Posts Tagged With: beach

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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

Goa Chronicle Part 1

So I spent my Diwali vacation in Goa in 2010. πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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.. πŸ™„ 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 πŸ™‚ There is a Bengali outlet even which serves typical Bong food. So Dad and Mom were quite happy!! πŸ™‚

# 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

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!!Β  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

Categories: Beaches, West Bengal | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
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