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Pinaki

You dont need a suitcase! Carry your Car and Passion to the Konkan Coast Drive

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What if I give you a package comprise of – Hills, sea, lakes, pristine beaches, seafood, nice resort , good roads and panoramic view -  all  for a very economical pricing and you cover all of these without any rush in just three days?  Don’t turn your face away! As you keep reading this travelogue below, you can experience the beauty of the trip –so vast and versatile, no dispute –Konkan coast is one of the best road trips to do!

 

The long weekend of 15th August was the reason enough to go and explore Konkan coast.  This is one trip I shall always cherish for its simplicity and havoc journey through hills and lakes and coastal lines. The month was the busiest for me and I was drained out by the time I was set to fly to Pune for this journey. Continuous travelling for three weeks just made me run out of energy to pack my bag and fly to Pune for Konkan coast drive. However just after half an hour drive from Pune, the magic wheels flushed out all the toxins in my thoughts – “I am Tired!” Infact – I was on the road that changed my mood and became passport to one of the most memorable trips of 2017.  

 

Saturday Morning – I had a flight from Hyderabad Airport to Pune. My friend for Donkey years got his Nissan Terrano ready at the airport. We started the journey at 7 AM. He is very particular with his car! He would not let anyone touch the car . That was more like a pre independence celebration of my hands and legs before 15th August. Only things I kept myself engaged were -  mouth to speak, eyes to see the scenic beauty and mobile phone for quick GPS guidance. However this trip would not have been successful without Nikhil Patel from India Drive. His guidance was simply Fantastic.

 

Target destination was Devbagh, Tarkarli and Malvan Beach. We had no bookings for accommodations. We decided to go to Kholapur and take our first break. However once we stepped out of Pune, we had our first halt for a short tea break just below Khandala. The saga of hills, ghat roads can be seen from this spot.

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Your mind gets unloaded with the fresh air and highway speed as you keep climbing the ghat road! The road to Kholapur from Pune is pretty decent. It’s a four lane road. You definitely enjoy the beauty on both sides, can spot small mountains, breeze and light shower of the monsoon and seasonal flowers all over. 

 

Once we touched Kholapur, we decided to have lunch. We decided to have lunch at Dehati. This is one of the must try restaurants! The restaurant is very decent, have awesome dishes and try out the Kholapuri Thali! They serve in copper crockeries and utensils. The chaas is awesome and come in Kokkam mix and the mutton keema will activate your taste buds like a bomb! The food is so delicious, I could not imagine anything better can be offered for the lunch.  They served each item one by one. This keep your food warm and just from the oven!.  

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After Happy  eating, was the time for real driving! We headed towards Radhanagri Road! One has to be really insensitive to ignore the beauty of this journey! The road takes you up to the mountain with Ghats on right side, seasonal water falls at every curve, forest and wild flowers, plants and greenery, fog and mist  and farming land far away in some village as if painted by Dali of Maharashtra! . Incase you want to visit the dam /reservoir, you can take a look at the dam and do photography!

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Radhanagri has another beautiful feature. The quick changing weather can bring a lot of mist and fog on your way followed by canopy of trees, lush plantations, sneak peek of dears and monkeys. The beauty of the place is ornamented with seasonal waterfalls and then suddenly you realized you have reached the plateau which opens up to a super beautiful pristine lake.

 

The lake is so huge and beautiful, you don’t mind stopping for sometimes and ideally enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. No matter where you halt your car, you can either hear cricket, birds chirping or waterfalls! It is not recommended to go away without enjoying these scenic beauty and sound of nature. It is advised - lower down the window panes and step out of the recycled air in your car! 

 

We halted almost at every corner and clicked pictures of the seasonal waterfalls, plants, flowers and the greenery. The kingdom of clouds float all around the ghat road and bring plenty of peace. While standing at the edge of the lake, you do spot a temple on the other side of the lake. You cannot see any mankind but you know for sure, you are not alone in this mystic world of silence and nature.

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Without further delay, we headed towards Malvan. Another must worth mentioning part of the trip was– every tea stall you stop the car, you get fresh tea brewed in front of you! They use herbs, tea leaves and masala to brew your drink! What a taste…. Sometimes it does surpass elderflower essence  So, to my surprise.

