebirds 🙂 There was a lighthouse at the beach giving a mystical look to the beach. As the tide was low there were some moss-covered stones exposed which were accessible but not to be climbed barefooted!! We spent some time playing in the water and photographing the views. Then the tide started to increase which forced us and reminded us that we have still not reached our destination.

We had planned to stay only one night at Malpe and we had booked our room at Paradise Isle Beach Resort which located right on the Malpe Beach. When we reached the hotel, we were thrilled to see the location. The room/cottage was also good. The surroundings and the garden were well-kept.

After we freshened up, we went for lunch. Even after two years I still remember what we had ordered because it was so delicious!! Being on seashore means seafood for me and so I ordered Crab Masala while D ordered Chicken Hariyali along with rice and roti. Both the dishes were awesome in taste!! The only other time I have eaten such tasty crab dish was when we had visited Puri.

After such a splendid lunch an afternoon siesta was a must. Then we went off to the beach in evening. Malpe is a natural port located about 6 km from Udupi, Karnataka. It is an important fishing harbor too. The beach had golden brown and whitish colored sand which gave it a different look. Beach gazebos, palm trees, less crowd and cleanliness made the beach even more attractive, especially the gazebos which gave the beach a unique look. The water was also quite clean and blue. A melee of activities was going on at the beach. Young boys were flying kites which are made & sold by locals at the beach. Some guys were going on jet ski rides, some were driving ATVs on the beach, some kids were enjoying camel rides, some enjoying the water and some people like me were lazing about on the beach. There is something enchanting in watching the waves come and go..I could spend hours doing that..just chatting with a companion and looking at the ocean/sea.

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Gazebos at the beach

 

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Kai Po Che!

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Sand Sculpture

The different stages of sunset at Malpe beach

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We came back to our hotel after darkness fell. We decided to have vegetarian dinner and that turned out to be horribly tasteless!! Sadly the place doesn’t have much eating options outside. Then at night we sat at the porch chatting while listening to the night sounds of the sea until mosquitoes made it impossible to do so!!

Next day before checking out, we again went to the beach. Malpe beach has many islands off the coast, among which St.Mary’s Islands – a set of four small islands – is the most famous tourist destination. They are known for their unique geological formation of basalt rocks but sadly, due to lack of time, we couldn’t visit that place.

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The golden brown colored sand

Then our drive back home began. We left after breakfast. As we were going to drive from Malpe to Bengaluru, it was going to be a long drive. In the entire Ghat stretch of road, there are just small eateries. We stopped at one to have tea and to stretch our legs. Then in Sakleshpur, we stopped at a restaurant called Surabhi’s Nx for a late lunch. The food was okay. The view behind the restaurant was very good. By that time dark clouds had begun to gather making the weather awesome.

Soon it started raining and that slowed down the drive speed to avoid any skidding. But again thanks to our car’s CEAT tyres, we didn’t face any problem.

Thus one of our work + fun road trips ended with lovely memories and a promise to go back again to visit St. Mary’s Islands next time.

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Categories: Beaches, Karnataka, Religious, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Visakhapatnam Chronicle Part 1

In 2008 I’d gone to Visakhapatnam during Diwali vacation for four days. But only one post will not do justice to my experience so it is going to be three posts series. As Visakhapatnam or Vizag is only 12 hours from my hometown by train, we decided to go there on a short trip.

26th Oct 2008 – Train was at an unholy time of 6.00 am! And day journey in sleeper class (AC had no seats left for reservation) was bad due to heat. But the scenery was beautiful.

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We reached in late evening and went to the hotel where we had booked room. We had been told on phone that they will give an extra bed. We were given an extra mattress without cot! But as it was late, we decide to stay there only. Service was average but food was bad. Dad and I went to the nearby APTDC office and booked ourselves for tour of Araku Valley and Borra Caves on 28th. We also hired a car for local sightseeing on 27th.

