Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tikuji Ni Wadi - Heaven for nature lovers

Nice Blog which I came across.
Many of us go for trekking every weekend. But most of us do not know this sumptuous beauty which we can visit anytime and near our city. My friend living in Manpada can ride to Tikuji-Ni-Wadi which is a part of SGNP(Sanjay Gandhi National Park) anytime she wants. We have a nominal entry fee which I feel is a must for its maintenance. There are even folks living up there in shacks. During winters and monsoons it's a feast to visit and inhale the refreshing air. I wrote this blog and uploaded images deliberately to make people aware of this place which they can visit anytime and continue loving nature.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lonavla-Every Mumbaikar's Love

My excursion to Lonavla after 9 years again. This time with my buddies. We booked our train tickets to Lonavla for Sahyadri Express. We had a stay there at one of our buddy's place. We reached there at Friday night & had a simple yet delicious dinner.
Next day early morning we visited Bhushi dam, monkey point and Bhaje caves. We went crazy playing with the gushing dam water over steps. It was an amazing and refreshing moment. We had a super spicy and mouth-watering misal at Sainath hotel on the way. In the evening we bought chikkis, jelly chocolates, imli(tamarind) chocolates, fudges from Navratna Chikkis. We had our dinner at one of the Gujarati guest house mess.
Third day we went for trek at Lohagad fort. It was thrilling but at the same time tiring as we need to climb steps for a certain distance. We had our lunch at Kinara village hotel. The hotel had a perfect village ambiance with cows, horses and camels for visitor attractions. This hotel is a must visit if you ever come the way.
In the evening I fell for the crispy yummy medu vadas by Kaki(friend's mom).
By Indrayani Express we reached at 9.30pm at Mumbai with happy memories.
Bhushi Dam

Bhaje Caves

Kinara Village Hotel

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Landscape of Himalayas

Finally, it was time to experience the magnificent Himalayas.
If you belong to GSB(Gowd Saraswat Brahmin) community, Amrita Travels is the best travel agent for tours in India and overseas. We explored entire Kashmir(Srinagar, Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam) in the tour. Murlidhar Kamath(Kamath Maam) from Amrita travels accompanied us throughout the trip. The duration of the trip was one week. We had booked our slots during their special offers and discounts so the trip cost estimated to 37k per head inclusion of travel, stay and entire trip. For the month of April 2014 we booked our slots.
At the Mumbai airport we met all our tour comrades. All were Konkanis(GSBs) so the trip was more like a big family trip. Truely said, when a Konkani meets another Konkani they just start conversation as if they are distant relatives meeting after a long span.
The temperature in Mumbai was around 32 degree C.
The dazzling moment was when our flight landed in Srinagar and the flight attendant announced the temperature in Srinagar as 13 degree C.
Tempo Traveller throughout the trip 
Surya Temple
We had to move to Pahalgam for our first stay. On the way we visited Surya Temple.
Hotel Abshar
We stayed in Pahalgam in Hotel Abshar. It was chilling cold with temperature around 3 degree C. Next day we visited Chandanwari & Betaab valley. Throughout the trip we were served fresh like a home-made South Indian(GSB style) meals. Amrita travels has their own Kitchen which they transmit with them for every Indian tours.

The same evening we had horse riding & shopping to nearest bazar(market). I bought a hand-embroidered with beautiful flower handbag, kashmiri dress material & mini shikara boats.

Next day we went to cricket bat factory, Awantipora ruins & Saffron & walnut shop.
Awantipora ruins
Third day we went back to Srinagar where we stayed in beautiful house boats.
Encircled with Dal lake, it was an amazing experience. Salesmen used to visit us in our boats to sell Kashmiri artifacts & jewellery. Our favourite pastime was Antakshiri and T20 cricket series on television.
I had a very thrilling & adventurous experience as I lost my balance while skiing in Dal lake.
There was Meena Bazar in Dal lake. The most common outfits of kashmiris is phiran.
Me wearing phiran
Shikara boat
Meena Bazaar
House Boat
Inside House boat-Salesman selling jewelry
We visited a mosque & sindhu nadi.

Alongside the roads you will find plenty of cherry & peach trees.