 

This experience was very uniform throughout my journey for next three days. Kudos to all Aai who prepared tea on our way.

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It was towards the dusk, we reached Tarkarli beach. The beach road has plenty of houses for homestay. We decided to go and look for Maharashtra government lodge. I heard they are usually located at good spots and maintained well. It was quite big resort just on the shore. However the receptionist was more like he owns Hyatt and was rude enough on your face.

 

He was upfront - take any room you want but tomorrow we might ask you to leave if we have people coming in. Without a second thought, I ticked off the spot off my list! However I did pay a quick visit to the cottages. I was happy I decided to quit. The charges were INR 3000 plus for a bed which has two blanket and a roof made of thatch! The light settings was like we are just taking off inside the flight .

 

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It was little frustrating to find a decent resort after we left the government resort. Since August is monsoon and off season, almost all the resorts were off and were closed. However you will find people are pretty helpful sending you to other resorts for accommodation. All come his way – he who waits – we finally reached a resort which was very decent and run by a local family.

 

The cost of the room was INR 2000 which is very clean, well maintained, slim furniture – making enough space for two people, clean washroom with geyser, air conditioner and television. It had a big window facing the sea and a big balcony with two easy chairs for you to sit and enjoy the breeze. The property is in expanding mode. It has garden, plenty of space for further development. It opens up on Tarkarli beach. Once we dumped our luggage, we went straight to the beach. The neatness was quite high and unspoiled by mankind- the footfall is less in off season. 

 

It was quite interesting to see when fishermen return from fishing, you get van come to get the fishes directly from the boat to the van and go for trading at markets. This is indeed a  great strategy to keep the beach clean. We did spend quite a long hour on the beach, letting the sound of the waves evaporate our tiredness for good.

 

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We did order sea foods. Almost all listed in the menu card were available for order. We didn’t hesitate to order promphet, prawns and chicken for the night! The cold breeze and beautiful night was enough for us to call it a day!

 

Day 2

 

This day was for  exploring Devbhag beach, Malvan Beach . We started our journey with Devbagh beach. Devbagh beach is known for water sports. Once you reach the beach, it has back water on the left and sea on the right. The point where the sea and the lake meets is really beautiful. You have plenty of people conducting water sports and sea trips. We negotiated for INR 500 and got to visit Dolphin point, Tsunami Island, Meeting point of Devgarh beach and lake. I was lucky to spot few dolphins in the morning otherwise it’s not so easy to spot one.  The meeting point was very rough though for the boatman he said –“ no danger!” 

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Tsunami Island is said to have formed in 2004 after Tsunami. This island get vanished during high tide, usually in the evening and again get visible next day morning! The best part is the sea walk. Once you reach close to the island, you need to get off the boat and walk to the island over the sea. One might think, you would drown soon, you realize the fun only when you land on the water. The guide told us, they can do snorkeling during peak season starting from October and the island get visitors like crazy during the day. It turns into  a commercial spot during business season.

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After the water sports, you can take a leisure walk on the beach! Its quiet and peaceful surrounding! You can just walk and take a place of your own to enjoy the view of the waves. For Lunch we headed to atithi . It is a well-known place for Lunch and dinner. You get variety of fish and Konkani dishes. It’s been told the place is so popular that in peak season, you need to wait at least for 45 minutes to get a seat.

 

After lunch, we had few more beaches to cover! We did cover the Rock Garden beach! The garden is very small but once you step towards the shore, you can see water blows which is a classic! The designed rocks on the edge and the natural beds of rocks are both -simply awesome and beautiful. If you want to get drenched, you can simply sit on a rock bed and enjoy the splash all over! Otherwise just enjoy the breeze and see the locals fishing using small baits for pleasure and fun!

 

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Take a drive further down to Malvan beach , visit the Sindhudurg fort , enjoy the sunet! We decided to take a lovely walk in our own resort beach! It was so quiet and peaceful, we went on walking for almost two hours one side and chit chat with few fisher men on the shore! Their journey for the day was over and they just were getting ready to march towards home! The sunset was beautiful, leaving a flavor for such pristine beach and tranquility in mind.