27th Oct 2008 – The breakfast was better as it consisted of idli and dosa. After breakfast, we left for local tour. The roads and the cleanliness of the city impressed us. Our driver was polite, pleasant and experienced but understood only English. First we went to Ramakrishna Beach. Unlike Puri, the beach was quite clean. I felt so elated seeing the Bay of Bengal and beach, even in the scorching sun. On the horizon we could see ships and the Dolphin’s Nose which is the most prominent landmark of Vizag. This huge rock, 174 m in height and 358 m above sea level, is shaped like a dolphin’s snout;hence the name. The area around RK Beach is highly developed from tourism point of view. The statues and unique pillars really beautify the road along RK Beach.

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Then we went to Simachalam to visit the famous temple of Lord Varaha Lakshminarasimha. The deity is such an angry personality that he is always covered with sandalwood paste. The real form of the idol is viewed only once in a year, during the Chandana Yatra. The view from the top of the hill temple was awesome. Camera was not allowed inside.

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From there we came back to Rushikonda Beach. It was less developed or rather less commercialized than RK Beach but still equally beautiful. Our driver knowing that we were Bengalis, took us to Hotel Sandhya (located beside the Beach road) which was a shack serving very tasty, homely and typical Bengali lunch at low price. I was so happy to have a good lunch.

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Then we went to Fishing Harbour for boating. The smell of diesel fumes of the boat caused more nausea than the turbulence of ocean waves. But the view was wonderful. Artificial embankments have been built to stop waves from crashing on to the harbour and nearby coast.

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After a tiring day, we returned to hotel. In the evening, we went to RK Beach in auto-rickshaw. Auto rickshaws are quite cheap in Vizag. One just needs to bargain a little. The area around RK Beach has a Ramakrishna Mission Ashram and a KaliMatha Temple along with other attractions. After enjoying the setting sun and jhaal muri on beach, we went to Kalimatha Temple which was decorated for Kali Puja on 28th i.e. Diwali for non-Bengalis. Then we went to the famous CMR shopping mall as my parents have never been to a shopping mall before. But it was a disappointment compared to the real shopping malls like those in Pune or Bangalore. Before the trip, I had searched the location of Pizza Hut in Vizag on Google. 😀 In the morning I had asked the driver to show the place too. So after shopping, we went to Pizza Hut. And that ended the day blissfully.

Categories: Andhra Pradesh, Beaches, Cities | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Goa Chronicle Part 2

Continued from first part here…

# 6th Nov Day 3 :- Next day, we hired a car. Cars are easily available for hire. One can also rent a car and drive oneself.  It costs 1400 rs for South Goa trip. South Goa trip is for one day and North Goa trip takes another day. We didn’t have time to visit North Goa this time.

First of all we went to  Shantadurga temple at Ponda.

From there one can go to Mangueshi temple but we skipped it as the weather was too hot and in mood to walk. Then we went to Old Goa area which is well-known for its churches. We visited the Basilica of Bom Jesus which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds the remains of St.Francis Xavier. Just in front of this church is the Se Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Asia.

By the time we left for Panaji, weather had changed drastically and it was awesome. In Panaji, we had lunch at Casa Moderna on our driver’s suggestion. Rates were quite reasonable and the food was excellent. Service was prompt too even though it was crawling with people. I had ordered a Goan thali…the fried fish covered with rava was simply awesome.


After lunch we headed to Miramar Beach in Panaji. It is actually the shore of Mandovi river.

From there we headed back to Colva. As it was raining we didn’t stop at the Marine Aquarium on the highway. In the evening I did a bit of shopping in the market. Souvenirs and other stuff are over priced in Goa…I guess due to all the foreign tourists. One needs to bargain well 🙂 A typical Goan shop…

#7th Nov Day4: After enjoying the morning in beach, we boarded the train to Pune in afternoon. The train route from Madgaon to Pune is really beautiful. One can also get a gorgeous view of the Dudhsagar Falls as the train passes just in front of it.

Thus my first trip to Goa ended. Looking forward to the next trip to Goa 😀 😀

Categories: Beaches, Goa | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Goa Chronicle Part 1

So I spent my Diwali vacation in Goa in 2010. 🙂 It was my first trip to Goa and the people to go on the trip were my parents, hubby and I. This time, in my travel post, I have watermarked my photos due to increasing number of photo thefts without proper credit on Internet. Will be doing so in future too. The watermark is the url of my original blog.