Chinar is a famous tree in Kashmir, parts of which are used for medication purposes. You can find Char Chinar(Four Chinar) island in Dal lake.
As we know that there are millitants in kashmir, at every edge of roads you will find militants guarding.
Manasbal is a delightful lake situated on the Jhelum Valley at a distance of 18 miles from Srinagar via Shadipor, and 17 miles via Nasim and Ganderbal road. In the month of April in Kashmir we even experienced heavy rainfall. So it is said,

 Mumbai ka fashion and Kashmir ka mausam ka kuch bharosa nahi

Carpet factory
Pakistan is 150 km from Baramulla.

Snow here, Snow there, Snow everywhere. 

At Sonmarg & Gulmarg we witnessed the highest amount of snowfall. There was no other color except white everywhere- snow and fog still it was the best sight ever. Gondola rides and sledges are the channels to travel over snow.
Gulmarg Gondola
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden previously named as Model Floriculture Centre, Sirajbagh, Cheshmashahi, Srinagar, is the largest Tulip garden of Asia spread over an area of about 12 hectares. One of the famous song which had its shoot in Tulip Garden is Dekha Ek Khwab by Rekha and Amitabh.
Tulip Garden
The speciality of Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple is that the devotees are served with Kheer as prasadam.
Kheer Bhawani Temple
I am thankful to Amrita travels especially Kamath Maam for organising such wonderful trips with like minded people and for bringing konkanis from all over the world together in the form of trips.
Kashmir is indeed heaven on earth and is incomparable to any place in the world. I am totally mystified with its beauty and at the same time plight of the natives by the weather, millitants and terror.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Strange Call

The way we, (Ashu, Kavi & Me) enjoy our one hour lunch break is as if we would never get it back again ever.
It has become an everyday scenario of my friends getting personal calls during the break. When they are on calls, I relish my lunch as I am always a hungry kid. 

As usual, we were having our lunch, chitchatting & laughing.
Suddenly I noticed Ashu disconnected the call. I ignored her action considering it as her personal matter.
We continued with our giggles on Kavi's pjs. We were on our way back to our lab, when again she got a call. This time she disconnected and looked at us. We both were already looking at her.

She said, from the past one year she is getting a very strange call. Strange......sounds interesting. Soon will be part of my blog.
She then started narrating like a flashback.

One year back, a boy had called and introduced himself as Sunil.
"Hi, I am Sunil. Can I talk to Reshma?" (In a typical North Indian bhaiyya accent.)
"Sorry, this is a wrong number", and Ashu disconnected the phone.

Few months passed by.
Again she got a call,
"Hi, I am Sunil. Can I talk to Reshma?"
"Sorry, this is a wrong number".

After some time again,
"Please, can I talk to Reshma. It's urgent, please". 
"I told you this is not Reshma. Which number you want?"
He narrated the number.
"Yes, the number is right but I am not Reshma. She might have changed the number and I must have got her number".
and Ashu disconnected the phone.

Next day he called again. 
"Please arrange our meeting. I want to talk to her. I can't live without her. "
"How can I arrange your meeting? I don't know any of you. Who are you and why are you after her?"
He then narrated his long love story to Ashu.
"I am from north India. Even Reshma.  I am a driver here and
never liked to study. I didn't complete my school also. 
Padhne ka mann nahi karta......kitabe katne ko daudti hai( I don't feel like studying....books suck)
I like Reshma and we were soon going to marry.
The only problem with the relation is she is Muslim and I am Hindu. 
Her family shifted one year back to Mumbai. Since that time I am trying to contact her.  She gave me this number before going and I am searching for her since past one year. I am really afraid and dont know what to do. "
Ashu was shocked after hearing this.  She told him to have faith in God and wait patiently for her call.
"Its already high time.  I have been already waiting since a year."
"Why didn't you convey this situation to cops? They would have helped you and by now you would have got Reshma back"
"I dont know anybody and I am afraid to take any action."
"Don't worry, you just concentrate on your job. She will come back to you if she's in your destiny."
and Ashu disconnected the call.   

She compared the number with the one he had called the day before. Both the numbers were different.

"Intriguing!", I exclaimed.
"I don't think so it is intriguing in any way. The guy is just playing a prank or else flirting.
In order to hear your voice he is creating a story and finding a reason to talk to you", said Kavita.