 

Day Three

 

Next day we wanted to start early and cover few beaches on our way! The locals informed us that Vengurla can be a nice spot for a trip and also thelight house. As we started around 8 am in the morning, to our surprise it was another beautiful road journey through forest, villages, ghats and waterfalls! The fresh air and the clouds over the sky was perfect to feel the cool breeze and smell of the earth! It takes you back from where we all come from! The surprise waterfalls and sudden ghats only leaves you packed with energy for the rest of the journey!

 

Vengurla Light house was just a surprise for us. It has two ways . Road 1 – By walking and Road 2  - taking the vehicle directly to the light house on the top of the mountain. It was a wise thing to take the car all the way up to the lighthouse! The moment you start going up in the mountain, you start seeing a different topography! The road is lush with green plants and flowers, sneak peak of beach on the left, direction to more than five beaches on the right!  As we approached towards the light house gate, we stared spotting peacocks, grazing goats and butterflies!

 

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It was just a mystery that such a hidden treasure was hiding on the top of the mountain. At times you are not fortunate to get everything! Light house gates were chained and closed. We tried ringing the number found on the gate  for checking if someone responds. It went unanswered as well. However when He takes a thing away, He gives you back something better! After getting disappointed, we just decided to walk and follow the butterflies for some photography!

 

Little did we know we were marching towards a zone from where you can have the entire view of the Vengurla beach , crazy waves on the rocky side of the shore, azure blue sky lined below with sky blue water of the ocean! . We didn’t bother to repent on driving up to a closed light house! We did silently sit on the edge and enjoy the heaven for at least 30 minutes. On our way to Sawantwadi, we did spend sometimes in three more beaches! Its interesting one stretch can have so many beaches hidden on the way! All of them are lovely and can be accessed easily!

 

Though most of the beaches are secluded and have very less footfalls, use your discretion before going and the time of the day you are going to these beaches. We have spotted few people though, still a recommendation for your own safety. The beauty of the beaches are awesome. You have clean sand all over!

 

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As we keep driving towards Sawantwadi, we continued exploring the nature and its beauty! Some places are just stretched with palm trees, some stretch are full with coconut trees, some have lakes and some have mountains around both sides of the road. For lunch we halted at Sawantwadi. The restaurant is one of the most traditional dhaba with Konkani, Marathi dishes!

 

I promise you won’t be disappointed in trying either fish or chicken or mutton! Just have patience… because almost every other car stops and crowd have lunch and move out. As we bid bye bye to the city, we were entering the zone of waterfalls! The monsoon and the weather just made Sawantwadi ghat so so beautiful. With every turn and curve, you see you are just one turn closer to the waterfalls and away from the sea level.

 

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Sawantwadi is no more the charming place it used to be before! Wherever there is mankind, there is destruction of nature! All I could hear, noise, scream and honking. Instead of fresh air, it was smell of cooked food, snacks and crackers. Instead of flowers and greenery, we can see plastic bottles and leftovers around!

 

There was no point of seeing this damage and we drove further almost three kilometers ahead for our next stop. In a minute we were free from the nuisance and just parked our car next to a place where it was just covered with floating clouds!

 

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Right after Sawantwadi ghat, we left towards Pune. It was an extraordinary feeling when you see beauty of nature in so many different flavours! Just at the turn towards kholapur highway and not even 2 kms, we found  a spot that will jaw drop you! This was again a lake with beauty unparalleled...

 

The place is known as Ajra. 

 

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You can simply park your car down and climb up a small mountain like structure and enjoy the nature and breeze for free! How beautiful life is when its simple and free. 

 

Only thing left in this journey was to go back to Pune! The holidays were over, the dates went to the books of history, phone was untouched almost two days except for photographs!  As we started driving towards Satara, sipped fresh brew tea at stalls, enjoyed the sunset and evening breeze, only thing was on mind ..... In September .. I have my next destination on card... so lets get ready again!!!

 

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Beautifully narrated @Pinaki. Loved reading it through :) Could you throw some light on the Malvan accommodations if you have spotted any decent ones. :)

I have heard of the Maachli farm stay in Malvan amidst the forest and close by the back waters which looks tremendously beautiful. Any idea about that?

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Excellent narration, pictures are eye pleasing.

Areas around Pune are amazing during monsoon.
Greenery is breath taking.

How are the roads through out the drive?