# 4th Nov 2010 day 1 :- Arrived at Madgaon early morning from Pune. The feeling of being in Goa starts from Madgaon station itself because of all the cartoon drawings of Mario Miranda on the walls of Madgoan station 🙂 Colva beach is only 10 kms from Madgaon so it is no use staying at Madgaon. So we hired a pre paid taxi to Colva beach. Checked in to Star Beach Resort – a good medium priced family resort just 100 m away from beach. Nice place but bad service and rude staff. 😦

The afternoon and evening of that day was spent at beach only. Colva beach is the best beach of Goa! The sand was so soft and the beach is well maintained, not too crowded like Calanguate or Baga beach and the water is not that deep so less number of lifeguards. People are people ..throwing packets and bottles on beach.. 🙄 It used to get cloudy after 3 pm in Goa and that weather was awesome. It was lovely taking a long stroll on the beach and discovering starfishes, crabs and molluscs on the beach trying to crawl back to sea.

There are good places to eat at Colva beach. There is a Subway outlet and a Cafe Coffee Day place at Colva market area. So I was happy 🙂 There is a Bengali outlet even which serves typical Bong food. So Dad and Mom were quite happy!! 🙂

# 5th Nov 2010 Day 2 :- The system of renting two wheelers in Goa is good. One just needs to have a license and another ID proof. The rates are quite cheap (petrol cost not included) The only strange thing in Goa is the lack of petrol pumps..Colva doesn’t have a single one!! People sell petrol in shops!

Anyway,so D and I hired a Honda Activa for 200 Rs for 8 hrs and went to Panaji which is around 40 kms from Colva. Google Maps app on D’s phone was most helpful..I was backseat driving legally!! It was quite thrilling going on unknown roads. The roadways of Goa are well maintained thankfully. After seeing the number of churches one comes across in Goa, I have named Goa as the land of Churches! One of the Churches on way to Panaji at Utorda –

One of the bridges on Mandovi river on the way to Panaji

It takes 1 hr 15 mins to reach Panaji from Colva on Activa. While we were stretching our legs at a road side bus stop bench, a woman sitting beside us said hello on her own accord. I started thinking how friendly Goan people are! But after sometime when she started to leave, she gave us a brochure of some church/society. I found that bit strange. 😐 After having lunch at an outlet called Edu’s Restaurant, we went to Donapaula, a bay where Mandovi river meets the Arabian Sea.

The clothes market at Donapaula

The famous statues at Donapaula

The view of the bay from Donapaula view-point

Then on our way back, we entered Panaji’s narrow lanes and by-lanes..the city has such a wonderful quaint Spanish sort of look just like in movies. But we didn’t have much time to explore as dark clouds had started gathering. We just visited the famous church at Panaji town square – Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception built-in 1540.

By the time we reached our hotel, it was already dark. Driving in dark in South Goa is risky as it gets quite deserted and there are no streetlights even on highway!!

Ended the day with a wonderful dinner of prawns at one of the outlets at beach (did not have the guts to try squid or shark fin :D) and a stroll on the beach at night.

To be continued….

Categories: Beaches, Cities, Goa | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Kihim – Alibaug Chronicle

During my summer vacation stay at Pune in 2010, I went on a short trip to Kihim and Alibaug over a weekend. Kihim is a beach at south of Mumbai. By road Mumbai to Kihim is 120 km and takes approx 3 hrs. Pune to Kihim is 150 km and takes 4 hrs. So we decided to go to Mumbai by train and then by ferry to Mandwa port which takes 1 hr only.

Our train was to reach CST at 4 am or so. The first ferry for Mandwa port leaves Apollo Bandar at 6 am. After having tea and sandwich, we decided to go and sit at Gateway of India to enjoy the open space and oceanic breeze at least. It was wonderful seeing the dawn break at Gateway of India. Lot of people had gathered there by 6 am…I guess Alibaug is a popular weekend getaway for Mumbai folks. Our ferry left at 6.15 am and thus began my first boat ride.