One fine day, he called again. Instead of Ashu, Kavita received the call. 
"We have already told you that we cant  help you. If you call again, we will complain about you to cops."
The boy got frightened and disconnected the call.
One fine morning, a woman called Ashu. She introduced herself as Sunil's wife.
"What does my husband talk to you? I have seen your number many a times on his phone."
Hearing this, Ashu found the situation very much fishy.

"Why don't you ask your husband?" said Ashu.
"Please tell me quickly now before my husband comes". 
Ashu disconnected the call.

Late in the evening the same day, he called back, this time with another different number but with the same story. 
"This is too much." Kavita gave his number to her uncle who is a cop in Mumbai branch.

Investigation is going on with the number. To be continued....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Wild Encounter

It was my immense desideration to experience a wildlife expedition. My parents are least fanatic about wildlife. So there were atomic chances of mine to visit such a locale with my clan. Fortuitously, my colleague told me that she is going for such a trip and one girl of their group had cancelled her ticket for the trip for personal reason. I was ecstatic with this fact & before I could ask, she herself told me to come as a replacement. How would I be leaving such a magnificent chance?
My very first excursion with the BAAN Hikers

On 24th of October, 1.15 pm we boarded our train, Garibrath express. Garibrath is comparatively better than other trains with respect to hygiene. We were a syndicate of 17 individuals for this trip. There's no gratification like meeting new people in your journey. It was full on entertaining to play card games in the evening in the journey.That night we even celebrated birthday of one of our group member.
Next day, by 6 am, we reached Jabalpur,Madhya Pradesh.
That day we visited the milky white Dhuandhar falls.

After seeing dhuandhar falls, we went ahead for a boat ride at the marble rocks. Different shapes that represent different things (you see what you want to see :) ). One of the rowers who played the part of a guide gave us information in a sing song rhyme. It was funny and informative.  I am not sure how people who don't know Hindi will understand.You can find boys jumping from atop the mountains and camouflaged birds around. This was the place where the bollywood movie Ashoka was shot.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Then we had to travel for 3 hours in a private car to reach our actual destination, Bandhavgarh. We stayed in Tiger den resort at Tala,Bandhavgarh. The day we reached was just a commencing day with the full-fledged presentation on Bandhavgarh.
The next day by 5am, we had our gypsys waiting for us to take us to encounter the Gods own creation. They don't permit any mobile phones during the safari and you are supposed to carry your identity proof with you unfailingly. The safari owner Mr. Teerath Singh was our escort throughout.  There were 4 gypsys and 4 routes in the jungle which we called A,B,C and D. All 4 gypsys were directed on different routes.Each gypsy would cover two routes in a day.
Bandhavgarh National Park had small population of Gaur.The four main zones of the national park are Tala, Magdhi, Khitauli, and Panpatta. Tala is the richest zone in terms of biodiversity, mainly tigers. Together, these four ranges comprise the 'Core' of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve constituting a total area of 694 km².The buffer zone is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni Bandhavgarh has a very high density of tigers within the folds of its jungles. Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is densely populated with other species: the gaur or Indian bison, are now extinct or have migrated elsewhere; sambar and barking deer are a common sight, and nilgai are to be seen in the open areas of the park. There have been reports of the Indian Wolf (canis lupus indica), hyena, and the caracal the latter being an open country dweller. The tiger reserve abounds with cheetal or the spotted deer The project of reintroduction of Gaurs dealt with shifting some Gaurs from Kanha National Park to Bandhavgarh.