 

 

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The entire trip was very smooth! I dont think anyone will have any complains if you go on this road drive. Even during heavy monsoon, they are working to maintain the holes . Otherwise it is pretty nice smooth road. Only traffic you face is the stretch between Pune and Satara. Otherwise, the road trip was very very smooth! It was close to 900 kms trip with plenty of breaks and relaxed driving ! We didnt feel tired or exhausted! 

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@sagar  Tarkarli to Malvan has plenty of nice home stay and resorts!. Unfortunately because it was monsoon and before Ganesh Chaturthi, almost 80% of the stay were closed. The place where I stayed was at Tarkarli which is just 2 to 3 kms away from Malvan!. 

 

see the details below! Pic attached for the stay where we put ourselves for two days. 

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On 1/19/2018 at 2:13 PM, Pinaki said:

@sagar  Tarkarli to Malvan has plenty of nice home stay and resorts!. Unfortunately because it was monsoon and before Ganesh Chaturthi, almost 80% of the stay were closed. The place where I stayed was at Tarkarli which is just 2 to 3 kms away from Malvan!. 

 

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That's nice.. what was the price range at which they were ranging around?

 

Btw, @Pinaki Waiting for your Andaman travel story :D

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@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

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@sagar Macchi farm is actually beautiful. You have a video on youtube as well. I wanted to explore this place but since it was 15th August weekend, we didnt get any reservation there. You need to park you car almost 2 kms away from the residence and can walk over the muddy road and nature to the residence of the farm house. Not a bad experience in monsoon for sure...! You can give a try. 

 

The resort we stayed costed INR 2000 for a very decent room with AC, Television, big sitting terrace type balcony , attached washroom with geyser and sleak furniture.  I have seen tourist bus at night for the stay! I liked the simplicity yet clean and well maintained property. The owners are two brothers who run the show and personally interact with very guest! 

 

But there will be many more resorts during the right season .

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1 hour ago, Pinaki said:

@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

 

Haha yes! For that I'm just waiting for @Omik:D

I'm all ready to put up a post except for the pics which is nothing without that :)

 

What's your next story ? :photo:

 

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@sagar I will post Wayanad pictures on the thread you started or posted last year. Since you have already written on the forum, I dont have to share any details. I can post the pictures I have clicked. 

 

next trip Andamaan. 

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1 hour ago, Pinaki said:

@sagar Macchi farm is actually beautiful. You have a video on youtube as well. I wanted to explore this place but since it was 15th August weekend, we didnt get any reservation there. You need to park you car almost 2 kms away from the residence and can walk over the muddy road and nature to the residence of the farm house. Not a bad experience in monsoon for sure...! You can give a try. 

 

The resort we stayed costed INR 2000 for a very decent room with AC, Television, big sitting terrace type balcony , attached washroom with geyser and sleak furniture.  I have seen tourist bus at night for the stay! I liked the simplicity yet clean and well maintained property. The owners are two brothers who run the show and personally interact with very guest! 

 

But there will be many more resorts during the right season .

 

Yes! Maachli farm stay has been one place I wanted to experience when I visit Malvan. Have planned quite a few times but it turned out to be full all the time. Also, the prices are pepped up right now. So, was checking for other alternatives in and around the same place.

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1 minute ago, Pinaki said:

@sagar I will post Wayanad pictures on the thread you started or posted last year. Since you have already written on the forum, I dont have to share any details. I can post the pictures I have clicked. 

 

next trip Andamaan. 

 

Definitely! Please do share your experiences in the link below as this stays exclusively on Wayanad.

 

 

 

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A lovely travelogue! Rated 5*. Nicely written, good photos and great Konkan!!

Beautiful!! 

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7 hours ago, Pinaki said:

@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

Are you traveling by a Ship or Flight?

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@sahil will take flight buddy! I guess if I ever had the luxury of time, I would love to do that like most of the westerners do - backpack, slowly enjoy the vacation like vacation... travel travel travel and nothing else. 

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@Pinaki Awesome bro! I enjoyed reading through your travel story. Very informative and nice pictures. Could you also please add the google map snap of the circuit you have driven during this drive ? :)

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      A lot of people told me, they do order food from outside. Local villagers are great cook and serve you hot chicken and local dishes. 
       