The boat ride can be a torture for those who suffer from motion sickness. After a bit of hotel searching, we decided to stay at Nandanvan holiday home at Kihim Beach. All hotels at Kihim/Mandwa are private homes actually built for such purposes and the rent is too high. I guess the residents think of Mumbaikars as very rich people. :-| Our a.c. room’s rent was Rs 2200 per day!! No tax. No in-house food facility. The room or shall I say the flat was very big…it had one living room, a bathroom and a big bedroom with dining table. Only tea was available at this place. Food had to be ordered from a neighboring holiday home. But it was tasty,not expensive and normal like typical home cooked Marathi food. Both non-veg and veg food were available. The Kihim beach was hardly 3 mins from the hotel on foot. One important thing about Kihim is that Airtel network, the so- called “Atoot Network”, gets broken there. Reception is available only at beach..not inside homes.

In the evening, we went out for a stroll on the beach. Kihim beach is a rocky type of beach with rocks covered with sea shells and some sort of algae/coral growth. Kihim is described on travel websites in these words :-

The place is famous for variety of woods which serves as a cover. Nature lovers will be thrilled to visit the place for it provides sight of rare butterflies, birds and flowers. The most attractive part of the Kihim beach is that the place is not entirely discovered and unpolluted.

We didn’t spot any rare butterflies or birds. We did see a very different kind of flower though. As for the “unpolluted” part, Kihim beach does have its share of plastic waste and rotting garbage. There is a jeep service at Kihim which gives parasailing facility. (No, we didn’t do it..too scared :D )

Next day,we went to Alibaug. Thankfully our hotel was near an auto stand so we didn’t have to walk much in the hot sun. Alibaug is quite well-developed commercially. But the only shopping we did there was to buy “hapoos” mangoes at cheaper price and of better quality than Pune. :D There is a fort called Colaba Fort surrounded by sea water at a little distance from the shore. When tide is low one can go there on foot. Otherwise there are speed boats for tourists to go there. These boats also take tourists on short rides on sea, just near the shore.

We came back to Kihim by lunch time. In the evening we went out to the beach for one last time. Next day, we went back to Mandwa port by auto and then back to Bombay by boat. As it was noon by the time we reached Mandwa, the crowd waiting for the boat was quite big. One has to grab a place soon in the queue for the boat else all the good seats are taken. Spent the afternoon and evening at a relative’s place. Reached Pune at midnight by train.

Categories: Beaches, Maharashtra | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Digha Chronicle Part 2

Continued from here.

After lunch and a little afternoon shut-eye, we decided to go sightseeing around Digha. Our first destination was the Science Center established by the National Council of Science Museums at New Digha. The Centre offers a variety of mechanisms to make science an enjoyable learning experience. There is a biology section with few animals, a physics section, a planetarium which holds evening shows and a park. Had fun time exploring all the mechanisms.

As we had other places to see we did not stay to watch a show at the planetarium. From there we went to the Udaypur beach. One should bargain hard with the rickshaw pullers there as they over charge tourists. Rickshaw pullers don’t take passengers right to the beach. One has to walk a bit to get to the beach.

At Udaypur beach bikes are available for rent to go roaming around the beach and to Talsari beach at low tide. It had got dark by the time we left the beach to go to Old Digha. Old Digha is a bustling part of the town. It would be cheaper to stay at the hotels there but there would be no peace. There is a much bigger and cheaper market at Old Digha. Also ATMs are located at Old Digha only. We made our way to the beach. As expected it was very crowded, especially because the tide was high and only few people had ventured into the water. Spent the rest of the evening sitting on the stone tables there, sipping hot tea and chatting. Then we went back to New Digha. Did some window shopping, had dinner at the hotel restaurant and retired to our rooms.