Bandhavgarh has the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named individual tigers. Charger, an animal so named because of his habit of charging at elephants and tourists (whom he nonetheless did not harm), was the first healthy male known to be living in Bandhavgarh since the 1990s. A female known as Sita, who once appeared on the cover of National Geographic and is considered the most photographed tiger in the world was also to be found in Bandhavgarh for many years. Almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh today are descendants of Sita and Charger. Their daughter Mohini, son Langru and B2 also maintained their tradition for frequent sighting and moving close to tourist jeeps.
Mohini, became prominent following Sita's death. She mated with Mahamn Tiger. She later died of her wounds from the vehicle accident.
Charger died in 2000 and his body was buried at Charger Point where he was kept in a closed region at his old age. Between 2003 and 2006, many of his descendants met with a series of unfortunate ends. B1 was electrocuted and B3 was killed by poachers. Sita was killed by poachers. Mohini died of serious wounds to her body. After the death of Charger, the fully grown B2 survived as the dominant male in the forest between 2004 and 2007. He also became the strongest tiger in the world. Mating with a female in the Siddhubaba region of Bandhavgarh, he became a father of three cubs. One of them was a male. He was named Bamera. He was first sighted in 2008 and is now Bandhavgarh's dominant male. In November 2011, B2 died.Postmortem studies suggest that he died a natural death. But many other professional people, who know more than the officials, say that he was injured by the villagers of the village in the buffer area.
Now, the most prominent tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park is Bamera, who has territory in all the four zones of the park. The females are Kankatti and Panpatti who both have three and two cubs respectively.There are 39 caves in the Bandhavgarh fort Badi gufa, the largest cave, has a broad entrance, nine small rooms and several pillars.Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the popular  national parks in India located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968, The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which is said to be given by  Lord Rama to his brother Laxmana to keep a watch on  Lanka (Ceylon). Hence the name Bandhavgarh (Sanskrit: Brother's Fort).
"Sheshshaiya" the statue of lord Vishnu in reclining pose is the biggest of all and attracts every tourist.The famous Dabur company is located in Madhya PradeshMahesh Jangam's art gallery is a must visit.
The sign of a healthy forest depends on the algae on the trees. 
Sansar Chand is India's deadliest poacher.
Junglefowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka.

Mammals we saw:
Spotted deer or Chital, Sambar, Barking deer or Muntjac, Chausinga or Four-horned antilope, Nilgai or Blue bull, Indian Gazel or chinkara and Tiger, Scavengers, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Common Langur, Rhesus monkey etc. 
Some of the birds we found in Bandhavgarh national park are
  • Plum-headed Parakeet 
  • Common Myna 
  • Alexandrine Parakeet 
  • Indian Grey Hornbill 
  • Rock Pigeon 
  • Black Drongo 
  • Indian Peafowl 
  • Oriental Magpie Robin 
  • Indian Roller 
  • Indian Robin

  • Large-billed Crow 
  • White-browed Fantail Flycatcher 
  • Yellow-crowned Woodpecker 
  • Lesser Adjutant Stork 
  • Oriental White Eye 
  • Spotted Dove 
  • White-throated Kingfisher 
  • Red-rumped Swallow 
  • Lesser Whistling Teal 
  • Common Kingfisher 
  • Black Stork 
  • Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 
  • Red-vented Bulbul 
  • Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 
  • Chestnut-shouldered Petronia 
  • Crested Serpent 


  • Brown Fish Owl 
  • Yellow-footed Green Pigeon      
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill 
  • White-throated Fantail Flycatcher 
  • Rufous Woodpecker 
  • Sapphire Flycatcher 
  • Creasted Hawk Eagle (Cirrhatus) 
  • Lesser Kestrel      
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet 
  • Dusky Crag Martin 
  • Long-tailed Shrike 
  • White-necked Stork

  • Little Brown Dove 
  • White-tailed Swallow 
  • Jungle Babbler 
  • Shikra 
  • Jungle Myna 
  • Common Tailorbird 
  • Red Collared Dove 
  • Red-necked Vulture 
  • Painted Francolin 
  • Eurasian Thick-knee 
  • Common Sandpiper 
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle 
  • Greater Whistling Teal 
  • Great Cormorant 
  • Pied Kingfisher 
  • Dark Black Crow

We were struck with disappointment when we couldn't find tiger in the morning safari.There is a saying about the Park that goes: "In any other Park, You are lucky if you see a tiger. In Bandhavgarh, you are unlucky if you don't see (at least) one." But finally during the other half of the day we could see the tiger in front of our gypsy, who tried to trick us by entering the bushes making us feel that its changing the route. It dint change the route, infact it was hiding in the bushes till we go to the other route in search of him. 
In the evening, we wore our dancing shoes to step up in the cultural dance of Madhya Pradesh.

Next day, we had our group photo with Way For(r)est tshirts.

Finally, bidding adieu to my one of the best encounter with nature.

See the seals swimming away

The little foxes as happy as ady

The baby birds flying above
The tigers resting with their cubs

The animals seem all so free
untill the humans kill as much as can be
why all this cruelty can't it stop
What have they done, what is up?

Save the wildlife, keep them from harm
for they are God's creatures, only charm
Keep them free, keep them safe
have some kindness in your place