      Beach
      The beach is just opposite to the sea breeze property. My first trip was in September. The silver sand and the non sticky quality brings softness to your feet and happiness as you walk down the clean beaches. The water was so clear , it was literary blue.  The beach is stretched over almost 7 kms and also have awesome tree lines across the road. Incase you feel you want a shade while you want to be on beach - simply go and take a seat under the shade and sip coconut water in the morning or in the afternoon and leisurely drink your fav one in the evening. 
      Collect broken or new designed shell, shoot around with crabs , or just lie down on the silver sand. 

       

       

       

       

      Check in - Check Out - Your check in time is 9 AM and check out is 9 PM. Breakfast is complimentary and includes Dosa, Idli, Kheer, Vada, Poori,  Omlette, Juice , Tea, Coffee. 
       
      There is no local spots to drive around. Though you can visit the local saree mill for some handwork sarees or can even drive down to Narasaoraopet for Kotappakonda Temple . The Temple is on the top of a hill and has amaziong scenic beauty. The drive up to 5kms is really amazing and can be a good disconnect for sometimes. 
       
      Give Chirala a try! After all, small things bring more happiness  so why you let this one go?
    • By Pinaki
      Whoever has said – hills are green when they are far way – I so want to meet and dispute and take the character to Thekaddy on a free vacation with me! What you are looking for – Jungle Safari? waterfalls? meadows? cultural festivity in daily life? Let me give you few more – tea gardens, spice gardens, vineyard, meadows and valleys? Still you need more – Alright! Let me add it- Elephant Safari, Boating and how about off-road driving??? Ladies and Gentlemen….  Read the list again – give yourself this gift  - Taste Thekkady!!!

      Airways to Thekkady
      Cochin, Madurai are two airports very close to Thekkady. I decided to opt Flight to Madurai and book a cab from the airport straight to the mountains.  Early morning flight, not only gives you the entire day, it also gives you leisure, time to explore your way to Thekkady and luxury of nature.
       
      The distance between Thekkady and Madurai Airport is under 250 KMs and in four hours you can reach your destination. The road is beautiful, runs through small villages, towns, medical colleges, canopy of trees, hills, windmills and vineyards. Stopping at some great locations for a click will not be a mistake and should not be missed. Try out windmills at your back or the seasonal waterfalls on your way.

       

       

       

      Our cab driver was great as a local guide throughout our journey. We had our breakfast (Typical Tamil style and it was delicious) at Hotel Gowri Krishna and recommended for a definite try. The restaurant is quite decent and can accommodate over 60 to 70 people at a time if not more and the efficiency in serving the orders is just amazing. On your way at Periyakulam, do click photographs and images that thrills you and seek your attention.

       

      Our stay for the next three days was at a very decent and customer oriented Hotel. The stay was too perfect at this place. From the variety of food offerings to cleanliness, complimentary breakfast, evening tea/coffee, snacks …with view of mysterious mountains and valleys, floating cloud  rom your  hanging deck just gives you peace of mind and true sense of luxury and vacation together.  The resort has a great garden, activity area, swimming pool, spa and of course three different option for residence! We requested for the top most floor to enjoy the scenic beauty of nature from our balcony and room.

       

       

       

      Activities at Thekkady
      Kathakali and Marshall Arts
      You should and must have two hours available for this show. You can do the bookings online or you can go and buy the tickets from the booking counter for the show. Both are really rich in their own way and reflects a strong fiber of our tradition and culture.
       

       

       


      Spice Gardens
      There are many spice gardens in Thekkady and Periyar. There is no harm learning half an hour the kind of medicinal plants cultured around and the variety of spice available in the region. A lot of medical company do research and purchase these ayurvedic medicinal plants in building their medicines and brand. Try yourself with some herbal soaps, fresh spice, some great medicinal powder for cleansing life and diet.
       
      Gavi Forest Drive
      The forest just thrills you from the time you enter the main gate and runs till the time off board the jeep. My trip was in monsoon so I did enjoy the beauty of greenery, the fun of sitting in a jeep, sightseeing elephants like humans everywhere, deer all around, bison of massive size, brown bears against trees and birds all around. The forest is thick and green, surrounded with valleys and mountains. The guide takes you around, stops every possible place where you can spot a wild life!  Gavi Forest is almost all-day program. It starts from your hotel at 5.30 AM and continues all day.