11th Dec 2010: We were due to checkout in the afternoon. So all of us went souvenir shopping at the market after breakfast at an outlet at the market. Do not try Aaloo Paratha at Digha!!  Curios made of sea-shell, shell jewellery, moderate varieties of reputed Madur of Midnapore (hand-woven mat made of weeds) in colourful designs, cottage crafts of Digha and Midnapur are available. Rates are not that high and good bargaining skills can get you lesser rates.

This is the best curio shop of the market at New Digha


After lots of shopping, we returned to our hotel for lunch. Checked out from our rooms, kept the luggage at the hotel lobby and had lunch. Post lunch, all of us went to the beach for one last time. It was so wonderful to see the shimmering waters of the Bay of Bengal.

After spending some time on the beach and drinking coconut water, we came back to our hotel. Picked up our luggage and left for the station. Hope to visit Digha again with more time on my hands and to visit places like Shankarpur, Mandarmoni, Junput etc too.

Previous parts:

Part 1

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Digha Chronicle Part 1

As mentioned in my earlier post, we went on a 3 day trip to Digha beach. Digha is the most popular sea beach and tourist spot in West Bengal. It is known as “Brighton of the East”.

9th Dec 2010: It had got dark by the time we reached Digha station; all because we had missed the first train, took the next train to Digha and got delayed by three hours. Digha station looked quite new and clean. I guess to promote tourism, WBTDC has spruced up the place. Also there are 4-5 trains from Kolkata to Digha!

Nice carriage like rickshaws are available outside; something which I haven’t seen anywhere in Kolkata. Digha is divided into two areas – Old Digha and New Digha. We decided to stay at New Digha. There are many hotels,lodges and restaurants in Digha. We stayed at Hotel Sea Bird. Rates in Digha vary seasonally. Hotel Sea Bird is a good hotel located near the beach, with okay rates and an in-house restaurant on the ground floor with good service and tasty food.

After freshening up, all of us went for a stroll on the beach. The beaches of Digha are flat and wide. The sea looked ominous in the dark. The tide gets high at night so there are stone embankments to prevent the water from flooding the town. Due to high tide and chances of theft, it is advisable to not go to beach side after 9-9.30 pm. New Digha has a lively market which we planned to explore the next day as most of the shops had closed down by that time. We came back to our hotel, had tasty dinner and retired to our rooms.

10th Dec 2010: Woke up to overcast skies and lovely cool weather. Had breakfast and went out to beach with our cameras. Had fun roaming and photographing around the beach and the sea.


One strange thing about Digha is, unlike any coastal area, the vegetation doesn’t consist of coconut trees. There are sort of pine trees along the beach! There are hardly any coconut trees in the area!

Beaches of Digha are interconnected and if you can walk, you can explore from Old Digha to Talsari Beach on foot. But we just explored till the end of New Digha Beach. (Screenshot from wikimapia)

Due to weekend, the beach was crowded as lots of people had come over from Kolkata. There were pony and horse rides available. Also there were several green coconuts i.e. daab stalls on the beach with long benches for people to sit. The daabs were very tasty!!

Roamed around till late afternoon. Was feeling ravenous by then. Headed for the hotel restaurant for lunch. At Digha, there are several cheap eateries too which serve good quality Bengali food and all sorts of fish delicacies. It is difficult to find a pure veg restaurant at Digha. I don’t remember seeing any. After lunch we retired to our rooms.

To Be Continued.

 

Categories: Beaches, West Bengal | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Puri – Konark – Chilka Chronicle

One Diwali Vacation, I decided to go on a trip to see the ocean with my parents. Destination Puri was selected and a four day trip was chalked out.  The scenery was pretty much alike to that en route Kolkata (my homeland)….All small ponds, coconut trees, ponds full of lotus plants……Unlike the barren and dusty route when one goes towards Pune/Nagpur….

As the train sped towards Cuttack, we crossed the 2,250 m long bridge built on the river Mahanadi. It was awesome. After dealing with agents and browsing through pamphlets we decided on a cottage type hotel “Hotel Shankar International”. It was a good bargain  with very tasty food and located right on the beach with the ocean 30 metres away.