      This includes beautiful boat riding, hiking over valleys and mountains to spice plantation (rubber and cardamom), a small visit to a museum and lunch. This trip was really a lucky trip for me. Every time I had a guide, they always tried to make it little different. During boating, the guide took us to a beautiful seasonal waterfall which appeared from nowhere and surprised us for quite sometimes. The waterfall was huge and strong, we anchored our boat in between two rocks and walked down the slippery water and rocks towards the waterfall.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      The hiking over to different parts of the mountain and seeing different scenic points are way too beautiful and fascinating. Enjoy the mist and clouds floating by, sip a bottle of water or two, click some pictures and enjoy the vacation like a vacation.

       

       

       

      Ayurvedic Spa
      No trip is complete in Kerala without Ayurvedic massage. However, you should be careful enough to review and select the right place for the massage. I did go for three hours package and ensured I used strong influence of the local network I made during my stay to ensure I get the best spa treatment.
       
      Local Sight Seeing
      Thekkady has a lot of local places to visit . Please make most use of it when you are in Thekkady.
      Murrikaddi spice garden, Chellarkovil, chellarkovil view point, Pandikuzhi, Idduki District, Kumlily, Mullaperiyar dam , Vagamom are some of them that I could finish during my stay. I am highly indebted to the guide and Periyar cab team to help me with my most demanding requests on planning my day. The owner did not only gave us the most helpful and knowledgeable guide, he ensured calling me every day , take feedback, suggest next day plan and stay in touch anytime.

       

      When you visit Chellarkovil waterfall, ensure you cross the waterfall and go to the other side and climb up for having a stunning beauty of the valley below and mountains around. I wish I had luxury of time in my hand to sit all day long and see the clouds and day light pass by.

       

       
       

       

       

      Periyar Lake and Boating
      Bamboo boating or boating on a launch both are quite exciting on Periyar lake. The boat takes you around the forest . The boating has fixed timing and you can book your slot either online or buy tickets from the counter. However it is recommended to do the bookings online. 
       
      Nature Walk, Trekking, Overnight Camping
      Though I didn’t opt for this one however I would still recommend if you are going in summer or winter, go for nature walk , trekking down the forest for almost 10 kms , cloud train, jungle trail, tiger trail and experience the stay at camp spots overnight inside the Periyar tiger reserve park. The arrangements can be done by your guide or online websites or probably through your hotel. I do have some idea how thrilling and beautiful the camping can be because the view of thick jungle, view from the mountains and safari through the jungle already injected the feeling in me.
       
      Off tracking
      This is all day event and is a great trill for those who are crazy for off road tracking. Though I could not experience since it was monsoon and the road trips were closed but it’s going to be a whole of an experience for sure
       
      Elephant Rides
      Definitely a great experience to interact and spend two to three hours with such a humble life. There are many elephant safari and ride programs across Thekkady. You can go for half an hour ride through plantation, elephant bathing, elephant training session and take a moment to greet the elephant and feed with your own hands

      Vineyards
      On our way to Madurai airport, we did visit a waterfall and a vineyard at Uttapalaiyam. Though the waterfall was not that exciting and over crowded, the visit to the vineyard was short and nice. You can talk and have a look at the way things work, hear how grapes are fermented, picked from the plantation and processed.
       

       

       
      The story will remain incomplete if I dont speak of the Kerala Lunch! Highly recommended - Visit this restaurant incase you dont know anything better. We were stuffed with rice, Malabar Paratha, beef, prawns, chicken, mutton, fish, some awesome veg curries , salad and chutneys/pickles for INR 600 per head. If you dispute, I dont mind because I already had my share that afternoon and didnt eat anything for dinner. 

      I realized one thing for sure - Happiness is portable! Just carry it with you wherever you go! Give this place a try, it wont be disappointing.
    • By Pinaki
      If there is a reading meter in the market to gauge what I always love the most in nature ,  the scale will always be reading 100 % for beaches. Probably I didn't go to the right mountains in the right season and never fancy to get lock down inside a  room after sunset since then. AND then this magic happened! After few trips to same Chirala and burning out my fuel of love and passion for beaches , probably I didn't want to see that place again . I packed my bags in summer and risk my preference for once and all changed ; Coornoor just flushed off my insensible attraction towards mountains to a desire for exploring more , loving more, tripping more in mountains. 
       
      After Bengaluru traffic beaten us badly , we speed up well through Mysuru highway, quickly took a tea break at my favourite spot @Gundlupet , we managed to cross all 31 hairpins of Ooty and its awful traffic at city centre. It was almost dark and up above the world so high... Moon was shining like a diamond in the sky! Before you reach Ooty, beautiful Bandipur and its forest life always cheesecake your life with taste of beautiful nature. 
       
      Our Resort was another 14 kms from Udagamandalam. It was an offbeat homestay with lake at one side, tea estate on both sides of the homestay, valleys and mountains all around us. The beauty of mountains, tea estate,azure sky, lively greenery around the stay was just a luxury you cant afford to miss! The gentle breeze and the freshness is so far away from the hustle bustle of city life and recycled air at home.  On our way to the stay, we did spot quite a few bisons and wild deer. It was quite thrilling stay since we had no one around the venue though everything was quite safe and secure. The homestay has two bedrooms, well furnished with furnitures, bed, mattresses, pillows, glass windows every where, sofa, dinning hall and a kitchen will refrigerator , gas connection, spice , utensils everything. The food was arranged by the local guide himself for us during our stay and it was very economical. 
       
      Next day, the first thing on our agenda was to explore the property, tea estate and the road towards the lake. It was so so different for me for I have never explored mountains, tea estate with so much enthusiasm. 
       
      The local guide, take us around a lot of beautiful off beat places -Palada, Adikaratti,  Nonsuch Tea estate, Archiesden, Dolphin Point and Lambs Rock. In One day we did cover a lot of points for photography and short breaks. While you continue driving across small villages, you do notice the beauty of ghat roads, tea estates, factories, vegetable washing machines , beautiful railway tracks for toy trains, trees filled with colorful flowers etc. 
      Archiesden is a peak point close to an eculaptus oil factory . Heard you can spot leopard after the sunset at this point. You need to hike for five ten minutes to reach this scenic beauty. You can see mountains, roads, life all around from the top as if you are the lord of the world and appreciating the beauty of your own creation. Clouds can touch you and go if you hike here early morning or in winters.
       
      We did stop at a chinese restaurant for lunch though we wanted to try local Biriyani from a small outlet. The outlet was closed and we decided to go to a decent restaurant.  
      A must try - Honey Lemon Tea at TanTea stall in Coornoor. I did drink two cups myself . It is an awesome point for drinking tea and enjoy the sunset. The gentleman brew the tea in front of you in a carefe and serves you hot refreshing tea in a glass made cup and saucer. 
       
      You can drive around the military zone in Ooty for its beauty stretching across the golf course to Statues of National Leaders . Incase you are a coffee lover, sip a coffee from Bossoms coffee cafe in Ooty. Its really cool. 
       
      The local guide later took us at the top of a road close to Mahindra Holiday club resort for a scenic view of OOty from the top of the peak under full moon night! Its heaven. The pearl of lights all over just can kill you with its beauty. The lights across the small homes across the mountains, the moving traffic , the beauty of trees and moon playing hide and seek -is so so thrilling, probably one has to be on the spot someday to experience it. The place has so much of tranquility to offer , you wont feel like stepping out of the place till you are ready to go back home. I wish I had a bed there itself to experience the sunrise next day. 
       
      We decided to have dinner at the spot itself and was served with excellent dinner and a great hot tea after the dinner. 
       
      It was a long day for us and we drove back to the resort through the forest and ghats at night!.
       
      The short trip was not only beautiful, it was a kind of a change for me too. It did change my outlook towards mountain, made me found a place where I sat and saw from the top of the peak both morning and night in two different beauties. I didn't miss sea for a second! Only thing that was missing from my list was -  wrong opinions about mountains.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • By Pinaki
      Team :
       
      Has anyone been to Philippines? Need help and information. I am doing quite a detailed research on this beautiful country and looks like the trip can be extremely surprising with 7000 islands and the vastness of the country.!
      The distance and the accessibility between or across many islands can be little time consuming. Need guidance on the worth visiting spots and logistics for the planned itinerary. 
       
      Thank you
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