In the late afternoon of the day we arrived, my parents went to see the ocean while i kept sleeping. Then we again went for a stroll after dark and the beach light being out of order, it was quite scary to walk across beach in darkness..And then I got the night view of Bay of Bengal…..Looking so ominous in night..A dark unknown water world…So wild and powerful. Then later we went for a quick ride around the city.

Next day, the plan was to visit Lord Jagannath Temple. We made a deal  with a “paanda” (aka agent of God…the god depending on the place..in this case Lord Jagannath) beforehand to escort and guide us in the temple. It is advisable to do so to prevent getting “robbed” inside the temple.

So after submitting our mobiles and camera, we washed our feet and entered the 8000 yrs old temple consisting of many temples inside, carved out of hillocks. Here and there various types of prasads were available and once you take it innocently, the pandas ask for money….It is a whole business going on there. The place was so crowded that our hired paanda held our wrists and literally dragged and pushed us inside the main temple to see the Lord.

Then we came back to our hotel and had breakfast. A rented car came to take us to Konark to see the famous Sun temple. The 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in Orissa red sandstone and black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site. [This information has been provided by the courtesy of wikipedia]. While driving to Konark, we crossed a place called Chandrabagha. The view of the sea from there was awesome , but due to afternoon time we couldn’t enjoy much. The snaps didn’t come well too due to so much of sunlight. We also crossed some forest area but didn’t get to see even one deer. The Sun temple was really grand…such a huge structure made of stone…so much creativity and hard work. Its surrounding gardens were extremely beautiful. Huge elephants and other creatures made of stone were there. There were many “guides” who pestered to hire them to show around and tell stories of the various sculptures. I took many snaps and bought a lot of souvenirs from outside stalls.


The food shops outside the site don’t serve tasty food. But we drank very tasty coconut juice and ate pulp. Then we returned to our hotel and had our lunch. After our afternoon nap, we went to the main beach of Puri; “Sworgodwar” meaning gateway to heaven. Here the beach was very crowded and all the prominent hotels were on the road next to the beach. It was already sunset when we went, so couldn’t enjoy much. There was a large market too but as we were tired from our day trip, we just did window shopping. We planned to come back the next day in early evening. From there we went around a trip around the town. Visited a Buddha temple where stone sculptures were kept for sale. Exquisite work but very costly.

The next day the same rented car came to take us to Chilka Lake. Chilka Lake is a brackish water coastal lake . It is the largest coastal lake in India. The driver told us Chilka is famous for its crabs. We were tempted to eat crabs and had decided to buy from there. The fun part of Chilka visit consisted of boating ; the activity of which both my Dad and I were afraid. So we just roamed a little , took snaps and sat in the adjoining park while eating chips and feeding crumbs to crows. Also Dad bought 3 crabs weighing one kilo and gave them to the hotel chef to prepare for us. I was looking forward to my dinner that night more than I usually did. 😀

In evening we went to Sworgodwar and enjoyed a lot. Even Dad went to wet his feet in the waves crashing on the shore. At the beach there were local people selling “pearls” and “stones” collected from sea at prices of Rs 5-25!!!! There were camels for giving ride and chairs were available on rent at the rate of Rs 10 per hour to sit and enjoy. We “rented” chairs as the beach was quite dirty.

Then we bought some snacks from the Mongini’s outlet and sat by the “Marine drive” to enjoy. After that we went shopping and I bought knick knacks, dress material and gift items for colleagues back home. Beautiful idols made of stone and coral were available. Came back to hotel. After dinner we went for a night walk on the beach.

Next day was our last day in Puri. All of us went for early morning walk on beach. The ocean at each time of day has different sights and different effects. The morning chill, the fog, the boats going out to earn livelihood…..whereas in night the darkness, the sound of waves crashing in the silence of night, boats returning home, a feeling as if we’re standing at the edge of the world. Dad and Mom went for some last minute shopping. In late afternoon, Dad and I went for our last view of the Bay of Bengal, to take in the vastness of the elements of earth before we left for station.

Next day we reached our home with the memories of a wonderful trip.

Categories: Beaches, Odisha, Religious | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments
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